Everyday neutral brown look...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This is just a quick & easy neutral brown look that I do a lot because it's, well, quick & easy, LOL!

(I know, I know! I'm really pale! I haven't used self-tanner in over 2 months!)

Have a great holiday weekend!!

Another product fail...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Have you heard of Dots Gloves? They claim to be "The iPhone glove. Warmer and more precise than ever." - gloves that you don't have to remove in order to use your iPhone (I assume they would work with any touchscreen device). Naturally, I was intrigued and had to have a pair.

The website is not organized very well - it took me forever to find the page that explains how to measure for your glove size. There are choices at the top of the page: Shop, Exclusive, Information, & Contact. When you click on "Information", you find 4 additional sections: Sizing, Glove Care, Shipping & Handling, & Return Policy. You would think that the measuring information would be under sizing, right? Wrong. This is all it says: "Dots Gloves are available in two standard sizes, Mens and Womens. Mens size fits hands medium to large. Womens size fits hands extra small to small. The gloves are knit such that they will accommodate a range of variably sized hands."

And if you click on "contact", it takes you to the information page...because there is a contact form on that page. This is new. When I placed my order, I found the measuring info on the contact page - which was a separate page from the info/sizing page. I only found it because I was going to email them to ask about the sizing.  I measured my hand and according to their sizing chart, I needed a medium. Wrong. They were way too wide in the palm & fingers, yet the fingers were also too short. Which is odd, because I have short fingers. Now they say the womens' gloves fit extra-small to small hands - they were very large on me and I do not have small hands.

They also claim on the site - "Thumb, index, and middle fingertips operate iPhone with skin-like responsiveness." Um, no. I tried and tried and tried, but could not get the gloves to work. Even if I pulled the fabric tight so that they were more fitted, I still could not use my iPhone with the gloves on. Plus, they were downright fugly. Seriously.

Once you place an order, there is very little communication from the company. You get one email that is just an invoice from their Paypal shopping cart/checkout. There is no information about when the order will ship - and you do not receive any further communication from them about your order/shipping. I received my order about 10 days after placing it. Of course, they charge priority prices, but ship first class.

I emailed customer service when I couldn't get the gloves to work & asked if they had any suggestions. I received an automated response saying "You will receive an answer to your inquiry shortly". Let's see - that was about 3 weeks ago. Still haven't heard from them. Way to keep your customers satisfied!! Oh - and there weren't any "dots" on the fingertips of my gloves, so it's no wonder they didn't work.

I sent the gloves back on Nov. 16. According to delivery confirmation, they were delivered on Nov. 19 - so let's see how long it takes to get my refund...

Here are some pictures of the fugly gloves:

Dots Gloves - don't bother! Save yourself some time, trouble, & money. I'm going to be out the outrageous shipping fee, but hopefully, I'll get my money back for the gloves.

I'm checking out these now:

Etre Touchy gloves - $32 (ship from UK)

Freehands - $35

Texting Dots - $4.99 (stick to any gloves)

Definitely leaning towards the $4.99 dots to stick to my current gloves, LOL!

Wanna look thinner?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I bet there are a few ladies out there who would like to look thinner. **raises hand** I recently read some articles that I found helpful & interesting, so I thought I'd share. I was happy to see that I was already doing several of these things, but I found a couple of new ones to try, too.

This article is from Shape.com (there is no author listed):

