A CHIC Year in Review

My blog is going to 1 year anniversary tomorrow!
I was reading BeautyByKrystal's blog today and she inspired me to list my own top posts.  I have to admit, I was a bit surprised at the results. Here are the statistics and the links to the top 9.  I hope you enjoy reading them as much as everyone else!! 
Here is to an amazing 2012 and another year of gorgeous blogging!
Click picture to enlarge

My Practice on a Manduka


As you may or may not know, I am a Yoga Teacher.  A few months ago I posted a video on my Youtube channel participating in a contest for one of these Manduka Yoga Mats.
Well, I wasn't chosen then but I was given a second opportunity, this time I was actually invited to try the mat and I agreed.

Master Class with Urban Decay

I had a hard time writing this story because my bad experience caught me so off-guard, I didn't know how to report it.  So I am just going to tell you my exact experience as the event happened.  The good, the bad and the ugly beautiful.

I made my very first purchase of Urban Decay in late August of the 15 year Anniversary Palette.  I love it, so much fun!  During my purchase I spot a post card for a "Master Class" and ask the MUA to elaborate... She tells me it is the first of that kind of class, I am going to learn the latest looks and see the new products with the ability to pre-purchase hot merchandise before it sells out.

Dancing the Tango with Tangerine

Pantone Colour of the Year:
Tangerine Tango.
A spirited reddish orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward.

Opening a can of Get it Done.

I was painting my home office and as I was tweeting my progress, someone commented that they don't paint because of how much spatter ended up on the carpet - even though they had covered the floor. I want to share with you my drop cloth taping method, it keeps my baseboard and flooring paint free. Not to mention you will use 50% less tape!  Click the pictures to enlarge for detail.

I call this the next picture the SOS method.  The old dot and dash, where you tape the baseboard 100% and then try to tape your drop cloth to the taped base board!  Doesn't work does it.  You always tend to drop your drips right in between the tape, right?  Me too.

Retail: An Insiders Guide to Surviving the Shops.

Before I became a beauty blogger, for 17 years I was a retail Store Manager.  I want to share my knowledge and what I consider the insider secrets of how a retail shop operates during 'Holiday' more commonly known as Q4 or 4th Quarter;  November, December and January.

For starters, why do you think it's called Black Friday? It's the day that Retail hopes to get out of the red and get into the black.  It's also a day that seems to trigger an instant thought of fighting.  Fighting for parking.  Fighting for personal space.  Fighting for the last one.  Fighting your way in line and finally fighting fatigue.  The truth: You're only fighting yourself. 

The following might explain why you feel frustration when you're shopping this season.

Trust Me, It's Not Good Till the Last Drop.

Have you noticed this on the back or your skincare and cosmetics? Basically, it's the 'Good For __ Months' after you have opened a product. 6M = 6 Months, 12M = 12 Months etc.

When was the last time you cleaned out and purged old makeup and lingering skincare?   It might seem like a daunting task if you've just discovered that cosmetics have an expiration date but I have easily broken down what and when it needs to go.  No matter how much product is remaining in the vessel.

A Good Grooming Know-How

The Ultimate Mens Shave Guide:
Good grooming requires a little know-how and a degree of commitment. the benefits of a good regime will help you look and feel your best and give you healthier smoother skin. Follow our simple guide and we guarantee you'll have a closer longer lasting and more comfortable shave.

Tatcha Japanese Blotting Papers

Perhaps it is the flecks of gold that present visible elegance but these blotting papers are truly luxurious.
Luxury squared.

Gimmicky Gadget?

Or an Investment Worth Every Penny?

This brush is amazing. I purchased this at Sephora, specifically because it was the BCA model. It comes with the sensitive brush head which I think is a good starter brush, after 90 days I replaced it with the normal brush head. *I now replace my brush head every 70 days - I think 90 is too long, I feel the brush start to soften, like when you need to change your toothbrush.
My skin was visibly cleaner after the first use. It was super soft and smooth, there wasn't a trace of makeup or residue of SPF lingering. When I used my moisturizer, I noticed a completely different feel - it actually melted into my skin, not just sitting on top. 

