Monday, November 26, 2012

My Fair Lady: A Holiday Gift Guide

stocking stuffers fair vanity gift guide beauty products bath and body 2

As you can see, I take bath time very, very seriously. If you asked me, there is no situation that a nice, hot bath and a cup of tea can't improve. 

So, as the holiday shopping season gets underway, I wanted to share a few of my favorite, fair items for bath and body. Scented candles and luxurious lotions make great gifts, stocking stuffers, and last minute gifts for those unexpected holiday parties and gift exchanges.

Throughout this month and next, I will be adding more holiday shopping guides for her, for him, and maybe even for the kiddos in order to help you shop local, shop made in the USA, and most importantly, shop Fair

Please know that each one of the products in this gift guide are 100% Fair Vanity approved, non-sponsored recommendations that I use on a daily basis.  What's more, each one is made in the USA, fair trade, organic, all-natural, or all of the above. 

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Voluspa Candles
Made in the USA from sustainable ingredients
These are my go-to gifts, not just around the holidays but anytime: house-warming, congratulations, new mother, birthday, you name it.  The tins are reuseable and look just as lovely as each candle smells. My favorite scent by far is French Cade and Lavender, but you can't really go wrong with any of their luxurious scents. Voluspa uses coconut (palm) wax, which is clean-burning, biodegradeable, and higher quality than paraffin, which is petrochemical-based. Plus, coconuts are a sustainable resource, so we can harvest palm wax without harming the environment.

Archipelago Candles
made in the USA
I like this brand because they have really unique scents like Heirloom Vine, Mojito, and Red Amarylis. These are mostly soy-based candles and all of their wicks are pure cotton or wood. Like Voluspa, these candle's always look nice as well as smell nice, so that you can have a wintry-smelling home without sparkles or strange colors.

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Terranova Shea Butter Massage and Bath Oil
made in the USA, organic
This is my favorite bath oil ever. The scent is addictive and with only a few drops added to hot bath water, your skin will feel like silk, I promise. This stuff is a yummy mix of shea oil, certified organic sunflower oil and vitamin E scented with citrus, florals and spice. I've given this one as a gift to several girlfriends and they all love it.

Village Naturals White Tea & Jasmine Body Soak
made in the USA
This soak is really affordable and is easy to find at any local drug store. It contains Dead Sea salts and vitamin E for your skin, but I just use it for the scent.

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
made in the USA, fair trade, organic, biodegradeable, magic
This is--hands-down--one of the best products you could ever buy. It's biodegradable, it comes in eight scents, and you can use it for anything. We are a peppermint oil household (we have a giant jug of the stuff), and I use it as body wash, a gentle handwash detergent when traveling, minty bubble bath, and even to wash my hair when I run out of shampoo. It's incredibly gentle, and it comes in cute little mini sizes that make perfect gifts and stocking stuffers.

Biggs and Featherbelle
made in the USA, many vegan products

These guys are super local! They're made right in Baltimore, Maryland, and their whole range of products, from soaps to soaks to lip balm, are awesome. They have really interesting flavors and scents and they also have a refreshingly short list of ingredients in each bar of soap with absolutely no preservatives. Check out this listing for the Bar-chouli Bar, for example: Distilled Water, Saponified Oils (Coconut, Palm, Sunflower, Soybean & Olive), Red Sandalwood Powder, Vitamin E & Essential Oil Blend (Patchouli, Black Pepper & Cedarwood). That's it! Just the good stuff, locally made.

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Nuxe Hair and Body Oil 
98.1% natural ingredients
This dry oil is a combination of  30% Precious Plant Oils (Borage, St. John's Wort, Sweet Almond, Camellia, Hazelnut, and Macadamia) and Vitamin E that will nourish, repair and soften your face, body and hair in a single step. I put it on my face at night after toning or sometimes during the day if I've been in the wind. It's also great to smooth on after blow-drying your hair, or over legs and arms after the shower. Lastly, it's fancy and French, which is always a nice gift, n'est-ce pas?

Duet by 2 Note Perfume
made in the USA, all-natural ingredients
You saw this perfume right here on Fair Vanity last August. It's made in Maine by two very nice women who use music as the inspiration for their unique scents. Comparable to an artisan bakery, they mix, bottle, and label each product by hand. All of their botanicals are therapeutic grade, and they package their products in amber glass (except when the nature of the product requires plastic for safety) to preserve the integrity of the ingredients. Best of all, you know you won't smell like everyone else's department store brand of perfume when you're wearing 2 Note.

Thymes Eucalyptus Body Lotion
made in the USA
This is one of the best smelling lotions I have ever encountered. A friend of mine received it as a gift from her boss, and after trying some, I ordered it on Amazon. Immediately. Like, from my phone. It smelled and felt that good. Apparently it has a big following from both men and women. Made with nourishing jojoba oil and shea butter, it's paraben free, like all of the products I use. What's more, Thymes lists all of the ingredients for each product on their web site, a level of transparency I wish more companies would adopt.

Origins Drink-Up Intensive Thirst Quenching Mask
made with certified natural and organic ingredients; sustainable manufacturing processes
This mask is a life-saver for dry winter months, but also for traveling anytime of year. My friend and I used copious amounts of it during and after a trip to Jordan, and I had major regrets about not bringing it along on my recent 14-flight-7-country-tour. Airplanes and central heating will suck the moisture right out of you, so this mask is a welcome, soothing treat for any skin type. It also smells so good that I want to eat it. Last but not least, Origins is committed not only to plant-based products but to using wind energy and other renewable resources whenever possible in their manufacturing process, so they are a good company to support.

