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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beauty of a Buy

A bit late posting this (my apologies), but this piece on drugstore beauty buys is certainly a keeper:

Beauty on a Budget: Advice from a Stylist

Professional makeup artist Ann Orcutt gives readers the inside scoop on budget buys that really shine. For instance, L'Oreal Voluminous ($7.) is one of the best mascaras at any price.

Other highlights:

*Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Double Face Perfector is "almost an exact copy" of YSL's Touche Eclat. Of course, Maybelline is $9, while YSL is $40. (I'll have to check this one out. I am skeptical, I admit. Touche Eclat is always in the makeup bag, and I've yet to find anything that comes close. Also, not to nitpick, but I prefer the name. "Istant Age Rewind Double Face Perfector"? Only for aging, two-faced fraus? )

*Don't skimp on foundation. That's right, go to Bendels or Bergdorfs or Bloomies and sample. Find the exact shade for your skin, and buy. Get in and get out, with military precision---the longer you linger, the more you spend. Just get your foundation, and go. If that means some Krav Maga with the spritz girl, so be it.

*Don't skimp on makeup brushes. Buy the professional quality brushes, and treat them well. Wash them, dry them and store them accordingly. They will serve you well and last you for years.

*Don't waste your money on fancy cleansers. "There’s no point in spending $26 on something with grapeseed extract when you’re just going to rinse it off." Ms. Orcutt recommends Olay Foaming Fash Wash ($4.49), which is what she uses.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

La Dolce Vita!

Sure, life might not seem so sweet these days. (By the way, taxes are due next week... You're welcome!) Picking up a pair of Choos to bouy your sinking spirits is no longer an option.

Or is it?

How about a pair of runway-inspired lovelies that will leave them guessing? The masters of outfitting the hoi polloi (Hi Mom!) with uncommon style, Dolce Vita, are having a storewide sale. Save 25% on the hottest styles for spring and summer:

Jaslyn, $165. (Get $25 off $100. with code 25off100 )

Cajun, $120. (Get $25. off $100. with code 25off100)

You got your glads, your platform pumps, your cutout booties, even a tunic top (or two) all for the price of one pair of Choos. Or Loubous. Or whatever other prohibitively-priced designer you've sworn off. (For now, at least.)

Shop the site, use the codes. Go on, use them:

$25. off $100: Use code 25off100
$50. off $200: Use code 50off200
$80. off $300: Use code 80off300
$115. off $400: Use code 115off400

If people think those are $700. shoes, let them. Just fake it 'til you make it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lille! 20% Off A Wonderful Home Store

I'm a sucker for unique. I think every home needs at least a few items that elicit the "where did you get that?" response. Nothing worse than someone traipsing through your abode, pointing to your dinnerware and saying "Macy's, right? I used to have the same plates." Or, "did you get that chair at the Crate and Barrel sale?" (Not to knock C and B---they do a fine job of making great basics. And yes, offering "inspired by" pieces at affordable prices.)

I love walking into homes and seeing flea market finds and one-of-a-kinds mixed in with the ubiquitous orchids and cashmere throws. A stuffed peacock hanging out in the powder room? Absolutely. A bust of Francis Bacon in the living room? Sure, it's nice to have some supremely talented and more screwed up than we are keeping us company. Flowering artichokes used as placecard holders on the table? Yes, picked from the garden this morning.

Anything that is about imagination. Anything that isn't BEIGE.

Well, Lille is one of those little shops that offers artisanal goods with personality plus:

R and Y Augousti palmwood "Montgomery" chair, $2,900.

Kiln Enamel "Aspen Leaf" bowl, $248. (Stained glass kiln-fired onto metal and edged with 24K gold.)

Inmar Group "Spring Lazy Susan", $220. (Made from MDF wood in South America. It's like Klimt for your table!)

Free yourself from the mass-produced, and treat yourself to something that says "you (and only you)" at Lille. Use code BLOOM for 20% off until April 15.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tory Burch Private Sale + Additional 15% Off Until March 30th

Just a few more days to shop the Tory Burch Private Sale. She's upping the ante with an additional 15% off your purchases---just use code SAVE15.

