Wednesday, June 19, 2019

B Weiss Water Flosser

In an effort to find an image to let you see the water flosser, we get the the advertising too.
I try to save on clothes, house goods makeup and grocery bills, but I'll spend a bit on good dental hygiene  I hope to keep my teeth in tip-top shape for as long as possible. Realistically, teeth wear out like the rest of our bodies. After 50-60-70 years of chopping, they undergo wear and tear needing repairs. Yet good dental care should help us keep them permanently. No dentures!

As diligent as I am about brushing, like many people I hate flossing, and I don't think I do it properly. I also skip it sometimes ... because well, I'm human.

In an effort to improve (last year after my dental hygienist recommended them) I bought a Phillips Sonic toothbrush. After my dental checkup this June, I added a B Weiss Waster Flosser -- the latter not upon her advice, but due to my desire to do better.

They do a good job of exercising your gums and removing any food stuck in-between your teeth. I don't often have particles stuck in-between my teeth, but sometimes I do have bleeding gums ... and therefore, the purchase. 

Know that if you properly floss your teeth daily, you don't need a water flosser. It's cheaper and effective to use dental floss. But if you, too, are only human, I can recommend a good basic water flosser.

Like a sonic toothbrush, there is no need to buy the most expensive one. I'm happy with my B Weiss Water Flosser. It does everything it should do! Fill the tank with tap water, select a setting (gentle, pulse, normal) and turn it on. Shift it from one side of your month to the other. It takes practice, but does its work in 30 seconds.

As a bonus, the retailer hires people with disabilities to give back to the community. The company backs its employees, as well as, its water flosser. Highly recommend!


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Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Happy Father's Day


I rarely post family photos, but will make an exception on this special 3rd Sunday in June. THE SAVVY SHOPPER is more of a writing than a picture blog. The content is primarily the written word over stills or video, but not today!

In honor of Father's Day, here are a few photographs of my father and me back-in-the-day.
When older and looking at this photo with Dad, I teased, "Look how you risked my life in standing me over an animal pit. I could have fallen into it. Dad replied, "I was looking around to see if anybody was watching. I thought about giving you a push." :) 
Here we are enjoying a sunny day.
However long we have our parents, it is never enough. We miss this amazing man everyday. No one can ever fill his shoes.
Here I am visiting home.
Hoping everyone has a #1 Dad and if not, you become the #1 Dad to your children. Happy Father's Day!

Inevitably, the cycles of life touch us all. "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night!" Listen to Welsh poet Dylan Thomas read his famous villanelle here.


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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Smart Ways To Put Money In Your Piggy Bank

Photo: Freepik
A purchase that makes a person happy is money well spent. That said, there are certain things I skip in order to achieve bigger goals, such as to have an emergency fund, or buy a higher ticket item. In New York City I am sometimes surprised when people who are low on cash think nothing of dropping the few dollars they do have on temporary things like $2 bottled water, or $5 frappucchinos. If you apply yourself you can drink water and coffee for free! At the risk of outing myself as parsimonious, below are costs I shy away from ...

5 Smart Ways To Put More Money In Your Piggy Bank:

1) Subway and bus faresSavings: $5.50 a round trip - Walk if possible instead of paying for subways and buses. It's fantastic exercise! Other than for safety (late at night), distance (a trip to Brooklyn or Queens) or time (I'm running late) I walk everywhere.

2) Manicures and pedicures - Savings: $30 - $60 depending on the salon. Multiply by number of times per year!
photo; istock

While homeless after my building's fire, I tipped my hotel maid $40 one day. She was lovely and a diligent worker, a single mother who told me she lived at home with 8 people, including her two young boys aged 10 and 8 years old. At the time she said the following Saturday was her birthday, and she would spend her tip on a manicure. Indeed, it was her birthday, as well as, her money to do whatever she liked, but every person is different, and I tend to spend even windfalls on articles that last. In general, I say a woman in her 20s should experience a couple of manis and pedis; then stop going to the salon and trim and polish her own nails. Put the savings in a jar to see how it adds up! One day the sum will pay for something pricey ... a necessity, keepsake-luxury or vacation!

