Blue Blood Living: The Perfect Shop For The Fashionable & Eco-Conscious Human and Canine Bestfriends

A smile immediately found its way to my serious, work-mode face (frown + pout) when I opened the Blue Blood site—the picture of a cute little “Hush Puppy” dog, its paws (and torso, short and stout as Basset Hounds go) buried in sand, while watching ocean waves. The picture is totally reminiscent of where owners Alexis Mechler and Tina Pao met—at the dog park in Pacific Heights, San Francisco which boasts a beautiful view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, and where dogs and dog-owners alike frolic. Sharing several interests such as in dogs and fashion, the two friends decided to come up with an online shop that served their own passions, and those of others by manufacturing high-quality, fashionable and functional products for dogs and their humans. They feature stylish leashes and lounges for dogs, and eco-friendly grocery tote bags—I personally have become rather attached to the Royal Wedding tote with the adorable print of a dog dragging a miniature carriage!

For that fashionable stroll through the park or the grocery with your canine friend, don’t forget to drop by the Blue Blood (Canine and Human) fashion boutique. J –Hadiyah @hadiyahvalerie


Beauty Cirque: When Science + Nature Fall in Love (& Make You Pretty!)

Thank the Internet because now we can all access an impressively curated smorgasbord of delightful indie beauty products — all in one cyberplace called

Are you looking for an all-natural organic moisturizer to brighten your sallow complexion? They’ve got it. How about a beauty balm so you can cleanse grandma-style? Got it. Or a hair serum that combines the best of safe science and botanical ingredients. Yup, they’ve got that too. I can go on forever, but how about you just visit them and see for yourself?

Founded by Rianna Loving, the creator of the Organic to Green skincare line, is amazing because it offers so many brands that really truly work and can’t be found in any ol’ CVS or Sephora. As they say themselves, their mission is to “provide a platform from which the latest and most innovative in indie beauty might flourish.” Beautiful! (And sooo hD!)

I got my hands on their Deluxe Sample Pack which contains five of their best sellers:

  • Full Size Andre Walker Hair Q-Oil
  • Deluxe Sample Karuna Face Mask
  • Feeling Smitten Bath Mini Cupcake
  • Deluxe Sample Juara Body Wash
  • Deluxe Sample One Love Organics Skin Savior Balm

Price-wise, considering this pack includes a full-size Andre Walker Hair Q-Oil, it’s already a steal — at just $13.

Below are my comments about each product:

Full Size Andre Walker Hair Q-Oil

I admit… I was a bit scared of this one. I have a general aversion to hair oils because I have fine, straight hair that flattens easily no matter how many hours I spend with rollers, blow dryers or hot curlers. I applied less than a dime-size drop in my hands, spread the formula thin by rubbing my palms together and gently stroke the ends of my hair. I have to say, I’m quite impressed. All the winter flyaways have disappeared, my hair looks shinier than usual and all my hard manual labor to keep my mane volumized and plump wasn’t completely destroyed. Huzzah!

Deluxe Sample Karuna Face Mask

I call these “Hannibal Lecter beauty masks.”  The fine paper they use really cling on to your skin so all the nutrients and moisturizing benefits penetrate deeply into your epidermal layers. The scent is hard to describe but it’s very nice… I can’t help but think of a lightly sugared brown rice appetizer when I have this on. Okay, perhaps that’s not the best description but it smells very organic and natural. After I removed the mask, my skin was so clear and luminous. I did notice that my overall complexion looked a bit lighter for another day or two but I don’t mind that.

Feeling Smitten Bath Mini Cupcake

If you ever wanted to dive into a gigantic birthday cake and pamper yourself, this is one good alternative.

Deluxe Sample Juara Body Wash

This body wash is marvelous. Again, another scent I can’t describe but it’s heavenly. It moisturizes well and makes you feel like you’re in a spa.

Deluxe Sample One Love Organics Skin Savior Balm

I’ve saved the best for last. This balm is so appropriately named — a Skin Saviour it is! Especially during the seasonal transitions and imminent approach of Father Winter (booo!) my skin tends to bug out and get dry around the nose and mouth areas. This balm is amazing. It removed all my makeup, dirt and other pore-clogging buildup. The soft tissue I used to clean it off was completely white.  It doesn’t end there. After the balm cleans your face, you don’t really find yourself in need of a moisturizer. I don’t want to call it residue, as it has such negative implications, but whatever balm is remaining on your face serves as a hydrator. And yes, it did even out the moisture balance around my mid-face. Did I mention this smells like a tasty smoothie?

