Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Liberty London For Uniqlo

Get excited about a dream collaboration between Uniqlo and British brand Liberty. Uniqlo's clothing philosophy (simple made better) is fused with Liberty's 140 years of fabric history. The "LifeWear" dresses, skirts, t-shirts, button-down shirts and slippers for men, women and children are quality everyday basics designed in Liberty's vibrant, yet delicate and most popular floral patterns.
I adore the Liberty London Bra Dress. It comes in several floral designs and is super practical to beat the summer heat. As comfortable and lightweight as a t-shirt, but ultra stylish paired with sandals, ballet flats or heels.
How flattering are these Relaco shorts? Tasteful and powerful with Liberty's certified floral flare.
Other cute items include Liberty London Tote Bags. Not only posh, they are 100% cotton and strong to hold lots of stuff.

Liberty (the exclusive department store in London's West End) + Uniqlo (Japanese innovation for the masses) = upscale design that most everyone can afford!

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday Thoughts

Caravaggio: The Incredulity of St. Thomas
To get your fix of the festive Easter eggs, ducklings and bunnies I usually post on this holiday, go here. But this year, let's change it up a bit. There are many unsettling world events, including recent terrorism in France, Belgium and Turkey, as well as, the hateful rhetoric we hear from one presidential candidate in the United States. Worldly and personally, life always has challenges. So why is Easter celebrated?

Christianity recognizes that good and evil exist in the world. Traditional Christianity teaches that humanity has a basic flaw, called sin (which is to "miss the mark"). It says, when we choose sin over good, it shatters our relationship with God and one another. Christians believe God sent his only son to overcome sin, and in doing so, humanity was restored to grace ("the free, unmerited favor of God," also "divine influences to inspire virtuous impulses").

In the end, believing requires a leap of faith. That's why I love Caravaggio's beautiful painting of Christ with St. Thomas. By nature, I'm more like St. Thomas, than I am like St. Peter or St. Paul, the two transcending leaders of the early Church. Definitely, I'm the person who'd ask to put my fingers in the wounds to believe. Then after, I might still have some doubts! The Christ in the Gospels and painting accepts it. If anything, Jesus is for transparency, "Come, touch. See for yourself."

Easter celebrates a belief that ultimately good will defeat evil and eternal life will replace death. It encourages us to have hope and human perseverance. 

And now, let's go on a blog pilgrimage! Join me in marveling at some of the most stunning stain glass in Christian churches around the world. Regrettably, I can only post a few:

Church of Notre-Dame au Sablon, Brussels, Belgium
Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims - windows by Marc Chagall
St Nicolaaskerk Church, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Happy Easter Everyone!
Easter EggFlower Basket Flowers 6   Flowers 51  Flowers 26  Easter Egg

Check out this jaw-dropping mosque also.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Extras That Make Home Life Easy

Although I live in a small New York City apartment, I have Outlet Surge Protector Power Strips throughout my living/bedroom and kitchen. Many people don't think to buy extra power strips for their electrical sockets. But after thinking about it, why must a homeowner unplug one appliance to use another? With extra power strips, you don't! Plus, no more crawling behind a couch, refrigerator or bed to plug in and unplug appliances. I recommend spending a few more dollars to get the Outlet Surge Protector Power Strips, as opposed to, a strip that doesn't safeguard your electronics. In the event of a power surge, you'll be thankful not to need a new computer, printer or television. As a precaution, don't overload a single power strip; instead buy more of them.
A television remote is another accessory to buy several of for your home. 

My longtime friend, Cara Sue, counted the four I have laying in strategic spots in my living room. She enjoyed teasing me by asking, "How lazy does a person have to be to have four TV remote controls in one room?"  

But au contraire, it's brilliant! You can reach for a remote control from any area in my living room, whether 1) standing in front of the TV; 2) sitting on the couch, 3) using the computer at a table; or 4) reclining on the opposite side of the room. 

