Thursday, February 28, 2008

making me happy today: hippos

no idea why, but on a day that isn't leaving much to smile about, i'm really enjoying hippos. random, i know.

hippo charm necklace ($60) by j.crew.

geometric stoneware hippo ($250) by jonathan adler.

hippo cosmetic bag ($18) by simbiosisbyjulia at etsy.

what i want today: lutz & patmos cardigan

you all know i'm loving that long cardigans are so in right now - they're just about all i'm wearing these days. but since it was 74 degrees at my house today, i'm dangerously close to having to put all of my yummy sweaters into storage.

for spring, i'm absolutely coveting this beautiful pritzker cardigan by lutz & patmos. the luxe gold knit is beautifully offset by its casual styling, making this a fantastically versatile piece.

i love it as pictured with jeans and a simple black tee, but it could so easily dress up a casual black jersey dress, be used as a light jacket for an evening out, or in place of a suit jacket with your favorite trouser and cashmere shell. truly a unique, classic piece that you'll wear for years to come.

you can find this beauty at for $495.

ooh, and while you're there, you can use code extra10 to take an additional 10% off everything on the shopjake sale rack (through friday 2/29), which is well worth a cruise.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

random rant: marc by marc jacobs sloan tote

so, i'm actually in the process of writing up some lovely marc jacobs praise, but i came across this sloan dot square tote and had to yell just a little. it's adorable, no? great color, love the mixed dot texture. and $300...well, that's pretty reasonable. until you realize it's PVC.

am i the only person who's actually a little offended that someone would try to sell me a plastic handbag for $300??

haute or horrid? converse 'love' all-stars

i'm completely torn about these. i think they're beyond darling, but i have some serious concerns about being able to pull them off without looking like (a) a very old woman trying desperately to cling to her youth, or (b) a throwback to my 6th grade self, who used to draw pictures on my keds during social studies. are those the same thing?

anyway. thoughts?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

what's next: mod print dresses

everywhere i turn this month, it's all about mod print dresses. cute little minis with gorgeous retro-inspired prints, and oh-so-wearable silhouettes. a few of my faves:

the print on this gorgeous badgley mischka shift dress ($398) is so stunning, i hardly know where to start. it has all the vintage charm you could ask for, which tells me this beauty will be staying in your closet for decades to come. the price is a little steep, but it's actually reasonable for the brand - a great opportunity to score a high fashion piece without a second mortgage. if i splurge on one great piece this spring, i think this dress will be it.

this marc by marc jacobs colorblock dress ($298) just screams retro, but he's done a beautiful job of updating the styling for modern wear. plus, the silhouette is ultra-flattering for just about anyone.

on the more affordable end of the scale, i love this shirt dress by maggy london ($158). i'm not normally terribly impressed by her construction, i'll warn you. but i love the print, and i love the ruffle collar - this dress would be absolutely perfect for work, and i think undoing a few buttons at the top would even make this happy-hour appropriate.

from our friends over at tobi, this soda blu flutter dress ($93) is a great way to try out the trend without breaking the bank. love the color combo, which is striking, but neutral enough that you can really use accessories to change the look.

finally, this version by ziji is really gorgeous - i love the print, but i love the silhouette even more. the drop waist, the asymmetrical neckline, the draped's just fantastic. and, it's marked down to $60. so, if you happen to be a size 8, you shouldn't even have to think about this one!

Monday, February 25, 2008

oscar sighs...

this year wasn't as fun for fashionistas as in years past, but i do have to give a few sighs of admiration:

one for helen mirren. if i am 1/10 as fashionable at her age as she is, i'll consider myself incredibly lucky. her gown (george chakra) fit her figure, her style, and the occasion just perfectly - i honestly think she was the best-dressed woman at the oscars.

much as my feelings about rachel zoe are very mixed, she styled jennifer garner for last night's red carpet. not sure whether it's her darling personality or that knockout black gown (oscar de la renta), but i just couldn't get enough.

the gown (balenciaga) is lovely, but i spent most of the evening desperately coveting nicole kidman's necklace. woke up this morning & found out why i loved it - 1,399 carats of diamonds. hello, sailor!

katherine heigl can really do just about no wrong in my eyes these days, and her fabulous red ensemble (escada) was perfect, as always.

and i had to share heidi klum's dress (john galliano), only because it was probably the most striking gown that hit the carpet - really extraordinary.

so, what did i miss? what did you all love (or hate)?

all pics lovingly borrowed from - thank you!

