Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Quest For Snacks And Busy-Day-Food Premieres

Chef Jamie Oliver changed the way I think about food, teaching me that preparing meals with real, unprocessed food need not take lots of time. As a result, I cook dinner nearly every night of the week. And Jamie is right: With planning, a main course with some sides only takes about 30 minutes to make ready to eat.

On the other hand, breakfast and lunch are often eaten on the run, but here Jamie Oliver has influenced me also to select better snacks and quick meals. Snacks that are low in sugar and empty calories, yet high in protein and a few nutrients. A high protein snack stops that galling hunger and sustains you until your next meal. 

Here are high protein/low sugar meal replacement snacks I grab:

1) Premier Protein Shakes (see above) -  Contain 30 grams of protein (about what you should get in a meal). Unlike many protein drinks, they don't taste chalky or artificial, likely due to milk as one of their ingredients. One shake fills me up and stabilizes my blood sugar for 4 - 5 hours. That's the clincher: It must kill the hunger when I cannot stop for lunch. At 160 calories, it is low in sugar and calories. For these, Walmart and Amazon offer the best prices.

2) Quest Bars - Some protein bars are inedible. Don't buy those! At 20 grams of protein, these taste good. They are gluten-free (should it matter) and have 14 grams of fiber to fill you up. The fiber is easy to digest. At about 180 calories per bar, some of the flavors are better then others. My favorites have little chunks of things in them: Double Chocolate Chunk; Cookies & Cream (Think Oreos); White Chocolate Raspberry; and Coconut Cashew. I eat one of these with a cup of coffee in the morning when I desire a sweet breakfast, but don't have time to make pancakes ... and shouldn't eat cookies or pastry! Also, when I'm not hungry, I can still manage to eat one so as not to skip breakfast. GNC runs a great promotion: Buy 5 Quest bars, get one free.

3) Premier Protein Bars - Not as tasty of the Quest Bars, but still good and satisfying. Having a rice crispy crunch, the Premier bars bump the protein back up to 30 grams at 280 calories per bar, which is still low. Again, turn to Walmart and Amazon for the lowest prices.

The 3 meal replacement items are high in protein but low in sugar and calories. The Premier Protein shakes and Quest bars are about $2 each, while the Premier Protein bars run about $1.25 each.

They are not the cheapest, but a good value for a high amount of protein and pleasant taste. Stock up at lower prices, so you can throw one in your purse, or gym bag.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The City Tote from Foley+Corinna

All bag photos: Bloomingdales
Since I must schlep on foot and subways everywhere around New York City, I buy nothing by crossbody bags. Moreover, I don't want to hurt my neck carrying them. So I'm very selective. I want my purse to look stylish, have enough inside pockets to organize things; be big enough to hold all my essentials, but at the end of the day, look slim and sleek. So we're back to being chic and stylish, aren't we?

Recently, I found the perfect bag! It's the signature City Tote from Foley+Corinna, which was designed with a smart "mix of sophistication, fun and function." For a tote, it is compact; roomy, yet looks and wears more like a purse.

The bag has strong, smooth double handles (to fit your shoulder); a detachable adjustable crossbody strap (which I like to use). The interior has a durable polyester lining; 2 smartphone pockets and a zip pocket. The outside of the bag is a foldover design with a 3rd wide zip pocket.

The Foley+Corinna Mid City Crossbody bag is available in vintage leather. However, I bought it in polyurethane, also called "liberated leatherTM." It costs a third less than geniune leather, but looks remarkable: substantial just like real leather. It is my 1st "liberated leatherTM" bag ever. (Can a person tell the difference between liberated leatherTM and animal hide leather, you may ask? Yes ... but only if she looks for it. It feels slightly different.) To the naked eye, it looks like an expensive bag! 

On Friday night, I went to the New York City Ballet, carrying my new tote. I went with it folded over. After the performance I stuffed my program booklet, a windbreaker and silk scarf neatly inside to return home. The night was too warm to wear them.

