LC Lauren Conrad for Kohls Spring/Summer 2011

Hello Fashion Lovers!

This post is dedicated to one of the ubiquitous fashion lines designed by a celebrity for the discount department stores like Walmart, Kmart, Target, and Kohls. The vast majority of these lines are crap and should not be bothered with unless for the most trendy and fleeting pieces. It really is shocking to me some of the garbage that modern celebrities put their name on, like cheap fabrics, gaudy colors, poor tailoring, and styles that don’t flatter anyone’s figure. Often such clothes are ill-fitting and uncomfortable.

There are always a few exceptions to the rule however.  The LC Lauren Conrad line exclusively for Kohls is a tsunami of pretty in a sea of fugly clothes. Prior to my current visit, I hadn’t been into Kohls in a really long time, but I planned a visit when I saw what looked like a fairly stylish and affordable tank top from her collection online. I was pleasantly surprised by the really nice collection she presented for spring/summer 2011. The clothes are modern and romantic with a lot of color, flowers, and charm. There is something for everyone in this collection: the hippie girl, the glamorous diva, and the everyday blue jeans and t-shirt type of girl.

The highlights of the collection are the tops and dresses. There are more than several lovely shirts in the collections but I am call attention to three of them. The blue Floral Braided Camisole ($36 full price) is elegant, flattering and beautifully constructed with braided T-straps. This is probably my favorite piece in her collection! I tried it on and it looks just as good on me as it does on LC! I also really like the white and black Smocked Camisole ($36 full price) because the lines that naturally flatter and slim the torso. The Butterfly Ruffle Tank ($34 full price) is super cute for day with a pair of jean or khaki shorts. Several dresses in the collection are really nice; I especially like the Floral Tiered Maxi Dress ($60), which is much when prettier worn than on a mannequin.

There are a bunch of really nice-looking pieces in the collection on the Kohls website that were not available in-store. I highly recommend taking a visit over to the Kohls to see this collection.

Happy Shopping!

Fabulous Platform Heels in Nude for $50!

Olsenboye Platform Heel in Nude ($50)

Hi Fashion Lovers!

I am reviewing a pair of platform stiletto heels that I ran across on the internet a few days ago.  Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen introduced a line of clothes and shoes for juniors sold exclusively at JC Penny called Olsenboye. The shoe I am reviewing is from this line. I originally sought out this line because I read that the FLOTUS was wearing a piece from one of their lines. No, not the line sold at Pennys! I love Mrs. Obamas’ style so I did a google search for the line by the Olsen girls. This is how I found the Olsens line at Pennys. I went to the store looking for a different (but very similar) shoe with a lower heel but I was unable to locate it.

Although I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I did find a rather lovely pair of platform stiletto heels in nude faux patent leather. These shoes have a three inch heel with a one inch platform and are FABULOUS for several reasons. Thanks to Christian Louboutin and the hoards of his followers platform stilettos are extremely trendy right now. This color nude can be worn with everything, it elongates the leg, and is very sexy. These shoes are one of those trendy items that probably won’t be worn for more than a few seasons anyways, so there is no need to spend a huge amount of cash on them. Although these shoes do not cost a ton of money, they look very expensive. I tried on a pair and they don’t feel too bad either…for four inch stilettos!

If the shoe had a sensible heel that could be worn from day to night then I would say don’t waste your money on a cheap pair, however, no elegant woman in her right mind would consider wearing FOUR inch platform stilettos to the office. Well, maybe the editor of Vogue or Marie Claire…but I digress.

For some reason this exact shoe is not on the JC Penny website.  So I cannot provide you a link to this exact shoe. However, the shoe can be found in stores.

Happy Shopping!

An indispensible accessory

Hello Fashion Lovers!

