Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oh La La for Rue La La

Hello everyone! My name is Ashley, and I have an obsession with products, packaging, marketing, restaurants, cooking, baking and pretty much anything in between. I love the way in which things are made and how they are distributed for the masses or for a particular type of consumer. I never just see the product, I envision the people who created, designed, and manufactured it in a pretty little package just for me to ohhh and ahhh over. Obsessed much...I think so. :) But I love every minute of it.
Now that I have that out of the way, I am dying to tell everyone one of the most coveted guilty pleasures that I have recently stumble upon. It is now my early morning obsession. The site called Rue La La ( To me it is the best shopping boutique website out there in this Internet super highway. Basically, the products are broken done by boutiques (brands). Only certain brands are sold at a time, and quantities are limited. For example, yesterday they opened a Vera Wang - Lavender label boutique. Beautiful, luxurious items up for grabs at 50% off (sometimes more) of normal retail prices. And all you have to do, is click! BRILLIANT! Since I have been a member some of there boutiques have been Prada, Penguin, Nicole Miller, Tumi, and Antik Denim.
The product is totally legit, no knock-offs or irregulars here. But, with every great find there are some downfalls. The main one being, most product goes extremely quick. Since there are such limited quantities of all sizes you have to decide and click fast. No second-guessers here. If you want it, you have to go for it. [Once again, I have to say BRILLIANT! (create the demand and limit the supply-what a novel idea)]! The second downfall is their return policy. You can return your purchased items within 30 days for merchandise credit only. No biggie if you like the site (which I do) and want to shop there again.
Well, that's all I got for now. I hope you guys check out Rue La La and enjoy it as much as I do.

Have a Fantastic Day!


Foodie Find #1: Glass Chimney Bar Special

Given the fine state of our economy at present, my hunch is that many folks are looking for some great dining deals.  I can surely understand the desire to stay home and eat as it certainly saves some money, but the reality is that local restaurants are small businesses and need some support too.  So...even if you're scaling back right now, there are definitely some options available if you can't stand the thought of cooking at home for the 20th night in a row. Here is one option (and my personal favorite):

The Glass Chimney Restaurant and Bar in Carmel has been a beloved staple for many, many years.  My parents would dine there when I was little, and I literally envisioned a fancy-schmancy restaurant made of glass...but that's beside the point.  To jump back on track, The Glass Chimney offers a monthly bar special that is seriously one of the best deals around - they change the offering each month, but you get whatever the special is and usually a side dish of some sort and the choice of a beer or wine for around $14.00.  YES - I said $14.00.  For dinner.  And let me just add that they do not skimp on portions.  For March, the special is fish and chips, which is described as "...a lightly breaded Basa fish served with french fries, cole slaw, and malt vinegar."  Hello, delicious!!  

Not only is the food amazingly good, the atmosphere is wonderful as well.  From the cozy den-like feel of the bar area to the ever so helpful Denny (who has been at the Glass Chimney for 20+ years), you are sure to have an enjoyable evening here.  I have eaten here many, many times and can honestly report that every meal has been exquisite.  Oh, and if you're contemplating a great first date (especially with someone you're wanting to impress), this is highly recommended.    

If you'd like more info on this restaurant, click here.  

Happy Dining!

XOXO, Tiff


Friday, February 27, 2009

Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed: How-To #1

I lied...I don't think I can help with tail bushiness.  In fact, please go to the doctor immediately if you even have a tail.  Now that we have that out of the way, let's get to little tricks to make you appear well rested.  

Did you know that you can buy 8 hours of sleep at your local drug store?  Seriously!!  Or a department store, if you prefer.  I think the best component of the "looking more awake" set is a yellow concealer stick.  The yellow is used directly under your eyes, over any darkness you may have there.  I like to start with my primer (green shade from Smashbox, remember) so that the concealer glides on and is easier to blend.  It's really amazing to me how much this one trick helps.  But we're not going to stop there, oh no.  What happens next is a matter of preference...mine is a little shimmer over the yellow concealer to further brighten the area.  Some prefer more of a matte look; in that case, rub some pressed powder on your fingertip and press it over the concealer.  If you want a little shimmy shimmy, I like a product called Doubleglow 7 (clever, huh) by Du Wop.  My only gripe about this product is the packaging - curiously, it is in a little round container and is a little difficult to use as a result.  To keep it from collecting under your fingernails, I recommend using a small concealer brush (which makes application easier anyway).  Either brush or press the Doubleglow 7 or similar product over the concealer.  The last step to creating a great wide-awake look is to line the inner corners of your eyes with a pearly-white eye pencil.  Follow with your normal makeup routine.  Voila...good morning, beautiful!!        


Benefit Cosmetics has partnered up with Banana Republic...

Benefit Cosmetics and Banana Republic have partnered up and are offering a couple of great deals to check out, along with a fun sweepstakes.  Hey you...yes can't win if you don't enter.  Might as well give it a shot!  Click here to enter.  Also on this page are a couple of coupons to use; one for Benefit Cosmetics (20% off any $50 order) and one for Banana Republic (30% off, in-store only).  

Happy shopping and have a fantastic Friday night!!

XOXO, Tiff 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Delicious Non-Dairy Ice Cream?

