Monday, July 30, 2007

beat the heat: a guide to summer beauty secrets

it’s that time of year when the temperature soars, and my desire to do much of anything related to beauty or personal care is pretty minimal, since i know it will all just melt away before it has time to do any good. but we all know that summer also means unique skin & beauty challenges...oily face, dry and sunburned skin, and a nice reminder of just how important a great deodorant really is. so, the TDO girls have put their collective heads together to come up with our list of the best summer beauty products out there. we’re sure you’ll find a favorite (or four…) among the list.

(this is one of those times that i'm going to send you over to my second home for the fabulously long and detailed post on all of my favorite summer beauty products. so, check it out!)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

random hot (er, cold?) tip: coffee bean & tea leaf

okay, not normally the subject of this blog, but too fun to pass up. if you text the word "BEAN" to 22987, you will receive a "buy one get one" coupon for a free ice blended coffee at the coffee bean & tea leaf, my personal choice for all things iced in the summertime. seriously, it just comes to your phone, and you show it to the cashier at any of their locations. how cool is that? i mean, especially if you're obsessed with this place like i am. i thank god every time i pass by one that there aren't any within a 10-mile radius of my house, as i'm sure i'd be one of those 800-lb homebound people, begging coffee bean to deliver a large ice blended to me every hour on the hour. but hey, the occasional splurge with a friend is a totally different story....right?

anyway, if you haven't experienced an iced blended from coffee bean, you're truly missing out. it's one of the joys of summertime, my friends! offer expires 8/31/07, but you can use the texted coupon as many times as you want between now and fabulous!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

what i want today: jeffrey campbell rain shoes

okay, i know it's still summer, but these little cuties have me all excited for the rainy days ahead! by jeffrey campbell, who makes the best budget ballet flats out there, these are the perfect little rain shoe to keep at your office, or to wear as a weekend gardening shoe. heck at $35 each, you can buy a pair for home and a pair for work!

pick them up at plaza too, where they're learning from the zappos model and now offering free shipping and free return shipping. about time!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

what i want today: whipped body creme by maiden beauty

i was fortunate enough to get to try this fabulous product recently, and well...let's just say that no one's been able to pry the pretty glass jar out of my hands since! the texture of this body creme is simply soft and luxurious, i just want to keep reapplying, but it's so darn moisturizing that it makes it hard to justify the constant reapplication.

comes in three fabulous scents: "pretty", "smart" and "lady" (clever, no?). all are delicious, but "smart" (a natural, not overpowering, vanilla bean scent) and "pretty" (ginger lotus...just has kind of a clean, fresh smell) are my personal faves. you can pick them up at top floor boutique for $26 each. i'm so in love with these cremes that i'm tempted to pick up everything else in the maiden beauty line as well! i think the sugar scrub is next on my list...

( can also find this post at my other haunt, the daily obsession!)

Monday, July 23, 2007

what i want today: not to be freezing

i have a fabulous new office in the big, bad city. actual window, actual view, actual walls on which to hang art, degrees, etc. very exciting.

but it's also about 45 degrees in here by mid-afternoon. seriously, they have no concept of the thermostat being able to move in both directions.

so, i need some sort of all-purpose, cute cardigan/sweater thing that i can keep at my office, and which will look chic and fabulous with everything i might possibly wear, ever. i'd like to keep it semi-trendy, as i have plenty of the generic-button-down-cardigan in my closet, but blah.

a couple of options from the nordstrom anniversary sale , since i haven't really done a post on that yet (due to the aforementioned summer sale boycott). but if i have something i actually need, i see no reason to not buy it just because it's discounted, after all.

first up is this cardigan by tracy reese. i have to admit i'm not loving a lot of the new mega-volume trends for fall. so this sweater is a good compromise for me. it's very tailored and classic, but the slightly wider sleeve is a nod to the new trend without forcing me too far in. the navy will blend with all sorts of things for fall, and you can wear it alone, dress it up with a camisole, or dress it down by layering a long-sleeve tee. options abound. it's $179 on the sale, but i'm willing to spend a little more on a piece that won't be out of style by february. the question is whether the style's really an all-occasion sort of thing.