This posting is dedicated to one of those low lying indispensible accessories for ladies of all ages—the large hoop earring. I have silver but one can choose silver or gold according to their preference. I must confess that I have just recently discovered how much the large hoop earring adds to my wardrobe. This accessory is exceptionally versatile and can be worn by almost ANYONE with virtually any casual or work ensemble. The large hoops can even transition into night and evening wear with the right outfit (bar/clubbing: yes, ball gown: no). Seriously ladies…if you are looking to augment your jewelry collection and do not have a large budget this is the accessory for you! I suggest checking the jewelry counters at TJ Maxx for such a pair of earring. I got mine there a few months ago for only $20 (look for the .925 stamp in the silver). I suggest investing $20 in a pair of real silver (or $80-$100 for real or plated gold) because such an earring will last a lifetime and will not require replacement after a year or so. The metal colored coating on a pair of fake earrings will inevitable begin to peel or flake within a relatively short period of time and the earring will need to be replaced. Buying a new pair of the same earring every year or so is not budget shopping. So save your money and buy the real thing because you will thank yourself when you are still wearing them in ten years. This is another recurring theme that I will continually return to…when you are buying classic items that are styleless always save your money and buy authentic. This includes such vital items like black or beige leather shoes (particularly heels) AND handbags, pearls, gold or silver chain necklaces and of course hoop earrings!

Happy Accessorizing!

e.l.f. brand tweezers

e.l.f. brand tweezers ($1)

Hi Fashion Lovers!

It is with much chagrin that I begin my latest posting regarding a pair of low cost tweezers that I purchased at Target.  I am a believer in the old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to type, keep your mouth shut!”  Therefore, I debated on even posting this but then I remembered that I am trying to be a fashion & beauty blogger! That means being honest and forthright.

The e.l.f. (eye lips face) brand is sold at Target, Kmart and online and is very affordable.  Think $1-$4 per product on average.  This line includes everything such as make-up, beauty tools, and bath products. Honestly, it reminds me a lot of the old Wet N’ Wild brand that was often found in Walgreens.

Being the discount make-up diva that we all know I am I had to sleuth it out after I read several positive customer reviews.  My local Target only carried e.l.f.  beauty tools, so I grabbed a pair of e.l.f. Professional Slant Tweezers for $1 (for some reason the brand is not available at my local Kmart).

I have to say I was not impressed with this particular product. Stated simply, they are not functional.  I was not able to pull out my stray eyebrows and I have probably eighteen years of tweezing experience! I gave these tweezers two test runs, both in front of the bathroom mirror and at the kitchen table with my handheld mirror. In utter desperation, I unsuccessfully tried to pluck a few hairs on my arm with the tweezers.  It seems to me that the construction of the tool is poor and the pinching apparatus cannot grasp the hair tight enought to pull it out. Unfortunately, I am going to chalk it up as a loss and chuck these tweezers. Just more trash for the landfill.

Has anyone tried e.l.f makeup?

As always, happy shopping.

Adorable Bikini at Target for less than $40

Adorable Bikini at Target for Summer 2011! Each piece is less than $20!

Hi Ladies!

I was in Target (in Fairfield CA) yesterday shopping around for a few things and I ran into this cute bikini.  Personally, I think this bathing suit is GORGEOUS.  The bandeau top is very trendy right as well as the cobalt blue and turqoise color scheme.  The ornament in the center is just the right size and looks rather expensive. The coordinating detachable strap is great for no tan lines and I absolutely love the print of the strap & bottom.

Too bad I am not shopping for a bathing suit at the mo!  Maybe there will be few on clearance later in the season after I shed a few more winter hibernation/comfort food pounds!

Happy Shopping!

A Posh Curling Iron For Less

HI Beautiful Ladies!

This posting is dedicated to that universal implement found in nearly all girls (and some guys) bathrooms: the curling iron. Last year I received a Hot Tools Curling Iron for a Christmas gift and it really is an excellent brand for all your curly needs. The swiveling cord is extra long for those of you who have to use the outlet down the hall. These irons have an adjustable heat setting ranging from 280° to 430° that easily curls all hair types. Believe me these irons get really hot so don’t burn your forehead. This is no dinky compact iron as the handle, barrel, and clip press are oversized for easy use. It is also very functional and will leave you with a lovely head of curls. Finally, the Hot Tools brand just *looks* expensive—it has a glossy purple barrel and sleek black handle.

The best part of these diva curling irons is…although it looks really posh it is actually very affordable and ranges in price from $20-$35. In all actuality, these irons are only $10-15 more than the average curling iron that can be purchased at Target or WalMart.  BUT the high quality construction and variety of features are most def worth the extra bit of cash.

