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Monday, August 20, 2012

Recent Sephora purchases

I think I ripped this out of the ELLE magazine for July 2012 - if you all can definitively ID where I got this clipping that would be fab! Regardless, I saw this review and I kind of flipped out. I had heard a lot of stuff about BB cream, at the time (month+ ago) most especially from my girl Shasta Anne, and since I am pale and have pretty "blah" skin I thought this makeup might be great to add to my routine.

So I went to my local Sephora (at Regency Square, just like the beauty product expert ladies at Her Late Night Cravings, and I was directed to the adorable Hannah. She was so helpful. We talked about how I had tried a Sephora deluxe sample of Dr. Brandt, and that it was far too orange on my skin, and that I thought maybe Dr. Jart would work better with my skin tone. She and I talked about the differences in the BB creams on the market, my skin care routine, and we decided she would do a half of my face just so I could compare and contrast. Once I removed my makeup she put it on and it looked so wonderful! I bought a bottle without hesitation (close up of box below).
When I use it in the AM, I apply a thin layer of my Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base ($52.00 at Sephora) first.
I then gently shake the BB cream bottle and squirt some of the product into my hand. I will tell you that a little bit of this product goes a long way. Some of the other brands you have to apply more, but with Dr. Jart I can tell you less is more! I maybe put a half a teaspoon on my face/ears/neck/up to hairline. It is certainly less product than my favorite foundation (which I am not sure I will need anymore...). I then apply my bronzer (anyone else do the E and 3 trick?) and a faint layer of blush. It really has shortened my morning routine by about 20 minutes!
While in Sephora, I also purchased this eye shadow quad pack. It was in the checkout line and only $7. I see it was sold online but it is sold out so there is no longer an active online link. It was called SEPHORA COLLECTION Silk Shadow Quad in Ballroom romance. I will tell you that this set is perfect for the big fall "new smoky" eye trend. They (beauty directors of magazines) are saying that copper/bronze are the new tones of this look.
I am not sure I will ever touch the pure copper color on the bottom right, but the other three I use everyday. I use the light gold-pink shimmer up to my brow bone (upper left), the light bronze wash all over my lid (upper right), and the deep bronze to shade in my crease (lower left). It looks really great together. And for night I just more heavily apply the medium and darker colors. These are all true shadows and if you use a brush they apply very lightly but are easy to layer! Don't be intimidated by the colors!
To finish off my eyes, I use the Make Up For Ever white kohl pencil ($17 at Sephora) to line my lower eyes since I use contact lenses which tend to make my eyes look smaller. White pencil also helps to brighten the eye. It really is an easy thing I do even on weekends now for a quick makeup application. I had never used this product before but I had seen others use it and hopped on the bandwagon!
I also needed a new mascara. Due to my wearing contacts, my eyes are sensitive to products. I also have ridiculously long lashes. So long, that if I do not curl them in the AM I normally have to take out my lenses mid-day because the lashes will curl into my eyes! So I live with my eyelash curler and need a good mascara. I used one from Clinique for about 7 months but it has been flaking off and irritating my eyes, which disappoints me as it was brand new and doing it from the start - esp when Clinique is derm rec'd and hypoallergenic! I needed a change so Sephora rec'd two different products. The first is the above - Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash mascara in Deep Brown ($23 at Sephora). It is a big fat brush (like I think MAC and Benefit mascaras have) and it is a true brown. Not these ridiculous "black-brown" colors some drug stores sell. I need a legit brown as my eyes are green and gold so the black just sucks the color out - this brown complements them well! This mascara holds a curl well and lengthens the lashes too.
To prevent flaking and to create a waterproof layer, the girls at Sephora rec'd to me the Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat in clear ($21 at Sephora). This product is amazing. It keeps my lashes soft and pliable, they have not had breakage issues, this product is definitely waterproof (wedding-planning bridal meltdowns, anyone?), and makes it so that I do not need to add a second layer of mascara at all - even when I am going for 12 hours. I highly rec'd it!

If you are a Sephora VIB member, be sure to do some shopping this week as you get double points on every merchandise purchase from today until Sunday the 26th! I was not a member until this year - buying lots of products lately that I hope to write another rec'd to you all soon!