Spied a few items that will transition well into the warmer months:

Horse Shoe Hobo Bag, $226. (WAS $565.) Take an additional 15% off and your price is $192. Hobos are back for spring (bags and actual hobos...); grab it in the Navy Blue.

Grania Top, $138.25 (WAS $395.) Take an additional 15% off and your price is $117.25. The jet beaded neckline is like a built-in necklace (there, saved you some more) and this top is perfect for dressing up a pair of black capris. (High heel gladiators complete the look.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

30% off at Le Train Bleu

Some people have it, some people don't. And some people have it in spades.

Bria, proprietress of Le Train Bleu is one of those people.

Oh sure, Kate Moss, Jemima Khan, Sofia Coppola, Ines de la Fressange, blah, blah, blah. Yes, yes, they're all spectacular. But Bria, well, she shares. Kate has her Top Shop collection, which is but a morsel of Moss. Bria, on the other hand, gives you the whole buffet--exquisite pieces from on-the-cusp designers---it's all too delicious.

This toucan print "Nega" dress by Totem ($162.) is all about sexy shoulder blades. (Don't you love how Bria pairs it with the mint green gladiators?)

One coat for spring? This Heidi Merrick three quarter sleeve "Janie" coat in French Blue ($594.) is the investment piece.

You get the drift. And now you get the discount: Get 30% off Le Train Bleu until March 23rd with code "lucky".

Monday, March 16, 2009

25% off Bobbi Brown until March 19th

The Instant Beauty Gratification Event is on at Bobbi Brown: Through March 19th, save 25% on your purchases. Your discount will be applied automatically at checkout. (Oh, and use code INSTANT for free shipping, too!)

I am really becoming a fan of Bobbi Brown. Being a Trish chick for most of makeup-wearing life, I am not easily swayed by other lines. Slowly, slowly I have developed a growing respect for Bobbi. (Translation: I have re-ordered a number of Bobbi items, including the Bridal Palette.)

Recently, I placed an order, and though it was delivered on time, the lip pencil was missing from the box. I notified the company, and a day later I was sent a replacement pencil, UPS overnight, no questions asked. Unreal. My growing repect has really blossomed into all-out admiration. Great cosmetics, great customer service, decent prices---just beautiful!

Monday, March 9, 2009

These are BR?

I'd like to thank the designers at Banana Republic for these shoes. These nude shoes. These stunningly beautiful stacked heel shoes. These value-priced-pumps that-pulled-me-out-of-the-dumps-too-good-to-be-true-shoes.

Yes, these Robin pumps are only $140. The look of YSL, Chloe or Choo for only $140.

Just thank you.

The Ten Best Spring Scents

Teresa Mitchell, founder of, was kind enough to give toutie a list of her favorite fragrances for S/S 09. Not the usual suspects, but a list of exclusive scents guaranteed to have you smelling better than everyone else.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cole Haan--30% off Sale Items until March 16th

Cole Haan is offering an additional 30% off sale styles until March 16th. Use code SPSALE09 at checkout.

Check out these F/W styles that will work well for S/S. (Roll over items for links and notes.) Remember, take 30% off the sale price with SPSALE09.

Create and post your own outfits at!

Monday, March 2, 2009

30% off Beauty Products at

2 Days Only! Enjoy 30% off all beauty

Beginning tomorrow, March 3rd, save 30% on Beauty at Eluxury! Time to stock up on coveted products like

T. LeClerc loose powder, $50.

Guerlain Terracotta Tan Booster, $55.

Chantecaille Eye Define palette, $68.

Korner Skincare Loaded The Serum, $175.

Fresh Elixir Ancien, $250. (Amazing anti-aging serum)

Kate Somerville EfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, $85. Bestseller!

Kai Body Buffer, $36. Cheaper than a trip to Hawaii!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tory Burch--40% off Resort Collection

The Tory Burch Resort Collection ("Pre-Spring", if you will) is now 40% off. I admit, I wasn't always a fan of her clothes (yes, I said some of the Populuxe prints reminded me of a "nooner at the Idlewild Motel"), but I do love her Polynesian and Moroccan inspired prints for S/S 09.

In any case, you can grab some S/S looks for less now---any of these clothes will work, and few will be the wiser. Beautiful, exotic, 40% off-- good mix.

