Friday, February 26, 2010

The British Are Coming To Target

Floral cups $5, Melamine two-tiered dessert tray $15
Wow! Target seems to team up with the biggest names in the high fashion industry, including Jean Paul Gaultier, Anna Sui, and Zac Posen {plus others in 2010!!} to deliver the latest style at very affordable prices. Major fashion magazines like In Style and ElleUK are buzzing about its newest launch on March 14 with none other than ... Liberty of London.

Liberty, a 134 year old premier English brand, is Target's biggest collaboration to date. A touch of British panache will invade several departments throughout the store, and it's all good! Known for their bright colors and iconic floral and paisley prints, expect to see a whole array of fresh, modern and sophisticated designs.

The Liberty of London for Target Collection will consist of spring apparel and accessories for men, woman and children, while the home décor includes everything from stationary, cups, saucers and piggy banks to cheery storage boxes, linens, pillows and garden tools. A sleek table lamp with a signature patterned shade costs $38. More expensive items include bedding and a bicycle, but the majority is priced between $10 - $30. And along with making the collection available at Target, Liberty will sell some pieces at its exclusive London store. Recession chic at its finest.

Trench Coat $45

Sateen Bucket Hat $13

Ruffled and Halter Dresses $18 - $35

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Top-Notch Skin Care And More At Your Drugstore

Like lots of women I sometimes browse make-up boutiques and the cosmetic counters of high end department stores. Sephora is like a candy store for grown women. But I'm just as happy to discover a quality skin care line or personal care item at a corner drug store. Drug store finds are convenient. Think one stop shopping. And, they are usually good values compared to their flamboyantly priced counterparts.

My drugstore picks are products that really work, as well as, measure up to their luxury cousins. They include:

1) Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream – The ad says it "hydrates better than European creams costing up to $700." While I don't know about that, I can verify it's an excellent overnight moisturizer -- with anti-aging amino-peptides.

2) Boots No 7 – This top selling skin care line in Great Britain is sold at CVS Pharmacies and Target here in the States [also Amazon]. The Intense Perfecting Serum is light and ultra moisturizing. It claims to "refine" and "rewind" the lines on your face.

3) Pentene Pro V shampoos and conditioners – The Beautiful Lengths variety is a new favorite I'm using to keep locks strong, healthy and long.

4) L'Oreal Cosmetics – L'Oreal owns the high end Lancome line too. – If you compare the product ingredients of each company, you'll notice the makeup is similar, if not identical, but L'Oreal costs so much less. L'Oreal's mascara is one of the best on the market.

5) Bourjois Cosmetics – is the sister company of Chanel, and although company executives deny a suspicion that the make-up comes from the same laboratories, I notice a striking resemblance in the lipsticks and eyeshadows. So if you're a fan of Chanel, give Bourjois a try and save a bundle.

Everyone needs good skin care, some hair TLC and a little make-up to look your best. What a fabulous feeling to save and splurge at the same time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Secret Recipes From Popular Restaurants

Have you ever eaten a meal out and liked a dish so much you coveted the recipe so you could enjoy it more often at home? My friend, Cara S., loves the caramel pie served at the family-style restaurant, O'Charley's. She was so happy when her detective work turned up its list of secret ingredients and instructions for how to make it. And who benefited? Friends like me!! Recently I discovered just how easy it is to prepare miso soup at home. The home version takes less than 15 minutes to fix, tastes exactly the same, and is inexpensive compared to what you pay at a Japanese restaurant. And from Chef Mike Colameco, who has worked at the legendary Tavern On The Green and reports on New York restaurants, I picked up a (can't be beat!) healthy kale and black-eyed peas dish -- that is appetizing as a hot side, plus makes a delicious refrigerated snack.

Here are the recipes:

Miso Soup
Sauté vegetables of your choice, such as onion, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower in 1 teaspoon olive oil until tender.
1. Stir in 2 cups water
2. Add any, or all of the following – seaweed, mushrooms, soba noodles and cubes of tofu, or cooked chicken.
3. Add 2 tablespoons miso paste (or to your tastes).
[When I don't have fresh vegetables on hand, I simply thrown in a cup of mixed frozen vegetables and dried seaweed.]
4. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve. Makes 2 bowls.

