Posts Tagged ‘budget fashionista’

Not only is avocado delicious on a Cobb salad, it has great moisturizing benefits that can help your hair and skin.

There are few things I love more than saving money and indulging my crunchy, hippie tendencies. So today, I share with you my favorite at-home beauty fixes. They’re all relatively cheap, and absolutely cheaper (and healthier!) than most beauty products you buy in stores.

Some just take a little elbow grease, but most involve raiding the kitchen cabinets and playing with food, all in the name of beauty. You game?

Hair conditioner: Smash up a whole avocado and mix it with the yolk of an egg. Coat damp hair with mixture and let it set for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and wash with shampoo as normal. Or, use 1/2 C. real mayonnaise to coat damp hair. Put on a shower cap and let it soak on hair for 15-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly  and wash with shampoo as normal.

Intense body moisturizer: My favorite guacamole ingredient does double duty for the bod, too. Smash up another avocado and spread the paste on your dry skin. Let it set for 15-20 minutes, rinse and dry.

Baking Soda toothpaste: Baking soda is one of the strongest cleaners, but among the most gentle. If you’re really hardcore, you can skip the flavoring and just sprinkle baking soda on your tooth-brush and go to town. If you need a little something to mask the chalky flavor (and I don’t blame you), try this recipe, courtesy of “The Eco Chick Guide to Life,” by Starre Vartan: 2-3 drops of your favorite flavored oil (peppermint, cinnamon); 3 Tbsp. baking soda, 1 Tbsp. salt; 2 tsp. glycerin (available in drug or craft stores). Mix well and store in a covered container.

Lip and/or body scrub: If you’ve got dry, scaly skin in need of a good slough, go get some sugar. Mix 1/2 C granulated sugar with 1/2 C edible oil (extra-light olive, almond, coconut). Rub a little of the slurry on your lips and gently wipe off. For use on the body you may add 5-10 drops of essential oil for fragrance.

At home pedicure: This is by far my most favorite, indulgent, cost-effective treat. Spa pedicures can run in the $40-$75 range. At home, you can achieve nearly the same experience at a fraction of the cost. Using some of the moisturizing tips and tricks mentioned above, you can make this as elaborate or as simple as you’d like. There are six steps to keep in mind: set the mood, soak, exfoliate, trim and clean nails, moisturize and polish. For pedicures, soak you feet in a bathtub full of warm water. If the temperature is too hot, it’ll suck the moisture from your skin.


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I found myself in Statesville, NC this morning to deal with the repercussions of my lead foot. I managed to keep my issues with authority in check long enough to get the penalty reduced a smidge. I was riding such a triumphant high (The last time I was in traffic court, the bailiff said I needed to calm down and lower my voice. Good times), I figured I should do some shopping to celebrate.

A friend had repeatedly told me of fab deals and cute shoes at the Rack Room Shoes Outlet in Newtowne Plaza off I-77, but I hadn’t checked it out until today. Dios mio, I have been missing out.

Nike, Sperry, New Balance, Vans, Chuck Taylor All-Stars and Steve Madden are just a few of the brand names available for crazy cheap prices. I scored an adorable pair of Keds mary jane sneakers for $10 (retail for $35) for my daughter.

It’s certainly not a posh store — it looks every bit of an outlet and then some — but really, when you’ve got racks of super-sale $3 womens sparkly ruby slipper flats at the front door, who can complain?

Ladies shoes start at $5, and all mens, womens and childrens athletic shoes are 50 percent off the lowest marked price (the New Balance and Chucks I was scoping for my daughter were in the $10-$15 range).

It’s a great place to put your “quality versus quantity” spending resolution to good use (What? That’s not your resolution? Hm … maybe it’s just me.). It’s also a great place to stock up on name-brand kicks at a fraction of the regular retail price.

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I will be the first to admit that I, on occasion, can be a snob of the handbag, shoe, food and beauty products variety.

So when a makeup artist at Robert Verdi’s Luxe Laboratory sat me in a chair during September’s New York Fashion Week and whipped out the CoverGirl & Olay SimplyAgeless foundation, I tried to stifle my gasp.

