Kate Young for Target

How perfect is this floral bow dress for a bridal shower or summer wedding? It reminds me of one of my favorite J.Crew dresses that I sadly never bought and now is on final sale.


kate young for target bow dress


African Black Soap

I read this article the other day that quoted pregnant Victoria’s Secret model Marisa Miller as saying she’s been reliant on African Black Soap to keep her skin clear while pregnant. I don’t know about you, but when a gorgeous woman who makes a living off of her looks says she uses something, I tend to take that recommendation and write it down. Here’s what the luminous lady had to say in her Allure interview:

“When I found out I was pregnant, the first thing that had to go was the acne medicine and chemical-filled face washes and lotions. I made sure everything was natural and organic, and I started reading blogs by other pregnant women. Everyone was talking about African Black soap. It’s made out of plantain ash, vitamin E, and shea butter, and it worked really, really well. I felt so weird using soap because you think, Don’t use soap on your face. Use a cleanser, something fancy. But I haven’t had a breakout since my first trimester.”

After working for years in the spa industry, I’m drawn to organic and good-for-you products but at the same time I usually resort to products with chemicals to get results faster (tsk tsk, I know).  So, upon learning this model’s skin care stance (and happy she addressed the whole “bar soap? really? on your face?” issue), I immediately dug around online and found out that Dr. Oz even touted African Black Soap in his “Erase 5 Years From Your Face” segment, during which he recommends using the rich lather from the bar soap every few days and advises you can get it at vitamin and health stores for around $4 (yay!).  Side note: did you know that Dr. Oz has a site of beauty and wellness products called BeautySage.com? I discovered it when they started promoting one of my favorite brands, One Love Organics, and was happy when they began selling my favorite lip balm, the Lip Slip by Sara Happ — also featured in my stocking stuffer roundup.  Here are a few sources if you’d like to give this wunderbar (couldn’t help myself, sorry) African Black Soap a try:

African Black Soap Skin Care products

1. Cleopatra’s Choice African Black Soap – Unscented via Cleopatra’s Choice ($4.99 for 4oz.)
2. Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap via Target (prices vary for 3.5 oz.)
3. Shea Terra Authentic African Black Soap via Beauty Sage ($8 for 5oz.)
4. Dudu-Osun Black Soap via Amazon ($14.88 for 6 bars)

Have you tried African Black Soap or do you have any simple skin care secrets to share?


P.S. I also found the Dudu-Osun Black Soap on Soap.com (um, lifechanging site, right?) and there are lots of promo codes for discounts if you’re a first time shopper…check it out! (and try not to go crazy on dog food, toilet cleaners, and pretty much anything else you could ever need delivered right to your door. Because I did.)

Splurge vs. Steal: Ombre Fur Throw

Yesterday I shared my current obsession with faux fur and thought you might enjoy these lovely faux fur throws in gorgeous gray ombre — I’ve seen them in person and they’re both perfect for cozy cuddling and glamorous gifting!

splurge vs steal grey ombre fur throw

left: Ombre Faux Fur Throw – West Elm $119
right:  Threshold Grey Ombre Faux Fur Throw – Target $24.99

Cozy Up to Fur

There’s something about winter (though we don’t quite have winter in California, do we?) that just calls for fur, I think.  I found an awesome pillow at Home Goods the other day – a brownish gray fur on one side and velvet on the other. And I had to have it. Had to. It’s on my couch now in all its soft, cozy, calming awesomeness.  Baxter under one arm, my fur pillow under the other.  And, I realized (how crazy that sounds, yes) that I’ve got a bit of a thing for fur.  Mrs. Mercado and I swooned over the chic but casual fur throw from west elm, I’ve always loved the little white throw from Ikea that you see in nurseries and on at-home office chairs all over Pinterest and Apartment Therapy, and then Target Does It Again kept taking photos of a white faux fur coat that I just had to go out and buy despite the fact that I feel a bit Russian when wearing it (and Mumbles thinks I look like a pretty Chewbacca so sadly, I returned it).  Also, my mother has some gorgeous real fur coats (inherited from my Grammy) that I might someday have the gumption to wear and at the Long Beach Flea Market a few weeks ago I noticed a lot of sellers had vintage coats and stoles and wraps that lots of ladies were happily taking them home.  So yeah, I’ve got faux fur on the brain faux sure. (see what I did there?!)

From coats to hoodies to boots, throws and pillows…how do you feel about fur?

faux fur roundup

1. Sam Edelman Faux Fur Walking Coat – Nordstrom $200  |  2. City of Lights Faux Fur Wrap – Ruche $34.99  |  3. Wildcat Coat – JCrew Crewcuts $178  |  4. Mossimo Faux Fur Coat – Target $49.99  |  5. Faux Fur Vest – Banana Republic $125  |  6. Merona Single-Breasted Coat with Fur Collar – Target $79.99  | 7. Fox Grey Fur Decorative Pillow Set of 2 – Overstock $84.99  |  8. Tejn Faux Sheepskin – Ikea $9.99