The Donna B Brand: Wrap Yourself In Art

The Donna B Brand: Wrap Yourself In Art

A scarf just might be the best fashion accessory you don’t realize you are missing. A pretty silk scarf can add instant sophistication to any look.  Make it the star of the show by using it with an all black outfit or a conservative suit, both easy ways to add a pop of color or show your personality.

For this reason, I was really excited to receive a set of luxurious silk scarves from Donna Bernstein, the owner of the Donna B Brand. Donna Bernstein is a NY based artist that mixes mediums and materials in unconventional ways to create equine images that are simultaneously powerful and peaceful. Her artwork is breathtaking. My (current) favorite piece of her art is called “Gold Lightning“. The metallic gold gets me every time! As much as I would love to hang her pieces in my home entryway, it is not currently in the budget and I want to stay married! Luckily, Donna Bernstein has transferred some of her drawings to silk scarves so that we can wrap ourselves in her artwork instead.

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PC: Shannen Smyth Photography

The “Checkmate Pink & Black” scarf is 100% pure silk charmeuse (15″ x 60″) and is a reflection of the “Checkmate” painting. I love the boldness of the pink/black/white together. I chose to really put the scarf on display by wearing an all black riding outfit, as you can see from the two pictures above. Simply adding the scarf took these Botori breeches and plain black pocket t-shirt to the next level. It also is an easy, yet fashionable, way to protect your neck from the intense summer sun.

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PC: Shannen Smyth Photography

I used the Run for The Roses scarf, also 100% pure silk charmeuse (15″ x 60″), as a belt to again show how you can easily transform an average look. I love white t-shirts and have quite a few that I wear with jeans or linen shorts, like here pictured. In the 5 seconds it took me to loop the scarf through the belt loops, I had a casual yet chic look. The Run for The Roses scarf was inspired by the blanket of roses draped over horses in the winner’s circle. The green, red, and yellow colors are very soft and work well with neutral colors. I took the same scarf and tied it onto my LV handbag, instantly mixing up my daily look.

I highly suggest adding a scarf like these to your wardrobe. At the very least, take a few minutes to be inspired by Donna B. You won’t regret it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bibimbap (BEE-bim-bap)

bibimbap (BEE-bim-bap)

I have been wanting to test out Bimbimbap since the company first popped up on social media.  The owner, Lynn, is a lifelong equestrian, so she totally gets how we equestrians abuse our skin. Due to the nature of the sport, our skin takes a harsh beating from the sun, the cold, the wind and the dust/dirt. The constant long hours in the outdoors is a easy recipe for sunburns, wrinkles and early age spots. It’s actually kind of hard to believe that there aren’t more skincare lines out there for, and by, equestrians. Bibimbap is definitely on to something!

Lynn was nice enough to send me the entire Bibimbap skincare line and I have spent the last 4 weeks using the majority of the products every day. I wanted to give myself (and my skin) some time with the products before I gave an opinion. The skincare line currently consists of a face cleanser, serum, face moisturizer, healing salve and a lip treatment.

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The face cleanser is probably my favorite of the line. The first time I used it was a Sunday night after a horse show and I was so excited to lather my entire face and neck with the product. It is a gel to foam, which I love, because I like seeing and feeling the suds. It rinses off easily and does not leave your skin feeling dry or tight. In fact, the cleaner contains glycerin, which helps to hydrate your skin. Also important, even though the cleanser is labeled as “mild” in strength, it is strong enough to remove full makeup. I used the cleanser with a washcloth after a photoshoot and was able to easily remove my eye makeup.

The serum is my second favorite. With a pea size amount of liquid, you can cover your entire face and neck with the serum, which means the 30ml bottle will last you quite a while. Many people are unfamiliar with serums, but they pack a powerful punch for needing such a small dose. Bibimbap’s serum delivers antioxidants to your skin, which help to fight against damaging free radicals that prematurely ages skin. The serum not only helps to fight premature aging and wrinkles, but it also brightens the skin, which gives you a youthful and fresh glow. I have used my serum on my face and neck almost every day, right after I wash and dry my face. I like how easily it spreads on. This is something that you can use at night and in the morning, underneath your lotion/makeup.