3) Coat checks - Savings: $5 to $10 - Whenever possible I simply hold onto my coat. Short of carrying it on stage to make a speech, nobody will notice if you keep your coat discreetly at your table. Middle class, bourgeois that I am ... I'd rather the $10 stay in my wallet to go for something I value.

4) Bottled water - Savings: $1 to $2 per bottle - Carry your own water from home and look for drinking fountains. In a pinch after washing your hands in a public bathroom, cup your hands to drink the running water from the sink. It's the same exact water that runs in the kitchen. Bonus: Save the environment by ditching the plastic.

5) Forgo coffee stops close to home - Savings: $3 - $7 - When I'm all alone, readers, I'm too cheap to buy a cup of coffee while out in my own neighborhood. With a friend I consider the expense of a neighborhood coffee shop inexpensive entertainment. However, me, myself and I will just have to make coffee for me, myself and I at home. On the other hand, if I'm in a neighborhood far away from home I will stop for coffee -- it then becomes an opportunity that only costs a few bucks to sit down; people watch; and take in the local color. Do my coffee-spending-choices make sense to anybody else?πŸ–πŸ·πŸ½

And, it goes without saying: Take advantage of any and all free samples of coffee sent by the Coffee gods (i.e. displays set up to promote products) while you are out shopping.

Where else to save: 

1) Ask yourself if you benefit from costly cable TV, or is free broadcast television combined with the internet and reading books enough?

2) Examine your telephone habits: Do you need both a cell and home phone, or can you cut one? Then look at your telephone plan to see if you have the right plan for you.

Spending more doesn't always give you a better quality of life. But mindful spending on things that matter usually does. As does living debt-free and freedom from work just to pay bills. What gives your life meaning? Figure it out and happiness will follow.


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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Walk Into The RealReal On Madison Avenue

Photo: The RealReal
The Upper East Side has a new upscale neighbor. In May renown online consignment trader, The RealReal, opened its 3rd brick-and-mortar store at 870 Madison Avenue (joining its sister stores located in Manhattan's Soho and Los Angeles, CA).


Photo: Fashion United
And like the others, the new Upper East Side shop will buy and sell luxury goods. On the street level customers can view, touch and purchase an assortment of carefully curated designer bags, fine jewelry, watches and art from Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuittron, Stella McCartney and others. The 2nd floor has a suite of offices to appraise high end belongings that collectors and Upper East Siders no longer want. Sellers (i.e. consignors) can either drop off their articles, or schedule free valuations from The RealReal's team of in-house experts. 

Likewise, buyers (i.e. customers) can drop in to browse, or book exclusive services from personal styling to viewing top-market goods such as Birkin bags or Rolex watches.

Consider this a bonus listing to last Thursday's blog on Manhattan's 5 top Luxury Resale Shops. It's within walking distance of the others, and I didn't include it because, The RealReal on Madison Avenue was meant to be only a popup shop, but an upstairs appraiser told me on Friday, the Madison Avenue location is now permanent.

Photo of 2nd floor appraisers' suites: Footwear News
As a general rule, I don't recommend re-selling stuff because you usually get less than what you paid for it, however, if you have pricey things you rarely use, you can still recoup a descent amount of money for what is now sitting around collecting dust. Perhaps you bought the wrong thing; you can recover some greenbacks for merchandise that's perfect for someone else. Declutter and use the sale money more wisely. 

For a myriad of reasons, resale is the new retail. But now you can logoff your computer and walk into the shop on Madison Avenue to buy or sell top-tier and unique goods in excellent condition, going from one owner to another, often at a good price.