Friday, February 22, 2008

shoppingsmycardio interviews: reform school

from my first visit to reform school's outstanding website, i knew i was going to be spending a lot of time there. the site boasts a truly unique mix of art, home decor, books, paper goods, fashion accessories...i could go on and on.

reform school started out as a brick & mortar store in the los angeles area, but owners billie and tootie quickly found there was such tremendous demand for their wares that they set up the website, and it's been uphill ever since.

one of my very favorite qualities about the site, in addition to the dozens of fabulous things i never knew i needed but suddenly can't live without, is their 'student of the month' series. the owners collaborate with well-known or up-and-coming artists to develop a limited-edition print that is only available through reform school, and is priced to make the work of these amazing artists affordable for anyone. i recently picked up this amazing print by jen garrido (her first print, actually), of whom i've been a longtime fan.

there are literally so many things i want to show you all that this post would be ridiculous if i wrote them all up. so, i'm just going to post pictures along with the interview. just click the pics, and enjoy what billie and tootie had to say - they're just fantastic people!

shoppingsmycardio: i would love to know how you and your partner came up with the concept for this store - i don't think there's anything else like it out there. can you tell me a little about how you decide what makes it onto the shelves, and what the overall concept/inspiration is?

reform school: Basically the concept came from our love of several different things...handmade contemporary crafts, sustainable design and independent art and artists. We thought they fused well together and they were all related on some level. Our focus is obviously one of reused or recycled materials. Simply, what makes it onto our shelves are items we find unique and that we would enjoy in our own homes or lives. As partners, we're always bouncing product ideas off one another and most of the time we're on the same page. However, if one feels really strongly about something and the other may not be so into it...we trust eachothers instinct to at least give it a shot. So far this has worked out really well for us.

SMC: do you buy one of everything you stock? i'm not sure i'd be able to stop myself!

RS: We've learned to control ourselves a bit on ordering but still have a way to go. It's definitely a huge perk.

SMC: what are your top 3 favorite items on the site right now?

RS: Always the Student of the Month. It's just very personal to us. It means alot to us that these artists are willing to create something exclusively for ReForm School. We both love the Ayumi Horie pottery, Yu-i Chen scarves, We Are So Good Together print, and of course the Treeblock Treehouse and building blocks for kids. Okay, okay, that more than three, but really...we could keep going on and on!

SMC: are there any areas of the site you'd like to expand on in the near future?

RS: Yes, we plan to add bigger items such furniture and it's always a thrill to discover up and coming artists whose work hasn't been seen anywhere else. (Such as Yu-i Chen.....she's unbelievable!) We're constantly working on more exclusives with different artists and companies.

SMC: i absolutely love the 'student of the month' series - can you tell us a little about how that came into being? any artists you're working with that you could give us a sneak preview of?

RS: Obviously when you open up a shop, you want to offer something different and origianal and we are always looking for ways to work more closely with our favorite artists. The Student of the Month is a great way to keep customers interested and it certainly keep us on our tippy toes constantly seeking new artists and product for each month. Look for new work by Alyson Fox, Hammerpress, K-Studio and many more in the coming months.

SMC: normally, i'd ask about your favorite, no-fail outfit. but i'd actually like to know about your favorite, no-fail home decor tips. any words of wisdom for those of us who are desperately trying to make our homes as cool as reform school?

