Friday, June 30, 2006

American Apparel

All of a sudden it seems American Apparel is EVERYWHERE! Recently on a shopping trip to Haight-Ashbury we walked into an American Apparel store and I felt instantly transported back into the 80's (this was my first encounter with them). I was trying to figure out what made me feel that way, and I suspect it had something to do with all the legwarmers, stirrup tights, and old-school terry shorts.

Since entering their premises last week, it also seems like I've been hearing their name everywhere. Online, in magazines, etc... I have to say I'm a bit baffled, seeing as most of their merchandise seems to consist of plain-colored t-shirts, skirts, shorts, etc. But perhaps it's the 80's vibe that attracts people to them. After all, I'm already feeling myself drawn to their knee-length tube-socks. ; ) (although, honestly, at $10 a pop I doubt I'll be getting them anytime soon).

I have to admit part of me kinda likes the idea of this store... If it were cheaper. And, also if they didn't have blatant ass and boob shots of "models showing off their clothes" all over the store. I swear, it was almost as bad as Abercrombie & Fitch (that bastion of teenybopper soft porn). WHY must we resort to showing T & A just to sell merchandise? Shouldn't the actual CLOTHES be part of the advertising? Am I just turning into an old geezer?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Beachy Keen

A couple of self-discovered tips for your next beach venture:

1. Bring with you Neutrogena's new Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock ($10, drugstores). Believe me, when you're surrounded with sand that seems to somehow get everywhere you'll be glad to simply spray-on your quick-drying sunscreen rather than have to deal with messy lotions. Do be sure to spray yourself while facing into the wind, so that the wind helps get the spray on your body (rather than into your neighbor's eyes).

2. If you have dark-colored flip flops or sandals and you're going to take them off while basking in the sun, lay them up-side down. I learned this trick after one too many times of stepping into scorching hot black flip flops that had been sitting out a bit too long. Your feet will thank you!

3. Watch out for flying seagulls. They WILL poop on you.


I believe it was last summer sometime that I discovered the first pair of pointy-toed shoes that I ever actually liked. Before then, they'd always seemed to simply make my feet look huge. They looked very cute on other people, but I had resolved that they would not be for me.

Then I found my Payless shoes. They were a pair of kitten-heel, pointy-toed black shoes with a keyhole at the toe. SO CUTE. They were even on sale, I believe, for $10. My darling husband immediately dubbed them my Witch Shoes. But I LOVED them. So much that since last summer I have worn off the heels. They were perfect-- totally comfortable and practical, yet lent an instant kick of fabulous to any outfit.

You can see why I was so devastated at finding out recently that the heels on my beloved shoes were so worn out that I simply could not wear them anymore (when I did I started slipping around all over the place on the cracked heel). =(

You can also probably sense my intense joy when, while browing this morning, I found these shoes. A bit more simple, but still almost identical to my originals. I am ecstatic. Unfortunately I have already reached the limit of this week's budget (it's come to this now). But the new week begins friday, and you better believe I'll be at my nearest Payless ShoeSource on friday morning, ready to bring home my new favorite shoes.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


You know how sometimes you'll see someone, while out and about, and they're wearing a really cool outfit, or just wearing something in a different way, and it inspires you to try something new with your clothes? StyleDiary is a website devoted to such inspirations. It's full of interesting outfits that very stylish people have put together that you can look through and get inspired. You can even start your own style diary where you can upload pictures of your favorite outfits.

I haven't fully explored this site yet to see its full possibilities, though it certainly seems to hold the keys to inspire and challange the fashionista within each of us.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask

If you use any sort of heat styling on your hair (or you simply have dry, delicate strands) it is imperative that you use a deep conditioner once a week. Ever since I've started using one, I've noticed that the number os split ends I get has been reduced to nearly zero, and my hair just feels softer and healthier overall.

