Category Archives: Women’s Fashion

All Natural Beauty Products to Love in 2017

So, about our budget fashion and style advice: We sometimes use affiliate links, so we might earn a buck or two if you click and buy 🙂 !

all natural beauty products collage

New year, new you, right? Tossing out the sugar and hitting the treadmill is fine and dandy, but your health isn’t limited to just diet and fitness. Going clean and taking care of yourself is as much about simple choices as it is about a strict regimen. Why not jump-start your journey with a simple switch to all natural beauty products? You’ll minimize the number of chemicals and toxins you’re exposed to and help out the environment at the same time.

Toxic Beauty?

A year ago, President Obama signed a ban on those plastic micro-beads found in exfoliators. That was big news, but it’s not the only time “health and beauty” products have used odd and unnatural ingredients. BHA, sometimes used in moisturizers and makeup, is linked to cancer. Same for formaldehyde. And then there’s sodium lauryl sulfate, which irritates your eyes, lungs and skin. For a longer list of toxic beauty chemicals to avoid, see this Huffington Post article.

Thankfully, we have more and more natural and organic (and affordable) options available — from soaps and skincare to haircare and makeup. Meeting  a steadily growing interest in ingredients that are easy to identify and read, the beauty industry is getting back to its roots with products that don’t just look and feel good — they’re actually good for you.

If you’re looking to leave harsh ingredients behind this year, read on for cult classics and new trailblazers in the natural beauty niche. Here are our top five all natural beauty product picks for 2017.

1. Dr. Bronner’s Lotion

all natural beauty products - dr bronners lotion

Lavender Coconut Organic Lotion, $9.99, Dr. Bronner’s

An OG in the organic front, Dr. Bronner’s is a recognizable name and an easy find in most supermarkets and drug stores. Inexpensive for its certified fair trade, vegan non-GMO and organic credentials, you can count on this brand to be gentle enough for the whole family.

2. May Lindstrom Cleansing Clay

all natural beauty products - may lindstrom cleaning clay

May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt, $60, BCOrganicBeauty.com

Made from ingredients you can find in the kitchen and on the spice rack, this higher-end line is rich in vitamins and anti-inflammatories. It’s also perfect for even the most sensitive skin. Splurge on May Lindstrom for a little at-home spa action and enjoy the larger-sized products’ long-lasting nature.

Runway Inspired — 5 Must-Have Spring Accessories For Less

So, about our budget fashion and style advice: We sometimes use affiliate links, so we might earn a buck or two if you click and buy 🙂 !

runway inspired spring accessories collection
For the shopper looking to save some cash between seasons as trends swiftly change, there’s no better buy than a few statement accessories. Popping on a few pieces with wardrobe basics can give new life to winter, fall and even last year’s basics. And since spring 2017 was all about the mix and match, the motto for 2017 spring accessories is: the quirkier the better.

This spring, you can load up the patterns and top them all off with equally vibrant eyewear, wearables or jewelry. The sun’s about to be shining and fashion is all about having fun again! These are the add-ons you must have — and how to find them for less.

Runway-Inspired Spring Accessories

1. Colored Lens Sunnies

runway inspired spring accessories - colored sunglasses from ashanti

Ashanti Sunglasses in Garnet, $119, LeSpecs

Scooped from Celine, Balenciaga and countless others, colored lenses are turning everything rosy…and orange…and even blue. The spring runways had a pair for every aesthetic: slim shapes for the sporty gals, wire-rimmed aviators for the classics, and plenty of oversized options for the true glam squad. Shade enthusiasts know these elite brands don’t come cheap, but Le Specs makes the trend attainable with a more affordable price point.

2. Wide Belts

runway inspired spring accessories - wide black leather belt from asos

Leather OBI Waist Belt, $31, ASOS

Wide has arrived once again, and it’s time to bring back everyone’s favorite ’80s belts. Cinch in your waist and give shape to boxier silhouettes a la Victoria Beckham, Monse and Altuzarra. Snag a leather style in a neutral for the office and chic nights out, then pick up a bright and cheery floral print that really welcomes in the season for playful, pattern mixing off-days.

The Best Coupon Sites (to Save on Fashion)

So, about our budget fashion and style advice: We sometimes use affiliate links, so we might earn a buck or two if you click and buy 🙂 !

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(Editor’s note: This post was rewritten 1/2017 with new coupon sites and commentary.) The best budget shoppers always talk about finding and using coupons, but that’s easier said than done. Searching online for coupons is just plain overwhelming. You often end up on something other than the best coupon sites (you know, the ones that offer legit savings). Considering that your time is valuable, you can end up losing on the deal — spending three hours to save $5 equates to well below what you’re worth.

So where, exactly, are these magical coupons? you might ask. Here’s a list of 10 of the best coupon sites we’ve come across:

The Top 10 Best Coupon Sites

1. RetailMeNot.com

Retailmenot has coupons for online and in-store purchases. The search function is easy to use, and the site features some of our favorite retail stores: Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Nordstrom, 6pm and more. Go straight to the selection of fashion coupons here.

best coupon sites - retailmenot

RetailMeNot mobile app for coupons on the go

Also, you can download the Retailmenot app and take it with you wherever you go. After all, why not save on impulse purchases too?   

2. Dealspotr

online coupons

What we love about Dealspotr is that you get rewarded with points for contributing to the accuracy of the deals. (Earn enough points and you can redeem them for Amazon gift cards.) And since the Dealspotr community is constantly reviewing and validating the coupons, you’ll generally have a higher success rate in finding deals that work. And that means you spend less time searching and more time shopping.

See our Dealspotr review for more information on how the community works.

