Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Uniqlo + Princesse Tam-Tam = Beachwear

Uniqlo, the innovative Japanese "lifewear" retailer collaborates with Princesse Tam-Tam, the chic French womenswear line to create a darling beachwear collection that includes mix and match  bikinis, one-pieces, cover-ups, sun dresses, shorts and resort pareos. 
Additionally, Uniqlo offers several useful and stylish beach accessories, such as sunglasses, flip flops and straw bags. The devil is in the details ... and as usual at Uniqlo, customers get quality garments with lots of inventive bells and whistles for less. As always, the prices seem too good to be true considering it's for durable, not fast fashion.
With pleasing prints, stripes and solids, it's a beautiful collection, much of it 100% cotton that you could wear all summer long to the beach, pool or resort. The swimsuits contain a bit of shape flattering spandex.
The 100% cotton Women's PTT Pareo (above) can be styled as a dress or wraparound skirt. It also comes in red and the green floral print. All items in this elegant collection range between $9.90 - $29.90. Resort/beachwear at a steal!

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Do You Have A Design Challenge?

Edouard Manet's Masked Ball at the Opera - on display at the National Gallery of Art and in my living room.
Havenly, an online interior design company, invited me to tell the story behind a decorating piece I have in my home. I will depict not one, but a few things, as well as, talk about making the most of a small space.

As it is, I live in a modest Manhattan apartment compared to the 3-4 bedroom houses that people elsewhere tend to occupy. My #1 decorating rule is, there is to be no clutter, and so all the objects I bring into my space are full-sized, yet compact and multi-functional. Often I say, "I don't buy pretty. Everything must have a purpose." My couch and ottomans have storage for pillows and blankets. What's more, the top of a sturdy ottoman can be flipped over to use as a table.
I painted my walls an off-white (with a tint of warm yellow) and the trims a bright white for a pop of crispness. A bright white as a main color looks institutional and sterile, but not so with a yellow tinted white.

Since the walls are white, I bring color into the apartment with a huge Pottery Barn wool rug, colorful pillows, plus prints of museum paintings I like. The Manet 1873 painting (at the top) is one of them. As a congressional intern for the U.S. Senate, I walked over to the National Gallery of Art frequently to look at the original. I simply bought the museum poster and had it framed. Artwork on a wall is a smart decorating choice for a small space since it only requires vertical and not horizontal cubic feet. Select art, or personal themes that make you happy, as you will look at them everyday.
I have one article of whimsy in my apartment, James the Butler, but he, too, has a function. He holds a wine glass or cheese platter for guests who come into my home. Every city dweller needs a butler! Sometimes he holds my mail, gifts or other items I need to take with me to events. Always ready to serve, James is a treasure trove. He charms my guests and never complains!

Do you have an item in your home that is especially useful, has a history, or makes you smile?

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Boscov's Department Store Deals

As a child, when I needed new shoes for school, or a special occasion dress my parents loaded me into the car for a drive to an old time dry goods, department store. With many floors (at least 5 or 6), it was a wonderland of everything a shopper could possibly want or need. A customer has choice galore as he/she walks through floor after floor, each one stocked with luxuries and pretties.

What fond memories! Is it any surprise how I love an old fashion department store?

Boscov's is a traditional, well-stocked department store that has expertly adapted to online shopping. Immigrant Solomon Boscov started in sales in 1902. He opened his first brick and mortar store in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1911. Today the family-owned business has grown to 50 stores throughout the eastern United States and includes a thriving web business.

The merchandise ranges from apparel, shoes, handbags and accessories, watches and jewelry, home goods and beauty products, as well as, a 21st century add-on: webdeals. As expected, there is a wide selection for men, women and children, and like any worthy department store, there are always money saving deals to be had.

Even with the convenience of a click on a computer, the shopping experience feels like visiting a familiar department store. 

In a time honored practice, Boscov's offers selection and quality that can't be beat at super affordable prices.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

What's Your Money Quirk?

Even people who are not tightwads have something they don't like to pay money for because perhaps they feel: If a person applies him/herself, he/she could get "it" for free. My father's money quirk was not wanting to pay for parking. An acquaintance of mine dislikes paying to check her coat at an event. I may have a touch of each since I will drove around a block several times, only pulling into a parking garage if there's no other place to park a car. Ditto with the coat checking. If I can be discreet and the layout of a gala allows it, I prefer holding onto my coat and my $5-$10. Plus at the end of the evening, I can just leave, if I don't have to return to a coat check.

But I'm not going to claim either of these examples as my money quirk. I'm going to list two others. 

1) Makeup bags - Buying cosmetic bags? I mean, what a waste of the green! There are so many promotions that give bags away for free. I keep a few of the freebies in a drawer, using them to organize not only my makeup, but small items while traveling. To boot, there's always inexpensive zip lock bags (get the ones with sliders) to carry articles in a suitcase.
2) Another item I'm too parsimonious ... err sensible to pay good money for are travel bottles. Sure, colorful matching travel containers look snazzy, but frankly I don't value them enough to spend $10-$20 for a set. Instead, what I do is pack a few of the product samples I get (again freebies) of face cream, body lotion, shampoos and conditioners, or sunscreen and use the samples while away from home. A ton of product samples weigh practically nothing, making them a breeze to pack. Once I reach my destination, I can usually stop at a drugstore to buy travel sizes of products if I need more, though usually I don't run out. In buying travel sizes, we get mini containers (free) with product in them!! Once empty refill those if you wish.

I like the ideas of making use of freebies, recycling and saving a few bucks.

So now let me open the discussion to you. Are there product(s) you are simply too frugal to buy because if you apply yourself, you can get "it" for free? Confess!

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Using Charcoal To Whiten Teeth

Tooth whitening is trendy at the moment, but I'm not too keen on using bleach or chemicals. Therefore, I want to try the ingredient, activated charcoal. Reportedly, it is one of the most effective ways to whiten teeth naturally without harsh chemicals. A black paste, the color of soot: How ironic to blacken teeth in order to whiten them!

I'm super curious to test one of these brands on my pearly whites. All 3 have high costumer ratings. Each is organic and mixed with coconut oil. Charcoal powder alone whitens teeth, but is messy to use. So the charcoal power is mixed with coconut oil. 

Occasionally, I see people whose teeth are oddly too white for their complexion. I think you can avoid artificial-looking results with a natural whitener. 

Moreover, charcoal powder is a muti-tasker. It will also brighten your skin. Any of these brands would do. Next step, look for the best price.

Extra tip: Eat strawbarries to whiten teeth.🍓🍓🍓

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Friday, May 12, 2017

My Mom's Mother's Day Card

My Mom will surely quirk, "I'm your only mother."
This is the Mother's Day card I'm sending my Mamma. She does not like to receive fresh flowers, so I often send her cards decorated with pretty flowers so she doesn't miss out on the beauty of nature.

My Mom is an alien (or rather an overly practical German. Same thing!😄). Unfortunately, if she receives a vase of flowers, rather than focusing on how lovely and thoughtful real flowers are, she thinks about how much money will soon end up in the garbage. And ... how that money could have been spent on something more permanent.

Luckily, she approves, as well as, appreciates a pretty card and good wishes on a day that honors mothers. So I'm covered. I'm even allowed to buy a pretty card (but if crazy expensive, she would not approve). 

The last two years, I made her Mother's Day cards for fun, and they look fancy [free printable cards here]. Sometimes I throw in an unexpected nonperishable gift too. But it gets harder to select useful gifts as she grows older. As it is, a strong willed German prefers to select her own gifts. 

Certainly, the old saying applies, and flipping it: When Mamma is happy, everybody is happy!

Thank you, MOTHERS, for all your sacrifices. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Skinfood Beauty Line

Gold Caviar for anti-aging
Skinfood is a skin care, hair care and cosmetic line that uses the highest quality food, such as black sugar, royal honey, egg white, avocado, peach sake, yuja and gold caviar to create its products.

The company buys food from organic farms around the globe, which utilizes eco-friendly and sustainable growing methods, then formulates powerful food-based skin care, hair care and makeup.

Address specific skin concerns like acne, dryness, redness or anti-aging with a variety of special face serums and creams; or add an Argon Oil Serum to repair and condition your hair. The focus is "on long-term beauty, not short lived results." 

The cost of items start at $5 and go up. With promotions, prices are reasonable for clean, top-notch ingredients. It's another winning brand to get to know. Makes terrific gifts; and choice is a Savvy Shopper's best friend!

Currently beauty editors are excited about Skinfood's limited edition Snoopy Collection, a collaboration with K-Beauty.
The Snoopy Collection

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Easy Low Fat Ice Cream

Photo: King Arthur's Flour
Nothing beats Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. The cold, slurpy scoops of goodness (2 scoops, one is never enough!) must be what Homer names ambrosia, the food of the gods. B & J's ice cream contains rich cream and loads of sugar, but undoubtedly, it is worth every single calorie. So delicious!

Well I cannot duplicate the results of the Ice Cream Masters, but what I like to do with my overripe bananas is make an, easy, refreshing, creamy, low fat ... and yes, healthy ice cream in a food processor.

When my bananas get too ripe to eat, I slice one up, throw it into a container, or plastic seal bag and store it in the freezer. When I feel like a dessert, I use it. If I slice 4 overripe bananas, I still freeze each one separately for single serves. Here's how I like to make and flavor the ice cream:

Quick Chocolate Moca Ice Cream

Ingredients (for one serving. You can always double, or triple the servings):

1 sliced frozen banana
a tiny bit of milk (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon of cocao, cocoa or Dutch chocolate powder
A sprinkle of instant coffee (I use decaffeinated coffee for desserts.)
A sprinkle of sugar, or Stevia

Photo: Brit & Co

Throw all the ingredients (except for the sprinkle of sugar) into a food processor. Pulse; then blend until smooth and creamy. Scoop into a bowl, or on top of a cone to eat. Top with a sprinkle of sugar, if you wish. 

You can also make a plain banana ice cream without the other ingredients, but I would get tired of only banana ice cream and much prefer chocolate-mocha ice cream. Also you can leave off the sprinkle of sugar, but I like the extra sweetness. (If you toss the sugar into the food processor, the sweatness gets lost in the mixture, that's why I save it as a finisher.) Keep the dessert simple with just a sprinkle of sugar, or get fancy by topping with syrup; chocolate shavings; shredded nuts; or coconut.  

Slurp away and enjoy!

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Papr Watch By Paprcuts

Geometric designs for the Papr Watch
Paprcuts, a Berlin start-up, was founded by Nils Wagner in 2012. The German company makes innovative, feather weight accessories, such as wallets, makeup bags and pouches.

Recently Paprcuts invented a trendy watch using the same material as in their other accessories. The material, which is called Tyvek®, derives from paper. Like regular paper, it is light-weight. Yet unlike ordinary paper, it is strong, durable and waterproof.
Animal designs
The new digital timepiece is called a Papr Watch, and it comes in 29 chic designs - from Retro, Maritime and Animal to Geometric and Black and White. Weighing less than a clove of garlic, there is a Papr Watch design to suit a variety of tastes.

A video (play it below) shows customers just how strong and durable the watch is by having two people tug the Papr Watch in opposite directions and tossing it into a glass of water. It does not break, or get ruined. Moreover, you get see how the watch wears on your arm.
Retro designs
The Papr Watch also glows in the dark, has an exchangeable battery, is nickel-free and sustainable. The band has a magnet closure.

What an innovative and unique watch! Are you tempted to buy one?

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