i actually really like this one, and i think it fits the versatility bill....but the short sleeves concern me (since my arms are completely freezing at the moment). but then, on the other hand (er, sleeve?), short sleeves are so nice for typing nonstop, as i'm prone to doing. no smudging them up on ink-stained documents, no having to push them up to my elbow, causing them to stretch out beyond all reason. plus, it's only $ enough that i don't have to feel too badly about buying it for a test run.

outside the sale, i'm sort of loving this (though not at $300, i hate to say). but i think it would fit the 'all purpose' bill pretty well, and i think it dresses up or down fairly safely. if only i could find a clone that was, you know, less expensive. plus, i have a sort of built-in aversion to buying anything from juicy couture...i just feel like i'm so too old for that.

i happen to love pretty much everything i own by vince, so i suspect i'd love this cardigan as well. it looks nice and tailored, but the only downside is i can't see pairing it with long sleeves. then again, will i need a cardigan if i'm wearing long sleeves?? anyway, it's more mid-range, at $161, on sale at tobi, one of my fave online haunts (incidentally, tobi also has some really amazing pieces from see by chloe on a ridiculous sale right now...if you're a fan, it's definitely worth a look).

anyone have any other ideas?? i'm definitely open to suggestions!

Friday, July 20, 2007

what i want today: the "metal" collection

i've been on a bit of a jewelry kick lately. maybe it's the hot, hot weather - the only thing I can imagine trying on when it's 100 degrees is a necklace.

anyway, i was very happy to stumble across...

(um, in case you didn't get the clever reference, you can click on the ... above to find out what it was that i was so darn happy to stumble across. very tricky, i know.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

asked, but not answered: the perfect eye cream

okay, readers, time to turn the tables a bit. for months now, i've been searching (unsuccessfully, obviously) for the perfect eye cream. i feel like i've tried so many samples that the girls at sephora collectively sigh when i walk into the room. and still, my poor eyes are just not happy. nice to know they're as picky as the rest of me, but enough already.

so, dear readers, i'm taking a poll. what fabulous eye products have YOU found that you've loved?? and who knows....if you come up with the one that i end up loving too, we might just work out a super fabulous, thank you gift. yes, i think we could do that. there's definitely a fabulous thank you gift in the future of the person who finds me an eye cream that i fall head over heels for. ( it really that obvious that i came up with this idea just now, while i was writing this?)

now, this is a real question, so no just listing every eye cream on - i want actual recommendations, please!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

so, big exciting news....

that's right, hold on to your stilettos, girls (and boys, of course...we're equal opportunity shoppers here at SMC). the lovely, impossibly fabulous ladies over at the daily obsession have asked me to start doing some writing for them as well. very fun stuff, though it is going to require me to be even more creative and fabulous than i already am, which hardly seems possible. but i digress.

so, occasionally, i'll be asking you to follow me over there for a post or two...or perhaps i'll save you that oh-so-tedious extra click by double-posting. but either the new san francisco editor of TDO! très exciting, no?

[incidentally, the shoes have little to do with the post, other than (1) posts without pictures are boring, and (2) they happen to be super cute stilettos, thereby cleverly tying into the first line of the post. i know, i know. anyway, if you're dying to own them, they're $360 at bluebee, one of my favorite spots for unattainble but fabulous merchandise.]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

item of the day: is it really possible?

i saw these in the august lucky, and literally couldn't believe i was going to have to do this yet again. but here we go: check out these darling shoes from, of all places, payless?!

seriously. they're $20. i think they'd be super hot with the baggy short shorts everyone seems to insist on wearing now, but picture them with a skinny black pant in the fall. ooh, or a tweed pencil skirt. maybe some tights? i guess what i'm saying is i think you'd get your $20 worth from these shoes, which are actually pretty darn hot.