YES to Blueberries Eye Firming Treatment

First off, I love the vessel.  Even though the .5oz siphon pump delivers too much product, you will be able to use every single drop of this cream. Provided that you control the pump, you will have zero wasted product = excellent return on investment.  The cap locks tight and you can easily toss it in an overnight bag for travel.  Plus the vessel is recyclable. 

top: full amount distributed by the pump. Below: the amount you actually use.

Let it go, let it go, let it go!

And for those products that "one day" you might wear again.
Which we both know you won't.

When To Throw Out Makeup
  • SPF Makeup - Makeup with sunscreen have expiration dates listed on the bottle, which you should toss since the sun protection will degrade. Physical blocks like titanium dioxide don’t usually have dates, and are good for about three years. If you’re unsure whether or not you need to throw it away, take a sniff and look at the texture of the product. If it’s clumping, runny, or smells out of the ordinary, it’s time to give it a heave-ho.

ExfoliKate. Exfolamayzing!

What makes this exfoliator different is that it is a treatment, not a traditional scrub per se. It is grainy but the idea is not to use the granules to exfoliate but to let the enzyme do the work. You squeeze a small dollop onto your finger tips and smooth around your damp face, avoiding lips and eye area then wait about 30 seconds for the enzymes to finish doing their thing and then rinse it off.
The first time I used it I thought my face was melting off, the cinnamon oil was intense but the second time I felt hardly any discomfort.  I wet my fingers and apply a pea sized amount, rub it between my finger tips to disperse the product then apply to my face.

Why Add a Facial Makeup Remover.

Lately I've been hearing women talk of using more and more cleanser yet they still see makeup residue on their cotton round after applying toner.  Like most, you probably use a makeup remover made specifically for your eyes but have you considered adding a facial makeup remover to your regime?  A facial makeup remover is different than a cleanser; one is designed to break down cosmetic product and the other is designed to clean the skin.  Tools like the Clarisonic can do both.

One of a Kind Zac Posen Necklace ~ DIY

I spoke of this gorgeous Zac Posen red leather jacket on my blog about 5 months ago as part of my favourite Target Designer Finds. Seen here.

Urban Decay 15 year Party Palette

♫ It’s our party and we’ll launch 
15 NEW eyeshadow shades if we want to! ♫

I have been hanging on to a Macy's gift card since Christmas 2010.  It's not that I wasn't in a hurry to spend it, it's that I couldn't find anything I liked (mainly sale shoes) for the same price as the value, or close to, my gift card. 

Anyhoo...I was strolling through the cosmetic department at Macy's Valley Fair and decided to look for something new.  Something that I would normally never buy but that I wanted to treat myself to.  I thought I should try a new-to-me brand's colour..... Maybe I will get lucky and find a set for $40 or $50.....  OMG SHINY!!!!

Thrifting for Designers

As far back as I can remember I have been in love with fashion.  It seemed second nature to follow the latest designers, the hottest styles and seasonal trends but following and owning are two different things.  On a shoe-string budget how do you put Designers in your closet?  The thrifty way.

You've probably seen my personal blog posts about thrifting and the deals that I have brought home but thrifting for Designers and Premier Designers can become a costly adventure if you're not sure what to look for.  Since you're buying pre-owned, keep in mind the pieces you come across are probably not going to have a smoking gun of authenticity, arm yourself with these tips.

First, Some Rules: 
#1 - Ask questions before you buy.
Can you return it, if it's a fake?

Fabulous Fendi Find

If you know anything about me know this, I am a handbag girl. I love pocketbooks. With the exception of Kate Spade and Coach, my prestigious collection consists of 1 bag from each line. I try to choose a neutrally classic piece that goes with everything and will last a lifetime over something trendy that quickly becomes outdated once a new trend emerges. This bag didn't break that rule it simply redefined my definition of neutral.
With its 70's inspired swirls of camel, sky and fuschia, this silk creation is modernized by the envelope details and gold hardware.  A gift from my boyfriend, she comes to me secondhand from Crossroad Trading Co. Yep, another Crossroad find!

Before you judge the receiving of a used item, I picked it out as I was hunting for an anniversary gift. Originally retailing for $1750.00 it is large enough to hold an iPad and was only $200.00 including the dust bag and authenticity card.

Tell me about your latest and greatest finds, Gorgeous! xoxo

Henri Bendel Brings NY to SV

The Bendel secret is out of the bag!!
And what a gorgeously striped bag it is!

