Friday, July 26, 2013

Cold Day at the Beach

Cold Day at the Beach
Fish Pendant, Mary Jane Sneakers, Lane Bryant Black and White Striped V-Neck Tee, LL Bean Perfect Fit Boot-Cut Pants, LL Bean H2Off Trench Coat.  

I spent the day yesterday doing an outreach for the National Alliance for Mental Illness at the boardwalk.  It was a health fair, called "Back to the Beach."  It was hosted by the State Assemblywoman, Nicole Malliotakis, who stopped by the table to say hello, which was nice of her.

It was in the 60's yesterday, which means that on the shore, it was 10-15 degrees colder.  Everyone was coming up to me and saying, "You were so smart to wear a coat!"  Almost everyone else was wearing a hoodie, and they were cold.  My partner with whom I do the outreaches, Patty, started off wearing a sleeveless denim shirt when she picked me up.  She dropped me off at the boardwalk, then went home to get some supplies.  When she came back she had wisely put on a denim jacket.  One woman with a table on the boardwalk was wearing a parka!  It was that cold.

I owe my weather-smarts to Swackett, an app I downloaded to my desktop from Apple iTunes.  It shows you what to wear for the weather that day.  It's a free app, and I find it's helpful.

The skies were gray and overcast, and looked like they were threatening rain, but it didn't rain during the day, thankfully.  It turned out to be a very comfortable day, as far as the weather went, because it wasn't too hot or too humid, and there was a nice breeze.  But it just goes to show you how unpredictable summer weather in New York City can be.  It's always a good idea to not put all your long pants or long-sleeved shirts or sweaters away for the summer.

As for the outfit, I was working a black-and-white nautical theme.  I have a glass fish pendant (not the one pictured) I bought at a boardwalk fair a few years ago, so I wore that.  Quite a few women were working the nautical theme - we were by the ocean, after all.  

Summer Skincare Survival

Summer Skincare Survival
All products from The Body Shop unless otherwise noted:  Jumbo Size Satsuma Shower Gel, Fieldtex GoodSense Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50, TBS exfoliating towel, Satsuma Body Polish, TBS pumice stone, TBS cactus body brush, Satsuma Body Butter, Coconut Body Butter, Seaweed Mattifying Moisture Lotion SPF 15, Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Facial Exfoliator, Seaweed Deep Cleansing Facial Wash, Shea Lip Butter, Coconut Lip Butter.  

I forgot to add Carmex Moisturizing Lip Balm with SPF 15.  The sunscreen and the Carmex lip balm I got from my health insurance OTC benefit.  The sunscreen is good; I was out in the sun one day for several hours and I didn't get burned at all.  Only problem I had was when I was perspiring, the sweat got in my eyes and it stung like a SOB.  And that didn't even happen until I got home, so I just rinsed off the sunscreen from my face.  But, lesson learned:  One needs a separate sunscreen for the body and the face.  SPF 15 is not high enough, I was told by CharlestonGirl of the blog The Best Things in Beauty; one needs at least 30.  I'm going to use the rest of the TBS Seaweed Mattifying Moisture Lotion SPF 15, and then I'm going to switch to either Aveeno or Neutrogena SPF 30 facial moisturizers.  Also, since I'm getting older and my skin has changed from being oily to normal-to-dry, I don't need a mattifying moisture lotion anymore.  If anyone has a facial moisturizer with SPF 30 that they can recommend, I'm open.

I have so many exfoliating products because it's important to exfoliate, especially in the summer.  I read in Lauren Conrad's blog that she recommended exfoliating the skin before you shave, because it's easier to get a closer shave.  Also, skin is more on display in the summer months, so you want it to look smooth and soft.

You don't even have to do everything all in one day.  One day exfoliate your feet and elbows with the pumice stone while you're in the shower, another day do a facial exfoliating.  If you have time one day, do a full body brush with a body brush if you have one, or just use a body scrub while you're conditioning your hair in the shower.  You don't have to make more work for yourself, because I'm sure you want to enjoy life in the summer, whether it's hanging out with friends at the park, the beach, the pool or at a BBQ, or just chillaxin' to some good tunes in your (hopefully) cool home.

