Friday, November 28, 2008

25 Holiday Shopping Tips for the 25 Days of Christmas: Tip #5

After over 15 years of retail management, I have worked for retailers in good times and the not-so-good times. In fact, my first retail management position was the The Broadway (remember them??!!) and I began working there when they were already in Chapter 11. I recall going into some of the stores that we began to close to transfer inventory to stores that were planned to stay open. I was recruited to work for another retailer, so I was not with The Broadway when they closed their doors for good. However, I did buy a lot from The Broadway when they were dramatically marking down and liquidating inventory.


Shop for killer prices from retailers going out of business or closing stores.

With this tip, however, comes a cautionary note. You can find great prices, but you will have little to no recourse should what you bought not fit, not work or be a duplicate item. I have already heard many anecdotal tales of incredible deals that are out there from a wide variety of retailers that are struggling or closing for good. With that "deal" comes the realization that it is pretty much a "final sale"!

This is a great time to buy basics, buy what you know will fit, and buy things that have reliable manufacturer warranties. For example, if you were to purchase an electronics item from a retailer going out of business, you may have a solid year of manufacturer coverage anyway.

Tip: This can also be a great time to "shop ahead". When I worked for one retailer, I would often buy post-holiday clearance toys as birthday, even Christmas, presents for the year ahead. If you see great deals on digital cameras, mp3 players, digital frames, clothing basics, etc., I would buy them now and have them as presents you can give all year long. You can enjoy these savings for weeks and months to come!

p.s. Here is one present that will always fit, always work and never need to be returned or exchanged! PERSONALIZED WINE!

Personal Wine Holiday Sale 08 - 125x125
Custom Wine = The Perfect Gift

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

25 Holiday Shopping Tips for the 25 Days of Christmas: Tip #4

After over 15 years of retail management, I definitely understand how to leverage resources to get the best deal possible. As a buyer, I would hunt down the best prices, special quantities buys, closeouts...whatever it took to get the best quality at the best value. As a consumer, you have the same power to leverage retailers to get the best prices and best deals. Retailers are competing for your dollar, make them work for it!


Leverage your buying power this holiday season. Look for retailers and grocery stores to compete for your dollar by offering you special bonuses for committing your discretionary income to their store.

A perfect example is what the Ralph's (Kroger) grocery chain is offering to their customers for the holiday season. If you purchase gift cards at a Ralph's store with your "Ralph's Rewards" card, they will TRIPLE your bonus points earned on your card.

So what are "bonus points"? At Ralph's, you earn bonus points with each dollar that you spend that accumulate each quarter, and at the end of that quarter you are issued a voucher that you can apply toward a future shopping trip. (Some categories do not apply, like alcohol, tobacco, etc.) You earn $5.00 toward your voucher with the first 500 points you earn, then a $1.00 for each additional 100points. My voucher from last quarter was $27.00. So, Ralph's basically gave me $27.00 for shopping with them. Okay, I will take it!

So, with this scenario, if I were to buy, say $300 in gift cards, I would earn 900 points, another 9.00 applied on my next voucher. So, for doing nothing more than buying the same gift cards I would have purchased from Target, iTunes, Best Buy, American Express, Visa, Barnes & Noble (and on and on...I was amazed by their wonderful selection!) I am basically given $9.00 for that purchase! And, probably saved that much in gas not running around town to get all of the cards from all of the different stores!

This is the kind of leveraging that helps you save money, and even EARN money, this holiday season. All kinds of retailers offer reward programs, find out what they are and leverage them if they make sense. I am a "Beauty Insider" with Sephora and earn points for the shopping I do with Sephora. I was able to get several stocking stuffers, and a gift set worth $150.00 for FREE, yes FREE by using my "Beauty Insider" points for the holidays!

Insider Tip: Leverage your buying trips to truly leverage the retailer's offer. Case in point: While at my neighborhood Ralph's store, a customer bought $2000.00 in gift cards for her company's holiday party. She was joking about how excited her boss was that she offered to do this for him...little did he know that she was not only on the clock to do this shopping trip for him, but she also earned another $60.00 (6000 bonus points!) to apply toward a future shopping trip! Leverage your purchasing power, and you will truly leverage your rewards!

p.s. Leverage the buying power of this amazing offer from Bliss!

