Sunday, July 31, 2005

This Week In Review

Philosophy 3-in-1 Bath, Shower Gel, Shampoo: these were part of a TSV from QVC and are not yet available from Philosophy. There are twelve bottles in total, of which about half will be exclusive to this single QVC offering which will ship three bottles every three months for one year. The first shipment contained "Lemon Custard," "Sugar Cookie," and "Berries and Cream." I ordered this because I have the "sugar cookie" lipgloss and it smells divine. The bath stuff, for once, does not measure up. The sugar cookie scent is more like a lemony cookie than a sweet sugar. Not what I had expected, and I am not into lemon or verbena type fragrances of any kind. The berries and cream smells like a strawberry smoothie, which is fine, but bathing in it...well, not my favorite. I gave the lemon custard to a neighbor so that she could try it out, and she really likes it. In the future I will stick with the cinnamon buns, coconut milk, pumpkin pie and eggnog scents. Let's face it, I'm an autumn baby.

Origins "Modern Friction": this is a fairly new microderm abrasion scrub from Origins. It is supposed to be gentle yet effective. When I open the container, it has the appearance of marshmallow creme with ground up rice in it, which struck me as odd. I have used this twice now, and it is fabulous. Although I do not care for the scent (it's not bad, I'm just really weird about scents), the results were outstanding. It is quite gentle, and I wondered if it was really going to work. You rub the "goo" in circular motions over your face, then add a bit of water to lather, then more to lather and rinse completely. My face was glowing and smooth afterward. I will be switching out between this and my Philosophy Microdelivery Peel (which smells like citrus, which I do love)...although I believe the Origins scrub could be used with greater frequency than the other.

Origins "No Puffery" Eye Gel: I have not been terribly puffy since receiving this, so I cannot give actual testimony as to effectiveness. It has a pleasant fragrance and seems easy enough to use...either a heavy application that you wipe off after a few minutes OR a light application that is worn all day under makeup. The smell is not off-putting (even for me) and it feels great if you refrigerate before using.

Too-Faced "Lip Injection in a Tube": disappointed! This is a lip gloss similar to DuWop's "Lip Venom" that is applied to the lips with a brush and contains an irritant to make the lips puff up a bit; i.e., look bigger. While the DuWop formula has a cinnamon scent, this one was more fruity which I did not care for, and the result: godawful. It looked like someone punched me in the mouth. Apparently I am allergic to the Too-Faced formula, because the entire area around my mouth got red and streaky and I could not get this off fast enough! Also, the super-gloss effect of this is something I don't care for. As for making my lips seem larger, I can only say it made them seem really shiny and that detracted from any enhancement that might have been there, but which I did not particularly notice. In the future I will stick with MAC glosses and a light lip pencil. These work much better for me. I am curious, however, as to whether all of these lip enhancers/puffers/irritants have undergone long term study to determine whether the swelling increases future lip wrinkles. If anyone knows, please let me know. Thanks!

UGG Bella: fall moccasin/slipper ( in raisin. First of all let me say how totally, utterly, and completely unhappy I am with UGG customer service. I need to borrow someone's thumbs, because two thumbs down is just not enough to cover this transaction. Where to begin? I cannot even open their website using AOL...I have to open up a separate Internet Explorer window to even see their products. I do not know why this is. I have not had problems with any other site (cable modem), nor have they responded to inquiries as to why this happens. Nevertheless, they sent me an e-mail showing the new Bella for fall, which I then ordered in the coffee color (dark brown outer, natural fleece lining, pink leather tie). I had to pay $10.95 for shipping AND wait (unlike at Zappos, where my items ship next day for free) about a week to receive...yes...THE WRONG COLOR SHOES! Not only did they send me the raisin (purple) color through some glitch, but they say their records show that I ordered raisin and, therefore, I have to pay for return shipping to them on top of the outrageous shipping price I already paid. How nice. The shoes are NOT worth the $85 (before shipping) that I paid, the heels are loose while the toes are tight (I ordered a size up from my normal size, and two sizes up from my UGG Classic Boot size), the sides stick out making my feet look fat, and the fleece interior is sub-par (it seems to be hit or miss with UGG these days on fleece quality). UGG's customer service has flat refused to reimburse my shipping expense, despite the fact that I put the COFFEE color in my cart because "their records show raisin." I will NOT be ordering any items from their website again. In the future, everything will go through, and if Zappos doesn't have it, I don't need it. I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THIS ITEM AND THE SERVICE I DIDN'T RECEIVE!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cole Haan "ANNETTE" gloves in luggage...nappa leather, braided leather trim, cashmere lining and cuff. I fell in love with these the moment I saw them in a fall preview, and I have been checking the Cole Haan site for these daily and FINALLY they are available for order (DONE!). Also available in dark brown and black.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Stila has just unveiled their new FALL COLORS! Check them out at

