Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Recap

Again, with the busy weekends.


Started with a baby shower on Saturday, a bridal shower for Sunday brunch and ended with some celebratory Anniversary events last night.

To mark our one year, we enjoyed our 1st Anniversary Wine (aka our Guest Book... see details here).

(Waterford candlesticks gifted for our Anniversary by my Aunt)


and then we ate our wedding cake.  However, it didn't quite look the same as it did a year ago...

8.29.2009


8.29.10

and after a little (not so gentle) restacking....

Surprisingly, it tasted awesome!  We both each ate our whole slice...  can't wait for more tonight ;)



Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

3-6-5



Happy Anniversary Husband!

Friday, August 27, 2010

[Giveaway] CSN Winner!



Congrats to RosaLovesDC!


A CSN Representative will contact you with details.  Thanks for entering, everyone!

Happy Friday :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

[Wishlist] Monitoring Update

Recently, Anthro Lovers (and Bloggers) Kathryn and Carol, of In Pursuit of Pretty Things, have been talking about their wishlists and how they break them do into "Full Priced Lists" and "Sale Priced Lists" and it made me think of how I keep track of my own "Wishlists"...  It's quite a redundant process, but since so much of it happens right here on this blog, I thought I'd share my crazy train of thought....



Normally, I start my wishlists by 'window shopping' around the web.  Then, after there are enough items I find myself loving and continuing to stalk, I normally make a 'wishlist' post (that way I can't lose the links!)...

Simultaneously, my OCD kicks in, and I'll physically write my favorite items down in my trusty little notebook with their current pricing.  Then I try to rank their priority and if they are "sale only" wants.  Continuing with my OCD, I clip all the items to my Polyvore account and start making little 'Wishlist Sets' - like this...

July Wishlist


My wishlists are constantly changing and being edited due to buying items, items going out of stock (like the cute and cheap GAP jacket above), replacing extravagant wants (like Frye Boots) with a more affordable option (like Miz Mooz), or deciding a newer item has taken priority over something older that was never acquired (like a nude pump over more flats).

So I'll update the old original set to reflect the changes made....

Summer Acquisitions



Then sometimes some items are returned (aka the Sunday Supper Shirt), and a new set is created to show me what I actually have, so I don't add similar items to new lists in the future... this is an attempt to help me "shop my own closet".

Summer Stock Up



Then, the process starts over again.  I go through my recent 'window shopping' and 'fitting room review' posts to see what my favorite items were, and again a new list is born.

Fall Favorites



Afterwards, I go back to writing my list out with the prices and figuring which I want most and how I can swing different items through the months ahead (waiting for sales, holidays, etc). 

It's a little much, but it definitely helps me keep track of different items I may find and later forget about.  It's also nice to have a 'photographic' mental image to think of when out shopping, that way if I see something I new, I can compare to the other items I was already prioritizing to make a better decision before buying.


Do you have crazy methods to track the items you want?  Do you just buy on impulse?... share your crazy ways in the comments!

Monday, August 23, 2010

CSN GIVEAWAY!

If you guys had a weekend like mine (Happy Hour at the Phillies Game on Friday, Engagement Party Saturday, and a NYC Wedding last night) you are probably hurting in overload of alcohol fun... and Mondays can be tough enough on their own!  So to make it up to you, the kind folks over at CSN Stores - remember the website that offers everything from cookware to cribs to dining room sets and dog beds -would like to host a $50 Gift Card Giveaway right here on this little blog.


To Enter:
  • Please leave 1 comment in the comments section below, including your email address so I contact you if you win! (duplicate entries will be deleted)
  • Also, you must be a "Follower" of this blog (you can join by click the little 'follow' button in the right side bar)
  • Giveaway ends Friday, August 27th at 12pm noon
Good Luck!



...and Happy Monday Readers!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

[OOTD] Engagement Party and Gift Ideas

Continuing on with our busy end of summer schedule, yesterday we attended a friend's engagement party.  The couple lucked out as the rain held off for their casual backyard BBQ celebration.

It was the perfect day to wear a cute little sundress... so glad I snagged this dress on sale for $29.99 last month.

Kimchi Blue Colorblock Strapless Dress - Urban Outfitters (NOW $19.99!)
R2 Shell T-Strap Sandals - Piperlime, summer '10
Flower Print Skinny Bangles - Express, ancient

If you like want one for yourself, they are now $19.99!



I always find that getting the *perfect* gift can be become a stressful chore, so I thought I'd share my "Engagement Gift" ideas with you readers in case you also stress over the opportunity to be Martha Stewart the perfect guest.

I like to stay away from gifts that are more "Bridal Shower" gifts (not meaning these can't double for that event), but a handmixer and spatula don't really say "Congratulations on your engagement!"  the way they do "Let's shower the bride with lovely items to start a new home"...