Three truths:
1) I honestly had no idea it was open.
How was I not on that mailing list?
2) I thought it was going to be 'part of' Victoria's Secret. 
It is a Limited Brand, they share the umbrella not space. ella ella ella.
It was only coincidental they were both closed 
and under construction / remodel at the same time.
3) I thought they only sold candles.
Boy was I wrong.

How to Save at CVS

Extreme couponing isn't about buying 100 of 1 item and looking like a hoarder, it's about saving money for your family.  I don't just walk into CVS and save 90% it involves a bit of planning and a bit more patience.  Let me show you how I was able to come home with this: Four (4) wet Swiffer 12packs and three (3) 12packs of Charmin toilet paper for $6.95.

Stila Grab Bag

My first Stila Grab Bag! I was super excited that I found @MorenaBarbee's tweet spilling the Grab Bag beans, I headed right over to Stila online and couldn't find it!  Then it occurred to me, that I probably have to add something to my cart for the option of the grab bag to pop up and I was right! Once I clicked the Add to Bag icon above, I was taken back to my cart where I disposed of the item that I used to initiate the grab bag option.  I only wanted the Grab Bag,  it was not in my budget to make an additional purchase.


Perception = Reality
Expectation = Belief
Interesting what visions you can created when you set an expectation from perceived wording.  

I try to keep an open mind but when I awoke to an email titled 'Va Va Voom' I was expecting to see a picture of a shapely goddess with the likes of Christina Hendricks, although I'm not sure why, knowing who pushed the email.  Still, I was caught off guard when I discovered Anthropologie tricks'd me to the vision a waif in white.

Don't mind if I Do Save $176

I thought lightning can't strike twice in seven days, right?  Thankfully, I was wrong.  Once again I popped over to Crossroads Trading Co off of W. San Carlos and made a mini score. 

Don't Let it be a Bitchbox

A few days after I wrote this it was announced that Birchbox received $10.5million in additional funding for growth.

I'm hearing and seeing the complaints.  They're louder as the months go on.  Maybe more people are complaining since Birchbox seems to be exploding with new subscribers. Growing at a rate of 50% per month it has been estimated that Birchbox currently has 45,000 members (60,000 members by the time this posts).  Still, I'm left to wonder: Why does it seem they aren't hearing you

Is no one listening or is it deeper.  Have you actually spoken up or is the indirectness of your communication from a fear of burning the proverbial bridge or you simply believe nothing can be done?  Perhaps they have just been too overwhelmed to do anything about it.

How to Read Beauty Product Labels

"How to Read Beauty Product Labels" was first reported on Yahoo and I thought this information is worth repeating.  This post was not written by or about me or my views. The points where I have added my two cents are in this same shade of purple, sometimes listed as Editor's note. In case you missed the original post, here it is:

I use the Garnier Fructis Body Boost Fortifying Shampoo. The bottle says that it’s for “fine or flat hair” and “weightlessly boosts for all-day volume.” Cosmetics expert Paula Begoun wants to talk about false information. “Garnier's Body Boost Fortifying Shampoo has lots of window-dressing wording that looks good on the label but does nothing for your hair.  Labeled for Fine/Limp hair, the shampoo does a great job of cleansing all hair and scalp types with minimal risk of buildup.”

So why does Garnier market it otherwise? In short, because they can – which is exactly why you should never buy a personal care product based on a promise on its packaging.

Unlike medications, these products are not approved by the FDA. It’s shocking, I know – we apply them to a vital organ (our skin) on a daily basis – but it’s true.

Victoria's New Secret

I was in Valley Fair last Friday for what turned out to be Victoria's Secret soft re-grand opening.  The remodeled store looks HOT!   It's not 100% complete, what was the original Pink shop is still closed   There are some odd design choices, in my opinion, such as fitting rooms by the front door, seen all the way to the right of the picture, with white doors.  But the look is fresh and sexy.  I'm sure when they complete and open the entire store in October, it will be worth the wait - and the sacrifice... 

Gorgeous white furniture flank the sales floor, boudoir style.