Bliss World, LLC
Free Shipping + Free Our Two Scents Set (a $24 value) with $50 Bliss purchase! Offer valid through 12.01.08.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

25 Holiday Shopping Tips for the 25 Days of Christmas: Tip #3

After over 15 years of retail management, I understand how important getting the right price can be to the customer. I know from my own experience how frustrating it can be to buy something, only to find that a few short days later it is cheaper! Consumers want to feel like they got the best price possible, and with so many of us on much tighter holiday budgets it is more important than ever. And truly, most retailers will work really hard to make sure that you get the right price, and that you are satisfied with your purchase.

This tip is even more important in the current retail environment. With a tightening economy, many retailers are becoming more and more promotional, and will be driving sales fast and furious. So, you will have to be quick and savvy shopper to keep up!


Keep an eye on the ads and offers from retailers. If you have already started your holiday shopping, you may qualify for a price adjustment if the price has dropped since you purchased that item (or items!). Keep your receipts handy, and you may find yourself saving a few extra bucks this holiday season!

Most major retailers have a price adjustment policy, for example, Target gives you 14days to price adjust with your receipt. The only exception is clearance. Make sure you know the price adjustment policy of the retailers you frequent this holiday season. I have already saved $10.00 in price adjusting THIS WEEK. I cannot stress enough how quickly prices are going to adjust to this economy, and I want to see you benefit from those price adjustments!

I keep my receipts from about a 15 day - 30 day time period in an envelope in my purse. That way, if I see prices that have changed, I am able to get the adjustment immediately, while I am already in the store. I also watch the ads and circulars closely and check to make sure that my previous purchases have not dropped in price any further.

Even your online purchases should qualify, so again, be informed before you buy! The easiest way to protect yourself with online purchases is to either bookmark that page or mark it as a "favorite". That way you can check back to see if the price has changed. You can also create "Google Alerts" that would let you know anytime that item has been featured in a news article, blog, website, etc. Now, of course, this is a lot of work for a handful of stocking stuffers! However, I would recommend you take the couple of extra seconds, or even minutes, for your online big ticket purchases.

Speaking of online, sometimes retailers have online prices that are different then their prices instore. This is usually a tricky one and many retailers will not adjust prices when it comes to a price on their website vs. a price in their store. If you purchased the item online and it is less expensive in the store, most likely they will direct you back to the website to contact the customer service division. This is where I love retailers with live chat!

If you purchased the item instore, and see it less expensive on their website, you may have the option of asking the store for the price adjustment. I would screen print the item and price and have that as backup. Often, when customers are clearly informed, professional and polite, managers will be flexible and want to help.

Insider Tip: I also urge you to be a savvy consumer and ask store management if they will adjust prices for you if you are outside of their price adjustment window. I know people who start their holiday shopping early, and while prices are dropping now, they should still have some measure of price protection. From my experience in store management, it was the extremely rare exception that we did not price adjust to make a customer happy. If you bought that XBox a year or so ago and it is less expensive now, that would most likely not qualify, not even with the most liberal of store policies. But, if you bought that hot game in October that everyone said would disappear before the holidays, probably have a great case for a store manager who needs to work a bit harder this holiday season to keep your business!

P.S. Give the gift of beauty from Benefit this holiday season! Their prices are fantastic, and Benefit is offering amazing holiday offers! Click the picture below for more information or to start shopping:

Benefit Cosmetics LLC

Unlock Benefit’s holiday treasure chest to reveal a secret beauty treat! Gorgeous gifts, shipping offers, or insider tips…each day there is something new!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Seven Proven Tips to Stretch Your Beauty Dollar

With today's economic climate, many of us are watching our dollars more closely than ever. However, we still want to care for our skin, our appearance and have a positive outlook on how we look and feel. Here are seven proven tips to stretch your beauty budget even further. As a bonus, I have included a "splurge" item with each tip. If you have it in your budget to splurge a bit, these are the items that you can spend a little extra on to enjoy the added benefits!

1. Drink Water. Many doctors and dermatologists will tell you that drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your skin. It improves the clarity and texture of your skin and can even help you reduce cellulite. Cut out the costly sodas and expensive lattes and stick to good old fashioned H2O. You will not only see the impact in your skin and overall wellness, but you will see more money in your wallet!