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Thursday, June 6, 2019

5 Manhattan Luxury Resale Shops To Visit

A Second Chance Designer Boutique photo: Darlene G.
To be transparent I don't own any high end designer bags, shoes or scarves. Looking is tons of fun, but forking over a shocking amount of cash for one of the coveted items, not so much. However, I learn much from browsing.
Many owners of Hermes and Chanel bags resell them to consignment shops, making  these well-stocked and expertly coutured 2nd hand stores the best place to go if you are in the market to buy luxury goods. Don't expect to get them cheap, but you will find a previously loved bag, shoes or scarf in mint condition for thousands of dollars less.
At Hermes, you can't touch the bags. They are behind glass cases. Worst yet, you can't buy the bags. The merchant makes them so exclusive, you must beg and sweet talk a sales associate to get on a long, long waiting list. They tell you they don't know when a bag will become available. When I'm in the store I hear grown ass women groveling. Why ladies, do you accept shoddy treatment to get a boutique to sell you one of their insanely overpriced bags? Go elsewhere ... to places where staff treats you with the respect you deserve!

Today I'm featuring --

5 of Manhattan's Best High End Consignment Shops:

1) A Second Chance Designer Resale Boutique (above) - 1111 Lexington Avenue at East 67th Street - This was such fun to visit. It's a gorgeous 2-story shop of equally beautiful dresses, coats, jackets and bags from top designers including Chanel, Hermes Gucci and Louis Vuittron. Forever changing inventory to boot. The staff is welcoming and most helpful. You can also be added to their email list to be the first to hear of new arrivals.
La Boutique Resale photo: the merchant
2) La Boutique Resale - 1065 Madison Avenue between 80th and 81 Streets on the 2nd floor - It's a move up the street to a new location bringing their usual upscale designer suspects: Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci and more. Fabulous bags, shoes and clothes that are well priced. Even a few bargains to be had and a lovely staff to help you if needed. Here too, sign up for email to announce new arrivals.
Michael's photo: the retailer
3) Michael's1125 Madison Avenue at 84th Street - 60+ years in business. Along with pre-owned top designer and one-of-a kind clothing, bags and shoes, Michael's sells fur, fine and fashion jewelry, belts and sunglasses, all exclusive brands and in like-new condition.
Roundabout Photo: Consign.nyc
4) Roundabout New & Resale Couture - 2 locations: 1100 Madison Avenue, near E 83rd Street and 31 East 72nd Street, near Madison Avenue Sells couture goods directly from the design houses at up to 70% off, as well as, resales from previous owners of the most coveted luxury items in the world. 
Designer Revival photo: the owner
5) Designer Revival - 324 East 81th StreetSpecializes in high-end and vintage apparel, bags and shoes, the consignment shop is nestled on East 81th street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues and has film stars, models and socialites as its clientele. Styling services are offered too.

Nowadays resale is the new retail. So fashionistas and visitors to New York City, put stops to all 5 consignment shops on your itinerary as they are within walking distance of one another. Browsing is fabulous fun, and you may find a luxury item at an unbeatable (yet still expensive!) price that would otherwise be out-of-the-question to buy.


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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Case For Cheaper Casual Smart Dresses

Old Navy: Sleeveless Jersey Swing Dress

Perhaps the last time I bought higher priced dresses was 4 years ago. But guess what? They mostly hang out in my closet. One of them I've only worn once! A few, not at all!! And ... how you noticed? Few people fuss much anymore. Plus fast fashion gives us many options to look polished while spending less.


Old Navy
I admit to wearing dresses from H&M and Old Navy even to fancy events such as the New York City Ballet and nice restaurants. I dress them up with shoes and accessories; and I dare say, no one is the wiser! While I appreciate the fine fabrics and craftsmanship of high fashion, sometimes I have no desire to worry about soiling an expensive dress on a night out schlepping around on subways, or sitting on park benches. Most of us in Manhattan don't have cars to step in and out of while wearing our designer attire; and I'd much rather enjoy my outing with abandon than stressing over my dress all evening. At Lincoln Center under the lights, I'm unafraid to sit outside in my inexpensive dress to enjoy a summer breeze and people watch!

Uniqlo
Retailers such as Uniqlo and Old Navy have spoiled me with their stylish collections of machine wash and dry dresses. Sans dry cleaning bills and maintenance, the extra time and money are mine to spend elsewhere. Or better yet, save!