10 Ways to look 10-Pounds Slimmer

Invest in a wrap dress
Universally flattering, asymmetrical cuts whittle down your waist and hide trouble spots. Designer Diane von Furstenberg, who popularized the look, explains: "A wrap dress does exactly what it claims: It wraps you. And because it's typically made of jersey fabric, it molds to your body, helping to sculpt it."
Sport a V-neck top
The neckline narrows as it plunges--the lower, the better--emphasizing the length of your neck and upper body and giving the illusion of a leaner line.
Avoid pleats
Whether they're on the waist, hips, or neckline, extra fabric and fussy details like ruffles and gathers can make you look bulky. Stick with simple shapes.
Dress in all one color
You've probably heard that wearing all black makes you seem more slender, but--surprise!--going head to toe in any dark hue like chocolate, navy, or charcoal achieves the same streamlined effect.
Keep pant hems long
Tailor your trousers so they're no shorter than half an inch from the floor. A straight-leg cut gives the appearance of a lean, never-ending leg.
Put on heels with pants
They'll make you stand straighter while lifting your butt and elongating your legs. To create a seamless silhouette, opt for a pointed toe and match the shade of the shoe and pants as close as possible. This draws the eye from the point of the toe to the torso.
Wear vertical lines
They lengthen your figure because the eye naturally follows the pattern, making you look taller and thinner. But don't overdo it. Varying widths and colors can be distracting, not slimming. Best bets: Try a turtleneck under a striped dress in a basic shape, or pin-striped pants paired with a blouse in a solid color.
Accessorize with long necklaces
Bold or layered chains that fall from mid-chest to your waist pull the eye downward, making you appear trimmer.
Hem your skirt to the perfect length
It should fall just above or just below your knee, emphasizing the area between your thigh and calf. Mid-thigh skirts draw attention to the thickest part of your leg, while ultra-long skirts can look frumpy.
Choose clothes that fit just right
Sounds obvious, but if your self-confidence is flagging, it's easy to dress in baggy outfits that only add volume, and too-tight pieces are unforgiving of even the slightest bump. Trust us: The proper fit will automatically boost your confidence--and your style.

This article also comes from Shape.com (there is no author listed):

Jacqui Stafford's 10 Body Shape Fashion Tips

Here are Jacqui's top ten slimming tips:
  1. Layering is still hot for fall: As the temperature dips, layer different lengths of solid colored tanks under long sleeve shirts or sweaters to elongate your silhouette. A longer length tank that hits just at the top of the hip (rather than tummy) will visually streamline you. We love Joy Li's rayon/spandex tanks with pin tuck fronts ($70.00; joyli.net)
  2. A bold piece of jewelry will draw the eye away from problem areas. Go for standout earrings and necklaces that draw attention to your face and decollete.
  3. Stripes are in for fall: Choose vertical lines that are ultimately more figure flattering than horizontal stripes.
  4. Invest in the proper-fitting undergarment that can easily shave pounds off - the right bra is critical. We're obsessed with Le Mystere "Francesca" Allover Lace Demi Bra that miraculously compliments everyone.
  5. Go for sweaters or fitted jackets that hit at hip length (or longer) to hide problem areas and avoid making the midsection look heavy.
  6. Wrap-style blouses or dresses in jewel tones are truly seasonless. Nipping in at the waist, they create an hourglass silhouette that translates perfectly from desk to dinner.
  7. When shopping for outerwear, choose a wide collared coat to deflect attention from the hip area. A gentle A-line flare is the most flattering cut for coats.
  8. The empire waist (when the waistline hits just below the bust line) nips in at the slimmest part of a woman's body, and the flowing fabric falls away from a heavier stomach. Look for chocolate brown, navy and crimson for this season's hottest shades.
  9. An extra long necklace, hitting between the belly button and the bottom of your bra will make your body appear longer and leaner, and create an overall slimmer appearance. Check out the amazing array of designs at totallyfabdesign.com.
  10. Chunky, cable knit sweaters are huge for fall, but steer clear of boxy shapes that do not have a defined silhouette, as these will add unwanted pounds. If you are going to wear a thicker fabric, it should have some structure.

Monday's Meal

Monday, November 15, 2010

My family really likes bean soup. I have an old family recipe that is delicious, but it only calls for Great Northern beans - and I've been wanting to mix it up a bit. I tried a package of the Hurst 15-bean soup, but even after soaking the beans for 30 hours and cooking for 6 hours, some of the beans were still hard in the center - plus the seasoning mix has a lot of smoke flavor, which is not a favorite of mine (or my family).