Splurge item: Borba has wonderful products that can truly impact your skin. They have both "Balance Waters" and "Crystalline" packets that you can add to your water bottle. These products can help you to improve your skin's clarity, firmness and promotes anti-aging.

(Click on Borba image for more information or to purchase)

2. Wear Sunglasses. While this seems very basic, or a tip to maintain eye health, wearing sunglasses, even when it is overcast, can help to mitigate the damage that squinting and frowning can do around your eyes and on your brow. Women and men alike spend a great deal on botox and other products to relax these lines or use products that claim to "fill" the fine lines. All of that time and energy could have been spent on a pair of sunglasses that over time will help to minimize the lines.

Splurge item: Invest in 100% UV Protection. Many less expensive sunglasses may be fun and fashionable and help you see a bit better in sunlight, but the best protection comes typically with premium sunglasses.

3. Wash your skin. Yes, mom's advice to wash your face is some of the best advice! Washing your skin helps to remove make up, environmental "yuk" and helps to keep your pores clear. Unfortunately, too many people think that they have to buy the expensive cleansing foams and gels as it cleans more thoroughly, or is more gentle, or they read about it in the latest magazine. In fact, there are fantastic face washes and gels that you can buy in any drug store that will do the exact same job.

Splurge item: Purchase a high quality exfoliation cream or gel. Exfoliation is a great way to improve your skin's clarity and texture. I recommend Dr. Brandt's "Dermabrasion in a Jar".

4. Wear sunscreen. This one cannot be stressed enough. This helps you to not only avoid serious issues with skin cancer, but a sunscreen works miracles on cutting down on the damage that sun does to your skin. So many of us have fine lines, brown spots and other skin damage that could have been minimized, and certainly delayed by religiously using sunscreen.

Splurge Item: Buy a sunscreen that is Dermatologist Grade or created specifically for the face. Many sunscreens can be a bit on the heavy/greasy side, and that can take its own toll on your skin. I recommend Murad's "Oil-Free Sunblock SPF 30"for a wonderful sunscreen that is not at all greasy and can easily be worn every day under makeup.

5. Buy products that multi-task. There are many wonderful products that do more than one job for your beauty routine. There are eye creams that have a slight concealing tint. There are moisturizers that have a nice tint so you can skip foundation for daytime coverage. I love the tint products that can be used as blush and lip color. Multitask and save not only money, but time on your beauty routine.

Splurge Item: Benefit's "You Rebel". This is a moisturizer, tint AND sunscreen (SPF 15) all rolled into one!

(Click on "You Rebel" image for more information or to purchase)

6. Stick with what you know. I am the ideal beauty counter customer. I see new colors or a new product line, I sit down for a make over, I buy everything they put on me. Then, I get it all home, forget how to use some of it, realize that I kind of already have that eye color or that blush. Just say no to up-selling! Stick with what you know, avoid the temptation and focus solely on what you need and what you know works for you. Experimenting is fun, but it can come with a hefty price tag!

Splurge Item: Buy one of the multi-product and color kits that you see at Sephora, or another beauty counter. Typically, the kits are promotionally priced, and you can get a variety of lip, cheek and eye colors that are in smaller, almost "trial" amounts and still have plenty of fun with trying new colors, new looks.

7. Embrace your unique beauty. This tip is the best of the bunch! We all have a unique beauty that is truly ours, and that is so important to remember and enjoy. We spend huge sums to cover up freckles, this little red spot, that little scar. We get lost in just that one flaw, and forget that we are the stunning sum of many beautiful parts.

Splurge Item: Teeth-whitening strips or treatment in your dentist's office. A beautiful smile is sexy, gorgeous, welcoming, and a lasting impact on everyone who you know and love. Make the most out of your smile with healthy white teeth!

25 Holiday Shopping Tips for the 25 Days of Christmas!

After over 15 years of retail management, I know how retailers lure in shoppers and entice them to spend far more than they may have budgeted. How many times did you get to your car or your home and start looking at the bags and the arm long receipts and wonder why you ended up buying too much? We have all been there, and I hope these holiday shopping tips with save you both time AND money! Bookmark or follow my blog for the next 24 tips in the days to come!


Bring in ads and store circulars to shop for specific items.

This comes on the heels of tip #1 (Make a list, check it twice) for a very specific reason: to help you buy the right items at the right prices.