RS: Personally we rely on flea markets, thrifting...and the best...curbside giveaways! Any product from ReForm School would fit well with any decor Just like clothing...always invest in quality pieces. We always ask this something we'll like 5-10 years from now. It's a great way to practice sustainability.
a huge, huge thank you to billie and tootie for taking the time to chat with us.

one big ordering tip: if something you love looks "out of stock," it's worth checking in with the store before you dispair. they get new stock in so often, it's entirely possible what you're looking for is in the shop and just not up on the site yet.

ooh, and....well, let's just say if you're not already a daily candy deals subscriber, but you saw something you liked at reform school...well, today would be a really good day to sign up.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

what i want today: lauren merkin char clutch

i just think this is about the coolest thing i've seen in a while. it's actually made of fabric, knit like a sweater, but doesn't it look just like a gold lame or even leather? fantastic! so cool, and definitely has long-term style potential.

on sale for $199 at shopbop today.

deal of the day: 50% off at barefoot tess

i am just beside myself over this deal. for shoppingsmycardio readers only, use code CARDIO50 for 50% off on just about everything at barefoot tess, plus free shipping on orders over $100 (just check "pick up" at checkout). i just adore everyone at BT, and have been a fan of theirs even longer than i've been a 50% off is right up there with christmas in july in my world.

some things to blow your march paycheck on:

french sole rebel flats: seriously, if you don't have these yet, shame on you - mine are in such regular rotation i hardly have time to put them back in their box before wearing them again.

all black pisces flats: i've been after these ever since i first saw them at anthropologie last summer. now that they're $40, i don't see how i can pass them up.

havaianas flipflops: these almost never hit the sale rack, so i'll be stocking up on several pairs of these fabulous styles - i live in them all summer long!

lauren merkin clutches: speaking of things that never go on sale. i've been coveting the louise absolutely forever.

loeffler randall olivia boots: i just can't get enough of these boots - they make me smile every time i look at them. they're the perfect way to ease into your spring wardrobe - the grey color is amazingly versatile, and so much more unexpected than brown or black. plus, these are brand spanking new for resort ' 50% off is beyond unheard of.

there are a few exclusions...mostly their new spring items, i believe. any shoe that's excluded is noted both on the home page and on whatever page the shoe appears on as well.

definitely don't miss this action - and remember, the more we show barefoot tess all of our shoppingsmycardio love, the more they'll love us back with these fab discounts!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

what i want today: more bracelets...

okay, okay - last bracelet post for a while, i promise. i just can't seem to resist them lately.

i've been wanting to show you all this completely wonderful barbed wire bangle by luc kieffer for a while now. i love its potential to add the perfect dash of hip edginess to any casual outfit.

if you love the spirit of the barbed wire, but aren't sure what your boss would say, these leather stud wrap bracelets by cc skye are a chic middle ground. my absolute favorite is the white - i can see it working with everything from a floral summer dress that needs a little edge to adding the perfect finishing touch to a basic sweater & jeans.

and if you're just not feeling the hard core vibe at all (don't you love that my idea of hard core is a bangle?), these darling floral bangles by leila will add color and style to even the most basic ensemble.

and last but not least, while i don't love the current designs as much as i loved last summer's, i'm still pretty obsessed with most of the bracelets over at j.crew. i love this kaleidoscope version, this gorgeous diamond pattern, and even this completely over-the-top stone mosaic cuff - i have no idea what i'd do with it, but it falls squarely in the category of 'so pretty i don't have to have a reason'.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

a funny thing happened...

so, you guys know i rarely spend time on negatives. really, fashion is supposed to be fun, not stressful or tedious. and i try to keep you all out of the "business side" of things - i never share when i have a beef with an advertiser, or a disappointing experience with a designer (fortunately, they're few and far between). but i had to share this story about a store i've been dealing with recently.

i got an email from the lovely people at recently, asking me to become an affiliate (basically, so that we could work together on bringing you guys discounts, exclusives,'s good stuff). shoptwigs has always been a very reputable site, known for stocking great designer wares, and they're one of my first stops when i'm shopping online. so, i was happy to talk with them. we chatted quite a bit, and i got through the application process & got everything all lined up. but they never approved my application. i emailed to follow up, and never heard back. okay....weird, since they solicited me, but fine - i have enough friends.

