Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Charlotte Tilbury Makeup: One Woman, Ten Looks

1) The Ingenue

Charlotte Tilbury is a makeup brand on the same level as Chanel. The colors and textures are beautiful. Since the retailer is English in origin (not French), it's a few bucks cheaper then Chanel, but still a luxury brand and a splurge for the shopper on a budget. The Limited Edition Face Palettes are a smart entry into the Charlotte Tilbury line. Although not cheap at $75, the palettes are ample-sized, the hues are ultra flattering, and it contains a variety of face products to create a complete look.

The company website is a wealth of helpful information and great fun to explore. In addition to discovering and shopping for new looks and listening to catchy music, you can watch how-to videos featuring professional makeup artists who show you the steps in creating the different looks. Click each image below to enlarge:
2) The Golden Goddess                                       3) The Uptown Girl

4) The Sophisticate                                            5) The Dulce Vita
6) The Bombshell                                                     7) The Vintage Vamp
8) Glamour Muse                                                 9) The Rebel
10) The Rock Chick

Which looks are you willing to try? And which ones do you think you could pull off? 

Perhaps because of my pale complexion and fondness for light lip colors, I really like the Rock Chick, the Uptown Girl and the Sophisticate. If stepping out of my comfort zone, I could try the Vintage Vamp look -- love the sultry eyes and red burgundy lips of that one! Now you ...

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

Photo: Colorbox
Popcorn is a whole grain, low calorie snack. At 30 calories a cup, it is high in fiber. I have owned 3 hot air popcorn poppers. When one burned out I bought another. But as it turns out, you don't need a hot air popper, or a special microwave bowl to make homemade unbuttered popcorn. All it takes is dry popcorn kernels, a microwave and a brown paper lunch bag. Who knew?

I always knew not to buy the commercial microwave popcorn at the supermarket. It contains too much fat, and too many chemicals. Plus it's expensive! That's why I used a hot air popper. But lately, I tried a brown paper lunch bag, and it works too!

Two pounds of unpopped popcorn is $2.49, and 50 brown paper lunch bags sell for $2.99 at the drugstore. If you keep the bag clean, it can be used more than once.


1) Fill the paper bag with 1/4 cup of unpopped kernels. 

2) Fold the opening of the bag over to close it.

3) Microwave for about 2 1/2 minutes. Stay close by to remove the popcorn after it stops popping. Watch it so it doesn't burn.

I love eating the hot popcorn directly out of the bag. But feel free to toss it into a bowl and add melted butter, salt, garlic or cheese if you wish. Easy-peasy, single serving! Cheap too.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Creole Bread Pudding With Bourbon Sauce

Photo: Southern Living
My father loved bread pudding, but we never made it at home. When my mother made a big weekend breakfast, it was always savory: crispy bacon, eggs, biscuits, orange juice and coffee. If you desired something sweet, you put strawberry preserves on your hot biscuit. My dad ordered bread pudding when we ate out at a restaurant, usually as a dessert after dinner.

Today I'm jazzing up my father's favorite, bread pudding, with pecans. I often add nuts to my pastries, too, to balance the sugar. Here is the recipe:

Creole Bread Pudding
Photo: Simply


2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar (or to taste)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
7 slices of whole grain bread
1/2 cup broken pecans (or walnuts)
1/2 cup raisins

Optional: 1 cup whipping cream (I omit it because I don't think to buy it, but then add 1 extra cup of milk as we like pudding.)


1) In a mixing bowl whisk together the milk and eggs. Add whipping cream if you use it.

2) Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

3) Tear the bread into large bite size pieces and toss into a lightly buttered square 9'' by 13" baking pan.

4) Toss in most of the raisins and about half of the nuts.

5) Next pour in the custard egg and milk mixture and let it soak into the bread - 15 minutes or so.

6) Top with the rest of the raisins and nuts.

7) Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the top is a bubbling golden brown (The bread absorbs the pudding, but the dish shouldn't be dry.) Cool for 10-15 minutes.