Sunday, July 24, 2005

This Week In Review

1. Margaret Nicole wool bangle bag for fall (here with chocolate satin ribbon): I received this on Friday, and it is adorable. The size was just a bit smaller than I had anticipated which was a pleasant surprise. The wooden rings slip right over my arm and the bag is large enough to hold my cell phone, a checkbook-size wallet, and other handbag essentials. There are no interior pockets, but there is a delightful pink lining and a small magnetic snap closure. I carried the bag to a party last night and was complimented right away. I simply cannot say enough good things about this bag, or about Nicole from Margaret Nicole. My only problem is that a piece of yarn came loose, but we are working to fix that and I don't think it will be a big issue. This may be the the best buy of the year in terms of style for the price. I am waiting to hear whether the wool version will be offered in any additional colors and will keep you posted!

2. UGG Solvang Clog ( If you can find this shoe and you are an UGG fan, buy it. A bit pricey for a clog, but this one delivers where the Kalie and Tiburon have is nice and roomy so the fleece doesn't crowd your toes, and fully lined for maximum interior fuzziness. (Note: I did have to order up a size in these, whereas with the UGG Classic Short boots I had to order down a size.) These are a bit on the heavy side, but that has not been a problem. The nice two inch heel makes them perfect for wear with longer jeans and bootcut jeans, and the gaucho leather can be wiped off with a damp cloth. After all of my recent ankle issues, I am wearing these now to teach in...and I can fit them on with my ankle brace. Love this one!

3. Birkenstock Eaton ( This was a steal for a Birk! I scored these for about $58 off the original price during an OnlineShoes sale. They shipped the shoes free and gave me an additional 10% off the sale price during a promotion. They look more like a loafer-type shoe than the standard Birkenstock clog, and the little buckle detail is a nice touch (although not functional). The sides of these clogs come back further on my feet, so there is less worry about slippage, although this is not usually a problem with Birks due to the contoured footbed and toe bar. I will teach in these this fall, and can wear them with socks when it gets cold. The only problem I have found is that I am so short and these are flat shoes, so I won't be able to wear them with longer pants or jeans. If you have been leery of the Birks because they are ugly or you tried a wrong size, you may want to check them out again. Once you get into the correct size (mine is a size down from what I wear in every other shoe -- weird) they are heaven! And they are coming out with more fashionable designs all the time.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hogan Fringe Bag for fall...arriving soon in NYC and Miami

Friday, July 22, 2005

Hogan Fall Shoppers in hunter and chocolate. The good news is that I have both of these bags already! One in the greeen, one in the looks like the only thing that's changed is the hardware from silver to a more brassy color. And maybe the lining color...I can't tell in the photo.

Hogan Fall Military Bag. I have not yet decided whether this is cute. It seems a bit on the small side. What do you think?

Prada Suede Grommet Cuff for fall. I think this is adorable, but it is a little "biker chic" for $199 (also available in lime and pink)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A big "thank you" to Nicole of Margaret Nicole for sending me two photos of her show on "CBS this morning" which aired earlier today (apparently only on the East Coast...but we Midwesterners still love her!). This one came out a bit on the orange side, so I have altered it to black and white so you can better see the photo...bag also shown below...

The Margaret Nicole fall bag as seen on-air this morning

Skagen tooled leather watches...I really like these. I am a huge Skagen fan (the dials are SO flat!), and the bands on these are fantastic!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The new UGG Bella for fall

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My yellow Scout making appearances again on the arm of Jessica Simpson

Sunday, July 17, 2005

This Week in Review

These are cosmetic items that I have purchased/received in the last week or so...I will try to make this a Sunday feature at least once a month, to review products I have tried and also to remind myself of all the "stuff" I buy!