My favorite deep conditioner is Neutrogena's Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask ($6 at drugstores). It's inexpensive, feels nice and rich going on, makes my hair feel unbelieveable soft and silky after rinsing it out, and just makes my hair feel so much nicer in general. I've briefly tried other deep conditioners to see what else is out there, but this one is by far my fave. Yet another success by Neutrogena.

I normally would have a really hard time trying to keep track of when I did x, y, or z for the week so I was initially unsure of how well I'd remember to use this conditioner once each week. What I've found really works is to use it on sunday night (or whenever night I wash my hair that's closest to the weekend/beginning of new week border). The switch from one week to the next is enough of an "event" at the end of each weekend that I can attach this little extra shower routine to it and can remember to do it a bit more easily. This is what works for me, y'all can certainly figure out what works best for you and your beauty routine. =)

Monday, June 26, 2006

My Flat Iron, My Best Friend

I have battled with my curly/wavy hair ever since it decided to stop being easy and straight at about age 12. This usually resulted in me having big, frizzy hair, or simply putting it all back into a ponytail. Eventually (about 2.5 yrs ago), I got up the courage to look into and buy myself a straightening iron. My sister already owned a Hot Tools 1190 flat iron (~$30 at beauty stores, Ulta, etc) and liked it, so I decided to try it myself.

I remember the very first time I used it, and how beautiful and straight my hair looked! My new flat iron and I became best friends instantly. I used it for a good 6 months or so before I decided to upgrade to a newer, fancier, more expensive flat iron. The one I bought was twice as much (with suppodely ceramic coated plates for less hair damage) and I swear it didn't seem to give me any better results. From my own personal experience, as well as from the hours of research I did reading review boards on many many different flat irons, the Hot Tools 1190 model is by far the best one out there for its price range.

Eventually I upgraded again (after leaving my flat iron on for 24 hrs straight and frying the plates) to an HAI flat iron ($90, beauty stores), which has fully ceramic plates and great heat controls. I highly recommend this flat iron for those out there willing to spend this much. It heats up in about 30 seconds, straightens my hair beautifully, and seems to do much less damage. It is my new best friend.

Of course, please don't even think of using heat styling tools on your hair without some sort of protecting hair product. My current favorite is Redken Align Ultra-Straight Balm ($12, at salons and beauty supply stores). Another good product that I have used in the past is Sleek.look Iron Smoother (~$15, at salons and beauty supply stores). Some less expensive options are available at drugstores but I haven't tried those yet. There are few things I really splurge on, my hair (and its health) is one of them.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I remember first seeing these Victoria's Secret PINK logo sweats in the catalogues. My first impression was that they were... silly. Cute sweats? What? No.

Then I kept seeing them, in catalogue after catalogue. They began to intrigue me. As ridiculous as it may seem to wear ankle-length sweatpants hiked up as capris, I couldn't help think that they also looked kinda cute. Yet I continued to struggle with whether they were worth paying the money, did I really need them, etc etc etc.

Eventually I gave in (they were on sale, online). And now my favorite article of clothing to lounge around the house in are my obnoxiously yellow PINK logo sweats.

We all have our vices. ; )

This pair is currently available for $21, in pink, yellow, and blue. Slightly different styles, in different colors and with slight variations in price, are available at

Friday, June 23, 2006

Love of Ganesha

Ok, so this is a local review. Love of Ganesha is a cute little store in Haight-Ashbury (in Sam Francisco) that I discovered on my very first trip to that vintage hip mecca. The store is owned by a Thai family, and have all sorts of cute clothes from ethnic tunics and belly-dancer gear to just simply adorable skirts and jewelry. The women who work there are always very sweet. On that first trip I bought a green patterned skirt and a blue striped top with bell sleeves, and each time I have worn either garment I have recieved numerous compliments. I try to hit this place us every time I'm in that area.

The store itself is located on the corner of Page St and Ashbury St, 1 block north of the Haight-Ashbury intersection.

