Eyelash serum for everyone

Anyone who has read this blog knows I’m on a constant search for an eyelash growth enhancement serum (like Latisse) that doesn’t require a prescription, and that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. And one that WORKS! Hold on to your lashes, ladies. I’m about to Hook. You. Up!

Ardell Brow & Lash Growth Accelerator… find this product today. It’s a drug store brand (same brand many of us use when buying false lashes) however, you can find the product on amazon and other internet sources as well. It’s ludicrously cheap, less than $5 a tube, which made me skeptical of course, but after reading some rave reviews and since it was so inexpensive I figured, what do I have to lose?

Honestly, I didn’t even take a proper “before” picture, because I didn’t think it would work. I took this pic (below) about 2 weeks after starting daily use, and right about the time I began to see my lashes getting that feathery look that they get with eyelash enhancement serums. The photos are all without makeup or product applied.

By this point, I knew I was going to need photo documentation for the blog, so I got serious about my daily (sometimes twice daily) application regimen. The product applies (and can even be used as) a clear mascara would. I would sometimes use it prior to applying black mascara if I wanted a more prominent eye that day.

And, below, you can see the results at 6 weeks of daily use.

 

While the eyelashes’ length did not get tremendously long, I do think they look glossy, thicker, more prevalent and feathery in length. Not bad for under $5!

But… I want more. So, in the search for perfection, I’ve already started a new eyelash growth serum experiment, and I’m hoping to share those results with you in another month.

Grab some Ardell until then, and tell me how it worked for you!

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Published in: on October 6, 2011 at 11:53 am  Comments (2)  
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Italiano all the way

I have a handbag obsession. I rationalize it as the most effective form of therapy, but the truth is I just love bags. While there are designers whose visions of handbags have sent me over the moon, I have also had amazing luck by changing up my bag shopping ways: I’m shopping Italiano.

Not Gucci (but I adore Gucci) and not Pucci (love you too, Emilio). Instead, I’ve been on the lookout for “no-name” Italian designers whose work shows up on ebay for so ridiculously cheap, you can pick up a bag often for less than a price of a pizza! The allure of quality materials, stitchwork and hardware at such reasonable prices can drive me into a drool-inducing hours of window shopping via computer.

One lovely designer is Marino Orlandi, whose vision includes alot of bucket bags, but I was fond of this red, lovely crossbody who showed up in my life awhile ago for only $10. I love the crocodile imprint on the leather, and the Kelly-style silhouette is a classic that keeps me interested, no matter the season. I’ve paired this with a purple sweater, dark jeans and black knee high boots in winter and loved the red-purple pop.

One trick to searching ebay is to use generic terms such as “Italian leather” or “soft leather” as your keywords, that’s how I found this red lovely. If you’re open to new designers, and the possibility of some amazing quality leathers, you’d be surprised what this kind of keyword search can yield. Now sort your list by lowest price, and you’ll find the uber bargains right on top.

And don’t forget to click the box to “search descriptions” too. This alone can help you find lots of items that fall through the cracks, and therefore often don’t get bid against.

“Italian leather” keyword searching was exactly how I found my summer crush by Italian bag designer Cecconi Piero. Isn’t this pretty? It’s velvety soft, glove leather and just puddles when you set it down.

It all started on a vacation to Colorado in June when a painted leather bag caught my eye in a store window, but the $170 price tag kept me from nabbing it on the spot. But it haunted me, as only a collector can be haunted. However, when I saw this painted leather beauty by Cecconi Piero on ebay? I knew I’d found my replacement. This was only $40 and although it’s from a season ago, it’s in nearly pristine condition. On Piero’s website, his handbags average 260 Euros (roughly $360+) so I was particularly proud of my shopping prowess.

Here’s another trick to finding great ebay bargains: check for misspellings. For example, the Cecconi Piero logo looks like “Ceoni” Piero to the untrained eye. As a result, many bags get listed under this typo, and also do not get bid against because of it.

…And, it has ladybugs! Ladybugs have been my theme since the beginning of summer, when I began doing ladybug totem meditations, so seeing them here on my bag pleases me greatly!

Published in: on August 23, 2011 at 7:51 am  Comments (2)  
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Longer lashes and glittery locks

…that’s what I want for Christmas.

I just spent some early Christmas gift money for myself this week, check it out.

I’m a Real Housewives uber-fan, and the Beverly Hills franchise might have edged out NY as my favorite. Cast member Adrienne Maloof was chastised by Isaac Mizrahi on Watch What Happens for the glitter strands she wears in her hair. I left this picture here large (click on it) because if you look closely, you can see some of her gold tinsel.

Well! I happily confess that the glitter-loving, faery-believing side of me thinks the strands are gorgeous and I want some. She claims you need to go to the Palms to get them done, but guess what? Even us girls in the sticks can put glitter in our hair, all by ourselves, for cheap.

I found this website that sells the professional grade hair tinsel and even includes how-to pages, with videos, to show you how to do it yourself. I figure I knit, I crochet… I make friendship bracelets, and I’ve done hair wraps… I can do this! So, I ordered the Disco Ball Silver (1st on the left) and the Copper (2nd to last on right, above). I’ll let you know how it goes.