Often, retailers offer a specific item, say a particular mp3 player at a killer price point. These "door busters" (or whatever that retailer calls them) are a special buy for holiday shoppers. It is a specific item that the buyers negotiated with the manufacturer, and it is often slightly different than the other mp3 offerings that store may have. It may be that it only comes in black, that it has slightly less file storage than another, maybe slightly lower quality earplugs. You get the picture.

So, when you go to the store, you grab the first mp3 player that you find, assuming that it is that killer item from your ad. You have a basketful of items, and you may or may not even notice in the rush, and the lines, and the crowds that the mp3 player you thought was that amazing price that is in your budget is actually the other mp3 player that is twice as much!

Bring the ad, bring the store circular. Take the time to make sure that what you are purchasing is what is in the ad. Often, the small print has the model number to match to the item you are buying.

Extra tip: As these items are often special purchases, with limited quantities, you may find that the items are already out of stock. I hate to share trade secrets, but I have been in situations where only 6 of an item arrived...and 100 people lined up outside for those six items. Retailers will not offer rainchecks, as the quantity is limited. I would urge you to find a manager, first asking for the store manager, to see if they can work with you on offering a great price on a similar item. Most of the time they will...they want to save the sale, they want to drive the volume, and, if they are truly worth their name badge, they want to make YOU happy! Ask, and ye shall receive!

p.s. Here is an amazing gift to give, and you don't have to worry about any "fine print"! Give the gift of personalized wine this holiday season. No minimums, you can order one bottle, personalized to your desire! Makes wonderful hostess gifts, family gifts, business gifts, and is simply a wonderful way to tell someone you took the time to personalize it!

Personal Wine Holiday Sale 08 - 125x125

Click on image for more information or to purchase! Custom Wine = The Perfect Gift

Sunday, November 23, 2008

25 Holiday Shopping Tips for the 25 Days of Christmas!

Quite honestly, I am not much of a holiday shopper. After over 15 years of retail management, I really got pretty burnt out on the retail and commercialized part of the holidays. That is one of the main reasons why I dedicated so much of myself to spend time with family and friends over the holidays. Time was one gift I could give others that was truly one of the most precious gift of all!

With my years of retail experience, I have tons of tips to give shoppers to help them navigate the retail waters, both in-store and online. With so many of us on tighter budgets this holiday season, I hope these tips with save you both time AND money! Bookmark or follow my blog for the next 24 tips in the days to come!


Make a list and check it twice.

I cannot stress this enough. I myself fall prey to the retail frenzy, especially with the online shopping that I enjoy! However, this year all of my loved ones are on strict orders from me (wow, I know, sounds like all kinds of holiday fun!): Make a list, I will only buy what is on your list!

A list keeps you focused, a list keeps you from buying things you think they want vs. what they truly want, and a list keeps you on your budget. With a list, you tally up prices and meet your budget.

I figure if it is good for Santa, it is good for me!

p.s. Here is a great item to put your on holiday lists, or even buy for yourself as a great treat for some relaxation during the crazy, busy holiday season! Santa approved!

Click on image for more information or to purchase! Free standard shipping and a free 1 oz. high intensity hand cream on all purchases of $75 or more at Enter code 108916 at checkout to redeem.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holiday Gifts from K. A. Mace Jewelry!

K. A. Mace Jewelry has holiday gifts in a wide variety of styles, gemstones and freshwater pearls and pricepoints. Visit the K. A. Mace Jewelry website today to discover just how incredibly affordable fine, handmade jewelry can be for those on your holiday shopping list (or for a special gift for YOU!)!

K. A. Mace Golden Glory Ring

Furthermore, K. A. Mace now offers financing on K. A. Mace Jewelry Orders!

(K. A. Mace Beer Quartz and Multitourmaline Vine Earrings)

K. A. Mace offers financing on orders $150.00 or more! Upon sending and acknowledging your order, K. A. Mace will charge 1/2 of the total amount to the credit card (or PayPal account) that you choose. Your jewelry will be created and sent to you, as per the order. 30 days after shipping the order, the other 1/2 of the order total will be due, and automatically charged to the credit card (or PayPal account) that you designate. Please contact K. A. Mace at for more details. (Subject to credit approval).

