Category Archives: Product Reviews

reviewing products that companies provide for me

Timex as Accessory

You might notice that I don’t often wear a watch in my posts. I have occasionally, like I did with my khaki Timex. But I often figure that my phone has a clock, so why bother? Well, Timex reached out to me to see how I could add a watch to my outfits. When I like a style, I often pick several in different colors, and this watch was no exception.


It’s the same as my other Timex (with silver instead of bronze-tone metal). Now that I have two, I can swap bands and wear silver and khaki or black and bronze if I like. I also found straps in other colors on the Timex site. Now I can turn two faces into a bunch of watches! I chose this style the first time because of the large, simple face and because the band is non-leather.

Timex fashion

Dress: Swapped (Tucker for Target)
Leggings: JC Penney
Jacket: Swapped
Scarf: DIY
Flats: H&M
Belt: Ross Dress for Less
Bag: Alchemy Goods
Watch: Timex Weekender

Even though I might not always need the time on my wrist, a watch is a great fashion statement. I think you’ll see watches appearing more often in my posts. Do you wear watches?

accessory details

And to wear with my watch? My fall floral dress of course! A few of you recommended skinny jeans for this dress, and I’ve done just that. They’re actually denim leggings (I hate the word jeggings). They’re perfect under a long tunic or short dress. No zipper or pockets means no lumps or bumps. My dress lies smooth.

florals, rubber and leggings

I’ve been using this recycled innertube bag a lot lately. It’s deep enough to fit my laptop and the normal things I carry with me.

dress and jeans

I’m joining The Pleated Poppy and Transatlantic Blonde for link-ups today. Check out what everyone else is wearing!

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Filed under Ethical, Fashion, Product Reviews

Trying out the Arbonne RE9 Line

Have you heard of Arbonne? It’s a line of Swiss-developed skin care, cosmetics, and nutritional supplements. They’ve been in the US since 1980 and they’ve been green before green was popular. All products are 100% plant-based (vegan certified) and never tested on animals.

arbonneI was contacted recently by an Arbonne rep and I jumped on the chance to try the products in the RE9 Advanced line, specifically formulated for anti-aging. I got to sample the cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, night cream, and two types of day creams. I love them! They smell wonderfully citrus-y and are so gentle on my skin.

I know it sounds weird, but in just a couple of days I swear my skin looked firmer. It didn’t feel tight though, which can be a problem with some skin firming products. The moisturizers gave me a nice glow and provide SPF 20–perfect for daily protection.

I also tried some samples of the Arbonne cosmetics and I really liked them. The tinted moisturizer had just enough coverage to not look makeup-y, and the translucent powder was really silky.

Needless to say, I placed an order. I want to keep using these products and reap the full benefits. I ordered a couple of masks, and a Vitamin D+B12 spray that apparently tastes like candy! That’s going to be a great thing to use in the gray Pacific Northwest.

arbonne calmArbonne has other lines too. The FC5 and Calm lines are great for sensitive skin and for those with rosacea. I gave some samples of their baby care line to a friend of mine with an infant. I’ll let you know how baby likes her new products! They carry a men’s line too, as well as body- and hair care.

Sapha, my Arbonne consultant, helped set me up as a preferred client so I can get 20% off my purchases, points toward future orders, freebies, and other goodies. She can help you too if you’re interested in trying Arbonne. She can ship all over the US, Canada, and other places and she’s more than willing to help you find out what your skin needs. You can reach her at (281)748-7943 or or you can log onto Arbonne and sign up with the code  13728752.

One more thing I liked but haven’t tried is their line of makeup brushes. As a vegan, it’s hard to find high-quality synthetic brushes. Arbonne has them!

If you use Arbonne, I’d be interested in hearing what products you’ve tried.


Filed under Beauty, Ethical, Product Reviews

Goddess Facial at Djaouida Skincare

I was recently given an offer I couldn’t refuse: to review a decadent chocolate and coconut goddess facial from Djaouida Skincare. What a luxury!

I met Djaouida at her West Seattle salon and settled into a warm bed in a relaxing room. With ingredients like coconut, chocolate, pumpkin, pineapple and papaya, you might think I’d wandered into a bakery or a smoothie shop. Her products are all-natural and the treatments are full of antioxidants and nourishing properties.

