braceletAs promised, I’m back with a review of the bracelet I received free from L. Michaels Jewelry. (Full disclosure – they sent it to me for free. I got to choose the style I wanted to try. I didn’t pay for it. But I’m going to review as though I did.) The package came last week (I was sent the one to your left here, which retails for $56.88) and I’ve been wearing it rather faithfully to test the theory that its magnetic properties are somehow healing.

The bracelet that came was huge! It took me a little time to figure out that it’s also self-adjustable – magnets. No string, no chain – just magnets. While the brochure didn’t say it, I still felt a little dumb for not figuring it out sooner. What’s neat is the additional links were enough to make a ring from, so I have that option, as well. In fact, the adjustability allows you design options. Each piece can be removed.

So to the wearing. This wears well. It scratches easily, which is not good for someone like me who is rough on anything on my wrist. The brochure explains the cleaning procedure – a good buff with high-gloss car polish (think NuFinish). I’ve not tried it, but I imagine with all the crevices, that’s going to be a tedious process.

I had one painful mishap with the bracelet. As I was toting a laptop in one arm and a handbag in the other, I felt something like a bee sting on the soft side of my wrist. Then I realized the pain was constant. The strong magnets had separated and reconnected and my skin was now between two magnets. Ouch.

But does it have healing properties? I put this on Friday around noon. I went back to work on the computer. I’m plagued with shoulder pain from my computer work and last week was particularly rough. However, two hours into wearing this, my shoulder felt fine. Was it the bracelet? Hard to say, but I didn’t have hip pain, either, and that’s been with me for a number of years (again, computer work). For me, that was enough to keep me wearing it. If I come to a definitive conclusion one way or the other later on, I’ll let you know.

One caution – if you work on a laptop, don’t wear it. The magnets are strong, as I mentioned. And magnets are cryptonite to hard drives, so there’s a good chance you could wipe out a hard drive if the magnets are anywhere near it for any length of time. In fact, anything electronic you’re using – cell phone, iPod, digital camera, USB drive – consider taking the bracelet off around it.

My conclusion – I love it. It’s a gorgeous, unique piece of jewelry that may at some point make me feel more energized. The company claims wearers could have to wait two weeks for the healing benefits to appear, so I’ll wait.  Would I pay $56.88 for it? Until I wore it, no. Now, I’m considering buying one for my dad (an arthritis sufferer) and another one for myself that I think is pretty. I don’t like that it scratches or that it tends to leave painful “love bites” without warning. It seems to require frequent cleaning, and it requires additional care when handling the magnets, as letting them slam closed onto each other could cause more damage. Not low-maintenance jewelry, but not too much to handle.

What do you think? Would you pay more for a piece of jewelry that could make you feel better?


October 13, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

The Frugal Bandwagon

joan and david wedgesIt’s funny how quickly fashion magazines latched on to the idea of bargain-priced fashion when the economy tanked. One magazine I subscribe to touted “Everything in this issue under $100!” What left an impression on me was how the editors were both amazed by the cheaper fashion looking so good and the hard time they had searching for it. Please. Ladies, you need to get out of Manhattan once in a while, for your audience? We know how to do that every day.

Just last week I was wearing an outfit that cost, from shirt to shoes, under 90 bucks. That included a new slouchy handbag I’d found on sale at Macy’s for what I thought was $50, but turned out to be $30 at the checkout. Amen for sales.  The shirt was a turquoise safari-style belted button down I picked up at JCPenney last year for $14.99. Jeans – Levi’s 545 that cost $14.97 at the outlet stores (and the fit on these flatters everyone). The shoes were my latest eBay purchase, a gorgeous red printed wedge (Circa by Joan and David) I bought from my favorite eBay retailer, Shoe Metro. Those cost a whopping $24.90 with shipping.  And honestly, most of my wardrobe consists of pieces that cost less than $50 each.

What’s your favorite bargain outfit?

September 25, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Feel-good Fashion

lmichaels braceletIf you look good, you feel good. It’s why fashion has made such an impact on our society and our lives. And thanks to one company, feeling good is part of the business model.

L Michaels Jewelry’s bracelets, necklaces, and rings are stunning, especially the neodymium magnetic line, but the real function is the health benefits these little beauties provide. The site claims its magnetic jewelry can help with tendonitis, carpal tunnel, and energy levels.

And I’m going to be your guinea pig. The company offered yours truly a free sample to try. Since I’m a tired woman (LOL), I’m taking them up on it. I’ll report back on its healing properties later, but for now, suffice it to say the designs are sleek and sexy enough for me to buy them on looks alone. If they help me feel better, bonus.

Take a look over at What do you think?