Do you all think I am missing out on any products? Be sure to visit Her Late Night Cravings, Shasta Anne, PIPMegan, and then save some money thanks to Muffy Martini's recent buys - she had some luck on new products and then was disappointed by one - click on the links to get lots of current beauty recs!

[photos shown are a mix of my own as well as © 2012 Sephora USA, Inc.]

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Brooke Astor estate auction at Sotheby's to occur in September

Has anyone heard about the Sotheby's auction for items from Brooke Astor's estate, which will be occurring Monday and Tuesday, September 24-25? While it was hinted about by the New York Times in November 2011, it was first formally announced in March after the horribly unpleasant Astor will dispute was settled, and I had forgotten about it until reading through my September 2012 Town & Country magazine.

I chose to write about this auction to let you all know that there will be a preview period for Mrs. Astor's estate (no, that does not just happen on Sex & The City). Sotheby's York Avenue gallery will be showing the 901 lots starting on Monday, September 17, a week prior to the auction. Items included will be from her Holly Hill Westchester estate as well as her Park Avenue duplex.

There will be four auction sessions, with different lots offered during these auction periods. You can find the schedule below:
Session 1 | 24 Sep 2012 10:00 AM | Lots 1 - 219
Session 2 | 24 Sep 2012 2:00 PM | Lots 220 - 370
Session 3 | 25 Sep 2012 10:00 AM | Lots 371 - 678
Session 4 | 25 Sep 2012 2:00 PM | Lots 679 - 901
I am going to share with you some of my favorite items from this auction, which you may remember was similar in format to the entry I wrote about Patricia Kluge's jewelry auction as well as Patricia Kluge's former residence, Albemarle House! [side bar: big controversy here in Cville area is that Donald Trump now owns the winery (1000 acres) and 200 acres around Albemarle House (including lawn and driveway). However, he does not own the house as the bank does not want to sell it for as little as he is offering them. So, he is not mowing the front lawn to make it unattractive to potential buyers. This guy is a shrewd genius.] I thought showing you these items from the entire auction catalogue might give you all an idea of what my tastes are like, as well as M's, and how we have decorated our home. Of course I love some of the 500,000 paintings, but I'd rather get the jewelry that will fetch that much... right?
Lot 15: A pair of Chinese Cloisonne elephant-form tea cannisters and covers - 20th century
Estimate: 1,000 - 1,500 USD
height 11 1/2 in. | 29.1 cm
Lot 104: A Chinese black and gilt lacquer rectangular low table with conforming glass top - 19th century
Estimate: 1,200 - 1,800 USD
height 18 1/2 in.; width 24 in.; depth 18 in. | 47 cm; 60.9 cm; 45.6 cm
Lot 341: Attributed to Jules Achelle Noël, 1815 - 1881, Ships in the Port of Calais - oil on canvas
Estimate: 800 - 1,200 USD
size 19 by 25 1/4 in. | 48.3 by 64.1 cm
Lot 455: A Louis XV carved beechwood tabouret - mid-18th century
Estimate: 800 - 1,200 USD
height 14 in.; width 29 in.; depth 17 in. | 35.5 cm; 74 cm; 43.5 cm
Lot 509: A Regency style mahogany Canterbury - late 19th/early 20th century
Estimate: 800 - 1,200 USD
height 21 3/4 in.; width 22 in.; depth 16 in. | 55.2 cm; 55.9 cm; 40.6 cm
Lot 520: Paul Jean Clays, 1819 - 1900, Boats in a Harbor. Signed and dated P.J. Clays, 1873. Lower right, oil on canvas.
Estimate: 3,000 - 5,000 USD
29 3/4 by 43 1/2 in. | 75.6 by 110.5 cm
Lot 898: A Platinum, Emerald and Diamond Ring - the modified emerald-cut emerald weighing 22.84 carats, flanked by 8 baguette diamonds weighing approximately .90 carat, size 5¼, numbered 4019169, circa 1930; with box signed Van Cleef & Arpels, Inc.
Estimate: 100,000 - 150,000 USD

Catalogue notes: Accompanied by AGL report no. CS 47619 stating that the emerald is of Colombian origin, clarity enhancement: insignificant, type: Canada Balsam.