Check out for other delectables. You’re welcome! 😉

The Holstee Manifesto: Living Dreams and Sharing Passions Through Fashion

Fueled by passion, creativity and a need to create clothes and products that sought to inspire an eco-friendly lifestyle, two brothers, Mike and Dave, with their friend Fabian dove headlong into the fashion business without reservation in the midst midst of the recession. And since 2009, the online fashion boutique, with its “family” of designers and collaborators has grown, and to this day, continues to promote an advocacy for three ecological elements, “People, Planet, Product”. In their creations, they always think about how it impacts the consumers’ way and quality of life, the planet’s well-being, and the product’s recyclability. One such product is the Holstee Grey Upcycled wallet, created from newspapers and plastic bags strewn all over the streets of Delhi, made to carry cash and plastic. Each wallet is unique; and the best part of it is that your advocacy helps in waste reduction and employment in Delhi.

Holstee is not just an online shop; it’s an inspiration and a way of life. The Holstee Manifesto is about living a life of passion, and being passionate about life: as they say, “This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often.”

Be inspired, visit them at–Hadiyah @hadiyahvalerie

Miinto: A Collective of Local Boutiques From All Over the World

Founded in Denmark, Miinto started as an ambitious vision aimed at placing local boutiques on a collective digital map. The concept behind Miinto was centered on the fashion expertise of the best local clothing boutiques combined with an online platform that enabled easy shopping for customers in local countries. The main goal of the initiative was to provide a service where consumers could shop menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, sportswear, as well as accessories 24/7, and to help independent fashion retailers sell their products online inexpensively.

The advantage of this concept is that there are a diverse variety of styles all the way from the mainstream and popular brands to the most special designs made by eclectic and local designers.

Currently, Miinto operates in Scandinavia, the UK & Ireland, The Netherlands, and the US. Miinto US has over 300 brands sold online and hosts shops in the US such as Diesel, Converse, and Michael Kors,  while Miinto Ireland and Miinto UK host over 40 fashion boutiques each, such as Sirona Galway, Frock, American Honey, the Cove, and Kings Road.

So, if you are up for a diverse shopping experience, visit one of the local Miinto websites!

The Jewelry Box: The Fashion Boutique Where East Meets West

If the magic wardrobe brought us to Narnia, The Jewelry Box takes us to a land where east meets west, where the queen of England and the princess of China hang out. Two phrases sum up their products: “flamboyant royalty” and “simplistic sophistication”—at odds? Definitely. The online boutique features an eclectic mix of Asian and European culture-inspired jewelry, nuances of class and majesty from both ends the world. They have beaded accessories, golden chains reminiscent of ancient Chinese jewelry, delicate and simply styled radiating an oriental vibe.

They also feature silver pendants and Swarovski crystals jewelry that are very evocative of European royalty, such as their Sterling Silver Fleur-de-lis Dangle Earrings—absolutely simple, but very symbolic and representative of the wearer: a delicate woman who holds fast to tradition, with a simmering edginess just waiting to come out and rock and roll!

The Jewelry Box is the go-to fashion boutique for accessories that are perfect for those date-night ensembles where you want your partner to lean closer and get a better look at that cute pendant, or for that power-woman aplomb you want to radiate at a business meeting. –Hadiyah @hadiyahvalerie

Top 5 must-have fashionable items for the fall

In many parts of the world leaves are already starting to lose their green color, the wind is starting to blow and many rainy days are ahead of us. Fall is about to start! We have to say goodbye to summer dresses and bathing suits, but there is no reason to lose our sense of fashion while still feeling comfortably warm and wet-proof. Ditch the baggy down jacket from the ’90s and consider wearing some of the revisited stylish items of the season!

Trench Coats

A trench coat is probably the most fashionable item for the fall. It now comes in many different shapes and colors. If you do not fancy the classic beige or black, new lines put at your display more joyful colors to fill up your grey autumn days.

Worn since the ’20s, this piece of clothing remains a trademark of the classy woman. Suitable for any time of the day, you will feel stylish from early hours at the office until an evening romantic dinner or cocktail night with friends.