Djaouida has several types of facials to choose from, as well as sugaring (a gentle and natural hair removal) and massage.

the spa

I chose the goddess facial because I couldn’t resist the sound of a gentle cleanse, followed by a pomegranate scrub, and coconut and chocolate masks. Djaouida warned me that I’d smell like a Mounds candy bar when I was done–and she was right! Mmm!

The facial felt great, but it was more than pure decadence. It provided antioxidants and had anti-aging properties. When I was done, my skin was glowing and I felt rested. I realized I’d been doing this all wrong. I’d let other salons apply harsh chemicals to my skin, which dried it out and, frankly, burned it. It didn’t seem right. Now I know it wasn’t. I need to pamper my skin and treat it carefully. At Djaouida’s, I left hydrated and rested.

post facial

Best of all, Djaouida is a wonderful person and made the whole experience such a treat. She’s professional, but she’s also the type of person that you’d want to have a glass of wine with. I learned a lot about skincare during my one visit and I can’t wait to go back.

I’ll be making a facial at Djaouida’s part of my regular beauty routine. I can’t decide which facial to try next: Hawaiian? Pumpkin? Maybe Moroccan!

If you’re in the greater Seattle area, I highly recommend booking an appointment for a luxurious facial.


Filed under Beauty, Healthy Living, Product Reviews

My eShakti Custom Top

I’m so glad to have had the chance to product test an item from eShakti. All of the eShakti line is customizable and cut when ordered, which means this top was made just for me.

top and shawl

Top: c/o eShakti
Pants: Just USA
Shoes: Seychelles
Scarf: NYC street vendor
Cuff: Greenbelts
Earrings: Cost Plus World Market

Their line of women’s clothing includes tops and dresses, skirts, jackets and coats–and the variety is huge! It was hard to choose, but I like stripes and I need more tops to balance out all the pants and skirts I have, so the choice quickly became clear.

striped top and skinnies

Even among one type of garment, for example dresses, you’ll find lots of styles: retro, glitzy, wrap–and a whole section devoted to the LBD! Sizes range from 0 to 36 and are reasonable priced. eShakti would be a great option for a bridal party. Luckily, there’s a whole section of their website devoted to wedding wear.

For over seven years, eShakti has focused exclusively on customizable women’s wear. They saw the Internet as a great tool and an opportunity to let women customize and personalize their clothes. That means you can choose your sleeve type, neckline and length. Here’s one dress, cut three ways:

eshakti examples

Photo courtesy of

Customizing your order is really reasonable (about $7.50–seriously). Amazingly, custom items are returnable (but I bet you’ll want to keep yours).

I love the idea of customizing clothing. We’re all unique and we all have different fashion needs: work wear, weekend wear, meeting the parents. Even though I didn’t customize my top, it was still made for me. I included my size on the order form, but I also gave my height. I’ve never done that before when placing an order! The result is a top that sits right and is well proportioned.

green and purple

My top arrived in just a few days. I’m glad a chose this one. I don’t often wear embellished items but the beautiful beading on the shoulder makes a simple top so unique. The gathers and ruching make this more special than an ordinary T.

details of top

Sign up with eShakti and get $25 OFF your first order!


Filed under Fashion, Product Reviews

Anjolee Diamond Hoop Earrings

Today I have a special review. I’m taking a pair of beautiful, diamond hoop earrings by Anjolee on a test drive. They are gorgeous–and make me feel like a star!

Jean wearing Anjolee Earrings

Each item at Anjolee is custom-made. That means you can select your metal, shape, size, and the quality of the stones. Anjolee is a U.S. company that employs over 100 people in San Diego. They’re committed to ethical sourcing and environmental responsibility. All of which are values I can get behind.

And did I tell you that I feel like a star?

close-up of earrings

I chose the Must-Have Diamond Hoop Earrings because I was looking to try something that I could wear every day and for special occasions. Anjolee has a lot of necklaces and pendants available too, especially diamond pendant necklaces. But I also like their bracelets. There’s something so timeless about a diamond tennis bracelet.

tennis bracelet

I asked the people at Anjolee a few questions about their company and products. Here’s the interview:

Jean: Anjolee custom-makes all its pieces. What does that mean for customers?

