Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bangs Are Back

Reportedly, bangs are the next big hair trend. Never completely out of style, now they have a new name: Fringe, as in, "There's a fringe for everybody." 
Photo: Elle - Salma Hayek
Like a lot of little girls, I wore bangs for about 10 years. I wore them again for another 10 years shortly after graduating from college. I will probably never willingly cut my hair into bangs again. Why you may ask?
Photo: Elle - Bella Hadid
Because bangs are a commitment. When I had bangs I bought a  professional pair of hair scissors in order to trim the fringe myself in between haircuts. If you can't trim your own bangs, you will be booking hair appointments every 2 weeks.
Photo: Elle - Jennifer Garner
And growing bangs out takes patience galore and aplenty of awkward in-between lengths before they reach the measure of the rest of your hair. You get accustomed to looking stupid and trying stupid things while growing out your bangs, including securing the fringe with bobby pins, barrettes, mousse, hair stray, even swallowing vitamins in an attempt to accelerate the growing process.
Photo: Elle/Getty - Rihanna
Now that I'm older, I like my oval face (winkles and all!) without bangs better. So fringe on people, straight across your forehead ... no fringe benefits for me this time around. My days of the fringe have ended. How about you?

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Real J. Peterman Company

If you watch reruns of Seinfeld on television, you may recognize J. Peterman as Elaine Benes' quirky boss. (She was once fired by him for her dislike of the film, "The English Patient.") But, did you know the J. Peterman Company is a real business founded by J. Peterman, a living, breathing, flesh and blood entrepreneur?
The clothing, accessories and home goods retailer was launched in Lexington, Kentucky in 1987 by John Peterman, who also traveled the world and played minor league baseball for 3 years.
The upscale, yet affordable merchandise sells mainly online. There is a warehouse type of store in Blue Ash, Ohio, site of its present headquarters. The offerings are luxurious, practical, unique; and yes, sometimes quirky. You will find tailored suits and cotton dresses, fine wale vests and English umbrellas, as well as, Italian leather totes, hooded European raincoats and authentic English pub signs. J. Peterman calls his inventory "uncommonly good." Expertly made apparel, accessories, luggage and housewares that are frequently one-of-a-kind. People will stop you in the streets to ask where you got your articles.
His catalogues are fun to peruse. Product descriptions are written with a cheeky sense of humor, and the items are shown as drawings, rather than photographs.
Like the man, himself, nothing about the J. Peterman Company is run-of-the-mill, lackluster, or ordinary. Take a browse: Like an off-the-beaten-path road trip, it's a glorious idiosyncratic advantage!

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Healthy Real Food Is Not Expensive

Photo: 9 News and Wikipendia
Today I will dispute a common fallacy about the cost of food. It is thought that real food is more expensive than processed food, a/k/a "food like substances." Often this is untrue, which is a very good thing. Sustenance (or food and drink), the source of strength, health and fueling life, itself, takes a big bite out of our budgets. 

A quick way of eating healthy and saving money is to shop along the outer aisles of a supermarket, where real food like milk, eggs, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables are stocked and away from the middle aisles where most of the processed food, such as twinkles, cheetos, chips and boxes of sugary cereals lay.
On sale for $1.99 a pound at local supermarkets.
After I started eating real food over processed food, I spent less (time shopping and) money on groceries, a bonus I didn't expect. I will link a newly discovered website, called Foodfacts From A - Z, which is a handy-dandy encyclopedia of food. Look up the origin and nutritional value of a specific food. Your homework is to browse the alphabet of food, then add a new rarely/or never eaten food to your diet each month. Expand your food horizons.
Photo: blazer76 iStock
While it's normal to enjoy occasional treats, we need to remember what the true purpose of food is, as well as, to care about achieving longevity. Probably we should eat-to-live 95% of the time, and live-to-eat about 5% of the time for overall good health and a long life free of disease.

I notice that all types of anti-oxidant-rich berries are now in season. Priced as cheap as they will ever be. Eat up while inexpensive and plentiful. I posted lucious berry photos throughout the blog to entice you! {Cheeries are not considered berries as they have pitts, but like barries are high in axtioxidants and can be popped into your month.} We all need little nudges once in a while to learn and stick with healthy habits.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Southern Cross (Crux)

Occasionally for fun, I blog about Guilty Pleasure Songs; however I'm going to retire the list of songs because the YouTube videos disappear so often, and it's too much effort to go back to old posts for the purpose of finding new videos of a whole list of songs. (Will you cry me a river?) I prefer writing new blogs to revising old ones.🙃

So from now on for amusement, perhaps I will do a Guilty Pleasure Song ... no more lists, just a single. Surely I can keep up with one song if it gets yanked.