Isn’t that the line that is endorsed by Ellen DeGeneres? And ageless? Really? I know I’m *ahem* getting older, but is my skin that bad that is warrants fixing all day long?

Yes. Yes and maybe.

Here’s my mea culpa: I was so very, very wrong to prejudge. This is the most fab foundation I’ve used in quite some time. The pairing of CG foundation with Olay Regenerist moisturizers creates a creamy foundation that is comparable to those at much higher price points.

First, with a small brush or a fingertip, use SimplyAgeless as a concealer under eyes or on blemishes. Foundation application is easy and uniform with a fluffy makeup brush (skip the foam pad provided, especially if you tend to have a heavy hand). The wet-to-dry makeup doesn’t settle into fine lines or pores. Instead, there’s a natural, effortless base that isn’t oily or too dry that also includes SPF 22.

$13.99, CoverGirlCVS/pharmacy and other drugstore chains

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Just a few days into the new year, and the Internets have been buzzing with closet cleaning confessions.

My pal Samantha Smith, owner of the fabu Potion beauty boutique, paused during an early January cleaning frenzy to Tweet: “Anyone know where I can sell some never worn Michael Kors and Sigerson Morrison shoes size 10?”

eBay all the way girlie!

Back when I took the Style Editor job at the Charlotte Observer, I needed to upgrade my footwear — quick. How did I flip my entire shoe rack? eBay. I sold nearly every pair of shoes I owned and used those funds to help subsidize my new high(er) heel habit. And, as a bonus, I shipped most to buyers without having to leave my house. Thanks USPS flat rate boxes!

If you’re considering selling on eBay, here are a few tips:

  • No elaborate photo skills necessary. Take simple, well-lit pictures with a point and shoot camera. As a shopper, I click right past listings with manufacturer photos.
  • Before you take pictures, make sure items are clean and/or pressed and presentable. If you wouldn’t wear it or buy it in that condition, why expect that of others?
  • Give yourself plenty of time to list your items. Plan on 10-15 minutes per item once you get going (posting photos, writing descriptions, etc…). Follow the prompts and take it step by step.
  • Learn the listing lingo: EUC (excellent used condition), NWT (new with tags), NWOT (new without tags), etc… it’s a shorthand that will help shoppers find your listing. Be honest in listings. Oversharing is better than under — if there’s a slight stain or wear, mention.
  • Don’t expect to strike it rich. That’s not to say those vintage boots won’t spark a bidding war (I listed a pair I hoped to get $15 for that ended up selling for $75), but keep your expectations in check. And the lower you set the starting point for your auction, the more action you’ll get. Witness the tale of my Frye mules, which I listed twice. First with an opening bid of $29 (completely reasonable, they were worn twice, and retailed for $150ish): no bids at all. Second time, I started the auction at $9.99. They sold for $50+.

Do you have any eBay selling tips? How about buying? For as much selling as I do, I am still a skeptical buyer.

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I must have this dress. For real.

I swore that I would try to temper my expectations when it was announced Rodarte would be doing a collection for Target.

So much for trying — I am in a full-on, counting-the-days tizzy over the line which is scheduled to hit select stores Dec. 20.

Especially after catching a glimpse of look book images and the fantastic sequined rib cage dress ($49.99!) But, a little voice in my head reminds me that I’ve only ever bought three things from Target diffusion lines: an Erin Fetherston tunic and a Thakoon cardigan and a Loeffler Randall handbag.

What’s your take on diffusion lines? Is it a calculated brand-expanding move to work with stores such as Target (Zack Posen and Jean Paul Gaultier are scheduled to debut bullseye collections too)?

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You may not be able to muster the strength to leave the house to join the crowds shopping in the wee hours of Friday. But that doesn’t mean you should have to miss out on all the post-Thanksgiving savings.

Drag your turkey-stuffed-self over to the computer and get clicking. Here’s just a sampling of what can be saved with the flick of a mouse:

SkirtSports: Up to 80 percent off select women’s athletic gear.