Thrifting for a 2012 Wardrobe

Saturday has never been a day that I would venture out to go shopping.  Well, let me rephrase - after working retail for 17 years, I knew better than to go shopping on a Saturday, the day 'everyone else' had off.  But I couldn't help myself.  I was feeling a bit stir crazy and needed to feel the warm California sunshine against my face.  So I hopped in my jeep and headed to Crossroads Trading company off of West San Carlos and this is what I scored:

Click photos to enlarge

Cleaning Clothes: Your Tags Decoded

Wondering what the little symbols on the care tags in your clothes mean?  +Purex101: those laundry symbols tell you how to take care of your clothes and in general, show the maximum treatment a garment can handle.


Machine Washable 
Machine Washable. Use Regular/Normal cycle with regular agitation and spin speed. This is the most vigorous wash cycle.

Permanent Press Wash Setting

Permanent Press Wash Setting.  Use Permanent Press/Wrinkle Resistant washer setting, which usually has a cool down or cold spray before the reduced spin. This setting is for stain or wrinkle-resistant fabrics.

Gentle Wash Setting

Gentle Wash Setting.  Use Gentle/Delicate washer setting (slow agitation and/or reduced wash time). This setting is for lingerie, machine-washable sweaters, and other delicate fabrics.

FeatherLuxe part Deux

I saw Jennifer with FeatherLuxe the week before I left for school.  I was just short of desperate for 2 services:  I wanted my first bundle moved to the crown of my head and I wanted a second bundle.  

It was time for my adjustment. Bundle #1 was down almost 2" from my scalp and I nearly pulled it out with my brush a few times. My first bundle was low, behind my ear and was completely lost when I wore my hair down.  The second bundle added a stronger impact and more colour.  

Back to MAC = FREE Lipstick

Have you noticed this inside your M·A·C box(es) and wondered what does that mean?  Or perhaps you haven't noticed, left oblivious by your excited anticipation to gain access to your new treasure, you bypass the tiny writing on the inside arm of the packaging because your cosmetically blinded while ripping open the box.

Homemade Sugar Scrub.

I start with a small plastic food container.  I use plastic in case the vessel were to slip off of my bench, it would not shatter in my shower. 

I use 'baking' sugar because it is a very fine grind and will not microscopically scratch your skin the way raw sugar can.  I add 1/3 cup of sugar then drizzle about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on top.  I don't actually measure any of the ingredients, I add them on a visual 'that looks good' basis - I don't want to waste time or water washing measuring cups and spoons.

PRONUNCIATION prə-nənsē-āshən

Every time I shop I see it.  A well-meaning client asks for a product or the where-abouts of a brand and butchers the foreign pronunciation of the name.  As cringe worthy as some of those pronunciations are, let me help you avoid the pursed lips of a Consultant who doesn't know how to delicately educate you.

Borghese  bor-gay-zeh (-za) NOT bor-gay-zee
How a luxury brand, that soon became known simply as Borghese, was born : In 1938 a 17-year-old Italian girl named Marcella Fazi married a widowed nobleman named Paolo Borghese and promptly became a Princess.  Princess Borghese loved beauty products and had her toiletries specially made for her, using only the finest natural ingredients found on the grounds of her villa in Rome. With aspirations of developing a lipstick line of her own that would boast a wider array of hues than those that were readily available in those days, she finessed an introduction to the founder of Revlon, Charles Revlon, in 1956. Soon her eponymous line launched a collection of bright lipsticks and nail polishes that complemented her couture designer pal Emilio Pucci's famed knitwear.

Getting my Pretty Back with Molly Ringwald

Yep, she's signing the book you're going to win!

June 14th Molly Ringwald and her eldest daughter, Mathilda, stopped by Benefit Cosmetics in San Francisco for a mini Q&A and Book signing event.  Featuring "Getting the Pretty Back" in soft cover, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend with my good friend and resident +1, Fawn, where I had a book signed and a picture taken!

Such a tweeze.

I know you've heard about it.
You might have even thought about having it done.
Until all of the what-ifs take over and you think, "I almost jumped on the crazy train."  Well,  ALL ABOARD!

I was the unfortunate recipient of Uni-Brow at birth, so I tweezed.
And tweezed and tweezed and tweezed.

*Click pictures to enlarge* 

Hello, brows!  Where are you??
Think Marlene Dietrich but not professionally plucked.  One was shorter.  One was thicker.
Working with the public made it impossible to try and grow them out so I just kept tweezing.  

