Monday, March 2, 2015

Telling My Story - KEEP Collective

One of the things I've enjoyed the most about blogging is meeting fantastic people that I most likely would have never met. Some of these great people I've only met via internet and phone, due to geography. Recently you've read about my friend Alison and about my friend Noel. Alison and I are lucky enough to live close by but Noel, who I met through blogging, lives in Texas. Through her, I met Candice (she also lives in Texas), who is a KEEP Collective Designer. When I was first met Candice, via facebook, I was not yet a Stella and Dot Stylist. In case you didn't know, KEEP Collective is a sister company to Stella and Dot. When I became a Stylist, Candice and I decided it would be fun to work together. She was kind enough to send me some KEEP Collective goodies and I sent her some Stella & Dot goodies.

Candice chose the Grace Chandelier earrings, which look stunning on her and the Gilded Arrow Bangle.  She looks beautiful wearing her earrings (top photo). We both styled our Gilded Arrow Bangle with our KEEP Collective bracelets. Candice is wearing the mesh bracelets and the Time Key. I'm wearing the Double leather bracelet in rose gold (and saddle, on the reverse) and the accent keys that tell my story.  If you follow me on facebook or Instagram, you've seen my love of personalized jewelry. It's special to have a piece of jewelry that is your own. KEEP Collective makes that possible.

I love KEEP Collective because it's so personal.  Each person can wear the same accent key and it means something different to each person.


So why did I choose these accent keys?

  • Crescent Moon - for {msL}. Since early on in our relationship, we've always shared a love of the moon. Even today (9 years in), if one of us sees a great moon, we will show it to the other. I woke her up one night recently and got her to come out on the deck to see how bright and beautiful the moon was.
  • Knot - for my Dad (and {msL}). My Dad loved all things nautical and his hobby was knot tying. Knots always remind me of him because he was such a strong bond for our family. During our wedding ceremony, {msL} and I tied a sailors knot in honor of our Dad's (her Dad was a sailor). When you pull on a sailor's knot it just gets tighter. The rope will break before the knot unties.
  • Eiffel Tower - represents my love of travel and fashion. I was lucky enough to visit Paris several years ago and I can't wait to go back.
  • Champagne Glass - I believe that life should be a celebration. We should never take our days for granted. Life is short and we should approach it with joy and gusto.

KEEP Collective has so many options for you to tell your own story, including letters, numbers, gem stones, sayings and many more accent keys. They have bracelets in leather and metal as well as necklaces. All of the leather bracelets are two colors (double sided). You can change your accent keys and your story at any time. The keys slide on and off of the bracelets and necklaces. Candice can help you to design something that is personal and uniquely your own.  I love my bracelet and I already have a growing wish list, including a time key and more accent keys.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

InstaNatural Eye Gel and More - A Review

Each time I try a new InstaNatural product, I wonder why I've only recently discovered this fantastic company and their products. This time I got the opportunity to InstaNatural's Youth Express Eye Gel. In addition, I was also able to try their Youth Express Eye Serum and Advance Action Retinol Moisturizer.

I have been using Youth Express Eye Gel each morning and I've been very happy with the product and results. The cooling feeling is great to depuff my eyes and it has helped to diminish the fine lines around my eyes. I've noticed a slight diminishing of my dark circles. To be fair, my dark circles are chronic, I have yet to find an eye product that lessens them drastically.

I've been using the Retinol Moisturizer every night after washing my face, along with the Youth Express Eye Serum.

All of these products have been fantastic and would be great additions to anyone's beauty regime. Both products can be used morning and evening. I've been using the Youth Express Eye Gel in the morning and the Youth Express Serum in the evening. This has worked really well for me. I used the Retinol Moisturizer both morning and night. I've noticed a evening effect in my skin tone and my skin feels smoother, overall.

I love that InstaNatural's products are made in the USA and are not tested on animals. Their products are also free of alcohols, sulfates or parabens. Being the product junkie that I am, it's wonderful to find a company and products that I feel good about using and they actually work well, if not better than some of the more expensive products I've tried over the years. Their products are available exclusively online either via their website, or on

Note: I received these products in exchange for my review. The thoughts I've expressed here are my own. In fact, you'll remember that a few weeks ago I published this post about their Argan Oil hair mask and Pure Argan Oil and Vitamin C Serum. I loved the Vitamin C Serum so much (and so did {msL}) that it's empty and I ordered a new bottle.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscars 2015 - A Few Favorites

Overall there were very few "what was she thinking?" moments on the Academy Awards Red Carpet this year. It's always hard to pic my favorites but these are just a few that I loved.