Anjolee: We offer the ability to custom build all jewelry designs by metal type (gold or platinum), diamond quality, carat size and length. Our easy to use customization feature allows customers to purchase exactly what they want rather than settling for a stock item in a retail store. Our customers have raved about the ability to modify these components! Our customer feedback section is full of real testimonials discussing this point.

Jean: Diamonds are an investment and can cost a lot. Is there a good entry-point for the first-time diamond buyer?

Anjolee: The best advice we can offer is to do your research on the four c’s of diamond buying. For smaller carat size stones, it is recommended to focus on a good cut, color, and symmetry. For larger sized diamonds, imperfections have a better chance of being visible to the unaided eye, so you will want to look for good clarity ratings in addition to other four c’s.

Jean: The holidays are coming. What items are the most popular gifts? On that note, what holiday is the biggest jewelry-giving holiday?

Anjolee: Holidays are a popular time to give the gift of jewelry. Christmas, Valentine’s and Anniversaries are the three biggest occasions for gift giving. One trend we noticed is choosing an anniversary ring with the exact amount of stones for that anniversary year. For example, if it is your tenth anniversary, choosing a beautiful diamond anniversary ring with exactly ten stones is a great sentiment. For Christmas and Valentines Day, we sell a lot of our diamond and gemstone pendants as well as classic diamond tennis bracelets.

Jean: A lot of my readers are women. Do women buy their husbands and boyfriends jewelry too? What pieces are popular for the guys?

Anjolee: Women definitely buy jewelry for their companion. We carry many men’s bracelets that are heavier in design and can be crafted in gold or platinum. Some men wear this as a statement piece on the opposite wrist as their watch.

Jean: What trends do you see in wedding sets and bridal jewelry?

Anjolee: Right now, the biggest trend we are seeing with bridal sets and jewelry is the new halo design. A halo design typically features a center diamond surrounded by many smaller diamonds creating a halo effect. This modern design intensifies the diamond sparkle. A halo ring can make the center diamond appear larger, since it is accented by many smaller stones.


Even if you’re not planning to buy yourself any jewelry, the holidays are just around the corner. Now’s the time to start hinting! And if you’re hoping to get engaged, leave this post open on your PC. Anjolee has beautiful engagement rings too!

Anjolee is even offering a discount for readers! Use the coupon code MP591 for an extra 5% off your order.

Anjolee hoop earrings

Keep an eye out for these earrings in future blog posts: I’ll be showing how I style them. Of course they’ll look classic and timeless with dressy attire, but I’m going to wear them with casual outfits too. There’s nothing like fine jewelry to take jeans and a t-shirt to a new level–it adds an element of luxe that nothing else can.


Filed under Fashion, Product Reviews

Fresh Produce Spring Dress

I recently had the chance to test drive a dress from the Fresh Produce catalog. Talk about timing! Seattle was in the 70s this past weekend and it was a great time to wear spring clothing. Fresh Produce has a great collection of dresses for spring. I chose the Bali Café Wrap Dress. It arrived a few days later and I love it!

Fresh Produce dress

Dress: c/o Fresh Produce
Jacket: Betsey Johnson
Tank: Papaya
Shoes: Aerosoles
Necklace: Fremont Sunday Market

It’s made of a soft rayon/lycra knit blend and is really comfortable and wrinkle-resistant. The empire waist is super flattering, as is the v-neck. It works well with or without a tank top underneath. I love how it’s a half wrap so it doesn’t blow open in the breeze. It looks like a full wrap but it’s sewn together at the side. I slipped this on over my head and secured the ties in a bow.

Bali wrap dress

The sleeves are sweet too. They are a soft flutter style that’s feminine without being too girly. Fresh Produce has oodles of colorful clothes but since I chose a muted hue, I decided to brighten it up with my accessories.

Seattle is known for its cool, wet weather, so I thought I’d try styling this dress a couple of different ways. You know me–I like to remix and get mileage out of my clothes.

Bali dress layered

Dress: Fresh Produce
Jacket: Betsey Johnson
Tank: Papaya
Boots: Rampage
Necklace: Fremont Sunday Market
Bag: Nine West

I swapped my sandals for faux-suede, kitten-heel boots and added a denim jacket. It’s a spring dress will be so cool in the hot weather, but definitely works for cooler days too. I’d even wear this with tights and a cardigan.