Sooo, for my Guilty Pleasure Song, I choose Southern Cross by Crosby, Stills & Nash.

What can I say about it? Only a talented songwriter can write a good story song. Early country music had tons of them. Today, not so much. A good story song sounds authentic -- it says something real and true about the human condition. A listener can hear the song years later and still understand its meaning, as the scenario, or emotions are timeless. Hank Williams, Mere Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Bob Wills and a slew of other artists excel(led) at songwriting ... and thus master(ed) the story song.🎸

Steven Stills is no slouch either. He wrote Southern Cross (with the help of Rick and Michael Curtis) about a long boat trip he took following his divorce. A failed relationship leaves its damage and is filler for the song. Clearly, the protagonist pines for his ex-love. Do you agree? The man sails around the Southern Hemisphere taking solace in the beauty of the sea and the Southern Cross, a constellation of stars in a peaceful night sky. Through his sorrows and loss what endures for him is music. He thinks he'll forget her, and in time perhaps he will. Or not? {One source says: That's as likely to happen as forgetting the beauty of the Southern Cross.} See how clever the story song can be?
Crux photo:

Crux photo: Christopher J. Picking

A wordy song, Mr. Stills must possess a stellar memory and clear head to sing it LIVE, no? Lovely harmonay too.

By the way, we can't see the Southern Cross here in America. Have you caught a glimpse of it in your sky?🌝

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Planet Eden Organic Skin Care

Photo: Photo:
Good skin care is an ongoing topic on THE SAVVY SHOPPER. Although we can't stop the march of time, we can strive to have "glowing, radiant skin'' at every age. And ... we don't want to go broke doing so.

Plant Eden is a company offering the best quality organic serums, moisturizers and treatments without the expense of the luxe brands. What an amazing find!: You get top-notch skin care at affordable prices, which is why the retailer began in 2009. Plus, the products are cruelty free, none are tested on animals.

Here are some of the crème de la crème Planet Eden anti-aging potions to try:

1) Eden Skin Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid Serum - Reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Protects against inflammation and stimulates the growth of collagen. Lightens freckles and age stops. (Apply the serum at night.)

2) Miracle C Serum With Cam Camu Berry - Cam camu berry is a natural source of high potency vitamin C. It improves uneven skin tone and helps your sun screen work better. The serum has ferulic acid which doubles the benefits of vitamin C to protect skin against free radicals, as well as, produce collagen. It also contains hyaluronic acid, a vital component in skin. The serum boosts elasticity and keeps your skin healthy, moist and supple. (Wear it day or night, but not with a retinol. The 2 ingredients, retinol and vitamin C cancel the benefits of the other.)

3) 20% Gly-Lactic Exfoliating Lotion with Glycolic and Lactic Acid - Has 10% glycolic and 10% lactic acid for cell turnover. There are no harsh chemicals, but tons of moisturizers. Your skin plumps up with dewy moisture -- derived from hyaluronic acid and sealed by exotic oils and butters -- while shedding a layer of dead, dull skin over a short period of time to revel fresh skin. (Use day or night.)

4) Antioxidant Recovery Cream for Stressed Dry Skin And After Skin Peels Loaded with organic botanicals, such as rose hip oil, evening primrose oil, grapeseed oil, caledula, frankincense, macadamia nut oil and many other ingredients, including Anica and vitamin B5. It sooths, moisturizes and heels the skin. (Apply day or night.)
5) Dermaneedle Skin Roller (540 needles) - Using a skin roller reduces pores, acne scars, pigmentation and wrinkles. The motion of the needles stimulates collagen. It can be used on the face and other parts of the body.

The serums, creams and treatments have a pleasant, clean scent (very faint), a smoothing effect and are filled-to-the-brink of their containers. Value without compromise; plus all items ship for free.

With the cash you save on Planet Eden's youth elixirs, you can splurge on a useful tool like the skin roller. In a nutshell: This highly effective brand is a bargain!

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bean, Avocado, Corn, Onion And Tomato Salad

Eating beans helps people to live longer! A fact. In 2009, a Vitality Project lead by Dan Buettner studied the lifestyles of people who live in Blue Zones -- which are areas of the world with the longest life spans. People in the Blue Zones tend to live to be 100+ years old. Along with other healthy habits, it turns out that the people who live in epicenters of old age eat lots of beans. Since beans are healthy and tasty, perhaps we should emulate them. So now I'm looking for ways to eat more beans.