So I decided to just work with canned beans (no hard centers, LOL!) and the basic "soup" part of the family recipe (with a few minor changes). Here's the result:

Bean Soup
1 can chicken broth
1 pkg. Lipton Beefy Onion soup
1/2 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 can Bush's black beans (drained)
1 can Bush's pinto beans (undrained)
1 can Bush's light kidney beans (undrained)
1 can Bush's cannellini beans (undrained)
1 can Bush's Great Northern beans (undrained)
2 8 oz. pkgs. diced ham

Simmer on stovetop for 2 hours. If you like a "soupier" soup, you can add a cup or two of water or broth (just be careful if you choose broth - the Lipton beefy onion packet adds a lot of saltiness to the soup, so additional broth might make it too salty for your taste).

1) Next time I plan to add lentils and garbanzo beans and maybe butter beans.
2) You don't have to drain the black beans, but if you don't, the broth will be almost black. :-)
3) Hawaiian sweet bread goes really well with salty bean soup.

Favorite things...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

There are a few products that I've recently tried & really liked, so I wanted to share them with you:

I'm in love with another fabric softener!! I was in the grocery store, sniffing all of the fabric softeners - trying to find something, anything, that wasn't a disgusting floral scent - when I saw this new Downy scent. They describe the scent as "milky vanilla, balanced by hints of peach and cinnamon". Hmmm. That sounds really yummy, but that's not what I smell when I sniff the product, LOL! To me, it has a powdery scent - similar to the original Downy fragrance that I loved so much (before they ruined it with "scent pearls"). But whatever it smells like, I love it. But don't tell Downy, because every time I like one of their scents, they discontinue it. I paid $5.49 for a  oz. bottle (on sale) at my grocery store.

This candle is just pure heaven. It seriously smells good enough to eat. It has a tremendous scent throw (it easily scents my first floor, which is about 1000 sq. ft. - and starts to drift upstairs a bit, too) and smells like freshly baked pumpkin pie. They describe the scent as "spicy cinnamon, pumpkin and creamy vanilla scents" - and I would agree with that. The box states that the candle will burn for 30 hours & contains odor neutralizers. And I can say that it definitely neutralizes odors. I paid $4.99 (on sale) at my grocery store. This is a limited edition, so grab it while you can!

(I saw on the Febreze website that they also have a LE Cinnamon Sugar & Home candle with the scent described as "homemade cinnamon glazed pastries mixing with the soothing sweetness of vanilla". I'll be looking for this one as well.)

Gus received two of these free from work or I probably wouldn't have tried them. The ones he got were something like Jasmine Honeysuckle. My first thought was "Ewwww", because I don't like florals. But I thought I'd put them in two of our bathrooms anyway. I was pleasantly surprised. The scent was very light & refreshing - and you only get a whiff every now & then. I hate it when you get a face (and mouth) full of overpowering icky scent when you walk into a room - or when you put a fragrance device in a room and can't smell it at all. They last a long time, too. I've had them for 2 months and there is still about an inch of liquid in the bottles.

It looks like that scent has been discontinued (no biggie, LOL) - but there is a Anjou Pear Spice that is described as "the gentle sweetness of fresh fruit lingering  in a comforting blend of spices" - so I'd like to try that. I've looked at a couple of local stores, but I haven't been able to find this product on the shelves yet. I found a coupon in the Sunday paper for $2 off, so I assume eventually I'll find the diffusers in the store.

I love, love, love this in Cranberry Pear! I bought one of these several months ago and I think it was $9.99 at my grocery store. I had a coupon for $4 off, or I probably wouldn't have tried it. I can't find the burn hours on the website, but I think it lasted around 25-30 hours. This candle was an almost completely clean burn - there was barely a speck of wax left in the bottom. Love when that happens! Because the base can also be used as a lid, you can reuse the container.


Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm a Gleek and proud of it. Who's with me?

I'll be honest, when I heard that Gwyneth Paltrow is now a country singer and would be guest-starring on Glee, I was a little worried. After all, most actors/actresses who go on to release CDs probably should've stuck with acting.

But then I saw this clip from an upcoming episode. I love this song (especially the unedited version, LOL), and I think she does a great job with it. I'm looking forward to seeing her on Glee.

And did I mention that one of my birthday presents from my wonderful daughter, Lulu, was the first season of Glee on DVD? And it's the Gleek version with 2 hours of extra stuff!! Woot!! She rocks.

