Product Review: Mi-Spa Monoi Gardenia Whipped Body Butter

Today, I am incredibly pleased to present Independent Luxe's first product review.

Up for review is Mi Spa's Monoi Gardenia Whipped Body Butter and Monoi Gardenia Total Body Oil Spray.

When shopping online for body products, I find it truly difficult to figure out what I'm going to like. Descriptions of feelings and textures, scents, and results are so objective that site descriptions can't always help you make a decision. That's one of the reasons I wanted to review bath and body products, as well as make-up, and things like candles. It's all about the experience- sometimes websites are accurate in their descriptions, sometimes they are so vague you don't even bother trying to find out more.
I look up reviews all the time when it comes to these things to help me come to a conclusion that makes sense for me.

So, I'll get to it.
I received my products from Mi Spa within two days of knowing I'd be receiving them for review. Mimie, the owner packages everything beautifully and even sent a personal note, which I truly appreciate.

I was so excited! I wanted to rip everything open and try it right away, but resisted to take photos of the products for this review. When I finally got that over with, I opened the Monoi Gardenia Whipped Body Butter and smiled. The scent was lovely, feminine, and floral- it was noticeable without being overbearing and I loved it.
When I unscrewed the top, I was really pleased with how thick the body butter was- I flipped the open jar upside down and nothing fell out. How cool is that?

I took a shower, and immediately afterward used the Monoi Gardenia Whipped Body Butter from Mi Spa.
I first noticed how nicely the heat from my hands melted the body butter into a slick fluid that was easy to put on. I was really surprised at how little of this stuff you have to use in order to cover your entire body. With an even application in a circular motion and a little bit of elbow grease to really get that beautiful butter into your skin, about a quarter size amount of the butter covers your entire shell. Wow. How much do we love that? For a mere $14, you get awesome body butter that smellls delicious, and feels like satin.

I found the that Monoi Gardenia Whipped Body Butter takes a little while to absorb, but it's definitely worth the wait. It's a treat, and would be a great thing to use daily or on those special days where you really want to pamper yourself.
The Monoi Gardenia Whipped Body Butter is available at Mi Spa for $14- worth every penny.

Much like the Monoi Gardenia Whipped Body Butter, I found the Monoi Gardenia Body Oil Spray to be a delight to use. It is full of femininity, and it's really light. This has all of the benefits of the body butter, and it absorbs a bit more quickly, as well. I recommend using it in the shower, after you've rinsed off your body wash because the heat really helps spread this out, so you can get the most out of it. The Monoi Gardenia Body Oil Spray is also $14. I love both products from Mi Spa, my sking has been fantastically moisturized and my nose is happy, too!


Unique Bags by Ambrosia

A while back, I had an awesome customer, by the name of Jennifer who had me design custom jewelry for her bridesmaids for a Fall wedding. Later on, she ordered earrings from me to wear on the big day, as well. Thankfully we kept in touch and in one of her emails a few months after her wedding, she told me that her sister is also a designer. I thought that was pretty sweet! The designer goes by Ambrosia Bags and they're available at the amazing unsungdesigners.com.

Ever since I was introduced to her work, and saw the above bag, I wanted it. Of course, I waited, like I always do (to make sure I REALLY like something), this baby was sold. OF COURSE! It's amazing, unique, beautiful, as are all of her bags.

Go check them out unsungdesigners.com.


Going out with the girls

It's been one hell of a week and Friday night has finally arrived. Or whatever night you're going out- does it even matter? Not really, but I like scenarios. Work's been a bitch and you want to go out, have fun, look cool and hot. There's your outfit.

Jacket: When I first saw this jacket, I did a double take because there is just something about it. The silkiness of the fabric, the way the pink pops from the black in it's vibrant femininity, the poof sleeves that are adorable but not cutesy. It's unique, sophisticated and fun all at once. INDEPENDENTluxe loves that. Everything by heart print silk jacket by Kristina Lenss is gorgeous. This fabulous heart print silk jacket is limited edition and $295 at kristinit.com. Wear it over a simple black top for sheer perfection.

The cropped denim skinny jeans featured in this ultra hot get-up are flippin' sweet. They outline your body in a subtle, sexy way and there is nothing grossly 80's about them. They are built for a woman who loves her body. Smiles all around! They are only $62, which is unbelievably cheap. Better get them before they are gone forever at letrainbleu.com. Oh, they'd also look HOT with open-toe sandals and a slinky camisole.

Green suede shoes? YES! The subtle, neutral -goes with anything- shade of green is reason enough to buy this. With an outfit like this, they compliment the very girly pink while not clashing. They add a bit of depth to the outfit, and open-toes add even more sex appeal. On sale now for $168 at shopbop.com.

Every once in a while you come across a unique accessory that makes you wonder how you've lived without it. Enter Tivi handbags. The bent wood clutch featured in this outfit is one of those accessories. Sleek, sexy, and totally unique- you can customize this baby down to the lining. Available at tiviwear.com for $280

I am a big fan of jewelry. This incredibly colorful, totally beautiful necklace designed by Elle-a-Belle Designs begs to be worn with a rainbow of colors any day of the week. This necklace can be worn with so many things, from jeans and a tank top to your most coveted jersey dress and strappy sandals. Available right this very moment at Elle-a-Belle.com for $295.

Simple and effortless while unique and sexy.


In search of emerging shoe, handbag, and clothing designers

I don't know why, but I am the having the hardest time find emerging shoe designers. If you know of any, other than Mohop, please email me and let me know!

I am also in search of emerging clothing designers. Preferably with their own website that you can purchase from. However, I am open-minded and will consider designers who sell on other websites and not their own. Oh, and I don't mean screenprinted tee's, I mean a line of clothing- dresses, pants, etc.

