The Possibilities Are Endless

When I started my company back in 2012 the idea was to create a reusable shopping bag that people would want to carry.  Something big, sturdy, washable and of course, fashionable.

Over the years I have added new new designs and collections but the foundation remained true.

Where do I get my inspiration?  From you.  My customers.

It’s true.  What started out as a simple idea was taken and broadened by the very people that are using my bags.   I have found that Moms L O V E these totes because they use them to cart around all of their kids’ stuff.  (… and let’s face it … kids have a LOT of stuff!) 

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Customers that travel a lot wanted a zipper pocket and a bag with more structure than the Urban Shopping Tote.  That’s where I got the idea for the CarryAll Tote, made from faux leather and a unique lining, complete with inside zipper pocket.

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Personally, I use these bags for my weekend trips out of town, when I fly and my favorite … when we head to the beach.  Full of sand?  Who cares … I throw it right in the washing machine when we get back home along with our beach towels and bathing suits.

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The latest unique use?  A ‘Welcome To Your New Home’ gift from a Real Estate Broker.  I am flattered that she thought enough of my Reusable Grocery Bags to fill one with goodies for her client.

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Reusable Grocery Bag in Nude Metallic – $19

 

Thank Y O U for inspiring me.

Share your ECO Chic pics with me on Instagram #ECOChic #MyEcoChicBag 

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How To Wash Your Hair (I’m not kidding)

Add soap.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

That’s what you’ve been taught since you were a wee-little one.  This is how to wash your hair.  Seems pretty simple right?

Well, I hate to break it to you … but you’ve been doing it wrong all of this time.  (You can blame this one on your parents)

We’ve all done it.  Scrubbed our scalps hard to get it really clean.  We’ve  piled on the shampoo because more is better, right?  And than we rinse and do it all over again to ensure squeaky clean locks.  And don’t get me started on that ice cold rinse to make your hair shine. (@#!&* that’s cold!)

Guess what?  All of that is actually doing more damage to your hair than good.

So how should you wash your hair?  Let’s break it down in steps.

Step 1:  Rinse with warm water

Sounds simple right?  I’m pretty sure we are all starting with this step.  The warm water will help to loose up the dirt and oil thats on your scalp.  And, it feels so darn good

Step 2:  Long locks?  Condition first

Just a dab of conditioner on the ends of your long hair will keep the ends from breaking during the shampoo cycle

Step 3:  Lather … gently 

Just a quarter-sized drop of shampoo is all you need.  Gently later at the scalp (where the oil & dirt sit) and gently work your way to the ends.  Scrubbing hard only leads to frizz and breakage. (baaddd!)   And those ends?  Be gentle!   Squeeze the shampoo through them.  They are very fragile … like a baby bird.

Be sure to select a shampoo for your hair type.  It’s also suggested to use a clarifying shampoo at least once every other week.  I love Neutrogena’s Anti-Residue Shampoo

And stop washing your hair every day.  It’s best to skip a day (or two).  That’s what ponytails and buns are for

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Step 4:  Rinse & repeat.  N O !

Enough said. 

Step 5:  Condition

Squeeze the excess water from your hair and than apply your conditioner, from the middle of the hair down to the tips.  Putting it on the roots will only weigh your hair down.  Run the conditioner through every strand of your hair either with your fingers or a looper brush.  Than leave it in while you finish your shower.  This will give your hair a chance to soak up all of that yummy goodness

Step 6:  Rinse

Years ago we were told that rinsing with ice cold water would close the hair cuticle and allow for brilliant shine.  Well .. I think the person that wrote that just wanted everyone to go through the pain of blasting ice cold water on their naked bodies.  This step is apparently false.  The cuticle doesn’t open and close that easily

That’s your lesson for today.  If you need to bring a cheat sheet into the shower with you .. just make sure it’s wrapped in water-proof paper

Happy shampooing!

 

 

 

Charcoal + Sugar = Beautiful Skin

With each passing year it seems we get bombarded with fads in beauty products.  New ingredients that promise younger, tighter, firmer, cleaner, and glowing skin.  In fact you’re skin will be so amazing with that “must-have-beauty-product” that it will rival a newborn baby’s complexion.

Yeah …  we’ve all heard that before.

But there is one ingredient that made a splash on the beauty scene around 2014 that is holding true to it’s claim.  Activated charcoal.