Last night's dinner was a quick and easy recipe I pulled off Facebook. As usual, I made it my own:

Bean, Avocado, Corn, Onion and Tomato Salad


1 15-16 ounce can of beans (Use black, red kidney, pink or your favorite.)
2 ripe avocados, diced
2 cups of corn kernels (I grilled 16 ounces of frozen corn in a skillet, but you can use a can, or fresh corn -- cut off the cob.)
French Tart-FT
1 small onion, diced
1 large ripe tomato, diced (or plum or cherry tomatoes, i.e. any)
seasonings to taste:
salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, Herb De Provence, dried chipotle powder and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
A sprinkle of soy sauce
A sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce

Dressing: You can use lemon (i.e., lemon + extra virgin olive oil); or vinaigrette (vinegar + extra virgin olive oil). I like vinaigrette.


Toss everything into a big bowl and mix thoroughly. I made a vinaigrette dressing, adding it to the bean juice that was left in the can of beans. A very adoptable recipe, season everything to taste. 

You can also add other crunchy vegetables like diced celery; carrot, red peppers; an apple; or sunflower seeds to the salad. I made mine with just the 5 ingredients listed in the heading and went the spicy chipotle and red pepper flake route.

Such a simple salad to toss together and picnic friendly. Bon Appétite!

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Uniqlo Partners With Épice

Uniqlo, the innovative Japanese retailer, which makes "Life Wear'' clothing tempted me once again! I have 4 of their bra dresses hanging in my closet from previous seasons. By habit I'm an under buyer, not an over buyer. Sooo. I have no business buying any more of these dresses. And yet, I did!

The first Uniqlo bra dress I got was solid black. Then the collaborations with noted design studios began -- and my wish came true. The bra dress in florals materialized!

This year Uniqlo paired with Éspice, a Copenhagen brand, known for their beautiful, sophisticated floral designs.

I love wearing the bra dress all summer long. So light and comfortable! You don't need a camisole. You don't need a slip. You don't need a bra, as a full bra is built in. As cool and practical as shorts, but more versatile. The style of a grown-up.

For these reasons, I bought 2 more dresses: (1) off-white and (2) blue.😱 In my defense, I did not buy all 4 Épice floral patterns in the bra dress that are available. 

Uniqlo, I warn you: Do not offer your bra dress in anymore pretty floral designs. Just stop it! Because I can't resist!! Plus, these darn dresses roll out near my summer birthday. A coincidence? I think not! How devious of you, Uniqlo!👹

Note to my readers: The Épice collection also includes: maxi bra dresses, t-shirts and shorts. Every article is under $30, plus goes on promotion quite often, making the pieces a steal!

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Essence Matt Matt Matt Lipstick Is Cheap, Cheap, Cheap And Terrific

Priced at only $4 each, Essence Matt Matt Matt lipsticks from Ulta are the bomb! Creamy, smooth, pigmented, and long-lasting like the luxe brands ... yet cheap! There are 8 spectacular colors from hot pink to beige and plum.  

Not long ago, customers spent more money because luxe brands were better, but now consumers can get the same quality for less. Affordable brands -- like this one -- offer beautiful colors in moist formulas, which do not fade. What's more, the silver bullet cylinders look expensive.

Be sure to put the Matt Matt Matt lipstick on your list of beauty buys!

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Princess Alice Of The United Kingdom

Photo by Camille Silvy: Princess Alice, June, 1861
Recently I read the biography of another of Queen Victoria's nine children, her 3rd child, Princess Alice, who was born on April 25, 1843. The Queen's 2nd daughter inherited her father, Prince Albert's keen intellect, musical talent, organizational genius and desire to live a life of worth. 
Princess Alice, Prince Alfred (Affie), Queen Victoria (hidden by her hat), Prince Albert Edward, Princess Royal Victoria and Princess Helena with her head on her mother's lap in 1850
Moreover from a young age, Alice showed a flair for nursing. It was Alice who's bedside manner got the royal family through the illnesses and deaths of her maternal grandmother and (nine months later) her father, when she was only 18 years old. Royal attendants and doctors alike were amazed by her composure, maturity and deftness as a hospice caregiver. For hours she played the piano for her granny and "dear papa," slept nearby and wrote letters they dictated, all the while comforting her distraught mother. It was to Alice (not Queen Victoria) that Prince Albert confided, he was dying. It was also Princess Alice who sent her older brother, Prince Albert Edward (Bertie), heir to the British throne, the telegram telling him to hurry home from school (in Cambridge) to see their father for the last time.