And as for lashes, I’ve been curious about Latisse, but the $120-a-month price tag sends me away. Orange County Real Housewife Vicki Gunvalson start tweeting about a product she’s endorsing, Cilea Eyelash Growth Stimulator. Frankly, it sounds too good to be true. Results in 2 weeks, even more in 4 weeks. All natural. No prescription needed. No side effects. Money back guaranteed. It was the last part that made me decide to indulge myself and order some… that and the “Vicki” promo code that gets you 20% off.

I’ll be checking the mailbox religiously all next week!

Published in: on December 3, 2010 at 11:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mulberry for Target? Not lovin’ it

Well, it was in all the fashion magazines that I read, but it wasn’t until juniorgoddess, one of our beloved Bravo Hos, posted about it that I stopped long enough to pay attention… Mulberry (oh so beautiful, oh so costly, oh so precious) beloved English Mulberry came to Target to create a line of handbags.

And I rejoiced upon hearing the news, with visions of PVC Bayswaters dancing through my head….

And then I looked it up on Target’s sight, and noticed that the only remotely Bayswater-y designs was the one that came in pink leopard. Or black patent. Hmmm. Wasn’t feelin’ it for the denim version, either color. 

But today I waltzed into our local Target and happened upon the bags themselves, or what our store had shipped to them anyhow. The pink leopard was hideous. The only black patents were the tiny bags (I don’t do tiny). And the pebble faux leather tote? I picked it up, fingered it, wanted to like it, wanted a reason to go for it… but the hardware had MULBERRY FOR TARGET stamped all over. And the look of the faux leathers? Cheap. Like… “cheapy creepy” kinda cheap.

Oh well. Better off without another bag in my life anyhow. Besides, we need to catch up on bills. Thank you, Mulberry for Target, for making sure I didn’t spend any more than necessary today.

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stones, I love these stones!

Last summer, I had a craving for huge, chunky, clear crystals (big time) and started making and buying lots of chandelier crystals for my jewelry collection. A month or so later, I read that the “clear” jewelry trend was hitting everyone in the industry full force, and is in fact still trending this spring and summer as well.

So, on even the chance that I hit this trend right before it officially “trends,” I’m sharing this summer’s jewelry obsession: natural stones with lots of color. And, hands down, my favorite seller is Ana Silver Co. I just mentioned this ebay shop to my Bravo Hos, but I wanted to blog about it as well, in case it helps others to start their own love affair with these remarkable stones.

Look close! I get lost inside the wonder of some pieces, their stones are just cut so beautifully. You would swear you are looking at miniature galaxies in their jasper, fossilized shells in their agate. Their settings tend to be on the simpler side, allowing the stone to take center stage. Why gild the lily?

And, I can speak positively from experience. Having already bought a lovely set of orange Botswana agate ring and earrings (similar to what’s pictured here, but different) I was quite pleasantly surprised to see such clean workmanship when the items arrived.

Many of the auctions close at prices that can’t be beat. Be warned, you may find yourself craving some color and drama for your vacation, or your trip to the beach, after browsing just a few of their 9,000+ items currently for sale on ebay.

Published in: on June 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Zac Posen for Target

I have about 10 minutes to try to write today’s blog, with a toddler mauling me and a nonstop telephone….

…An hour and a half just passed since I wrote the above sentence. Life, oi vay!

So last night I was at Target, first time since last month when I popped in to see if the Gaultier collection had arrived. The Liberty of London items were nearly gone, no biggie, but what caught my eye were the Zac Posen for Target items. Immediately, the masterials and the design of the clothing made the items stand apart from their Mossimo peers on nearby racks. Intrigued, I found myself pawing over the last of the remnants… only XS or XL sizes were still left, since the collection released April 25th.

One dress (pictured on the left, but the one I found was mostly goldtone and less pink) caught my eye. The design’s more formal than I usually wear but I liked the oversized bow, and it was close enough to my size that I considered trying it on. Until I turned over the price tag: $79. And all I could think was, “80 bucks?! Do you know what I can find on ebay for that much money?”

Sigh… I’ve become a budget-snob. I love designers’ materials, cut and quality, but I’m too cheap to even buy retail at Target prices? I want silk, yet I only want to pay cotton/calico price tags. Sure I know better, just go to any fabric store and shop the materials’ cost by the yard, and yet…?

(In my defense, you should see my wardrobe’s growing collection of DVF!)

Published in: on May 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Love thy Spanx

Chances are you’ve already heard of Spanx, because anything Oprah touches turns to gold. A mere mention by the Queen of Daytime, and legions of women flocked to get their hands on these wonder tights. Although it was company founder, Sara Blakely, whom we should thank, because her vision of slimming underwear included the prerequisite “comfortable” as well.

