Saturday, December 01, 2007

Let the Online Shopping Begin, or, checking out coupon codes, and the trouble that ensued

Just because I love you, Internet, I went over to Sephora to see whether I really could get the Friends and Family discount I mentioned in my last post. But it had expired. Bah, humbug, and all that.

But I don't let little things like missing 20 percent discounts get in the way of a good shopping excurision. Because something caught my eye.

My makeup-obsessed internet pals have been raving for years about Nars' Orgasm Blush. It's a pinky-peachy shade that gives everyone a wonderful just-shagged look. But I don't really like powder blush all that much. I have dry skin, and it just sort of sits there on top of my face, making me look--well, powdery. But! I saw that Nars' wonderful Multiple sticks (cream/gel sticks for use all over the face) now include the Orgasm shade. And of course, this meant that I would be getting a Multiple Orgasm. So of course I popped for Nars Multiple in Orgasm.

I also ordered two oh-dear-I'm-not-getting-any-younger-am-I? skincare items: Bliss Sleeping Peel Resurfacing Gel ($30)

and a Cosmedicine Starter Kit ($48).



Because the FF code had expired, I used a code from currentcodes.com. There were codes for things I didn't want or was already getting, like free shipping, so I went with the one that would get me a free fugly cocktail ring, which Santa will put in my daughter's Christmas stocking.


However, I did get:

  • free ground shipping (free with orders of $75 and up)
  • three free samples (also standard operating procedure)
  • a free bottle of Sephora Mandarin Grapefruit shower gel (because I signed up for Sephora's Beauty Insider program)
  • a free tube of Bliss body butter (because my birthday is within two weeks of placing my order)*
I really try to act my age. Especially when my birthday is right around the corner. But I'm very excited about my package. Oooh, samples! Freebies! Squeeeee!

*While the actual day is December 12, birthday greetings will be accepted with pleasure any time between now and Christmas.

Shopping Discount Links UPDATED

There's an email floating around with a metric ton of clickable links for discounts on lots of on-line stores, as well as links to coupons you can print and bring to brick and mortar stores.

No one has seen fit to forward to me, but Charming & Delightful has posted it on her blog, so head over there and check it out.

Naturally, neither I nor Charming & Delightful can vouch for these deals, but they're definitely worth a look.

---UPDATED---

The first code I checked out, the Friends and Family code for Sephora, didn't work. Bugger!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Even the Manolo can't talk me into these.


Although these shoes remind me forcibly of my beloved Marimekko poppy print gym bag with its matching shower kit ... somehow, huge poppies are not something I envision wearing on my feet.

However, it's a free country, and if you're willing to spend $498 to enjoy the sight, then head over to Zappos and buy them. (Personally, I think these shoes would be improved with a black platform and a black band across the vamp, instead of all that white.)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Simply Vera at Kohl's

In case you missed her on Oprah, another major fashion star has gone mass market--Vera Wang for Kohl's.

Primarily known for gorgeous, simple wedding dresses, Wang branched out into lingerie, china, crystal, and, of all things, mattresses:


I guess she's interested in All Things Bridal. Even the wedding night. (Just so you know, that little beauty is available exclusively at NM for $2,999.)

To me, Vera Wang's design have always been simple, clean, architectural, ladylike--sort of like Balenciaga, if Balenciaga had been a girl.

Like this:

or this:
(Both on the NM website.)

How does Vera do as a mass market designer? If you head over to the Kohl's website, you can click on a slide show of head-to-toe Simply Vera looks.

Frankly, with Simply Vera, head-to-toe is not working for me. A few of the pieces are interesting--for me, the skirts are standouts--but a whole outfit doesn't work. Better to slot in something here and there with stuff you bought elsewhere, because an entire outfit has a kind of ragamuffin appearance.

The standouts for me are the sleepwear

This little robe is marked down from $40 to $27.99!


and lingerie.

This bra is marked down to $25.99

A lot of it's on sale, so check it out.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Neiman Marcus is Dead; Long Live Neiman Marcus

Remember how I was just saying that Neiman Marcus can be kind of tacky? And then whined about how much I lusted after their exclusive 100th anniversary Salvatore Ferragamo shoes?

Well, the Ferragamo shoes are on back-order. I can whine as much as I want; they're not showing up in my mailbox any time soon.

So I ordered these Kate Spade beauties.

The Katarina pump. Named, I have no doubt, for the Empress of Russia.

I'm adding my own pictures so you can see the skyscraper heels, which came as something of a surprise.

As you can see from the NM picture, they're not really in evidence on the web site.