As I said to Cara Sue, "What good is a remote control, if you always have to get up to fetch it?'' It defeats the purpose of a remote control, no? (Note: I had to break my habit of carrying my remotes off from their strategic spots for my system to work, but no one starts off perfect. Practice makes a system perfect.😊)

For the 3 extras, I bought 3 identical universal remotes that are easy to program with a code to work with my television. They cost about $6 each, compared to the $50 the television manufacturer charges for its brand. You want to buy identical extra remote controls to keep life simple. If each remote is different (like a puzzle) you have to think too hard to find the buttons.
Another tool I stash in strategic places in my apartment are scissors. I have scissors in two spots in my kitchen for opening food packages, as well as, a pair on a living room shelf for opening mail and FedEx packages. Before I bought extra scissors, I spent too much time looking for them; and the scissors were never in the room where I needed them. A problem easily solved by buying several pairs.

In the end, buying multiples of inexpensive home accessories and tools can make life simple. Have you improved life by buying extras of an item?

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Eco-Friendly Garden And Pest Control Tips

I'm reading Who Knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions To Everyday Problems by Bob Lubin and Joanne Bossolina-Lubin. It's a book of practical, inexpensive life hacks.

Recently Bob shared some of his eco-friendly garden and pest control tips on the The Living Well Network. (Timely, right? It's spring finally!) Taken directly from the show, here are some of his solutions:

Three Mosquito Repellents:

1) Put 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract in a small spray bottle and spray it on your exposed skin to keep mosquitoes away.
2) Plant basil on your outdoor patio.
3) Keep dryer sheets in your pockets.

Turn brown grass to green:

Sprinkle Epsom salts over the browning sections of your lawn, then water the lawn to soak it in. The magnesium in the Epsom salts will revive the grass in a few days.

Revive Roses:

Crush egg shells and mix with water. Spray the mixture on your roses and they will come back to life.

Revive Diseased Plants:

Crush a clove of garlic and mix with 2 cups of water. Spray on you sick plants. Bob says, you won't smell the garlic.

2 Ways to Kill Yard Weeds:

1) Sprinkle baking soda on the weeds.

2) Or spray vinegar on them; and don't worry, the spray of vinegar will kill the weeds, but not your grass or flowers.

To Fight Squirrels without harming them:

Mix 2 tablespoons of hot sauce, a dash of cayenne pepper, 2 capfuls of Murphy's Oil and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray on plants and anything else to keep squirrels away from it.

To Keep Pests Away From Your Garbage Cans:

Spray it with a mixture of 3/4 cup ammonia and 1 cup of water.

I'm impressed with how easy, cheap and chemical free (except for the ammonia) most of his solutions are. They make me wonder why we ever buy expensive solvents that contain toxic ingredients to do a job. I can't wait to kill weeds in my mother's yard!

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Friday, March 18, 2016

A Round Up Of Cute Evening Bags

Vince Camuto Gilda Minaudiere Evening Bag
Fancy evening purses are pretty, but you can't get much in them: a lipstick, a tissue, a small comb and perhaps a $20 (emergency) bill, if you're lucky. Still if you ever have an occasion to wear a ball gown, you probably own a few of them.
Vince Camuto Luv Minaudiere
Mine looks very much like this (above) black clutch. It has a gold chain making it possible to hang the purse off my shoulder, but I don't recommend doing so, because the sequins catch on the gown. I didn't anticipate this (a con) when the shimmer (a pro) tempted me to buy it.
Vince Camuto Aleni Minaudiere Evening Bag

Here's a a geometric, metallic evening bag for a modern woman. With such a smooth, glossy surface, there is nothing to catch on a ball gown. Is it your style?

Lath.Pin Sequins Beaded Peacock Evening Bag Wedding Bridal Party Pom

For the woman who loves nature, how about a peacock beaded bag to complement your gown? It comes in pink also.
 Blue Betsey Johnson Fluff Clutch
And speaking of pink, how about this ultra feminine rose pedal number from Betsey Johnson? But if you're not feeling the pink, it comes in two shades, black and white.

J. Furmani Crystal and Stone Hardcase Clutch

And just when you think a clutch can't get any shorter, guess what? It can! You may have to choose: Will you carry an ink pen, or your lip balm? Forget about sliding a compact of face powder in this purse. You'll need to dab the shine off your forehead using a tissue or a single piece of blotting paper.

Do you have a favorite type of evening bag? Tell us, can you get all your essentials in it?

