Friday, July 18th, 2014

All Skate!

Theory 'Sala' Silk Top

Theory ‘Sala’ Silk Top. Don’t mind that look of concentration on my face, I LOVE this top!!

So the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is now open to all! The Theory top above is one of the items I’ve purchased, and will show you more soon. Below are my picks so far from the sale. While I did spot a lot of “fun” pieces, I’ve tried to edit my selections to those items that I think could be real wardrobe builders and work horses. These tend to be the things that sell out most quickly, too. I’ve also updated my “Things I Love” page with sale selections, and will continue to update if I see new items added to the sale that might be of interest. Without further ado….




Affiliate links may generate commissions for

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Une Femme Économe: Karen’s Picks

Yon-Ka Lotion PS

Karen is a woman with her ear to the ground when it comes to style and beauty, and always has some fabulous products on her radar. She also has a thrifty nature, and looks for the most bang for her beauty buck. The first product she shared (and gifted me with a full-sized bottle!) was this Yon-Ka Paris Dry Skin Toner. I can’t believe I wasn’t familiar with this brand, as judging by this toner, it’s wonderful. The formula is alcohol-free, contains essential oils, and has a wonderful invigorating fragrance. Spray it on after cleansing and before the rest of your skin care routine. You can also use to freshen makeup and add a bit of glow. I like to spritz on a bit when I get home from work just to recharge my batteries and soothe skin that’s been in air-conditioning all day.

Revision Intellishade matte

She gave me some samples of this Revision Intellishade SPF 45 Matte
tinted moisturizer recommended by her dermatologist, which I liked very much. It has a decent percentage of barrier sunscreens, and goes on very nicely. If you need more coverage, it also works well under foundation. The finish isn’t shiny, but it isn’t what I think of as “matte” either… just very natural looking. The color blends right in to skin and avoids that ashy look that barrier sunscreens sometimes cause.

L'Oreal Glow Renewal Oil

LOVE this stuff!!

Another product she pulled out of her bag of tricks was this wonderful facial oil from L’Oreal. After trying this I went right out and bought some! It’s very lightly fragranced, wonderfully moisturizing, and really does make your skin glow (not an oily gleam). Use instead of or in addition to your regular moisturizer. I’m tempted to try the eye cream from the same line when my current bit runs out.

Maybelline 14 Hour Lipstick

I haven’t tried this yet, but Karen loves Maybelline 14-Hour Lipstick. It looked very nice on her, very satiny.

Have you tried any of these? Do you have a reliable source for the latest news on beauty products?

Affiliate links may generate commissions for

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Worth Their Weight In Gold

Applying highlights

Karen getting highlights in our kitchen

As much as we tend to agonize over our hair, Karen is right when she says a really good hair stylist/colorist is “worth their weight in gold.” She explained that for some months now she’s really wanted to achieve the same light blonde color I have, and after going to multiple colorists and not being satisfied with the results, she decided to come to the source. I had a color appointment scheduled with Brian for this last Sunday chez moi. I asked him whether he’d have time to do some highlights for Karen too and he was happy to accommodate.

I really enjoy our appointments. While he works, we catch up on what’s been going on in our lives, I make us cappuccinos, and we look at stuff on Pinterest. :-) Every other visit or so he also cuts le Monsieur’s hair, which is very convenient for us. Between our work schedules and not always having weekend childcare, trying to get to a salon regularly can be tricky. It was so much fun to have Karen join in! We had a blast.

Karen has a beautiful head of thick hair, and needed a lot of sections done. She mentioned that she especially wanted the highlights around her face, so Brian focused on that area first…

hair 2

Doesn’t she have the most gorgeous bone structure??

Once all of the sections were done, it was time to let the color “bake” for a while under a portable heat bonnet.

So Retro!

So Retro!

Brian explained to us that the base color is critical. The overall effect will be a result of the interplay between the base and highlights. If the base color isn’t harmonious with skin tone, the highlights and overall color can look “off”. It’s also important to get the levels of contract between base and highlights just right: too much contrast can look harsh, too little can wash you out. It really is an art as much as a science. (Some women are able to get great results and are quite satisfied with coloring hair themselves; I’ve not been one of those. I tried it for a while but after a some truly disastrous results that required a colorist’s correction, I’ve left it to the pros.)

hair 4

My base color (wet hair).