Monday, July 16, 2007

what i want today: no more sale emails

yep, i admit it. i'm tired of the summer sales. i'm tired of being terrified to open marketing emails from my favorite stores, because i know it's going to mean that a pair of shoes i've coveted for months is now 80% off, and still too expensive for me to buy, but i can't possibly resist at that price, so i buy anyway, and go still deeper into the all-too-personal relationship i'm developing with my american express card. seriously, it's a vicious cycle. what's a girl to do?

so, i'm boycotting the rest of the summer sales. i mean it. in fact, i think i'm even boycotting the nordstrom anniversary sale, the greatest summer sale of them all. (naturally, if it becomes necessarily, i will be weaseling out of this statement by pointing out that the anniversary sale is actually a pre-fall sale, not a summer sale.) hence the very serious boycotting picture above (granted, the women pictured above are picketing for suffrage, but i think you see my point).

anyway, in honor of my boycott, there is no "what i want" today....there is just a commerce-free zone. until tomorrow, of course, when something totally fabulous will be on my "i must have this or i just might possibly die" list. so, save your pennies....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

asked and answered: hip, professional work tote

a reader posted a question recently:

I am on a limited budget and need a new bag that is good for work and school. So, it needs to be able to carry a laptop and files and I would like something that is fun and professional and will work with brown, navy, and black suits.

Help? Please? Is it possible for a reasonable price?

i'm never one to shrink from a challenge, especially when i already have an idea in mind ;)

first, a couple of notes about construction. i'm actually not a big fan of leather bags for the briefcase/laptop carryall, for two reasons. one, leather is heavy. it will add as much as ten pounds to your load if you want a leather bag (at least, if you want a quality leather bag), which isn't what you need when you're lugging a 15" laptop and 10 case files at the end of the day. and two, leather doesn't take abuse the way microfiber, or other well-made fabrics will. it is going to show scratches and corner wear, and most of us aren't going for that "broken in" look when we're trying to put our best foot forward.

the other note about construction is to pay attention to the handles. thicker handles are your friends - those flimsy, thin handles you see on many bags are just going to cause you major shoulder trauma (not to mention stretching out your favorite cashmere sweater).

okay, enough principles. after going through more laptop bag sites than i care to admit, i've determined my first choice was the right one. i'm suggesting a bag by talene reilly - there are a number of great choices in this line, but my favorites are the cate and the sydney. for you, since i think this is going to serve as a multi-purpose bag, i like the sydney for its exterior pockets - the ease of access thing is very important for those hot young attorney-types.

lots of gorgeous color combos, but i think for your purposes, i'd choose the camel tweed with caramel trim (pictured above), because it's stylish and polished, but not stuffy. it's also going to be a very flexible color, and will look fabulous with black, navy and brown. this one's a tad over your budget, at $308, but i'm very pleased to let everyone know that the designer (who is absolutely darling, by the way) has offered all of my lovely readers a 20% discount off all of her bags, bringing the price down to $246.

the other color palette i'm loving is her brand new cream linen with white leather trim - if you're looking for a summer option, i think this bag is about as fresh as anything i've seen - much better than the standard, boring black laptop bag everyone else is toting right now.

so, that's my recommendation - i'm not bothering with a runner-up, because i really think this is the bag for you. in fact, i'm so convinced that i think i'm going to be adding the cate bag to my own work wardrobe! i hope the rest of you will follow suit - the designer has informed me (how exciting that i get to announce this!) that her line has just been picked up by neiman marcus, which is a huge step for any brand. buy one of her pieces now, and you can say you knew her when!

remember to use code cardio at checkout on the talene reilly website to save 20% on any purchase!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

what i want today: pretty much everything at nest

this site has crossed my radar before, but it popped up on the daily candy deals email i received this morning, and i took another look. nest has really improved its offerings, and they have several things that have me reaching for my credit card this morning. plus, it's all for a good cause, so the shopping is completely justified...even necessary!

this gorgeous wool throw would be the perfect way to modernize any living room or bedroom. i love how cheery and colorful it is, and the print is bright and fun, and just the right amount of girly. only $40 on sale!

