June 27, 2017

I’m In Love!!!!!

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my summer selection of the Rachel Zoe Box of Style!  The summer edition came a couple of weeks ago, and I used all the products in the box, and loved each and every one of them.  My impressions of the products are all positive yet, what baffles me is the amount of time this service was available and I didn’t jump on it!

Helena Quinn Kimono, Retail Value: $120

 This is a light weight, sheer, and slimming Kimono.  I’ve never had one, never wanted one, and now I’m in love with it, and will not live without it!  It is an easy on, easy off Kimono, and so comfortable to wear.  I wore it over a t-shirt and a blouse and it draped beautifully over my husky frame.  Need I say more?

 

RAEN Durante Sunglasse-Black or Tortoise Shell, Retail Value: $150

♥ I chose the polished black frame design.  The glasses are sturdy, comfortable, and have a smokey lens.  I’ve never heard of this company that makes these sunglasses of such high quality at a competitive price point.  So glad I have them, I probably would have walked by them in a store, and now I will not live with this demonstrative pair of sunglasses!  I now know how a movie star feels!

 

♥ A delicate 16″ necklace that I needed help putting on, and it looked fabulous, not because it was on me, just because it  was very pretty to look at.  There is an added bonus when you purchase this necklace, you are supporting the fair trade Cambodian artisans that donate 10% of the sale of this necklace, toward the fight against human trafficking.  The Box of Style Zoe Report stated: “Summer is synonymous with travel, and this handmade necklace is a chic symbol of those sweet escapes we look forward to all year long.  -xo RZ”  I disagree with Rachel Zoe, when I wear this compass necklace, I will be thinking of all the individuals who are helped by the sale of this compass necklace and happy some are able to navigate life on their own terms.  

♥ Lightweight, simple straw hat that stays in my car, at all times!  I thought this hat resembled a casual fedora more than a panama hat, either way it is cute and a lifesaver in last weeks blazing sun.  The pom pom trim adds a dressier look, and it is a great fit for large head individuals, FYI.  The only drawback that I could detect was wearing the hat in the scorching sun and sweating.  This hat does not have a removable/washable terry cloth interior band that soaks up the sweat.  I like the price point, but if you sweat in it, that dried sweat is eventually going to build up and sit against your forehead, yuck!

Beautycounter, Color Pinch Cream Blusher, Retail Value:  $37

Beautycounter, Protect Stick Sunscreen, Retail Value:  $ 18

Both of the Beautycounter products are outstanding.  I love a cream blusher, and this one in the shade Hibiscus, is lovely.  It is a multi-purpose blusher for your cheeks and lips, which weirds me out.  I know my face is clean, but I have a problem putting it to my lips after I have glided the product on my cheeks.  I did try it on checks and lips when I first opened it,  and it looked equally as pretty.  It is extremely easy to apply, it took seconds to yield a nice healthy glow.  The blusher is creamy and highly pigmented.  A bonus when you purchase the blusher is that it is made with organic ingredients.

The sunscreen for the face was not greasy, water-resistant, and had a slight cocoa butter scent, I loved it.  I liked the fact that you reapply the product every two hours, and every 80 minutes when swimming.  It was great on the go, and will be a staple in my bag!  

I don’t know whether I’ve gone a little soft and it may seem pathetic that I act like a kid on Christmas morning when my Box of Style is delivered.  But the adult in me is saying: “wow, $467 worth of product for $100, geewhiz, I’m brilliant”.  I really do look forward to the delivery, now more than ever knowing what quality, variety, and lovely products have crossed my threshold in the past two deliveries!  Have a great week, stay cool!

 

June 6, 2017

A FRESH APPROACH TO LIFE!

It’s not all bad living with a chronic illness!  As bad as it may seem and feel, I’m realizing that there are silver linings that appear as your life continues.  This is my fourth spring/summer season with Rheumatoid Arthritis and I’ve come to realize I love solving the problems associated with the disease, and I embrace its challenges. Every season presents you with an opportunity to explore and learn what works and what doesn’t.  As the seasons change you realize yours needs, whether it be professional, dietary, cosmetic, or wardrobe. This year I haven’t purchased anything in season,  just necessities that are what I would call my personalized adaptive style!  

