Sequin Gowns & Mermaid Crowns : November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Small Business Love

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Which means it's time to get on shopping!  I've spent a lot of time deciding what I want to buy this year and where.  My initial rule was that I would stay far away from Black Friday shopping and try to get most of my things online.  However, I also find it difficult to find things that are unique and thoughtful on websites like Amazon or the like.  So this year I realized that I could wonderfully combine my hatred of crowds and my love for the crafters and makers of the world by shopping small!

I think it's really important for us, the consumer, to support the up and coming entrepreneurs.  They are the next big thing and deserve just as much attention, if not more, as the money moguls. I love buying things from people I feel like I know.  Each and every maker has a story and having things designed, handcrafted, and packaged all by that same beautiful and talented person is humbling and truly life enriching.  Plus, there are so many small businesses and people who are making beautiful things by hand that you could get a different, meaningful gift for everyone you know!  So I've compiled a short list of gift ideas from some of my favorite online small businesses!

Wingostarr Jewelry

I've been following this lovely artist on Instagram for a while now and I've been eyeing this piece myself!  Self taught jewelry designer Mallory Wingo runs the Wingostarr shop on Etsy and sells tons of beautiful jewelry, including several one of a kind pieces!  I love that she uses all kinds of gems and crystals as well as inspirational sayings!

By now ya'll know I'm a sucker for anything made in Hawaii.  Hana Maui Creations is just one of three shops I've included on my list!  These talented mother-daughter team hand make all kinds of pretty, island inspired jewelry.  I have the wave ring in silver that I wear every day!  I feel totally naked without it. Definitely vital to a mermaid's jewelry box!  

Cyber Monday Sale: Use code CYBER15 for 15% Off!

Salty Kisses Hawaii

How cute are these hammered saying bracelets from Salty Kisses Hawaii?!  I kind of want them all to wear just like this! You can choose silver or bronze and any saying you like! Or you can pick from the ones in the photo! These make a great gift that can be easily personalized.  All of the jewelry is "handmade with aloha" by Jennifer Tigley.  She also makes some really rad personalized wire name necklaces!

Small Business Saturday Sale: Use code SHPSML30 for 30% Off!

Simply Jessica Marie

Bet you didn't think of some super cute personalized stationery to gift for Christmas.  Now your bestie can write you letters in style!!  Simply Jessica Marie sells a variety of stationary, stamps, and other fun paper products!  Jessica Marie Clinch is a watercolor artist who thrives on inspiring her customers with feminine, creative products!  I will be adding one of the custom address stamps to my own Christmas list!

This chic little shop has so many great things to offer!  From cute quoted mugs to catchy graphic tees, I'd be happy with any of these under my Christmas tree!  Or in any wrapped package for that matter. The Trendy Sparrow, based in Chicago, touches on so many wonderful things like fashion, coffee, blogging, and brunching.  These are a few of my favorite things. Lindzi Shanks perfectly depicts her girl: "The Trendy Sparrow girl sips champagne any day of the week.  She enjoys eating macarons for breakfast.  She feels just as beautiful in sweats as she does in a party dress.  She dreams of Paris and wears lots of polka dots.  She loves fresh flowers and every Audrey Hepburn movie.  She works hard for what she has and looks fabulous doing it.  She is beautiful inside and out."  Seems like someone I wanna be and/or wanna be friends with, if you ask me.

Cyber Monday Sale: Use code CYBERMONDAY for 25% Off!

Another shop based in Hawaii.  Another shop I continuously stalk on Instagram. I finally was able to purchase one of the Lil Coconut Hawaii clutches that I'm currently anxiously awaiting in the mail.  I actually have mentioned the shop before in my Clinging to Summer Wish List post last fall! So basically, I'm saying I love this brand created by Maui native Amanda Dela Cruz.  All of her clutches are her own photos taken on her own island adventures, which I feel makes these so special!  

Cyber Monday Sale: Use code CYBER for 30% Off!

Molly Kay Coakley

Last, but certainly not least, is a personal friend and co-worker of mine who is super creative and talented! Native New Yorker and a Myrtle Beach transplant, Molly makes these incredible custom nail art designs!  I don't know how she does it, because I simply would not have the patience it requires.  I always give her oodles of kudos.  Not only do these make stunning artwork for the home, but also a great gift! Love you girlfriend! ;)

XO, Briana

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

HASK Argan Oil Repairing Hair Care Collection

I was lucky enough to be chosen to review the HASK Argan Oil Repairing Hair Care Collection!  The set arrived in a cute little drawstring bag that really made me smile! In the bag were four pieces: the Argan Oil Repairing Shampoo & Conditioner, Argan Oil Repairing Deep Conditioner, and the Argan Oil Shine Treatment.