i am seriously lacking in the jewelery department. i covet much, but rarely buy...and the result is that i have a few classic pendants, but not much that's really "fun." plus, i fear my style leans a little too far toward classic for some of the really trendy pieces i tend to fall in love with. but these gorgeous gemstone beads are right up my alley. they're like a fun version of the classic pearl strand. i'm picturing them with a chic black sweater and jeans, or my white shirtdress by doo.ri for gap. pick them up for $45, which is a steal for a necklace like this one.

i have absolutely no idea what i'd do with this, but it's so darn cute, i'm tempted to order it anyway. sure, it's kitschy...but i think it crosses over into what i like to call 'kitschy-chic'. anyway, it's $27.50, so not exactly a major investment.

nest also strikes me as the perfect spot for gifts, and something tells me a number of my friends will be receiving goodies from this site when the holidays roll around. take, for example, these darling little pocket mirrors, in 3 different designs (here, here and here). you know you'd use this every day, and you'd think of me whenever you did - that's a pretty perfect gift, especially when it's only $8.

pick these, and so many more fun goodies, up now...unless i get to them first!

Friday, July 06, 2007

what i want today: an open letter to....

dear bottega veneta:

why, oh why, are you torturing me with this absolutely gorgeous pink canvas bag that is beyond adorable, but way too large for any non-giant person to use as a daily bag? seriously. this bag and i could have so many good times together, if only it weren't large enough to act as carry-on luggage.

sigh. alas, i must covet its gorgeously perfect color, its luxurious woven leather handles, its impeccable construction and completely fabulous shape from afar....because my husband will surely kill me if i buy yet another overnight bag.

love and kisses,

(of course, if you do have use for an overnight bag and/or are a fan of the humongousness of this beauty, you can pick it up on sale for a ridiculously reasonable $504 right now at NAP. trust me - you'll never get a piece of BV for a better price!)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

deal of the day: 50% off at

so, i get these emails from summerblu periodically, giving me codes for 50% off their sale items. all fine and good, thanks. but i got one today for 50% off everything. and girls, they have some lovely, lovely stuff - including the lauren merkin clutches i just adore (the louise in vintage is my top pick), which you can get for as little as $90 with the code.

not to mention lots of lovely ella moss tops, splendid tees (my personal fave), and even some paige denim in classic black (and no, they're not skinny!).

head to summerblu armed with your credit card and code WEEKEND - they'll even include free priority shipping! so, shop it up, my friends....the code's only good until sunday, july 8. oh, and items are final be sure you'll love it before you buy! though, at these prices, what's not to love??

what i want today: just a little eye candy...

in the spirit of the recent holiday, a little red-white-and-blue fashion that doesn't make me cringe. not practical, not responsible....but oh, so fun! paisley jacquard d'orsay heels by, who else, manolo blahnik. sure, they'll set you back $665...but you'll look so hot, no one would ever suspect you had to sell your plasma to buy them.

pre-fall is here!

PS ~ don't forget about our exclusive 20% discount over at halsea...the code is cardio20!

Monday, July 02, 2007

what i want today: more nine west shoes

hard to believe, i know...two pairs in one season? what in the world is going on over at nine west ? for me, that's right up there with the odds you'd catch me in skinny jeans more than once. whatever they have cooking over there, i hope they keep it, fun shoes for under $100 is definitely something i could get used to!

lots of fabulous jewel tones to choose from in this style, including a bright yellow, raspberry, and pewter, but my fave is this gorgeous blue that i spied in the july vogue (i know, $69 shoes in vogue? this post just gets crazier and crazier). 188 if you don't believe me.

these cuties are just the things to wear now with baggy shorts and cute little summer tees, but they'll transition beautifully to fall as well. i mean honestly, how hot would these be with some straight-leg black pants? pretty hot.

and, best of all....drum roll, please....available up to size 12 AND in both narrow and wide widths. this one's for you, mom! (and for j and m, with their wide feet!)

seriously, though, you know if they were in vogue, they're going to be sold out in about 15 order soon. happy shopping!