After Prince Albert's death on December 14, 1861, Alice was the strength that her mother, Queen Victoria, relied upon to face her overwhelming grief. A daunting undertaking at any age, Alice acted as her mother's console(r) and unofficial private secretary managing government and family matters.

At the time Alice was engaged to Louis of Hesse, her handsome, straightforward and good natured German prince. Fortunately, the marriage had already been sanctioned and arranged by Prince Albert (before his illness), taking place on July 1, 1862. But since Queen Victoria was wrapped up in grief, the event resembled more a funeral than a wedding. It was held in the dinning room at Osbourne House, not a church. Although Princess Alice was allowed to change into a white wedding gown, she had to wear black before and after the service, with the wedding party dressed in half-mourning. Without the usual fanfare, this significant day in the young royal's life was over by 4 PM. 
Louis, Alice with Victoria & Ella 1865

Princess Alice meet with several challenges in her new home. Unlike her sister, the Princess Royal Victoria who married Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia, life in Darmstadt, Hesse was more modest by royal standards. The newlyweds exhausted their savings to build a new palace. Running way over budget, it was "heavily subsidized by the British Queen, who harbored strong feelings about the proper settings for her children."* Meanwhile they lived in Darmstadt's "Old Quarter" in a house with thin walls pierced through by the noises of "carts rumbling along the cobbled streets,"* which Alice didn't mind. However, she acutely missed the cultural and intellectual stimulation of London.
Even so, the Princess made the most of her life in Hesse. She had a sensibility and drive to improve the lives of poor people in practical ways that made a difference. Considering her youth, it's mind-boggling to think of all her accomplishments, which still impact Germany today. 
Prince Louis, Princess Alice, Princess Marie (in Louis' arms), Ella, next to her father (Princess Elisabeth, later Grand Duchess of Russia), Alix (later Empress Alexandra of Russia), Victoria, next to her mother (grandmother of Philip), Prince Ernst and Princess Irene in May, 1875.
Alice devoted much of her time to bringing Florence Nightingale's procedures for military hospitals to Darmstadt during the Austro-Prussian War (1866). All the while, the Princess was pregnant with her 3rd daughter, Irene. Not only did she visit and roll bandages for wounded soldiers, her organization, the Princess Alice Women's Guild, ran the day-to-day operations of the state's field hospitals.

The Alice Hospital in Hesse-Darmstadt, which still exists, was named after the Princess. She also spearheaded better maternity care. 

Queen Victoria was alarmed by Alice's directness in medical subjects, especially in the area of gynecology. Biographers of mother and daughter cite an 1871 letter in which the Queen wrote to her newly married younger daughter, Princess Louise, warning her: "Don't let Alice pump you. Be very silent and cautious about your interior!"*
Left photo: Princess Alice with her older sister, Vicky, 1850; Right photo: Bertie, Helena (in the cart), Vicky, Affie, (baby) Louise held by their nurse, Mrs. Thurston and Alice (sitting in front of cart), 1848.

Queen Victoria loved, but was not as kind and motherly to her children as she sometimes should have been. At heart, Alice was a peacemaker, and yet the Princess' tendency to speak her mind, strained her relations with the Queen who did not like to be contradicted. When Alice breast feed baby Ella, herself, Victoria disapproved, naming a cow "Alice" after her daughter.* At first Alice objected to her sister, Helena's fiancé, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. He was an older, poor, Danish born German prince. Alice knew he was chosen primarily to keep Helena close to home. In response, Victoria called Alice "Mischief-Maker,"* claiming that she was, "the real devil in the family!"* After Alice understood the match was what Helena desired too, she supported the union, getting another family dissenter, Bertie's acceptance. Still the Queen's resentment lingered.
Princess Helena, Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria, Princess Alice, and Princess Louise, August, 1960
Princess Alice worked diligently to upgrade the health, education and everyday life of women in Darmstadt. She initiated programs to train nurses who could work in hospitals. The Princess was also interested in opening "technical, industrial and trade schools"* for women. The Alice Society paired women with teachers and commerce, which could pay them for their sewing and knitting, letting women earn income for their families. Alice often visited the homes of the impoverished in Hesse, as well as, English social agencies on visits home, whose methods she studied in order to develop similar hospitals, group homes and agencies to address social needs. Another interest was to provide a place where prostitutes could turn their lives around. "Prostitute" was not a word used by Victorians in polite society. Furthermore, entering the homes of the poor in the Grand Duke's Kingdom (often "unannounced and unrecognized with just a lady-in-waiting"*) was rare for a princess. And, sometimes criticized by high born tongues.
Left photo: Alice with Louis in uniform, mid 1860s; Right photo: Ella, Victoria, Alice holding Marie, Alix, Ernie and Irene, 1877 or 1878?
Throughout their marriage, Alice and Louis remained devoted to each other. Prince Louis was a good man, a caring husband and adored father. But due to different temperaments, Alice was not happy in later years. She felt lonely. Louis was accepting and easygoing, while Alice had her father's brain, passions and seriousness. 

