Bags, babies, beauty, and whatever else crosses my mind...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My $0.99 earring finds!

I honestly feel cheap even just writing that title - ha! I had to share though, because I was pleasantly surprised by some super sparkly finds I came across on recently for only 99 cents! I'm into revamping my jewelry collection right now and I thought that a few pairs of fun earrings would be a great way to change up my usual day-to-day look.

I thought I would try out a pair of cubic zirconia studs for a two-fold reason, one I was thinking of upgrading my real diamond studs at some point in the future and I thought it would give me a frame of reference for what size diamond earring I thought I would want to save for - and two, they could just be a fun bit of sparkle on days when I didn't want to wear my plain sterling silver earrings!

I was randomly searching through Amazon one night when I came across this pair of well-reviewed cubic zirconia, set in sterling silver, stud earrings:

For $.99 (plus $6.95 shipping, but that is still less than a pair of these would cost you from Target!) - I thought it was worth a try!

Shipping was quick and I really was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box to find a lovely, seemingly decently made pair of earrings! They are stamped .925 for sterling silver and I was skeptical when I ordered them (because of the price) that they would actually be sterling silver when they arrived... but they do seem to be solid material and akin to other sterling silver jewelry that I have. The setting is firm and the posts are sturdy as well.

They have sparkle to them that catches the light at appropriate times, and while this size is WAY bigger than I ever would be getting or would like to get in a "real" pair of diamond earrings (so I still need to find some smaller CZ studs to figure out what size I want there)... it is a great size for costume jewelry. Just a fun pair of earrings!

So if you've been looking for a fun pair of CZ earrings, these could be the ones for you!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My updated Spring 2012 wishlist...

I decided it was time to update the wishlist, with the things I'm currently stalking on the Net!

Makeup &Beauty

I've loved all of the perfumes that I've tried over the past few months, but other than finally getting a full sized Bond No. 9 perfume... I think I'm pretty complete on perfumes right now. I'm back to focusing on nail polish and have a few "must haves" that I'm eyeing at!

Dior Metallic Silver polish,, $23

Dior Graffiti Pink polish,, $23

I'm also loving the OPI Muppet collection!
OPI Muppet Collection in Divine Swine,, Prices vary.
Don't ask me how I stumbled upon the Bond No. 9 fragrance brand, but as soon as I saw the bottle for Madison Square Park I knew I had to track down a sample. As predicted when it comes to these things, I received the sample and really liked the scent as well. As soon as I can reconcile myself to the price... it will be mine. (It comes with jewelry, with the cute little green bracelet/brooch on top - so that has to count for something, right?), 1.7 oz. Bond No. 9 - Madison Square Park,  $180


I'm totally obsessed with Tory Burch right now! I would love another pair of Revas and also a pair of pink Tory Burch sandals for Spring!

Tory Burch Reva in Royal Tan,, $195

Tory Burch Miller Sandal in Love Pink,, $195


I went Tiffany & Co overboard for Christmas (which is never a bad thing!) - so my current Tiffany & co wishlist is fairly (well, relatively) short...

Tiffany & Co Notes earrings,, $125, Daisy Key on Oval Chain, $300

I have a never ending handbag wishlist from Louis Vuitton... but here are the bags I'm currently stalking. (And deciding between.)

Louis Vuitton Alma,, $1550

Louis Vuitton Empreinte Artsy MM,, $2670

Louis Vuitton Damier Westminster GM,, $1260

A girl's work is never done!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Happy 2011 present!! Tiffany & Co Elsa Peretti Curved Wedding Band!

I cannot believe I haven't posted about this yet!

I was so excited to receive a "Happy 2011" present at the end of December from my hubby. I mentioned in the past about the upgraded wedding ring that I've been wanting forever from Tiffany & Co... and I guess I finally wore him down enough about it - because hubby gave me the green light to go ahead and order it! I've been eyeing it for years, so I was super excited!

It was kind of a happy "5 year" anniversary (even though we were married 6 years this year - but we were kind of busy around the 5 year mark and it came & went...), along with "happy new baby", and just "happy year" to commemorate 2011 with his new job and all of that good stuff...