Thanks to its popularity, trench coats range now from a variety of prices so as to please everybody’s budget: if you still don’t have one, it is time now to buy it!


A scarf should always be a woman’s best friend. I posses at least 30 scarves in multiple colors and designs: from simple and dark ones (practical to be matched with nearly anything in the wardrobe) to more colorful, glittered or old style.

They are the perfect item to avoid getting sick from the first moment temperatures go down and a cold breeze starts to blow.

You can wear them in many different ways (e.g. hanging around your neck, with a knot, all the way above your head) as to give your outfit a more personal look. If you are wearing dark colors, choose a bright scarf, it would make your eyes pop and add a particular style to your look.

Rain Hat

When I used to think about rain hats, my mind would immediately picture those horrible plastic-yellow hats that would make even the most beautiful woman look completely awful.

Although not much explored, rain hats are becoming more and more a fashionable item to wear. In case you forgot your umbrella, they are very practical: they can be stored in your purse without getting ruined and they dry fast.


While the abovementioned accessories are useful and very stylish, a proper umbrella in certain situations is irreplaceable, but most of the time, very annoying to carry around!

Consider spending a fair amount of money on it, as to avoid breaks at the first rain. I suggest buying a small one that can be folded and fit into your purse. Once again, designers have gone crazy with colors and styles. Go with the flow, pick a colorful one that can be easily recognizable and sparkle up your autumn outfit.

Rain Boots

Depending on where we live, sometimes there is just no way to avoid getting wet. Therefore, rain boots can be our favorite item if leaving in a rainy city.

Ditch your old-black rain boots, and once again, consider switching for a more fashionable and colorful look. There are many new charming editions that will not make you feel like you just ruined your outfit by wearing rain boots.

As insulation is not optimal, remember to wear thick and comfortable socks to match the rest of your clothes.

[Image credits: Google image,, &]


Sara is a fashion blogger in the fashion industry, in particular for womens clothing. When she is neither working nor writing she loves to fly to London for a weekend of shopping with friends.


Miss Malaprop: Eco-friendly fashion passion and local-art advocacy

If you are looking for something that can conjure the words “eco-friendly”, “artistic”, “creative” and “fashion” to mind, then Miss Malaprop is the perfect online boutique for you.Every single day you pass by billboards and tarps advertising products that aren’t exactly eco-friendly — but we bet you never thought you could wear those tarps. Mallory Whitfield, proud New Orleans resident and shop owner, has created a dress out of a FEMA blue tarp and more. Mallory is a supporter of going and living green has channeled her creativity and artistry into the creation of just that: clothes, accessories and other products that not only are eco-friendly, but truly unique and one-of-a-kind, converting old materials like used plaid and vinyl billboards to celphone cases and travel bags.

What we love best about Miss Malaprop apart from its advocacy of the Go Green movement is its support of local New Orleans artists: the fashion boutique is not just for creating environmental awareness, but also on showcasing local creative genius. New Orleans fashion designers/environmentally-conscious artists have contributed handcrafted products that used earth-friendly, organic or recycled materials to the shop.

Visit the website and learn more at–Hadiyah @ hadiyahvalerie

How to Exit a Long Plane Ride With Fresh & Dewy Skin!

I love traveling… except the traveling part. Brash, touchy TSA officers and lost bags aside, it’s really the long to-and-from airport commutes, the plane ride itself and all the waiting takes a toll on me. And what part of me takes the brunt of the damage? My skin.

I typically emerge from the plane appearing like a worn-down school teacher who’s sent one too many belligerent students to detention. My bun barely hangs by a thread, the dark circles around my eyes are more pronounced than Saturn’s rings, and my overall complexion appears as though I’ve survived on a diet of potato chips. (Admittedly, I’ve subsisted on Southwest’s free Nabisco snacks and peanuts more times than I care to admit.)

During my most recent trip to Honolulu, I decided I need to change things once and for all. Especially because it was a five-hour flight to LA, a two-hour layover, and another five hours to Honolulu. I equipped myself with the products and preparation that I needed to end my on-air trip on a pleasant note… and  arrive at my destination looking dewy and ready for a swim!

Here’s what I did to prepare myself. I’ll first discuss what you need to do before you board and what you should take with you on the plane. You definitely don’t need to do all of these, just whatever works for you. Bon Voyage!