As an interesting aside, Ganesha is a Hindu god that has the head of an elephant and the body of a pot-bellied human. As I understand it, he is the keeper (and dispenser) of good fortune. I think he's kinda cute. =P

Thursday, June 22, 2006

C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine

Who can ask for more than multi-tasking beauty products? C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine ($7.50 or $5 on sale at Bath & Body Works) is a lip gloss with mint infused in it, so it freshens your breath as you wear it. Unlike other yummy-smelling lip products, this one actually *tastes* good, too, and you can feel the minty goodness refreshing your mouth. You can also feel a nice tingle when you put it on your lips, too, and it gives that nice glossy finish that I love so much.

If this version of the gloss is not minty enough for you, there is also the Ultra Mentha Lip Shine. The regular strength version also comes in red, brown, pink, and nude tints (the regular version is clear). I personally am happy enough with the clear version, but it's nice to have other options, isn't it?

I keep a tube of the regular-strength, clear gloss in my purse for on-the-go purposes. You may wish to do the same. ; )

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer Lovin'

I've grown quite fond of make-up pallettes. They seem cute, convenient, and compact. They're nice to throw in your make-up bag for a trip without having the bulk of separate eyeshadows, lipglosses, blush, etc.

Recently I got the Too Faced Mini Quickie Chronicle The Summer Lover pallette. ($15, Sephora) I like the lighter eyeshadow shade, it's nice and sparkly but still subtle enough for summer make-up. The darker shade can be used for contouring if you wish. The blush is a nice color that's inbetween a brownish peachy tan and a pinky blush. I also love the nude colored lipgloss (the pink shade, not quite as much). And the kit is so small and compact, it's pretty perfect for travel. It's one of those little things that just makes me happy. =)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sally Hansen Extra Strength Hair Remover Lotion

I have tried to use depilatories before, with little success. I assumed I simply had extra stubborn leg hair that refused to come off without a razor. But as I strolled the aisles of Long's Drugs recently I spied the array of hair removal creams sitting there on the shelves, knowing I would soon be embarking on a weekend-long boat trip and thought it might be worth another try to see if I could go razor-free for those 3 days.

I came home with a bottle of Sally Hansen Extra Strength Hair Removal Lotion ($2.99 at drugstores). It promised to work in only 4 minutes (I knew I'd need to leave it on closer to the 10 minute max time), be especially effective on coarse or thick hair, and have the sweet scent of a "juicy pear."

The house boat trip was this past weekend, so thursday evening I put my new purchase to the test. Firsdt of all, it did not smell like "juicy pear." It stank like depilatory usually does. Second, it continues to amaze me how it seems that you need to use most of the bottle in order to cover your legs the way they claim you need to. At that rate this is WAY more expensive than shaving, even with a fancy razor! Anyway, I slathered it on and keopt an eye on my watch. I figured I'd try to leave it on for 8 minutes. However the bottle strongly advised against letting the cream dry on my skin, so at minute 7 I was forced to rinse it off. Another complaint I have about this stuff is how hard it is to rinse off! And they tell you not to scrub so you end up with a wierd slimy residue on your legs.

I was amazed, though, that my legs felt nice and smooth, and most importantly hair-free (aside from a few patches where it had not been 100% removed). That did feel satisfying. However by the next day I could already feel the fuzz growing gain-- softer than it normally does, but still there, which prety much debunks their whole "lasts longer than shaving!" claim.

I think I will stick to my razors. This stuff is too messy, expensive, and stinky to really keep up.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Lavande Nail Spa

I convinced my brother-in-law to come with me to get a manicure and pedicure from Lavande Nail Spa this afternoon. I've actually only gotten a pedicure or a manicure once before, so I'm faiely new to this still. But all my friends seem to love this place, and at $35 for a mani/pedi combo it seemed worth a try.

The place looks nice. They clearly put a lot of thought and effort into designing the decor and feel of the salon when building it. Which is why I was surprised to see the nail technicians carrying their gear around in plastic yellow bins. They were not very cute or fancy, and seemed to clash with every other aspect of the place. It just seemed... odd. I thought it might have been a wise investment to get some whicker baskets or something (even if the inside is plastic) to make it look a bit nicer.

