general / brain dump {happy hump day!}

I. Shopping

  • Chloe ballet flats. I encountered an amaaazing (70% off) sale that I couldn’t resist. Final sale? There’s always eBay or Amex return protection. While they didn’t have their classic scalloped ballet flat in a reasonable color or in my size, I did figure out my Chloe size. It’s true to size, folks, i.e. 38.0 = US 8. I’m keeping a pair of pointed ballet flats, but am not sure if I like pointy (sometimes I walk into things and the extra length does not help) or the excessive toe cleavage. As seen here, here, and similar here.
  • This little piggy went to the market => I’ve been keeping an eye on the custom Baggus for Crate and Barrel and love the current pig one.
  • My Clarisonic Plus of 5+ years died. The sad thing is that it was in storage for the last 2 years and is out of warranty (both manufacturer’s and extended credit card). Clarisonic offered a 25% off discount as a consolation, which I asked Nordstrom to pricematch. (Note: They said it was a one-time courtesy since it’s not in their pricematch policy to honor non-public discounts.) Although I would’ve preferred this QVC bundle, I value Nordstrom’s customer service much higher than a small discount. It’s still a pricey gadget especially one with a finite life, but if you compare it to a few spa services, it’s a smart investment. I still went for the higher end model, Clarisonic Smart Profile, since there are brushes for the body, and the less advertised, feet — all of the pedi brushes work with the Smart Profile!
  • TheRealReal is an online consignment store and has an alarming amount of new, recent season Clare Vivier bags at a really good price. There’s the spotted Sandrine and Madeleine Petit in British Tan or Royal Blue Croco. The starting price is 50% off – $25 first timer credit* – 20% off with code PICKMEUP.
  • Clare Vivier Margot Tote fans, Piperlime has the spotted tote on sale and Malia Mills has the solid totes on sale. It has a waxier finish than her other bags. I have a simple tote from her earlier collections and wish she had more simple designs.

II. Design

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to shop / 2013 nordstrom anniversary sale picks

Nordstrom‘s annual anniversary sale is now open to the public! I get much more excited by the skincare and beauty deals than clothes. Here are my faves (clockwise, l to r). Don’t forget about Nordstrom‘s amazing return policy and customer service.

to shop / major sales on skincare, karen walker, clare vivier, etc.

It’s major sale season, if you haven’t noticed. I will be highlighting two e-tailers today: SkinCareRX and wconcept.

Through tomorrow, June 30, SkinCareRX is having a great 25-50% off tiered discount (the more you buy, the more you save) with no brand exclusions, which is a big deal. I finished my Renee Rouleau Vitamin C & E Complex (post) a week ago and after doing a little research decided to go back to the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic serum. This serum retails for $150 and since I couldn’t find a good “deal”, I halted my search. I’m so glad I did, since buying two bottles through this sale is effectively 50% off (although I’m not sure if it’s good to stockpile this serum given its ingredients).

SkincareRX carries higher end skincare. Some of it intersects with what you may find at Sephora. I highly recommend the Colorescience SPF portable powder brush (Cameron Diaz swears by it), the Alpha Beta Daily Face Peels from Dr. Dennis Gross, Clarisonic (there is also a $50 off $150+ purchase for this brand only, *light bulb*), La Roche Posay Anthelios sunscreen, or the Dermalogica line. Read the rebate carefully to make sure your final purchase amount is sufficient for the discount you’re shooting for.

I’ve mentioned wconcept a few times before. They are located in NJ and carry a good assortment of boutique brands. I am assuming they are Korean-owned since they are located in Fort Lee, carry non-labeled clothing imported from Korea, and the rest of their items have a very Francophile edit (which is fine by me!). The wconcept sale is also a tiered 20-40% discount through July 4th. This is a great deal considering the amount of Clare Vivier that they carry! They started their sale earlier in the week and I haven’t had time to blog about it, so sadly many of the more coveted items are now sold out. But I was able to finally snag a Comme des Garcons luxury leather pouch.

Other brands I love are Comme des Garcons, Bensimon (which are already discounted, size up (8=39)), Karen Walker, Repetto (very low inventory, but don’t fret because there are better sales about), Saint James tees, Ray Bans,… Click here for the full list of designers. There are quite a few brands for the gents too. If you’re considering a Clare Vivier la Trop bag or messenger bag, don’t hesitate and you should really aim for the maximum discount.

Happy Shopping!

to pamper / summer skin

Stress and bangs have wreaked havoc on my skin this summer. I’ve never broken out so much in my life. I rotate a bunch of products through my skincare routine, but here are some mainstay products that have helped me stay afloat, from left to right:

  • Somme Institute Transport Pads.  This is my favorite glycolic acid product, hands down. I use it on my face and neck area. It gently exfoliates, brings up impurities, and hydrates with nutrients. 50 pads usually cost $58. Nordstrom currently has a value size (left over from the anniversary sale) that gives you 100 pads for $58. On top of that, Beauty.com recently gave these away with a purchase of $40 through targeted email marketing. Lesson: Not all emails are bad.
  • FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil. Mascara and certain sunscreen ingredients can be impossible to remove. The last thing I want to do is to tug at the delicate eye area with massive amounts of oil-based makeup remover. This oil can be a little messy, but it gets it all out gently. Sometimes I supplement with another cleanser, but oftentimes this is enough. This oil doesn’t break you out and gives you some well needed moisture during the summer months. Downside: it expires and is hard to access outside of Asia.

general / wishlist

People who know me well, know that I love to give gifts when I feel like it, and not for an occasion. I’m not sure if it’s a part of my Chinese/Taiwanese upbringing, but I especially love sharing food or other small things. It is further encouraged when it is reciprocated. My roommate is a regular recipient of many red bean, hot pink, and/or funky things that I encounter, but for the occasions where I have to gift, I often save things that I get from shopping trips and vacations. I then add it to a stockpile for that person. E.g. P’s birthday present was years in the making.

As much as I like to gift, I am not a big fan of presents because I am particular. Luckily, with age, dinners often replace presents and those who gift has been hitting the mark without prompt. If I had to make a wishlist, what would be on my list, or what would I gift if I didn’t have a stockpile?

Image source: respective manufacturers and major retailers.

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