Declutter and moisturize your skin the night before (gently but sufficiently).

Wash your face with a deep cleanser, exfoliate, put on a soothing face mask and moisturize. This is one of the very few times each year when I put on heavier, thicker and richer face cream all over – including my T-zone – because I know my skin will be exposed to extremely dry conditions the following day. If you’re super oily, you can still do this with a gel-cream.

When it comes to exfoliation, choose a fine-grainy scrub. I like them because my face responds to it well, but it may be too harsh for some people with sensitive skin.

The morning of the trip, moisturize well and put on sunscreen. If you want to put makeup on, I dab on tinted moisturizer.

Don’t forget about your body.

Use a sugar scrub the night before. Remember: You can make your own! Not only does it thoroughly slough away dead skin cells but the oil blends leave your skin exceptionally hydrated without any gross residue. The next morning, apply your regular body lotion. Double duty = double protection!

And pamper your feet (which we all know look the grossest when they’re not taken care of!)

I file my heels in the shower and apply lotion as I would any other day. But right before I sleep, I slather an extra dose of body cream on my heels and the top of my toes and put on a pair of socks. The next day and through the week, my heels look like that of a baby’s.

Don’t eat crap.

Fill up on fruits, vegetables, nuts and seafood and take Omega 3 supplements. I’ve weaned myself off from the ever-tempting pre-board tradition of eating the sausage biscuit sandwich from McD’s because I invariably feel like @$$ afterwards. Don’t do it!


A miracle hand cream

Now that you’ve detoxed and armed your skin with enough moisture to last a few hours, you can prepare yourself for the plane ride itself. Take  a travel-size hand cream that keeps your hands silky and soft. With all the water imbibing you’re going to indulge in and all the germy folks near you, you’re going to be washing your hands a lot. Plane soap is especially drying, so your hands will need additional nourishment. I love taking a jar of Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Crème because it smells great and makes me feel better about being crammed in a coach seat.

An empty water bottle with a wide spout or twist-off lid

Yes, the airplane usually provides free water, but rather than chugging each cup within two minutes of receiving it, I prefer the slow and steady approach. This is hard to do when I have a cup sitting precariously on my tray for hours, so I prefer pouring it into my own water bottle and feeling the security of a closed top. Or I’ll ask the flight attendant to fill my bottle up – water is a basic human need and nobody has every denied my request.

Something soothing for your nose

The recirculating air will make you feel like you’re breathing in sand. Gently inhaling a minty balm once or twice helped me remove the physical pain from the extreme dryness. You can search for mint balms on Etsy for a homemade, natural route.

A trusty “everything balm”

This includes anything you can put on your face, hands, elbows and your lips. Chances are, your lips will be the driest out of anything on your face so you’ve already thought of taking lip balm, but your knuckles and other splotchy dry areas might need it too. You can dab it lightly around your nostrils as well, to help you breathe. And don’t forget they make an excellent highlighter for your eyelids and cheek bones if you unexpectedly need to look hot for… errr, the pilot?

A travel-size spray bottle with your own misty creation

This is something I do even when I’m not on a Saharan plane ride.  I fill up a bottle or atomizer with water and a few drops of argan or sweet almond oil and mist it on my face when I feel dry (or when it’s a sweltering 95 degrees outside). Spray sparingly so you glow, not look sweaty and drenched. This was my saving grace during the aforementioned ten-hour plane ride from hell (to paradise).

Cleansing wipes and a moisture mask pill

Some of you may think this is one step overboard, but for an especially lengthy transcontinental plane ride, I like to put on this lotion mask midway through. I hate it when my face starts to feel dry and greasy at the same time, and I can’t help but think that debris and germs are accumulating on my face. I take some cleansing wipes to clean off the top layer of makeup and moisturizer, then place this moisturize mask on my face for several minutes. It takes next to nothing in space since it comes in pill form. Just pour water over it and watch it expand. Your neighbors might look at you weird but who cares?! You can go to almost any Asian novelty or grocery store to get this, or you can get it online.

So there you have it! After implementing all of these steps, I was exhausted upon landing but I sure didn’t look like it. What precautions and steps do you take to ensure you have a skin-friendly flight? Let me know in the comments!

