Monday, March 30, 2015

Lilly Pulitzer For Target


Target's popular designer collaboration continues with Lilly Pulitzer. Her collection consists of 250 articles of clothing, jewelry and accessories for women and little girls. Launching on April 19, prices will range from $2 to $250. The floral and patterned dresses, jumpers, beachwear and bags are like a breath of fresh air. So feminine, bright and cheery.

Initially, I wasn't going to write about Lilly Pulitzer's Target arrival ... that is, until I saw the charming lookbook. Her shifts, shorts and rompers are adorable! Every bit as pleasing as the famed Liberty of London collection of a few years ago! There's something very classic about the style of the Pulitzer for Target pieces. And practical too. The elegant and very wearable dresses, bathing suits and coverups will take you through the summer ... or several summers. (Hint: I keep mentioning dresses! See the lookbook.)

I want the 3-inch shorts and fit and flare dress at the top! The trims and attention to details in the clothing are impressive. I love how the colorful patterns are youthful, while the style is tasteful. Clothing for woman who aren't going the Kim Kardashian oversharing route, if you know what I mean.

A  cute, fltattering collection that won't soon go out of style.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Let's Talk: What's In Your Makeup Bag?

Photo: iStock
Wow, look at all the stuff in this cosmetic bag! Full size makeup brushes, creams (of some sort) and nail polish. Where does a woman do her fingernails on the road? I mean ... would she polish her nails at work? In a public bathroom? On the subway? Hopefully not while driving!

I use moisturizers too ... but at home. On the job, I keep chapstick and hand lotion in my desk.

Certainly, I carry far fewer items on a daily basis than the above image shows. Just for fun, let's share what we keep in our makeup bag, one that fits inside our purse. Short of an overnight trip, here's what's in mine:

1) a compact case of pressed powder
2) a lipstick (Need a little blush? Doubles as one.)
3) a tube of sheer lip gloss
4) Erase stick for under eye circles
5) a soft crayon eyeliner
6) A small hair comb with wide teeth

That's it. My makeup bag is small. I hate being weighed down with too much stuff. And yet, I have everything I need for touch ups. Forget oil blotting papers to wipe my t-zone. I just blot an oily complexion with Kleenex, or in a pinch, toilet paper. What? It works better, in my opinion, because it's bigger then blotting papers.

I can understand carrying mascara, but I rarely wear it to work to avoid raccoon eyes. Usually I don't wear eye shadow during the day either, but many women do, and it's all good.

Spring is the perfect time to clean out your cosmetic bag. Take out any items you never touch. Also, remove makeup if it would upset you to lose it. I never carry one of my Max Factor Pan-Stiks in my purse. Ever! Pan-Stiks have been discontinued in the USA. Heaven forbid, it falls out or melts!!!
Not my Pan-Stik, nooo!

It's better to travel light whenever possible. Simplify your life!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Puritan's Pride Favorites


Last year I gave a glowing review of Puritan's Pride, an e-company committed to selling high quality organic and natural products at super affordable prices. Their catalog includes: vitamins, health and beauty products, sports nutrition, aromatherapy and healthy snacks.

Over the year, I've placed orders and talked with customer reps many times and continue to highly recommend them. The retailer's goods, service and low prices are unbeatable. And, talk about convenience. Orders can be placed anytime, 7 days a week to arrive in your mailbox free of charge.


Here are 10 (+1) items I keep ordering:


1) Hyaluronic Acid Beauty Cream (4 ounces) - A greaseless, yet hydrating face cream.


2) Retinol Cream, 10,000 IU of Vitamin A per ounce (2 ounces) - It contains coconut oil. Applied nightly, it is also a fabulous face cream.


3) Herbal Authority Double C Vitamin Serum (2 ounces) - I use the serum every morning under sun protection SPF 15 or 30. Reportedly, Vitamin C helps your sunscreen work better, as well as, slows down aging by encouraging your skin to produce (the protein) collegan. Hey, it can't hurt!


4) Invigorating Tea Tree Oil Shampoo (12 ounces); and (here's the +1) Invigorating Tea Tree Oil Conditioner (12 ounces) - Tea tree oil is good for your scalp and hair -- it tingles and cleans gently.


5) Moroccan Argan Oil (2 ounces) -  I use it on my skin and the ends of my hair after a shower. It is 100% argan oil at a low price!


6) Puritan's Pride Premium Coconut Oil (7 ounces) - Heavier than the argon oil, it saves my skin over a brutal winter. I also dab it on the ends of my hair.


7) Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion (32 ounces) - A rich body and hand suave. Use it throughout the day to keep dryness at bay. Generous sizes of daily essentials are always the way to go!


8) Essential Oils (2 ounces) - Lavender, peppermint, rosemary and tea tree - I add lavender, rosemary and peppermint oils to lotion and shampoo at times. The tea tree oil I use to clean wounds and household germy surfaces. The company offers all the essential oils. 


9) Cooking spices - I got ground nutmeg, parsley and herbs de Provence and will consider others in the future. (8.5 grams)

10) Stevia (11 grams) - So far, this is the only safe sugar alternative. It comes from a natural plant. I use pure Stevia in ice tea and lemonade. We do not live on water alone!


Frequently, top organic ingredients are crazy expensive. These products are so budget friendly, you can use them everyday. Thank you, Puritan's Pride!


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

On The Fringe Trend



Photos: Nasty Gal - American Retro Ewin Suede Jacket

According to Refinery 29, fringes -- a  garnish that gave a 1920s flapper her devil-may-care-swagger -- are back. Fringes are trendy in jackets, dresses, sweathers, shoes and bags.
Left: Glamorous on Lyst, right: Belstaff

The look is striking and playful. It would be a hoot to wear a fringed party dress to a gathering, wouldn't it? Oh yes ... sashaying in and out of a room with your trims blowing every which way. Fun!

A fringe is a fancy detail, yet it can look dressy or casual, depending on how you pair and wear it. Whether you dress up to look chic and sophisticated, or down to look western or boho, fringes are here to stay.

If only the examples I post on the blog, like this elegant Saint Laurent Trois Clous Tote bag, would magically appear in my closet!

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Monday, March 16, 2015

New Neutrogena Hydro Boost & Maybelline Master Prime


How I love when top-notch beauty products appear at the corner drugstore! 

Neutrogena is an excellent skin care line. The retailer is launching new treatments to keep your skin healthy and glowing from within. First up is Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel Cream, which is formulated with hyaluronic acid and olive extract to hydrate the delicate skin around your eyes for up to 48 hours. Hyaluronic acid is a key ingredient to help your skin attract and hold moisture. Who wants to dry up like a leathery old prune? Let's fight the signs of aging all the way! Cost: $15.
Also new is Neutogena's Hydro Boost Gel-Cream for Extra Dry Skin. Cost: $18. Apply it to your face. I only buy a single gel/cream to treat both areas -- eyes and face, since my skin can tolerate it. But if your eye area is sensitive, buy serums and moisterizers specifically formulated for your more delicate eye area, where the skin is thinner, i.e. both items. You will need to pay the piper. Sorry wallet!
Next to discuss, Maybelline has developed a master face primer. There are three lightweight formulas to fight three different skin concerns. Wear the primer under makeup to blur skin imperfections like zits, a red tone or fine lines. Without clogging pores, the primer gives your complexion a nice glow and youthful appearance. It also prevents aging: SPF 30 sunscreen guards against future wrinkles and skin cancer. Cost: $10.

How exciting! Skin care, once only sold behind a costly cosmetic counter, is now available at your local drugstore for less. Sometimes beauty is skin deep!

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dior Kingdom Colors Palette ... Because Who Doesn't Love A Pretty Palette?

Another stylish makeup palette joins the beauty market. Housed in a slender case is all the makeup a busy gal needs for touch ups. Carry it to the office, an evening out-on-the-town or overnight trips.

Dior's Kingdom Color Palette contains 10 makeup items:

For the eyes:
1) a dark cream eyeliner
2) & 3) two eye shadows
4) eye shine (goes over shadow)
5) skin perfecter (mattifies and blends eye shadow)

For the face:
6) a lovely natural blush
7) skin highlighter (for shimmer)

For the lips:
8) & 9) two sheer lip glosses
10) a lipstick (that matches the blush)

Dior has designed a color palette that is very French in spirit. French women are famous for their glamour without-trying-too-hard image. Think Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Adjani or Eva Green. Each actress appears effortlessly chic. Likewise, the Kingdom Colors in this palette look natural, with a touch of shimmer (for the eyes) and gloss (for the lips).

In the perfect makeup palette, I'd substitute under eye concealer and face powder for Dior's eye shine and skin highlighter. But not all women (or men) would agree with me. I live in New York City and have met men who wear more makeup than I do ... but that's another blog.

The colors in Dior's new palette, the purple eye shadow, rosy blush and matching lipstick are universally flattering. 

