Archive for July 2013

Strategic shopping can save you money

Strategic shopping is the name of the game when you own a capsule wardrobe. I no longer just browse and purchase, but I utilize my wardrobe plan so that I can make sure that everything in my closet is interchangeable so I don't end up wearing the same color or same style every day. I believe strategic shopping is all about saving your hard-earned money.

Many of us grew up shopping with our mothers as a past time activity or what we did after lunch, but I recommend something different to my clients. I prefer to be a little more intentional about why we are shopping, because not only does it save money, but by staying out of the shopping malls every weekend it helps diffuse our culture's pull on us to be defined by what we own.

Strategic shopping utilizes my essential wardrobe plan and my top 3 questions:
1. Do I already own something like it?
2. Do I need it?
3. Where will I put it?

By asking ourselves these questions, it requires us to stop and pause before we swipe the card or fork over the almighty dollar; many times it will keep us from making a duplicate purchase. I can't tell you how many times, I have found duplicate items in my clients' homes with the price tags still attached because they didn't realize they already owned a version of the same thing. Strategic shopping works best when utilizing the capsule wardrobe. You are less likely to make a duplicate purchase when you know every item in your closet and have a shopping list ready with the missing items.

Across the U.S. in the coming month, many states will offer a tax-free shopping weekend for back to school supplies. The items vary from state-to-state, but I'm most interested in buying clothing tax-free. In my neck of the woods (Alabama), it occurs this coming weekend, August 2-4. I don't know about you, but I would love to save extra on my purchases for the Summer/Fall/Winter seasons.

I will be shopping this weekend and carrying my wardrobe plan which lists items and colors needed for my wardrobe.

Do you plan to take advantage of the sales tax holiday in your area? Do you take a list with you when you shop for clothing?

Paris taught me how to keep birthdays simple

le tour eiffel (from my scrapbook)
It feels like it wasn't long ago that I spent a summer in France but time flies by when you start having kids, moving locations and making career changes. I do hope that I'm a lot wiser now than I was then. But even if I didn't exercise wise choices at every opportunity, there were some pretty important lessons learned from that time that I still carry with me today. One stand out lesson was on materialism and simplifying birthdays and gifts.

The summer of 1998, I traveled to France with a group from my university (Roll Tide!) to study French in Tours, France. Many weekends we would hop on a train and indulge ourselves in the luxury of Paris. One weekend in particular we spent at a friend's home in the suburbs of Paris on the occasion of their teenage daughter's birthday. We dined on a lovely meal in the beautifully landscaped backyard, ate dessert, and then opened presents. That was when the culture shock set in for me. She was given just a handful of presents wrapped in colored tissue paper. No ribbon or fancy bows and the gifts were even less fancy: a CD and a few makeup items like colored eyeliner pencils. I noticed that even the makeup was a drugstore brand such as Maybelline or L'Oreal - something easily purchased in any drugstore in America.

I grew up in a fairly affluent suburb in my hometown. I was accustomed to great birthday extravaganzas and, even more so, lots of extravagant presents. I never forgot that detail about my Paris friend. She was so happy with the gifts she received. I noticed true contentment at spending her special day with loved ones and thankful for the gifts she did receive.

Of the many things that I remember about my time in Europe, it's interesting to me that this particular memory stands out. There was a lesson to be learned. When we celebrate someone's birthday what we are really doing is giving thanks that they were born. That they were created for a purpose and that we are blessed they were born on that day, in that year, and are a part of our lives. Giving a gift is one way to show the person our thankfulness for their presence in our lives, but it's not the only way. So as the years have gone by, my family has done it's best to adopt this principle. Keep it small, keep it simple, and keep it memorable. Because when I look back on my birthdays, I don't really remember the gifts, I remember the people who were there.

What are your tips for maintaining balance when it comes to gift giving?

Take a tour of my make-up bag

Last week, I wrote about my favorite summer look. Today, I'm showing you my make-up bag and sharing my favorite products. I want to make wise choices with my money concerning skincare and make-up products. I like to get the best bang for my buck, but it can be really confusing when there are so many creams and potions on the market all making the same claims. So I use Paula Begoun's website before I make any type of purchase for my skin. She rates all ranges of products on the market from drugstores to those only carried in high-end department stores. As with anything, you have to test it for yourself, but 99% of the time, I find that her reviews are spot-on. I think the only product that I use that doesn't get her best review is my lip gloss. But I like the colors in the Bare Essentials Buxom lips line and they work for me. I bought the Rimmel eyeliner because of her rating and I love it. I previously was using an $18 eyeliner from Urban Decay and it was always smudging so I was so excited to find something that I like better and at a more affordable price point.

Here is my make-up bag and the products I'm currently using: MAC Body paint, MAC studio finish concealer, Aveda dual finish powder, Bobbi Brown creme blush (powder pink), Wet n Wild icon eyeshadow, Rimmel Exaggerate waterproof eyeliner (brown), MAC eye shadow (for my brows - not sure the color because the label has rubbed off), ELF lengthening mascara (black), and Bare Minerals Buxom lip gloss (debbie).

I'm a huge fan of inexpensive eye make-up; by purchasing drugstore brands it allows me to prioritize my favorite products. I prefer to invest my money in quality foundation, lip gloss and blush.

What is your favorite make-up splurge or savings?

A summer look

photo courtesy of J.Crew

It's hot here in the South. My skin feels like it is going to slide right off along with the make-up I applied this morning. Remembering this key concept, has proved helpful when choosing my summer look. That's why I love the make-up look in the photo above; it inspires me to go with the more is less look this summer. I want fresh, young and dewy (not to be confused with oily). I'm sharing with you my keys to a summery, fresh look.

- Pick a light cleanser (my fav) to completely remove your make-up before bed. I have heard that some of you don't do this. This is not going to work. Let's just agree that from now on, if nothing else, you will commit to this one simple step in your bedtime routine. It will save your face and prevent break-outs. In order to sport the fresh look, your skin needs to not be wearing remnants of yesterday's face.

Here's how I create my summer look:

- Pick a great lightweight moisturizer with SPF.  Apply all over your face to maximize protection from the sun.

- Consider applying foundation only to the areas that have pigmentation.

- Lightly dot concealer under the eyes (only on the dark area - putting concealer under the entire eye will cover the lighter area and accentuate wrinkles), and over any areas that have discoloration.

- Use a creme blush (I use my lip gloss) on the apples of your cheeks.

- Dust a little setting powder over your nose or T-zone.

- Apply waterproof eyeliner on the top eyelids only and mascara on top and bottom.

- Finish with some lip gloss.

Not only are you done in 5 minutes but you look pulled together and fitting for the season.

What is your summer make-up look?

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