For all these reasons I often grab my bargain dresses and leave the more affluent numbers at home, which is starting to fuel my buying practises. Perhaps I can forgo the cha-ching, cha-cing dresses? Looking nice on less suits me!

See: The Uniqlo printed sleeveless dress to the right can be dressed up with heels (or ballet flats) and a matching jacket, don't you agree?

How about you? Do you mostly dress fancy or casual smart on nights out on the town? Are you spending a little or a lot?


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Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Can Of Pumpkin

Photo: Joy of Cooking
At one time supermarkets only sold cans of pumpkin in autumn. Nowadays it's available all year around ... lowering the price! Pumpkin, a variety of squash, is loaded with vitamin A, a tiny bit of C and some iron. It can be used to make a delicious bread pudding, lighter than other recipes for bread pudding.

I tweaked the one below from a cooking show, Let's Dish. Not only does it have vitamin A from pumpkin, but antioxidants from blueberries, protein from milk, walnuts and eggs, and vitamin E from the eggs. Moreover, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which are good for your heart, arthritis and skin. Raisins add fiber. 


Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups skim milk
15 oz. can of pumpkin 
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 cups diced whole grain bread (about 15 slices)
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup raisins

Directions:

1) In a large mixing bowl whisk together the skim milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt.

2) Fold in the bread, walnuts, blueberries and raisins.

3) Let sit about 15 minutes, so the bread soaks up the liquids.

4) Pour into a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes. I use a 9" by 9" pan, but a larger 9" by 13" will work too. You can also cut the recipe in half to make less.
🍴🍲🍴🍴🍲🍴🍴🍲🍴🍴🍲🍴🍴🍲🍴🍴🍲🍴🍴🍲🍴🍴🍲🍴

If you half the recipe, turn the other half of the can of pumpkin into a soup by adding milk, chicken (or beef) bouillon cubes, dried garlic, onion and fresh pepper to taste.

We are lucky to have the goodness of canned pumpkin all year around.

Bon AppΓ©tit!


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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

An Organized Purse

Although I've never been a slob, recently my organization gene kicked into high gear. Everything I own must have a home, including the things I keep in my purse.
So when the zipper on my crossover bag broke, I bought 2 new crossover bags from Foley & Corinna, a retailer previously featured on THE SAVVY SHOPPER. I selected their man made "liberated" leather, which feels like full-grain leather and endures through rain, show or shine. But perhaps what I like most are the pockets inside and out. There's a place for all my stuff from phone, wallet, makeup and odds and ends. Everything stays put and organized because it has a compartment. A home.
I got the 2 bags on sale, which is the reason I bought 2. Plus the crossovers are the exact size I need, with the same interiors, including the pockets. I plan to use one and save one for later. Occasionally, I do the same when finding a fabulous pair of walking shoes at a sale price.
If you own beautiful bags and desire to keep your contents organized, you can buy purse orgainizers to fit inside of your purses or totes. They cost between $19 - $30 depending on size, but are well worth the price to keep life orderly.
Every year I resolve to make an improvement. This year I hope to get rid of all the things I never use, that either hide behind other things in closets; or I keep just in case I might need them. Moreover, I know: I'll donate an item, then need it the very next week. So what, if I have to buy it again? I still want to hold unto less!


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Friday, May 24, 2019

One Stroke Launches From L'Oreal And Tarte

There is something about a warm balmy climate and more daylight that sparks many of us to up our makeup game with lovely new colors.

πŸ‘€Tarte has launched new eyeshadow with the Tarteist PRO REMIX Amazonian Clay Palette. Formulated with earthy, yet vibrate pigments, apply any of the 20 hues with a single stoke and be done. The new palette is sold at Ulta.com for $25 and comes with a free gift. (Ulta's free gifts are usually good ones, and customers earn points on purchases!)
πŸ’„I wear nude lipstick frequently. Often if it has staying power, it dries out my lips. But if it conditions my lips with moisturizes, the color fades licketysplit fast after applying.

