Sunday, September 30, 2012

Outfit Featuring Levi's Modern Rise Slight Curve Skinny Jeans + Saks Beauty Bag

CLOTHES: levi's jeans, marine layer tee
JEWELRY: nadri necklace, burberry watch
ACCESSORIES: tory burch flats, free people belt

I tried out Levi's for the first time this weekend. I ended up preferring the modern rise slight curve skinny jeans in indigo intrigue. I was fortunate to stop by on a day with an in-store promotion of 30% off favorite styles. These came out to be $54.60. For anyone who has more experience with Levi's, any other style recommendations? While there I also fell in love with the Marine Layer tees! No sale there, so I paid the full price of $34.00. I am wearing a size xs.



Measurements  The size I am wearing is a 24W x 30L, but the inseam actually measures 29. That waist is about 26 inches all around. They have a good amount of stretch because the spot that I wear them at measures about 29 inches. My husband noted some bunching around the knees when he was taking these pictures. If you are shorter than me you will probably want to get them hemmed.


I did cave and stopped by Saks to pick up another bottle of the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (see my review here) during the beauty event. I was treated to two samples of the facial treatment mask and was pleased that I will actually get use out of most of the goodies in the beauty bag. Here is what was in the 17W x 14L bag:

perfumes include:  Annick Goutal, Cartier, Elie Saab, Roberto Cavalli, Tom Ford

for skin, body, and hair:  Fekkai sheer hold hairspray, 1.5 oz., Kiehl's midnight recovery eye, 0.1 fl. oz., Lancome genifique youth-activating concentrate, 0.03 fl. oz., Laura Mercier foundation primer in radiance, 0.5 fl. oz., Molton Brown bath & shower gel, 1 fl. oz., YvesSaintLaurent forever serum

special offers include  $50 off your $250 sunglasses purchase at Saks, one-year subscription to Harper's Bazaar magazine (taking advantage of this one!), free travel bag and normal brush head with a Clarisonic cleansing system or opal system, free Donna Karan hosiery when you buy two.

Two of the special offers are available online, but I will not be using them. Send me an email (minimaestra@hotmail.com) if you would like me to send you either the sunglasses code (expires 10/20) (already claimed) or the Donna Karan hosiery code (expires 10/18). First come, first served, of course.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Review


SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, 5 ounces
sample size, .3 fl ounces

Now is the best time to try out new beauty products or stock up on old favorites during the Saks Fifth Avenue beauty event. It starts in stores tomorrow (details here) and is currently available online. A product that instantly qualifies you for the beauty bag is the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. I started using this product in February and loved the results I experienced, but the high price has me hesitant to repurchase.


Description

Here is what the product claims to do, via the Saks website:

Skin Balancing Essence. The heart of the SK-II range. The second point in your Ritual. This unique Pitera-rich product moisturizes to improve texture and clarity for a more beautiful, glowing complexion. It contains the most concentrated amount of Pitera of all the SK-II skincare products--around 90% pure SK-II Pitera. It absorbs easily and leaves your skin looking radiant, with a supple, smooth feel


First Impressions

I was excited when an SK-II representative offered me four samples of the Essence, but secretly hoped it would not work wonders because of the high price tag. I told myself, "Don't be duped! This is probably an over-priced department store brand!" Unfortunately for my wallet, I was hooked with just a few uses. What I noticed was a more even and less-oily complexion. I was so pleased with my skin that I stopped wearing foundation.


How Long Did 5 Ounces Last?

The bottle I had purchased at the start of February ran out by mid-July. At first, I used it day and night, dispensing way more than I needed. When there was only a fourth of the product left, I decided to use it strictly in the morning after washing and toning my face. If I do make this purchase again, I think I can get eight months out of a five ounce bottle if I reserve the product for morning use only.


Why I Am Undecided

The price tag is holding me back. A five ounce bottle is $155! I also feel that I take good enough care of my skin with other anti-aging products (see post here), that this may be a luxury item that I do not need. But then I keep thinking about how good my skin looked with this product, which causes me to lean towards purchasing my second bottle.