This elegant emerald and diamond ring was presented by Vincent Astor to the soon-to-be Mrs. Astor upon their engagement in 1953. Cecil Beaton, a friend of Mrs. Astor, was called upon to take portraits on the evening that she and Vincent held a party at the St. Regis to celebrate their marriage. Mrs. Astor wore a flowing Balmain ball gown made of various shades of blue and green satin. In her 1980 autobiography Mrs. Astor wrote that her emerald and diamond engagement ring was one of the jewels she chose to wear that evening "to complete the color scheme."
Astor, Brooke. Footprints: An Autobiography. Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City: New York, 1980.
Lot 900: A Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Emerald and Diamond Necklace, Bulgari,
1959 - centering a flexible composition of 13 emerald drops weighing approximately 71.00 carats, further enhanced with 14 cabochon emeralds weighing approximately 41.00 carats accented by 14 marquise-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 8.50 carats, and set throughout with numerous round diamonds weighing approximately 50.00 carats, length 14½ inches, unsigned, French workshop and assay marks; with signed and fitted box.
Estimate: 250,000 - 350,000 USD

Catalogue notes: This magnificent emerald and diamond necklace was commissioned in the fall of 1958 while Mr. and Mrs. Astor were visiting England. As Mrs. Astor recounted in her 1980 autobiography, "Vincent amused himself by having old Mr. Bulgari come over from Rome to discuss an emerald necklace and earrings for me." After spending the afternoon with the couple, Mr. Bulgari returned to Rome to contemplate the design of the suite. Mrs. Astor later noted that, "Vincent was very pleased with himself." It was shortly after this trip to England, in February of 1959, that Vincent passed away. As far as Mrs. Astor knew, the design for the emerald suite remained a mystery.

It came as quite a surprise to Mrs. Astor when she received a package from Mr. Bulgari nearly two years later. As Mrs. Astor wrote, "A strange thing happened at this very moment. Mr. Bulgari, the Italian jeweler, sent over a colored transparency of the emerald necklace and earrings for which we had selected the stones in London in 1958." Attached to the transparency was a note from Vincent, asking that the pieces be completed in time for Mrs. Astor's birthday in March. Having recently returned from a yacht voyage with friends and in the midst of implementing changes within the Astor Foundation, Mrs. Astor felt that the timing was inopportune for such a lavish present. However, after some reassuring words from her banker and further admiration of the design, Mrs. Astor moved forward with the purchase concluding that the necklace "is pretty and not ostentatious but very elegant."

The emerald and diamond necklace is distinguished both by its impressive design and by Mrs. Astor's emotional ties to it. Mrs. Astor explained this connection in her autobiography writing, "Considering that it was really Vincent's last personal gift to me, I am very sentimental about it, and I felt that it was a sign of encouragement from Vincent."
Astor, Brooke. Footprints: An Autobiography. Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City: New York, 1980.

Mrs. Astor requested that the monies raised from this auction go to the following charities: The New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pierpont Morgan Library, The Animal Medical Center of New York, New York City Schools, and additional charities which are located in Maine. I am happy she is still giving, these many years later, back to the charities she cared about throughout her life.

Press may direct questions about this auction to:
New York Sotheby's phone +1 212 606 7176
Lauren Gioia |
Darrell Rocha |
All photos included in this post are © 2012 Sotheby's.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wedding plans: invitations

Well, we did it. We addressed all of the invitations this weekend, and let me tell you there are some things we definitely would do differently!

So we put my parents return address on the outer envelope back. We were quite conflicted when we learned that Wedding Paper Divas could add the address to the reply envelopes. We kind of felt like that was lazy and unfair to all of the traditionalists, who want a hand-written something so when I ordered the stationary suite we did not add that in.

I am on the fence looking back. I think my Mom and I spent about 12 hours this weekend, one day doing all of the reply cards in long-hand and then all of the invitations Saturday evening and yesterday. And then stuffing them all. I most certainly came back to M and my house this weekend tired, and had no problem falling asleep ASAP. (No Closing Ceremony watching here!)