The moisturizer has a clean scent to it and spreads on very easily. It is not greasy or heavy, and absorbs very fast.  Fresh basil, raspberry, and rosehip oils help to give the skin a refreshed look, which is something I can appreciate as a mother of two little ones! I really wanted to love this one, but there were days that I had to use too much of it for my face not to feel dry. I have very dry skin and it is hard for me to find face moisturizers that leave me feeling dewy. My friend tried the moisturizer for 3 days and she loved it, so like I said, it probably is best for people that do not have super dry skin, like me. I know, I need to drink more water!! I did appreciate that this lotion did not contain SPF because I use my face lotions at night too, so I typically stay away from lotions with SPF, opting instead to put sunscreen over top during the day.

The Healing Salve helped me out at the beach when my family got annoying bug bites. Instead of using cortisone (which I actually didn’t have), I used Bibimbap’s Healing Salve instead. The soothing cream helped to decrease the inflammation and redness quickly, as well as combat the itchiness. I also used it once on a cooking burn on my finger, which I am not sure if this was an appropriate use of the product, but the cooling action felt so good! Luckily these were the only times I had to use the salve, but the salve can be used to fight all kinds of dermatological issues, like eczema, rashes, hives and dermatitis, so it is great to have on hand.

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The lip treatment is a “protective emollient balm that hydrates, smooths, and protects delicate lips”. I wish Bibimbap would sell these suckers in packs of 3 or 5! I have been keeping mine in my breeches so I can reapply multiple times at the barn. I am going to a horse show this weekend so my lip treatment will definitely be coming with me! The only way to improve on this product is if it had SPF in it.

Overall I was really happy with this new equestrian skincare line and liked how my skin felt and looked after 4 weeks of use. I am really excited to see what Lynn has in store for us in the future. For a 40% discount on your bimbimbap skincare use code : GETGLAM40.

 

 

 

 

 

Riding “Sombrero” Review

 

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PC: Riding Warehouse; Soless Visor

Everyone makes fun of me at the barn for my helmet visor(s) (or my “sombrero” as they like to call it). That’s fine. I like to think that all that laughing will just add to the wrinkles they are going to have from all their sun damage! But seriously, we all know that the skin of an equestrian takes a brutal beating from the weather. We are outside a lot: in the sun, in the wind, in the cold…usually without much shelter and for hours upon hours at any one time. I typically always have a baseball hat on when I am going to the barn or horse show, but sometimes you have to be wearing your helmet. The helmet visor fits onto your helmet so you can continue to protect your face from the sun.

Karina from The Hunt Eq knew I was searching for a new visor (mine was over 5 yrs old and had lost its velcro abilities) and she suggested the Soless Visor. This visor provides shade for the front and sides of your face/neck and is transparent, providing the rider with an unobstructed view. My last visor was straw and my view was way more limited. The transparent material also blocks 92% of UV rays, protecting much more of your skin than a typical straw or fabric visor.

The Soless is lightweight –  about half the weight of my last visor. It has the same velcro design that I am used to and wraps around your helmet snuggly. However, the Soless comes with a little S- shaped clip that clips onto your helmet. This is definitely something my last visor was missing. I had to google a YouTube video demonstrating how use the clip because the first time I used it at my lesson, the visor flew off as soon as I started jumping! After watching the video and reattaching my helmet, it hasn’t flown off my head again. Ps: The clip is supposed to work with any brand of helmet (mine is Charles Owen).

Additionally, something I didn’t even know until I started to write this blog post, is that the visor can be worn directly on your head. I gave it a try and it was sort of big and flimsy, so I wouldn’t recommend using it without the helmet, but of course if it were your only option you could make it work (and protect your face). Or maybe my head is just very small!

I purchased the $45 version, but there is a more expensive version (that only works on your helmet) at $75. I actually didn’t know about the latter when I bought mine, but so far I am happy with mine. I will be sure to do an update!