Beautorium: Offering it’s “Seven for $10” promotion featuring one product a day for seven days (starting Friday, Nov. 27) for the price of $10, with a minimum purchase of $30. With selections changing daily, visitors can save up to 75% on the world’s best natural and organic beauty care. Including: Cattier Soothing Beauty Lotion (regularly $23), Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel – Sensitive ($39), Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum ($45), Cattier Dermoprotective Shower Gel ($18), Cattier Moisturising Day Cream ($40), Rain Africa Bath Salts in Basket Savannah ($34), Pangea Organics French Chamomile & Orange Blossom Facial Cream ($36) and Rain Africa Bath Salts in Bag ($25).

Saks Fifth Avenue: Up to 60 percent off select items; Free shipping with code HOLIDAY9; $25 gift card with $100 beauty/fragrance purchase with code BEAUTY9; $100 contemporary purchase of more than $400 with code CONTEMP9.

Cinda B: Free Shipping on orders of more than $100 Nov. 27-29 with codeSHIP4FREE

Janie and Jack: 25 percent off total purchase online through 3p Friday); free shipping on purchases of more than $75 with code FREE 75; 20 percent off entire purchase Nov. 27-29.

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This plaid hooded jacket ($52) is from the exclusive “New Moon” line at Nordstrom. (nordstrom.com photo)

Friday (possibly late night Thursday, depending on the level of your dedication) is the start to the holiday shopping season.

The scale of it all – the sales, the crowds, the urgency – can quickly suck the style out of the most well-intentioned shopper. So how do you fight the urge to go the easy route, buying Snuggies for all of your friends and family? Plan ahead.

Start with the list (an iPhone or Blackberry memo works great, or you can go old school with a sheet of paper). Then determine how much you’ll spend per person.

Use this list as a jumping-off point for your holiday gift-giving. Trends can be as inexpensive or extravagant as you’d like – you shouldn’t have to work too hard to find one that fits your budget. Read Thursday’s Charlotte Observer for the full story.

  • Teen girls are in the throes of another round of angsty vampire mania with the recent release of the film “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” Resistance is futile, so you might as well indulge your girl’s penchant for fanged folk from the Pacific Northwest. Try a plaid hooded jacket ($52) from the exclusive “New Moon” line at Nordstrom. Inspired by Bella’s layered looks, the jacket has a “Twilight” logo at the hem. Or tap into pretty gore with DuWop Twilight Lip Venom ($16), a dual-purpose lip plumper and stain.
  • Mothers are notoriously selfless, or so they’d like us to believe. Here’s your chance to defy their claims of only needing you to come home to make the holidays complete. Gently force your mum to pamper herself with the Three Janes Eight Piece Brush Set and Bag, a simply luxe set of cosmetic brushes tucked into a rich rolled chocolate brown pouch. The line, the brainchild of TV reporter Eleanor Mondale and makeup artist Leilani Baker, features hardwood-handled brushes with hand-cut tufts that are double tied and glued for durability. $198, Jeffre Scott Apothecary, 607 Providence Road.
  • Scarves may just be the most versatile, accepting accessory around. Give your aunt a bit of instant hip with this year’s must-have item: the infinity (or circle) scarf. There’s no need to skip the trend because you’re unsure how to wear – the infinity scarf is a large circle of fabric that you simply drape or loop around your neck. No tying required. The striped Splendid infinity scarf can be flirty, edgy, sexy and practical at the same time. $39-$54; Scout & Molly’s of Charlotte
  • The looks of the 1980s might be bigger now than they were back in the ’80s. Help your pops celebrate the era of excess by channeling the classic looks popularized by some his favorite film characters. Go Maverick from “Top Gun” with Ray Ban aviators ($129.95) or “Breakfast Club” hipster with Ray Ban Wayfarers ($139.95). Sunglass Hut (multiple locations).
  • Kick-start your dad, brother or uncle’s grooming routine with the Zirh Super Shave System, which might just convince him it’s OK to care about your skin, even if you are a man. The set includes five products for specific uses: Pre-Shave Oil, Aloe Vera Shave Cream, Non-Foaming Aloe Vera Shave Gel, Post-Shave Soothing Treatment and Post-Shave Treatment (for ingrown hairs). And, the company website is packed with information men need to know, but may have not been comfortable asking – such as what is a blackhead? $79; Dillard’s, Macy’s, Ulta, Sephora (multiple locations)

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