 

 

All the items I purchased are replacements of things I already own, that are no longer useful, comfortable, or fit.

 

 

 

 

Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall I’ve always had a bunch of warm, cozy, and comfy sweatshirts to wear on chilly evenings or informal daytime excursions.   I’ve finally given up fighting to get the sweatshirt over my head with swollen fingers and lack of strength.  The ribbing on the knit cuffs are absolute torture, if they don’t get stretched out over time. Basically, I needed something that slips easily over my head, and doesn’t put pressure on my wrists.   I found the perfect sweater to take the place of my now defunct sweatshirts.  

Coastal Blue and Bleached are the colors of each sweater I purchased recently to replace my sweatshirts.  The Vince, oversized, lightweight, 70/30 cotton/polimide blend sweaters, are keepers.  Unlike sweatshirt’s ribbed neck and cuffs, this sweater is a loose knitted, dropped shoulder, at Saks for $108 each on sale, versus the original price of $345 each.  I justified the expense when thinking about the ridiculous prices of some of the sweatshirts I have purchased, since they are only used casually and were rarely revered.  The coastal blue sweater has seen major action since arriving, dressed up and for lounging.  Totally worth the ease and clean look for any season. 

My watch needed to be replaced!  When my wrist swelled up, and the concealed folding crown clasp was not adjustable, it was impossible to wear.  Getting on in years I no longer could read my small faced watch without glasses.  So two strikes, I sold the watch and have been using my cell phone for telling time.  Since I don’t always travel with my cell phone, I choose to buy a 40 mm watch from Abbott Lyon, UK.

I choose a Nude Pink Leather Kensington 40 with a white case and gold metal.  This is not an expensive watch, I just happened to love that it only has necessary details, simple clean design, and was only $99.  I’ve had it a few weeks and it is serving its purpose and I am pleased with this purchase.

Give a Girl The Right Shoes,

And She Can Conquer the World”

Marilyn Monroe

For years I’ve struggled finding shoes/boots that I could wear to work and out, even during a flare.  Previously, I’ve posted a blog about the shoes and brands I now wear, and surprisingly since those shoes wore out, I have had a horrendous time replacing them, especially winter shoes.  This past winter I figured it out, buy suede! Suede will give during times of flares, allowing you to wear your regular shoes.  They absolutely stink in the rain and snow, but I found the perfect solution a month ago, the  Aquatalia Red Boot!

I can’t remember being so enthused about a pair of boots in my life.  These are the Farell Suede Chelsea boot with a 1.2″ stacked heel.  Wait, this shoe has a padded leather sock lining, I actually put these boots on and occasionally glance at them on my feet, while reading in bed!   But the most impressive attribute of this boot is they are weatherproof and stain resistant! I love these boots and cannot wait till the fall to wear them outdoors and out of bed!  I leave you with a link to Aquatalia’s Weatherproof Guide! 

Have a great week!  

April 2, 2017

PAINFULLY STYLISH!

Given the benefit of hindsight, the style choices I made were never dependent on any medical considerations.   It is rather sad that until a name is attached to the way you feel, some of us don’t listen and adjust, not only our lifestyle, but our fashionality!  Late to the game, I realized that few most of my handbags, excluding my Longchamp Shoulder Tote were workable parts of my wardrobe.  The hunt began, three years ago, to procure a few bags that were not “Painfully Stylish”.  

Even though I have purchased and resold many handbags that I felt would meet my standard of usability, there are only two that I believe are worthy of mention, and daily use. The two bags I’ve included are both different, yet have all the desirable elements that I believe make them good choices.