fast forward to yesterday, when i get an email from someone with a gmail address, telling me she's a reader of shoppingsmycardio, and she wanted me to let you all know about a discount going on at shoptwigs, which she knew about because a "friend" of hers worked there. she even told me she "scored" a leather jacket with the code.

at first, i was thrilled, and all ready to write up a post telling you guys about the deal. but then it occurred to me...i knew i'd seen her name somewhere before. so i searched my email archives, and sure's the marketing rep from shoptwigs that had emailed me way back!

now, if she had just emailed me as herself, telling me shoptwigs was offering this fabulous discount, i'd have been more than pleased to share it with you all (and if you're really interested in it, drop me an email - i don't really feel like giving her more press than i need to. it's only good on see by chloe merch, fyi). but really, to disguise herself as a reader, pretend she doesn't work at shoptwigs, and even say she "scored a leather jacket" to make it sound more believable?

is it just me, or does this just reak of those awful spam emails that advertise fake designer watches?

Monday, February 18, 2008

what i want today: j.crew oslo tote

i am so ready for spring - i am pouncing on anything and everything with bright, bold color these days. this fabulous yellow bag by j.crew is a perfect example. the color is absolutely divine (and would be oh-so-cute with my new wallet...). i think citrus colors are really a great "new neutral" when the weather gets warm. they're perfect with brown, black, blue, grey, white...really, just as flexible as most of your classic neutrals, but so much more fun. and i know we're all supposed to be phasing out the massive, suitcase-sized bags...but i just couldn't resist this one.

the down side: the oslo bag is $425, which is unusually high for a j.crew piece - particularly considering their tendency not to line their bags - a very annoying quality in a $400 handbag, if you ask me. but the good news is that i have some serious cash riding on this baby making it to the sale rack. cross your fingers!

Friday, February 15, 2008

just a little valentine brag...

i've been wanting to do a little piece about this designer, and my valentine gave me the perfect excuse...

...isn't it just lovely!?

sigh. so anyway, the designer. his name is marco bicego, and his pieces have only been available in the united states for a year or two, but they're finally starting to take off. you can find his wares at several of my favorite stores, including shreve & co, saks, and my friendly neighborhood jeweler (who i love for offering me champagne while i shop...i do so love being sucked up to!).

anyway. every piece is handmade, all of the gems are hand cut, and all of the metals are hand-etched. i just love almost everything this designer has to say - his pieces are unique without being too heavy or ornate, and they're distinctive without screaming designer (david yurman and judith ripka, for example, make me crazy). much as i love my designer goods normally, i do sometimes enjoy keeping people guessing.

there are loads of lovely pieces to choose from, but my faves are the bracelet above (naturally) and the fabulous ring i included in the valentine's day gift guide last week. ooh, and this gorgeous gold necklace, get the idea.

i strongly suggest checking out the designer's website for some lovely eye candy. and keep your eyes peeled...i suspect you'll be seeing much, much more from him in the near future.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

valentine's giveaway winners!!!

sorry for the delay in announcing winners...i was out spending a perfectly lovely day with my valentine!

a great big thank you to everyone for entering - really. i hope some of you newbies will stick around & become regular readers...if only to get a shot at more free goods in the future. but, without further adieu, the winners of the fabulous valentine's giveaway, generously sponsored by the folks at your conscience, are:

sara l., who said "Since we are really trying to become a more "Green" family, I would have to say I would LOVE the totes! I don't have any reuseable bags yet...So these would be GREAT!"

sarah h., who said "How cool! I'd pick the support T-shirt because it looks bad ass and is for a good cause. Plus, I'm already stocked on totes and I look horrible in yellow."

and savannah s., who said "I love the color and message of the Breathe shirt, but I'd definitely pick the shoppers. The messages are so much more creative than the usual 'I'm not a plastic bag' sayings and I think I could generate so much more interest in the web-site with bags I can use everyday!"
apparently, your first name had to begin with an "s" to win this one. (totally kidding...random drawing, as always. please do not send hate mail if your first name begins with a letter other than "s".)