Some might question my inclusion of Lady GaGa. The gloves are a bit odd but remember folks, she is Lady GaGa, the woman who wore a meat dress one and also "walked" the red carpet while being carried in an egg. This amazing dress, her hair, her makeup, is a huge step up. I just write the gloves off to the GaGa factor. I also know that the high-low dress trend is a bit frowned upon but I love Kelly's dress.

What were your favorites?

photo credits:

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Frugal Fashion Friday - Good To the Last Drop

Today's Frugal Fashion Friday is really Frugal Beauty Friday. Isn't your beauty routine part of your overall fashion look? I've told you many times about my obsession with trying new beauty products. I decided this weekend that I need to do a clean out soon. My bathroom is full of partially used products. A purge is in order. There are however, products that I use to the very end. They are my tried and true products that if I run out of them, panic may set in. I have been known to cut a bottle open or scrape out the last bit from a tube.

clockwise from top left - 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
John Frieda Full Repair Shampoo - My fine hair is dry but because it's so fine, I have to be careful with conditioner. This shampoo has been a lifesaver, it moisturizes my hair without weighing it down, before I even condition.

Wet n' Wild Brow & Eye Liner - I have thin brows. I've tried lots of options but this pencil is my best tool. I lightly run it across my brows so that the hairs pick up the pigment and then smudge it with a small brush. It helps to keep my brows from looking drawn on or cakey. Bonus it comes in four different shades of brown and black and it only costs, 99 cents!

L'Oreal Elnet Satin Hairspray - This is the first hairspray I've ever used that doesn't make my hair feel like a helmet. It brushes out easily for restyling but miraculously it has a strong hold. It rarely goes on sale but you can find $3 off coupons in the paper every few months.

Drugstore Mascara - Right now I'm loving Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara. You may have seen my post on instagram. Frankly, I'm not loyal to one mascara but there is one sure thing, I always grab it at the drugstore. I've tried expensive mascaras but have never found any that are worth the price. My favorites have always come from the drugstore. Plus if you don't like it, take it back! CVS, Duane Reed/Walgreens, and Ulta all have great return policies.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser - This cleanser is gentle and thorough. It will take off stubborn make up but isn't harsh on my sensitive skin. It's also great for your body if you have an irritations or dry patches.

Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick - This lipstick has been called the universal shade and praised by makeup artists for looking great on everyone. I just know it looks good on me, no matter my skin tone (winter or summer). It's been a never fail beauty bag staple since I bought my first tube in the mid 90's.

Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer - If I was only allowed to keep one items in my makeup arsenal, this would be it. I have chronic dark circles and this concealer is my holy grail. Everyone I know says it's way too expensive. For me, it's worth every penny. One tube lasts me almost a year. I only use a tiny bit each day. The coverage is amazing.

Curel Daily Moisture Lotion - My favorite lotion. The scent isn't heavy. It's a great inexpensive moisturizer and it's never greasy. I always have a back up bottle ready.

Clio Kill Black Waterproof Eyeliner - This liner is a new favorite. As you know, a nude eye and black liner are my every day eye staples. It's a classic look that I love. I've tried tons of eyeliners, pencils, gel, and brushes. I like pen liners the most because of their precision. I read about Clio Kill Black a month or so ago. A beauty editor said she can't live without it for her signature cat eye. I tracked it down on Amazon and have used it every day since. My first pen is going strong but I already ordered a second one, to ensure I don't run out.
Some of these items may seem on the pricey side. For me, it's worth it to pay a bit more for some items because for me there is no substitute. I know I will use every last drop. It won't be another half used tube in my drawer or a product that I'm tired of using. I believe using a product to the last drop is a frugal trait and economical. I'm sure I've spent thousands over the years on products that I never finished using. In my efforts to streamline my life a little, these tried and true items are rising to the top. I will still look for the latest and greatest but these staples will always be by my side. 

What are your good to the last drop beauty items? 

Happy Friday Real Girls!

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