And, having your cosmetics in one sleek portable case is the great appeal of a makeup palette. Your beauty essentials stay neat, and nothing gets left behind.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

No Knead Cinnamon Rolls

Photo: whiskandwords(Exactly how mine looks.)
No, THE SAVVY SHOPPER hasn't become a baking blog. Food is only one of the subjects featured here. The reason I'm posting back-to-back recipes is because my cousin who lives out of town wants my recipe for cinnamon rolls.

While riding out the winter, I've been spending time indoors. Cinnamon rolls are a favorite treat, so I tried baking a batch using the new no knead method. A little more work than making bread, yes, but we have no trouble eating them! Here you are, Ms. Lizzie.  


Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients for the sweet dough*:

3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon quick rising yeast

2 tablespoons sugar (or honey)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of vinegar (helps dough to rise better)
1 1/3 cups of warm milk (I used powder milk added to water.)
3 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)

2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:


1) Put all the dry ingredients in a large wok (or mixing bowl if you don't own a wok). Stir together uniformly. 

2) Beat the egg in a cup and add to the dry mixture. 
3) Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix into a dough (using your hands if you wish).
4) Cover (I use the glass lid of a wok) and let it rise in a warm place (I put it inside my oven with just the pilot light) overnight -- for about 12 hours.
5) After the dough has tripled in size, flour and oil your hands and the dough, so you can work with it. Turn it out on a floured cutting board. Roll it flat into a rectangle shape.

Ingredients for the filling:

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon
Optional: nutmeg, ginger, allspice to taste.
nuts; melted butter to brush rolled dough

Directions - continued:


6) Combine the brown sugar and spices in a bowl.

7) You can either brush a little butter on the rolled out dough (or use water, if you don't want the calories. The butter will add flavor. Also, the filling will stay without moistening the dough, so you can skip this step, but a little butter on pastry will always improve the taste!).
8) Spread the filling evenly on the rolled out dough, avoiding the very edges.
9) I like to break up a few pecans (or walnuts) and scatter them as part of my filling.
10) Roll the dough and filling up like a cigar ... tight enough for it to hold together, but not too tight. If the dough sticks to the cutting board as you roll it up, simply scrape it gently with a spatula.
11) Next cut into 8 pieces with a sharp knife (or use dental floss). A trick is to cut the roll of dough in half, then cut the halves into halves until you get 8 even pieces.
12) Arrange them in an oiled cast iron skillet (or round baking pan).
13) Cover and let rise for 2 additional hours.
14) Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
15) After the rolls are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool for at least 10 minutes. This is the time to make the frosting.

Ingredients for frosting:


1 cup powder sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

Directions - continued:


16) Using a fork, mix into a smooth frosting and spread on top of the rolls.


My family doesn't like super sweet pastry. We have trained our palates to like less sugar. However, if the frosting isn't enough for your taste, you can aways double the recipe.

Cinnamon rolls are not as healthy as whole grain breads, but chances are, this homemade version is more wholesome than what's laying in a supermarket. At least they are not a heart attack waiting to happen since you control the ingredients. Enjoy the treat!


Extra Tips:

*In a pinch, you can use the Sullivan Street Bakery's basic bread recipe. A sweet dough is richer. Frankly, I don't find the taste between the bread dough and the richer sweet dough to be that different. I like both!

After I got the hang of making the rolls, I began using 1 cup of whole wheat flour to 2 cups of all purpose flour. The whole wheat substitution is light and flaky too. However, substituting one cup of oatmeal makes the rolls dense. To be sure, oatmeal dough rolls are editable, but heavier. Sometimes I just want the best tasting dessert even if white flour (not to mention sugar) is not as healthy. Everything in moderation.

Keep leftover cinnamon rolls fresh in your freezer to microwave (20 seconds) or warm in the oven (15 minutes) later. 

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Artisan Rye Bread


Photo: Food.com

Another cold weekend, another loaf of bread. This time homemade rye bread.

It took 12 hours+, but not a lot of effort. To my surprise, the bread is delicious! As you can see from the steps below, I used our trusty Sullivan Street Bakery's No Knead method to make it. So here is my newest, Artisan Bread recipe:

No Knead Rye Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups rye flour
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar (for flavor; also helps dough rise.)
1 1/2 cups + 1 ounce water (eyeball it)

Extra flour and oil for your hands.