Next make the sauce as the bread pudding is baking in the oven. I'll give you 2 possible sauces. Choose one:

Creole Bourbon Sauce 

Photo: Greyfriars Bobby Bar

1/2 cup butter
1 egg 
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons good Kentucky bourbon

Note: Frankly, I omit the egg, butter and bourbon, instead I make plain ole Brown Sugar Syrup. Using a 1:1 ratio: One cup of brown sugar to one cup of water. Whisk in a pot over heat until the brown sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat after it begins to boil. Let it cool and store in a glass bottle with a lid. But 1st pour it over the bread pudding. Extra brown sugar sauce keeps forever in the refrigerator and can be used on pancakes and French toast. I love brown sugar syrup as much as maple syrup and so always keep a batch in the refrigerator (in an empty maple syrup bottle). 

Use the fancy Creole (with egg) Sauce within a week:


1) In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and let cool for 10 minutes.
2) In a cup mix the egg into the water. Whisk into the cooled melted butter.
3) Turn the heat back on and stir in the sugar. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves. 
4) When the mixture begins to boil, remove from the heat and stir in the Kentucky bourbon. Let the sauce cool.
5) Serve the bourbon sauce over warm bread pudding ... a little or a lot according to taste.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Good warm or cold!

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Guilty Pleasure Songs: Performer's POV

This is song #5, skip and finish with it. You'll be glad you did.😎🎶

Last year I decided to retire the Guilty Pleasure Song List because after compiling a list of songs, they disappear all too often from YouTube. I dislike having dead links on a blog. 

That said, Old Man Winter will soon leave us, opening the door for optimism. It's time to come out of hibernation and turn up the music. So despite my misgivings, I'm compiling yet another Guilty Pleasure Song List: Let's call it Guilty Pleasure Songs: Performer's POV - Music from the point of view of the person performing on stage.
1) Fame by Irene Cara (1980): In the beginning there's the dream, the ambition, the talent, the training, the hours of practice, practice, practice, as well as, the wait to be given the chance to showcase a talent.
2) Turn The Page by Bob Seger (1976): Bob Seger wrote a memorable story-song about being up on stage! (What a coincidence.😅) Featuring a soulful saxophone, it's really about the ups and downs ... the endless, grueling time a singer spends on the road to make and sustain a career. Touring is tough, but it's how a musician develops his craft and makes money. I've heard talent talk about how being on the road is a necessary evil for the 2 hours of performance that they enjoy. Yet, a life on the road takes a toll!
3) Possession by Sarah McLachlan (1993): Some people mistake the composition for a love song. It is not. The tune were inspired by a creepy fan letter singer, Sarah McLachlin, received from an "admirer." The lyrics are written from the point of view of an obsessed, stalker-like "fan," which a performer might for a wee moment think about as they face an audience of fans. Is he out there?
4) Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple (1972): Listen to the song. No ... seriously avoid looking at the hippy-dippy shirtless garb and just listen. The lyrics tell the true story of the band's performance in Switzerland, during which, someone in the audience shot a flare gun catching the venue, a gambling casino, on fire and burning it to the ground. Luckily, everyone got out, with nobody seriously hurt. They were also booked to record new music, using an expensive mobile studio, but were left with no place to stay (and thus watched smoke on the water). The electric guitar riff, a 4 note blues scale melody in G is iconic! It's likely you know it.

5) [See the top ↑ video] While My Guitar Gently Weeps - Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Dhani Harrison (George's son!) and Prince - A Tribute to George Harrison (2004): Sometimes the music outlives the man, and the man becomes a legend. Beatle George Harrison was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, not once but twice. Using personification in a catchy phrase that the whole world knows, he is paid tribute by his wildly famous friends who perform Harrison's song at his posthumous induction ceremony. Features the virtuosity of another great, Prince, who really does make his guitar weep! Ah, life is short, so many of the well-known on that 2004 stage are now gone too. Perhaps onto a final, bigger stage ... which is a leap of faith.

If any of the Guilty Pleasure Songs disappear from YouTube just search for them. What song(s) would you add?

