Archive | Recommendations RSS feed for this section

Ole Henriksen Youth Activating Oil

17 Sep

I don’t want to be a whiner, but since proper fall weather doesn’t appear in south Texas for another month, I just can’t even begin to get excited about fall clothes right now.  Around these parts, we’re still indelicately sweating through our tank tops, while some of you are pulling out your sweaters. But, I’m not bitter…really.

So, since I can’t seem to get excited about writing about clothing these days, I thought I’d share another beauty find. A few months ago, I received a sample at Sephora of this:

Ole Henriksen Vitamin C Youth Activating Oil: $45

Ole Henriksen Vitamin C Youth Activating Oil: $45

I was completely happy with my Cetaphil moisturizer before bedtime and wasn’t particularly looking for something new. Also, the idea of slathering oil all over my face was a bit off-putting, but I gave it a shot. It felt decadent and instantly seemed to brighten my complexion. It became my new little bedtime indulgence that I looked forward to. When my sample ran out, I ran to Sephora and purchased a full-size bottle. So far, I’m still really enjoying it and it hasn’t caused any breakouts or other odd, facial maladies.

Have you tried any of the new “youth serums” that have hit the market?


Things I’m Loving Now

11 Sep

Fall is upon us, people! Let’s get excited!  If you want to showcase your autumnal enthusiasm, might I recommend this polish?

Fall Sparkles

Fall Sparkles

This is OPI “DS Indulgence” which I randomly picked at a pedicure and fell in love with.  It has just the perfect amount of sparkle without being gloppy or over the top with glitter and is a little more orange than the photo shows.  I love it.

As Labor Day is behind us now, I decided it was time to bring out my new beauty, purchased during the most recent Kate Spade surprise sale:

Hello, my pretty.

Hello, my pretty.

I’m currently 21 weeks pregnant, and I’m trying to navigate the exact opposite seasons than I experienced during my first pregnancy.  Last time I was at my largest during the summer, so I wore a ton of skirts and dresses.  This time I needed some serious work pants, and I caught a Gap friends and family sale (that included maternity!) recently and had some success.  I picked up these and these.  I highly recommend both of these pants in terms of quality and fit, especially because they come in both ankle and long.  Last time around I made do with a pair of black full panel pants from Target, and while they did the job, the panel and the length were both too long.  Which probably  means I just needed a tailor, but I never got around to that.  Plus they attracted pet hair like whoa.  Anyway, these pants are super fantastic.

I’m also thinking I’ll have to layer to get the most out of my wardrobe this fall and winter.  Key in this endeavor is comfortable pieces in bright/interesting colors, like this top, which I just picked up on sale at Old Navy:


I wore this to work today with black pants and a long silver necklace and I think it worked out pretty well.  I’m also in love with this dress, which is easy to throw a cardigan over and I will probably pair with tights and boots this fall/winter if I ever find any black boots FOR THE LOVE. I have a similar one in black, also purchased at the Gap F&F sale.  They are both very “Hi! Here is my belly!” clingy, but, they are in dark colors and I’m trying to embrace the belly this time around as much as possible.  I mean, there’s really no avoiding it, right?

I know I’ve mentioned my problem with gold shoes, but I found these Born gold flats in the clearance rack at Macy’s this summer (I think I got them for 40% off of the sale price of $45) and they were the only pair and they were in my size so be quiet, I had to have them.  They are SO comfy and I will likely wear them a lot this fall.  Maybe even with conservative tunics and leggings if I am brave enough to try that at work.


Have you scored anything you are loving lately?

Nordstrom Personal Shopper: My experience

6 Aug

For a few years now, I’ve been intrigued by the notion of the Nordstrom Personal Shopper service. Essentially, Nordstrom employs a team of people whose job it is to help customers choose clothing in a private, by appointment only, one-on-one setting. The service is free; you simply make an appointment then you receive an email or phone call, asking you lots of questions ranging from your body type to your hobbies and lifestyle. From there,  your stylist works within the budget that you provide them with to find clothing, shoes and accessories for you at Nordstrom.