So what exactly is activated charcoal?   Well, it’s been widely used in the medical industry to trap and absorb toxins.  (think stomach pump)

But in the beauty industry activated charcoal is like an irresistibly attractive man with bulging muscles.  (Take a second and go there in your mind … 🙂  

See charcoal is like an irresistible magnet that attracts dirt and oil.  Charcoal is known as the heavier lifter – absorbing 100-200 times it’s weight in impurities.

What does that mean for your pores?  Dirt doesn’t stand chance of resisting the pull of your charcoal product.  Charcoal products offer a deep clean like no other.

As I’ve mentioned in a past blog piece Are You A Drugstore Beauty there is one activated charcoal product that I am passionate about.

the Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask Here is why this product is so great.

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First, it deep cleans those pore sans drying out your skin.  After you apply the mask you can actually feel the dirt being pulled out of your face.  It’s a slight tickling and warming sensation on your skin. The texture of the mask actually changes and becomes like warm slush.   After about 7 minutes you than activate the ‘sugar’ part of the mask by gently exfoliating those dull cells away.  Your left with skin that is super clean and soft.  You can actually feel your pores wide opening breathing all that fresh air.

Here’s the other reason I love this product … the price.   Under $5.00.  Yup – you read that right.  A product that produces amazing results without costing you a fortune.

So get to the store … no … RUN to the store because you really do need this scrub in your arsenal of beauty products.

 

 

SeaWorld Steps Up

I was so happy to hear the news as my inbox was flooded with emails from animal rights groups on the latest news about SeaWorld.  Only this time, the news was positive.

It appears that after much fierce controversy and criticism, spearheaded by the 2013 Black Fish documentary, SeaWorld is finally taking (baby) steps in the right direction.

They announced on March 17th that the park will officially end it’s Orca breeding programs.  (Yay!)

Additionally, they promise to phase out the current Orca show in their San Diego park in 2016. It will be fully replaced by 2017 with an “experience that highlights orcas’ natural behaviors”   according to ABC News.   Hopefully this will spread to all SeaWorld theme parks as well.

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SeaWorld also announced it partnership with the Humane Society, hoping this relationship will help reshape them in the publics’ eye.

What does this mean for the 29 orcas in captivity?  Nothing … except that they won’t have to jump through hoops anymore.   Sadly they will live out the remainder of their lives in captivity because they cannot survive on their own in their natural home … the ocean.  PETA is fighting this and asking SeaWorld to release their orcas to sea sanctuaries.  (Basically open water play pens that would allow the Orcas to swim “freely” in the ocean in a contained area, for their safety)

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Obviously this is a less than ideal situation for these majestic animals that have never been given the chance to be what they really are … an orca swimming freely in the open waters.

But baby steps are better than none.  One small step for the SeaWorld orcas and a big step for all animals that are being held in captivity.

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Kids Making A Difference

A few years ago my daughter’s preschool was looking for new ideas for teacher appreciation gifts.  Something fun and unique that the kids would make for their awesome teachers.

That sparked an idea.   I provided canvas tote bags for the children to paint.  Each tote was a collaborative project for the kids to create for their teachers.  The results were so gorgeous and inspirational.

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From that day on, I wanted to create a kid’s craft box that allowed children to express their creativity through paint but would also provide them the experience of creating something that was helping others on a much bigger level … our planet and all of it’s inhabitants.  I wanted to grow awareness for them through a fun activity.

I decided to change the size and style of the tote bag to be more reflective of a traditional reusable grocery bag.   I hoped this would open the door for a conversation about waste and the importance recycling has on our environment, while giving them a platform to express themselves.  After a few renditions, I created the ECO Chic Canvas Reusable Grocery Bag.

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Just last week, I officially launched the Kid’s “Paint Your Own Reusable Grocery Bag” Kit, and I have to say I’m a proud mama.  You can snag one for $19.99 on my Etsy shop.

After doing a lot of research (Definition – giving tons of these kits away to kids), I am constantly amazed at how unique and gorgeous each bag turns out.  So much so, that I’m launching a hashtag (#MyEcoChicBag) so that kids can post their finished products for all to see.

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My daughter has painted lots of these bags and given them away.  They make the perfect unique gift for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Easter and of course, teachers!  They are also the perfect playdate activity that keeps them occupied without tearing your house apart.  (your welcome)  Need some party favors for your kids next birthday?   Done!

