Thursday, November 27, 2014

Have A Happy Thanksgiving

Be Thankful (Author Unknown)

"Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Photo: Pop Sugar
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings."

Thank you, dear friends and readers for stopping by today. I am grateful for you! Keep a positve attitude thoughout life, count your blessings; and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

10 Affordable Christmas Gift Ideas

New at The Body Shop.
The number one rule for selecting gifts is always give people things they can use.

I live in a small Manhattan apartment. One Christmas I recived a fake fireplace with a fake log from relatives who live in a big beautiful house in the suburbs. There was nothing special about it, nor do I recall ever wanting one. And, since it didn't function, out in the trash it went a short time later.

Why spend money on items with no purpose? How disappointing to unwrap! Better to give nothing at all. I don't know, perhaps my relations were regifting? ... or just made a mistake. Judging by their possessions, they seem to have the means and good tastes to select a nice gift. (By the way, they don't read the blog, but maybe they should. :)

A thoughtful holiday gift isn't always expensive; however it should be something you'd be happy to get. Here are ten ideas to consider:

1. The Body Shop Color Crush Nail Polish for her - Enriched with Community Free Trade marula oil and safe ingredients. Long lasting, bright nail color in over 24 shades. Plus, The Body Shop has attractive holiday skin care and grooming kits for men, women and the entire family.
2. Razor Kick Scooter - Perfect for kids of all ages. A sleek design and sturdy construction. I see at least one adult rider on the city streets each week, and it sure looks like a fun way to get around.
3. The Art of Shaving: The 4 Elements of the Perfect Shave - A unique blend of 100% essential oils for him. Great for sensitive skin. The kit includes pre-shave oil, shaving cream, after shave and a shaving brush. Travel and full sizes are available.

4. A BasTexWireless Case for a smart phone - The above Hard Knuckles Bumper model in metallic silver for an iPhone 5 sells for $4.99. There is a design and color to fit most every personality and cell phone.

5. A Craft Beer Brewing Kit - Everything a person needs to begin making beer at home. It's rewarding to learn a new hobby. A chance for the giftee to impress friends with delicious homemade beer. Who knows? You, the giver, might get invited to a beer tasting.

6. French Girl Organic - Lip Tints - A nourishing lip balm containing organic oils, butters and wax to keep lips moist and chap-free, in subtle earth tone tints. 
7. Pearl jewelry - From earrings, rings, bracelets or necklaces, there's a price point for every budget. A forever keepsake. You can't go wrong with pearls and silver or gold. Freshwater pearls are lovely just like their flawless siblings. Do your research before choosing. Macy's, a department store with knowledgeable buyers and a wide selection, is a good place to start.

8. Shea Moisture Soap - This whole product line of skin, body and hair care is the best kept secret in the beauty industry. Fabulously budget-friendly and available at Target, Walgreen and Bed, Bath And Beyond. Made with certified organic ingredients. The huge-sized soaps are excellent for pampering dry and sensitive skin. None better!

9. English Toffee - Chocolate, nuts and butter toffee, not to mention a mouthwatering crunch! Lots of sizes and brands are packaged in holiday boxes and tins. Makes a festive presentation.

10. A gift certificate - To a favorite store is always a thougthful present, in my opinion. 

Normally, adults get fewer gifts, so make yours count! What are your gift ideas?Emoji

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

How To Froth Milk Without A Frother

You don't need a fancy gadget to froth milk for a delicious cup of coffee (or cappuccino). The effort takes two minutes and is simple, so why bring another appliance into your kitchen?

To froth milk is to produce a mass of air bubbles by agitation. There are several ways to do so:

Method #1. Pour ½ cup of milk (per serving of coffee) into a jar; or use as much milk as you need as long as the jar is at least half empty. Secure the lid and shake the jar vigoriously for 30-60 seconds. Remove the lid and microwave it for 30-40 seconds. Voilà, warm froth! Pour the milk into hot coffee, and spoon the foam on top.

Method #2. Pour ½ cup of milk into a large mug and either microwave for 30-40 seconds, or pour into a saucepan and heat for several minutes on a stovetop until steaming. When it starts to produce steam, remove and use a whisk to stir vigoriously for 30-60 seconds. Add to coffee.

Lazy Girl (My) Method #3. Pour ½ cup of milk into a big mug to heat in a microwave for 30-40 seconds, or pour into a saucepan on a stovetop until it begins to steam. Remove and pour into a blender. Blend until frothy. Pour into your coffee.

Method #4. If you have a portion of milk left in a mostly empty milk jug, hold the lid on tightly with your thumb and shake the jug vigoriously for 30-60 seconds. Presto, you have froth. Pour it into a dish and microwave for 30-40 seconds before pouring into coffee. 

The reason you microwave the froth is to set the foam (i.e. air bubbles in liquid). It keeps the mixture from returning to milk.