I wore my Catherine-the-Greats to a very arty benefit on Saturday night. The kind of arty benefit where the men are little and skinny and have creative facial hair and wear architect glasses and either gel their hair or shave it all off and carry man bags, and the women wear something Arty, which on the young ones is usually short and many layered and sticky-outy so they look kind of like a frill at the end of a lamb chop bone--and on the older ones is longer and many layered and monk-like with a big artistic necklace.

And I showed up looking like the back end of the bourgeoisie in a little black dress and some nice jewelry.

But I had on some truly fierce shoes.

And they were comfortable! OK, they weren't all bad, considering the amount of time I spent standing around staring at art.

I attribute this to the extreme Minnie Mouse roundness of the toes:

Somebody CUT OFF MY TOES!

Sadly enough, these shoes are shaped like my feet. No, I'm not Cinderella's ugly stepsister who went to extreme lengths to make the shoes fit. My toes really are that short.

Oh, and how do you like my leopard print carpet? Somebody cut off my toes, but damn! I'm still sex-ay.
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Monday, September 03, 2007

Neiman Marcus's 100th anniversary

OK, let's face it. When it comes to Neiman Marcus--brick-and-mortar or catalog/on-line, it's not all gold in them thar hills.

There's a lot that is way too trendy. Gaudy. Tasteless. Even--dare I say it? Tacky.


For the prim receptionist who moonlights as a hooker, this D&G checked jacket and shimmer skinny jeans.


This is what you come up with when Britney Spears is your muse.


While Juicy Couture continues to be inspired by Paris Hilton. Note the faux fur trim on a dog coat--how delightfully ironic and self-referential!


In short, all too often, Neiman Marcus illustrates the adage that money can't buy taste.

But I logged on the other day and discovered that Neiman's is celebrating its 100th anniversary with some exclusive merchandise.

Like these Ferragamo shoes.



These are so gorgeous, so old-skool Ferragamo, that I immediately fell in lust. That is, if bookmarking the page and obsessively checking them several times a day qualifies as lust.

The whole thing leaves me wondering whether, if I ask my husband to buy them for me for our anniversary, would it be the equivalent of asking him to bankroll a gigolo.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

B Designs Inc.: Correspondence cards for the rest of us

notecards

Sure, Crane's paper is nice. And engraving is nice.

But it's so predictable.

I just bought a couple of boxes of letter press correspondence cards from B Designs Inc. The designs are simple and elegant, but not stuffy. And they're guilt-free, because they're printed on recycled paper.

A box of ten cards is $14.00 on line; maybe more if you are fool enough to buy them in some overpriced tourist trap pay retail.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dominique Cohen at Target

Just as we're all doing back-to-school shopping for the kids and hauling the 10-pound September Vogue off the doorstep (sorry about the hernia, Mr. Mailman!) comes the news that jewelry designer Dominique Cohen has produced a new line for Target.

Now, piled on in careless profusion, as in the picture on their website, it's all a bit much.

However, individual pieces could be a lot of fun. Especially since it looks like this fall, at long last, black is finally the new black.

This necklace could work with just about anything.

The cameo is a bit tricker to work with, but as long as you don't look like you're taking it seriously, it could punch up a lot of casual clothes. Or black and white outfits. Or OK, a Lucy dress you thrifted.

I saved the best for last. LOVE the combination of crystal with black.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My black purse. Yes, AGAIN.


I bought a used Marc Jacobs Stella bag on eBay.

This is why you should be glad:

1. It is used, therefore Compact-friendly and 100 percent guilt-free.
2. It is excellent quality leather, and therefore better than my old Target knock-off, which I had loved almost to death (little chunks of the plastic were falling off and revealing its faux-ness to the discerning eye.)
3. Whoever was selling it will be OK, I hope, with the price I paid--$199.
4. I am pretty happy with the price I paid. (The Marc by Marc Jacobs bag I returned was quite a bit more.)
5. By buying a new (used) bag, I did not have to ask any more favors of the friend who already went to a lot of time and trouble to recover my wallet, sunglasses, license, etc., from the Parisian police. Have I mentioned what a swell guy he is?

Now, let's hope I like this bag. Because I feel the need to become interesting again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yet another post about the black purse.

I know. Sigh.

But this is important, people! Because you know how my cheap-o Marc Jacobs Stella bag knock off from Target purse got stolen in Paris? And how I was so depressed, not to mention incredibly busy cancelling credit cards and bank accounts and shit like that?

And how I decided the only way to make myself feel better was to buy a replacement bag?

And how the replacement bag showed up and was not good enough?

Well, yesterday I returned it to Neiman Marcus.