I’ve had friends do it before and I was always fascinated by what they ended up buying. Recently, I decided to take the plunge and give it a whirl. Unlike many folks, I don’t have a new job that requires a new wardrobe, nor do I really need any new clothes. What I simply wanted was someone, with a fresh-eye and unbiased opinion to tell me what looks good on me (and what doesn’t) and to maybe push me out of my rut-riddled comfort zone a little. I gave my Nordstrom Personal Shopper a rather meager budget and told her that I really was only looking for a few key pieces–maybe enough for a couple of well put-together outfits. I was curious to see how the whole thing would work. Here’s my experience:

When I arrived, my Personal Shopper (Neil) apologized because, while they usually have a dressing room stocked with clothes, ready for you to try on, she was a little unclear about what I was needing or looking for. Also, I went last week, which is technically still summer, but the store was actively clearing out summer stuff and pushing the fall merchandise forward. She wanted to clarify what season I was looking to buy for. So, she walked the store with me. She wanted to see what sort of pieces I gravitated to and then pulled pieces on her own as well. Then, we headed to the dressing room.

I have to say, most everything that she pulled for me, I would never, ever have chosen for myself. Either the color was not what I’m usually drawn to, or it was a style that I didn’t care for on the hanger AND, the sizes she grabbed were considerably smaller than what I thought I wore. While I was in the dressing room, she was running around the store grabbing more items and returning my rejects. That alone was worth it for me–to have someone, with a clear knowledge of the store and it’s current merchandise, scouting for me and doing the “dirty work.”

photo (1) photo (2) photo (3) photo (4)

So, these are the best of everything that I tried on. The only thing that I didn’t purchase was the dress. I liked it, but just don’t have enough opportunities to wear a dress like that. The orange, yellow and black top with leggings was the outfit that the stylist liked the best on me. It’s entirely not what I would’ve chosen for myself, but once it was on, I liked it and everyone who’s seen it on me enthusiastically agrees with the stylist. The second outfit (with the horribly blurry picture, my apologies) I really loved. That’s a lacy tunic top which I never would’ve thought I’d like, but I really love the drape of it and it has some faux-leather details on the shoulders that make it sort of fun and edgy. I was most comfortable in the flowy pink top (even though pink isn’t my favorite color–the stylist thought it was a good color for my complexion) and that’s another top that I wouldn’t have chosen (it was also from the junior department).

The most amazing aspect is that I was able to stay within my meager budget and got a ton of pieces that I should be able to mix and match and utilize to their potential. I plan to use the personal shopper service again if I have an occasion or just want a few new pieces to spice up my wardrobe. I tend to forget that Nordstrom, while being a very nice department store with many high-priced, fancypants items also has some very reasonable price-points–many items not that much more than Target prices! The customer service is bar-none and, even though I felt a little sheepish, taking up so much of Neil’s time with my small budget, she was lovely and patient with me. I even tried to shoo her away a couple of times, feeling as though surely she had more important, big-spenders to be helping and she told me, “Nope. You’re my appointment and I’m with you until you’re satisfied with what you have.” Talk about incredible, right?

Have you ever utilized Nordstrom (or any other store’s) personal shopping service? Please share your experience!

Tees at Loft

22 Jul

I keep waiting for these tees to go on sale before I recommend them, but it seems it’s never going to happen. Yes, I actually paid full price for something at Loft. That’s how much I likes these tees. I bought two colors: white and lollipop red.

The tee is the crochet neck cotton tee. It’s $24.50, but I wear mine ever single weekend. It’s thin enough to be cool but not thin enough to be see-through.


I also love the embellished tee at Loft. Full price again! I know! I wear brightly colored camisoles underneath because the cutouts are sheer. I get compliments every time I wear this.


Update on the Over-the-Shoulder-Boulder-Holders

3 Jul

I decided to order a bra in my new size, which I thought was 32H. I got this one in that size.  It fit pretty well, but the band was just a little too snug.  So I exchanged it (by the way, Amazon is doing a free month of Prime right now) for a 34H.  However, you may have heard that lawyers don’t do math, so I forgot that if I went up a band size, my cup size would also have to change.  Naturally I thought about that after I ripped the tags off, so sure was I that this bra was going to be right.  Be ye not so stupid.