Here's what my set looked like before, I never felt like the plain 2mm platinum band suited my engagement ring, because of the gap under the trillion diamonds.

Without further ado, the Elsa Peretti platinum curved wedding band!

And with my engagement ring! (After it had been cleaned at the jewelry store!! Sorry its so dirty in the before pictures! I didn't realize it until I saw the pictures after it had been cleaned! Whew!)

I absolutely love it! This is definitely an upgrade that will last me a long time and I think it works as a great "frame" for my engagement ring! Love!

(Nail polish color on my nails is Zoya Pandora.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

You Tube Video: Comparison between Louis Vuitton Accessories: Pochette, Eva, & Cosmetic Bag - What fits inside

This is a video that I got the idea for after I took some photos trying to show the size difference between the Eva and cosmetic pouch. I thought it would be helpful to show the size difference and difference in what each can carry for the pochette accessories, Eva, & cosmetic pouch.

I use them for totally different things, but if you wanted one item that served multiple functions - these are all great options. The pochette is an easy going grab and go bag, that would also work great down inside your purse to hold cosmetics (or other essentials... like a Nintendo DS). The Eva is the ultimate grab and go bag, that can be used as a clutch with the attached gold chain or cross-body with the longer strap that is included in it. And the cosmetic pouch is perfect for its intended use as a cosmetic bag, but also would work great down inside a diaper bag or as a quick grab clutch to hold your essentials to run into Starbucks or something of that nature.

Side view of the pochette, Eva, & cosmetic pouch

Front view of the pochette, Eva, & cosmetic pouch

Interior of the Eva & cosmetic pouch

Front view of the Eva & cosmetic pouch

Featured in the video are the Louis Vuitton pochette, Eva, & cosmetic pouch.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's in my bag? You Tube Video: Louis Vuitton Tivoli GM

What I carried in my bag today!

I carried my Louis Vuitton Tivoli GM and inside I fit:
- Louis Vuitton Sarah wallet in Violette
- Louis Vuitton Cles in Violette
- Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Cosmetic Pouch
- Juicy Couture card case
- Chanel sunglasses case
- Canon SD1200 digital camera
- iPhone
- Keys
- A scarf

... all with lots of room leftover! This is a great every day bag that doesn't disappoint!

Nars Lipsticks: Neutral Pink Comparison (Dolce Vita, Mayflower, Cruising, and Sexual Healing)

I've expanded my love for NARS from their long-wearing blushes to their lipsticks as well. I've tried a few NARS lipsticks in the past, but it had been a while since I had picked up anything from their lip lines so I decided to give them another try.

For day to day wear, I wear a neutral pink lip - think MAC's Blankety or Too Faced's Free Love with a gloss over them. NARS has a number of gorgeous lip colors with a pink neutral base, so I decided to give them a try!

Featured in the same order in each picture... Dolce Vita, Mayflower, Cruising, & Sexual Healing

Dolce Vita - This is probably the deepest color of the neutral pinks I've featured, but it is still a pretty one. It is more matte than the other more shimmery colors, and is close in tone to Mayflower when it is on my lips. It is still a great option for days that I want color, but I'm keeping it low key.

Mayflower - This is the first lipstick that I bought on my venture back into NARS lipsticks, searching for the lipstick featured at the top of Sephora's website. This has more of a raspberry tint to it and coincidentally is not the color featured. It is a pretty color though, and has some shimmer to it. I wear this when I want a bit of subtle color that shines.

Cruising - This is THE lipstick! Cruising is the best neutral lip lipstick shade I've found and even ranks above MAC's Blankety in my opinion. It is a true neutral and plays up the natural color of my lips. I always wear a gloss over my lipsticks, so I can choose a neutral shimmery pink gloss to make my lip color just compliment the rest of my look and not stand out. This one is LOVE!