Yves Saint Laurent Eye Shadow Duo

For Ombres Duolumieres in #15 Rich colours and long lasting, this was my favourite pallet Fall '10. With a shimmering all over / highlighting pink 'Shimmering Quartz" and a defining 'Deep Amethyst' purple, this set can be used wet or dry and comes with 2 sponge applicators; one wide for all over coverage and a thin one for lining and defining.  

Highly pigmented, a little goes a long way. I love smudging the darker shade in all of my smokey eye looks - it's dramatic and seductive. They go on silky smooth and never look frosty, just beautiful and are quite long lasting - even for an oily eyelid.

A splurge at $41 ($20.50 per shadow) I have 2 sets and I will probably not buy more because Department Store Divas, get a bigger bang for your buck with Dior's 5 Couleurs Designer pallets.  4 stars out of 5. xoxo

Look 10 pound lighter instantly. Change your bra!

It's true.  Wearing the right bra and lifting the girls from your waist will instantly make you look 10 pounds thinner.  Plus you will stand a little more straight making you taller.

1) Diversify. You need 6 styles in your bra wardrobe: Smooth, strapless, sporty, sexy, t-back and a leisure bra; comfortable and soft.

2) Hit the Sweet Spot. Your nipple should line up half way between your elbow and your shoulder.  If it doesn't you could be wearing the wrong bra.

How To Remove Glitter Nail Polish

How about this little tip Deborah Lippmann shared with me: 
How to easily and effortlessly remove glitter nail polish.

I had the pleasure of meeting Deborah Lippmann at a Nordstrom Trend Show a few years ago and took the opportunity to asked her the secret to removing glitter nailpolish. The process she described was so simple, I didn't believe her. Until I put it to the test and could not believe how fast it works; no more scrubbing and scrubbing and finally filing off the rest of the glitter bits. You know what I'm talking about.

Tweezerman Stainless Steel Slant Tweezers

So good - this was a rebuy. I love them.  So fabulous,  I even catch my husband cleaning up strays.  These are perfectly aligned and have hand-filed tips.  These award winning tweezers grip even the tiniest thinnest little hair and remove it completely, quickly.  I do not have an issue where root / hair bulb is left in my skin, looking like a blackhead. I know that sounds disgusting but cheap tweezers are cheap for a reason.  They're comfortably weighted and easy to control. I have had my brows completed with permanent makeup so I use this to keep the center and under part of my brows clean. This is my second purchase - I lost my other pair. They are worth every freaking penny and Tweezerman offers lifetime free sharpening. 5 stars out of 5.

Chanel JOUES CONTRASTE Powder Blush

This review is for #44 Narcisse.
Sadly, this cult favourite has been discontinued.

Just passing, this blusher looks like it could be very chalky. It is a rosy pink that I dust on my apples and all the way up my cheek bones to my hair line.


Someone asked me to define why my stockpile is one years worth. Coupons are distributed like fashion; seasonally.  You will only see that rock bottom price once maybe twice per year and that's when I strike!  There's sale and than there's SALE but unlike fashion, these sales happen at the start of the season not the end.  

Yes to Blueberry Towelettes Review.

I am currently using the eye cream from the same collection and love it.   It only made sense that I would love these too, right?  I do.   They are amazing.

First off: they are 100% biodegradable therefore they are guilt-free.  I use them exclusively at the gym where I take 2 classes back to back.  I use a wipe between the classes to clean off my face, neck and chest and since I have started using these towelettes, the additional breakouts due to excessive sweating has stopped.

My Target Style.

Honestly, I can't wait for Missoni to hit Target this September.  I made a note in iCal so I could hit my location immediately!  I wanted to share with you some of my favourite Target Designer pieces that I have picked up over the past 2 years.

*Click on the picture to enlarge*

Zak Posen - The infamous $200 red leather motorcycle jacket. it is a little darker than this picture portrays.  I scored mine on the 75% off rack.  That's right $49.99!  That's also right: the tag is still attached.  I just haven't had the right occasion to wear it.  For the past 16 months.  The denim is from Victoria's Secret London Collection, $19.99.