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Drugstore Lipstick Worth Buying

The image doesn't do justice to these lovely L'Oreal and N.Y.C. nudes!
Once upon a time customers had to pay big bucks for designer lipstick to get rich pigments and gorgeous colors because they were not found in a drugstore aisle. That's not true anymore! THE SAVVY SHOPPER loves to feature drugstore lipstick that goes toe-to-toe with their luxe rivals.

So, here are two more drugstore lipsticks for less. Although under $10, each brand gives lipstick wearers the characteristics we want, namely: 

a) Flattering shades in nude, brown, pink, plum, coral and red.
b) Colors in matte and satin formulas. 
c) A moist, smooth (like butter) formula that won't dry your lips.
d) Colors that last for hours.

I tested the following brands in 4 nude shades. Nude is this season's hot, trendy color, and yet, staying power is notoriously hard to find in a nude.

 1) L'Oreal - is a first-rate drugstore lipstick from a famous cosmetic company. L'Oreal is the sister label of Lancome, but is less than half the price. Lancome and L'Oreal have the same French parent company, and some customers wonder if they are made in the same factory. The company denies it, but hmm? Sure feels like it!

I bought 2 colors: L'Oreal Colour Riche - Sandstone/810, as well as, L'Oreal Collection Exclusive - Eva's Nude/610.

5 stars or hearts rating: 

2) N.Y.C. - is a first-rate drugstore lipstick that is less famous. It sells at Duane Reade and Walmart for a price you will not believe. At Duane Reade I bought one formula for $2.19 and another for $1.09 (regular price). Walmart sells the very same N.Y.C. lipsticks for $1.99 and .99. If you spot this brand, don't let the savings make you fear the lipstick is inferior. The N.Y.C. brand feels and wears like a $25 lipstick.

I selected 2 colors: NYC Expert Last Rouge a Levres - Creamy Caramel/440 and NYC Moisture Lip Wear - Cafe/301

The N.Y.C. nudes wear longer then Bobbi Brown's nudes! Plus, you can buy all the colors in the N.Y.C. line for the cost of one Bobbi Brown lipstick.

5 stars or hearts rating: 

This is drugstore lipstick worth buying and loving ... you're welcome!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Meet The Morf Shirt And Dress

A Morf shirt is one reversible shirt you can wear to get 24 different looks. The shirt is the brainchild of Tamara Salem, who made the first one as a birthday gift for a friend. Later on, she designed a Morf dress, which can also be turned inside out to wear 24 different ways.

Each piece is created from fabric that is 95% cotton and 5% elastan. For women, they come in blue, red or green. Men have one choice, dark and white. There are no buttons or zippers, and there is no inside and out, making it easy to wear the shirt, or dress any which way to change the look.

So with just one shirt (or dress),  a man, or woman can customize their daily appearance. Just think how simple it would be to pack a suitcase. Basically, a person can wear the same exact thing everyday -- a single shirt or dress, but no one will notice.

The shirt retails for $49 and the dress for $150. Look for sales also. The fit is snug, so reviewers recommend ordering a size up. Are you tempted to buy a "collection" of one to take on trips?

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Learn To Love Green Tea

Sometimes a person wants something to drink besides water. In an effort to stop drinking soda, I began drinking jugs of Arizona Black Tea, purchased from the supermarket. Arizona Black Tea (with healthy anti-oxidants) is good for the body, but apparently not for the teeth. After drinking gallons of the tea, suddenly my teeth are sensitive. Ouch! At first I didn't know what was wrong. So I did some research, and sure enough, it is caused by the acid in ready-made tea.

Holy Mother of God! Is there nothing delicious humans can enjoy without an undesirable consequence? No sister, there is not! Sooo now I must re-evaluate.

As the zeitgeist would have it, I just started making Kombucha. The fermented tea, which is packed with beneficial probiotics, has the carbonation I miss in soda. But, it takes about 10 days to ferment, and I can't keep up with production. So I have to supplement Kombucha with something else ... but what?

As it turns out, home brewed iced tea is less acidic than commercial iced tea; therefore, I bought boxes of black, oolong, green and white teas. I must learn to like brewed green tea; or I'll mix green tea with one of the other three teas. Because ... 

