Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Revive 4 in 1 Micro Needle Facial Roller

I have a curious mind. Blogging gives me an excuse to try new beauty products I might otherwise leave on a retailer's shelf. 

Combine my curiously with an interest in beauty (one of THE SAVVY SHOPPER'S 6 lifestyle topics), add T.J.Maxx for less to the mix; and I find myself the unabashed new owner of a Revive 4 in 1 Micro Needle Facial Roller 

Yes, poking teeny-tiny microscopic holes in your face is a thing now! They are so small though, they are not considered harmful. Do I see eye rolling? 👀 Oh, don't pretend like me, you're not dying to know if these devices really work! Because ... your nose will grow longer!

Here's what you get in the box:

1) Large 1.5 mm roller (1200 pins) for use on legs, hips and body. (Probably I won't use this one.)

2) Medium 1.0 mm roller (720 pins) for use on cheeks, forehead and neck. (I'll began with this one. I can move it around the eye area too.)

3) Small 0.5 (300 pins) for use around eyes and on lips.

4) A plastic case to store the gadget (and use as a rubbing alcohol soak tub).

It is designed for an at home treatment to mimic a beauty spa procedure. Move the roller in all directions on the area of skin you wish to rejuvenate.

Using micro needle rollers on your face or body will slightly prick the skin. You do feel the sharp needles, but no pain. It is meant to stimulate new collagen growth for younger looking skin. As we age our production of collagen (like everything else) slows down. So the micro needles aim to reverse this unfortunate happening encouraging new collagen growth for softer, smoother skin. If I lose a wrinkle, I'll update my post to let you now.
Photo: Guyer Institute. Airbrushing  and photoshop help too!😅

Reviews by customers of micro needle facial rollers (across brands) are mainly positive. And, it has not been labeled junk science. Used gently and properly, it doesn't hurt to try it. Cost: $13.

Who knew I'd buy one when walking in the door? (By the time I exited the store, they had all flown off the shelf.) As you can see, I've been curious for some time. T.J. Maxx, you got me with this facial roller!  

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Picture This: On Vacation With Nothing To Wear

Let's play a game. You are a traveler ... but the airline has lost you bags and you have nothing to wear on your vacation. Where would you shop for clothes and what articles would you buy?

I'll go first: Whether the season is winter or summer, I'd hot-tail it over to Uniqlo, one of my favorite retailers for basics and casual wear. I know I'd find ... quality, style, and a few bells and whistles that won't break the bank. So it-being-the-summer here in the USA, here are several pieces I might buy:

1) The Uniqlo Bra Dress (top photo) - Frankly, I love the style and own 5 of the dresses already. Every year Uniqlo partners with a famous fashion house to design the new season's floral patterns. Yet, they always have the bra dress in stock at the store. The bra dresses range from knee length to midi. Some have sleeves, while others are sleeveless. I own the above Studio Sanderson For Uniqlo Bra Dress, which I bought this past June. Other floral patterns and colors exist from the collection too.
2) Cashmere Big Stole - I'd probably select this stole over a cardigan for its versatility. Could be used to drape over your shoulders, or to lay on your lap during chilly evenings, or on your flight home. Available in 12 colors including neutrals. Wow, so easy to fold and pack away too. Nonetheless, Uniqlo cardigans are also lovely and useful.
3) Uniqlo Bra Top - Love the bra tops as much as I do the bra dresses. In the summer, I wear them as tops with shorts. In the winter, I wear them as camisoles under my dresses. Great with leggings at the gym also.
4) Ultra Stretch Jeans - Full length or cropped and in several washes (light, medium or dark). Lightweight and soft too. Machine wash and dry to clean, it's a no brainer.
5) Packable Parka - Has a hood; pockets; and is water-repellent should it rain while you are on your trip. Like all the Uniqlo basics, these come in many colors. I often get navy or black to go with all my dresses and pants. However on vacation, perhaps I'd get wild and crazy with a color!