It’s all in the deTails

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I have seen a few different horsehair bracelets over the last decade and I can 100% tell you that the bracelet I received from deTails Horsehair Jewelry is the NICEST one I have ever seen. The horse hair is interwoven so tightly and securely that I can’t ever imagine seeing a stray strand sticking out. The hand braiding is top notch. The sterling silver mini heart charm is a subtle and small detail that compliments the braiding pattern without distracting from it. I went with the square bracelet but there are other styles to choose from, as well as other charm options.

Don’t be worried about the amount of tail that you need to snip off your horse. I know this is something that gives people anxiety, but for the bracelet the amount you need is quite minimal. You need 12 inches of tail length but only a pinkie width of tail diameter. I usually see that much of Chloe’s tail hanging on her water bucket, after a late night scratch, LOL, so it really is an inconsequential amount.

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Timing was extremely reasonable, taking just under 2 weeks to arrive after mailing. And be sure to take their advice and measure the length of your favorite bracelet to ensure that you get a custom fit. The last thing you want is for the bracelet not to fit you and then cutting a piece of your horse’s tail would have been for nothing!

deTails Horsehair Jewelry also has horsehair necklaces, earrings, tree ornaments and keychains. I thought the horsehair keychains were pretty unique, I have never seen those before and they are almost half the cost of the bracelets. Whichever product you chose, details Horsehair Jewelry provides you with some great ways to keep a forever memento of your horse BFF.

To buy your own click HERE. Photographer: Shannen Smyth.

Special thanks to Morgan Lieske and her horse Belle for modeling!

MaeLort Bag Review

The pictures do not lie. This bag from MaeLort is gorgeous. The black and tan colors, combined with the gold zippers and gold hardware, instantly got my immediate attention on social media. Honestly, in person the bag is just as drool worthy and it is true that it has pockets, zippered sections and D-rings galore. There are the typical places to store your laptop, cell phone, wallet, water bottle, makeup/chapstick, but there are also thoughtful touches for extra equestrian items, like a hidden helmet pocket, crop holder, and D-rings for spurs and other clip on items.

It is made of waterproof nylon, which makes sense if you are going to use it at shows or outside in general. It is soft and flexible, easily adapting to what you stuff in there without feeling stiff when you are wearing it. The version I got has magnetic buttons for quick top entry which is convenient for me. I also think the flap gives it a more polished and mature look than the typical zippered bookbag. The bag is pretty lightweight, but I did feel like it was a little long in length for my personal taste. Maybe I am just short. 🙂

The endless compartments and trendy design make this bag PERFECT as a travel backpack, school bookbag or even diaper bag. I would have totally loved using this bag in law school or even as a diaper bag when my kids were younger. Unfortunately, however, I don’t really see it as a good ringside backpack, which is super disappointing to me. I think this would work as a ringside bag IF you are at a full service facility, meaning that you meet your horse at the ring, hop on to school/show, and then dirtbike it over to lunch (I say this with no sarcasm or judgment – full service is fabulous and like anything else has its pros/cons). In this aforementioned situation, it would be perfect acting as a bag that contains your helmet and other personal equestrian effects.  If you wanted it as a true ringside bag that carries everything you or your groom may need ring side for your horse (brushes, hoof pick, towels, flyspray, hoof dressing) then this bag maybe is not for you.

Truthfully, I probably should have investigated it a bit more before I ordered it, and in retrospect I feel silly, but I don’t think I am alone in thinking that ringside bags could carry your horse’s immediate show effects too (in addition to yours). I did an Instagram poll asking what people carried in their ring bags and only 2 of people who responded did not pack flyspray, stiff brush, hoof pick and towels, meaning that a majority carry their horse’s gear with them. Additionally, 81% of over 300 pollers said they were NOT at a full service barn when at shows, which means that they are in charge of having everything they or their horse may need easily accessible from the schooling ring or show ring. Perhaps this bag is used for that, but for me personally it wouldn’t work. Not to mention, it really is so nice – I would hate to cover it in Chloe’s show slime. 🙂

What do you use at the shows for a horse + personal ring side bag? Let me know!