It is no surprise that this bag is designed by 2 women for women because they got it right! I love my new bag!!

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Echo Scarfs Are Nearly Hermès Perfect

Let's say a fashion-forward blogger (um, no one in particular) who imagined owning a Hermes scarf is smitten with them, but can't bring herself to spend $440-$800 for such a scarf. It's not like this lifestyle blogger is the Queen of England (who has Hermes' scarves in every color!), nor rubs elbows with the Queen of England's set.
One of the reasons a Hermes' scarf costs so much is because it is a status symbol much like a Rolex watch, or a Birkin bag. It suggests a customer is rich enough to afford the big ticket item. I mean, you could buy 15 Louis Vitton bags for the price of one Birkin; and a Louis Vitton bag isn't cheap either. The resale value of the status symbol items remain high since tons of people covet them. Previously owned Hermes' scarves run $250-$400 dollars.
Let's say, you don't care about the status symbol part of owning a Hermes' scarf, but love the 36'' by 36'' size, the thickness of the silk which is hand helmed, the design, and the craftmanship. Can a consumer get a spanking new Hermes-like scarf that is made by a company other than Hermes for less? The thrilling news is: YES ... indeed you can!
Look to Echo silk scarfs (also spelled scarves). Like a Hermes, they come in an assortment of lovely patterns and colors that will flatter your sweathers and coats. Echo Scarfs launched in 1923 as a family business. Today the company has expanded into a design group that makes not only upscale scarfs, but stylish hats, gloves, bags, sleepwear, beachwear and bedding. Their accessories are always evolving.

What a chic bargain Echo's big square silk scarves are! The silk is substantial! Echo scarfs remind me of Hermes: 100% soft, thick silk; with expertly helmed edges; pretty designs; yet at a fraction of the cost.

Unlike a status symbol scarf like Hermes, Echo Scarfs go on sale at times. I found a past season scarf with a price tag of $99 marked down to $16.99 at TJ Maxx. Well, Happy Birthday to me!!!

Personally, I'd rather buy several new Echo Scarfs (for example, all the scarfs featured on this blog) over one previously owned Hermes scarf! How about you?

I will always love you, Hermes ... but Echo loves me more!

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Aveda Wellness Beauty

Photo: Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort
For years I've loved Aveda's line of wellness skin and hair care, as well as, its cosmetics. The natural hues flatter a broad range of  complexions. The company was founded in 1978 by Horst Rechelbacher on the principles of Ayurveda, the Hindu holistic system of medicine and surgery in India. Now owned by Estee Lauder, it is still in partnership with a Brazilian community collective of organic babassu for use in its soaps. Pure flower and plant essences go into all of Aveda's skin and hair elixirs and makeup. The company is super eco-friendly and cruelty free.

Moreover, Aveda employees are trained in science, botany, skin and hair care, along with innovative techniques to help customers select products suited for their individual needs. They attend the Avenda Institute (their school) before working in the shops. In stores they take the time to teach you about holistic skin and hair care and show you how to use their products.
It would be ideal to switch over to the entire Aveda beauty line. However, the costs for pure botanical ingredients based on wellness principles can really add up. So start slow and select carefully. When I can't afford a whole line, I might buy a face serum, or a very pretty, long lasting blush. You might value a frizz tamer for you hair. Worth the splurge considering the quality!

Compared to many other retailers of organic ingredients, Aveda is more affordable. Fortunately, Aveda also runs promotions, putting the beauty goods in the you-can-budget-for-it category, not the only-an-heiress category.

At $26, the limited edition hand relief® moisturizing cream with rosemary and peppermint (it smells clean and invigorationg!) keeps hands and cuticles smooth in a dry climate. In keeping with Aveda's mission, $4 of each purchase supports cruelty-free research through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®So along with a splurge, consumers are supporting a good cause, which is money well spent!