Here are a few things we would do differently:
Catering tasting: We had some shifts in our wedding plans - a catering manager quit abruptly, and until a new one was hired I did not even think that duh, we need a tasting soon, just meet with someone else who is there! So we had our tasting on July 6, and if we had done it earlier the invitations could have been ordered sooner. Whoops.

Proofs: Well, I love Wedding Paper Divas because they do online proofs. However, that does not really help if you are doing your invitations yourself and you are unsure if one ink color will show up or not. Anyway, a paper proof might help for situations like this one, and just save yourself the rushing around and go for it. We did not have time for that (even though I had ordered 11 paper proofs of OTHER invitations that we did not end up picking out).

Ink: We used an awesome Sharpie fine-point gold metallic pen (permanent, not water-based). It looks rich and elegant, not flashy at all, almost burnished. It is perfect and coordinates with our stationary suite. However, the tip is not as fine as we wanted after you use it on about 15 envelopes. That was kind of annoying, but my main ink go-to, Caspari, no longer sells the pens that they used to sell so I had to find something the week-of.

All of these things said, even though sometimes my Mom and my OCD got the best of us, I think we found a gorgeous stationary suite and had a lot of fun doing something ourselves. My handwriting is horrible compared to hers, but I really hope that people like that it came directly from us and not done by other people. We are true old-school Southerners, we do not like unnecessary expenses and feel like we should do many things on our own. We would rather spend our money on things other people can enjoy food, booze, music, etc! We have a number of pre-Baby Boomers attending our wedding and I did not like the idea of something too modern. M and I are traditionalists in a lot of ways, and something like an invitation is one of them. I hope people love it! (I'll do another post showing the suite later, when they have been delivered)
[Copyright© 2012 USPS]

Lastly, this stamp first came out in 2009, but just this 2012 they reissued it, and I am in love with it! We are using it on our invitations and I am thrilled as I was so tired of the older USPS ones. We considered a custom stamp but had a hard time deciding what we would use on it so this option was perfect.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Visit San Antonio and SAVE

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of SAVE for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


As someone who has family friends in San Antonio, Texas, I was delighted to hear about this new website called SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience. In typical 'everything's bigger in Texas' fashion, SAVE is a resource to get special rates off on tour transportation (such as the Alamo Trolley Tours), hotels and resorts, and tourist destinations (such as the San Antonio Botanical Garden). It is a wonderful opportunity for families who are trying to save money when traveling with a brood of children, or for couples who are more budget conscious (or, like us, the money saved goes to splurge-worthy goodies!).

For example, if M and I were traveling to San Antonio for the first time, this would be a sample itinerary:

We would book a room for approximately four nights through SAVE at The Westin Riverwalk San Antonio, which is an ideal downtown location for meeting friends for drinks and to do some touristy stops on our own. Normal fees: $1,676.53. With SAVE: $1,116.13. Savings: $560.40!


M and I are art lovers, so we would go to as many museums as possible to stay out of the Texas heat during the peak hours of the day. Two of the museums we would go to are the Witte Museum and the McNay Art Museum. At the Witte museum, the Normal fee: $23.00. With SAVE: $21.00. Savings: $2.00! At the McNay Art Museum, the Normal fee: $16. With SAVE: $14. Savings: $2.

Maybe we would be lucky and have a few perfect days to spend outdoors. How would we spend those perfect days? With some garden tours for me, and a helicopter ride for M! I would love to visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 38 acres of lush specimens in different garden themes, the Normal fee: $16. With SAVE: $14. Savings: $2.

To really knock the socks off of M, and remind him of his adventures during the military, I would get us the Salt Lick Charter, 120 minutes of flight time, from Alamo Helicopter Tours... the Normal fee: $1700. With SAVE: $1530. Savings: $170.

Knowing history buff M, even though he had seen the Alamo by air, he would still want to go to the Alamo, so we would do the tour the next day. We would likely use Alamo Sightseeing Tours to get the full experience, and would likely do the Morning Reflection Tour, which is The Alamo, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, and El Mercado. the Normal fee: $74.61. With SAVE: $64.71. Savings: $10.