The technicians we had were very nice, but foreign and didn't seem to understand English all that well. They also cut the cuticles of my hands and feet with cuticle cutters, which I've heard over and over again is not a very good idea. This also surprised me somewhat.

Something else that surprised me was the bill-- I paid for both of us, and somehow our inexpensive mani/pedis turned out to be $100 with tax and tip included. Later on I figured out that they must have added a couple dollars to the $35 charge I was expecting. I guess the price list I have at home that I had from a few months ago may be out of date.

I don't want to give a negative impression-- it was definitely nice to be pampered like that, and get to sit back while someone massaged my hands and feet and made them look all spiffy and pretty. The true test will come over the next few days-- I've given up on painting my own nails as they literally begin to chip within 24 hrs, and I'm curious as to how long this manicure will last. Either way, I may save these for special occasions and simply invest in some better nail polish to use at home and do it myself the majority of the time.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Neutrogena Clean Lash Tint

My eyes can be kinda sensitive at times, and I've found that many mascara formulations will irritate them. Thus I don't wear mascara very often. But I still occasionally try to find products that will work for me, when I want that extra lash "oomph." One of my more recent tries has been Neutrogena's Clean Lash Tint mascara ($7.99 at drugstores). It promises to go on clean and clump-free, have vitamins and proteins to help keep lashes healthy, and be safe for contact lens wearers and those of us with sensitive eyes.

Upon using it I found it gave my lashes as bit of extra body, made them a bit more noticeable. It's not a huge difference, but that's kinda nice because it still looks natural (as opposed to other mascaras that leave that I'm-obviously-wearing-mascara look). And it doesn't seem to bother my eyes at all. Perhaps I'll get into the habit of using mascara more often.... ; )

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Beach Hair

I have been loving the whole beachy hair trend that's been going on for the past year. it allows me to wear my wavy/curly hair naturally and still be stylish! My favorite hair product all last summer was John Frieda's Beach Blonde Ocean Waves Sea Spray.

I would simply let my hair airdry overnight, then in the morning I'd spray a bit of this texturizing spray over it and voila! I had easy breezy beach hair.

I've been quite dissappointed recently to find out that this product has either been discontinued or for some other reason seems to have become very hard to find. =( In trying to find a replacement I tried out John Frieda Sheer Blonde Tousled Tresses Fine-Mist Wax , but all it seemed to do was make my hair look like it badly needed a wash.

Today while shopping at Long's Drugs I found this: Garnier Fructis Style Surf Hair Texturizing Spray. It makes the same promises as my beloved Ocean Waves Spray did. At $3.99 for the bottle, I decided to give it a shot. As soon as I got home I sprayed it in my hair, and I have to say I'm fairly pleased-- it gave my hair a bit of texture without feeling sticky or making my hair look greasy. I'll have to give it a few more tests (i.e. wear it out a few times, see how my hair behaves) before giving a deifinitve answer, but so far so good! Yay!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Stylish Cleaning Products?!?

Seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Not anymore!

I came accross Method products probably about 2 years ago. I was instantly intruigued-- environmentally friendly cleaning products? Cute designs? No toxic fumes killing my brain cells as I clean? Yes, I was sold. They've since launched a whole array of products from hand soap to laundry detergent to air fresheners, but for me it all started with their cleaners.

First, there were the wipes. Those magical, all-purpose cleaning wipes. Take a cleaning wipe from the bottle, wipe the counter, and off you go! No more messing with nasty, dirty sponges! They clean beautifully and are biodegradeable to boot. I keep a set in the kitchen and in each bathroom.

The all-purpose cleaning sprays are pretty magnificent, as well. I recently used their bathroom spray to clean my much-neglected bathtub and was surprised at how well it got rid of the gribe along the egdes of the tub!