Ten Not-So-Secret Benefits of Using Eco-Beauty Skincare

Happy bunnies, more trees and clean air.  It’s no secret that using eco-beauty products is not only good for you and the environment.  However, some benefits are not as obvious as others. Here are ten more reasons to celebrate eco-beauty products!

10. Two for One

Who doesn’t like two for the price of one? Well, with eco-products, what you see is what you get, and then some. Eco-beauty products are made of gentle, natural ingredients that can most often be ingested without harm. But don’t guzzle the sweet-smelling almond milk just yet! Read the ingredients and advisory and sometimes you will find suggested uses. Organic coconut oil can serve as an after-shower moisturizer, hair conditioner and sauté for vegetables. An eco-friendly shampoo can double as scented hand soap for guests or a gentle wash for your pet.

9. Self-Esteem Boost

You may not realize it at first, but when you read the back label of your eco-beauty product you may even shed a tear (okay, slight exaggeration). But you will and should feel good knowing that the products you are purchasing make a difference in the environment.

8. Promote Natural and Organic Agriculture

Most eco-beauty brands are championed by small businesses that rely on organic and all-natural agricultural of herbs, oils and plants to sustain them. Take a bow for your contribution to making organic agriculture a mainstay in society.

7. Make a Contribution to Charity 

A growing number of eco-brands reserve a portion of their proceeds to donate to charity. When you buy their products, you are also contributing to charity. While Uncle Sam may not recognize your donation, you know you did the right thing!

6. Encourage Organic and Natural Products

By using eco-friendly products, you are becoming a brand ambassador whether you know it or not! When the girl next to you asks where you bought that captivating fragrance and you divulge, you are also sharing your commitment to using eco-friendly products.

5. Enhanced Skin 

Using eco-beauty products is efficacious in more ways than one. Who doesn’t want more supple skin? It is a commonly known fact that 60% of topical treatments such as lotions, balms and oils are absorbed into the blood stream. By using eco-beauty products you’re ensuring only the most beneficial products fuel your body. If you wouldn’t eat it, why put it on?

4. Superior Overall Health            

Most beauty products contain a high amount of toxins, carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) and chemicals. These harmful products have been linked to everything from ADHD to digestive disorders. Using eco-beauty products boosts your overall health by eliminating pesky chemicals and toxins.

3. No Recall Hassles 

Because natural products are handmade, you will incur fewer if any recalls. While large companies rely on friable manufacturing procedures, most natural beauty products are produced in careful, fastidious settings and often made by hand ensuring that your beloved products reach you without the harmful side effects.

2. Save Income

While it may seem you are initially paying a fortune for some eco-products, when you find more ways to use it than one you save as you can reduce the amount of products you buy. In turn, you reduce the amount of packaging you use as well as your environmental footprint.

1. DIY

While most people may not be this inventive, the best part of eco-beauty products is that you can reap the benefits of luminous skin in your kitchen! Try reading the ingredients on your favorite natural beauty product. You will be able to create the product yourself if you so choose (or at least something very close to it)!

So, the next time someone gives you a hard time about using eco-friendly products, you’ll have a whole list of reasons why these eco treats are not only helping you, but everyone and everything else around you too!

Ten Absurdly Cute Baby Animals to Inspire Cruelty-Free Beauty

Regardless of the species, all babies are adorable. If there was a fire-breathing, poison-pooping homicidal dragon and it a baby, it would be all pudgy and cute.

I know cosmetics companies don’t test on elephants or koalas (as far as I know), but these photos will serve as just another reminder of why you support cruelty-free beauty.

Now onto the babies and the inevitable coochie-coochie-coos!

Source: via Andrea on Pinterest

 Elephant-baby cordially greeting his bird friends.

Source: via Clio on Pinterest

Hippo-baby getting a booty bump.

Source: via Angela on Pinterest

Cat-baby waking up from Fancy Feast-filled nap.

Deer-baby doing her best Giselle pose.

Fox-baby avoiding the ex.

Source: via Barbara on Pinterest

 Pug-babies resting after a long hike.

Giraffe-baby winking at the paps.

Pig-baby sniffing the cool, spring grass.

Source: via Becky on Pinterest

Turtle-baby seeing our world for the very first time. (Let’s not disappoint him!)

Source: via Jenn on Pinterest

Koala-baby wondering what the hell is going on.