Sexual Healing - Name I can't say in front of my parents aside... This is an awesome shade! This is the shade actually featured at the top of Sephora's website for NARS lipstick. I'd been admiring this color for quite a while now, and had tried some of the other shades above thinking they were the colors that Sephora had featured. I finally stumbled upon an answer directly from Sephora one day while reading reviews, stating that this was the color featured at the top of the page. I bought it immediately! It is a nice shimmer color, more of a neutral beige with a pink undertone in my opinion. The Sephora website makes it look pinker than it is in real life, but I still think this is a great option for every day.

All in all, NARS lipsticks are great lippies, the only complaint I have is that they are slightly dryer than some lipsticks I use. The colors are gorgeous though, and I begin my day with NARS lipsticks on my lips. Whether it is because of the shape of my lips, I'm unsure... but I do have a problem more so than most people of lipsticks or glosses lasting on my lips. I do have to re-apply multiple times a day, no matter what brand I'm using.

NARS lipsticks last a few hours before I have to re-apply and the colors are gorgeous, so these are definitely keepers in the makeup collection!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Diaper Bag Review: Coach Op Art Baby Bag in Dark Merlot

What fits in a Coach Op Art Baby Bag from Coach?

Enough items to go out for a day trip with an infant & a toddler!

This You Tube review shows what I carry in my Coach Op Art Diaper bag, and shows how functional it is.

The size is 21 inches long by 12.5 inches high by 4.25 inches wide. I would classify it as a "medium sized" diaper bag... bigger than the bag that diaper bag that I used as a quick grab and go bag with only one child - but smaller than some gigantic diaper bags I've owned or seen. (Most notably, the Coach Signature Stripe Diaper bag that I originally bought when I was pregnant with my first. It was so gigantic... I couldn't justify keeping it and sold it. Now of course, I'm wishing I would have held onto it - because it would have been a good diaper bag for those days when having "just a bit more" would be appropriate. Like for trips into Chicago.)

It works great for two children in diapers though, one still using bottles and one using sippy cups. I place the larger sippy cups on the outside. (One for milk, one for water.) And on the interior, there are two elastic banded areas that can fit bottles. (We use Tommee Tippee bottles and the 9 ounce size fits fine in this area.)

It came with a portable changing pad that works fine for infants and smaller toddlers. I honestly prefer to use a larger JJ Cole changing mat with my older daughter who is just shy of 2 years old. (The JJ Cole changing mat came with a quick change bag that I use now, which I will review and show in a separate post. It is super handy to hang from the stroller handle for quick changes!) For infants however, the changing pad that came with the Coach bag is good enough, and fits conveniently in the front snap pocket of the bag for easy access.

On the back there is a zippered area that would be good to hold items for Mommy, but I use this area for travel table placements and other odds & ins, since I always carry a handbag for myself.

On the interior the bottom area is ample enough to hold two shirts and one pair of pants for a toddler, one sleeper for a newborn, and two burp cloths. On top of that, I fit two snack containers - a hard plastic snack container from Innobaby that I featured HERE - and a smaller toddler hand held snack container. Also in the middle I've shown a travel formula container from Munchkin. Occasionally, I will also toss in an additional 5 ounce Tommee Tippee bottom on top of these things, and there is room for that as well.

Overall, I would rate this diaper bag 4.5 out of 5 stars. I appreciate that it is subtle and doesn't have a crazy print all over it. Not that I have anything against prints, but some days I would just like something more neutral. The color is beautiful, a burgundy - purple color that isn't flashy, but is more special than a black or gray diaper bag. The space is perfect for two children if you pack just the essentials, and I would imagine would work great for one child on longer trips or if you want to carry a bit more on a day to day basis.

Despite its 21 inch length, the bag doesn't look overwhelming against a short frame. I actually thought it was going to look a lot bigger when it arrived, but it is definitely not what I would classify as a "large" diaper bag... I've seen much larger bags, especially from Coach. (I would consider a JJ Cole Mode diaper bag a smaller diaper bag, for reference.)

All in all, it is a great diaper bag that is well worth its $298 price tag. (Especially if you can a PCE discount on top of that!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dior Diva Reward Club

I'm a sucker for rewards clubs... I absolutely love them! Sephora's Beauty Insider & VIB program is one of my favorites, but I have a case full of "store loyalty" cards that proves - if it's free and involves some sort of reward... I'm in!