For orders over $250.00. this financing can be split into as many as four payments!

Visit K. A. Mace Jewelry today! Feel free to contact me at with questions regarding specific pieces, pricing options, or just to say "Hello"!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Top Beauty Trends for 2009

I recently read that Mintel, an international research consultancy, revealed their annual "Mintel Beauty Innovation" report. Interesting trends were highlighted in this report, many that I think that great relevance to those of us who love beauty products and are looking to what will be new and exciting.

I can already see from my observations (hanging out at Sephora, or department store Beauty Department for any length of time becomes a legitimate social/scientific experiment in my book!) and from talking to those in the beauty industry and those that follow it as obsessively as I do, that consumers are spending less on beauty products. Many of us want beauty products that are multi-functional, that perform a couple of beauty "tasks" for us, as we can then feel that we are getting two, even three, products for the price of one. A great example is a product like Benefit's "You Rebel" that offers a tinted moisturizer that also has SPF 15. So, when I use that product, I am moisturizing, getting some sheer daytime coverage AND protecting my skin. (p.s. you can check it out for yourself by clicking on my Benefit banners =====>>>>>)

Here are the real scientific observations that Mintel discovered:

1. "Austerity Chic": Consumers are tightening their budgets, and will be much more selective with the products they do buy. Disposable income has a huge impact on the beauty industry. Consumers will have a "targeted" approach to their beauty routines. Instead of experimenting and splurging on several eye colors, for example, they will buy one special set of eye colors that they know work for them and they will feel good about.

2. "Turbo Beauty": Consumers will continue to shift toward "science-based" products that actually do live up to their promises. How many times have we indulged in the latest "beauty science breakthrough" only to be out a great deal of money with a product that simply did not perform as this Dr. or that Dr. promised? These advancements will have their roots in serious scientific advancements, like stem cell research, cellular research and new peptides.

3. "Extreme Ethical": This goes beyond the debate of animal testing and into other areas of ethics including Fair Trade ingredients, truly eco-friendly packaging (Finally! Really, some of these products take up an entire waste can to just get to that kohl liner!), sustainable production and charitable initiatives.

4. "Beauty Foods": This trend will focus on not just the external application of beauty products, but actually consuming foods and drinks that impact our beauty regime and skincare. Borba is a leader in this "Beauty Food" movement, and I know many people who swear that the Borba products have improved their complexion, their skin tone and their overall appearance.

I would love to hear your input on these trends, and any trends that you see upcoming for beauty products.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fashion Accessories Save Lives!

Did you know that your favorite fashion accessory might just save your life?

I recently read about Elizabeth Pittenger, a 22-year-old Middle Tennessee State University Student. Her fashion accessory, her “oversized bag” saved her life!

Ms. Pittenger was simply walking to her car on campus when she was accosted by a man who demanded her bag, cell phone and her laptop. She fought the man off and he shot at her. Yes, SHOT AT HER!

Her purse saved her life, as the bullet was later found inside the purse! The purse suffered some damage, along with her calculator, umbrella and a small case.
Most importantly, she was not hurt at all. Her assailant was later caught and arrested.

I had recently read that gun sales are on the rise, according to an online edition of The New York Times, “Nationally, rifle and handgun sales surged 17 percent, for example, in May, compared with May 2007, according to FBI figures.” I say, “Ladies, don’t buy a gun. Buy a really big purse to defend yourself!”

Here are just a few of my staunch defenders!

My stuffed Grey Coach Bag, an amazing safety shield for me. As long as I can lift the darn thing, it weighs a ton!

This lovely pebbled Brown Coach bag has lots of hardware on it, further enhancing the safety quotient! Plus, any little marks, nicks or bullet holes can kind of be rubbed out of the leather, so very cool!

My teal blue Isabella Fiore bag...good hardware ratio and so colorful it has the power to mesmerize potential bad guys (or bad girls!) and drain them of their evil intentions.

Anyone who knows and loves me knows how I love my big handbags. I know I feel safer knowing that my lovely leather goods could come to my aid, my accessories will be my shield against danger and deceit, and my keen fashion sense will be a bit like Spiderman’s “Spidey Sense” and alert me when evil doers are in my midst.

Okay, maybe not. But it is a great excuse to get another big handbag for the holidays! Grab your big bag, be safe this holiday season!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stop Shaving for Good!