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Here’s the kicker.  The people that get these bags as gifts love them.  They use them and when they do, I see so much pride in each child’s face.  That’s priceless for me.  (I’ve got the gooseys!)

Why stop at kids?  Why not stretch your artist legs and create your very own, completely unique reusable grocery bag?   Are you up for the challenge?

My ECO Chic Paint Your Own Reusable Grocery Bag Kits.  A true labor of love.

 

 

Masque Me

One of my favorite beauty products was a find while I was waiting in line at Sephora.  You know, they have those stands set up with sample-size products that you inevitably put into your basket as a last-minute purchase.

For $15 I grabbed the Boscia Multi-Masking Medley  The kit included four masques to control oil, calm my skin, and illuminate my face.  Well … I certainly need all of that so I was eager to get home and apply the first one.

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I decided to go with the Green Tea Oil-Control Mask.  I don’t have particularly oily skin but it had green tea in it, so I was sold.

 

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They come in individual packets with the perfect amount of masque to adequately cover your face.  The consistency was thick and creamy and slightly cooling.  (and a lovely shade of green that brought out the color of my eyes)  I left the masque on until it dried and than I gently peeled it away.  It came off perfectly, almost in one piece.  I was giddy at the results.

My skin was GLOWING.  It felt so clean, almost like I could feel each and every pore take in a gulp of fresh air.

I knew than and there I was hooked.  It took all of my control to not put on the next masque …. but alas I waited a week.

And so it went with the Aluminizing Black Mask (love this one!), the Bright White Mask (your skin instantly brightens) and the Cooling Blue Calming Mask (it actually chills your skin)

 

After doing some research I fell more in love with the Boscia products.   I found out that Boscia was the first 100% preservative-free skincare brand from Japan. (Score!) The benefits they boast about on their website are true.  Your skin looks and feels amazing after using their products.

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I also love giving these little kits away as gifts to girlfriends and they are the perfect stocking stuff for my sisters.

Kuddos Sephora … your tempting grab-and-go products snagged me hook, line and sinker.

The Dreaded Zipper

Zippers are scary.  Well, not when your zipping them up on your dress or bag … unless you unknowingly get a piece of your skin caught in the zipper teeth and than “OUCH!” (You know you’ve done it)

But as a sewer learning how to properly insert a zipper, it can be daunting in the beginning.  My first attempt left my garment with a zipper that wasn’t even and exposed in all of the wrong places.  My second attempt had the zipper properly placed but it was bulky and my stitching lines were less than straight.  At that point I vowed that all of my projects — including clothes — would have to be fastened with velcro.  (Velcro jeans anyone?  How about a dress you just velcro down the back?  Any takers?)  Yeah, that was the problem.  Zippers are a staple in clothing and accessories and I definitely needed them for my accessory line.

Of course I could outsource my product production to someone else.  A zipper master.  And that’s exactly what I did in the beginning for my CarryAll Totes.

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But than that little nagging voice in my head began taunting me.  Letting me know that I had been beaten … by a zipper.  (Shame)

Well, that simply wouldn’t do.

All of the sewing classes I had taken had failed to show me good basic techniques on zipper insertion.  The instructions were quick paced and unforgiving.  God forbid I had a question or asked them to repeat something.  Discouraged to say the least.

Apparently learning and mastering this technique was landing squarely on my shoulders. (Enter grit)

First stop.  YouTube.  The mecca of people ready to set up their video cameras and create tutorials on everything imaginable.  How to sew in a zipper had no shortage of videos.  Some great and some mediocre but a schlew to choose from.

It turns out that sewing in a zipper was more hype that I created in my head than the actual process.  After studying the videos and a few practice runs, I had it down in no time.

Now my imagination and designs could run wild.

Enter the Zip Pouch.

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The concept?  (After all, if you know how to sew you an easily sew your own zip pouch)  Gorgeous fabrics and linings in the ideal size to hold everything from your phone, money, and keys, to your cosmetics, iPad and Mac Books … plus whatever else you can think of.  The perfect accessory to carry alone or insert into your Urban Shopping Tote – keeping your valuables stylishly at hand.

I launched the collection with a Turquoise Faux Leather Pouch because I simply could not wait to unveil my new collection.  You can pre-order these pouches at a special discounted price on my Etsy shop now.  They currently come in two sizes however an even larger size (large enough to hold a Mac Book Computer) is coming shortly.  Be on the look out for a variety of new fabrics that are sure to knock your socks off.