so, congratulations to the winners - you're all getting the valentine of your choice from shoppingsmycardio and your conscience!! make sure you email me sometime in the next 48 hours (i'll give you until monday morning) - shoppingsmycardio at - and i'll get all of the info i'll need from you to get your prizes out to you! if i don't hear from someone by monday, i'll draw another winner, so make sure you email me!

and a really serious thank you to the team at your conscience for sponsoring this fabulousness...i do so love giving things away, but when i get to generate interest in a good cause at the same time, i'm just about beside myself!

what i want today: cheesy love plates

i know, i know - they're cheesy and over-the-top. and i completely adore them. there's only one set left, and i've been trying to figure out how to convince the hubs they're a housewares necessity (read: joint budget expenditure) ever since i spotted them a week ago.

could someone else please buy them & put me out of my misery?

(ps: definitely check out the rest of the store when you click over - it's fantastic!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

valentine's giveaway: last day to enter!!

just a friendly reminder that this is the LAST day to enter our fabulous valentine's giveaway, sponsored by your conscience.

remember, to enter, just go to this post, and drop a quick comment telling us which prize you'd pick, and we'll choose 3 winners to be announced tomorrow.

ooh, and as an added incentive to spread the word, we're going to add an extra element: get friends, family (...coworkers, total strangers, whatever...) to enter, and if they put your name in their comment (as well as their own, obviously), they'll be giving you a second entry into the contest. no limit to how many times you can make this work for you! so, send the link far and wide, and you'll increase your own chances of winning too!

yes, we're all about the selfish good deed here at shoppingsmycardio.

cheap thrills: james perse dresses on sale

for those of you who loved the james perse cowl neck dress i featured a while back, but weren't willing to drop the cash necessary to add it to your wardrobe, it's now 70% off at

so, you can score the cowl neck or v-neck version for $65 each. or heck, at that price, buy both, and you still saved almost 40% from what you would have paid for one. now that's a sweet deal!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

worthy splurge: anya hindmarch woven silver pumps

oh my, how i adore these shoes. that gorgeous woven leather, the beautifully sculpted arch, that yummy metallic silver...sigh. true, at $455, i'd have to adore them, but...well, i do.

anya calls these evening shoes, but i actually think the wooden heel makes them uniquely versatile for day or evening, and i'd wear them a dozen different ways. with skinny jeans and a big chunky sweater, with a gorgeous dress and tights, or, sure, a fabulous cocktail dress.

i'm fairly certain these won't make it to the sale rack, so if you're in love and can afford the spluge, well, these beauties are well worth it. i will have to be content to pine from afar.

Monday, February 11, 2008

shoppingsmycardio valentine's giveaway!

i've been so excited to announce this contest! the absolutely lovely people over at your conscience have recently redesigned not only their website but their entire line of eco-friendly garb, and to celebrate, we get to give away fun prizes and such!

for those who haven't seen my prior write-ups, your conscience is a truly fabulous company who has managed to come up with a really clever way of mixing fashion and social responsibility. every time you buy one of their darling tees, they donate $5 to the environmental org of your choice. so basically, they manage to make my impulse buys into environmentally responsible acts. i heart these people.

they also recently added a couple of new items to the line: a tee designed to benefit the folks rebuilding their homes in new orleans, and a set of four super-portable reusable tote bags, which i'll be snapping up just as soon as i'm done writing this.

best of all, though, your conscience and shoppingsmycardio want so desperately to be your valentine that we're going to buy your love with free stuff. three very lucky shoppingsmycardio readers are going to receive the chance to pick one item of their choice from your conscience - a tee or a set of totes - and it'll be sent to their front step completely gratis!

to enter, just comment on this post and let me know which item you'd choose, and what you love about it. naturally, anonymous posts aren't going to get you anywhere - first name and last initial, please!

we'll choose a winner on valentine's day (when else?), so be sure to stay tuned to find out if a valentine from your conscience will be on it's way to you!

good luck, everyone!!