Equipment: 

large wok with a glass lid
10 " cast iron skillet, or a Dutch oven

Directions:

Photo: TheFreshLoaf.com
1) Throw all the dry ingredients into a wok (or a mixing bowl if you don't have a wok). Stir the dry ingredients together uniformly.
2) Add the olive oil, vinegar and water.
3) Mix into a dough (using your hands if you wish).
4) Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place for 12-18 hours. I use the wok and glass lid as a cover. Set the dough in the oven overnight with just the pilot light to keep it warm.
5) The next morning after the dough has tripled in size, I turn it over a couple of times, cover it again and set the dough back in the oven with just the pilot light a 2nd time to rise for 2 additional hours.
6) Next transfer the dough to a preheated cast iron skillet (or into a preheated Dutch oven). Note: I forgot to preheat the skillet. The bread came out fine anyway. The reason to preheat the pan is to prevent the bread from sticking to it. I was lucky!
7) Bake in a preheated 450 degree F oven for 30 minutes, uncovered.

This recipe makes a huge loaf of bread, as I discovered. After baking, I put half the loaf in the freezer to keep it fresh. The bread is too good, not to eat at the peak of freshness! You can also bake smaller loaves by dividing the dough in half (or thirds or quarters). I also forgot to score the top of my dough before baking. Next time! This recipe is very forgiving. 

I'm amazed at how easy it is to bake good quality bread. Now we (me included!) can check back here to get the ingredients in the right proportions for one, large, scrumptious loaf of rye!

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lucas' Papaw Ointment

Well ... knock me over with a feather. Today I discovered this terrific remedy for the very first time. It was developed over 100 years ago by Australian medical doctor and botanist, T. P. Lucas. Dear Australia, the secret is out!  

After developing the healing ointment, Dr. Lucas used it on patients in his Brisbane practice. 

The balm contains fermented papaya and a safe, pharmaceutical grade petroleum jelly and wax. There are no harmful ingredients, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are toxic to the reproduction of living things. So if you're afraid of Vaseline (though there is no science backing the fear), here is an alternative. 

Lucas' Papaw Ointment has antibacterial properties. Use it to treat cuts, burns, rashes, sunburn, insect bites, minor open wounds and chapped winter skin. The cold is harsh!

We can order it from Amazon.com, but I think it should be exported and stocked on the shelves of every drugstore in the USA. I'm calling the land Down Under to put in the request.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Make Waves With This Y.S. Park Ion Diffuser

Photo: Y.S. Park: The diffuser comes in two sizes.
The Japanese have invented a softer, better hair diffuser. Women with curls or waves often use a plastic diffuser over a blow dryer to tame and style their hair. It reduces frizz.

The Y.S. Park Ion Diffuser is cloth, not plastic. It weighs almost nothing. Top stylists report that using the Japanese diffuser leaves a wavy head of hair shinier, smoother and softer ... all in less blow drying time than when using traditional diffusers. Hairstylists also say that unlike other diffusers, this one stays put; ties prevent it from falling off the nozzle as you blow dry.

The nylon mesh on the front is infused with silver and titanium to produce negative ions, which reduce both blow drying time and static electricity.

Leave it to the Japanese to develop innovative beauty tools! Get better results faster -- cute ringlets and luscious waves with greater ease. This sounds like a terrific investment!

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tata Harper's Organic Skin Care With No Fillers


Photo: Tata Harper
As founder Tata Harper says, "potentially toxic chemicals" ... "have no place in the products we use on our skin every day." So if you are searching for skin care that works, yet is free of synthetic ingredients, look no further than her brand. 

But know going in that her luxe elixirs are pricey! You are paying for one-of-a-kind formulas  -- with no fillers or generic bases. Harper's comprehensive line, which includes makeup and treatments, are created from scratch by her -- with skin care chemists -- to provide targeted results, namely preventing and/or smoothing wrinkles. She claims that each bottle of product is a multi-tasker. One bottle of serum is concentrated with between 9 and 29 active ingredients; whereas, competitors have far fewer active ingredients. Therefore, customers can buy one of her products to do several jobs (like brighten, tighten and rebuild collagen) resulting in younger looking skin. That's good because you might only be able to afford one bottle of product! :)

Tata Harper's serums and lotions are made with certified organic ingredients that come from the company's sustainable 12,000 acre farm in the Champagne Valley of Vermont. Each year the farm grows the herbs, flowers and fruit used in Harper's beauty formulas. All the phases of production -- from research and development ... to packing and shipping -- occur at the farm.

Indeed, the line is expensive, which isn't surprising for products that aren't mass produced. For most of us, a purchase is a splurge, but you know what you're getting ... high doses of the finest, organic ingredients with no fillers.