Hot Tools Curling Iron

Happy Shopping!

First Ever ‘Thrift Store Score’

Hi there!

This posting will introduce what I hope will become a recurring theme in his blog…something I love to call ‘thrift store score!’  This will highlight all the great buys that us ladies find at our local thrift stores and consignment shops.  I consider myself the self-appointed GODDESS of used shoes and clothes.  I try to buy ALL of my clothes used (except for my lingerie of course). Often my entire outfit is comprised of secondhand clothes.  I LOVE named brands like Ann Taylor, Talbots, Banana Republic, J.Crew, Odille, Joe Jeans, Seven for all Mankind, etc.  Unfortunately, although I love my chosen profession, I do not make a lot of money and don’t have tons of expendable income.  I don’t work in the fashion industry either so I don’t receive a discount.  I can very rarely convince myself to purchase clothes at the stores I mentioned above (unless it is a clearance sale and that is a whole posting of its own).  I have a bad habit of counting how many hours I have to work to buy something and so I rarely buy anything full price.  I am forced to rely on my wits so I can satisfy my love of clothes and thus the Thrift Store Goddess was born.

Earlier this week I visited my local Goodwill Store in Fairfield California.  I love this Goodwill because the staff is friendly, conscientious, and just wonderful.  The store is always clean and organized, which I love because the Virgo in me *hates* messy stores.  Just like all thrift stores of this caliber, shopping here is hit or miss.  This visit was a great one though.  I found three pairs of name brand shoes in my size in really good condition.

You might say…thrift store shoes are GROSS!  Rest assured ladies, I do not buy just any old nasty pair.  If you look closely through the selection at used clothing stores, there are a lot of shoes that were barely worn by their previous.  Often people donate shoes that were only worn a few times.  When I try on shoes at the thrift store I always look at the bottom of the shoe first.  I never buy shoes that look really worn on the bottom because this means they were worn a lot by the previous owner.  I buy shoes that appear to be barely worn or potentially never worn outside.  I also have a lot of luck purchasing used shoes at consignment shops where people sell their clothes for cash or credit (such as Crossroads or Arizona Trading Post).  This will guarantee the shoe is in good condition when you acquire it.  This is a great way to obtain brand name and often high quality shoes for as little at $8-12.  All of my most fabulous shoes that I currently own are used (except the Christian Siriano heels from the last posting).

Onto the great shoes I found…one pair each of Nine West in ivory loafers with a heel, Sofft brown heeled loafter, and Aerosole black leather (espadrille?) wedges!  The Sofft pair is slightly pinchy on my baby toe (probably why it was donated) but they are super cute and comfy besides.  I don’t have many pairs of pointy shoes so they’re an addition to my closet. I don’t plan on walking long distances in them.  The nine west shoes are fabulous for spring and will look great with pants.

It is the Aerosole wedge that I am most excited about, because I have wanted a pair of heels like this for soo long.  J.Crew et al. want to charge upwards of $168 for a similar shoe.  I am so glad I waited because I found this great used pair and because they are Aerosole, they are very comfortable.

Sadly, I did not purchase the fuchsia Tommy Hilfiger mules with embossed rhinestone flowers.  They were so cute but I could not justify FOUR pairs of shoes….

Thanks to whoever donated a bunch of great shoes to Goodwill in sizes 6.5/7!  Whoever you are, you have great taste.

Happy Shopping!

15% off at Gap Outlet & Banana Republic Factory Store

Hi Ladies!

Just a quick heads up…check your husbands Sunday newspaper for the USA Weekend magazine insert.  The back page has TWO great coupons!  There is one coupon each for 15% off at Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Stores.  The coupons are both good until April 26.  The catch is that you have to spend a minimum of $75 at Gap Outlet and $100 at Banana Republic Factory.  This would be a great coupon for the mom who needs to stock up on summer clothes for the little ones at Gap Outlet or the professional couple looking for new work clothes at Banana Republic Factory.

For the stores closest to you check: bananarepublic.com/factorystore and gap.com/outlet

Happy Shopping!