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hunter Boots Are Coming To Target

Target is teaming up with Hunter, the British designer of the signature Wellington boot. The iconic rubber footwear is a favorite of fashion-forward celebrities like Kate Moss, Alexa Chung, Princes William and Harry, as well as, wife of William, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Hunter boots at Target will drop on April 14th at select stores and online. The collection includes the tall heritage "Wellies" style boot, made as a one-off and affordably priced, selling in the $45 range, which is down from it's usual $150 price tag. Perhaps customers won't get exactly the same higher priced boot ... yet if past collaborations (such as Liberty of London, Zac Posen and Philip Lam) are indicators, consumers will get quality for less moola. (My Liberty of London well-made, 100% cotton dress is still going strong!)

Frankly, I have a love/hate relationship with clunky, sweaty rainboots. A necessary evil to keep my feet warm and dry during a storm. I dislike wearing them, yet would equally dislike to be ankle deep in water without a pair. Short of having a set of wings to flap, what an exciting offering!
Photo: Matt Cardy, Getty Images of Kate Moss

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

New From Make Up For Ever And Victoria's Secret

Photo: Allure
New chic makeup launches for eyes and lips. 

First up eyes:

1) Make Up For Ever's Star Lit Glitter Palette - Get eyes to pop with the next generation of glitter! The palette shades catch the light for an intense simmering effect that is a step up from previous glitter palettes. As sparkly as the eyeshadow is, it is not messy (as there is no fallout) and the hues don't look cheap. When applied, the eyeshadows are incandescent nude tones. Innovative!

The 6 shades in the palette have names like: Spark, Reflection, Prism, Flicker, Flame and Beam. They range from radiant violets and berries to brilliant bronzes. "Beam," the purple hue on the end is more understated and complex than it appears above. Rich pigments. The look is magical and very pretty! Cost: $45 for the palette.

Next lips:
Photo: Allure
2) Velvet Matte Cream Lip Stains, Pencils and Glosses - Makeup Maven, Angie Smith, alerted me to the launch of new lip formulas from Victoria's Secret. (What? VSC is back in the makeup business? Great news!) Buy all 3 lip products (the cream stain, pencil and gloss) as a kit, or only what you desire separately. There are 12 colors, ranging from reds, berries, wines, pinks and nudes. 

Although they go on dry, the smooth, velvety, matte cream stains are infused with vitamin E and olive oil to moisturize your lips. 

Just like our ole friend, Ang', customers are enthusiastic about the flattering colors and velvety new formula. Costs: $14 each, or the 3-set kit for $24.50 (that is before savvy shopper deals). 
There are always deals at Victoria's Secret!

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

My Favorite Oscar Gowns 2018

Photos: Getty
1) Gal Gadot wearing Givency; 2) Nicole Kidman in a gorgeous colbalt blue Armani Prive gown; 3) Emma Stone suited in Chanel; 4) Jennifer Laurence wearing Christian Dior; 5) Margo Robbie in a white Chanel dress; 6) Lupita Nyong'o wearing Atelier Versace; 7) Sandra Bullock in a silk gown from Louis Vuitton and 8) Ashley Judd wearing a purple strapless Badgley Mischka gown.

The Academy Awards are only one hour in, and as usual it will be a long night. But the Red Capet has been walked and here are my favorite outfits of the evening. This year's overall look is elegant and classic, and I like how Emma Stone and Nicole Kidman took chances with their attire: Emma in a Chanel combination top with slacks and Nicole wearing a feminine and balanced Armani Prive dress. Margo Robbie has the right amount of sparkle to jazz up her modern, ladylike, solid white gown.

Oh, the impeccable gowns, hair, makeup and jewelry ... definitely a return to old Hollywood glamour.

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Happy 9th Birthday To THE SAVVY SHOPPER

Photo: Wallpaper
THE SAVVY SHOPPER turns nine years today, and who knew I'd still be writing it? You can go back and look at the 1st blog I wrote to see if I got any better.😊 

Published topics are ones that I (or a reader) want to know more about. Somehow the blog rings true and has a voice. Writing is a bit of a mystery. Although I know how to write blogs, I don't plan them. Usually I have an informal mental outline of important points or information to include which can change as I research and write the blog. It is vital to get the focus and facts right! In writing, I don't always know what I will say, yet I know I have something fruitful or beneficial to say. Plus, I know the post must be worthy of a reader's time. 

