Sunday, April 26, 2015

How To Buy Luxury Bedding

They say you should spend  money when you spend your time. (Which means I should be driving a Pagani)
Most people spend 1/3 of their life between the sheets, so following the comfort principal, it makes sense to spend good money on some luxury bedding.

Frette Doppio

The bedding industry is big business. In the United States the business of bed sheets is worth around $3 billion. The desire for high end bedding is ever-growing, so if you are in the market for some specialty sheets, here is a little guide to what all the terminology in sheet buying actually means:

image via

Thread Count
The thread count on a set of sheets measures the number of threads per square inch, counted vertically and horizontally.
The lower the thread count the more marginal the sheet.
Thread count can be misleading though, some manufacturers use "plying" which is taking multiple fine strands and twisting them together, counting each of these mini strands in order to give a high thread count, but in reality you don't have any extra fabric. A high thread count sheet should feel like there is more fabric than a lower thread count sheet, so look for a single ply.

image via

Thread count isn't everything though. You can have a high thread count sheet that is made from an inferior fabric. A short-staple cotton with a higher thread count will feel less luxe than a long-staple cotton with a slightly lower thread count.
100% Egyptian cotton is considered to be the most luxurious cotton in the world.

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The weave of the fabric also changes the feel. It largely comes down to your personal preference.
Percale is a tight weave that makes sheets feel smooth and firm and doesn't come in a glossy finish. Percale sheets can be 100% cotton but they can also be a blend of fabrics, so check the label before buying.
Jersey is a t-shirt like fabric that is actually a knit, not a weave.
Flannel is a cozy, warm weave. It is a medium weight with a napped texture made by stretching and lifting the threads.
Satin. A satin weave is made with silk, and is made glossy and smooth by floating some threads over others. But beware when buying satin weave sheets - sometimes cheap sheets made with polyester or nylon are also labeled sateen. Make sure you read the label to see which fabrics have been used.
Sateen is like satin but made with cotton.

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Size Does Matter
Measure your mattress before buying your sheets. A fitted sheet should tuck under the pocket comfortably, not ride up the mattress. You could have a 14 inch, 16 inch or even 18 inch mattress depth, and buying the wrong size, whether too deep or too shallow ruins the effect and comfort of your expensive bedding.
Also know the size of your pillows to ensure a perfect pillowcase fit.
Frette Bedding

Know Your Cottons

Egyptian Cotton is grown in the Nile Valley and is known for it's silky and luxurious feel. Look for 100% Egyptian cotton - some manufacturers blend it with inexpensive fibers, which creates a less silky feel.

Pima Cotton is mostly grown in the southwest USA but is also grown in other countries (including Australia, Peru and Israel)
Pima is reasonably priced and has a smooth texture

Standard Cotton is the least expensive and lacks the luxurious feel of Egyptian and Pima cottons.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Mothers Day Gift Set From Tatcha

My favorite Japanese luxury skin care line, Tatcha, has released a limited edition gift set for Mothers Day.


Tatcha products are both high performance ( you see results almost instantly) and completely luxurious. I have written about them many times, I use them myself, I travel with them, and I use them on my celebrity clientele, who like me, swear by them.

This limited edition Okasan Mothers Day Gift Set is the perfect gift to pamper mom (or yourself!) for Mothers day. Exquisitely packaged in a handcrafted wooden kiri box this rejuvenating collection combines luxury and glamour. 
Along with my favorite Luminous Deep Hydrating Lifting Mask (I take these with me whenever I travel, and also use them at home when I really want to pamper myself), the set also includes travel sizes of Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream, Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream, and Gold Camellia Beauty Oil.

Tatcha Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream Travel Size

If you have ever purchased Tatcha products before you will already know that the packaging is just divine. When my Tatcha products arrive I always take time to sit down and open them slowly. Opening a parcel from Tatcha is an experience in itself!

I will be ordering one of these sets for myself too - it is perfect for traveling, whether that be on your summer vacation, an international trip or business travel. These sets are a limited edition and supplies won't last, so place your order as quickly as possible.