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My lesson?  Try, try, and try again.

And never be afraid of a little piece of metal with teeth.

My Bobbi Brown Make Over

It was a rainy Saturday in San Francisco but that didn’t stop my sister and I from making our way down to Union Square for a little rainy day retail therapy.  Armed in our black trench coats and Hunter boots we made our way through the the soggy streets to the Macy’s makeup counters.
Warm and dry inside we were surrounded by endless makeup options and enveloped in the upbeat music that instantly makes you feel like you’re out in the coolest nightclub looking nothing short of fabulous.
We made our way over to the Bobbi Brown counter, our favorite go-to makeup.   We decided than and there that we needed a make over, pronto.
We were whisked over to the makeup application area and immediately attend to.
The first product my artist applied was the Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm.  After it was applied, my skin glowed with the slightest hint of shimmer.  I knew immediately I would be adding this to my must have product list. It’s fantastic under makeup and amazing alone. (I now use it everyday)
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He used a variety of brown shades (Rich Brown 11 & Taupe 4) to line and color my eyes as well fill in the ever important face-framing eyebrows.   As he artistically applied my eye color I was taking mental notes of his techniques.
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Than the cheeks.  I can never seem to get the right color for my skin tone.  He chose Apricot 6 and paired it with a bronzer.  Perfection. Just found my ideal blush color.
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Lastly … my pucker.  He selected the Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Rose Brown and than topped it with the matching gloss.  The perfect combo of matte color and gloss and the best shade to compliment my makeup.
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The end result?  A completely satisfied ME that looked (and felt) amazing without being too over done for a Saturday afternoon.
Besides the makeup, here is what I love about the Bobbi Brown counter.  No pressure.  They don’t push products on you.  (Relief!) I guess that’s because they know the products speak for themselves.  I also love that they give out free samples.  The best way for me test drive a product before I make the commitment.  The makeup application is relatable.  It’s not over the top and definitely practical enough for everyday, whether at the office, the play ground or date night.
I ended up taking home my favorites in hopes to recreate my look.   I walked out of the store feeling like a model.  Not even the pouring rain could take that from me.
I’m one happy Bobbi Brown customer.

Wedge Me

The wedge.

They are all over the fashion week runways and soon you’ll be sporting your very own pair, if you don’t already have a bunch in your closet.

What is so great about the wedge is it offers you height, sans the instability and (sometimes) discomfort of a high heel.

I did some digging and it turns out the first wedge dates back to the 1930’s.   Actually it was 1936 to be exact and the designer was none other than Salvatore Ferragamo.  His first wedge had an “F” shaped heel made from wood.

Than in 1939 he made a cork wedge heel for the infamous Judy Garland.  Wow comes to mind looking at this shoe.

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Since than the wedge has morphed into the colors, styles and shapes that we see pounding the runways and pavement today.

It’s a hot trend for the approaching spring season, probably because they go so well with most outfits and are easy on the tootsies.  Whether you’re looking for something classic or edgy, with cork or fringe, metallic or snakeskin, I’m sure you’ll find a pair you love on ShoeDazzle 

You can go sky high with these wedges.

 

If you’re looking for something a little lower to the ground check these beauties out.

 

Street style is what your looking for?   You’ll love the wedge sneakers.

 

Here’s the best part.  They’re all under $40.

I ❤ wedges.

 

 

 

 

White Hot for Spring

One trend we are not saying goodbye to this coming season is what is south of your ankles.  The white hot, white sneaker.

If you weren’t sporting the Adidas Stan Smith in 2015 than you’ve got one more chance to jump on the fashion bandwagon and snag your pair in time to be on-trend for spring and summer.

Don’t want to be a fashion cliche?   Than check out these white sneaker alternatives and put your own spin on this white hot trend.

 

The H&M White Sneaker – $29.99    I love the hint of snakeskin on the back.

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The Chuck Taylor All Star Fringe Leather High Top Sneaker – $144.95    Why not combine two shoe fashion trends in one, white sneakers + fringe = tres chic

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The Adidas Originals Samoa Perforated Mono Sneaker – $65    Clean & classic

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The Joshua Sanders Leather Slip On – $425

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The Axel Arigato Low SSneaker – $195

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Don’t see anything that screams “MY style” ?  There are thousand more options for you to choose from.  How to wear them?  With everything from jeans to dresses … and of course a little attitude.   Don’t forget to pair them with my Urban Shopping Tote in White .

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