My first successful purchase was a Strathberry of Scotland Tote  in the color Ruby.  I found this bag on Kickstarter*, and loved the unusual closure design.  The singular handle and bar closure really intrigued me, so I pledged, and received the bag four months later, to my delight!  This is a gorgeous, handcrafted leather bag of incredible quality.  Important elements for me are that the bag stands up by itself, it is structured, has a detachable/adjustable shoulder strap, and is light in weight.  This bag not only met all the required elements it surpassed them, the singular handle and bar closure keep the bag secure and the magnetic top seam insures privacy.  The large opening of the bag’s main compartment allows easy visibility into the bag, with one open and one zipped pocket within.  Sometimes you need a little tszuj of color in your outfit and this ruby-red bag certainly packs a wallop!   

Only a few months ago I purchased a DKNY Greenwich Smooth Leather Satchel, online. I wanted a dedicated work satchel that was light and manageable.  DKNY reveals very few details, such as color, dimensions, and weight in their descriptions.  I emailed an inquiry to DKNY about the details and received no reply, so I ordered the bag.  I did so because it was on sale for less than half the original price and quantities were low.  This bag arrives and I’m in love!  

I still hadn’t heard from DKNY, and the only questions still looming is the color, is it brown and black or maroon and black?  I didn’t care, it is just what I needed, round top handles, detachable/adjustable shoulder strap, large main compartment,  two open and one zipped pocket within, and the best is the duel front zip pocket.  All these things make life easier on days that are difficult.  That duel front zip pocket was an element I never put much value on until I found its use.  I keep all work items in this pocket, ID/Entrance Key, classroom key, and telephone, I never need to open my bag during the day, a game changer on particularly painful days.  When the school year is over, I intend to stuff the bag, and place it on a shelf until September. 

Choosing a bag that is stylish and doesn’t cause you to exert quite a bit of energy to use, is a challenge.  I do not want to choose function over fashion,  I intend to have both!  So the hunt will continue to scout out the best mainstream products.

 

*Kickstarter is an American public-benefit corporation based in Brooklyn, New York, that maintains a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity. The company’s stated mission is to “help bring creative projects to life”. Kickstarter has reportedly received more than $1.9 billion in pledges from 9.4 million backers to fund 257,000 creative projects, such as films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, technology and food-related projects.

People who back Kickstarter projects are offered tangible rewards and/or experiences in exchange for their pledges. This model traces its roots to subscription model of arts patronage, where artists would go directly to their audiences to fund their work. From Wikipedia

March 21, 2017

BOX OF STYLE

Last week I blogged about my new experience with the Birchbox subscription service, a box of selected samples of makeup and beauty related products, that are sent to you each month.  What I didn’t share in last week’s blog is that I also subscribed to Box of Style The Zoe Report!  Box of Style The Zoe Report  is a quarterly subscription service that delivers each box filled with fashion, beauty, and lifestyle items that will upgrade the wardrobe you already own.  If you subscribe to the Box of Style, you are getting a box of items put together by Rachel Zoe for each season of the year. My subscription started with the spring box.  All boxes are anchored around a “Hero” piece.  The cost of this subscription is $99.99 each season/$400 yearly, and it can be cancelled at anytime. It is advertised that the total value of the products are over $400/box.  I received my first box last week and here are my impressions of what was sent.

Tribe Alive Custom Carryall, retail value: $238

♦This is the “Hero” piece; the bag is constructed with hand-woven cotton, fully lined, brass zippers, and leather trim.  It has one interior zippered compartment and two open side pockets.  It is surprisingly light in weight, roomy, and the picture does not do it justice. Tribe Alive was founded by Carly Burson. She partners with female artisans to help employ impoverished women at fair-trade wages.

Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder, retail value: $65

I was ecstatic when I found Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder in this box.  I’ve used different brands of exfoliating powders, and I knew this one was the best. I currently use this product.  The rice based powder activates when it comes into contact with water, you massage in circular motion and the powder becomes a creamy foam.  Rinse with water and you now have a soft and smoother complexion.  I use this at bedtime.  It is a great exfoliator, but even better, this was a full size bottle of the product.  Tatcha was founded by Victoria Tsai.  