So how did I do? Where would you shop, and what would you buy?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Himalayan Salt Lamps

Photo: Wide Open Pets
As mentioned in a previous post, I looked for an accent lamp to sit in a corner of my living room. Recently while surveying at T.J. Maxx, my new accent lamp found me! T.J. Maxx is one of my favorite stores for a hodge/podge of useful items, from handbags, shoes and my brief case, to a sharp chef knife, pots and pans and bathroom towels. In fact, T.J. Maxx is a sister company of Home Goods so you will often find the same household articles at both retailers. For sure, you get quality goods for less and who doesn't love the savings! It is the place to go for a wide selection of luggage too. And, beauty products. And, snacks. And for many savvy shoppers ... clothes.

What makes a visit to T.J. Maxx so much fun is you never know what you'll find. But if you need something and browse for a few weeks, it will always turn up. Their inventory is astonishing! Sometimes you don't know you need something until a bargain  catches your eye. 

My Himalayan Salt Lamp is mined and chipped by hand in Pakistan, making it the real deal!

According to various sources the lamp purifies indoor air, improves mood and reduces allergies and asthma. How do the salt crystal lamps work? When lit, they absorb moisture and emit negative ions. However, other studies claim, not in any measurable amounts.

While the science supports that a lit Himalayan Salt Lamp gives off negative ions which has proven to lift seasonal affective disorder (SAD and depression), it's doubtful that a 7 pound lamp will do much for my living room. I think it would take a much bigger lamp, like a 500 pound salt rock lamp to reap any moisture absorbing or negative ion benefits.

What's certain are the following: The lit lamp is very pretty to look at; ambient light is relaxing. The lamp has a small footprint, and it doesn't get hot to the touch so no need to worry about burning your place down. The light is quite bright too!

Like a lit candle, adding a Himalayan Salt Lamp to a room is cozy. $14 bucks well spent at T.J. Maxx!

I bought what I saw at the store. But look at the beautiful variety of salt lamps here.

Do you have a Himalayan Salt Lamp?

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Signature Nail Polish of British Royals

Ballet Slippers
Queen Elizabeth II wears Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers. It is reported to be the only color the Queen will wear.

You never see members of the British royal family in wild or bold shades. It is customary for them to wear only demure nail hues. 
I, too, have an understated signature nail polish color. For years I have worn Nicka K in Seashell. It has a subtle incandescent glow that people often compliment. Another benefit: Unlike darker colors, chips aren't noticeable. I wonder if that's one of the reasons the royal family favors the calm colors also. I mean, nobody has time to do nails more than once a week. Not to mention, it's too repeatative!

Lately, I like natural, short nails sans nail polish as much as my signature polish. While I still wear nail polish sometimes, I worry about all the chemicals in the beauty products we use.
Meanwhile, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, has her own signature shade: Essie Nail Polish in Allure

Essie is a wallet-friendly drugstore brand. Customers say it's chip resistant. The polish is formulated to look subtle, feminine and classic, not flamboyant and flashy. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Some people wear daring colors well. It just requires more maintenance.

Do you wear a signature nail color? Subtle or bold?

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Are Flip Flops Bad For Your Feet?

There are many easy things about summer. Wearing flip flops around the house is one of them. What's more, I also see men and women walking all over Manhattan in them, but podiatrists say don't do it! 

Flip flops don't provide enough support for your arches or heels; and using them as everyday walking shoes will lead to foot problems:

(1) A lack of arch support can result in fallen arches. It leads to longer pronation - turning the foot inward to absorb shock and distribute weight as you walk, which  eventually causes deformatives such as bunions and hammer toes.

(2) And, when the heels are unstable, toes tend to grip the thong, and it can lead to tendinitis, painful heels, callaouses and corns, none of which are desirable.