"Sanura" silk dress, $327. (WAS $545.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009


You read that right: She Boutique is clearing out merch to make room for S/S 09 arrivals.

Use code SHEFEB09 at checkout for half off your order.

Decisions, decisions...

Christopher Deane "Neptune" halter dress, $295. (Your price: $147.50)

Matt and Natt "Avril" bag, $275. (Your price: $137.50)

What Goes Around Comes Around "Hyacinth" top, $230. (Your price: $115.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bobbi Brown: Free Metallic Eye Shadow, Part Deux

For those of you who didn't take advantage of Bobbi's free metallic eye shadow with $65. purchase promtoion (or for those of you who did) you might want to do so this time. This is a full size Rock Star Metallic eye shadow, with a retail value in the neighborhood of $20. Self Magazine gave Bobbi's metallic shadows the top prize in 2008.

On a personal note, I use her metallic shadow all the time. It's perfect---not garish or glittery, it just adds a nice sheen to your lid. It's especially nice when you want to "wake up" your eyes. The shades are exquisite.

For your free Rock Star Metallic Eye Shadow with $65. purchase, use code SPARKLE2 at checkout. This offer valid until February 28. Shop online at

Monday, February 23, 2009

30% off Jewelry and Sunglsses at Eluxury

2 Days Only! Enjoy 30% off full-priced Sunglasses for Her

2 Days Only! Enjoy 30% off full-priced Fashion Jewelry for Her

February 24th and 25th, get 30% off all jewelry and sunglasses at I'm loving these Rock and Republic Mavericks ($285.)

How utterly fabulous are these Pucci vintage-inspired shades ($350.) in plum/rose/brown?

For jewelry, I admit, I am taken by this Roberto Cavalli Gekko cuff bracelet ($625.) He's like a little friend you can wear everywhere. Imagine him on your arm at all your summer soirees.

Free Pearl Earrings at Ross Simons!

Until February 25th, receive a free pair of pearl earrings with your purchase at Ross Simons. Oh, and use code BIGSALE to save 25% on your order!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Epic Arrivals

Just received an email from Virginia at Epic--seems they have a serious case of spring fever. She wanted you all to know about their brand spankin' shipments from Twelfth Street, Marc Jacobs, LaRok, BCBG, Splendid, and their own in-house designs. (Toutie is a huge fan of the Epic label.) Not only is the fashion versatile and feminine, it is refreshingly affordable.

Roll over items for links and notes:

Create and post your own outfits at!

Friday, February 20, 2009

35% Off at Barefoot Tess Until February 21

Until tomorrow, February 21st, take 35% off your purchases at Barefoot Tess with code FEB35. (Some exclusions apply.) Yes, this code is valid on sale items, too. So, that means these Corso Como flats, which were $145., now on sale for $99., are all mine for $65:

Better move!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Begins Tomorrow! Extra 30% off Sale Shoes, Bags at ELuxury

Steal some Luxury: February 20-23, take an extra 30% off shoes, handbags and accessories at">. Plenty of fall shoes and bags that you can wear this spring. It's all about reworking and recycling right now. The Tod's Plateau Criss-Cross sandal, pictured above, was $595., now $239. Take an additional 30% off, and your price is $167. Works for S/S 2009.

Nude hues and exotic leathers are top trends for spring, and these Dolce and Gabbana Chloe peep toes are a twofer. Originally $595., now $359, take an additional 30% off and your price is $287.

Chain bags are another spring must, and this Marc Jacobs patchwork Amanda is a classic that will put you in good stead for the season. The Amanda was $1450, now $999.---take an additional 30% off and you're at $699. Grab it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bloomingdales--$50.-$150 off Shoes TODAY ONLY

It's a spend more/save more on shoes at Bloomies! This offer is valid today only, February 18th. Certain brands (Dior, Chanel, Choo and Ugg) are excluded.

Time for some cutout booties:

Belle by Sigerson Morrison peep toe booties, $290.


Calvin Klein "Dali" platforms, $130.

And yes, more Glads:

Pour La Victoire "Natasha" braided Gladiators, $230.

And speaking of Glads, how about Chloes new JELLY Glads? Cheap, chic and available in Rainbow Brite colors!

Chloe Jelly Glads, $125.