An easy at-home exfoliation product is baking soda:  Mix about a tablespoon in your palm with your facial cleanser, and spread it over your face with circular motions with your fingertips, massaging the skin.  Then rinse.

An easy at-home facial mask, to cut down on oily skin in the summer, is Milk of Magnesia.  Spread about a tablespoon of Milk of Magnesia on your face, leave it to dry for about 15 minutes, then rinse.  You can follow it up with the baking soda exfoliation, if your skin is breaking out.  Rinse thoroughly.

Those last two hints I got from Paula Begoun's book, Blue Eyeshadow Should Still Be Illegal.

I hope you're all enjoying good weather.  Stay safe in the sun!  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lane Bryant and J. Jill Purchases: What They Actually Look Like Now That I Got Them Home

J. Jill black linen plain-front pants, Lane Bryant khaki sateen capris and navy sateen capris.  

Detail of front and back pockets on Lane Bryant khaki sateen capris.  

The whole enchilada.  

Left column: Lane Bryant neon stripe t-shirt, capri breeze t-shirt (fancy name for teal blue), J. Jill raspberry t-shirt, Lane Bryant white t-shirt.
Right column: Lane Bryant striped t-shirts in navy, black and white, and pink.  J. Jill t-shirts in white and black.  

Detail of button and fly closure on the Lane Bryant navy sateen capris.

I'm actually very pleased with both the J. Jill linen pants and the Lane Bryant capris.  Both fit well and are well-structured.  The fabric is light enough for summer, but not flimsy.  Is it possible that I have found summer bottoms that look good on me, and are comfortable?  Let's hope!  

I like all the tops, too.  The neon pink stripe top from Lane Bryant is very neon pink, with dark stripes.  The only problem I have with it is that it's 60% polyester and 40% cotton.  I'm not fond of polyester at all, but since it's a blend, I'll deal with it.  I love the color.  

The capri breeze t-shirt looked like a light blue when I saw it online, but in reality, it's more of a teal blue.  That's OK, teal looks good on me, so long as it isn't too yellow or green.  

I'm looking forward to enjoying my purchases for some time to come.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Spring/Summer 2013 Purchases

Spring/Summer 2013 Purchases
Top Row:  LL Bean pink sleeveless tee, Lane Bryant neon pink striped v-neck tee, pink striped v-neck tee, J. Jill raspberry v-neck elbow-sleeve tee, watermelon v-neck elbow-sleeve tee.
Second Row: Lane Bryant navy striped v-neck tee, blue v-neck tee, J. Jill mineral blue v-neck elbow-sleeve tee, periwinkle v-neck elbow-sleeve tee, denim shirt.
Third Row: Lane Bryant white v-neck tee, J. Jill white v-neck elbow-sleeve tee, Lane Bryant black and white striped v-neck tee, LL Bean black sleeveless tee, J. Jill black v-neck elbow-sleeve tee.
Bottoms:  Lane Bryant khaki sateen twill capris, navy twill sateen capris, LL Bean blue twill chino pants, J. Jill black plain-front linen pull-on pants.
Scarves: J. Jill watermelon crinkle scarf, LL Bean women's casual floral scarf.

LL Bean Boat & Tote bag, medium, in Snapdragon and Regatta Blue.  

Oy!  I examined the damage done to my wallet by my Spring/Summer 2013 purchases, and it's severe!  In total, not counting intimate apparel purchases (because those are necessities, and I wear them year-round), I spent $677.83.

The breakdown by retailer is as follows:

LL Bean:        $163.54 (2 sleeveless t-shirts, tote bag, twill chinos, floral scarf)
J. Jill:              $414.31 (8 t-shirts, crinkle scarf, denim shirt, linen pants)
Lane Bryant:    $99.98  (6 t-shirts, 3 capris)

Obviously, my J. Jill habit is an expensive one.