Louis responded as best he could, and Alice came to realize she had to accept him for who he was. She wrote: 

"You were made for a smooth cheerful, happy life -- and so your wife must want that too. She can share your joys with you, and your worries too, but she may not or rather cannot, expect you to enter into hers ... my mistake is to forget that sometimes. I can share with you -- but you not with me."* Sadly, the spouses were not soul mates, despite there being much love and tenderness in the marriage.
Left photo: Alice with 2nd daughter Ella (1864); Right photo: Alice with son Ernst 1977 or 78

Another trait Alice shared with her father was taking on complicated responsibilities and feeling the effects of overwork resulting in fatigue and running herself down.

Alice's bedroom from where 2 year old Frittie and 4 year old Ernie played when tragedy struck. 
In 1877 Alice and Louis became the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Hesse. By this time, 7 children had been born. Tragically, 2 children died young. Alice was a carrier of
Son Frittie, November, 1871
hemophilia B. One of her sons, 2 year old Frittie, died of the disease (in 1873) after a fall of 20 feet from a window in his mother's bedroom that a normal child would likely have survived. Then 5 years later in November, 1878, nearly everyone in the family came down with diphtheria. Their second daughter, Ella, escaped the illness and was sent away to her Hessian grandmother. For a month Alice nursed her family who had to convalesce in separate rooms. Their youngest child, 3 year old Marie, died on November 15 of the disease; however Alice kept the news from their young son, Ernst, for several weeks. When finally told of his youngest sister's death, the 10 year old boy was so upset, his mother let her guard down to comfort him with a hug and kiss. 

It was a kiss of death. For a few weeks Alice was fine, but on December 14, 1878, the same day Prince Albert had died 17 years earlier, Grand Duchess Alice succumbed to diphtheria. "Dear Papa" were the last words she spoke.

Queen Victoria in mourning with the Hesse family at Windsor Castle, 1879.
Transforming life in her new home for the better, Alice turned out to be her father's daughter. As Prince Albert left his mark on England, Alice mirrored him by leaving hers on Germany. She also died young at 35 years old.

It was desvasting news for the royal family, especially for brother, Bertie and his wife Alexandra, who came to the British throne after Queen Victoria in 1901. Likewise younger brother, Prince Leopold, had grown close to his sister.
The Hesses (+spouses) gather in 1894 for the wedding of Prince Ernst Ludwig of Hesse to Princess Victoria Melita, Affie's daughter 

Grand Duke Ernst of Hesse and by Rhine, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Princess Irene of Prussia, Prince Henry of Prussia, Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna of Russia, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, Princess Victoria of Battenberg, and Prince Louis of Battenberg
In later years two of Alice's daughters, Ella (known as Grand Duchess Elisabeth) and Alix (who became Empress Alexandra) married into the Romanov Royal family of Russia to be violently murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Son Ernst Ludwig became the Grand Duke of Hesse, after his father, reigning from 1892 until 1918. World War I ended his rule, though he was allowed to keep the family estate. The 3rd daughter, Irene of Hesse, married her first cousin, Henry of Prussia (Vicky's younger son and the brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II). Alice's oldest daughter, Princess Victoria of Hesse, married Prince Louis of Battenberg. They are the grandparents of Prince Philip the current Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, which makes the UK's Princes Charles, William and George direct descendents of both Princess Alice and King Edward VII (Bertie).

*Quotes from "Princess Alice" by Gerald Noel. (This is an out of print book, I'd be glad to give it to someone for free, if shipping were inexpensive. I bought the book used on Amazon.)
*Quotes from "Victoria's Daughters" by Jerrold M. Packward
*Quotes from a BBC documentary on the Letters of Victoria

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