3. TheKrazyKouponLady

TheKrazyKouponLady is a very popular choice when you’re looking to save on in-store grocery and toiletry purchases. But while you’re there lowering your grocery bill, check out the coupon listings for tried-and-true fashion retailers like JCPenney, Old Navy and Sephora. For each deal, you’ll see when it was posted, plus any comments made by users — and users are a great source for validating deals.

4. Fatwallet.com

Browse for coupons by store or category on FatWallet. The search function lets you scour either the officially published deals or the Fatwallet forum, where users can publish sales and deals. FatWallet also lets you browse in-store deals offered in your city.

Jump straight to the women’s apparel category now, and see discounts for Gap, Forever21, Levi’s and more.

5. VoucherShops

For our U.K. readers, VoucherShops promotes the UK’s prominent online stores and the deals they offer, including the latest vouchers and discount codes to help you save money. Search by store name, category and deal popularity. For each store, you can see all valid deals available. Check out the Boohoo page, for example, and you’ll see three separate offers. Each deal description includes the terms, a success rating and the expiration date.

2017 Hair Trends: 5 Hot New Haircuts to Try

So, about our budget fashion and style advice: We sometimes use affiliate links, so we might earn a buck or two if you click and buy 🙂 !

hair trends 2017 - collage of five haircuts

Hair trends cycle just like fashion trends. And if the last couple chops by celebrity stylists are any indication, there’s a fresh crop of cuts destined to be this year’s biggest contenders. And there’s no better time than now to consider a cool new cut. You know you’ll take your time making a big beauty decision — but start the process now and you’ll be wearing your game-changing choice by spring.

Hair Trends: 5 New Looks

1. The Micro

hair trends for 2017- the micro cut

Michelle Williams has been the poster child for pixie cuts for years, but lately a lot of runway models have been following suit. For mere mortals looking for a big shakeup, or bobbed ladies addicted to going even shorter, this micro look is the effortless winner. Just stock up on a texturizing product to help give your new ‘do the perfect tousle.

2. The Bob

For the last two years it’s been the lob — the slightly A-line, longer bob that brought the same beach wave texture of long hair up to the collarbones. This time around, the bob has gone decidedly French with an ear-length crop, complete with mini bangs to match. Not quite straight and not quite wavy, a quick flick of the curling iron gives just the right curve to take you from bed head to beautiful. Tres magnifique!

3. Mid-Length

Lazy babes who have grown out their lobs will appreciate the mid-length trend. Skip the full cut and go for an easy dusting of your layers so you won’t lose too many inches. You can keep on keepin’ on with your beach waver or clipless curling wand. Loose, wispy ringlets in both directions give this cut the effortless, relaxed shape that’s all over Instagram.

How to Buy Sunglasses (You Know, the Life-changing Kind)

So, about our budget fashion and style advice: We sometimes use affiliate links, so we might earn a buck or two if you click and buy 🙂 !

Life-changing sunglasses are a thing. You slip them on and the amazing, unstoppable side of you is unleashed. You’re confident, stylish and purposeful.

I’ve had two pairs of life-changing shades in my life — a pair of Chanels I shouldn’t have bought due to the price tag and a pair of Bolles. Sadly, I lost both. One was left in a dressing room in California and the other in the New Orleans airport. Sure, I have other sunglasses I love, but I’m still looking for that special pair, the ones that turn heads and make any outfit better. When I find them, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I’ll share our top tips on how to buy sunglasses that really work for you.

How to Buy Sunglasses — 5 Factors that Matter

1. Your Face Shape

Your ideal sunnies will balance out and complement your face shape. If you’re not sure what your face shape is, here’s what you can do to find out:

  1. Take a selfie
  2. Print out the picture four times.
  3. Draw a different shape on each image, just around your face: oval, circle, heart and square.
  4. Now decide which shape mostly closely follows the lines of your face.

Armed with a new understanding of your face shape, you can shop for the sunglass shapes that flatter!

If you have an oval face…

Lucky you! You can wear almost any sunglasses, as long as they are wide enough. The only mistake you can make is wearing frames that are narrower than the widest part of your face. Beyond that, feel free to go with anything from big and bold to soft and subtle.

If you have a circle (round) face…

Choose shades that have rectangular shapes to balance out the roundness. A thinner frame will look nice on you, as it’ll add the appearance of length to your face.

If you have a heart-shaped face…

You have high cheekbones and a narrow chin. Your ideal sunnies will appear to soften the angle between your forehead and chin — essentially making your forehead seem narrower and your chin, wider. Try cat-eye frames, bottom-heavy frames and/or colorful frames, all which put the focus on the center of your face.

If you have a square face…

Rounded sunglasses are well-suited for you, as they’ll soften your strong jawline and broad forehead. Sunnies with thinner frames will be more flattering than those with thick ones. Go for a modified round sunglass or a semi-rimmed style.

2. UV Protection

Each year, the sun gets closest to the earth two weeks after the winter solstice — in 2017, this happened on January 4. It’s a reminder that sun protection for your eyes is important year-round, and not just in the warm and sunny summer months.

Keeping the sun away from the gentle skin around your eyes helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles, but there’s more to know. Experts have linked UV exposure to corneal sunburn, growths on the surface of the eye, and even some types of cataracts.

Do your part to steer clear of those issues by always choosing sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. This means the glasses protect your eyes from both UVA and UVB radiation. Note that you can’t determine the amount of protection by the lens color, so you have to trust the claims of the manufacturer. For this reason, Allaboutvision.com advises that you only buy sunglasses from reputable companies, specialty sunglass retailers or from your eye doctor to ensure full UV protection.

Sunnies Featured on FOX2 News Segment

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I was recently invited to chat with Kim Hudson on FOX2 News in St. Louis about choosing sunglasses that offer complete UV protection. The frames featured on that segment are my picks below: