Friday, April 27, 2018

My Spring Wardrobe Haul

By nature I'm a mindful (not an impulsive or compulsive) buyer. Lately I try to be a minimalist ... buying only what I need, not more than what I need. Despite hauling in less, clothes wear out. So recently I added 3 new wardrobe basics:

1) L.L. Beam Tee, Crew Neck, Short Sleeves - I bought 3 teal colored, combed cotton t-shirts to replace my blues that are tattered. But I had to check several retailers to find the bright colors of spring. Surprisingly, Old Navy, GAP and Uniqlo are only carrying neutral colors this year, namely white, black, gray, navy and very pale pink. What's up with only neutral colors for spring tees?😮 When are we supposed to wear bright colors???

Next:
2) Uniqlo Geometric-Print Short-Sleeve Bra Dress - In Summer I adore Uniqlo's bra dresses. A full support bra is built-in for comfort. The cut and fit are ladylike. The dress is flattering yet easy-to-wear just like shorts. I have 4 sleeveless bra dresses in different floral prints and colors. But I need at least one with short cap sleeves for early spring. LIVE, this dress is an off-white light shade in a super cute geometric print. The style is crisp and casual smart. 

And finally ... the last item I bought was a pair of shorts:
3) Uniqlo Cotton/Linen Relaxed Shorts - How adorable, with details like a stretchy, elastic waistband, 2 side pockets and a feminine tie-bow. They are relaxed but slenderizing, just what I need for a summer barbecue!

Thankfully, I have sneakers, comfortable walking shoes, cozy sandals, light scarves and cotton sweaters that are in great shape, so I am set for the warm temperatures to begin!

What's on your shopping list for Spring and Summer? And Aussie friends, you have Autumn ... any goods you need?



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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

NARS Erdem Strange Flowers Collection

Poison Rose Lip Powder Palette shades:
Lip Priming Balm (nude)
Zira (shimmering rose gold)
Calypso (matte rose)
Damask (matte fuchsia)
Ottoman (matte scarlet)
Luxe brand NARS never disappoints. Its formula's and pigments are top notch and the colors are always beautiful. For spring, NARS collaborated with British fashion designer, Erdem Moralioglu. Designer Erdem is passionate about 2 things, the color yellow and flowers, which are reflected in the new NARS Erdem Strange Flowers Collection. The new launch includes an innovative dry powder lip palette, 6 lipsticks, 2 blushes, a highlighter stick and blotting paper. The lipsticks are $28, the blush $30 and the 3 palettes go for $49. 
6 lipstick colors: Bloodflower (bright cherry red), Moon Orchid (sheer light pink), Larkspur (sheer orchid), Voodoo Lily (sheer muted lavender), Wild Flower (deep plum purple), , Carnal Carnation (sheer raspberry red)
The Erdem Strange Flowers Collection has a bouquet of nude colors with simmer. Lipsticks and eyeshadow hues range from bare to bold, from sheer to intense. 

The blush comes in 2 colors - Loves Me (Strawberry pink with golden shimmer) and Loves Me Not (Soft lavender pink). The blushes are created to be layered and blendable.

The 2 eyeshadow palettes are matte shades. Inspired by garden flowers, they reflect light.

Fleur Fatale Eyeshadow Palette shades:
Mythios (shimmering ivory)
Thistle (metallic mink)
Flourish (shimmering steel blue)
Belladonna (matte soft brown)
Daydream (shimmering copper)
Holly Hock (satin mulberry)
Night Garden Eyeshadow Palatte shades:
Oleander (shimmering pale gold)
Indio (satin forest green)
Reborn (satin marigold)
Fauna (matte deep brown)
LSprung (satin midnight blue)
NARS is pricey, but the pigments last all day. Personally, I would splurge on a lipstick, but not a lip palette. Chances are, you will not use all the lip colors in a lip palette. Blush is another splurge makeup item where rich pigments matter. Eyeshadow, not so much -- so save (see budget-friendly Maybelline). Nonethess and for sure, these palettes are beautiful!


What are your picks?


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Sunday, April 22, 2018

What Can You Do For Earth Day?

Photo: Playbuzz
An old American spiritual says,"He's Got the Whole World in His Hands,'' and what an interconnected world it is. We, humans, are here to enjoy and take care of our planet. Today on Earth Day, is an excellent time to remember our responsibilities as stewards and ask ourselves can we do anything better to care for Mother Earth?

It turns out that "environmental plastic is a growing disaster." Most plastics are made from "non-renewable resources" of petroleum or natural gas, "extracted and processed by destroying fragile ecosystems." Think about it the next time you buy bottled water! And getting rid of plastic causes other problems. It isn't biodegradable, so plastic bags and bottles pervade landfills and our ocean. Producing and burning plastic pollutes everything on earth: air, land and water.
The concern is so great that New York City plans to ditch plastic grocery bags, bottles (sold in parks), drinking straws and plastic utensils. I use my plastic grocery bags as garbage bags and drinking straws to save my teeth from acids and stains, so the ban will be inconvenient, but a necessary one I'm willing to accept. "Every year 28-billion pounds of plastic ends up in our ocean," and it kills marine life. We can do better!

1) We can switch from plastic to paper straws and wooden utensils to cut down on waste. I need to look for reusable silicon straws to use (and wash) at home.

2) It is time to grab those reusable bags and bottles. Buy one of each today if you don't own them.

Mother Earth is so worth it. What other changes can we make?

3) Recycle electronics and batteries - BestBuy stores have drop off bins for each; Bed, Bath &Beyond accepts old batteries also.

4) Get creative and repurpose things you already own. YouTube tutorials can teach you how. You feel very clever doing so!

5) Enlighten yourself - Learn the ingredients, life cycles and eco-costs of everything you buy. 

Be a Savvy Shopper ... make a change today with Mother Earth in mind!


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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cacao Hazelnut Butter

It's you, not me. We are breaking up.
Like many of you, I love the taste of Nutella, but according to nutritionists Nutella doesn't love us back. Unfortuntely, this delicious treat contains a host of bad ingredients -- sugar, harmful fats, chemicals and only a trace amount of chocolate or hazelnuts. There's almost nothing in Nutella that young children or adults should eat!

Instead let's make our own homemade Not Nutella Spread. Like all the recipes on THE SAVVY SHOPPER, it is easy-peasy with better ingredients:

Cacao Hazelnut Butter

Ingredients:

1 cup hazelnuts (combine with almonds, if you wish)
3 tablespoons cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 tablespoon of honey

Optional: Drops of skim milk (as a last step if the nut oils aren't enough for a creamy consistency.)

Directions:

1) Roast the nuts on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

2) Toss into a food processor and give it a whirl. Add the rest of your ingredients, and pulse again. 

3) At the end of the mixing process, you can add drops of skim milk to get a creamy consistency if it is needed. (Nutella uses palm oil and skim milk.)

Pour into a Mason jar and store in your pantry.

Why eat the supermarket shelf, unhealthy stuff when homemade is this simple? Speaking of baddd ... after staying faithful to the recipe at least once (for a guaranteed success!), you may decide to stray from the recipe by substituting different nuts or toasted high protein hemp seeds. Toss in a few dates (or figs) for sweetness. If you alter the recipe, like adding dates, do so one date at a time, so you arrive at a desirable and spreadable consistency and taste. 

When it comes to diet, let's be bad in a good way!


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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

IKEA's Solvinden Lamps

My living room has no center overhead light so I have 3 floor lamps to light the room. The 4th corner could use a light too, but I have a slender 4 cube storage unit there. And, I don't want track lighting, nor the expense of installing it.
It looks like IKEA has come to the rescue. The retailer sells a selection of Solvinden lamps. Not only do you not need an electrician, you don't need outlets, so you can put them anywhere in a room. The lamps are 100% solar powered with solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. 
No cords, no plugs, no supply of batteries needed. Just smart, eco-friendly lamps! And wallet-friendly too, costing: $7 - $17, depending on size. Oh, the more light-in-a-room solution is here!


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Friday, April 13, 2018

Real German Potato Salad

Photo: Betty Crocker
I don't know which I prefer: American (made with eggs and mayonnaise), or German potato salad. My mother made mostly German and now that I'm an adult, I make mostly German potato salad too. (Shhh, don't tell her. I am not turning into my mother.)

German potato salad seems more ambitious because of the clean up. It requires frying bacon and so you have a greasy skillet to wash and grease to dispose of. I cheat dealing with the mess by microwaving slices of bacon in between paper towels on a large plate. Then I trash the greasy paper towels and simply wash a not-too-greasy plate. The paper towels absorb 99% of the grease. I also microwave whole unpeeled potatoes instead of boiling and peeling them. Let the microwaved potatoes cool off a bit before you handle them. Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

4 medium washed, unpeeled potatoes
6 slices (or more!) crispy bacon
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
About 3 tablespoons hot water
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
12 turns of the black pepper mill = 1/2 teaspoon
1 teaspoon dried garlic 
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
A generous sprinkle of dried parsley

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of sugar -- We don't add sugar, but if the vinegar is too sour for your tastes, the sugar will balance it.

Directions:

1) Cook your potatoes and bacon -- in a pot and pan, or my way in the microwave. (If you fry the bacon in a skillet, save a couple of tablespoons of the bacon fat to pour over the salad. It's bad, but sooo delicious!)

2) Slice the warm potatoes and toss into a bowl. Add the diced onion.

3) Pour in the vinegar, water, salt, pepper, garlic and celery seeds. Gently toss.

4) Crumble in the crispy bacon and sprinkle the parsley on top. Make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

5) If needed, return to the microwave for a minute or so to eat it warm. 

If I don't feel like taking out lots of pots and pans, I will eat German Potato salad with a glass of wine as my dinner. Simply toss in a shredded carrot as an extra vegetable. Gute appetit!


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Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Summer Dresses At Old Navy

I have several Old Navy summer dresses in my wardrobe. They are fashionable, cool and comfortable like shorts, machine washable and relatively cheap. Most prices start at under $40 before Old Navy's unbeatable sales and promotions kick in for a final cost of $10 - $25. 

Here are a few cute offerings on ON's website to consider. New styles appear often:

I must report that the craftsmanship can be hit or miss at times. Occasionally, I've received a dress with the waistline too high that I sent back, but 95% of the time, the dress is lovely. With free shipping and returns, it is well worth the risk. Customer care at Old Navy is friendly and top-notch! 

Everyday summer dresses are not articles, I like to splurge on because it isn't practical or necessary. Better to have a carefree dress you don't have to worry about soiling. But that doesn't mean I don't want to look pretty or will accept a subpar dress!
With experience you learn which styles flatter you most making online shopping painless. The frocks hold up and can be worn for several years also, so you really get your money's worth. Nowadays it's easy to look polished for less. So budget-friendly, you can save a few bucks to hold onto for a rainy day or apply to big ticket essentials that never go on sale.


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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

LUSH Shampoo And Conditioner Bars

Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day, a time to celebrate and show respect for our environment. One way we can take better care of our planet is to reduce our consumption of plastic. Much on it ends up in landfills.

LUSH, the retailer of "fresh homemade beauty" products, makes scent-sensational, herbal blends of solid shampoo bars and conditioner bars that are also environmentally friendly. The botanical  shampoos and conditioners come in the form of solid pucks. They remove the need for storing product in plastic bottles.

Compact and lathering up well, one small bar lasts for 3 - 4 months, or about 80 hair washings. Costing $10 - $12 per bar, it is the equivalent of a few 8 ounce bottles of liquid shampoo, so you might even save a few bucks. Another advantage, they are easy to take on trips.

Lush offers a variety of different formula's of shampoo and conditioner bars to add shine, volume, calm an itchy scalp, stimulate new hair growth, or just clean and smell amazing. You choose your treatment according to hair type and decide if you want to buy the silver tins for an additional $3.95 to house your shampoo and conditioner bars. At times the tins are given away with the purchase of the soaps. Look for it to happen on Earth Day!

Watch how a LUSH shampoo bar is made.
Jason And The Argon Oil Shampoo Bar and Jungle Hair Conditioner Bar


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Thursday, April 5, 2018

The World's Healthiest Cuisines

Photo of Lebanese cuisin: Wall Street Journal
According to Natural Awakenings, a publication I picked up at my local health food store, 5 countries can tell us plenty about good healthy eating. I will sum up the article for you. The nationalities are:

1) Traditional Japanese🍴

Their philosophy: Food is medicine (or "Ishoku-dogen").

Practice: Eat simple; foods in season; in small portions. Stop eating when your stomach feels 80% full.

Things to eat/drink: Green tea, fermented soy; and mushrooms (shiitake and maitake); dried seaweed; sushi and rice.

2) South Indian 🍴

Their philosophy: Plants are our friends.

Practice: Eat small highly flavored, colorful, plant-based food; dry fry or toast whole spices then add them to a dish. (Spices boost health and flavor).

Things to eat/drink: Rice; vegetable/legume curry; split peas with potatoes and turmeric; coconut; dried chilis and spices.

3) Fresh Italian🍴

Their philosophy: From garden to table is best.

Practice: Grow your own food; serve it simple with extra virgin olive oil. (EVO fights Alzheimer's.)

Things to eat/drink: Fresh seasonal vegetables; basil; fresh tomato sauce; red pepper flakes, pasta and vegetables drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

4) Lebanese🍴

Their philosophy: Like the Japanese, food is medicine.

Practice: "Maza," which means many shared dishes of great variety; mainly plant-based.

Things to eat/drink: Cabbage, summer squash, or grape leaves stuffed with vegetarian fillings, cooked in garlic or tomato broth. Lentil and rice; Bulgar pilaf with caramelized onions; cherries and walnut salad. Lemon, sumac and pomegranate molasses; pickled vegetables.

5) Vietnamese🍴

Their philosophy: Borrowed from the French: Eat less and eat together.

Practice: Steam or slow simmer food. Serve fresh salad greens with cooked food.

Things to eat/drink: Fresh herbs; leafy greens; raw green papaya (called "paw paw"); seafood; rice and condiments. (Raw and green papaya contains high levels of vitamins and minerals, which promotes healing and good digestion.)

🍏🌶🍴🍅
The proof is in the 5 international cuisines, healthy can be mouthwatering delicious!


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Monday, April 2, 2018

Would You Buy A CouchBed?

Let's say you live in a small apartment in a big city. Space is always a premium. Would you buy a multi-purpose couch/bed? Not all are equal or comfortable. And ... do you pay big bucks or less for reasonably good quality?
Usually, I side with paying more for better quality, but nowadays there are couches and beds (of decent quality) on the market which might only last for 10+ years, but also cost less, so it's a fair trade off. You pay one-third less, but can replace the piece 3 times as often.

In my own home I embrace minimalism, but still desire quality, comfort, function and good design. I love this CouchBed as a living room couch in a small apartment. As a living room couch, it could accommodate an overnight guest or go into a kid's room in homes with several bedrooms. It is constructed to be used as a primary couch/bed as there's back support to lounge, sit or sleep on it daily and nightly.

Comes in several neutral colors and could be placed on a platform if desired. There are two sizes: twin and queen. Cost: $299 - $399.

I like it! Is it adult enough? What do you think?



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