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Emergency Kit For The Unexpected

Photo: Council member Ben Kallos's office
Last week I attended a Ready New York meeting in my neighborhood and received a NYC Emergency Management backpack with supplies as a gift for my attendance. Similar kits are sold on Amazon here

Although I'm far from an alarmist, as I've gotten older and experienced power outages, as well as, 9-11-01 and the threat of Hurricane Sandy, I see the value of owning an emergency kit. It should be light enough to carry on foot. Having a few basics until help arrives is worth the money. For this I wouldn't make my own kit. It needs to weigh as close to nothing as possible, plus contain the right emergency supplies. You can't buy the stuff separately for less.

Any go bag will do, but I prefer a backpack because you have all your supplies ready that you can grab, throw on your back and leave at a moment's notice. Without an emergency, you can just forget about it. However, don't borrow your go bag for other purposes, tempting as it might be.😊👗

My backpack came with a:

1) small first aide kit: bandages, anti-septic wipes, moist towelettes
2) lightweight flashlight with batteries
3) whistle
4) small battery operated radio with batteries
5) personal care items: soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb (because a woman has her priorities.👸 Who wants to run around for days with wild-looking hair?)
6) notebook and pen in a waterproof, zip-lock plastic bag
7) emergency poncho
8) emergency blanket - a wind and waterproof one
9) dust mask

I will need to add: bottles of water; food like protein bars and packages of nuts; copies of my personal documents, such as my birth certificate, any important papers; phone charger; important contact numbers written on paper, map of New York City and any medicine I want to take. 
Look what else is coming with me: skin care products in sample sizes. I think there's mouthwash in there too. My skin will not dry up like a prune while I'm displaced.
I'm packing aspirin and migraine medicine, because having a headache with no pain treatment just might be the straw to break the camel's back in a natural, or man-made disaster. I don't need it! Moreover, should I see someone who looks like s/he is having a heart attack (stress!), my aspirin might save a life!! I've got your back, stranger! That's what preparing for the unexpected is all about, right? Let's not lose our humanity in stressful circumstances.

I'd also suggest taking a book to read, or something to help pass time. Make sure you have money in small bills, as well as, your credit card, house and car keys. If you leave by car, I'd get a device to break a car window should you get stuck in your car and can't open the door. For about $5, every car should have one. After you free yourself, grab your emergency go bag and get out of there!

My meeting offered smart advice: Get ready for emergencies. Have a plan. Be prepared, then enjoy peace of mind. Thank you, New York City. Lesson learned.

Aside from pets and family, is there anything you would absolutely need to bring with you in an emergency?

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Uniqlo U Is Here


In the 1980s lots of women walked the streets of Manhattan in mink coats. Rarely do I see mink coats anymore. It's not the status symbol it once was; and now we can buy stylish alternatives to keep us as warm as mink for much less.

Next week Uniqlo will launch Uniqlo U, their HEATTECH Ultra collection. This winter collection is designed to be their warmest HEATTECH clothing yet, providing strong protection against extreme cold. The men's and women's wear will include coats, jackets, hoodies, dresses, skirts, t-shirts, tights, leggings and trousers.


Uniqlo U was created by (the Paris Atelier) artistic director, Christophe Lamaire, who worked with a team of international designers. The goal was to make basics functional, stylish and ultra warm. The designers used advanced fabrics and cutting edge techniques, plus threw in a contemporary eye.


The Uniqlo U collection reinvents basics, making them fashion-forward and more practical. The pieces are meant to comfort and flatter the body. You get supportive textile with smart details; everyday basics with softness, simplicity and (did I mention) warmth.


Clothing that is right up THE SAVVY SHOPPER'S alley -- a way to stay warm in ultra cold temperatures, which is kinder to both your wallet and little-fur-ball critters. I can't wait to see and feel the new Uniqlo U line! Preview it here October 5th.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tomato Soup With A Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Photo: HardCider International

Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich go hand in hand anytime, but especially as we begin the fall season. Make your tomato soup from scratch, and you will never go back to eating canned soup. Here's a fast and easy recipe:

Tomato Soup


1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
32 ounces tomato juice
28 ounce can of either plum tomatoes, cut into chunks; or crushed tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes make an excellent tomato soup. Use what you have in stock.
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large (or 4 small) bouillon cubes - any flavor
1 cup leftover red wine (or port or sherry)
12  ounce can of evaporated milk (Yes, you can use 2% milk, or whole milk, or cream. The more fat, the creamier the soup.)

Season to taste: (No salt needed.) I use ground pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried parsley, dried rosemary, smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce and Herbes de Provence, about 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Fresh chopped basil when I have it.

Note: If you grow your own tomatoes (lucky you to have a sunny backyard!), you can simmer about 4 pounds of them (add a little water and salt and pepper) for about 1/2 hour. Let cool and puree in a blender. No fresh tomatoes? Canned tomatoes are an excellent choice too!


1) Sauté the onion, celery and carrot in butter, or olive oil. When nearly tender, toss in minced garlic. Cook a few more minutes.

2) Pour in the tomato juice and canned plum tomatoes.

3) Stir in a tablespoon of sugar and the bouillon cubes.

4) Next add the red wine (port or sherry), followed by evaporated milk.

5) Season the soup to taste. Omit salt as bouillon cubes are salty.

6) Bring the soup to a boil. Cover with a lid. Simmer for about 5 minutes, lift the lip and stir it every few minutes, and you are ready to eat.

🍴 🍷 🍴 🍞 🍴 🧀 🍴

To raise money for charity, I once made grilled cheese sandwiches on a food truck. It was a fun day! I learned the chef's secret ingredient for achieving the perfect crust. And since it is an open secret, I will share it below.
Photo: The Today Show

Grilled Cheese Sandwich


Slices of sharp cheddar
2 slices of whole grain bread. Use whatever you like: whole wheat, rye, or multi-grain (You could make a grilled Swiss cheese on rye bread, if you wish.)


1) Stuff 2 slices of bread with sliced sharp cheddar cheese.

2) Spread the outside of each piece of bread with a thin layer of mayonnaise, the food truck's secret ingredient.

3) Grill both sides in a lightly buttered pan (for extra flavor) until golden brown (or you could spread a pad of butter on the inside of the bread, next to the cheese. Works too!) The mayonnaise produces a golden brown crust. 

Cheesy, buttery, tangy goodness grilled to perfection! When a chill is in the air, warm tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich is delicious comfort food!

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Shelf Helpers To Organize

Psst ... you. Yes, you! Take a look in my cupboard.
Once started, I enjoy organizing my home. In an effort to prevent clutter I: 
  • Try not to buy unnecessary things; 
  • Get rid of things I don't use; and 
  • Make sure every thing has a home.
It can be challenging. Whether we live in a big, or small space, we need an abundance of stuff to cook; clean; groom ourselves; and entertain visitors. If you think about it, even a minimalist uses lots of items, tools and gizmos to maintain person and home.

Especially in a small space, it is important to consider how you will store the things you plan to buy. This seems like common sense, but when walking into a store, there are aisles of beautiful, but impractical (for your space) temptations! Whenever possible I buy compact appliances like a kitchen hand held mixer (not a countertop mixer); a laptop computer (not a desktop); and an upright vacuum cleaner (not a canister model). Sans the mass, compact tools do their jobs like their Cadillac siblings. 

Fortunately in my small Manhattan apartment, I have cupboards (some New Yorkers don't!), but I still have to get everything in there. Shelf helpers do the trick! (Please don't judge. I have not found a way to live without plastic storage food containers: Unlike glass storage containers, plastic is easy to stack in a limited space and doesn't break when falling over. I never, ever microwave food in them. But I digress.) Back to putting things in order ...

Here are a few helpful organizing tips:

Take everything out of a cupboard, then return things, placing the stuff you use daily in front at your fingertips.

2) Don't buy expensive organizers. Get rid of stuff instead! Shelf helpers, at $4 - $6 each, are a cheap, unbeatable tool for organizing essentials -- the things you must keep to make your life easier; happier; or better.