And today, well, today I (very fairly and reasonably) gave the friend who went to the Lost Handbags depository of the Parisian police and claimed my purse for me (how nice is this guy? I ask you) permission to chuck the old one away. Because he couldn't fit it in his suitcase, and he did me a huge favor and shouldn't have to listen to a lot of whining.

So you see, now I really have to find a replacement. And then I will fill it with the wallet, prescription sunglasses, digital camera, passport, and other stuff that he got back for me.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I'm not obsessed. No, really.

But it's lucky that I got a letter from the police in Paris, telling me that they have my purse. Because the search for a replacement of my knock-off Marc Jacobs bag is just so ... time consuming. Because I'm finding myself being insanely picky.

(For those of you coming in late, my $25 Target Marc Jacobs knock-off bag was stolen last month in Paris, and I'm feeling bereft. That bag is like a phantom limb. I want another one--badly. I never thought I'd hear from the Paris police, and now that I have, I still don't believe I'll be able to get the Parisian police to mail my purse back to me. So I keep looking for the perfect replacement.)

So. Let's start at the top, shall we? Here's a Tod's version. It's nice, but it's made of patent leather, which I don't like. Also, it does sort of look like it should have a little dog inside it. And, of course, because it's my favorite candidate, it's the most expensive. It costs $1,450, which puts it squarely into "as if!" territory.


Then, a lightweight Prada nylon version. But it's too lightweight, Prada, and nylon. And it's $600 at Saks:


Here's a Coach version. It's ... OK. It's $425, though. And that belt thing ... will that end up pissing me off? I think so.
Click this to see another Coach candidate. OK, it has possibilities. But $658?

Then the Marc by Marc Jacobs one I actually bought. And hate.


Here's a previous season's Marc Jacobs Stella, the bag Target was knocking off in the first place. And it's on sale! I found at various sites on the web at a deeply discounted price. But that topstitching. I don't like topstitching.


OK, let's get back to earth. Nordstrom's has this one. It's patent, and the outside pockets aren't great. But it was the cheapest one so far.

Nordstrom's has this one, too. It's OK. But now I'm all depressed that I found two possibilities at Nordstrom's. Nordstrom's is so middle of the road. It doesn't matter that I bought two of my favorite suits at Nordstrom's. In my pathetic desire to remain somewhat cutting edge, I reject Nordstrom and all its merchandise, except maybe exclusive Bobbi Brown or MAC products.

The search continues.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Update on the non-knock-off Marc Jacobs bag

It's a loser.

The bag is too squashy (hey, I like soft, touchable leather as much as the next girl, but this thing feels like an elephant's foreskin) the strap is too short, the outside pockets are too big, and the lining is too loud. It's black fabric with "MARC JACOBS" in giant white letters.

Oh, and the top does not close with a zipper, but a magnetic clasp, which is a deal-breaker, So the search for a

black
tote bag
with a zipper top
and outside pockets for my cell phone and iPod

continues.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pink and Green Libertines

Here's a first peek at the new line Libertine is producing for Target. It will hit the stores in July.

I don't know about you, but I'm not crazy about argyle. It has such a broadening effect, don't you know. Also ... skulls? On my chest? To provide conclusive evidence that my hooters actually are as big as my head?

I don't think so.

But some of the pieces look cute, and you young, lithe girls might like them.

More pictures here. Scroll down--there's a cute LBD; an adorable black tiered skirt ... the collection is worth a look. Just say no to the argyle skulls, OK?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Review: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Serum, Intensive

OK, inspired by my pal Badger, I've decided to become a reviewer.

Today's review is for Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Serum, Intensive. Yes, that's "Intensive," which I guess means this product was designed to be used by an aging Shar-Pei like me. (So if you're under 37 years old, don't bother. Go off and battle acne or something--come back and talk to me in a few years.)

Brief digression: I can't believe how great drugstore skincare has gotten in the past few years. I mean, when I was a kid it was all 1006 Lotion and Pacquin Hand Cream and Jergen's Lotion, but now companies like Neutrogena, ROC, L'Oreal, and Oil of Olay are constantly coming out with truly ground-breaking products.

So anyway, this serum. I tried it because a serum I've used for a couple of years seems to have disappeared from the stores. So I figured I needed to try something new. Even though I don't have a lot of skin problems and have always been basically pretty happy with mine, aside from that whole aging thing. Also, a friend of mine said she was using a Retinol-containing product from Neutrogena, and her skin really looked brighter and better when she used it.