 

Don’t let them tame you

Don’t let them tame you

“Don’t let them tame you” is a simple phrase, but if you ask 10 different people what that phrase means to them, you’ll get 10 varying answers. Each day I have a different reaction myself but perhaps this is what makes those 5 words so enchanting. Sometimes, it stirs in me motivation. Sometimes, determination or grit. Sometimes, it reminds me to be true to myself. Other times I see it as playful, and I fondly think of my headstrong mare, Chloe.  One thing is for sure, when I look down at my AtelierCG bracelet or matching ring I get instantaneous good vibes. And who isn’t all about good vibes?

I love everything about this set. I love the gold with the black. I love that the engraving isn’t flashy, but you know it is there. I love how even though the bracelet is elegant, it feels substantial. I love how the bracelet can easily be stacked with other pieces, but it is strong enough to hold its own solo on your wrist. I love that the ring is classic and is all you need on your fingers. It also fits under riding gloves and can be worn to the barn without issue, which is great when you are heading straight to the barn from your job or school.  Clearly, I was pretty much obsessed with this matching pair from the get go. However, when the owner, Cindy, shared with me her deeply personal story, I ended up loving the pieces even more. Cindy is so inviting that I soon felt comfortable enough to ask her why she came up with the inscription and brand motto, “Don’t let them tame you”. She laughed warmly and told me “to grab a glass of wine”. She wasn’t exaggerating. Seriously, go grab a bottle.

 

Before there was AtelierCG, Cindy and her husband owned a company together, where Cindy did all the design work. Unfortunately, their relationship fell apart and they separated. Unable to continue working with her husband, Cindy walked away from their company and her financial security.  She moved into a new place with her two small children and because she needed help with the rent, took on a roommate.  The rest of her family lives in Europe so Cindy was very much alone, wondering what she was going to do next to make ends meet.  For so long Cindy had felt like she had lost herself and her unhappiness was draining. Now, she had the additional anxiety of supporting herself and children. She knew she had to pick up the pieces and move forward. She made big plans to launch her own equestrian inspired luxury company where she would be the sole owner and her own boss, and have total artistic freedom.  However, the stress and crippling anxiety of her emotional, personal and financial situation triggered related health issues and, on the way to her design factory, she suffered a stroke. Doctors were unsure if the stroke was a result of a pre-existing heart condition or the enormous stress she was under, and they prescribed Cindy an anti-depressant. Suddenly she began to have seizures and she was prescribed more medicine to help prevent those. The seizures subsided but the combination of the two medicines made Cindy literally feel crazy. She was in a mental fog. She became “numb” and felt like “she needed a break”. This feeling of “needing a break” translated into two suicide attempts, with the last one landing her in a forced 72 hour lock down in a psychiatric ward. To hear Cindy describe her experience there is truly a scene from a movie.  She began to write the following notes to herself, repeatedly, “Stay strong, don’t let them tame you. Stay strong, don’t let them tame you”. When she was released from the psych ward, her medications were immediately reviewed.  The particular combination of medications had a history of creating mental health issues and she was taken off the seizure medicine immediately and weened off the anti-depressant. Once off the medicines, she felt normal and began the process to get her life back… and her kids. After the psych ward incident her husband received temporary custody of their children. With this final blow to her world, Cindy felt like she had finally lost everything. Feeling sorry for herself was never an option, she couldn’t afford it and it wouldn’t bring her kids back. Instead, the feeling of utter loss without her kids drove her forward. Cindy channeled all her hurt, anger and fear into her work and she passionately launched AtelierCG in 2016. Today AtelierCG is carried in over 25 retail stores and Cindy shares joint custody of her kids, who remain her greatest source of inspiration.