So here are my favorite picks...
Monogrammed Mugs - Anthropologie $6
...at only $6 a piece you can get two with each of the couple's first initial, or a set of 4 with the couple's  last initial-to-be

Oliver Vase - Crate & Barrel $34.95

Blomster Vase - Ikea $14.99

Love Story Crystal Vase - Mikasa $49.99
A nice vase is perfect for the newly engaged couple, as now they'll have something to display all their flowers in... and a great excuse for him to bring her flowers on the regular ;)

Kirsi Flute - Crate & Barrel $12.95
I grabbed two of these pretty little champagne flutes and bottle of bubbles for the happy couple to toast with on their upcoming 'pre-anniversary' next month

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!  Do you have a 'go-to' engagement gift?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Little Man, all growns up!

In the busy-ness that was Wednesday, I never got to share with you readers a special occasion that happened at home....


My little boy turned 3!... or, well, 21... however you want to look at it.  Regardless, he is officially no longer a puppy... not that he's acted like a puppy in quite some time, I mean hell, I didn't even know he speaks Spanish!

::wink wink::



Here is Baxter's little life montage...

The Ball of Fluff we brought home
 
 
...will sleep anywhere, but the bed...
 
SUCCESS!
Handsome & Stylish
being tortured... little babushka baby
with his Aunty Libby
meeting baby sister for the first time
learning to share


Happy 3rd Birthday B-Boy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend Recap - Almost Anniversary

It started with some of this...

Robert Young Estate 2005 Scion, Cabernet Sauvignon -- picked up on our trip to Sonoma


Then moved on to some of these....




While our 1st wedding anniversary isn't for another 2 weeks, this was the only weekend of the month we didn't have any other plans on the calendar.  We started out celebrating Friday night by toasting with our Sonoma County wine and a pot full of steamers (mm mmm).  

Saturday we had dinner reservations at a fancy suburban Inn and was just perfect for the occasion.  The setting was almost private, which seems to be hard to find in any restaurant nowadays and the food was amazing (potato crusted salmon, drool).  It was even more amazing when my husband surprised me with my anniversary gift early.


I had been dropping hints for years about how I'd love a pair of diamond studs.  I feel they are the quintessential piece of jewelry that every woman needs.  They are simply classic and go with everything!

Expect to see them frequently...



Hope all you readers had a great weekend! Happy Monday!

Friday, August 13, 2010

[Shopaholic] Sephora Sucker

I'll be the first to admit I'm a bit clueless when it comes to the plethora of beauty products out there.  Up until about a year ago, Sephora could easily induce a panic attack if I stayed in the store longer for the 5 minutes to grab my "essential" items and immediately head to the check out counter.... possibly less time had I been approached by a sales assistant....


Since my mom is a make up artist, for years longer than I should admit, I would solely rely on the hoard of samples, extras, and bonus packs she would bestow upon me.  Thus, creating a monster that did not like paying good money for the good cosmetics and skincare (hello, Chanel!) she became accustomed to finding in her stocking every Christmas morning...

I finally 'gave in' a few months before my wedding.  I had wanted real make up for my wedding day look and decided at a ripe age of 26 I should take my skincare (make up included) routine a bit more seriously as I start to notice more fine lines, darker circles, and, sadly, sun damage (being a beach baby has some consequences...).  The hand me downs of freebies from 'Special Gift with Purchase', just weren't cutting it anymore.


Now, that's its been about a year or so... I can finally say I no longer switch to the other side of the mall when passing Sephora.  I'm still far from the MACophiles or beauty gurus out there who shop for make up like I shop for coffee and oreos - in large quantities and often.  However, I've tried a handful of products on my own over the last year and thought I'd share some of my routine favorites.


Skincare

Another line introduced to me by my Mama, Philosophy.  I know some of their items can be hit or miss, but a few have become tried and true for me and I see no need for substitutions.


I started with this value set....
Philosophy Make Up Optional Set for Dry Skin - Sephora $78

While I don't have anything good to say about Hope in a Tube (eye and lip cream), I became a big fan of the rest of the products.  I've since stopped buying the Hope in a Jar moisturizer because while I like it, I don't find it to be worth its price when compared to similar Olay moisturizers I can grab from Target. 

The Purity facewash is my big winner, it's gentle and pairs great with my Clarisonic. Finally, the When Hope is Not Enough serum has become part of the routine.  I honestly can't say I see any difference from the product, but I like the way it feels and according to my Mom, I should be using a serum... so I picked this one :)

**Also, if you are interested in the Hope in a Jar moisturizer, stick to the non-spf and wear another form of sun protection.  The Hope in a Jar with SPF, has a tendency to separate into moisturizer and oil.  I'm sure you can "re-mix" it, but it's kind of gross.  I never had that problem with the Hope in a Jar for Dry Skin or the Original formula.**



Next up, my Clarisonic...
Clarisonic - Sephora $195
(mine is white, obv, I'm allergic to pink)

There are tons of rave reviews for this tool all over the internet, so this one will be short. 