My other trusty wonder-product has been their daily shower spray. This stuff is positively miraculous. The walls of my shower have not been cleaned in the year + that I've lived in this apartment, and they still look grand and beautiful. Why? Because I spray this stuff all over after every shower. I'm still amazed. The tub itself still gets a bit grungy, but who cares as long as I don't ever have to scrub the nasty grime from between shower tiles?

Their products are so efficient and stylish that they almost make me want to clean more often!

...almost. ; )

PS-- These products may all be found at Target stores, for about $3- $4 each.

Monday, June 12, 2006


I was perusing to see what sorts of new summertime goodies they had available, and I noticed that they now sell JEWELRY! I'm not sure if this is online only or if it's in stores as well, but this is HUGE! I'm so excited. There can never be too many places to buy fun, inexpensive jewelry. Old Navy already happens to be one of my favorite places for bargain clothing and bag shopping, now I can add jewelry to the list!! =) Here's a few of my favorites so far:

Hmmm... I may have to make a trip to my nearest Old Navy store to check this out for myself... ; )

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Kailo Chic

I have to give a shout-out to my friend, Kara, the creator of the rapidly growing Kailo Chic. Kara is an incredibly creative and highly talented woman who hand-makes purses, wallets, jewelry, and some clothing. The first time I went over to her website I about died lookinbg at ALL the cute stuff she has on there.

For several years (ever since my friend bought a fake version of it) I've been eyeing the Gucci waist pouch. I realize that it's basically a glorified fanny pack, but it's a very cute one and just seems like it would be so functional! But I'm not really a designer girl and don't want to give off that image (especially out here in Cali where *everyone* has Gucci/Coach/Burberry everything). I recently asked Kara about making me a similar bag and she came through within a week or so with this:

I got it in the mail this past week and have already used it so many times. I LOVE it. Anyway, definitely go check out her site and look through her stuff. It's all absolutely adorable, and if you want her to custom-make you something just shoot her an email at

Friday, June 09, 2006

Made You Blush

Blush is one of those make-up items that I've always viewed as pretty essential. If I only have time to put on a few key make-up items, it'll usually be a spot of eyeliner, some blush, and lipgloss. Blush, to me, should achieve the look of naturally flushed cheeks, as if you'd just ran a few blocks or just came in from the cold. I love the rosy look.

Photo courtesy of

I went through a phase for a while where I got tired of powder blish and began experimenting with cream formulations. My favorite for a while was Revlon's Skinlights Color Lighting Blush (in Rosy, $7.99 at drugstores). It was my go-to blush for a good year or so, but eventually I started to dislike the shinyness of it (the "dewey look" it tried to achieve). So, several months ago while on a trip to Vegas, I decided to splurge and try out the Benetint Pocket Pal ($18, available at Sephora), which I'd had my eye on for a while.

Photo courtesy of

I immediately loved the stain-- it was just enough to give a subtle flush, but could also give you a bolder look if you applied more of it. I found out quickly that it's best to layer it if you're trying to go for more color, as the liquid dried quickly and can be harder to blend in well if you apply too much at once. You also have to be pretty careful when using it-- it's called a "stain" for a reason. I'm not real crazy about the color it gives me when I use the stain on my lips-- it looks a bit too bright and even slightly orange-y on me for some reason. But I love the color it gives my cheeks!

Unfortunately, the gloss end kind of... sucks. The gloss is frankly kind of hard to apply, it doesn't feel good on the lisp, and doesn't seem to last very long. I was quite dissappointed, especially since I'm a bit of a lipgloss fiend. It's not very cool to pay $18 for a product and have half of it be useless. I'm still quite happy with the stain (as a blush) and will get my use out of it. Though I doubt I will buy it again when it's all used up.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends Translucent Oil Control Powder

I generally have trouble finding powder I like, and then finding something that actually matches my skin tone. That was part of the appeal when I decided to buy this Neutrogena Oil Control Powder-- The mozaic of different shades swirled together supposedly match most skin tones quite nicely. The other part of the appeal was that it was a 2-for-1 deal to buy the powder along with the Natural Radiance Bronzer. ; )

I have to say, I;ve been quite happy with this product. For someone with dry/normal skin, I seem to still have a decent amount of shine (perhaps it's just that I have a large forehead to project shine off) and this powder covers it up so well, almost completely eliminating any shine I have. I've been using it for months and been quite happy with it. In fact, even now that I;ve been using the BE Mineral Foundation as my primary foundation, I still sometimes use my Neutrogena powder on top of it because I find it controls shine better than either the mineral foundation or the mineral veil does.