3) About size: Medium and small shelf helpers fit better. The large ones take up too much valuable space inside the cupboard. Often they work for outside areas like counter tops.

4) Usually grouping "alikes": cups; plates; wine glasses; or gadgets together is the best system. If you store small footprint items in front, they won't interfere with grabbing bigger items in the back. As much as possible, I try to avoid the need to move things in order to seize other things. It's annoying to have a job (i.e. move stuff) before you do a job (take out a plate). Organize your things in smart ways to save steps!

A shelf helper separates (and stabilizes) dishes and other things, giving them their own home. Not only do shelf helpers organize horizontal space, they let you use vertical space!

In the top photo: The (12) red, goose, china cups and red plate/platter are Christmas dishes. In hindsight, I would not buy once-a-year festive dishes. They take up too much real estate! Moreover, there are a few possessions in the cupboard I never use ... yet am slow to give away as they are gifts. But one day the never-use-articles will have to go!

Extra Tips: Put self helpers (1) in the back of your clothes closet, on the floor to create an extra level for lining up your shoes, as well as, (2) under a bathroom sink to neatly stash a few cleaning supplies. These organizers don't need to stay in your kitchen and will fit tight spaces elsewhere in your house. Finally, (3) be mindful of overconsumption; and try to limit the things you bring into your home. Get into the habit of buying enough. Less is better!

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Monday, September 18, 2017

The Urban Cowboy Look

Attention City Slickers: Urban Cowboy (or Cowgirl) fashion is hot this fall. Here's Annie Sui's adorable silk printed take exclusively designed for Macy's. The kaleidoscope pattern is reminiscent of a bandana. A split neckline with a (pullover) smock silhouette and bell sleeves are cute details. With a ladylike crochet trim at the bib and bottom of the dress. It's understated enough to outlast the trend. Simply remove the cowboy inspired boots and voila ...🤠 how versatile!

Kick the cowboy fad up a notch with Needle & Thread's Posy dress. With fringes at the bib and bottom of the dress, the sleeves are slender, and the body a colorful, floral, embroidered mesh. Ultra sophisticated. Style the dress up or down with cowboy boots, comfort booties, or high heels. You can wait for this dress to go on sale, or be inspired by it!
Manhattan's Space Cowboy Boots on Mulberry Street (between Spring and Prince) is the real deal for men's and women's cowboy boots and accessories, including Plainsmen hats and western belts with buckles. The leather articles are handmade by skilled cordwainers and gorgeous! The Floral Noir boots are a favorite. (Oh, noo, don't I have enough boots already?) Be still my western heart!💓

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

L'Oreal's Infallible Makeup Goes to Paradise

L'Oreal is stepping up its makeup line just like competitor, Maybelline. Now you have another drugstore brand, which gives you luxe quality for less. The moola💰 stays in your wallet ... without compromises!

Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara - is "the bomb," according to Angie, THE SAVVY SHOPPER'S cosmetic-she-devil friend.😈 That gal loves eye makeup and gets me to buy more than I would on my own. The Lash Paradise mascara has a soft wavy bristle brush to create feathery, soft, full eyelashes. With even stokes, create voluptuous volume and length. Top-notch lasting pigments to boot.

Another new product to try is L'Oréal Paris Infallible Super Slim Liquid EyelinerWith a pen to draw perfect lines every time, the color lasts all day without smudging or running.
Personally I use L'Ordeal's Revitalift Miracle Blur, then skip foundation altogether, but Ang calls L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation "amazballs." Both items have sun protection, which is our skin's most essential anti-aging tool. Apply it every morning of the year. These 2-in-1 products are smart.

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation makes everybody's best new product's list across America and Canada. Lightweight and creamy, this long lasting foundation gives customers a radiant finish with all day moisture. It goes on rich and natural without ever looking heavy or cakey.

So 3 new products and one old standby to add to your beauty arsenal, my Pretty Readers. Along with retailer Maybelline, L'Oreal Paris is the bomb of quality ... a gold standard at drugstore prices.💛

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