I first started off using the shampoo and conditioner for a few days.  I honestly couldn't believe how great my hair looked!  After just a couple of uses, my hair was super smooth, shiny, soft and my waves were very defined and not frizzy! Overall it felt and looked super healthy, even though I know for a fact at that time it was not.  It also smells fantastic, like oranges and happiness.  That's the only way I can think to describe it, haha!

The only thing I found odd was that it seemed to brighten my hair.  Normally I would be all for that, but since my hair was dyed blonde at the time, I was worried it would lighten it too much.  I actually decided that I was now Princess Anna of Arendelle because I had one piece that was almost white, lol.  But I decided it was worth it for the awesome effect of the set. However, after getting a darker dye job, I'd been hesitant to start using it again for fear of it stripping my color.

I'd like to note that I did NOT use any additional products in my hair.  It is au natural!

After deciding to try the set again, I'm happy I did.  I used the shampoo, conditioner, and the deep conditioner in the shower.  I also used the oil in my hair after being towel dried and let my hair completely dry over night, as I usually do.

I will say in using the additional products, my hair came out even more amazing!  It was super shiny, barely any frizz (can't ask for none when I'm sleeping on it lol), and my waves were even more defined than before!  And even though I'm pretty sure it wound up lightening my bit of blonde still in my hair, I would continue to use this only every once in a while when my hair needs some refreshing!

Overall, this is a great collection of products that I would 100% recommend!  I love the way it works, and how it makes my hair look, feel, and smell!  Also, I appreciate that it is free of all sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten, drying alcohol, and artificial colors.  It's easy to use with clear directions on the packaging and is fantastic for when your hair really needs a boost!  As I said, I'd plan to use this only when I feel like my hair needs repairing, just to make sure my color doesn't fade.  But if your hair is not color treated, use it as often as you like!  It's a great product that will become an integral part of my hair care routine!  Much thanks to HASK and BrandBacker for allowing me to try it out!!

Follow the link for more information on the HASK Argan Oil Repairing Hair Care Collection, or check out HASK's other hair care collections, on their main website HERE!

XO, Briana
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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Curel Itch Defense

Every year when the weather starts to change, so does my skin.  With falling leaves and cool breezes comes cracked hands and itchy skin.  Blah!  I also suffer from eczema, which always flares up when the weather gets cool.  That's why I'm always on the hunt for lotions and creams to dull the excessive itch and sooth the dry patches.  So when the opportunity came up to try the Curel Itch Defense Body Wash & Spray Lotion, I was hopeful that I would find my new favorite. Boy was I right!

Courtesy of Influenster, I received a sample size of the Curel Itch Defense Body Wash and a full size of the Curel Itch Defense Instant Soothing Moisturizing Spray, as well as a coupon that I fully intend to use.  Now on to why I love it.

There is a lot to love about these products.  They are both all around fantastic.  But together they are perfection.  Starting off with the body wash is the key to getting rid of the itch.  I used the two together until every drop of that body wash was gone.  And then I went to buy more.  The body wash is like the first layer of defense, moisturizing your skin in the shower and prepping it for phase two.  I also found that the body wash is easier to get all over your body, like in hard to reach places like your back, making sure that every where is getting some love, even if you can reach it with your lotion.

Once you've lathered up and patted yourself dry it's time to apply your moisturizer.  I found this spray to be about 10x easier to apply than regular lotion.  It takes a very short time to just spray it on and rub it in, then you're done! And it smells really good! If you like the eucalyptus type scent, which I do. It was easy to get into a routine because it took such little effort.  All I had to do was use the body wash in the shower and quickly put on the lotion right after! The results were pretty amazing.

After using both products for just 3 days, I was already seeing a difference in my skin.  Right before I received these, I had a pretty bad eczema flare up on my leg.  After the 3 days, it was almost completely gone.  This is something that even a steroid cream failed to clear up.  After a few more days it was completely gone and has not returned!! I've been using it religiously and I can say that I haven't had any more eczema flare ups!  Which is awesome because they are horrible and extremely uncomfortable!

So I think I've met my new best friend for this winter.  I plan on stocking up and using it until further notice.  So much thanks to Influenster and Curel for allowing me to review such a life changing product!  I've created a Pinterest board for these products and things related that you can check out HERE!  And if you haven't seen it, here's my little demo video for the spray lotion!

As is probably apparent, I would totally recommend this product; to anyone who suffers from dry skin and/or eczema especially!  It's truly a miracle worker in my eyes! Let me know your thoughts if you try it, or tel me about your go to winter skin saver!
XO, Briana