Burt's Bees Lip Balm
made in the USA, made from 98% natural ingredients

Always a classic. Vitamin E, beeswax and yummy peppermint oil to freshen breath, Burt's Bees is great under lipstick, after meals, before leaving the house, and pretty much every second of the day. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

With Thanks

There are sooooo many things I have to be thankful for this year that it's hard to narrow it down, but I'm going to limit it to just three.

I'm incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to show my appreciation for the men and women of our armed services by performing for them across the Mediterranean and North Africa (more pix soon!) with Capitol Movement, a local DC dance company that I'm proud to say I've danced with for four years. We traveled through Germany, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Egypt and saw incredible places and spaces, but my favorite part of the trip by far was the people.

thank you 2

I found a new family in my fellow company members and our director, and I will never forget the soldiers and local folks that I met at each base. We all saw firsthand that dance can cross almost any boundary, whether cultural or political or linguistic, but I had one experience in which-- believe it or not-- fashion was the bridge that led to a new friendship.

I met a beautiful Libyan woman on a dinner cruise down the Nile. She was honeymooning with her new husband and I was struck by her beauty and impeccable style. Her headscarf was black woven with gold and she was carrying a black clutch with Alexander McQueen-esque skull detailing, and I couldn't help but compliment her style. Almost immediately we after began chatting, she GAVE ME HER BAG.


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I tried to refuse, I really did, but there comes a point when you realize that someone genuinely wants you to have something, and it feels right to say "thank you" and really mean it from the bottom of your heart. And then maybe cry a little in public. Thank you, my new friend.

The second thing I am thankful for is CapFABB (and yes, you may recall me saying as much on Refinery29 yesterday, but it bears repeating a bajillion million times). I started this here blog at the end of June, and even though I was brand spanking new at my first meetup, I was welcomed with open arms by these gracious, warm women. Liz and Lacey have built a network of ladies in DC who are incredibly supportive of one another, and is a beautiful thing. The fact that I have a huge group of new friends who also love fashion is just icing on the cake! Thank you, women of CapFABB, for rocking my socks off.

And last but most certainly not least, I am so so so sososososo grateful for YOU, my fair readers! I am overcome with disbelief and gratitude every time I hear someone say "oh hey, I read your blog!"

Thank you so much for continuing to come back to see what I've cooked up for you, and for helping me to find new designers and retailers who are kind to the earth and the people on it. I love you lots and lots, and I promise I have lots more in store for you as the holiday shopping season gets in gear.

Until then, happy thanksgiving!



thank you my fair readers fair vanity style blog

thank you

Friday, November 9, 2012

Barbour for Life

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my fair vanity style blog eco blog barbour jacket

Barbour may not be made in the USA, but they are made for life. There is nothing more fair than investment pieces that will last a lifetime, and a Barbour jacket is exactly that.

As long as you take good care of your jacket--getting it re-waxed when it needs it, for example--your Barbour coat will be functional and stylish for life. I recommend adding the hood accessory and the woolly lining for winter so that the coat can transition from fall to rainy slush to winter with ease.

I promise you that this post is not sponsored in any way by Barbour, I just think their coats are timeless and fair, especially the waxed canvas men's version that I'm wearing now.

 Photography by Victoria Corkhill

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's Your Fall Color Mood?: Readers Show Their Fair Style

Fair Vanity MM

Ariana from Mode Marteau has a consigned (second-hand) ensemble inspired by the "Winter is Coming" color board on Aaryn West.

glazed and confused

Inspired by Aaryn

This beautiful collage by Amanda is inspired by the Glazed and Confused color board. The boots (Rag & Bone) and quartz necklace are made in the USA.

cynthia correct size
Loved this rockin' look from Cynthia, who wears an Amour Vert shirt made from peace silk in the USA. Peace silk ensures the silkworms are not harmed in the harvesting process. Also inspired by Glazed and Confused.

suchi correct size
Suchi was a big fan of Shiitake Sunrise.  She is wearing an Amour Vert India Split Sleeve Dress in Floral Chiffon.  Made of peace silk in the US (similar here). Her eggplant envelope clutch is by Beth Springer and is made from upcycled leather and vegetable dye.

wavey entry

Waverly's top and skirt are thrifted (nice finds!) and inspired by the Day Glow color mood board on Aaryn West.

Check out these fair ladies! I loved all of your entries, and I will feature another set of entries in a separate post very soon, so keep checking back.

Also, due to the storm and power outages, I will be accepting late entries, so go ahead and send me your look if you'd still like to participate (rules here). 

Thank you so much to everyone who entered-- you all have beautiful, kind style and I appreciate you helping me and Aaryn West to show that everyone can be fair and stylish.

Remember-- if you don't see your entry in this post, you will see it in the another one soon, I promise!



Tuesday, November 6, 2012


....your right to vote.

Please vote!

It's fair AND kind, I promise :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Birds of a Feather

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my fair vanity style blog fall colors leather skirt

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my fair vanity style blog fall colors leather skirt 5

When Victoria and I came upon this little scene the other day, we couldn't help but snap a few pictures on our way to dinner.

This outfit is almost exclusively from Secondi, from the blouse to the pleather skirt to the shoes. I sincerely believe that Secondi is the best consignment store in DC. It's certainly my favorite. I always find something special there, and I feel like they give me a fair price for the pieces I consign.

The bag is vegan and the earrings were a gift from my friend Jeannie, who brought them back for me from her cross-country road trip. I love them so much that I styled the whole outfit around them. They're handmade in the USA-- she met the woman who made them--and I was so touched that she bought me "fair" jewelry on her trip. Thanks, Jeannie!

 Photography by Victoria Corkhill

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