Obviously between all of these touristy events we would visit King William Street, and tour the Steves Homestead, eat a lot of incredible food and imbibe in some delicious beverages.

So, total savings using SAVE adds up to: $746.40!

How would I spend our savings? Probably shopping, including a stop at the San Marcos Premium Outlets, which in true Texas style includes such fine brands as Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Diane von Furstenburg, Moncler, Lululemon, and Last Call by Neiman Marcus. SAVE even has a special deal with them, a coupon book that might help me outfit one of my guest bedrooms with those Ralph Lauren sheets I've been eyeing...

Be sure to check out @SAVEinSA on Twitter for even more opportunities to find out about deals, Limited Time Offers & ideas to help plan your next trip to San Antonio!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Anjolee jewelry review

Back in May I was contacted by Anjolee jewelry about possibly reviewing one of their items for sale. To be perfectly honest, I wrote back and forth with the company due to how they wanted my sponsored post to turn up, and I held firm that I needed an item that represented what my readers would be interested in buying. I am happy to say we found an arrangement, and right before July 4th I received a beautiful custom piece of jewelry from the company.
Anjolee offers many different kinds of jewelry such as diamond pendants, tennis bracelets, rings, and gemstone jewelry. What I chose was the Round Gemstone and Diamond Pendant (Style No. SP56-Gem) with a sapphire and 10k white gold. The size of the sapphire would be equivalent to a 0.50 carat diamond. I am delighted by this piece of jewelry as it is delicate, elegant but understated enough to wear to my office.
The jewelry arrived at the house in great shape even though the mailer was a bit dented, so I was happy when I found that the necklace was packaged in its very own wood box. I feel like this presentation is much better than the average necklace one orders today, even Tiffany's gives just little jewelry bags for purchases less than $1,000!
The box looks lovely on my jewelry chest and even M commented on how nice it was for when we travel (just stick it in my suitcase and go). The liner is faux leather but the wood really is the most important part - it is sturdy!
The website is fun to use when you want to play around with jewelry. If you are one who likes to order jewelry and do not have an established fine jeweler you work with in person, online shopping can be quite rewarding. I enjoy the site since you can pick an item, then choose the metal type, see how the price changes, and adjust it as needed. Likewise with carat size of the stone(s), gemstone(s) selected, item length, and stone quality.
For example, if I was ordering the Diamond and Oval Gemstone Drop Earrings, and chose platinum, 1.31 carats, VS clarity/FG color, and sapphires, my price is $1,134.04. If I adjust it a bit, let's say: 14K white gold, same carat weight (1.31 carats), SI-2 clarity/FG color, and stick with sapphires I would be down to $787.93. You really can set your own budget and find pieces that match that price point! I thought that was pretty cool. I would definitely recommend this website to others.

Also, guys who may be reading this while frantically searching for a gift for a significant other: Anjolee offers a great return policy. Anjolee has a 30 day, full refund policy. You will receive a full refund on all orders if you are unsatisfied with the order for any reason. The timeframe of 30 days begins with the date the customer receives the order from Anjolee, not the shipping date.

Disclosure: I was given a free product by Anjolee to write this post. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

MTV's House of Style returning

Did you all hear the news from last week? That MTV's House of Style is returning?!! While I poured over my mother's fashion magazines and look books as a kid, another big source of inspiration and favorite show to watch was House of Style.

The Spice Girls (well, Sporty, Baby, and Posh "my name's Victoria") go to an American mall; Airdate 2/4/97:

Helmut Newton photographs Cindy Crawford for American Vogue in Monte Carlo... note Andre Leon Talley with a chin; Airdate 9/18/91:

Back to school shopping with Liv Tyler; Airdate 9/16/92:

Sorry Angelina Jolie, Cindy Crawford did the leg exposure first... also, RIP Gianni Versace, so tragic as I think it was the first celebrity death I can remember my parents being upset about (and then Diana barely a month later); Airdate 3/6/91:

The plan is that the show will be short clips here and there, and if they are popular than an entire time-slot episode will be worked out. Who do you think should host the new House of Style? Check out MTV's story about House of Style returning.

[all videos and clips are owned by MTV; ©2012 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. MTV and all related titles and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.]