Handbag designers would be fabulous, as well- I am in search of leather handbags, specifically. I know a lot of fabric bag designers, but leather is not easy to come by.

Designers shouldn't be available in large chain stores like Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom, yet. Well, I suppose they could be, but the quantities they produce should be VERY limited and not available in EVERY store across the globe. Get what I'm saying?
Remember, IndependentLuxe wants emerging, not established-I'm making a ton of money-designers. My goal is to help make small designers like myself known and bring them sales & recognition!


Stunning Ceramics: Grace Sheese

A few days ago, I was incredibly pleased to stumble upon Grace Sheese's work. I was actually awestruck by the artists' work.
The rich colors and incredibly intricate details are eye-catching. Each bowl, vase, jar, and cup is a unique piece of art.
The cups start at a miniscule $45, bowls at $60, jars $110, and vases at $110. The highest price is under $500. Very reasonable for such enamoring work.


Cool Furniture: Plywood Office

Plywood Office is a fairly small company run by (as far as I can tell) designer Chris Jamison. Plywood Office specializes in modern, innovative furniture designed using plywood that doesn't look like plywood at all. The Stripe Series which happens to be my favorite, as of now, is now available in Bamboo, as well. I like that.
I am not sure of the prices or exactly where you can purchase this amazing looking furniture (grr), but it's definitely worth checking out.

This site met a few of my pet peeves, though. This is really unfortunate because I adore the furniture. I'm thinking this site is simply meant as a showcase for the designer's work. However, I'd like to know where I could purchase this furniture, if I chose to. Prices would be great, as well. I do imagine it's available in some stores. That is unclear on the site, there are two exhibitions listed in California, but that's it.
The site was a pain to navigate. The menu is on some of the pages, not all, so when I wanted to go back from one series to another, I had to use my "go back" arrows.
Things opening in new windows that are for the same site (i.e. the links aren't sending you elsewhere) shouldn't open in a new window. It's annoying. I also didn't like that my browser was unecessarily resized.

That said. The furniture is uniquely stunning. The clean lines and unusual materials deserve praise.

If you find out where it can be purchased, by all means, let Kelly know!


Invitations that make your heart pitter patter: KenzieKate

Take a good look at those. Aren't they phenomenal? I picked these because I adore the way the red pops from the white- I love the open flowers and laid back, elegant script with the simple and bold capitalized font. The packaging is also awesome. How often can you say that? Usually, you just get a plain, boring envelope. Not at KenzieKate. At KenzieKate you get a work of art worthy of framing.

The invitations designed and created by KenzieKate are amazing. KenzieKate is all about the details. Prices start at $11.


Shoe Spotlight: Ashley Dearborn

I am a shoe fanatic. I'm telling you this, and it's no joke, I look at shoes online 5 days a week. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm online for hours on end staring at shoes, but I admire shoes a lot

Today I came across Ashley Dearborn shoes and I was blown away.
The combination of color and unusual designs make the shoes unusual and to die for. Below are a few pairs that really scream: buy me, wear me, and love me forever.

All of those happen to be on sale right now, too. Prices start at about $200.

Shopping Pet Peeve

When I shop online, I can't feel fabrics, smell lotions, try things on, or test them out. I am prepared for that and accept it.
However- there is one thing that i just cannot stand when I am shopping online. And, this especially applies when I actually LOVE something, something that would actually work for me (as I am incredibly picky).

I know the designers know what they make their clothing and handbags from. I know they know what materials were used in their jewelry and shoes. I am absolutely positive that bath and body makers know what is used in their products.

So, on behalf of myself & fellow shoppers to designers and boutiques who are reading: why can't you tell me? If you don't, I'm not going to buy it. I'm not going to email you, I'm not going to waste my time. Please list your ingredients and materials, if you don't. I assure you, you'll get more sales and less questions.


Funky Party Outfit

It's a cool spring evening at your best friend's house. You want to look feminine while still keeping your edge and comfort. This outfit is all of those things, combined with you, it's completely unique.

Cropped Jacket: The asian inspired black & white print, trimmed in bright green is feminine and funky. The tailored cut and cropped look is awesome. The Bamboo Bolero, by Elaine Perlov is all about details, contrasting fabrics, and interesting buttons. A conversation piece that you'll be able to dress up or down, any time. $98

Skirts can be so plain and boring or way too much. This black skirt designed by Surrealist and available at Artful Wears is the happy medium. It's your basic black in a versatile, all season fabric with gathering that makes it flirty and unique. Wear it with a printed tee for a casual dinner or like this for a fun, dress-up evening. $69

Anthropologie is pretty well known (I told you: some larger companies will be featured!), but they do carry some smaller lines- and let's face it, even some of what they carry is considered a VERY small business. Designers like myself are the smallest. Anyway! This white top from
Anthropologie is lightweight and airy, and feminine. The wide and low scoop neck will show off a fabulous necklace or be a nice and simple backdrop for a fabulous bolero, like the one above. Available now for a small

Bonnin Designs creates jewelry that is versatile and beautiful. The stick Pearl earrings featured in this outfit will go with anything- a great every day earring that can be dressed up or down for almost any occassion. Underpriced at $44!

Everyone needs a pretty handbag. I love this metallic one by Dutchy. It's simple, yet has a special touch that makes it stand out. Yet another versatile piece! $174 at Unsung Designers.

Anthropologie strikes again in this outfit. Now, I know most people say don't put red with green. I disagree. As long as your not wearing sparkles and look shiny, you aren't going to look like a Christmas tree. Use together sparingly, in unique pieces and you're good to go. These shoes are very cool. The textured weaved leather is awesome! The pleated heel gives it a fun touch and the height of 1 inch is so wearable, it's not even funny! Available at Anthro for $118. Get them. They come in a nice grey, too.