Friday, February 08, 2008

cheap thrills: canvas ballet flats

how exciting! it's been so long since old navy had something i was really happy to see, but these canvas lovelies more than make up for it. i'm buying them now & hoarding them until spring, when i'll wear them with khaki shorts, jeans, skirts...all sorts of great options. they're a great way to add a little fun to a neutral outfit, without going all-out crazy with color. and they're only $19! several patterns to choose from, but the one above is by far my fave (though i also love the pink and blue batik-inspired print).

snag them quick - old navy's always a risky gamble between waiting until they go on sale, or watching them sell out before your very eyes.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

SMC beauty buys: resurrecting old classics

wow, are we ever overdue for a beauty post here at shoppingsmycardio!

lately, i've been on a quest for the perfect eye cream. now granted, my expectations are high. i want it to remove dark circles, prevent wrinkles, and generally make me look amazing. but that's not too much to ask, is it? anyway, after months and months, i still haven't found anything jawdropping.

until i find the grail, i'm glad to settle for clever tricks that accomplish the same goal. so, when a colleague suggested i stop by an event benefit cosmetics was holding at my friendly neighborhood bloomingdales, i decided to take her up on the invite. ordinarily, i run screaming from department store makeovers, but the truth is that i already own 90% of the benefit line, so i knew i'd be pretty safe. their products are just so cheeky and fun, i can rarely resist the marketing. bonus is that they actually work.

so, the head of their cosmetics department (i must have really looked like i needed help) worked her wonders on me, and taught me a trick i had never considered. and by god, it actually worked! natch, i rushed back home to try it for myself. and it worked again! best of all, i already owned all products involved, which you know never ever happens in the world of department store cosmetic counters.

anyway, here's the trick: take their eye bright pencil, and scribble (don't you love my technical terminology?) all over the dark parts in the inner corner of your eye, and the wrinkles at the outer corner, that you desperately want to hide. lightly, of course - no need to cause injury. top with a little bit of ooh la lift. blend lightly with finger until it all melts in. then add a little more eye bright on top if you need it, and dab (don't rub - it'll just rub right off) to distribute. top it off with a little lemon-aid on your lids (if you haven't tried this product, i can't say enough lovely things about it), and, well, it just works.

try this one at home, ladies - and report back! i'm anxious to see if i'm the only one, or if i've uncovered some deep, mysterious, dark-circle-hiding secret.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

what i want today: gorgeous dresses from....jcrew??

i'm sitting here being very annoyed with j.crew - their stupid 'final sale' emails always, always suck me in. i end up spending 20 minutes finding things i want, only to talk myself out of them because i just know i'll get the one sweater that was mislabeled or something, and is actually 2 sizes too small, and i'll be stuck with it for time and all eternity (a phrase that is funnier if you grew up around mormons, but i digress).

however, they've managed to (briefly) redeem themselves. i haven't seen pieces this stunning come out of j.crew....well, ever, really. i mean, i don't really go to them for the fancy, dressy stuff - they're more of a "cashmere sweater & flats" sort of place, right?

but they have a couple of really beautiful options available right now. i absolutely love this silk boatneck a-line dress, which would be a stunning substitute for a suit at the office. or if you love the colors, but wish the style was a little more casual, check out this version, which has a gorgeous ruffled hem, but is otherwise a very straightforward silk sheath that could be styled a dozen different ways.

not a big fan of the pricing - i still dry heave a little at the thought of spending $335 on a j.crew dress. but i have to give credit where credit is due, and these are pretty fantastic.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

what i want today: freddy & ma vote totes

as it turns out, the rest of the world just keeps on spinnin', even when it's fashion week. who knew?

in honor of super tuesday, it seemed only appropriate to share one of my favorite recent finds with you all. these darling vote totes by freddy & ma ($25) are just the thing to show your support for the team of your choice, without all of those obnoxious stars, stripes, and all-too-predictable red, white and blue color schemes.

you can choose from democrat, republican, hillary, obama, or independent. natch, my money's on the fabulous lady whose chief of staff was named one of vogue's 10 best dressed for 2007. but regardless of who you love (or love to hate), you can't help loving these totes - they're destined to become collector's items, no matter who takes the cake.

if you haven't voted yet today, and you're in a super tuesday state, get your fanny over to your local polling place. you know, right after you order your tote bag.