People who read a blog ... eyeballs want everything fast. A blog must have the same substance as a printed article, but say it in fewer words. Blogging has made me a concise writer, as well as, a curious and critical thinker. Who knew?

We have grown this year! Thank you, readers for your comments, emails and coming along on the ride. Because of YOU, there must be good content. As always let me know what you want us to explore.

Here's to another year of savvy shopping, a bit of wisdom, a little humor, some fun stuff for eyeballs and a place to share our ideas! 

Happy Birthday, THE SAVVY SHOPPER!🎂🎈🎁🕯

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

For Hair None Better Than SheaMoisture At Any Price

SheaMoisture hair conditioners are the bomb! Truly, the entire line of soaps, skin moisturizers and beauty treatments are excellent. The whole line is 1) organic, 2) of the highest quality and 3) affordable. I first reviewed the sustainably produced goods here. Since then, I've tied even more of their personal care products.
Not one skin, body or hair item has disappointed me. At long last, I can say there is an organic hair conditioner that works, as well as, the ones loaded with a long list of unpronounceable chemicals. Right now, I'm using SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner with Sea Kelp and Argon Oil, and I love it. Unbeatable prices for such top-notch organic ingredients. Not to mention, a small squirt of conditioner goes a long way!
Furthermore, there are many different formulas of SheaMoisture shampoo and condition. Pick the one that is right for you. Mixtures of nature's bounty to clean, condition, tame and repair every hair type imaginable. Using my best cheesy line: Good clean ingredients that won't take a customer to the cleaners! Did I mention organic ingredients? Yes, yes ... organic!!! Why pay more when you get the best for less? 

SheaMoisture is conveniently sold at your local drugstore.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Venus Et Fleur Roses Last A Year

Photo: Shopify
Every year on my birthday I get a beautiful vase of flowers, but they rarely last more than a week. It's a big expense that all too soon ends up in the garbage. How would you like to smell the roses for a long period of time? Believe it or not, now you can.
Venus Et Fleur is a flower company which has figured out a way to give real roses ... well a shelve life. Their roses are treated with a special formula and process to preserve the color, freshness, biological structure, softness and scent for up a year.
Supplied by growers in Ecuador, the roses are cut at their peakiness and treated with a non-toxic, non-allergic wax formula (similar to silica). Next the roses sit in dye to enhance or change their color before being styled and arranged in Parisian keepsake boxes.

The only maintenance needed is a light dusting from time to time. The retailer recommends keeping the flowers out of direct sunlight, and you do not water them. They also stay in their box.
Venus Et Fleur Everlasting Roses are popular with celebrities, hotels and weddings. A small box costs $299, and a large or special collection can run between $399 to $589. Oddly enough, buying a single rose at $99 is the cheapest, but not the best value.
So what do you think? Would you spend more to send roses that last until someone's next birthday?🌹

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Intense Orange Julius

Photo: Wildrosekitchen
Years ago when my friend, Cara Sue, married I hung out at her house most weekends. I think I'm the one who started us on Orange Julius drinks, one of our many snacks. Ahh youth, we were thin as rails, and I remember making them with 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream and 1/4 cup of sugar! Once in a while I added some rum or Bourbon, but mostly not. Without the alcohol, the drink tastes like an old fashioned orangesicle ice cream treat. Remember those? Packaged in a round paper cylinder on a stick, you ate the sherbet-like dessert by pushing it up beyond the cylinder and licking it as it melted. In those days, we ate ice cream without a thought. Nowadays I make a reduced calorie Julius.