I asked her what those 5 words mean to her today. She paused and said, “I think I would want the message to be to never give up. Bad times happen to everyone, but bad minutes do not equal a bad life.” Saying there was nothing easy about her journey is an understatement. I cannot begin to imagine what it felt like to be so alone, broke and broken, with two kids you are fighting for and battling major health issues. Cindy inspires me because she never lost sight of what she needed to do. She dug deep, and then even deeper, and she survived. She would not be tamed. xx, HG

Ring/Bracelet set comes in other color options if you do not love gold like I do and they can be purchased separately, but it is much more price efficient to take advantage of the set. SEE HERE.

The gorgeous necklace I am wearing is adjustable, black leather with a gold horse bit pendant. HIGHLY recommend it, as it is easily dressed up or down. Leather and gold…it does not get more equestrian. SEE HERE.

Cindy and her family. PC: SimpleeFocused.
Cindy and her family. PC: SimpleeFocused.

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Foolproof Eyeliner by Katherine Cosmetics

Foolproof Eyeliner by Katherine Cosmetics

I promise you that I have never applied my eyeliner so easily. It just glides right on. And it stays there. No weird corner marks or raccoon eyes. I use the angled smudge brush that is on the other end of the pencil when I want to attempt cat eyes for something more dramatic at night. I also appreciate that a sharpener is not needed, you just twist the pencil if you are running low. Comes in black and brown (I have brown, although I am thinking about purchasing black for night-time looks). Price is $26 and the pencil is a good size. I have been using it for all my photo shoots and I don’t see changing this any time soon. It seriously has made me want to test out the rest of the line so stay tuned for my review on some other Katherine goodies. Bonus: products NOT tested on animals, AND ships very fast! Packaging gorgeous. 

Direct Link: EVERYDAY EYELINER HERE

Katherine Cosmetics

 

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Park North Designs Nailed It.

Excuse the pun, but Park North Designs nailed it with their signature PND Nail necklace. Hanging delicately from a silver chain is a PND nail made of premium sterling silver and shaped like a horseshoe nail. Rachel, the owner of PND, was on a mission to create a piece of equestrian inspired jewelry that was both bold and wearable. I say she “nailed it” because to me, the necklace encompasses exactly what she wanted. The nail is bold, with sharp lines and a silent fierceness. However, the way it just perfectly drapes on your body, naturally finding the center of your chest, adds a touch of warmth, softness and versatility. I really think the PND necklace can be worn with any outfit, so that was my goal with all my pictures: to showcase the wearability. Each necklace comes with a polishing cloth and has two different chain lengths to choose from. I think I would even like to see it offered in the future on one chain that has two lengths on the single chain, because it is nice to have the option to go shorter/longer.  I am obsessed with gold jewelry, but I had NO problem incorporating this silver necklace into my daily looks.

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Price: $116;  Buy HERE

Bonus: EVERY. PURCHASE. HELPS. A. HORSE. IN. NEED. 10% of every purchase goes directly to equine charities across the US. You can read her blog here to see what the current charity is, as they change throughout the year.

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Bre.Avery Inc.: Equestrian Chic

Bre.Avery Inc.: Equestrian Chic

I was so excited to receive my package from Bre.Avery Inc.  These silk scarves are not only beautiful, but embody the luxurious side of the equestrian lifestyle. The silk chiffon and charmeuse are soft and delicate, but the design images highlight the strength, and sometimes masculinity, of our sport. I love this juxtaposition that Bre.Avery has capitalized on because it is true life. Every day we experience the compassion and tenderness of these animals, but we also are not quick to forget their inherent power. The hand-drawn designs depict iconic equestrian looks: the Pelham bit, the impulsion of the show jumper, a fierce head-on look at a mounted competitor, and so forth.  There are ample colors and designs to choose from. I decided on black and white patterns and I wasn’t disappointed. Pricing is $140, but keep in mind these are pure silk and something that will last a lifetime. The classic images will never go out of style and the quality is top-notch. They would make a fabulous gift for the equestrian, or non-equestrian fashionista, in your life.

Bonus: Free ground shipping for US orders AND proceeds from each purchase get donated to animals in need.

To see other styles or to buy, follow this link!

Check back later for my Bre.Avery Inc. photo shoot. 🙂

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