L'Oreal Colour Riche has created a collection to overcome both annoyances. The 16 shades give you ultra matte highly pigmented nude lips that stays put. They are formulated with super intense hydration and a super matte finish. With one stroke, you get lasting lip color and "comfortable wear."
Some of the 16 "nude" choices, in fact, look more brown, pink or plum. Nonetheless all are natural, attractive colors, and one is a true classic nude. I'm fine with that ... and may even venture over to pink, rose or plum.

One drawback to be aware of: Customers say the lipstick bends and breaks easily. So to avoid a mess, don't roll it all the way up (i.e., out) to apply. For under $10 bucks, it's a steal!

The rule of spring/summer is: New makeup for new seasons!


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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Emeril's Virgin Or Bloody Mary

Photo: Liquor.com
Last winter I bought 4 large (48 ounce) cans of Sacramento Tomato juice with the intention of making tomato soup over the cold months. But the hookah smoker's fire knocked out the gas in our apartment building (for 5 months), so making soup didn't happen.

Now that I'm back home cooking again soup season is over. What to do with all the tomato juice?

Oh I know, make Emeril's Bloody Marys! Spring is brunch season, so what a refreshing way to drink tomato juice which is rich in vitamins A and C.

A Virgin Mary is a Bloody Mary without alcohol, so free free to enjoy the cocktail your way. No need to buy a mix. Perhaps Emeril's makes the best fresh mix in the country. Below is their recipe, which I have reduced to 4 servings.

Emeril's Bloody Mary Mix

Ingredients:

2 cups tomato juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic powder (or mince fresh garlic)
1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce (Frank's, Louisiana or Tabasco), or to taste
1/2 teaspoon of dried celery powder
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Optional (aside for the original recipe): a sprinkle of dill if you have it - it's good too!

Vodka - 1 ounce per glass for a Bloody Mary

Directions:

1) Toss the ingredients one by one into a blender and mix until smooth.

2) Chill for at least 2 hours. Make it the night before to have ready for the next day's brunch and all the spices will marinade to perfection. 

Poor into 4 glasses over ice and add an ounce of vodka to each glass. Enough for 2 people because who are we kidding ... you're going to use a pitcher and pour Bloody Marys into tall glasses, aren't you?

I want to thank Emeril's New Orlean's restaurant for sharing their famous Bloody Mary Mix with the world. None better!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Dior Launches 30 Montaigne

Angie, friend of THE SAVVY SHOPPER and I are discussing the new Dior 30 Montaigne bag which launched last week. Tuesday I visited a Dior store to examine it. A clean sleek bag of sturdy box calfskin (the leather similar to Hermes' Kelly bag), it has a sculpted gold-tone clasp with the initials "CD." An elegant crossover shoulder strap lets the wearer enjoy the bag hands free. It's a beautiful bag inside and out. The bag has an open/close zipped inside compartment, as well as, a back flap pocket.


The leather bag is available in 5 colors: black, peachy-beige, subdued red, green and white. It is also produced in logo designed fabrics.

On the leather bags, the strap is removable and can be worn as a belt, which is rather cool!

But as I told Ang, for a crossover bag, it's narrow, and you can't fit much in it: a phone, wallet, keys, lipstick, comb and ink pen is about it.

The 30 Montaigne bag is smaller than Chanel's Double Flap jumbo size bag. Perhaps it is about the size of Chanel's Double Flap medium bag. However, the advantage of Chanel's iconic bags are they are dressy in appearance, and customers often buy the smaller versions of them for black-tie occasions and the jumbo size for every day use.

While Dior's 30 Montaigne bag is smart and sophisticated, it isn't designed to look gala fancy like the Chanel Double Flap medium or small bags are. Therefore, you'd likely want it spacier, so you can carry more stuff in it for every day use.
So it's almost functional, yet not quite there. For the high $3,550 ticket price (and durable leather which it is), I'd wait for the Dior 30 Montaigne bag to come out in a larger size. 

That said, it's far cheaper and a winning alternative for shoppers who pine for a lovely designer bag, but won't pay the insane costs charged by Hermes and Chanel. Once Dior brings out a roomier bag, I predict it becomes a classic too.

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