Do you need it? No. Will you love it if you have it?  Probably. 

I use it almost every night with my Purity facewash.  My biggest thing to note, they recommend switching the brush around 3-4 months, depending on usage.  I used the same brush nightly for close to 6 months (oops), when I finally got a replacement the transformation in my skin was insane.  I DEFINITELY will never go that long again.  I couldn't get over the difference changing the brush made....  so if anyone has given up on theirs, try getting a new brush you may be pleasantly surprised!

Also, keep your eyes peeled for discounts and coupon codes offered by Skinstore.com (normally 20%) or the actual Clarisonic website.  I believe once a year Sephora and Ulta won't exclude it from sales/discounts, but be sure to read the fine print.  No need to pay full price.



Moving on to beauty products....

The Holy Grail of primers... Smashbox Photo Finish
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer - Sephora $16

For reference, I've also tried samples of Nars and Sephora's brand name primers. Overall, I feel that Smashbox leaves my skin feeling smooth and flawless, not oily, and holds my make up in place through the day especially in the gross NE humidity. 

Concealer (and Corrector)
Laura Mercier Secret Undercover Pot - Sephora $34
(I wear Level 2)

I LOVE this Laura Mercier Undercover Pot... it's her famed Secret Camouflage corrector/concealer combo with a translucent powder attached.  It rocks at hiding dark circles and the concealer's consistency, while a bit 'sticky', stays in place.  I find a lot of concealers can be a bit 'oily' and stray/disappear after a few hours.  This product has reached HG status for me.


Smashbox Halo Powder
Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder and Brush Set - Sephora $59 
(I wear 'Light')

I don't wear foundation.  Maybe it's because I grew up a tomboy with an aversion to anything other than some concealer and mascara, but I'm just not a fan of liquid foundations.  I know there are plenty on the market that aren't "heavy", or "thick", or "cakey" etc... but I just don't care to wear it.  The time, the money... who knows, maybe in a few more years... but to date I'm foundation free.

So instead I wear this powder.  It's similar to Bare Minerals, in that its a loose powder that you apply with a kabuki brush.  Smashbox totes that Halo "delivers powerful anti-aging benefits while the patented hydration system continuously revitalizes skin and provides a hydrated look that won't accentuate lines and wrinkles."  I just think it makes my skin look even, smooths fine lines, and it doesn't look like I'm wearing make up - which is my main concern.


Eyeshadow
Smashbox 'Halo' Eyeshadow Duo  – Nordstrom $36

When getting dressed up I use different e/s palettes, but this is my day-to-day eyeshadow that doesn't look like eye shadow.  Again, I'm not a product junkie and I prefer to look as natural or bare faced as possible during the work day.  This shadow has the same technology as the Perfecting Powder, where it smooths fine lines and wrinkles.  I wear the Almond/Bisque Duo with Bisque on my lid and Almond above up to my brow bone.


Eyeliner
Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner – Sephora $22
(I wear Dark Brown)

After years and years of wearing Clinique quickliners and pencils and subsequently having smudge off and raccoon eyes by the end of the day, I've converted to waterproof gel liners.... while I'm currently wearing the Smashbox Jet Set Gel Liner above, it's meh.  It's definitely not bad, but next time I'm going to grab a Bobbi Brown gel liner as I hear through the grapevine they are the BEST. 

FYI:  I use THIS brush to apply in a "tightlining method".

Eyebrows
Anastasia Brow Powder Duo  – Sephora $22
(I use 'Medium Ash')

Who knew this step was SO important! Having eyebrows that are a shade or two lighter than my natural hair color, filling them in has become essential in making my face look "complete".  When I first started my OOTD shots with my usual "bare face" look... it looked just that - bare.  Like something was missing.  I'm finding out now I could use some colored lip gloss... but this transformation takes time, readers... time.

Point is, I love this eyebrow powder and this cheapie brush is perfect for application.



Whew, that's a lot of products and I use a handful more, but those are my "cannot live withouts" at the moment...

I have yet to find a HG mascara, lipgloss, blush, and/or bronzer.  Whatever I buy I try to use never having major complaints, but also never being so thrilled to remain loyal and buy the same thing again.


Anyone else out there find shopping for make up overwhelming and a bit of a chore?  Or are you Makeup Obsessed?





** Don't forget when shopping Sephora to use EBATES!... they routinely offer 8% Cash Back and shipping is free on purchases >$50!**