1. Stila's limited edition "Vanity Fair" set (eBay purchase). This set includes an eyeshadow trio (one full size, one split pan) in pale pink and blue-greys (greys are going to be big for fall/winter), an all-over shimmer (the colorless one), and a sheer lipstick in "Becky." All of the items are packed neatly into a deep blue velvet Stila bag with a silver star pull and a pewter grosgrain-type lining. First of all, I love the velvet bag. Tres chic...and I can just throw it in my bag and go. I was also pleased to discover that the "Becky" lipstick is a sheer color, which is slightly more pinky-red than I am used to but I love it nonetheless (and will be trying another Stila sheer "Wendy" now that I have taken the lipstick plunge).

2. Stila's It Gloss in "Inviting" (Stila). This is a peachy shade from the newly-released It Gloss line. It has a lovely vanilla scent, and the color is quite nice, but I am not pleased with the brush delivery goes on a bit gloppy. The color is scary in the tube, but goes on sheer. Not a bad gloss, love the scent (and no fruity or sweet taste -- always a plus), but would benefit tremendously from a different applicator.

3. MAC lip gelee in "Slicked Pink" (MAC, Dillards, or Saks). What can I say? This is absolute heaven in a cute little squeeze-applicator tube. The color is perfection, the application is easy, and the vanilla scent is divine. I have long been a huge fan of MAC lipglass, and this is a bit different...less sticky/tacky and more sheer. A+ on this one...definitely my new favorite!

4. Sarah Jessica Parker's new perfume "Lovely" (Nordstrom). This was due out for fall, but somehow Nordstrom got hold of it in time for their Anniversary promotions (check these out! Especially the cosmetic "extras" that are available during Anniversary week...some good deals to be had). I will admit that I cannot look at the name of this without thinking of the episode of SATC with the rooster on the roof who has a "very lovely life" but, that aside, this is a nice fragrance. I expected that it might be a little too much on the feminine side for me, but it is not overpoweringly flowery. More like a feminine, velvety soft fragrance. The egg-shaped bottle is cute, and fun to hold. It will join the "countertop collection."

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Margaret Nicole (Bags) Update

To my fellow handbag junkies -- an update. If you saw my earlier post on Margaret Nicole handbags and you love her new fall bag, or even if you just want to be up to speed on the latest and greatest for fall, tune in Thursday, June 21st to "CBS This Morning" at 6:45 to see the new Bangle Bag in a presentation of "It Bags for Fall." Even I, who has a very standoff-ish relationship with anything that smacks of "early morning" may have to tune in for this one. Thank heavens I got my order in before this airs...

Dark Water

This movie gets a 6.5/10 on the Rachel scale. The half is optimistic, because I felt bad about giving it a 6 when it was tolerable. Jennifer Connelly looks like she starved herself for this role. I know the whole size 0-2 bit is in, but when your face looks gaunt and you appear generally ill you may have gone too far. Then again, the role calls for this, with Connelly popping pills and losing entire days. The "dark water" scenes are creepy in and of themselves, although the previews give pretty much ALL of the drama away. I had no idea it rained EVERY day in New York, but according to this movie such is the case. The apartment Connelly's character takes is repulsive. I cannot imagine anyone renting such a run-down, creepy, cramped place even before the water incidents begin. And there are items thrown into the movie that end up having no purpose. Connelly's husband (they are separating as the movie begins) apparently pays some guys to harass her (by saying she's hot and then standing in her way when she goes to do laundry), then we never see them again after this discovery. Her lawyer (played by Tim Roth -- I didn't even recognize him!) makes excuses of "being with his family" when he is alone (suggesting that he is going to end up bad when he is really the best thing to happen to her). The general creepiness of the building's super is also never borne out. And the whole bit about the "safety glass" in the shower (as they are initially shown the apartment) just screams "there is going to be a scene where someone gets stuck in the shower and she can't break the glass." DUH. I am generally disappointed in the lack of quality in movies lately. This one is okay. At the very least I will be leery of drinking tap water or entering old, dilapidated buildings in New York anytime in the near future.

Friday, July 15, 2005

MAC Lip Gelee...I finally braved the mall and purchased this today in "Slicked Pink" and I have to say, this is fabulous! It is lighter and less "sticky" than the Lipglass or Lustreglass, and the color is enough to look lovely while keeping with the subtle summer approach (i.e., minimal makeup). I recommend this to anyone who is a lip gloss fiend. that jello in the photo?

You know you're old when...

...this is an appealing shoe. Honestly, my ankle is now swelling so much (still with no explanation, other than my accident 17 years ago that broke it in four places!) that I cannot get into half of my shoes, and standing up teaching for 5 1/2 hours at night is somehow not helping matters. I picked up a pair of Birkenstocks a while back when I saw them at Sam's for $39 -- cheap for Birks! They ended up being really comfortable. However, they are also horrifically expensive as a general rule for "non-designer ugly shoes." As in, $136 for this pair. BUT I ran across some of these at Sun & Ski earlier today, and they are really cute! Rather than shelling out cash on the spot (and they only had one pair in my size and those were scuffed), I went online and found them at on SALE for about $50 off. And apparently they are having a "weekend special" because they knocked another 10% off AND gave me free shipping. So, it looks like I will have a new pair of shoes to wear to teach...and they could almost pass for a loafer.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Closer to Fall

As of 10:20 p.m. today my class is officially halfway through the "semester." Three more class meetings (and I saved the fun stuff for the end) and we are DONE! Then I get a three-and-a-half week break before the real fall semester begins. This means that all of my goofing off all summer will shortly come to an abrupt halt...probably a good thing, since I'm getting lazy. The good news is that I have conquered half of the house and we are on our way to some semblance of organization. Now to tackle the office...

On another note, I received the new Bergdorf Goodman fall catalog in yesterday's mail, so the fall lines are slowly trickling in. I have shifted in my obsessions slightly and, instead of pining over NYC constantly I am now ALSO pining over a house in the mountains that overlooks the mountain range and a lake (earlier post on HGTV Dream Home 2006). I could still VISIT Manhattan, right?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Valentino V

Another great perfume for fall. I love that this smells fabulous -- not flowery! Fresh, citrus top notes of grapefruit, mandarin, fig, and freesia. Sensual heart notes of orange blossom, frangipani, rose petals, and heliotrope. Soft, warm base notes of cedarwood, sandalwood, amber, and musk. Available from Bergdorf Goodman for $82/3 ozs.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bangle Bag for Fall

I just discovered this Margaret Nicole bag on THE BAG LADY's blog, and am absolutely enthralled with it. Since I already have what can only be termed a "sweater fetish" this is a MUST HAVE for fall! Does anyone know how to keep it clean?

I may be selling my green Hogan Weekend bag, as well. I just can't carry ALL of them! This bag is amazing, and green is huge for fall...but I already have one in the brown.

For those of you who have been dying to get your hands on this bag (the Hogan Scout in yellow), I think I am going to sell it...please e-mail me if you are interested.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The new Isabella Fiore Audra...affordable luxury for fall.

Maybe Not So Great

With the recent subway-and-bus bombing and the heightened alert for a similar act in NY, I am rethinking the genius of the subway system. In a rational society where people are not trying to blow other people up, this seems like an excellent can get pretty much anywhere FAST for about $2. No stop lights, no traffic. And with gas prices well over $2/gallon this seems like a hell of a bargain! However, my (limited) experience with the subway and safety screening is that there is none. You pay your money, click the turnstile, and you're on your way. There is a posting, generally, requesting passengers to keep their eyes open for any suspicious items and report them to someone they cannot see by some means that I am unsure of. This begs the question: Is it a bomb, or just a lunchbag? And will New Yorkers (and the Brits) have to go through an airport-type screening just to board the train to get to work every morning? For once I am glad to be in middle-America where I can hop in my car and just go.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

When UGGs and rabbits breed. Can you actually WEAR these with jeans or long pants? Does anyone know? The furry poms are a nice touch.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

As many of you know, I love Sephora as much -- if not more -- than the next anyone else disturbed by this ad? I mean, the poor girl is having to HOLD her hipbone down with her hand to keep it from bursting through the skin...

Mentok and Reducto from Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law (Adult Swim). "I'll make you travel size!" "In my day if someone brandished a shrink gun they got a little respect!" You have to love these two. The cases...not so much...but Myron Reducto (evil attorney) and Mentok the Mind-Taker (judge) are beyond funny. "That was a TINY MAN! He's so perfectly miniature!" "I like the little hat. Tres chic."