I started shopping for Spring/Summer on April 19, 2013.  My first purchase was the women's casual floral scarf from LL Bean.  My most recent purchase was July 11, 2013, from Lane Bryant.  I bought the sateen twill capris and t-shirts.  I bought everything online.  I almost never go out to a store to shop anymore.  Almost everything I purchased was on sale, and I used coupons.  

With the exception of the sleeveless tees, capris and linen pants, I will wear these items year-round.  The items will hopefully serve me well for at least two seasons.  That seems to be the maximum life for the average t-shirt in my wardrobe.  The only t-shirt I have that's lasted longer than that is the "Spooky" t-shirt I got for Halloween from K-Mart in 2006.  Like Halloween, it seems to have a supernatural ability to transcend time.  Or maybe I like it so much, I won't stop wearing it until someone pries it from my cold, lifeless hands.

How the Cost-Per-Wear works out over time will determine whether these items were worth what I spent.  The LL Bean tote bag, twill chinos and floral scarf and the J. Jill tees are earning their keep so far.  I was going to save the Lane Bryant items for next year, but I think I'll start wearing them this year.  Summer is long, and this one is turning out to be a hot one, too.  NYC is roasting.  I heard it was 115* in the subways today.  Yowza!  That's HOT!!!  As we like to say here, it's not the heat, it's the humidity.  

My mom had this cute way of asking me after I came home from shopping (back in the days when you had to go OUT of the house to shop), "Are you happy with your purchases?"  I have to say, yes, so far I am happy with my purchases.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What I Bought, Week of July 6-July 13, 2013

What I Bought, Week of July 6-July 13, 2013
Top row:  Lane Bryant v-neck tees in stripes, solids and neon stripes.
Middle row: J. Jill v-neck elbow-sleeve tees.
Bottom row:  Lane Bryant sateen twill capris, J. Jill flat-front linen pants.

Yeah, I bought ten v-neck, elbow-sleeve t-shirts, what of it?  When I see a good thing I like, I stock up!

I bought two of the khaki twill capris, in addition to the blue capris and the black linen pants.

July is one of the big sale months, and it provides a good opportunity to stock up on spring and summer basics, as retailers look to clear their stores and warehouses of winter, spring and summer merchandise to make room for the fall items.  Fall is a huge season in the retail industry, along with the holidays.  The trends that are set in fall usually continue throughout the year, into the next spring and summer.  

It's always a good idea to stock up on basics (I'm taking MissusSmartyPants' advice in this regard), because basics are always in style.  Stripes are always a big trend in spring and summer, as are capris and cropped pants.  Seems like that trend is never going away!  They're cooler and more comfortable than pants in the warm weather, and not as revealing as shorts, so women love them.  They aren't the best-looking style and for a more formal occasion, one would probably be wise to wear a dress or skirt or lightweight dress pants, but for everyday wear, they're hard to beat in the heat.  

The tops and capris I bought from Lane Bryant I'm going to save for next spring and summer, so I don't have to worry so much about being caught short like I was this year.  I was really unprepared for the spring/summer season this year.  I had to travel at the end of April, and I've been very busy with meetings and my volunteer work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  In August, I have a number of outreaches to the public at the beach and on the boardwalk that I'll be doing, so I have to be dressed for that.  I'll need a hat, lots of sunscreen and weather-appropriate clothing, because I'll be sitting in the sun all day.  Oy, I'm getting sunburned just thinking about it!  I love what I do, though, so it's worth it to me.

The total spent for all these items was $322, which brings the average price per item to $23.  I bought everything on sale - J. Jill was having a 25% off sale for tees and linen, plus I got 10% off for using my J. Jill card.  That came to $156.05.  Lane Bryant was having a sale, tees for $10-$15, and capris and shorts for $19.99, plus I had a 20% discount coupon, and I got free shipping because I used my credit card.  The total came to $99.98.  LL Bean was having a sale, too, and I paid $65.93 for the pants and two sleeveless tees.  

In the interest of honesty, I'll calculate the total amount of money I spent on my spring and summer wardrobe and post that.  Hopefully I'll still be standing after that's done.  Or I'll pass out and have a heart attack.  We'll see!