Find A Good Sales Associate

I highly recommend scoping out a good sales associate who is willing to talk with you about the product and offer you samples. If you are at the Saks in Vegas, I recommend requesting Carol Jule. In less than five visits Carol has gifted me nearly ten essence samples, four eye masks, two whitening source derm-revival masks, and one facial treatment mask. That is over $100 worth of products!


A Fun Bonus...The Skin Analyzer

The SK-II counter at my local Saks features a complimentary skin analyzer, similar to what I have seen in a dermatologist office. Just Put Your Face in the Little Box and Say ‘Aah’ is a good read if you plan on using this device. The article describes exactly what the machine does, features pictures of the process, describes people's insecurities after using the machine, and the benefits of seeing your results. I have used the machine twice. Yes, I felt a little disheartened after my first time because Carol pointed out my premature smile lines, and the fine lines forming around my eyes. I have been using anti-aging products and been an avid sunscreen wearer since my early twenties! How could it be? However, I found the overall process to be helpful because now I am aware of the problem areas I need to target even more. Additionally, I like that my file can be saved and accessed each time I visit for comparison.


Helpful Reviews

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, Holy Water for Flawless Skin @ Fruity Lashes
Beauty Spot: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Review @ Through The Looking Glass
Guest Review: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence – A Miracle Water? @ My Women Stuff
The Start of my SKII Experience @ Evonnz
A Pitera Review @ The Performance Leader


Your Thoughts?

Please share your experiences with this product to help others decide if this is something they want to try. After writing this post, I do feel as if I am leaning towards repurchasing.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Outfit Featuring Sugarlips Camisole Bra Review

CLOTHES: ann taylor blouse w/sugarlips camisole bra, mimi chica shorts
JEWELRY: j. crew necklace and bracelet
ACCESSORIES: j. crew purse, ann taylor heels

Another item from my sugarlips.com order was their camisole bra in navy. It proved to be a useful piece for me this summer paired under tank tops, and I am excited to use it with sheer blouses this fall. I wore the above outfit when my husband and I tried out a place called English's at Town Square over the weekend. I felt like my feet needed a break after the work week, so at the last minute I changed into my Tory Burch Eddie flats (see my review here).


The band across the bottom measures 11.75". The sides measures 5". The padding is removable. Pictures are with padding.


Related Content

I also styled this blouse back in November
More bloggers style this blouse: Elaine, Elle, Jean, and Ying
J. Crew Tillary purse is on sale in stores. See my post here



Sunday, September 23, 2012

J. Crew Two-Tone Leather Belt

Two-tone leather belt is now $14.99 in stores

I stopped by J. Crew last night to pick up the Tillary Purse in brilliant purple. It came out to be $50.99 with my teacher discount. I also wanted to let everyone know that there is a great deal on a neutral belt. The two-tone belt has been reduced to $14.99 from $58! My final price turned out to be $12.74. If you are interested in either item, I suggest calling ahead to your local J. Crew store to have them hold the items for you.

Measurements and Color   I went with a size small so it could be worn on my hips. The belt is 40.5 inches overall. The last notch is just below 31 inches and the first is at 35 inches. The belt is also available in a navy and green combination.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tillary Purse Reduced Even More

Tillary Purse now reduced to $59.99 in stores

J. Crew has quickly become my first stop when I visit Town Square. I love that they accept my teacher discount with promotional sales, resulting in some great deals (see here and here). I also appreciate the great service, particularly from one sales associate named Sylvia. She takes the time to send handwritten thank you notes and calls when an item I really like goes on sale. Today she gave me the heads up that the Tillary purse in brilliant purple has been reduced to $59.99 in store. It is definitely worth checking out if you want to add a colorful purse to your wardrobe that can be used both day or night.