Bali dress layered

Check out the Fresh Produce website. They ship to over 200 countries and have more than just great dresses. I saw great casual tops and vacation clothing too–and I have my eye on a few pieces!


Filed under Fashion, Hot and Cold, Product Reviews

Product Review: The Hana Flat Iron

I was recently offered the chance to test out a Hana Titanium 1.5″ Flat Iron and I jumped at the opportunity. This flat iron makes the list of the best flat irons and I was curious to know why. I don’t often splurge on beauty products. My current flat iron is a budget model from the drug store. Is there a difference? Yes! As I quickly found out.

Hana flat iron

I was promised I’d be wowed when I saw the product. As soon as I opened the packaging, I actually said, “Wow!” The presentation was amazing. The flat iron came in a metal container and included a heatproof mat, a carrying case, and a little bottle of Shineshield, a leave-in serum designed to protect hair from heat and add shine.

My hair is short and I didn’t know if I’d see a difference so I recruited my mom and sister-in-law to be models too. We really liked this product. The Hana Flat Iron smoothed my fine hair and made it shine, it straightened Sadie’s wavy strands, and it made a huge different in my mom’s frizzy locks.

mom before

BEFORE: My mom has to fight her frizzy hair

mom after

AFTER: She’s a smooth operator

mom after

AFTER: Hana smoothed her locks

I liked how quickly it heats up. In a few seconds it had reached the temperature I’d set it at. Having a choice of heat settings was great too. I could protect my hair by not overheating it. My mom’s thicker, coarse hair straightened nicely on a higher setting without the need to run the iron over strands repeatedly. Additionally, the flat iron’s negative ions repair hair follicles and seals in natural oils, unlike lesser devices.

BEFORE: Wavy Sadie

BEFORE: Sadie’s hair is wavy if she doesn’t iron it

Sadie after

AFTER: Unlocking smooth hair

Sadie after

AFTER: Sleek hair after ironing

The Hana can be used on dry or damp hair so it saved us from having to blow dry and straighten. The ceramic plates are so smooth and never catch. They slid over my hair without pulling and snagging it like my drug store model does. The curved edges of the plate allowed me to curl, flip, or straighten.

Jean before and after

BEFORE and AFTER: Smoother and shinier

another after

AFTER: Lots of shine

I’m looking forward to using the Hana Flat Iron as my hair gets longer so I can experiment with different looks without damaging my hair. Needless to say, I won’t be using my old iron anymore.

Hana also makes blow dryers. I’ll be buying one of them soon too. Instead of being damaging, these dryers have ceramic heaters that negatively charge ions to break down water molecules in less time, which preserves hair structure and adds shine.

Note: Although I was given this product to test and review, the opinions are my own. I really like this product and I (along with my mom and Sadie) highly recommend it.

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Filed under Fashion, Product Reviews, Technology

Cute Caramel Clutch by Crystalyn Kae

I finally got my hands on a caramel-colored clutch by Crystalyn Kae, and I must say, I’m in love. Crystalyn Kae is a line of hand-crafted clutches, hobo bags, and totes made right here in Seattle! If it’s one thing I love, it’s locally made goods. And if you need another reason to love these purses, you’ll be happy to know they are made of vintage fabrics, reclaimed leather, and/or glazed fabrics.

pleated clutch

My pleated clutch is made of glazed fabric, but I swear it looks and feel like leather. This satisfies my need for environmentally conscious and fashionable products. It’s small enough to use in the evening (which I did), but not too “precious” that it looks out of place in the day. I took mine to work (it held my phone, car radio faceplate, lip balm, keys, and wallet just fine).

my clutchI adore the pleats and the patterned fabric that peeks out. Mine is lined with amazing fushia fabric and has three inside pockets. It zips shut, and has a detachable wrist strap. This bag is becoming one of my favorites and I’ll be buying more Crystalyn Kae items soon. I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve received. People really like it. If you like it, go to the Crystalyn Kae website and order one for yourself.

plaid and caramel

red, brown, and green

Top: Thrifted
Skirt: Erin MacLeod
Clutch: c/o Crystalyn Kae
Earrings: Shirazi
Tights: Nordstrom
Shoes: Frye (via clothing exchange)


Filed under Fashion, Product Reviews