While foot doctors prefer that you walk in shoes with a stable back to secure the heels of your feet, many like the Vionic Bella II.  These sandals have the American Podiatry Medical Association seal of acceptance because they provide arch support unlike standard flip flops. At 6 ounces, they are light. A flexible rubber mid sole absorbs shock, and a durable rubber outer sole has a patterned tread.
Around my apartment, I wear Crocs flip flops. Although they too have arch support, feet massaging perforations and pattern treads, they're not suitable for long walks on hard pavement either, according to podiatrists. For standing on your feet at work; going down to the laundry room; or walking in the sand on a beach, they're comfortable.
For long walks on concrete or long periods of standing, be sure to wear proper walking shoes, ones with excellent arch support and a sturdy back to stabilize your heels. Happy feet, happy you!

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Barbecue Franks And Beans

An old summer standby: On the 4th of July baked beans were on sale because the supermarket knows what people want to eat at a cookout. However, I returned cans of a popular brand to the grocery shelf because they contain too much sugar for my liking. Instead, I bought 5 cans of regular beans and made my own recipe of Barbecue Franks and Beans without adding any sugar. Barbecue sauce is sweet enough! And so, the dish was delicious. Here is the recipe for your next cookout:

Know that you can: Begin with a package of dried beans, but I did not think that far ahead, therefore used canned beans. Canned beans save the time of overnight soaking and are cooked and tender straight out of the can. (In other words, who the heck knew yesterday, come today I'd make baked beans?)  

Barbecue Franks And Beans
(About 4 servings)


2 cans (15 ounce) beans (I happen to use: One can of small white and one can of pinto beans. Any bean will do: navy, pink, pinto, Roman, etc.)
1 small onion, diced
2 stocks celery, sliced
1 carrot, diced (I like vegetables. Oomph!)
1 large chicken bouillon (Use beef, pork, any bouillon.)
barbecue sauce to taste (I had about 1/2 cup of Kraft's hot barbecue sauce to clear out of the refrigerator. Sometimes I make my own BBQ sauce also.)
Spices to taste: I used my Cajun spice mix and an extra sprinkle of dried powder garlic
2 large franks, sliced (I buy both beef and turkey franks. Turkey franks went into this batch. I don't take the extra step of grilling the franks but you may do so.)
Photo: Frenchs


1) On the stove top toss the beans, diced onion, celery, carrot, bouillon, barbecue sauce, spices and sliced franks into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the juice thickens. 

Eat hot. I served it with corn on the cob and my own version of Cole slaw.

Easy-breezy, no-fuss meal. "Delicious" doesn't always require lots of thought and time to pull together. BBQ beans can be cooked on the stove top or baked in the oven. Oven baked will require about 30 - 40 minutes depending on quantity. The stove top is faster. Both ways work! So glad I didn't settle for overly sweet, ready-made baked beans, but flavored my own.

Beans are tasty, filling and healthy. Let's eat more beans this summer! Make meat a side, or enhancer of a dish.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Madewell Summer Dresses

It's a scientistic fact: The Earth is getting warmer. New York City is expected to hit 94 degrees F today!  Madewell, a sister company of J. Crew, has summer dresses to keep you cool during any heat wave ahead. The style is casual smart. In a nutshell: Comfortable, flattering and effortless. Here are three to consider because we like looking at dresses, don't we?:

1) The Fern Silk Faux Wrap Dress abovein spiced rose has slender straps, a v-neck and pleats with a stylish flowing bottom.

2) Lakeshore Button Back Dress - A brilliant royal blue shift dress with a V-neck back and oversized buttons make the viscose fabric dress super cute.

3) Strawberry Print Pintuck Ruffle Dress - Chic black canvas featuring strawberry prints. It's 100% cotton. A split square neck with a ruffle outline makes it fun to be a lady!

Simple ... with unexpected details, no? Stylin' in the summer heat! Do you have a favorite?