Adornmonde Ivo Earrings, retail value: $62

 ♦These are a pair of convertible earrings/ear jackets.  They are a bar bell stud design, with an open circle ear jacket.  They are very nice, but are just not my style.  Adornmonde was founded by Niki Allworth, she designs limited edition jewelry.  

BKR 500ml Water Bottle, retail value: $35

♦When I opened the box and saw the glass water bottle, I was disappointed.  I had already destroyed two infusion water bottles and didn’t think I’d have better luck with this one.  The silicone cover is thick and has protected the bottle.  Yes, I’ve dropped it already, but I like it!   The lid does not leak, and the cap has a comfortable carrying ring.  The bottle and  silicone cover are easy to clean.  All glass water bottles are heavy, a small price to pay for an eco-friendly product! BKR, founded by Tol Winter and Kate Cutler.

Symology Scarf, retail value: $50

A great accent to any outfit.  Love the gold and berry color, and the softness of this scarf. This scarf can be used as a hair tie, on a bag, or draped loosely around your neck. Symbology was founded by Marissa Heyl.

butter London Piece of Cake Nail Polish, retail value:$18

Absolutely adore this nail lacquer!  I’ve only recently started using it and was very pleased to find this in the Box of Style.  What makes this lacquer so great is that it promotes stronger and healthier nails while being chip and fade resistant.  butter London does not add the following chemicals to their lacquer:   Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, DBP, Toluene, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, and TPHP.   butter London was founded by Sasha Muir with the help of Nonie Creme.

The Spring Box  pleasantly surprised me!  I was anxious to know whether I had made a good decision when subscribing to this service, and now I anxiously await the summer edition!

Hopefully the end of Winter!

     

June 21, 2016

For the Love of Shoes!!!!!!!

Comfort Shoes for Summer

There is no longer joy in purchasing any type of footwear.  Since being diagnosed with RA, I have suffered with foot pain, swelling, and stiffness.  Shoes that I have worn no longer fit,  and my go to comfortable shoes bring me no more comfort to my feet.  For the past six months I looked high and low to find comfortable sandals, sneakers, and dress sandals for this summer.  The following is a description of the four pieces of footwear I purchased, and how the footwear has been working out for me.

ASICS Women’s Gel-Cumulus 17 Running Shoe-Love these shoes/sneakers.  They fit well and are comfortable.  The sneaker has great support to keep my feet from rolling.  I was able to get this sneaker in a wide width which allowed me to wiggle my toes, that sealed the deal.  I wear these sneakers all day (6-8 hours) with no problems.  I love them!

Taryn Rose Shoshana Slingback Wedge-This sandal is made with a stretch fabric with leather trim.  Even though it was a standard medium width, it was generous enough to fit me comfortably.  This is a well made sandal that I was able to wear for hours, and love that it can be dressed up or worn as a causal shoe.

Teva ‘Universal’ Flatform Sandal-Never was a fan of Teva sandals but when I saw the platforms and the gold straps I had to have them.  I was familiar with Teva knowing that they run large and the straps are adjustable, I never purchased another pair after the one pair I had worn out years ago.  These platform sandals are light weight and stable when walking.  They are truly a versatile sandal and many compliments have been received since I started to wear them.

Birkenstock ‘Arizona’ Genuine Shearling Lined Sandal-This sandal is like wearing your slippers with support.  The shearling lined sandal allows you hours of comfortable walking.  This sandal is light weight, flexible, and it absorbs shock.  Love’m!

I didn’t just end up with these four pairs of shoes, I spent endless hours trying shoes on.  I must admit I would prefer more stylish and feminine shoes but these are great substitutes.  The comfort and occasional compliments I receive makes me happy.  What really impresses me is the total comfort I have when I wear these shoes, and there are no residual problems by wearing these.  Be well!

XO - 1

 

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