I hope you enjoy your weekend!! :)



Monday, September 17, 2012

J. Crew Colorblock Check Mini and Tippi Sweater



colorblock check mini, 00
tippi sweater in heather gray, xxs

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekends! My husband and I met up with some friends for drinks at Town Square Mall, so I tailored the night to include a quick stop at J. Crew before the get together. Both items above were a no. I did purchase the perfect shirt in mini-gingham in a blue print. The in-store sale price is $39.99.

colorblock check mini   The houndstooth print is adorable. However, I do not have many items in my closet that I can pair it with. I might consider picking this up on sale for $30 or less. Maybe by then I will have some tops to match.

tippi sweater   I was on my way to the fitting room when I spotted this sweater on a mannequin. I was quickly attracted the the color. Despite being such a basic sweater, I was ready to by this at its current full price because I knew I would wear it nearly every week. But when I did my tag check and saw dry clean only, it was a definite no. Does anyone own a tippi sweater and successfully launder it themselves?

(UPDATE ON 9/18 I added an update to this post about the LOFT ballet flats I recently raved about. Unfortunately, the metallic color is already rubbing off. See the images here).


Hope you have a great week!! :)



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Casual Dinner Outfit Featuring Tory Burch Double Wrap Bracelet

CLOTHES: j. crew dress
JEWELRY: gold chain with craft bead, tory burch bracelet
ACCESSORIES: j. crew purse, loft sandals

I love thick and chunky bracelets, but they are usually too large on my 5.75" wrists. I was thrilled that the Tory Burch double wrap bracelet (which was a birthday present from my sister-in-law and her husband) fit me. As I look through the reviews on Nordstrom.com, most small-wristed women agree with me. Unfortunately, those particular ladies neglect to provide their wrist measurements. Only one reviewer does mention her size, but I disagree with her on fit: "I have about a 6" wrist and this was way too big."

Here are the other double wrap options offered at Nordstrom.com:

foxhead, metallic, saffiano, hedgehog, studs

Hope you have a great week!! :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Skulls: Featuring Nadri Skull Necklace

nadri skull pendant necklace

I love skulls. Any other fans out there? The above necklace is the newest addition to my collection, gifted by my mother-in-law. Here are a few other skull items that bring a smile to my face:


I bought this back in March, and it quickly became one of my favorite casual accessories. Although no longer available, Crewcuts came out with another style, but I am finding it challenging to style. See my pic of it here


This guy is part of a necklace by Fileena, a jewelry designer whose pieces can be found in television and movies. I had the chance to meet her on my last trip to Maui, and I could tell from our conversation that she puts so much passion, love, and thought into each piece she makes. It makes owning the piece more special.




A set of drinking glasses and skull wine charms are a much-loved gift from my sister-in-law. If I am having a drink at home, it is more than likely sporting a skull of some sort.


I just came across this picture recently. More than three years ago my sister-in-law created this design from the beer bottle caps my husband and I have collected over the years.


We picked out these gifts from Pirate's Plunder in Seattle for our nephew's 6 month birthday. The bib and other skull items are available on their website here.


Styling A Skull Necklace





If you like skulls but want to avoid looking scary, I suggest opting for smaller pieces. It also helps to layer with another necklace of similar size. The Dogeared pieces featured below are dainty and perfect for layering. These are priced under $70 and ship for free:

charmed in gold and silver, a little edge in gold and silver

More Dogeared pieces for less than $40 and free shipping:

skull charm, make a wish (pricier black diamond version here)


Have a great weekend!! :)



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Banana Republic Marina Strappy Sandal

banana republic marina strappy sandal, 7.5

Now that I have had a chance to wear these heels to work, I wanted to give you an update. Unfortunately, the current online price is still above $100. However, I purchased mine in-store for $69.99 (no promotion included) about one month ago.

sizing   I am usually a size 7 or 7.5. After trying both sizes, I decided to go with the 7.5. My toes were nearly hanging off the edges in the smaller sizing.

comfort   I managed to stay blister-free! My outer toes are a little red, but the skin is not broken. There is no special padding in these heels, so my feet feel like they could use a massage. I would consider adding inserts for comfort, but that would elevate my toes even more, most likely causing them to blister.

versatility   The goldtone hardware does limit the possible pairings. Also, this is not an appropriate style for all seasons.