According to Prevention magazine, there's good reason to drink green tea:

"Not only is green tea gloriously calorie free, it can also help spur fat burn and weight loss. In one study, participants who drank four cups of green tea daily for 2 months lost an average of about 6 more pounds, compared with those who drank just plain water, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Another 2013 analysis from the European Journal of Nutrition found that regular green teadrinkers weigh less, have smaller waists, and reap these green tea health benefits. (Scientists speculate green tea's combo of catechin antioxidants and caffeine are behind the effect.) Choose fresh, hot brewed tea with nothing added—store-bought bottled brews tend to have fewer antioxidants and can be loaded with excess sugar. Stay away from unregulated green tea supplements, too: They're a frequent cause of liver damage and may contain unsafe doses of compounds isolated from tea.''

Sooo, it's settled. Brewed green tea is my new daily beverage. And yes, I will learn to like it. Perhaps lemon, or mint, or a spice will jazz it up. What food or drink have you learned to like?

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Monday, March 7, 2016

New From Maybelline

Just when you think drugstore beauty couldn't get any better Maybelline launches new products to try. Let's go from brows to lips in featuring a few:

Maybelline Brow Drama Pomade Crayon: There are 4 colors: Blond, Soft Brown, Deep Brown and Auburn. The crayon sculpts, tames and colors your brows. Well defined eyebrows frame and accentuate your entire face.

The Rock NUDES eyeshadow palette joins its sister palettes, namely, THE NUDES and The Blushed NUDES. The Rock NUDES are edgy, sultry, metallic and smoky with a combination of light and dark shades. Over the weekend I bought this newest palette and will step out of my comfort zone, as I don't often apply eyeshadow. Well ...  that is about to change!
Lash Sensational Luscious Waterproof Mascara - This comes in 2 shades: Very Black and Brownish Black. Angie Smith, friend and reader of THE SAVVY SHOPPER, highly recommends it. She says, the Lash Sensation mascara "is a miracle, this doesn't track at all!" After hours of wear, "no black smudges or flakes" appear.

FACESTUDIO Master Contour blush palette. Define your cheeks with 1) blush, 2) bronzer and 3) highlighter. It has rich, natural pigments that last all day.

COLOR SENSATIONAL LIP GLOSS - These are not really new (they came out in 2013), but everybody, including Angie, loves them. Reviewers rave about the lip gloss over a newer lip product, Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid (which one reviewer calls an uneven "shiny mess"), therefore, THE SAVVY SHOPPER recommends buying the gloss. Angie says they are "better than Chanel's Glossier ... and at a fraction of the price!" Personally, I'm a big fan of nude, which is the new chic lip color this spring. Angie has convinced me to pair the gloss in nude with Maybelline's Romantic Rose lipstick. Sounds lovely. 

Maybelline is truly churning out a huge line of quality beauty products for less moola. With drugstore deals, you can splurge and save simultaneously. Perhaps it's time to try a few new colors!

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Happy 7th Birthday To THE SAVVY SHOPPER

THE SAVVY SHOPPER turns 7 years old today! How time flies.

I began the THE SAVVY SHOPPER because seven years ago, the consumer magazine where I worked, was busy developing its online presence, and at the time I noticed that all newspapers and magazines were doing the exact same thing, so intuitively, I knew that anyone who wants to write would have to know about websites. How to learn? Start one.

What I didn't know was how important social media would become, and how the internet would effect print journalism. Seven years ago, Pinterest was still in its infancy. Instagram and Snapchat didn't exist. No one knew what to do with Google+. News, entertainmentfashion and beauty bloggers weren't prominent, and people (in error) still said "I twitter when they meant I tweet." 

How times change! For better or worse, now everybody is on the internet. Ordinary people have a platform. A voice. Content comes from everywhere. Publishing is quick and easy with the click of a button. Personally, I think the positives are many. The world has opened up.
Unwittingly, I created a job for myself. I love hearing from readers and fellow bloggers! I learn a great deal from you and take my responsibility to publish worthy, correct content very seriously.

At THE SAVVY SHOPPER, we are a global community. Thank YOU for enriching my world. And now, here's to another year of living, learning, writing and sharing.

Let's eat a cupcake in solidatory!

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