Deals on heels!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I have tons of things to post about - my birthday (presents!!), makeup, skincare, books, etc., but no time to type the posts!! Argh!! LOL!

Today, I got the most awesome deal at dsw.com!! I wanted a pair of booties with a chunkier heel that I could wear for everyday/casual. I found a black pair, but I'm still on the prowl for a brown pair...

These were $54.95 - but with codes and my birthday & DSW rewards, I managed to pay $28.01 - and that included tax & shipping! Yay!!

I'm pretty sure you have to be signed up for the DSW Rewards to use the codes (it's free to sign up):
DSWSAVE gets you 30% off any single full-price item
COMEBACK gets you $5 off
SHIPR gets you free shipping on orders over $35 (but I couldn't use this one because my order total was too low once I applied all of the discounts)

I usually don't care for Born shoes (they tend to have a "manly" look and thick rubber soles/heels), but I do like these:

I would love to have these in brown, but dsw.com only has them in a size 10 (I wear a size 7). I've Googled and searched, but can't find them anywhere. Has anyone seen them anywhere else online?


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

White House Black Market (also Chico's & Soma)
20% off Friends & Family time!!
(Passport & Black Book members receive an add'l 5% off & free shipping)

From 11/10 thru 11/14:
use the code 9421 to receive 20% off at whbm.com
use the code 4291 to receive 20% off at chicos.com
use the code 2141 to receive 20% off at soma.com

Also receive free shipping for all orders $100 and over

Details: 20% off your purchase: Present coupon at time of purchase in stores (including outlets) or use offer code 4291 when ordering online at chicos.com or at 888.855.4986, use offer code 9421 at whbm.com or at 877.948.2525, and use offer code 2141 at soma.com or at 866.768.7662. Offer not valid on purchase of gift cards, previously purchased merchandise, taxes or shipping. Excludes Soma Swimwear and Miraclebody Denim. May not be combined with other coupons, offers or events. Not valid if reproduced. No cash value. Valid from November 10, 2010 to November 14, 2010 only.

Free basic shipping within the continental U.S. when ordering online at chicos.com or at 888.855.4986 with a $100 minimum purchase, at whbm.com or at 877.948.2525 with a $100 minimum purchase, and at soma.com or at 866.768.7662 with a $75 minimum threshold. May be upgraded to express shipping for $16. Express and overnight deliveries are not available for P.O. Boxes, AP/FPO, military addresses, and other certain areas FedEx cannot reach. No adjustment on prior purchases or shipments. Limited time only.

20% off two full-price items or 30% off three full-price items - use code SHOPANN 

Details:Offer valid for a limited time. Offer may be used only once and only one offer may be used per visit. 20% discount will be applied to purchases of 2 full-price items. 30% discount will be applied to purchases of 3 or more full-price items. Discount will only be applied to full-price items. To redeem discount online, enter code SHOPANN at checkout. Taxes, shipping fees, purchases of gift cards, charges for gift cards and payment of an Ann Taylor or LOVE LOFT Card accounts are excluded from discount. Not valid at LOFT stores, LOFT.com, Ann Taylor Factory stores and LOFT Outlet stores, or in conjunction with any other offer or store promotion. Reproductions of offer are not valid. No adjustments to prior purchases. Not valid for cash.

Take an add'l 30% off sale items (no code needed) (in-store & online)
Free shipping on orders of $125 or more (no code needed)

Details: Offer valid for a limited time only on sale styles in LOFT stores and at LOFT.com. Taxes, shipping and handling fees, purchases of gift cards, charges for gift boxes and payment of a LOVE LOFT or Ann Taylor account are excluded from the discount and do not count towards the qualifying amount. Not valid at Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory Store, LOFT Outlet or anntaylor.com. Reproductions of offer are not valid. No adjustments to prior purchases. Not valid for cash.