The best deal is probably the Rejuvenating Serum for Home & Travel set. To get the best price, check both Amazon and Harper's website periodically for special offers.

Also check the links below for budget friendly organic skin care. THE SAVVY SHOPPER strives to give you knowledge and options. And finally, enter "serum" in the blog's search box for previous posts highlighting other great products of various prices points.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Favorite Red Carpet Oscar Dresses 2015







Photos: Oscar.com

 1) Sienna Miller is wearing Oscar de la Renta; 2) Emma Stone is in Elie Saab; 3) Rosamund Pike has on Givenchy; 4) Anna Faris is in Zuhair Murad; 5) Laura Dern has on Alberta Ferretti; and 6) Reese Witherspoon is wearing Tom Ford.

Along with the rest of the world, I'm watching the Academy Awards LIVE, and we have hours to go! Not much bling this year, but here are my favorite gowns. What are your picks?

If I had to wear one of these dresses, I love the style of Emma Stone's dress. The glittery green is beautiful on her. Emma is a "fall" and looks fantastic in it. I'm a "winter" and would look best in a purple or cobalt blue. Ok, back to reality!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sullivan Street Bakery's No Knead Bread My Way

Photo: The New York Times
Yesterday, the temperature dropped to 3 degrees F, so people tend to stay indoors ... which leads to baking.

Thank you, Mark Brittman of The New York Times and breakmaker, Jim Lahey, for your recipe. This artisan bread has less yeast and no milk, eggs, butter or sugar, unlike many other bread recipes.

What I like about it is: 1) the ingredients are pared down; 2) it's for a single loaf; and 3) time does the kneading for you. Simplicity.

What I don't like is: 1) it takes 12-18 hours to rise; and 2) the bread calls for all white flour; plus 3) it will dry out, if not eaten within a day or so.

So what's a home baker to do? I changed the recipe slightly:

No Knead Artisan Bread My Way

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour
+ whole grain flour {I make 2 varieties of bread: (1) Add 3 cups of whole wheat = a whole wheat loaf; or (2) a single cup of oatmeal = oatmeal bread. Each loaf has fiber without being too dense.}
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon quick rising yeast
1/2 teaspoon of vinegar
1 5/8 cups of warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Extra flour, plus olive oil for you hands.

Directions: 

1) Put your flour and dry ingredients into a bowl. Stir together uniformly.

2) Next pour in the water, olive oil and vinegar.

3) Stir into a dough (using your hands if you wish). Sprinkle the dough and your hands with a little flour to prevent sticking and mix it until the dough is elastic. Towards the end, I wet my hands with a little olive oil so the dough won't stick. The olive oil also seems to give the bread extra shelf life after it is baked.

4) Roll the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 8-12 hours. I put the dough inside the oven with just the pilot light to keep it warm.

5) After it has tripled in size, fold the dough over a few times (I don't mess with it too much, just enough to shape it), then transfer the dough to a round pan. Cover it again with plastic wrap.

6) Let it rise in a warm place for another 1 1/2 hours before popping it into a preheated dutch oven pan, then placing it into a preheated 450 degree F oven.

7) Bake covered with a lid at 450 degrees F for about 30 minutes.

8) Finally, remove the lid and bake for another 5 minutes if you want a soft crust, or 15 minutes to get a hard crust.

This easy-to-make, fresh baked artisan bread is a keeper. Enjoy!

***********************************************
Extra tips: Personally, I mix and let the bread rise both times in a big Wok (with a glass lid) before transfering it to a heated Dutch oven to bake. This eliminates washing a mixing bowl, a cutting board, a second rise pan and the need to use plastic wrap to cover the bowl; instead I use the Wok's lid. Yes, I am that lazy! But use whatever you have. A mixing bowl (with plastic wrap) is fine.

Before you preheat your oven, put the rack on a lower level.

You can bake your bread in a heavy duty aluminum loaf pan to get a loaf shape, if you wish. Just remember to cover it with aluminum foil to bake. Remove the cover after 30 minutes to get a crust as you would with a Dutch oven.

I also like letting the bread rise overnight. So Friday or Saturday nights are ideal times to start. Then you can bake the bread early the next day.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Happy Valentine's Day


I may be a grown up, but I love Valentine's Day. Perhaps, it's the holiday's vibrant red color, or the cute decorations of hearts, cupids and love birds. 



Perhaps it's the anticipation of a lovely dinner with a glass of fine red wine ... or a little taste of dark chocolate. 


And, a pretty flower is a no brainer. Around here the day is casual and low-key-festive.

Happy Valentine's Day, my darling readers! 
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