I use skim milk. (That's what I normally stock. For guests I open a can of creamier condensed milk.) Milk with 1% or 2% fat works too. Use whatever you buy.

For cappuccino (the word means hood in Italian), brew a strong cup of coffee. Top with steamed (agitated) milk, ta-da ... froth.

No extra space, equipment or batteries needed. You're welcome!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Atoxelene Line Wand

There is a trendy beauty fluid celebrities use to erase wrinkles and promote youthful skin. Have you heard of it? And if so, can you pronounce it?! The name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?

Call it Botox on a brush. Reportedly, many A-list stars keep an Atoxelene Line Wand within reach. 

Here's why: It hydrates the skin and smoothes fine lines and wrinkles with properties of hyaluronic acid and peptides. 

The Atoxelene Line Wand is applied under makeup and before red carpet events to take years off a face. The treatment works immediately, but since it is an intraceutical, the effects are also cumulative, according to Hollywood markup ... um makeup artists. The more you use it, the better your skin looks. Brush it on crow's feet, furrows, frown lines and laugh lines to soften and reduce their appearance. Moreover, its anti-aging ingredients (the peptides) encourage quicker cell turnover and the growth of collagen to keep new expression lines at bay. It's a splurge at $49. The equally popular Atoxelene daily serum costs $149.

For a similar, but cheaper treatment, try Watts Beauty Peptide - Hyaluronic Acid Concentrated Serum Complex with L-Arginine and Silk Amino Acids.

And just for fun, challenge yourself by pronouncing the names of each of these products three times without stammering!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Uniqlo's Cold Weather Steals

12 colors: red, light green, dark green, blue, winter white, navy, brown, light grey, dark grey, black, pink, and purple
A classic wool sweater is a wardrobe essential. It keeps you warm and toasty in a 6-month battle with Old Man Winter, as well as, completes an outfit. Whether worn with a dress, trousers or leggings, a soft woven sweater adds polish and looks oh, sooo casual smart!

Uniqlo has an assortment of cashmere and extra fine merino wool sweaters in many styles and colors at super low prices. Men, women and children can choose from cardigans, pullovers, crew necks or v-necks.

While I love the plushness of cashmere (it sells for $99), I decided to buy two extra fine merino wool cardigans in red and navy at $39 each (with a $10 promotion coupon). The extra fine merino wool cardigan is slightly longer than the cashmere counterpart, and it is tony!  Light-weigh, well-made and cozy, I plan to stay warm in style on frosty days. 

You really can't go wrong with any of the Uniqlo sweaters this season. There's also a wool-blend variety selling for under $25, plus the retailer is famous for running weekly sales. I highly recommend stocking up in a few colors at these unbeatable prices.

Down vests

Another winter must-have is Uniqlo's ultra light down vests. Just like their sweaters, the down vests add style and warmth to your wardrobe without the bulk. At $49.90, which is already a good price, it goes on sale sometimes, so you can wait if you want to get the best deal. I have one in navy blue. Perfect for traveling, the vest easily rolls up to fit into a stuffed suitcase. It weighs nothing!

In winter, you want to layer without adding extra weight. Who wants to look like the Michelin Man? Keeping warm without the bulk is a trademark of Uniqlo's innovative clothing.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Shiseido's Sparkling Party Palette

I love the efficiency of a well-thought-out makeup palette. At $50, it's not cheap, but you have all your makeup ducks sitting in a row -- a slim case which fits effortlessly into a small clutch purse. It contains all the brilliant colors and tools you need to freshen up as you spend a night out on the town. Besides, makeup palettes seem to last for a while, so at least you feel like you're getting your money's worth.

Shiseido is offering a limited edition holiday palette that helps you to enhance your natural beauty. The 6 shades complement each other. They can be mixed and matched to create several glamorous looks.

Going from left to right in the above image, here's what's inside: 1) crimson lip or check color; 2) a champagne (cream) eye base or highlighter; 3) and 4) brown and gold eye shadows; 5) dark blue (cream) eyeliner; and 6) coral blush.

Shiseido's Sparkling Party Palette makes an ideal gift. A practical, organized and easy-to-carry kit ... perhaps you'll want to keep it for yourself!


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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pure's Christmas Collection

Clothing made from all natural fiber like cashmere, silk, cotton or linen can be hard to find, but when you do buy them, they are worth it. The fabric feels soft on your skin and lasts for years. If you take proper care of articles made from pure cotton or wools, they actually improve with age and make whatever you pair them with look better.

One of my favorite apparel companies, who specialize in natural fiber, is Britain's Pure Collection. I love their comfortable, classic, luxe clothing. If I were an uber-buyer, I'd order everything in their catalogs. Their dresses, skirts and sweaters are gorgeous. Instead, I try to figure out what I really need and settle for a few pieces.

Their new Christmas collection (yes, it's out already!) features sequin and leather pencil skirts, plus jeweled silk blouses and cashmere cardigans. This holiday season, sparkle in natural fiber and comfort!

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