I love the idea of getting something free on a good day - but getting something free as a reward for something you were going to buy anyways is a win-win for me. I stumbled upon the fact that Dior has exactly this sort of program for beauty purchases!

I've used Diorshow mascara for years, and Dior Addict Ultra Gloss lip glosses are also some of my favorites. So when I found out that there was such a thing as a reward program for Dior beauty purchases - made at any authorized retailer (not just at - I was psyched!

How it works is you send in your receipts from any Dior beauty purchases you've made within a 12 month time period (or shorter time period, if you've saved up the appropriate amount of points for the reward you are wanting) and mail the receipts in the the Dior Diva Club redemption center. They send you a free gift based on the amount of points you've accumulated! This seriously has to be one of the best kept beauty reward club secrets ever!

After I found out about the program in December 2011, I sent in a few receipts I had from purchases in 2011 for the 100 point gift. The program redemption form states that you should receive your products within 6-8 weeks, but I found that they had a super quick turn around time and received my free gift a mere two weeks later!

It was presented beautifully in a Dior logo lined box:

The 100 point gift is a deluxe sample gift bag, with deluxe samples of J'Adore perfume, Capture Totale, Diorshow Mascara, and a Dior lipstick mini.

They also have reward levels for 250, 500, 1000, 2500, and 5000 points as well. I'm planning on saving my points up for the 500 point level next - the "Charming Diva" level - which gifts you a Dior charm bracelet and perfume deluxe sample. (Which I've been dying for since I missed the Sephora 500 point gift that was out in November 2011 and sold out in two days while I was off busy having a baby... that was also a Dior bracelet & perfume sample. I'm hoping the Dior Diva gift will be similar.)

I see myself wearing a few extra coats of mascara in the future to work towards getting my 500 points!

Friday, January 13, 2012

You Tube Video: Technology items that fit inside of a Totally MM

Here is a viewer request video that I put together, to address the question of whether a 10 by 13 Mac Book would fit in a Totally MM. I unfortunately do not own a Mac Book, but I was able to use a 10" by 13" by 1" frame to compare the size placed inside a Totally MM. That size frame easily fit inside the bag when placed in east/west, and had a bit of space left on either side so that it easily slid in & out of the bag.

I've also shown an iPad 2 inside the Totally MM, so that you can see there is a generous amount of space leftover with one of those inside.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

You Tube Video: My top three handbag choices for a busy Mom on the go

I finally chose my favorite three handbags in my closet to use as a busy Mom on the go. I think they would work great for a stay-at-home mom or working mom as well! These three bags specifically were chosen because they all have a zippered closure, can be carried on the shoulder, and are a great size for every day use.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ultimate Mommy Handbag... who would have known???

Well, I mentioned on one of my recent videos doing a You Tube review on the best mommy handbags (which I've been a slacker and haven't gotten around to yet, sigh)... However, I did get around to starting to think about this one on a recent trip to go to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

I was sitting there that morning before we left staring at my accessories closet, and realizing that I didn't really have a "city friendly" and "mommy friendly" (read not to heavy & easily hands free) option for the trip! Toting my Tivoli GM around the suburbs is one thing, but getting to and from parking garages, walking around museums, and doing everything from lunch to diaper changes on the go with the kids necessitates a different kind of handbag, then a few hour trip to a mall in the suburbs does...

I stared at all of the LV in my accessories closet, too big, too heavy, too flashy for what I wanted for the day. (Will be considering a Bloomsbury PM for the future, I believe...) And then all of a sudden I realized what my ultimate Mommy bag for a day trip to museums was going to be - my Marc Jacobs large multi-pocket that had been relegated to a shelf for... well, a long time! It comfortably sits on my shoulder, wasn't too big, would hold all of the essentials, and wasn't too flashy.