So when I saw this serum, I went for it. Like Oil of Olay's Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum, a dimethicone-based product that pretty much started the whole thick, oil-free-yet-creamy serum fad, the Neutrogena product pumps out a pea-sized blob of something thicker than water and thinner than cream. You put it all over your face ... and if you read the fine print, you do it once a day, under moisturizer. Not twice a day. Because that might make you peel.


Which it did.


But that's good! Peeling means a retinol product is working. And it wasn't full-on Renova-style peeling; just a touch of flakiness near my mouth.


As for other results, I can't say that I look better. On the other hand, I don't look worse. I'm not breaking out; it's great under makeup; and that peeling thing convinces me that it's gently nudging my tired old epidermis along.


So buy it. And use it once a day, so you don't peel.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The knock off of a knock off, and other adventures

Hello, internet!

OK, yeah, I signed on to the compact, where I agree not to buy anything for a year. And I have managed pretty well, for a recovering shopoholic. Which leaves me with not much to blog about over here. Hence my lack of posts.

But then my purse was stolen. Containing everything important in my life, except, thank goodness, my cell phone and filofax. So the good news is if you were already a friend of mine and I had your number, I can still call you.

The bad news is that I am now missing the following: a big black tote bag, a combination checkbook/wallet, my prescription sunglasses, various credit cards, cash, my driver's license, and my passport, which I stupidly had with me.

So while my first order of business was to notify banks, credit agencies, and the government about my loss, my second order of business was to stop living with a phantom limb--that bag that I kept reaching for--which wasn't there.

Now the original bag was this:
a $25 dollar cheapie from Target. Except in black. It was a knock-off of a Marc Jacobs design. I liked the outside pockets for my keys and cell phone, and was big enough to carry music folders or hold my laptop. It also zipped shut, so I could stow it under the seat in front of me when I was on an airplane without worrying that my wallet or a crucially important lipstick would fall out and roll away.

The replacement, ironically enough, is this:


a real Marc by Marc Jacobs bag from Neiman Marcus.

Now, why would someone who was cheap enough to buy the fake bag pop for the real thing? Because inexpensive trend-driven stores like Target aren't selling black bags right now. They're selling summery stuff. But I want my black bag back, and I want it right now.

Also, if I buy another cheap bag, I'm letting the thieves win.

So I got the original instead of the faux.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A progress report, with a rant on gift-giving as a sort of gift-with-purchase.

OK, so recently I went on about how I had signed on with The Compact, a group of people who range from recovering Shopaholics like me to Doom 'n' Gloom-spouting Survivalists who--even as you're reading this--are generating their own electricity using some kind of bicycle-powered doohickey, just like the people on Gilligan's Island. If you're old enough to remember that, and you probably aren't.

Anyway. I swore off buying anything new. For a year. Until January 7, 2008.

Well, the serpent tempted me, so I ate I broke the agreement last week.

Yes, I fell from grace. I bought something new. But don't get excited. I didn't hit the cosmetics counters at Barneys. Or the shoe department at Brooks Brothers. Or the fur department at Neiman Marcus, for that matter.

I went to a men's clothiers in the pastoral village of Newtopia, Illinois, and bought my son a pair of black cotton pants, because he needed to wear them in a concert.

So. I spent $35 at the local men's clothing store.

On the other hand ... these are my other recent purchases:



1. A Universal Geneve Tiffany 18K gold watch for That Stud Muffin I Married, to mark the 21st anniversary of our first date. I bought it from an eBay seller last December. It was going to be a Christmas present, but what with one thing and another, I didn't manage to get it until after Christmas. So it became a gift for February, instead of December.

Now, according to the rules of the Compact, this purchase is OK, because the watch wasn't new. And anyway, I bought it before I signed up. And I had it cleaned and the engraving removed at our local jeweler's, so I bought used and used a local business. I even wrapped it in the box my own extremely nice gift watch came in. Which I still had lo, these 10 or so years later, because I'm anal organized that way.

So, all in all, I'm feeling pretty damned smug about that watch.

[And here's the rant I promised you about gift-giving: in my version of The Compact, I get to buy people presents. I feel very strongly about this, because having spent my life being given hideously ugly or otherwise "not me" hand-crafted crap--the counted cross stitch sampler, the lavender and celadon green quilted hanging that clashes so wonderfully with everything I own (and what the hell is the point of a quilt that's too small to put on a bed?????) and the ugly-ass spatter-painted shallow ceramic bowl ... or was it a rather tall plate? Whatever ... I've decided that the most heart-felt gift is not the one that gives the giver the warm squishies ... but the one that gives the giftee the warm squishies.

In other words, no matter how earth-friendly, organic, and vegetable-dyed your craft is ... if the person you give it to doesn't like it, it is just so much dead lumber cluttering up his or her life. And it might very well end up in a landfill.