15% off coupons for Gap Outlet & Banana Republic Factory Store

Smooth, voluminous, soft-as-silk hair for less than $2!

Good Afternoon Lovely Ladies!

This posting is focused on a great and inexpensive hair product; my hair type is FINE…so fine my husband likes to affectionately call it angel hair.  Anyways, I feel compelled to share this WONDERFUL product with you.  I have been using Ion Repair Solutions Effective Care Treatment for ages, probably since I was a teenager in the early 1990s living in the Chicagoland area.  This product is a crème conditioner in an one oz. package that sells for around $1.39 at Sally Beauty Supply, these stores are all over the US.

This product is so great for several reasons.  It is very economical (each pack can be stretched to two uses for those with angel hair like mine).  There is no commitment with it like a new shampoo, as you won’t be stuck using something you don’t like for two months.  It produces results, especially if you haven’t had a deep conditioner in a while. It is great for ALL hair types it will calm the frizzies soften all types of hair.   Finally, it is super easy!  Shampoo as normal and then apply in lieu of your regular conditioner.  This product is a no brainer for everyone.

Last time I was in Sally I received a great surprise…Ion is now selling hot oil tubes for hair as well!  Remember that great VO5 hot oil for hair that sold three to a box?  I so cannot find that product anymore (looked everywhere), but Ion stepped up to fill the void in the market.  They are now selling a product called Deep Penetrating Moisture and Repair Hot Oil.  This product is less than $3 and very worth it.  Simply heat the bottle in a cup of hot tap water for a few minutes then apply before shampooing.  This product is great and cheap if you are attending a special event, looking for a new conditioner, or just want to change up your normal hair routine for the summer.

One last note…last time I was in Sally they randomly had a BOGO (buy one get one) sale on for the entire line of Ion products.  I bought six items for less than $7!

Christian Siriano for Payless Spring 2011 Line

Flats from a previous Christian Siriano for Payless Collection

Hello again fashion lovers!

If you couldn’t tell by the name of my blog, one of my most favorite designers is Christian Siriano. I loved him since the early bits of snark he threw during the first episode of Project Runway Season 4. His styles are sleek, elegant, playful…and ungodly expensive. So, it is a given that as soon as I learned he was doing shoes for Payless Shoe Source, I was on it quicker than an aspiring model at a trunk sale.

I purchased a pair of shoes from his line last fall and they were fabulousness enriched with style and charm. Honestly, if I had the funds I would have purchased the whole line! What those Christian Siriano shoes were not is comfortable. In fact, they were like beautiful little torture devices pinching and squeezing my feet enough to make Vladimir the Impaler wince. Because I will always take style over pain I have continued to check the Payless website for the new designer lines (Isabele Toledo & Lela Rose also have lines for sale) to ensure I knew exactly when they were released.

The Spring 2011 collection was put out a few weeks ago and I had my eye on a fab pair of snakeskin wedges. Unfortunately, I was not the only one because the pair I wanted sold out in my size on the website in record time. The diva in me needed to at least see these shoes and try them on! I send an email to Payless customer service and I was told that they could only be found in the select stores that carry the designer lines (usually in big cities).

http://www.payless.com/store/product/detail.jsp?catId=cat10376&subCatId=&skuId=084562130&productId=68857&lotId=084562&category=&catdisplayName=Brands

Christian Siriano Zanzi in Multi

After some sleuthing, I learned that the Payless at Westfield San Francisco Centre carried these lines and had the pair I wanted in my size! Coincidentally, I was going to the dentist at UCSF (hubby works there) the following day and the Mall is located just steps from the public transit line I used to get there. Yay! I don’t make special trips to SF just for shopping, so I was excited that I could squeeze in a mall visit while I was already down there.

When I arrived, the store was tidy and pleasant. The designer lines were located at the front and to my great surprise…they were also on sale! These lovely shoes were on sale for $34.99 and they look so, so much more expensive. They are so luxe…and as comfortable as a 4” wedge heel can be. I cannot wait to wear them and I will do so the first chance I get.

My only fear is that…if I fall in these heels I will surely die because I am so high off the floor. I have been known to fall in heels…more than once…(sometimes witnessed by a crowd of boys). If I die though, I know I will do so looking fabulous.

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