I first became obsessed with the Marc Jacobs multipocket style bag back before I was even a mother... when I saw one of my favorite TV mothers carrying it on the Gilmore Girls! Lorelei Gilmore's (sigh, I miss that show - but that's a topic for a different day) go-to bag for the first four or five seasons was an understated small size Marc Jacobs multipocket purse.

Photo screenshot courtesy of the CW
I loved it so much that I tracked down the exact same bag she had on the show in the small size, I realized that the size wasn't quite big enough for me (plus, let's face it - I'm not as skinny as Lauren Graham either) - so I ended up with the large size multi-pocket hobo which was perfect! I also went through a brief "Marc Jacobs phase" during the Gilmore Girls years, and although it has been a while since I've purchased one - I will say that at least the ones from a few years ago were exceptionally well made handbags.

Then the Gilmore Girls show went off the air and Marc Jacobs just wasn't the same for me, over the years I went through my "Balenciaga phase", which led directly into my "Louis Vuitton phase"... and the poor lone Marc Jacobs handbag leftover from my Marc Jacobs days was left sitting on a shelf in my accessories cabinet.

I used it for our day trip to the Shedd Aquarium, and it worked perfectly! I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed carrying it again so much, and I think I will be digging it out of the closet just a little bit more often "just because", now that I've remembered what a great bag it is!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Louis Vuitton Comparison Review: Palermo PM vs. Tivoli GM

One of the bags I just recently got is the Tivoli GM. It's a style that I'd wondered about for a while, it seemed like a great everyday style and a good size. I used to own the Tivoli PM, purchased at the LV boutique a few months after it was released and subsequently sold about a year after buying it, because it was just a little on the small side for me. Also since it was an exclusively handheld bag, it just wasn't working for how I liked to use my bags.

The Tivoli GM on the other hand is a great size for every day. Plenty of room on the interior and adjustable handles that look great either hand held or comfortably sitting on your shoulder. I've found that it is easy to find things inside and get in & out of at check outs. (Although the zipper is a little stiffer than I would prefer, but I am hoping that will get better after some use.) I've been using it the past few weeks, and I can definitely say - it is fantastic!

At the same time that the Tivoli (PM & GM) was released, the Palermo (PM & GM) style was also released. These two styles always seemed a bit comparable to me and I think are often compared when someone is considering what to purchase, because of the styling of the pleats and hanging LV tag on the zipper. I've now owned all sizes of the Tivoli and Palermo - Tivoli PM, Tivoli GM, Palermo PM, and Palermo GM! I sold the Tivoli PM because I found it was too small... I sold the Palermo GM because I found it was too big. Currently, I still own the Palermo PM and Tivoli GM - which I believe are just right!

Since these two styles, the Tivoli and Palermo, are so often compared when trying to decide which bag to get - I thought I would do a quick comparison review of the two with pictures side by side with the Tivoli GM and Palermo PM. These two bags are actually very close in size and what I would consider to be a good every day size. (Medium sized bags that comfortably hold a wallet, makeup case, sunglasses case, card case, cell phone, keys, etc. - with a bit of room to spare.) Both can be worn on the shoulder, the Palermo PM with the long shoulder strap and the Tivoli GM with the regular handles. Both look good hand held.

You can see that the size of the two is quite comparable and neither one is overwhelming on a regular sized frame. (For more petite frames the Tivoli GM might be a tad big.)

The interiors of both has pockets on the side for easy access to your tech items or keys.

The foot print of both bags is quite similar.

So as you can probably tell from my blog post... I'm a fan of both the Tivoli GM and Palermo PM. I think they are the ultimate choices from these two lines if you can pick two. If you could only pick one out of the two, I think I would have a hard time choosing just one - they both look great and are super functional. Right now since I'm wearing the Tivoli GM, I would probably place it as my number one choice - however catch me a few weeks from now when I'm using the Palermo PM - and my order may have changed!

In short, you can't go wrong with either one. All sizes of the Tivoli and Palermo are beautiful, but for either stylish mom on the go or professional choices - I think the Tivoli GM & Palermo PM are just great!

(Photos taken with our new Nikon D3100, which I'm loving!! Will do a proper review on our new camera sometime soon!)