who says political activism isn't fashionable?

update: anthony of freddy & ma has very generously pointed out that these darling totes are 20% off today, in honor of super tuesday! just use code "supertues" at checkout.

reminder: fall '08 fasion week is here

if you happened to miss the memo, fashion week (fall '08 already? really?) is upon us. your best bet for succinct reviews, without (a) getting trapped in the millions of pics flying around out there, or (b) having to wait for the april vogue, is to hang out at the daily obsession this week, where we're all manically writing up every single show, and two of the editors are actually at the tents, which is pretty freaking fantastic (i'm not jealous, i'm not jealous, i'm not jealous...).

if you check out nothing else from fashion week, the proenza schouler show is required viewing here at shoppingsmycardio. well, not about "utterly fantastic, and not to be missed." yes, that's it.

(ps...a great big kiss to coutorture for that lovely pic, not to mention the thousands more they've left us on their site.)

Monday, February 04, 2008

what i want today: mari's brownies, please

i don't have much to say about these other than YES, PLEASE - I'LL HAVE SOME.
We've added a layer of fig jam made with Black Mission figs, 10 year old tawny port, honey, orange zest and a little ginger to our Classic brownie for a rich, finger licking treat.
there is just literally no part of that sentence i don't adore. and that's only one of their flavors...don't even get me started on the caramel sea salt.

very, very good things would happen to the wonderful person who sent these yummies my way.

shoppingsmycardio gift guide: valentines for everyone!

when it comes to valentine's day gifts, i sort of think you have to go cheesy or go home. i mean, the entire "holiday" (a term i use very, very loosely) is built on pink hearts, for heaven's sake. so, you have to either be bitter and cynical enough to just ignore the whole thing (which is totally acceptable, by the way), or you have to just say "to hell with it," and jump on the candy heart bandwagon. since a gift guide full of cynical, ignoring-like gifts would be really, really dull, i went for the other extreme.

truly, though, i think one of the biggest problems in this world is not enough people buying themselves presents. so hey, if you don't have a third party to buy for, don't be all down in the dumps. happily buy one of these lovely gifts for yourself - after all, you're saving loads of money not having to take someone out for a frighteningly overpriced dinner on the 14th.

this itsy bitsy 'love' necklace by lena wald ($220) says it all, without shouting it from the rafters. check out the modeling pic to see how delicate and subtle this beauty is.

for the right guy, these heart cufflinks ($15) would be an absolutely perfect gift. not a bit cheesy, these will let you indulge your inner romantic without making him wear the schmoopie on his sleeve.

i can think of at least two people i know who would happily give just about any gift their valentine wanted, if they received these gorgeous recchiuti chocolates ($24) in return. bonus: your valentine might even share.

if you go the chocolate route, why not go cliche all the way and add on flowers? but please, please forego the FTD. instead, pick up just a few gorgeous blooms (no need to go for the classic roses. try peonies, tulips or lilies) and deliver them to your sweetie in this beautiful milk vase by uncommon goods ($28).

this LOVE sculpture would be fabulous as a paperweight, bookend, or random chotschky mix-in on the shelf of your choice. comes in several colors, but i love this bright, cheerful blue best, as i think the crazy color eliminates any trace of cheese. pick it up at colette, a delish french website i've recently fallen for. sadly, flash only, so you'll have to look it up the old-fashioned way (hint: head for the design section). it'll run you about $100, give or take the euro conversion and subtracting VAT.

or, if you're looking for something really decadent, i spied this stunning diamond ring (also available in yellow gold) by marco bicego at a local jeweler a few weeks ago, and haven't stopped thinking about it since. it'll set you back about $1,800, but hey, can you really put a price on the kind of happiness that only comes from such pretty, sparkly things? apparently so.

and as long as we're doing overly decadent gifts for girls, it seems only fair to offer the male equivalent of pretty, sparkly things. these watches by nooka confuse me greatly. something about time being told by dots filling up? makes my brain hurt a little bit, to be honest. but they're nifty to look at, and i think my very geek-minded (though still incredibly cool) hubs would think this was fantastic.