Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beauty of a Buy--Update

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat: There IS no substitute.

Last April I posted a link to a New York Times article "Beauty on a Budget: Advice From a Stylist", which offered economical alternatives to high-end beauty products. Professional makeup artist Ann Orcutt took the Times reporter on a tour of Duane Reade, pointing out drugstore products of comparable quality to more expensive deparment store brands.

Needless to say, I was intrigued. Here was an artiste, vouching for Voluminous mascara, crowing about Colorstay eye shadows--swearing that she used them in her professional and personal life. In the piece Ms. Orcutt assembled a makeup palette for $66., which was quite a savings from the $175. the items would have cost at a department store.

So, I thought I'd give a few of these items a try---I was particularly interested in her suggested
alternative for $40. YSL Touche Eclat highlighter (Maybelline Double Face Perfector, $9.) and her recommendation for "the best" mascara (L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara, $8.).

The verdict: Um, no.

While I was impressed by the Voluminous mascara--it went on easily, didn't clump, and wore well throughout the day--it was certainly not "the best" mascara I've tried. (Frankly, it wasn't **that** much better than cheapie Maybelline Great Lash. Didn't begin to measure up to YSL , or even Bobbi Brown, for that matter.) Was it a bargain? Yes. Was it the ne plus ultra? Meh.

The Maybelline Age Rewind Double Face Perfector was a disappointment. Ms Orcutt touted this as "practically an exact copy of the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch Highlighter." She liked that the product featured a concealer wand on one end, a highlighter brush on the other for "mistake-proof blending". I found it fussy, and the blended results unimpressive. Why not just provide the right shade out of one end? The highligher brush took up too much product, so it was difficult to apply sparingly. Worst of all, the product itself smelled noxious.

I'd rather spend the $40. for Touche Eclat, which lasts me a couple of months.

While the article was informative, and offered some decent suggestions for saving money on makeup and beauty products, some things are in a class by themselves: Touche Eclat is one of them.


While I'm not a makeup artist or stylist or beauty expert, I AM on a budget. Here are some of my favorite economy beauty buys:

*Sonia Kashuk Bare Minimum Pressed Powder, $8.99. Lives up to its name--minimizes shine, giving you a translucent, almost glowing finish. (Available at Target)

*Revlon Colorstay Undereye Concealer, $9.99. Fairly thick coverage that lasts for hours. Might be a bit dry for some skin types. (Available at

*E.L.F Professional Eyeliner Brush, $1.49. This is especially good if you cut the bristles down a bit--gets in very close to the lash line. No, it's not Trish McEvoy, but for $1.49 you cannot beat it! (Available at

*Aubrey Organics Rose Hip Oil, $13.99. Love the roller applicator--like a lipgloss, so you are not getting oil on your fingers. Smells clean, absorbs instantly and moisturizes beautifully. (Available at

*Alba Hawaiian Plumeria shampoo, $9.49. Smells expensive, gently cleans and conditions your hair. (Available at

Back to Blog

Summer's just about over. I enjoyed it immensely.

And now, it's back to blogging.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shopping for Men

My recent shopping exploits, limited as they may be, have focused almost exclusively on man goods. Last week I scored some Vilebrequin at Gilt. (They have epic online sample sales. If you'd like an invite, just click here.) Some very St. Tropez trunks and a baby blue linen shirt for $225.--less than half what you'd pay at Saks or 16sur20. Not cheap, but what a value.

This week I indulged at, which is one of my favorite sites for deals on men's shoes. I picked up a pair of loafers by Ralph Lauren (rumored to be made by Crockett and Jones!) for $228. Not bad, considering they retail for $695.

Disclaimer: These are not the loafers I purchased--mine were tassle-free, in black leather. I guess they sold out of them.

Which leads me to the purpose of this post: You too can snag a deal on Ralph Lauren or Moreschi (another fave) and a handful of other luxury names at Grapevine Hill for 30-60% off. But wait, do it before June 4th, and use code MOVE, and get AN ADDITIONAL 25% OFF!

Enjoy! Gotta go make dinner now. Brown rice pasta from Trader Joe's. Again.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cheap Tweeps

A whole outfit for under a hundred and fifty? Sure, why not. Here's an $18.99 strappy cotton dress from Hanes (a great summer staple) accessorized with a bag, shoes and necklace from South Moon Under. (When you spend $100. there you get 20% off with code toutie ) So, if you go for the accessories you get $32. off, bringing the outfit total to about $135., give or take couple. Not bad. Roll over items for links and notes. (Click on item first, then the link.)

Create and post your own outfits at!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mirror, Mirror (Mirror, Mirror, Mirror, Mirror)

Behold, the dress you can see yourself in

The Calypso Charo dress ($225.) is the best of the '70's (no, not an oxymoron, thank you) in one knockout number: maxi, embroidered, ruffled hem, tie dyed, mirrored---like summer camp couture! Love. If you want to do it up '70's style, shaving, as well as a bra, is optional.

Use code MDAY09 for 10% off at Calyspo until 5/10.

Monday, April 27, 2009

An Affordable Bayswater?

Don't have a thousand bucks to drop on a Mulberry Bayswater? Can't abide an "inspired-by" model? Well then, how about a Mulberry Bayswater in coated canvas:

This purple number, with studded leather detail, is billed as a "lightweight alternative" to a leather Bayswater. It's lighter on the wallet, too--ringing in at $650. Saves you a cool $350.

This stunner for summer is versatile enough for work, vacation, evenings out.

Available at Elements. Use code toutie in the "instructions" section at checkout for 10% off.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm Charles, and I'm here to save your life; I'm Gwyneth, and I hate fatties

WEtv just sent out an email promoting their new health and fitness show, I Want To Save Your Life, premiering April 25th at 10 PM.

Here's a sneak peek:

I have to say, I adore Charles Platkin. He offers plenty of caring, but is quick to call people on their b.s. Watch how he runs up to a rather hefty woman nursing a Cold Stone cone, and asks to take it from her. "You'll have to walk five hours to burn this off!" It's like a mobile intervention! And so entertaining. (As long as he's not offering to help you.) This is not your average diet show.

Also concerned with our ever-expanding asses is none other than Ms. Gwyneth Paltrow. Read all about it in today's NY Post:

"OVER the years, Mario "Fanta Pants" Batali's weight has ballooned along with his ego. It's gotten so bad, insiders said, that his pal Gwyneth Paltrow gave him a free membership to the pricey gym that she and her fitness friend Tracy Anderson are opening in TriBeCa this summer, saving him the $4,500 membership fee and monthly bills. An insider said, "Mario is the only fat friend she has, and wants him to change." A rep for Paltrow didn't return e-mails."

How very kind.