I have found a hair remover kit that actually does what it claims to do: REMOVE HAIR!

How revolutionary, right? I cannot begin to tell you how many electric razors I have been through that did very little hair removal, but did another kind of removal: dollars from my wallet!

Bliss and Phillips have teamed up to create the Bikini Perfect Deluxe - Spa Edition. Combining Bliss's amazing bodycare products with Phillips electric grooming is a match made in heaven! (Click on the picture for more information, or to purchase!)
Bliss World, LLC

This is one product that truly does exactly what it says! While the set is not exactly cheap, I can tell you that I have saved countless dollars on shaving products and super expensive waxing treatments at my local day spa! A small investment pays for itself very quickly and will save you hundreds of dollars a year in hair removal products that simply do not live up to the task. Here is what you get, and it is a major "bang for your buck" set!

* The electronic groomer with six attachments a precision trimmer, precision comb, epilator, micro shaver, micro trimmer, and eyebrow comb. All of these work perfectly (admittedly, I have fallen in love with the "pain is pleasure" epilator attachment!) and without the nasty nicks or bumps of other hair removal products.

The groomer is shower-friendly, and while I have probably bought like 16 others that claimed to be and were very much NOT shower-friendly, this one lives up to that task! Also, it is rechargeable, and comes with the charger. One small tip: the groomer does not power on while it is charging.

* A 1 oz trial-size tube of Bliss Lemon+Sage Body Butter. LOVE THIS Body Butter. It not only smells fresh and tart, it truly moisturizes, even in the driest of weather.

* A 1 oz trial-size tube of Lemon+Sage Body Scrub. This scrub is ideal to get areas ready for hair removal.

* Five Bliss Ingrown Hair Eliminating Peeling Pads. These pads are FANTASTIC, and truly help even the "bumpiest" of areas to be smooth and irritation-free.

* A handy "Bliss Blue" drawstring travel bag.

I highly recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a great hair removal system that actually works. One of the best things that I appreciate about this system is not only the money it saves me, but how it is helping me be a bit greener in my every day lifestyle. No more disposable razors, no more cans of shaving lotion, and the groomer charges with any need of batteries. Going green has never been so good, nor looked so good!

Free standard shipping and a free 1 oz. high intensity hand cream on all purchases of $75 or more at Enter code 108916 at checkout to redeem.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Depression Chic?

In a recent (November 11, 2008) BusinessWeek article entitled, "What's Selling? The Great Depression" written by Ellen Gibson, I found myself getting pretty depressed. Why?

Interest in The Great Depression and "Depression Chic" is making a "cultural comeback". Huh? I thought that we were only suffering from a recession? Now, our culture is going to somehow make economic hardship some kind of new trend? Apparently, so.

Ms. Gibson points out that in NYC, young people are throwing "Depression Parties" in which the clothes are vintage and all the rage is dancing to the big hits of the Big Bands and Dust Bowl ballads. Well, at least vintage stores will find themselves profiting from this trend! Are they sipping bootleg liquor? How about "Dust Bowl Martinis" featuring no-name, gut rot, low end vodka and a sprinkling of salt around the rim to look like dust???

Furthermore, she even states that John Patrick, the designer behind Organic by John Patrick, is showing "prairie-style cotton-check and hand-spun floral dresses" in his Spring 20069 collection. I have truly come to enjoy seeing organic elements in fashion, responsible "green" designers and "sustainable style". So, the designer who brings us lovely organic ready-to-wear like this:

Is going to now treat the fashion world to this?

So...we are going from Fashionistas, to Recessionistas, to...(and I get to make this one up, I guess!) "DEPRESSIONISTAS"? I just don't quite grasp this one. I can understand the interest in understanding the ecomomics and politics of that era, after all, this was a pivotal point in U.S. History. And, as the saying goes, "If we don't learn from our history, we're doomed to repeat it". But to somehow find fashionable the hardship, the suffering, and the great losses that many suffered during that era is something that I don't quite get, nor do I want to cater to in some tongue-in-cheek manner.

How about you? Are you a Depressionista?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cheap Chic...or is it "Cheap is Chic"?

Cheap Chic...

