general / recent finds

It’s a tough time for NYC-based shopaholics due to the revolving door of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Friends and Families, crazy year-end sales, and sample sales. I should be glad that work takes up so much time that I can’t take advantage of some of the sales. What can you do?

Anyways, here are some recent finds that I have been recommending to friends: Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Therapy Cream, more Uniqlo, and Ann Taylor, as well as some old finds that I’ve been raving about for ages: American Express Return Protection and Talika.

1) Crabtree & Evelyn Citron, Honey & Coriander Hand Therapy Cream. A girlfriend gifted this for my birthday. I haven’t stepped foot in a Crabtree & Evelyn since grade school… LOVED the cream. This was surprisingly very emollient, quick drying, and non-greasy. A great find for the dry months. I even convinced a few male coworkers to try it out. The larger size retails for $15. I stocked up when they were on sale online and got them for more than 50% off, thanks to my favorite forum. Code “DEC25” will get you 25% through tomorrow. They have this in many other fragrances, but I liked this one the most due to the extra nail-loving ingredients.

Image source: Crabtree & Evelyn

2) Uniqlo HeatTech and Ultra Light Down.
HeatTech is back again this year
. I really like HT because it is lightweight, adds warmth, affordable, and is machine-washable. There have been a ton of new additions to last year’s lineup, including leg warmers, body warmers, neck warmers, leggings, jeans, scarves, etc. Unfortunately, they are not selling HT in the U.S. online this year and weekends in the Soho store are quite the madhouse.

I never paid attention to down jackets because they always looked puffy, until I saw a woman checking out next to me. Were they always so thin and lightweight? I have a feeling it’s going to be a rough winter, so I bought a knee-length Ultra Light Down jacket in black. It is oddly slimming. Not only can I can stuff it into my normal-sized handbag (for when I need to shop/schmooze and don’t want to check my coat), I can also layer it underneath some fancier wool coats. It is ridiculously warm; I start overheating if I have to wait inside for too long. The Ultra Light Down stock has been wiped out as of 2 weekends ago. I went back to find one for a friend. They said they will not be restocking, which is surprising because winter officially started yesterday. They say to come back in early Spring.  If you have the hook-ups in Asia, get it there.

Image source: Uniqlo

Also, +J markdowns started on Monday. The women’s section is dismal. The best items are all gone, but you may be able to find a staple or two. And the men’s section is even sadder.

3) Ann Taylor. Ann Taylor used to be pretty boring. They have since J.Crew-ified themselves with ruffles, lace, bows, and polka dots. There is a store near my office and the “40% off everything” sign in the doorway beckoned us in last Friday. I got a few great pieces for work (skirt, dress, dress). Some pieces were marked down further in the store and the additional 40% off made the deal even sweeter. The real steal was the dress below, as seen on the lovely Karen Elson. When I went to check out, I found out that the tags weren’t updated and it was actually less than $18, final sale, which I find to be very well priced for an $248 occasion piece that won’t get as much wear.

Image source: Ann Taylor

4) If you hate buying final sale or forgot to return something within a merchant’s return period, and are within 90 days of date of purchase, you should check out American Express’ Return Protection program, which is available on most of their credit cards. They will let you return most items to them, up to $300/item and $1,000/year. Read the fine print.

I’ve also taken advantage of their extended warranty protection and rental insurance programs. It’s hard not to love Amex. These benefits may also be available on other credit cards. Know what you’re entitled to.

5) Talika. Last month, I was “bored” and decided to try eyelash extensions at the Singaporean chain, Browhaus, which just opened stateside on Spring St. It was one of the worst decisions of the year. If you want more details, refer to my Yelp review… bottom line, I don’t need eyelash extensions or something high maintenance. After the experience, I needed to strengthen my eyelashes, so I went back to my tried-and-true Talika.

With semi-consistent use over the last few weeks, my lashes have gotten noticeably stronger with Eyelash Lipocils, causing the regular turnover of lashes to slow down and curl better. A tube lasts me a while and there are no side effects like Latisse. I’ve also used the Eyebrow Lipocils in the past on my lash line, but it’s not as readily available anymore (i.e. Sephora doesn’t carry it).

Talika has a newer product that combines the Eyebrow and Eyelash applicator wands into one, called the Lipocils Expert, which is the same size and $15 more expensive. The different applicators are great, but not worth $15. However, you can get the Lipocils Expert on Gilt for $38.50, this week only.

Eyebrow Lipocils

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