You can read some of my other posts about Tatcha here:
The Tatcha Indigo Collection
Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydrating Mask
The Luxe List - Gift Giving Ideas From Tatcha

Tatcha Radiant Deep Brightening Serum Travel Size

I have a coupon code for you too: Shop Our Mother's Day Gift Set and receive a Travel-Size Ageless Renewal Cream ($39 value) with any order over $20.  Use code LOVEMOM at checkout to redeem.  Offer valid 4/20 to 5/11/2015 and may not be combined with any other offers.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

7 Great Travel Hacks ~ How To Travel The World On A Shoestring Budget

7 Great Travel Hacks

People always ask me how as a single parent I manage to travel internationally every year. Most assume that international travel is exceedingly expensive, but I can normally do a 2 week trip to Italy for my son and myself for less than a 2 week trip to Hawaii.
It just comes down to knowing how to work your way around the system.
With a few simple travel hacks up your sleeve, the world becomes your oyster.

Santorini Greece

1. Frequent Flier Miles
The most obvious way to do it is by using frequent flier miles. Sign up for them through the airlines when you travel. Airlines are either part of One World or Star Alliance, so even if you are flying with multiple airlines you can generally consolidate those miles.
Also use credit cards with great frequent flier programs, such as American Express, Chase Sapphire and Capital One Venture. Use the card like a debit card, never running a balance, but running every possible expense through the card. 
You would be amazed at how much you spend each year on food, transport, cell phone bills, utilities etc. At worst you will get a mile per dollar spent, but frequently you will get 2x or even 3x that.
A free round trip to Europe is normally around 50,000 or 60,000 miles, a trip from USA to Australasia is around 80,000 miles during peak seasons. A trip from the USA to Europe can run as low as 30,000 miles in the off season
You can easily earn a free round trip ticket every year without spending a single dollar more than you are spending now.

2. Keep Your Dates Flexible
If possible don't be married to specific dates. You can save drastically by moving your dates by just a couple of days. Normally Tuesday's and Wednesday's are cheaper days to fly. Sometimes moving your trip by just a couple of days can save you hundreds of dollars. At the moment I'm prepping this year's Glam Italia Tour and by moving our start date by 2 days everyone will save $900 on their return airline ticket. Which means $900 more to spend at Prada!

3. Look At Alternate Airports
Sometimes flying into a nearby airport is considerably cheaper than going to your main airport. I prefer London Gatwick to London Heathrow, and it's sometimes cheaper. If Rome is your final destination try flying into Milan instead and then catching either a cheap internal flight or go 1st class on the fast train and you will still come up hundreds of dollars cheaper. 
I've known people to fly to Munich or Berlin and then take a sleeper cabin in an over night train, adding a few commuting hours, albeit in gorgeous comfort, and saving money.

Train travel in Europe is just fantastic. Super affordable, often luxurious, and the view as you travel is always stunning.

Look at multi flight options too. Maybe there's a cheap flight from the US to Copenhagen for $500 roundtrip, and Copenhagen to Rome is only $200 round trip, saving you $1000 on airfare - the more you look around, the better deals you can find.

4. Avoid Hotels.
If you want to keep your trip to a budget don't stay in hotels. Air B&B offers rooms for rent in people's homes, which is probably the least expensive way to travel. Personally I rent apartments every place I go. I choose gorgeous areas, rent divine apartments and spend a fraction of the money a hotel would cost. Renting an apartment gives you an entirely different experience. Rather than being a casual observer, you feel like you are a part of the community. I love it!

5. Eat In.
One of the glorious benefits of renting an apartment is that you don't eat out all the time. I love to go to local stores and markets, pick up local foods and dine in. Eating at home cuts down the amount of food you consume (and the calories!) so you are less likely to overeat. Having a mix of eating out and eating in can save you a small fortune, but also can be much more relaxing as well as fun. 

6. Pre-order Online
If you are planning on buying tickets to major tourist sites, try buying tickets online ahead of time. I do this for major art museums and tourist spots, and it not only saves dollars but also saves you time as you are not spending hours of your vacation standing in line.

7. Take The Train
Flying and renting cars (in Europe anyway) can be unnecessarily costly. Train travel in Europe is exceptional. It always seems to be efficient, on time, and relaxing.
If you will be moving around a lot look at a Eurorail Pass, if only traveling a little look at booking tickets online, ahead of time for substantial savings.
If you are taking long train trips look at overnight trains. A sleeper cabin booked in advance can be much cheaper than flying and booking airport transit and a hotel. 

Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Age Of Adaline ~ Blake Lively's Costumes

We just went to the Corinna B's World Age Of Adaline screening.
It was fabulous - the perfect movie for a group of fashion forward, glam loving, makeup and hair loving girls to win VIP passes to!


Blake Lively was of course, gorgeous. The story tracks Adaline's (Lively's) life across 100+ years during which a scientific anomaly makes her impervious to aging, keeping her perpetually 29 years old.

The film mostly takes place in 2014, with flashbacks throughout the 20th century. For a story like this to work you are reliant on costuming. The wardrobe not only has to reflect each period in the story, but also has to marry the contemporary designs with flavors from Adaline's coming of age time (the 1940's). It would be easy for the fashions to eclipse the story, but instead under the direction of  Academy Award winning costumer Angus Strathie, the wardrobe skillfully keeps us believing Adaline's trajectory through the 20th century. The mix of contemporary with vintage is fabulous. Adaline's clothes steer clear of trendy, at all times maintaining classic lines and the good taste of a lady who hit her stride circa 1940.

Make sure you go see Age Of Adaline, opening in theaters Friday April 24th, but in the meantime check out some of the costuming, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

Gucci tea dress paired with a 1950's style cardigan

New Years eve 1940's style coat over her Gucci dress


This custom Gucci dress appears twice in the film, both times on New Year's Eve, but once in 1945 and then again in 2014.


Adaline in the 1960's
Adaline in the 1960's

The film's final, pivotal scene feature's Lively in this golden Grecian Gucci

Bridal Beauty Tip #12 ~ The Wedding Makeup Trial Checklist

I can't stress enough how important your pre-wedding day makeup trial is. Not only is it your opportunity to perfect your look for your big day, but it is also an opportunity to avoid a major disaster on the biggest day of your life.

Jenny Lee Wedding Dress

In the past few weeks I have had multiple brides call me the week of their wedding to tell me their makeup artist has cancelled on them. They wind up being totally stuck because all the good makeup artists have invariably been booked for months, and unless they get incredibly lucky they have to face their wedding day with no makeup artist.
I even had a maid of honor call me in tears 2 hours before the ceremony because the artist they booked didn't bother to show up. 
He decided he had something better to do.
The bride and all her bridesmaids came with no makeup because they were paying for  makeup artist. Can you even imagine walking down the aisle with no makeup on??
I was already booked and couldn't help her.

The common thread in each case was that the bride had gone the super budget route, and had chosen a makeup artist from Thumbtack. I'm sure on some level you can find a good makeup on a cut rate service, but I don't like your odds.

So how do you avoid a wedding day makeup nightmare?
Start with the clues you can spot at your makeup trial.

1. Beware the "free trial"
When someone offers a free trial they are telling you straight up that they don't attach value to their time, their skills, the products in their kit. If they don't see themselves as worthy, why should you?
A professional will attach value to your trial. 

2. Expect Punctuality.
A good artist will arrive to your trial on time and fully prepared.
If they arrive late to your trial you can't expect them to arrive on time to your wedding. The trial is the job interview - your artist needs to present their A game, show you that they respect your event.

3. Note Their Appearance.
As above, this is a job interview. Your artist needs to present looking like a great hire. That means clean hair, good grooming, nicely - not sloppily dressed, and they should be sporting nice makeup. If their makeup is poorly applied or looks overblown, you can take that as a warning sign!
Even if the artist's work is brilliant I would see a sloppy appearance as a giant red flag. 

4. Check Out Their Kit.
When that makeup kit opens up there is a goldmine of information looking right up at you!
My first concern is how clean is the kit? Does it look dusty and powdery? Are there broken powders and shadows floating around? Are the bottles of foundation and palettes of products looking clean and well cared for, or are they messy?
Next you want to glance at the makeup brushes. There is never, ever any excuse for anyone to arrive with dirty brushes. Artists carry brush cleaning fluid, and part of packing up from a job is cleaning your brushes before you head out to the next job. When an artist gets home the expectation is that they wash their brushes, no matter how late it is.
Think about a chef after a busy night at the restaurant. Does he say he's too tired to clean up and leave dirty dishes and food scraps everywhere? or does the entire restaurant get cleaned spotlessly?