September 22, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Going Cheap

So how is the recession affecting your purchases? If you’re like me and you’re already a bargain shopper, it’s tough to see the difference in what you buy now versus pre-economic meltdown. But there are areas where I’ve made some changes to save a few more bucks. Have you?

Found an old friend – My Benefit cream is amazing, but it’s not cheap. It was lucky for me a friend’s daughter started selling Avon. For half the price, I now use Anew, which in my estimation is a phenomenal face cream and one I used years ago. Thanks to constant sales, I was able to pick up a jar for 15 bucks. Benefit costs $32. Cha-ching!

Took advantage of retail drought – Retailers are struggling. As a result, prices are insanely low and there are any number of discounts on top of that to entice you. Example – my $44 Levi’s 542s were $19.99. My man’s Dockers winter jacket – $30, down from $120. Even my favorite new boutique (Best Friends in Phoenixville, PA) has a sale rack where you can score a Graham and Spencer dress for as low as 10 bucks (top price on the sale rack – 30 bucks). A great way to stock up on investment pieces!

Bought more investment pieces – Maybe it’s the need to feel like I’m treating myself, but I’ve been buying fewer low-priced items and buying more higher-end pieces. I bought a lovely Velvet dress for $116, but I know I’ll get tons of wear from it. Also, today I’m going back to that boutique and getting a gorgeous little gray dress that caught my eye a week ago. Same cost, but again, it’s a style that is somewhat trendy, definitely classy, and will last any number of seasons.

Avoided eBay – You heard me. I’ve stopped shopping eBay because the prices locally are so much better. Plus no shipping charges. Until things bounce back, I can find better bargains here.

Replaced expensive facial scrubs with… table sugar – I swear it works like a charm. It dissolves, so it’s not as harmful to your skin as say crushed walnut shells would be. It costs a fraction of what a packaged scrub would cost, plus it comes in bulk. 😉 And sugar has slews of uses. I make a terrific and nearly-pain-free leg wax with it.

What have you cut back on? Are you still splurging once in a while? If so, on what?

March 10, 2009. bargains, clothes, eBay. 1 comment.

24 Carats? How about 40?

Given the latest push for environmentally friendly, well, everything, magazines have been touting the benefits of organic beauty products. I’m a skeptic by nature, so it takes more than the word of an editor who’s probably pressed to fill space to get me to buy. It takes a sale. Luckily, I found the 40 Carrots line of beauty products on sale recently. I picked up the Carrot+Mango Moisture Splurge and the Carrot + C Vitamin Serum. Both claim to naturally firm the skin and improve your skin’s appearance.

It’s love. The scent of both these products is fresh and citrus-y. It takes just a small amount of each product, and the results are nearly instant. The Vitamin Serum tightens the skin gently (you can actually feel it – I mistook it for skin dryness at first) while the Moisture Splurge refines the way the skin appears and adds much-needed moisture. Given that my skin is normally bone-dry and sporting redness, this lotion passed my litmus test.

Another great find recently – well, let’s call it a rediscovery. Back when Avon first came out with its Anew line of skin care, I bought my first jar and was blown away by its ability to seemingly erase fine lines. So when a friend became an Avon rep, it took me no time at all to order a jar.

Times have changed – for the better. There are several variations on the theme, which makes it somewhat more difficult to choose the right product. But I managed to find what I think is right for my skin type and so far, Anew has impressed me yet again. That you can now order online through any representative’s website makes it so much easier than trying to locate a rep, then waiting for a visit.

What have you found (or rediscovered) that you can’t live without?

December 28, 2008. must-have products. Leave a comment.

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes….

Tell me why I continue to buy shoes. I’ve bought one really cute, functional pair of heels and have bids on two more pairs on eBay that are just cute. I convince myself I need these. They’re essentials. Black and brown are essentials, right? No real way to explain away the purple pumps – oh wait, they’re good with jeans.

The draw – I love different styles and textures. I also love shoes because if they don’t fit and you go up a size, you’re not moping in a bag of Oreos as a result. There’s no size stigma with shoes. For that reason, I’m up to 40 pairs. I’ve promised the man, who’s tired of putting shoe racks together, that I’ll weed some out. It’ll be hard.  But when these show up, I’ll need to make room for them:


Note that they’re Naturalizer, which is a brand getting a bit more respect from me. Sure, they still have some mighty frumpy styles, but I know own three pairs that I think are quite stylish. I get lots of compliments on my black wedge sandals, which have a beautiful gold chain detail across the toe. That you can walk all day in these make them worth considering. That I paid a whopping $24.99 for the ones above make them a necessity. And they’re black, so they’re essential, right? 🙂

October 19, 2008. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Beauty’s Tried and True Finds

As much as I’d love to be able to afford a jar of Creme de la Mer, I’m on a Benefit budget. Sometimes even that taxes me – we have to be able to buy more shoes, you know. It’s through trial-and-error and years of beauty mistakes that I’ve come up with my ultimate favorites. Here are my go-to staples, my can’t-live-without-’em items that get me through my day.