For all of those recessionistas out there, we are truly finding that "Cheap Chic" is getting easier and easier to come by. Target has recently announced that it will be launching a collection in March 2009 by none other than Alexander McQueen. This collection is part of their "Designer Collaborations", which will introduce well-established designers to the Target guest, at Target prices!

McQueen is known for his impeccable tailoring and fantastic details, and the line for Target apparently will be under the "McQ" label. Target has long held the banner of "Cheap Chic" and has been collaborating with a wide variety of designers throughout multiple departments in the store. And, this is not to be confused with their "Target Go International" design collaborations which have helped to spotlight smaller, indie designers to a wider mass market.

"Cheap is Chic"

As much as Target has had success with such upscale offerings to their guests, Wal-Mart never quite fared as well with attempting to introduce trendier, fashion-oriented lines to their customers about a year or so ago. Core customers did not get this attempt to offer a more upscale offering, and quite frankly, those of us that have looked to the designers that Target was able to spotlight...well, come on, most of us dissed Wal-Mart, did not respond to those offerings and they never got that "cool" factor that they were searching for.

However, with all of us cutting back, being cheap is totally chic! Wal-Mart posted one of the best October sales results because consumers are cutting back, are looking for great prices, and they are able to leverage their position as a low price leader! Their ads are fresher, they focus on real world families and how they can save while still enjoying their every day activities. I can certainly attest to seeing more luxury vehicles in the parking lot of my Wal-Mart store, and I am doing more and more of my shopping at Wal-Mart in my attempt to get the best price on toiletries and other basic items.

So, for many of of us for many years, Cheap Chic is completely chic no matter what the price tag says! And, now, being cheap is truly chic as so many of us need to watch what we are spending as these uncertain economic times unfold before us.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Eye shadow Addictions, Continued

I must divulge even more about my addiction to eye shadow, and confess that I had recently purchased some of the most innovative and amazing products that I have seen in a long time, Eye Shadow "appliqués". So very cool.

I got this on Sephora, really more as a "Wow, What the heck is this?" kind of purchase with a gift card (when I can really justify a indulgence, right?). They are made by Coloron, and are called "EyeEnvy". There are a variety of kits, I did purchase this one, the "Exotic Kit", as well as "Smokey Kit" and "Tropics Kit".

I have to say that I am extremely pleased with the results. Sephora also provides a brochure in pdf that you can download to help with the application. Check out this link for a preview:

I did first apply an eye shadow primer, as my lids do get a bit oily. I used Too Faced Shadow Insurance.

From there, I followed the step by step instructions, which I had printed out and taped to my mirror (tip). With the Exotic appliqué, I did not do the "tapping or blending" techique that they recommend for the other appliqués. I did lightly dust the "GetSet" powder that is included in the kit, and I also lightly dusted a bit of a light gold shadow by Ben Nye as some additional insurance!

I felt that the colors were quite vivid, they did wear well for a normal day of wear. I am sure that they would hold up quite nicely for a night out on the town, and I could only imagine how incredible it would be to add some fun eye lashes for a complete "Exotic" look. (Insert cougar growl here!)

I would say that I probably have a couple more times to use these appliqués, so when you remove them, gently put them down on your counter, powder side up, and you can probably get at least another application or two out of them. They are a bit expensive, $25 for the entire kit which includes FIVE appliqués, a jar of the "GetSet" powder and an application brush. And, I just saw that Sephora offers a fun kit for the Holidays, too! A total must have!

I will do another trial application with my daughter soon, we will tape and post to YouTube for anyone interested in a step-by-step visual snapshot of how to apply and enjoy this new, unique, and really fun product. Check these out, enjoy, and please feel free to leave any input or feedback if you have tried these with similiar, or different results!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ben Nye Eyeshadow Addict

Yes, it is true. I have become a Ben Nye eyeshadow addict! Here is one of my favorite Ben Nye eyeshadow tutorials on YouTube, and I have done this is amazing!

I bought my Ben Nye palette (and some extra colors!) from Make Up Mania. I highly recommend buying your palette from them, great customer service and they did not make me wait long to start playing with these amazing colors! No, I don't make any money off of my referrals, but I will work for Ben Nye makeup (hint, hint!)!

P.S. Isn't she adorable?! You can find other Ben Nye tutorials on YouTube, for a wide variety of looks from deep and smoky to subdued to bright and bold!