Savings on the Back End

It's not all upfront savings, some times you have to put out cash and submit for 
A) Manufacture MIR mail in rebates or 
B) Store rebates example: Rite Aid Single Rebate Checks - SRC or 
C) BOTH!  <-- The ultimate money maker because both of these are checks you ca$h

Yesterday at Rite Aid I came home with $126.34 in product and I spent $63.36 OOP / 49% savings. But that's not where my savings end!  I will receive $21.96 in MIR and $12.99 in SRC + I have $15.00 in UpRewards to use and I received a $4.99 GWP.  So that's $34.95 cash back in my pocket + $15.00UpR + $4.99GWP means this trip cost $8.42.  

$8.42 is a 86% savings and here's how I did it:

Keep Birchbox or say Birchnots?

April 2011
This was my first Birchbox.  Sure for $10 it was a blast - "dove" zoya nail polish, a cement gray, right on trend. "liv grn" parfume sample.  It smells fresh and yummy like you're passing just-cut pear through the window of a jasmine filled night.  "Wild Rose" facial lotion by Weleda, have not tried this yet.  CAN'T WAIT to use the foaming cleanser by SukiFace.  The lemongrass is so intoxicating I want to scoop it out with my finger and eat it. And finally, chamomile tea, which I drank before this pic was taken! I blame the black licorice!  There is a little card enclosed that you can plant and it will turn to wild flowers. 

Rollin Rollin Rollin

Keep your coupons rolling......
How to roll your CVS ExtraBucks and WAG RapidRewards to pay as little OOP as possible.

Let's use today's purchase from CVS as our example and see how I paid only $18.85 for $89.14 in product for (4) showergels, (2) powder drink mixes (2) Arm&Hammer dryer sheets (1) Vitamin D (4) Cranberry supplements (2) Finish tabs (1) Nivea cellulite serum (2) GreenBag Tags.

All of this for $18.85 @CVS

In full plume.

I was looking for an affordable alternative to the standard feather pricing in town, $7 to $10 per feather.  I knew if I searched the interwebs long enough I would find the answer.  And I did.  Yelp pointed me to Feather Luxe West Coast, a company providing professional feather extensions without the use of glue or adhesives.  Best of all was the cost:  $25 per bundle of 6-8 feathers.  Not $25 per feather but per bundle.  

I knew I had to put this company to the test so I reached out to Jennifer Nye-Walsh, a FeatherHead servicing the San Jose / South Bay area.  We met a few days later, where I was able to choose my own colour combination of blue, green and white/black.  As we chatted about my couponing, she carefully selected individual feathers for my bundle; measuring them against one another for balance and trimming any excess fuzz so they would melt in with my hair.

100% Pure Purity Hydrating Tonique

Acne care
I have been looking for natural alternatives to my skincare regime and this toner has won a permanent spot!  I have used Clinique's Clarifying lotion #3 for 20 years and although I am extremely happy with it, I am looking to be more green.

I tip the bottle twice onto my cotton round.  Not saturating, just 2 damp spots.  I was afraid that my skin would feel sticky after the application since there wouldn't be an evaporation period due to the lack of alcohol, but it didn't feel that way.  As an oily skin the last thing I want to feel is sticky residue after I washed all the grime off.  I actually enjoy the addition of alcohol;  I like the coolness and the quick dry-down time.  Not only do I feel comfortably hydrated, this product does dry down completely.

My Extreme Couponing Binder.

The key to savings is organization.  Well, lots of elbow grease and a solid understanding that you must be organized.  I have been following The Krazy Coupon Lady, learning her techniques and best practices and I have been doing fairly well for myself.  

So let me share with you my binder.  I'm super proud of it.   I bought the binder at target, It is a 1.5",  soon I will need either another or a larger replacement.  It is stuffed with baseball Trading Card Pages that I purchased at Staples.  I bought 4 packages for $2.99 per package.

SAY YES TO CLEAR. Roller Ball Spot Stick

Acne suffers, say Yes To Tomatoes Roller Ball Spot Stick.  This 97% natural product has been 100% effective treating and ridding my acne.  Purchased @Target for $9.99 it rivals any department store brand that I have used - which have also cost twice as much.

The 2% Salicylic Acid formula treats acne at the source by providing exfoliation of the upper epidermis - this prevents the pores of the skin from getting clogged up and being infected with bacteria. In addition, a blend of Ginger and Bisabolol have anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...