VO5 Conditioning Treatment – Oh my gawd, is there anything better than this little tube of wonders for dry hair? I’ll answer that for you – no! At a mere $5 a tube (and that’s a high estimate), I get shine, conditioning, and control. Since my hair is thick, dry, and easily frizzed, I can’t live without this stuff.

John Frieda’s Frizz Ease – If you blow dry your hair, you need this stuff. Just a few small drops and your hair takes on an out-of-this-world gloss. Worth every penny of the $9.99 it costs.

John Frieda’s Brilliant Brunette Shampoo/Conditioner – Look, I’ve tried them all; the Nexus line, the Goldwells, the Matrix, the Systeme Biolage and everything in between. For my money, I’m sticking with this stuff. My hair’s never looked better.


Maybelline Define-a-Lash mascara – I mean, WOW. I’m on my third tube of this stuff and still no clumps! Nothing either high-end or low-end touches the look you get with this one. It makes my scrawny lashes look divine!

Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals – This is no bargain-basement makeup line. But the compliments I get and the way my skin looks is worth every cent. Even the overall condition of my skin is better after using this stuff. I paid something like $250 for full-size jars and brushes, but here it is three years later and I’ve only had to replace one jar. I’m a huge fan.

Max Factor Color Adapt – Some days you don’t want to use mineral powder. On my lazy days, I dab on this incredible little foundation. A little under-eye pencil and mascara and I’m out the door.

Benefit Eye Bright pencil – Simply put, it’s a facelift in a stick. Nothing covers those circles better or brightens up your face faster than this!

Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Satin Blush (F4 for those of you who need to know that) – This color looks great on anyone, seriously. I’ve always loved Clinique lipsticks, and after trying several higher-priced brands, I came back willingly. Great colors and wonderful conditioning!

Neutrogena Age Shield Face Sunblock – This is the reason some people can’t tell how old I am, I swear. I wear this every day on top of my moisturizer or as my moisturizer, depending on the day. Fantastic protection.

Skin care:

Benefit Dear John Movin’ On face cream – I’m on my third jar of it. I love it. The smell is fresh and it feels amazing on the skin.

Gold Bond Ultimate Healing lotion: Your skin will just feel so much better after using this. Try it!

What are your personal favorites?

October 15, 2008. bargains, must-have products. Leave a comment.

Thank God for H&M

The man looked at my shirt the other day and said, “Wow. You look really nice. That shirt makes you look thinner and leaner.”

I went out the next day and bought two more. Hey, we don’t ignore when the man notices, do we? The shirt in question is a gorgeous raspberry-colored bib-gathered top from H&M with a subtle tone-on-tone stripe, 3/4 sleeve and enough lycra to hug the curves just so. All of $24.50. I’d show you a photo, but for some reason the US-based H&M site has yet to come up with an online store – why is that? If I want to fake my way through their Norwegian site, I might find something remotely similar. Here’s a somewhat similar shirt from the Norwegian site, though mine is not that long and much, much more fitted. No flowers on mine, either:

Does anyone know why H&M continues to disappoint us online shoppers?

October 3, 2008. bargains, clothes. 1 comment.

Which Designer Would You Cough Up Cash For?

Since most of my wardrobe has been procured through the cunning use of sales and eBay, it’s difficult for me to consider shelling out hard-earned cash for designer threads. However, one designer has me constantly considering making an exception. Dianne von Furstenberg, in my opinion, cannot be duplicated, mimicked, or knocked off. She mixes body-flattering style with impeccable tailoring and even more amazing design and fabric choices.

And the prices aren’t obscene, either. Where else could you get a fits-like-second-skin clothing that makes you look and feel more beautiful just for wearing it at mere hundreds? In a time when top designers are charging thousands for one frock, DVF has managed to keep beautiful clothing within reach. Here’s my personal favorite from her latest collection:


Who would you splurge on?

September 16, 2008. clothes. 3 comments.

Shoes! More Shoes!

It’s tough for me to contain my excitement about the change of seasons. While I mourn summer like nobody’s business (it’s my favorite season), my body’s already craving fall’s cooler days (and all those jackets and shoes I’ve been buying all summer in preparation for fall). I sat myself down over the weekend and yes, I bought two more pairs of shoes on eBay. These are just so cute:

    Okay, to be fair, I haven’t actually won the second pair yet, but here they are: Just please, don’t bid against me. It’s not like a really need yet another pair of shoes, but I’ve got my heart set on these for some weird reason.



What have you bought?

September 3, 2008. bargains, eBay, shoes. Leave a comment.

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