Here is the still rich, organgey, creamy and delicious recipe:

Orange Julius


1 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate (I buy orange juice with pulp. Why pulp free?)
1-2 tablespoons sugar or Steevia (Sweeten to taste. I can drink it without any sweetener. Try it plain first.)
About 1 1/2 cups ice


Toss everything into a blender using about 1/2 of the ice. Blend, then add the rest of the ice and blend until the ice is crushed.

A refreshing icy drink in the summer. An infusion of vitamin C in the winter.

Extra tip: Feel free to use 6 oz of pineapple concentrate to make Pineapple Julius also. For parties, you can serve both! 

Single serving: If I make an Orange or Pineaple Julius for one, I scoop out only 1/3 of the concentrate from the can (return the rest to the freezer), then reduce the milk to 2/3 of a cup and ice to about 1/2 of a cup + eyeball a couple of drops of vanilla. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

15 Makeup Dos & Don'ts

Photo: Maybelline
For many of us, applying makeup begins as trial and error until we figure out what flatters our faces. And, we can always learn new tricks, especially for an evening out when we tend to wear more makeup. Here are 15 common makeup dos and don'ts. Let's replace bad habits -- Don'ts with better habits -- Dos:

Do: Start with primer on your face and under your eyes.

Don't: Skip primer. Makeup glides on easy and stays put on primed skin!

Do: Dampen your blender sponge with water.
Don't: Dip a dry sponge into makeup. It soaks up too much product.

Do: Blend foundation beyond your jawline down to your neck and up to your hairline. Dab and pat is the way to go.
Don't: Stop foundation at the jawline to create a visible line.

Do: Match a concealer to the skin on your inside wrist.
Don't: Use a concealer lighter then your skin. You will look like a raccoon.

Do: Use correct makeup brushes for your foundation, blush, contour, bronzer, highlighter, eyeshadow and powder.

Don't: Apply makeup with the wrong brushes. Using the correct brush lets you apply each item correctly.

Do: Apply blush on the apples of your cheeks.

Don't: Extent blush beyond the apples of your cheeks. You may look like a clown.

Do: Apply cheek contour right under the hollow of the cheekbone and stop midway.

Don't: Apply contour too low and too far across your face. It ends up looking unnatural, or dirty.

Do: Stroke bronzer lightly above contour to produce a warm sun kissed glow. (A contour and bronzer are often used interchangeably, however professionals use contour to create edges on the face with faux shadows, while bronzing is used to bring a warm luminesce to the skin.)
Don't: Overdo the bronzer. Light is right!

Do: Use an eyebrow pencil shade lighter than your hair color and be sure to stroke lightly following your natural brow. Next soften and blend using a brow brush. (Exception: Blonds go a shade darker.)
Don't: Make eyebrows look unnatural. Polished is good/harsh is bad!

Do: Apply darker eyeshadow near the base of your eyelashes, not at the crease.

Don't: Go lighter (from the lids) to darker (at the crease). You will then produce ghoul eyes!

Do: (1) Use an eyeliner to draw thin lines; or increase line thickness as you move out away from your nose.

Don't: Draw a thick line near the nose that gets thinner moving out. It makes eyes look droopy.

Do: Use mascara starting at the base of eyelashes to lengthen lashes. You can do top and bottom lashes. Blot excess away with a tissue so it doesn't smear later.
Don't: Apply mascara only at the tips of lashes. It won't lengthen them.

Do: Apply highlighter where light hits your face: on the cheekbones, the nose, a dot at the hairline and cupid's bow. Moreover, use a light brush stroke to avoid a "heavy simmery mess."

Don't: Overdo highlighter by putting it all over your face. Less is best! (Go here for highlighting images and tips.)

Do: Use face powder to set your makeup and to take away shine.

Apply with a powder brush.
Don't: Use a "dirty" brush, one that you use for blush, contour, bronzer or highlighter.

Do: Apply a glamorous lip color to your lips. 

Don't: Minimize your lips, nor go more than a hair passed the lip line. Aim for full, pouty lips (do) without looking like a vampire after a meal (don't).

Remember: The purpose of makeup is to balance and flatter the face by enhancing or softing features. People should think ... you look great, not your makeup looks great!

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