I also really like the bronzer. It's easy to apply and looks natural. Both the powder and the bronzer are true to their claim of being fairly universal color matches. You may buy either product online at (go here for the bronzer), or at your local Target, Walgreens, or other drug store.

Friday, June 02, 2006

My Pyramid

Part of beauty care is taking care of your health. If you don't eat right or exercise, your skin and hair will look dull and listless, and your energy level will be zip.

With all the zillions of different "diets" out on the market right now it can be tough to figure out a balance of what foods to eat to get all your nutriets and be healthy. Outdated food pyramids told you to eat gigantic amounts of different food groups that seemed nearly impossible to attain!

Well, the USDA has wised up and created this nifty little online website that will help you find the right balance in your diet, give you tips on what kinds of foods are best to eat and in what ratios, and also help you figure out those tricky portion sizes. If you're dieting, they even have daily worksheets you can print out, or you can use their online program that archives your food intake minus your daily excercise to let you know how you're doing and how to improve your routine. Pretty genius, I'd say.

To get started simply go to and enter your age, sex, and the amount of excercise you get on most days. You'll be presented with a personalized food pyramid based on your personal needs. print it out and post somewhere as a daily reminder, or use one of their multiple tools to help get your healthy eating habits developed. Good luck, and cheers! =)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sunscreen, Pt 2

Time and time again I read rave reviews in magazines, etc, about Neutrogena's suncare product lines. They are backed by most dermatologists as one of the top brands, both in the protection they provide and their feel. I've already written about my favorite Neutrogena find so far, their Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock Here's a few other gems I'm continuing to discover:

Ultra Soft Hydrating Sunblock

Photo courtesy of

I like that this lotion feels soft and non-greasy (which is what I love about their Dry-Touch lotion), and the fact that it comes with a pump makes it easier for me to remember to slather some on every morning as I'm getting dressed. It goes on easily and absorbs nicely, plus provides some moisture. Not to mention that you'll be protected from both UVA and UVB rays, keeping your skin healthy now and for years to come.

Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock

A friend of mine who has a 5 yr old girl came to visit us last summer, and she swore by this stuff-- for someone with kids, she said, it made it so easy to just spray her down quickly rather than having to spend time rubbing in a lotion sunscreen. As someone who's always been worried about my inability to reach (and put sunscreen on) my upper back, a spray is simply genius. I've only used this once, but I did notice that it sprayed nicely and dried quickly. Very cool.

Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 30 Daily Moisturizer

Of course, we can't forget about a very important part of our body-- the face! Most moisturizers and even foundation make-ups have SPF 15 in them. I spend up to an hour outside in the sun right in the middle of the day every day, so I want something with a bit more than just SPF 15 in it. And now Neutrogena even has a facial moisturizer with SPF 30! Now I use this every morning (I use a different lotion at night, when I don't need the sun protection) and have the peace of mind of knowing that I'm helping protect myself from further sun damage.

Feel free to explore other Neutrogena products here. Neutrogena products are available at most drugstores, supermarkets, Wal-mart, Target, etc.

Remember: Even so-called "long wearing" sunscreens will only last for about 1-2 hours, so if you're going to be out in the sun for longer than that amount of time make sure you reapply every 1.5-2 hrs. This is especially true if you're going swimming! If you're spending an entire day out at the pool or the beach, you should go through one whole tube of sunscreen.

Except where noted, all photos used courtesy of