It turns out, even though I have some space in the cups, this is a really well-constructed bra, and it still looks decent and works pretty well.



Obviously I will be ordering 34Gs from now on, but this one does give me some needed lift and it really cuts down on the bounce factor.  The only negatives are obviously the extra space in the cups, and that because of that, it tends to form a little wide on my torso, and rubs my upper arms a bit.  I’m pretty sure going down a cup size would solve that problem.  (My husband’s input:  it is very Mad Men.  Take that as you will.)  I will say, after wearing this bra for the day, putting on one of my old bras felt almost supportless.  I’ll spare both you and my pride a picture of that.

Interestingly, I was at a major discount retailer picking up dog food one day, and I wondered if they had any bras in sizes over DD.  Guess what?  No dice.  So I picked up a Hanes t-shirt bra in a 38D (I could not find D or DD cups in less than a 38 band size), just to see how it would compare, because on the rack it looked about as huge as the one I ordered.  It actually fits okay.  Definitely not as structured or well-made as the Le Mystere, so I guess you get what you pay for.  I’m not sure what is wrong with the bra manufacturing and marketing industries in this country, but at least now I feel like a more informed shopper.

Old Navy Active tanks

25 Jun

Back when I used to write for (the now, sadly, dormant) Style Lush, I did a couple of posts on Lululemon. Going into it, I was hoping to expose Lululemon as grossly over-priced and pretentious. Turns out, I ended up really loving the pieces that I got from there and vowed to forever abandon the cheapy workout wear of my past.

Lately though, I’ve been finding myself in need of more workout tops. What I was looking for, Lululemon wasn’t really delivering on. I just wanted something simple, comfortable and that didn’t touch me too much. Also, I was having trouble working up the nerve to drop more than $50 on one workout tank. So, this led be back into the arms of my old workout wear lover, Old Navy. I bought one of these:

Old Navy Semi-fitted Tank $10-$14.94

Old Navy Semi-fitted Tank $10-$14.94

It was immediately what I’d been looking for, so (while the Active sale was going on) I went back and scooped up one in every color. Now, don’t get me wrong, as far as workout bottoms go, I’m still devoted to Lululemon. I really think that you get what you pay for in that department, but if you’re looking for some non-fussy, flattering and comfortable workout tops, you might want to check these out.

Continuing on a Theme. . .

19 Jun

Something must be in the air, because I am going to talk about bras, also!  Now that you know what happens at a bra fitting, thanks to Jenny, let me drop some knowledge on you.  Lately people on Twitter have been talking about this post.  It is chock-full of information about how to properly measure yourself for the CORRECT bra size (because as we’ve all heard, chances are we are walking around in the wrong size), including really informative links.  It also tells you how to correctly WEAR your bra, which, believe it or not, is apparently a huge part of the proper bra experience.

I did try out the home-measuring techniques recommended.  I have always been on the fuller side of things, but have been generally fitting myself into 38C/36Ds from Victoria’s Secret or random finds department stores.  Guess what?  I’m a 32H!  This is slightly shocking, but I’m not surprised I’ve been wrong.  I’ve never honestly found a bra that I felt “right” in, however, I always assumed it was due to my awkward shape (fairly petite, big rack.)  Well, you know what happens when you assume.  And it’s not just me!  Twitter has been, uh, atwitter, with similar stories from ladies I follow.  I have yet to try a bra in my new size, but lots of people have, and have been pleasantly surprised.

I have heard that Amazon is usually the best bet for these “odd” sizes (which, according to my observations, are not that odd at all) so I’m planning to do a little research and order a couple of bras in my new size.  I will also try to shop a few department stores (in the name of science!) to see what I can find.


Sandal Recommendations

5 Jun

I recently made two awesome wedge sandal purchases so naturally I wanted share.