Technical Difficulties

Just to let everyone know, for the last week or so I have not been receiving e-mail notification when someone (one of you) posts a response. Apparently some of the e-mails have even been kicked back to the person posting. I have checked my settings and everything appears to be in order, but if you post something asking me to respond (via e-mail or the blog) and you do not hear from me within 24 hours, please e-mail me and let me know...particularly if you are responding to an older post! Unless I go back and look at comments on every item, I may not know that you have posted. Sorry for the inconvenience...please bear with me until we get this resolved.

I have been looking for a pair of "ballet flats" for the start of the fall semester, and happened upon these instead. Matiko flats in Jade. I am hoping they will be cute with jeans and the green Hogan Weekend bag. They look quite comfy!

Work, Holidays and Impending Fall Fashion

My fast-track class started last night, which means that for the rest of this month I will be teaching two nights a week for about 5 1/2 hours a pop. This seems like a long time, but it really flew by for most of the night. Meanwhile, we have survived another 4th of July. I had to water the lawn for about two hours a night for three nights before (and continuously on the 4th) to discourage setting things off by our house AND to prevent the lawn catching on fire if something strayed over here and went awry. Last year we cleaned up cardboard remnants and plastic wings from the lawn, the garden, the roof, the driveway, and the street in front of our house...none of which WE set off, so this year some sort of "discouraging" action was required. Another holiday down...and now we start coming up on the good ones! LT and I seem to love the fall/winter holidays. Perhaps because they involve the onset of cooler weather and the promise (yet rare fulfillment) of snow. But we have at least bypassed the midway point of the year, which means FALL FASHIONS are being released! In fact, I received a call from my contact at Hogan and the new bags should begin arriving in ten days! Hooray!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The engagement ring given by Raoul to Christine, and later by Christine to the Phantom (his name, by the way, was Erik). This is a beautiful piece of jewelry...I may have to have it recreated...amazing! By the way...was it a "happy" ending?

The Phantom of the Opera

LT and I finally watched Phantom last night...and on Rachel's movie scale I am giving it a 9.5/10. Having long been a huge fan of the "real theatre" version of Phantom, and of the original book by Gaston Leroux, I was a bit afraid to watch the movie version lest it betray what can only be called the sanctity of the musical...but I must admit it was actually done quite well. There were mistakes, yes...there were items omitted (one of them crucial in my mind)...some lines were changed and others were spoken instead of sung, but overall it was a great success. The fact that Emmy Rossum played Christine as if she were on a heavy dose of Valium and clearly her voice was dubbed (although I believe it is HER voice dubbed over, and that is fabulous), and that Patrick Wilson seemed weak at points (and a bit young) was offset by the TREMENDOUS supporting cast. Minnie Driver made me actually almost like the diva Carlotta, Victor McGuire was the perfect Piangi, and Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (whom I have been completely in love with ever since A&E's Jane Eyre) were DIVINE as the new owners of the Opera Populaire. Gerard Butler played an 8/10 Phantom, partially due to the lack of vocal strength -- come on, the Phantom has to boom and resonate! -- and partially due to being WAY too hot to be some guy stuck interminally in the bowels of the opera house. The masquerade ball was not as colorful or entertaining as it is on stage, and the Phantom's "Mask of Red Death" costume is not anywhere as grand, but overall I think justice was done (as best it can be in cinematic format) to the musical as a whole. The "neat and tidy" ending that Hollywood added is credible, and the black and white footage that has been added in to tie everything together is a nice touch. This musical is as good as it gets when it comes to musical theatre, thanks to the brilliant teaming of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice...see it performed for the full effect. But if it had to go to the big screen, this is one hell of a way to pull it off!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Coyote Duffle for Fall

COACH's new coyote duffle...available in September 2005. Apparently they are not listening when we ask them to STOP using fur...but if this was faux fur I would be all over it!

And We Did See the Fall Lines...

...and they were good! Leather and suede and cashmere...oh my! Yes, the glorious people at ShopEtc. have graced us with a taste of fall. Green is still strong (maybe I'll get a chance to break out that Hogan Weekend bag after all!), as are the metallics, earth tones and textures are in, and the designers are creating fabulous outfits. The fall Kooba line is available for preview, and hopefully the Hogan collection will follow directly. I already have my eye on an amazing pair of leather and cashmere gloves from Cole Haan, and it's still 100 degrees outside. Girls, get out those wallets and prepare to shop!

I found this Guatama Buddha statue, which is a smaller size...I need your opinions! What do you (my readers) think of this compared with the previous post (Thai goddess statue...scroll down to pic)?