5. What Products Are They Using?
We all use a variety of makeup products, but the majority, if not all of the products in your artist's kit should be quality products. Cheapie products aren't built to last 12 hours. You are paying for the artist to do a great job with quality products that have been designed to work well, be photographed and last all night.

6. Listen For The Questions.
Is your artist asking you a lot of questions? He or she needs to ask questions about you, your makeup style and preferences, your dress, the overall look of your wedding, the time of your ceremony - there are tons of questions to ask. A good artist will get the information and then create something fabulous to go with it. 

7. Where's The Contract?
You don't have a deal - a business deal - without a contract.
A contract binds the 2 of you together for your big day. I would be very wary of anyone who didn't give you a contract to fill out and sign. A freelance makeup artist is an owner operated business. The contract shows their commitment to their business, without a contract its all just talk. 

8. Check Their References.
Check your artist out online before you make the commitment. If they have been doing weddings already (do you want to be their first?) they will probably have reviews that you can read. If they don't have reviews you can call around wedding planners and photographers and see what the word on the street is about this artist.  People love to praise artists who have been reliable and who have done a fabulous job.

Remember: when it comes to your wedding makeup, a bargain is seldom a bargain. Don't blow $5000 of photography on $50 worth of makeup

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Beauty Tip of The Week #12 ~ Six Secrets To Having A Good Hair Day, Every Day

After one too many difficult hair days, I found this on Career Girl Daily.
May your week be full of good hair days...
What do you when you wake up and your hair looks like it’s been on an adventure that you weren’t invited to? Especially if you’ve got limited time to get ready anyway? Well, besides panic and scream and drag a brush through it with furious abandon, there are a few things you can do in advance to make sure you’re having a good hair day every day! So read on to see our six secrets to a good hair day every day!

image by Kristen Cesiro for Career Girl Daily

#1 Invest in a great pillowcase
It might seem farfetched but investing in a silk pillowcase has hundreds of benefits, while you sleep your hair will glide across the surface and won’t get tangled or messed up. A silk pillowcase will stop your face from creasing on one side too – and feels incredible!
#2 Prepare in advanceIf you know you like your hair a certain way, do some preparation before you wake up. Have a look at some comfortable ways to preserve your style while you’re sleeping, for example sleeping on a plait or with a scarf around your hair after applying serum.
#3 Add some oomph
Teasing the roots of your hair can go a long way in refreshing your look and making your hair look freshly styled. Use dry shampoo or salt spray to add texture to your look, teasing it with a comb or your fingers can help erase any sleep induced flatness.

#4 Treat your hairYour poor hair goes through a lot, set aside some time to treat it with a great mask. Don’t forget to use heat protection serum to avoid any damage or split ends, and look for a good mask that will keep your hair hydrated and fed. 
#5 Shower-right
It may seem obvious but using a great shampoo and conditioner can make a huge difference to how your hair falls. Rinse your hair through with cold water before you get out of the shower to tame frizz and seal in the moisture, and if possible let it naturally dry.
#6 Go easy on the heat
Let your hair have a breather if possible, go easy on the curling tongs and straightening irons and if you use a hair dryer, make sure you use a wide barreled brush and get the perfect blow out.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Go Totally Nude ~ The Coveted List April 2015

My favorite color palette for summer is crisp, vibrant white.
Its so fresh and clean, looks wonderful with a tan, and makes an easy transition from day to evening.
Whether the total look is white or whether white is an accent, I love it.

Eileen Fisher Summer 2015

This month's Coveted List looks at pieces to pair with whites, offsetting bright white with easy nude.

Go Totally Nude


Totally Nude Coveted List clockwise from top left:

Butter London Nail Lacquer in Crumpet
Kevyn Aucoin Expert Lip Color in Faith
Hermes Cape Cod Watch
Celine Butterfly Sunglasses in Transperant Saffron Acetate
Jimmy Choo Pledge Wedge
Scott Barnes Body Bling
 Chanel Large Tote in Nude

NORDSTROM - Shop Women's Clothing Brands to Know

Expert Lip Color in Faith

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