After my color and highlights were done, Brian trimmed and shaped the cut.

hair 6

Fine hair can be tricky…Brian knows how to cut in layers for volume and movement. I have to be honest: after decades of fighting with my hair and mostly being–if not entirely unhappy–less than thrilled with how it looked, I’m now happy with it. Happy with the color, happy with texture and style. Sure, I sometimes wish for thicker hair that would look better when grown out longer, but this is what I have now, and it’s good.

After five hours of Hair, we were pretty hungry and dashed off for a late lunch. Next time I’ll have more snacks on hand. :-) But on the way out, we stopped to snap a few quick “After” pictures on the front porch…

California Blondes

A couple of Southern California Blondes…Better Living Through Chemistry. ;-)

Stylist Selfie!

Selfie With Stylist!

Brian is also an accomplished makeup artist. He created and runs Makeover Workshop, where he teaches makeup tips and techniques, as well as offering makeup products he’s personally developed. If you’d like more information about Makeover Workshop, the makeup or his styling services, you can contact him at .

Karen also brought her Beauty Bag Of Tricks (some favorite products and finds) to share with me, and I’ll share those with you tomorrow. She always picks some winners!

Do you have a regular hair stylist? Or are you a DIY’er? Have you reached a point where you’re happy with your hair color and style?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Public Service Announcement

Rolled 6

For those who like this style of sandal, but not the Arche price, you might be pleased to know that the Munro look-alike is marked way down for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. (Also available in Narrow and Wide widths.)

I’ll be posting a lot of new sale picks on Friday when the sale opens to everyone, so please do check back.

Do you have a favorite “look-alike” item?

Affiliate links in this post may generate commissions for

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Goings On

Saturday night, La Brea Avenue.

Saturday evening, South La Brea.

As it tends to do of late, the weekend got away from me like a slippery fish.

You wouldn't imagine this mellow-looking fellow can be quite the bully.

You wouldn’t imagine that this angelic fellow can be quite the bully.

It feels like such a California cliché, but our dog is on Prozac. He’s always been a very “alpha” and headstrong dog and we’ve worked with multiple trainers and behaviorists over the years, but in the last year or so his aggressive episodes have increased. He “guards” things. Not just valuable (to a dog) things, but at times anything that manages to make its way to the floor, including miniscule scraps of paper, dead leaves, paper clips. And he’d kill ya for it. He even started getting up in the middle of the night to search out shoes or other items to guard. So after his regular vet ruled out anything obviously medical causing the escalating anxiety/aggression, we called in the behavioral vet. Along with a whole battery of behavior modification exercises and techniques, a hypoallergenic diet, Scat Mats to keep him out of some areas, and nighttime crating, we’ve pulled out the big guns in the form of a little pill. And it does seem to be helping quite a bit.

republique 1

The building was originally constructed in 1929 by Charlie Chaplin.

Saturday night we took a chance and showed up without reservations at a restaurant we’d been hearing a lot of buzz about, République. They managed to squeeze us in at one of the communal tables, where we enjoyed a fabulous meal (and company…you meet the most interesting people at communal tables!). Among the imaginative dishes we tried were “chips and dip”…

republique 2

the “chips” being fresh pork rinds and the “dip” concoction of ocean trout, yogurt, cucumber and dill.

Republique 3

Having lived in Central California for a a few years in my twenties (including some months working for a wholesale fish company), I know what a treat Santa Barbara spot prawns are. When I saw these on the menu, there was no hesitation. They were sweet and tender. The glasses of wine recommended by the sommelier were excellent as well. I didn’t get a picture, but the Bombolini le Monsieur ordered for dessert was also worth a mention.

Segue from the sublime to the mundane….

Making "Burritos In A Jar" lunches.

Making “Burritos In A Jar” lunches.

If you are on Pinterest and follow any food/recipe boards, you may have noticed the “…in a jar” trend. I’m not one to jump on recipes that seem like a lot of work just for cleverness, but when I spotted this “Skinny Burritos In A Jar” pin, it looked like something that had possibilities for a workday lunch that I could make ahead. OK, so gourmet it’s not. But at 5 WW points each, it’s a pretty easy and yummy lunch that sticks with me for a few hours. I also add fresh cilantro leaves on top of the yogurt layer. I can put together 4 days’ worth of lunches in about 10 minutes, which is a winner in my book.

How was your weekend? Do you have any great make-ahead lunch recipes?