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Suitcases, Umbrellas And Travel Organizers

With summer here, many of us will hit the road. Let's do a roundup of luggage and practical organizers to make leaving home a little easier: 

Biaggi Leggero 22" Foldable Spinner Carry on suitcase (top↑) is light, holds lots of stuff and folds up when not in use to store in a small space. With interior and exterior compartments.

Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 45L - Many travelers prefer duffel bags that go into an overhead bend or under a seat. Lightweight, durable, and made of water repellent material with zip pockets to organize all your things.

LL Beam Ticket Organizer - Another weightless and slender travel accessory with oodles of slots and compartments to hold your ticket, boarding pass, identification and money.
Slimline Travel Umbrella - Compact from The Container Store, toss in a purse or jacket pocket. Strong when in use.
Case Elegance Vegan Leather Travel Jewelry Organizer -  I have reservations about this recommendation because rarely would I take jewelry on a vacation. The chances of it being lost, stolen or left behind are great since you are not at home or following your usual routine. When out-of-town, I wear one pair of earrings, a watch and inexpensive everything else. But sometimes you may need to be less cautious to spruce yourself up. This jewelry case is petite and should fit into a purse while protecting and organizing your extra rings, earrings, necklaces and pendents. 

Ziploc bags to keep toiletries, snacks, shoes and odds and ends organized. I don't buy special travel bottles or pouches for these items. Take your samples (what retailers give out for free) of makeup, soap, shampoo and hair conditioners in lieu of bottles or full sizes. After the goods are eaten or used, you can toss the Ziploc bags (as well as empty sample packets) to lighten your load!

Do you have a travel organizer to recommend?

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

White Vinegar: The Prefect Household Cleaner

Buy a spray bottle at Home Depot or a hardware store to keep a white vinegar-water solution to grab as needed.
Cleaning is repeditive, no matter how well we do it. If we can save on the products we buy, it really adds up over time. An even greater consideration is safety. Lately I use white vinegar and water as an all-purpose household cleaner and it works! One bottle costs about 89 cents.

I have long known that white vinegar combined with baking soda keeps drains free flowing, but recently I tossed it into the bathtub, to attack soap scum without scrubbing. (Verses Scrubbing Bubbles, $5.) I sprinkle the baking soda along the sides and bottom of the tub, then spray white vinegar and water from a spray bottle on it. The mixture fizzles and all I have to do is wipe with a damp sponge to remove the soap scum. Rinse with clean water to finish, if you wish. 

It is safer to have a residue of baking soda and white vinegar
underfoot, as opposed to, unknown chemicals. (Sometimes I read stories of pets dying after licking their paws from chemicals used to clean the floors! It can't be good for humans either.)

For that reason, I began using white vinegar mixed with some water (a 3:1 ratio) to mop my floors, clean other bathroom fixtures, mirrors and the walls. Vinegar kills germs, yet is gentle on anything painted (like a toilet seat or walls), and it won't damage an expensive wool rug or wood furniture in the living room. 

Mopping the floor is a much easier process with white vinegar and water. A make-shift Whiffle mop helps with the task: I wrap 6 Bounty paper towels around a dry sponge mop. Staple at the edges to hold together. After spraying the floors with the vinegar-water mixture and mopping, tear off the dirty towels to toss in the trash. There is no real need to follow up with clean water, as vinegar dries in about a minute leaving no scent, or residue. The dirt gets lifted off and carried away by the paper towels!

There are no side effects to cleaning with white vinegar. It leaves behind no dirt, germs, contaminants, risks or allergy concerns.

Works to clean kitchen sinks, microwaves, refrigerators and counter tops also. (Coffee leaves behind one of the few tough stains, you may need a little bleach to remove. First you could try a vinegar-baking soda-hot boiling water mixture.)

Sooo. Say goodbye to separate chemical-based household cleaners. Hello one-stop smut blustering wonder: CH3COOH (acetic acid), commonly known as vinegar. The old and new cleaning superstar!!

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