A decade later and Spanx sales are still going strong. Why? Because unlike the rubberized girdles of times past, today it’s all about the miracle of spandex. The breathable fabric provides stronger support than your typical control top pantyhose, they don’t get wet and sweaty, and the hose hold you up without squeezing your jiggly parts into places they weren’t meant to be. (Fat knees are not, and never will be, on-trend). 

I was a bit surprised by how the brand has expanded, each product another variation on the theme of slimming and supporting. Sheer, semi-opaque and thick opaque styles are available, with matte or shiny finish, and even boxer brief styles as well as traditional briefs.

Want control all the way up? No problem. Need something in black , or blue,  or even English rose? Got it! Sheer toe. Yup, even got reinforced toe as well as footless too.

But it’s their body shapers that have improved the most, starting with their Higher Power line, which offers wearers a stronger control than Spanx’s traditional Power Panties. A slimmer booty and no panty lines? Win-win!!

Spanx also carries camisoles and slips (both with or without straps), but for the ultimate, check out the Slim Cognito, the seamless version of the Higher Power. The mid-thigh bodysuit is definitely nothing like great grandma’s girdles.

And, they even have a maternity line, which I wish I had known about when I was pregnant, because the belly bands that I kept trying weren’t giving me the best underbelly support.

Love thy Spanx! And have seconds on dessert, because life is too short to worry about your underwear, eh?

Published in: on March 26, 2010 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lovin’ Elvi

I’ve worn everything from a size 14 to a size 2 since giving birth 2 years ago. I think it gives me a unique perspective as a fashion buyer, since I’ve experienced the challenges to wearing (and even finding!) larger sizes. And it seems only in recent history that plus size fashion has finally found its place in the consumers’ lexicon.

One go-to retailer from the UK is answering the call for sizes 16 & up — Elvi. Overseas shipping is available, so no need to pout, my fellow Yanks. 

Elvi’s 2010 Spring/Summer new arrivals are organized into four color themes — Tuscany Range, Nautical Range, Monochrome Range, and Sahara Range — but the designer also carries many wardrobe basics and essentials available year-round.

This jacket called to me immediately, mostly because I’m drawn to tailored silhouettes. Close-fitting pieces can make plus size girls cringe, but a quality material cut into a sharply tailored fit results in a more flattering overall effect.

  

The jacket could be worn casually, over a tshirt and jeans with heels, or paired with a skirt like this for more office-friendly attire. Pieces that do double duty make for a more functional wardrobe anyhow.

But this sexy little number is also drawing my eye, and it’s “taffetta, darling.” Love the ruffles of the waterfall tie, and the hemline which draws the eye upwards. Wear it with jeans and grab a red handbag for a pop of color.

Elvi carries jewelry and accessories as well, and I really love this scarf too. I’d like to take this piece and practice the technique of tying a scarf into a demure halter top, for summertime.

And I’m a sucker for an animal print, so naturally this bangle was another favorite while browsing their site today.

Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 7:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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JPG and Target, part deux

It’s like the Christian Siriano/Payless thing all over again in my world.

Last week, I made time to stop by target.com to check out Jean Paul Gaultier’s full line. And lo and behold, several key items I had been interested in had ALREADY sold out. In one day! I rationalize that I’d rather see the items in person, and try them on, anyhow.

Undeterred, I take myself and the baby shopping on Wednesday of last week to the local Target. After looking around and finding neither hide nor hair of the JPG line, I ask several of the sales associates if the collection has arrived.

Responses varied between disinterested shrugs, blank looks shared amongst the three of them, and apologetic smiles.

“It was scheduled for a March 7th release,” I offer. “Do you usually receive the items when they’re advertised, or is there a typical waiting time before it’s on the shelves?”

Insert more shrugs, and, “You could check online.”

“I did, several items were already sold out. Should I check back here next week?”

Yet another round of shrugged shoulders. “We never know what’s being sent to us, but you could check back, sure.”

Explaining that I need to know if it’s there or not prior to leaving the house again, and that I live out of town and it’s a 30 minute drive, one way, to the nearest Target doesn’t seem worthy of my time, or theirs, so I just smiled benignly.

“There’s another designer collection coming soon…” offers an older gentleman. “Can’t remember the name of it though.”

“Liberty of London?” I ask, and he smiles and nods.

“That’s it! It sounds like you know more about things here than we do.” To which I smile again, and say thanks while making my exit.

Sigh… oh well. If it was really important, I’d keep going back. But I guess I didn’t really need a yellow mini dress, or pseudo-tattoo sleeves and leggings anyhow. And it’s always wise to be thrifty in today’s economic times.

(Sour grapes? Me?)

Published in: on March 16, 2010 at 11:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Camo trending

 This is me, telling the world I told you so. Because I cannot help but gloat, just a wee bit, to see this yesterday in my email.

I really love it when I ride the trend, just BEFORE it becomes a trend.

Camo is officially “in.”

You heard it here first!

Although the red & blue camo stuff Victoria’s Secret came up with isn’t rocking my boat. I prefer a washed out, authentic looking cami in traditional jungle, or even a desert, color palette.

Published in: on February 26, 2010 at 7:42 am  Comments (2)  
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