Free shipping valid for a limited time on all orders placed at LOFT.com with standard shipping and a $125 minimum purchase. Standard shipping not available in HI, AK and PR. Additional fees apply for expedited, multiple shipping destinations and shipments to HI, AK and PR. Taxes, shipping fees, purchases of gift cards, charges for gift boxes and payment of an Ann Taylor or LOFT Card account do not count towards the qualifying amount. Not valid at Ann Taylor stores, LOFT stores, Ann Taylor Factory stores, LOFT Outlet stores and anntaylor.com. No adjustments to prior purchases. Not valid for cash.

Up to 40% off! Prices as marked. (in-store & online)
Free shipping on orders $150 or more. Use code SHIP150

Details: Previous purchases are not eligible for this discount. Free shipping offer valid through Thursday, November 11, 2010, 11:59pm ET on Internet orders shipped via regular shipping (3 to 6 business days). Free shipping applies to online-only orders of $150 or more before shipping, handling and taxes are added. Free ground shipping is applied at checkout with promo code SHIP150. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotion.

30% Give and Get time!!
11/11 thru 11/14

Save 30% off all purchases at GAP, Old Navy, Banana Republic, GAP Outlet, & Banana Republic Factory store. You need an individualized code, so if you didn't receive one, just email me and I can send you one. But it's first come, first serve, because I can only send out 50 codes.

Meow Evil Eye

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I am totally in love with Meow Cosmetics' Evil Eye eye shadow!! Such a pretty color! It was part of their Halloween Zombies Collection. It ended up looking mostly grey on me, but according to the description on the site, it is "dark plum/purple with blue-black undertones and bronzed metallic iridescence".

(I misspelled the shadow I used on my lid - it's actually "Thalia" - 
it was misspelled on my sample baggie, LOL!)

Happy Birthday, Gracie!

Friday, November 5, 2010

When Buddy & Lulu were little, we had kitties as pets. Of course, like all kids, they wanted a puppy. But like all parents, Gus & I knew that no matter how many times they insisted that they would take care of the puppy, we would be the ones doing most of the work.

Then in 1999, one of our cats died. The kids were devastated. Buddy was 9 and Lulu was 8 - so we decided it was time to get a puppy. The very next day we fell in love with Gracie, a 3-week-old St. Bernard. It was really hard to wait 3 more weeks to bring her home, but somehow we managed, and she came to live with us just before Christmas. A 6-week-old 15 lb. ball of fluff.

Gracie was the best dog ever. Once she was out of the puppy stage, she never chewed on anything or raided the garbage. We did crate-train her, but once she was about 6 months old, we never had to crate her while we were gone - she would just sleep on the couch. However, she did think that any food at head level was obviously hers. (I call that "The Case of the Missing Grilled Cheese Sandwich".)

Even though she weighed 150 lbs., she had no concept of her size. She would try to sit in our laps and then look befuddled as to why it didn't work. When there was a thunderstorm, she would try to wedge herself under my desk or behind the couch. Sometimes, she would just get in the bathtub.

She really hated to have her ears cleaned. She would run through the house trying to escape when she would hear us get the stuff ready. Then she'd come when I'd call her - but she did it very reluctantly, LOL. Gus would have to lay on top of her to hold her down. One time, she was determined to get away, and she dragged Gus through the house - while he was laying on top of her! LOL!

Just before Gracie's 7th birthday, Lulu noticed that Gracie was limping. We took her to the vet, and he put her on medication, hoping that it was either a sprain or arthritis. After a couple of weeks, it was obvious she wasn't getting any better. We took her to an orthopedic surgeon, and the x-rays confirmed that she had bone cancer. After reviewing the options, we made the almost-impossible decision to have her euthanized. I honestly think that it was the hardest thing I've ever done. But we loved her and didn't want her to suffer any longer. We all went to the vet with her, and I stayed with her until it was over.

She's been gone for 4 years now - and today would have been her 11th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Graciebelle - we love you!!

Purple and green everyday look...

For some reason, these shadows didn't photograph true-to-life on my eyes, so I swatched the shadows and was able to get a photo that shows the colors more true-to-life:

I think I'll try this again - but with shadows that have less shimmer. I also think I need to bring the color up out of the crease just a bit more.

Anyone have any color suggestions?