The first are these Seychelles:



Gale Force

I really like these because even though they have a basic T strap shape, the verticalish line of the top straps draws the eye up and doesn’t make my legs look too stumpy, which is an effect I like to avoid.  They are also really comfy and the straps are delicate enough that they look good with more feminine skirts and dresses, which is a bonus.

I also really wanted this pair of Kork-ease, but I wasn’t ready to drop quite that much money on another pair of sandals:

kork ease

Whiskey Sponch

Look what I found at DSW (and for which I also used a $10 coupon!):

FS sandal

Franco Sarto Farley Wedge

The DSW site doesn’t have it in the beige color I bought anymore, and when I bought mine in store the clerk told me these shoes were crazy popular in all colors.  I have worn them through one work day so far and I can report they are very comfortable.  The leather is really soft, too.

Have you made any great sandal purchases so far this summer?



Mentioning unmentionables

14 May

Yup. I’m going there…undies. But, fear not, I’m not delving too far into the topic…just wanted to share a new find:

Lace Waist Hiphugger

Lace Waist Hiphugger

I got a coupon in the mail for a free pair of undies from Victoria’s Secret. Not one to rebuff a freebie, I went to claim my own pair. Turns out that I really like them. They’re super comfortable and the best part: the lace waistband doesn’t squish or bind, so they’re very flattering. They run true to size and come in tons of cute colors and prints. I’m not sure how they  perform in the “visible panty line” department–I  haven’t put them to that test yet–but for wearing under forgiving pants/skirts/shorts, they’re my new favorites!

SAO Says: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

3 May

Jenny J: I think the key to a good Mother’s Day gift is to give something that she’d never spend money on for herself. For me, that would be a gift card to a store that I love, but don’t often buy anything from (Lululemon, Anthropologie, Sephora, Nordstrom). For instance, a Target gift card is always, always, always welcome, but you know that if you give one of those to a mom, it’s going to be used for diapers, Clorox clean-ups and Snapple. Also nice ideas would be a day to herself–a gift card for a movie, plus a gift card for a restaurant, etc.

Becky's ideas

Becky: I like this Aqua Harper Crossbody Bag from Patina, a local store that also has online shopping, and I think this little Change is Good change purse from Fossil is really cute. And I like that the color is called Flamingo Pink. For my own mom, I have no idea what to get! She does like to get flowers, but I feel like that’s boring. I’ve given her gift cards to book stores before. My mom also likes statement jewelry, so I’ve given her big bangle bracelets before too, like this from Nordstrom.

Edible Arrangements

RA: My mom is hard to shop for because she always tells my sister and me to “not spend any money,” and then when we get nice things for each other, she’s like, “Ohh, you girls always have such nice things!” ARGH, MOTHER. Plus, my parents keep talking about how they will eventually sell the house where my sister and I grew up and move, but it’s been, like, 8 years of talk and nothing has happened. I have strayed away from gifts of stuff for them, in case this plan ever gets off the ground, and now I lean more heavily on gifts that can be consumable or experienced. SO, this year for Mother’s Day, my sister and I are going in on an Edible Arrangement. It’s a little hokey, sure, but I find them to be surprisingly impressive in person, and Mom can feel okay about us splitting the cost.

Andrea's ideas

Andrea: I got my mom one of these insulated wine glasses. She loves a glass of wine in the evenings when she sits on the patio and reads. And I’ll probably also give her an Amazon gift card for buying books for her Kindle. Lately though, doing stuff seems like a better plan than buying stuff. So, my sister and I have talked about taking her for a pedicure. We took her to brunch (just the girls) for her birthday and that was a big hit. And a few years ago, we did a crawfish boil for mother’s day because she loves crawfish.

Connected in Hope

Jes: I bought my mom a scarf from Connected in Hope. They’re handmade in Ethiopia by women in the Former Women Fuel Wood Carriers Association. I bought one for me, too, and love it. (Don’t worry, I usually buy ‘something I found at Marshalls’ for Mother’s Day. This ‘save the world’ gift kind of fell into my lap this year and I grabbed the opportunity!) Plus, you can get free shipping through May 7 with code MOTHERTOMOTHER!