And therefore, I will buy people things I think they will like, even if I have to buy them something new. And I will not craft them a tie-dyed tea-cozy out of my children's old diapers.]

2. While dropping off a few bags of stuff at the local thrift shop (including some new-in-the-box shoes from Brooks Brothers that didn't fit and were still sitting around waiting to be returned) I browsed their extremely tiny stash of children's clothes and found a pair of black slacks for my daughter to wear for her concert performance. Her size, perfect fit, $4. Yay!

3. From eBay: the following used Lilly Pulitzer items for my daughter:





4. Some books for my daughter for her birthday. All brand new and shiny, but remember: in my Compact, gifts don't count. Also, I bought them at Newtopia's only independent bookstore, instead of getting them much cheaper at Amazon.com. Thus supporting local businesses, paying local taxes, and providing myself with yet another reason to feel smug.

5. A used book for my husband for Valentine's Day. The sixth volume of Akira, to be exact. Coming to me from an Amazon used book seller.

That's it. That's all the new-to-me stuff that has made it into my house in the past month.

I can't tell you how much more peaceful it feels around here.

And the recycling bin has never been this empty.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

For some reason, my credit cards aren't jumping out of my wallet.

So I stopped buying stuff as of January 7th, and guess what? It hasn't been a problem yet. It helps that I have so. damned. much. stuff. that literally, I could go for a year without even buying toiletries, except for toothpaste and dental floss.


Mind you, the health and beauty section of Whole Foods looks like a garden of earthly delights. Lotions! Essential Oils! Hair bands! Stuff!


It's all really lovely. But I don't need it ... and I don't even want it.


I want to get back to actually wanting stuff. I want to feel pleasure when someone gives me a present, instead of wondering where I'm going to put it. I want to actually enjoy material goods, instead of sorting through them, losing them, misplacing them, taking care of them, and cramming them into overstuffed closets and bulging drawers. Because I'm no ascetic. I do like stuff. I just want to pare down enough to enjoy what I already have ... and maybe actually want to acquire something new.


But this sort of thing isn't going to do it for me:




A life-size resin status of Jessica Rabbit. That's 5' 9" of cartoon womanhood, people. For only $1,500.00! And with free shipping!

What's wrong with me that I don't want it?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Why I've stopped posting here.

It's because I've stopped shopping.

I stopped shopping a while ago, except for Christmas presents.

I was tired to death of the lack of organization in my house. I had clothes double-hung in my closet. I had shoe boxes stacked up behind a chair in a corner of my bedroom. I had scarf boxes stored in one of those hanging shelf doohickeys made of canvas in my second closet, shelves full of purses in their keeper bags, and jewelry bursting out of my jewelry box. The only way I could get my clothes into my drawers was to spend a Japanese-tea-ceremony amount of time folding and stacking my clothes.

I couldn't find anything.

I couldn't remember whether I'd bought something. I'd find things I didn't remember having bought.

I was going nuts.

Then I read a story on Yahoo! news about The Compact: a group of people in San Francisco who swore off buying anything new for a year. I decided to sign up. So on January 7th, I did. And so did my husband.

So I managed to go all non-consumer just in the nick of time. I'm still a trend setter, and not a trend-follower. Because since I signed on with the Compact, I've read the article about how affluenza is going to destroy the world. And how the environmental cost of stores like H&M is far too high.

Join me as I reform my ways. Or not ... it's OK. But I promise I won't turn all whole-wheat and joyless. I mean, I can still write about stuff; it's just that I can now write about all that stuff that I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Like, say ...


a white fringed Versace bag on sale for $3,462



or a tiger-striped cocktail dress for $1,573



Guiseppe Zanotti sandals for $450



Look at the money I've saved already! Not to mention the favor I'm doing everyone by not buying this Godawful crap and parading around in it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Washington Post publishes articles on scary-skinny models



Is the fashion industry going to start policing itself? Apparently so. Yet according to the Washington Post, it's a needlessly bureaucratic move:


The industry also needs to stop hand-wringing, caucusing and shifting responsibility. If a young woman walks into a casting call who is 5-10 and a size 0, if she looks gaunt and emaciated, if her kneecaps are wider that her thighs, she shouldn't be hired. Designers regularly tell models they are too short, fat, exotic, ethnic, all-American. Surely they can manage to tell a few models they're simply too thin.



Thank you, Washington Post. The big kneecaps have been freaking me out for a while now. For the rest of the story click here (you might have to register.) Oh, and some exhibitors have been telling models they're too thin; it has happened at least once before.