Hope everyone is enjoying their week!! :)



Monday, September 3, 2012

DHC Skincare - Free Shipping on Orders of $25+



Free shipping on $25 or more. Ends Tues., 9/4 at 11:59 ET.


If you are interested in trying out DHC products, now is a great time. I first became hooked in February of this year. For reference, I live in a dry climate and my skin type is combination. With my current regimen, I rarely get pimples. Here are the products I have used extensively from DHC:


deep cleansing oil   This product is amazing! It is important that this is applied to a dry face with dry hands. Really take the time to slow down and relax with a nice one minute massage of this over your face. I know it may sound scary that you are rubbing oil on your face, but this has not caused me any breakouts.

mild soap   This is used after the oil. It does take some effort to get a good lather. You could also try the washing powder, which suds up much easier.

mild lotion   I went through a period of time in which I thought toners were a gimmick, but I am all for this one. This does not strip your face of too much oil, and it helps to ensure that no soap is left behind.

acerola cream   I ordered this hoping it could be a replacement for my pricey SK-II essence. This cream leaves your skin feeling nourished, but can be too heavy for daytime wear on those with combination skin. Although it has not caused me to breakout, I do notice I am more oily.

after bath hair treatment   This is great if you use a lot of styling tools and have color-treated hair. Two or three pumps is all you need.

purifying charcoal shower gel   Two pumps of this is great mixed with St. Ives acne scrub. Apply to your arms, legs, and back to keep soft.





Choose Your Own Samples

With every order you get to select four samples from a long list of DHC products. Plus, they send you two extra samples chosen by DHC. I suggest stocking up on items that you could use for travel, such as a face mask, shampoo, conditioner, and styling products.


Points

DHC has a great points system. Not only do loyal customers receive up to 10% off their orders, you can also accrue points that can be exchanged for full-size products or upgraded shipping. Read more about the system here.


U.S. Shipping

Economy shipping is free on orders of $85 or more. It is listed as 7-10 days, but is usually the latter. Since I have been spoiled by the quick shipping from other companies, this is a long time for me to wait! Try to time your purchases so that your order is placed before your stock runs out. Read more about the shipping policy here.


What are your DHC recommendations?



J. Crew Tillary Purse and Free Shipping



Free shipping at any price with code FREESHIP. Today only.


When I found out that the Tillary purse in bright mint went on deeper sale (thanks to Lilliana of The CheapChica’s Guide to Style), I clicked on the link, added it to my shopping cart, and was ready to checkout. Problem was, it was not going into my shopping cart. I soon learned that someone else had made the purchase before I could. Knowing that items reappear on J. Crew's website, I checked quite frequently throughout the week. Since I usually wake up at some point in the middle of the night, I kept the iPad on my nightstand so I could do a quick check before falling back to sleep. Thanks to this tactic, I spotted the purse on a Friday morning in the three o'clock hour. After a slight panic because I could not remember my password (had to have it emailed to me), the purchase was made. That was my one and only crazy stalking week. It will not become the norm!

It was mentioned over at the J. Crew Aficionada that some stores are offering an additional 30% off sale items today. Although the Tillary in vibrant fuchsia is priced lower than the other two colors online, the in-store price of all three colors in Las Vegas (and most likely other stores) is $109.99. I did call to confirm that price again on Saturday, 9/2. With today's deal, you can score one for less than $80. For the teachers or students, it brings the price to just above $60! This is tempting me so much!

I also want to mention that all purses and shoes are shipped for free until November 8. No code is needed. Here are some cute purses for under $200:

TOP: little edie, margate, wixon
BOTTOM: invitation in plaid, baby brompton, invitation in colorblock, tillary (also in two other colors here)


Related Content

My most recent J. Crew fitting room post here



Web Statistics