Mike's Vegetarian Kale & Black-Eyed Peas

1. Blanch 1 bunch Kale in salt water and drain.
2. In a large skillet, sauté 1 medium red onion, 1 large red bell pepper, fresh garlic, and 2-3 carrots until translucent and tender.
3. Cut up the blanched kale and add it to the skillet.
4. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add a 16 oz can of black-eyed peas [or cook ahead one-half bag of dried black-eyed peas.]
6. Simmer the mixture until all vegetables are tender and ready to eat, adding more olive oil as needed.
7. Serve warm as a filling side dish.
8. And, refrigerate the leftovers to eat as snacks. When eating it cold, you can add cider vinegar to jazz it up.

O'Charley's Caramel Pie
1. Pour 2 (14 oz.) cans of sweetened condensed milk into a 9 inch graham cracker crust.

2. Cover with aluminum foil.
3. Place in the oven on a baking rack above a bottom rack with a filled large pan of hot water. This keeps the pie filling from drying out.
4. Bake at 425 degrees F for 1 ½ hours until thick and the sweetened condensed milk turns to caramel. Watch carefully to not over bake.
5. Top with whipped cream and crushed peanuts.

There are a number of websites where you can find free copycat recipes. Click here. With a little ingenuity, serve your restaurant favorites at home, minus the check.

You may also enjoy:
Real Italian Cooking
Jamie Oliver: The Food Revolution
German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake
Let's Make Hummingbird Cake

Thursday, February 4, 2010

No Skimping On Good Oral Hygiene

In my opinion, the single best investment a person can make for his or her health and appearance is the practice of good oral hygiene. Can you imagine living in a time before toothpaste? I wouldn't last a day without brushing my teeth. Although “toothpaste” has been used since 500 BC in India and China, we wouldn't recognize it, since it was neither a paste, nor in a tube, and it included ingredients not known to prevent cavities like soap, chalk, dragon's blood and burnt bread. In 1914 Colgate began adding fluoride to what was then called "dental cream," but this innovation didn't catch on until the 1950s.

Good oral hygiene is essential, not only for a beautiful smile, but for general health. Not flossing, or going to the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings leads to a whole host of dental and medical problems such as gum disease, infections, bone loss, and perhaps heart disease and strokes.* Did you know that dentists also check for early signs of oral cancer?

When times are lean, it's tempting to look for ways to cut back on expenses. You're better off economizing on hair and skin care if necessary, but never-ever neglect your teeth … or get too busy in life to do the basics:

1) Brush your teeth at least 3 times a day. -- Chewing sugar-free gum and drinking water are beneficial to teeth in-between brushing, though they doesn't replace brushing.
2) Switch from hard to soft bristles. -- Brushing with soft bristles preserves your gums. Hard, or medium bristles wear gums down, exposing your roots over time. It leads to tooth sensitivity, cavities and gum disease [namely gingivitis and periodontitis].
3) Visit your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings. -- Do not skip the dentist to save money in the short run. If you don't have dental insurance, check with dental schools and community clinics until you find good, affordable dental care in your area.
4) Floss before bed every single night. -- Flossing removes food and plaque from teeth and along with brushing, prevents cavities, gum disease and maybe heart disease.*
5) Rinse with an antiseptic mouth wash daily. -- This kills germs and keeps gums healthy.

Your teeth should last a lifetime. If you haven't been to a dentist in the past six months, schedule an appointment today. Meanwhile ... brush ... rinse ... and floss!

*Researchers notice an important link between periodontal disease and heart health and are studying whether brushing and flossing can save lives. If nothing else, the association may be a bellwether of early heart disease.

You may also enjoy:
What Would You Do If You Were Losing Your Hair?
Good Housekeeping's Food Safety Tips
Go On A Skin Diet
The Doctors' Home Remedies