As it turns out, this is a real possibility!  Recently, I purchased a couple of books titled "Eat This, Not That."  The purpose of this collection of books is to help consumers make smart choices while out to eat or in the gorcery.  I will definitely be posting more on other items in this book; it has been pretty fascinating to me.  I have to admit - I have felt pretty responsible when it comes to label reading at the grocery - but this book opened my eyes.  I have understood that huge amounts of sugar is not good (but tastes DELICIOUS, right? *wink, wink*), so I thought I was doing a pretty decent job on my food selections.  Well golly gee I sure wasn't.  As it turns out, my delicious little packets of instant oatmeal (blueberries and cream, thank you very much) had 12 grams of sugar per packet.  Sugar that was listed as the SECOND ingredient!!  Sugar that was straight up added sugar.  So what?  Well apparently, you might as well have a scoop of ice cream instead of oatmeal.  

This got me thinking about ice cream (because I LOVE IT!), because you know I try to practice "safe ice cream eating."  Safe ice cream eating includes seeing a "low-fat" on the label, or "frozen yogurt," or any kind of fruit - because fruit = healthy, right??  :)  Those are healthy choices, right?  Ummmmm....wrong.  Turns out there is a ton of sugar or high fructose corn syrup in so many ice creams that try to pass themselves off as healthy options.  "Eat This, Not That" recommends a few smart choices, but my favorite has to be Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent made with Coconut Milk.  It is surprisingly completely non-dairy, relying on coconut milk as the main ingredient.  This does contain a higher amount of fat, but the fat is monounsaturated, which is a healthy fat - similar to the fats found in avocado and olive oil (which are also more filling).  I LOVE the Coconut flavor (there are real flakes of coconut- try it with a drizzle of low sugar chocolate syrup) and the Mint Chip.  There is something that really catches my attention about these ice creams...and it's the fiber content.  Yes, I said fiber content and we're still chatting about ice cream.  I don't know about you, but I don't think it has even dawned on me to think of ice cream as a potential fiber source.  These ice creams contain 6 grams (!!!) of fiber per 1/2 cup serving.  They do conatin 13 grams of sugar, but it comes from healthier sources like coconut milk and agave syrup.  

Obviously, we will and should never count on ice cream to be a source of balanced nutrition, but we have to know that we will want a treat now and then.  It is refreshing to find a healthier option that tastes really, really good.  Let me know if you end up trying it!  I found the most variety of this brand at Whole Foods.  

Here is a link for more info about the ice cream:
*remember, it is the purely decadent made with coconut milk

Here is a link for more info about the "Eat This, Not That" collection:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Facial Issues - What's Yours?

So as I've gotten a little older, my skin has changed. Not in a "I look in the mirror and see a lot of wrinkles" kind of way, but a "well I guess my skin is kind of dry and hey, I'm breaking out on my cheeks now" sort of way. Last year, I spent a small fortune on facial care products trying to battle this new "acne" on my cheeks...the cystic kind that is painful, red, and below the skin. And then, when it has "gone away," it leaves a lovely mark where it once was. Since I thought I was fighting acne, I literally tried every ingredient known to clear it...benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, etc. To my dismay, this seemed to make the issue worse. Finally I waved my little white flag and to a trip to the dermatologist, where he insisted that I was stressed out due to wedding planning and proceeded to recommend (surprise, surprise) benzoyl peroxide treatment and retinol. And...not finished...a chemical peel. I had such high hopes, but the chemical peel felt similar to pressing my face against...I don't know, maybe the sun? And then my skin proceeded to peel off for another 2 weeks. ATTRACTIVE!! Moral of the story - this stuff didn't work and FINALLY, I have figured out that my skin is stressed out by all the crap I've been doing to it. the point...out of all the stuff I've tried, these have been the most effective.

1. Cetaphil - an old classic that I have been using for a few months now. It is super gentle, dissolves makeup well, doesn't dry out my skin, and makes it really soft. I love that I've tried some stupidly expensive brands and this is what I've settled on... - I use the gentle skin cleanser.

2. The All Calm line by Good Skin @ Kohl's - again, surprising find at an affordable price. I like the toner, which insures that you have removed all traces of dirt and makeup but is also calming and refreshing. I also use the moisture cream - which I have to say is heavenly. I feel like I can literally feel it sinking into my skin - I usually let it sink in before I put anything else on my face for a few minutes. I have definitely noticed less redness after using these products.

3. At night, I have been using Olay Definity Night Restorative Sleep Cream (how good does just the name sound??). This product contains ingredients that help even skin tone, while also fighting multiple signs of aging. Retinol helps keep skin clear. A night cream is wonderful because it takes advantage of the restorative nature of sleep, therefore encouraging an increased cell turnover rate. What this means for us is that we wake up with skin that looks luminous and refreshed...yes please!!

4. The last product I'll recommend is not skin care related, but really has helped decrease the redness in my skin. Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer is pretty much the most amazing thing to happen to my makeup routine. This stuff feels like a heavenly souffle - it glides on your face and neutralizes the redness in your skin - and provides a great base for foundation or powder, whatever you wear. Everything blends so easily on your skin when you start with this product. If redness isn't your issue, they have a clear primer which is very popular, and also a couple other colors to help neutralize or brighten your skin tone.

If anyone has any questions, please let me know and I'll do my best to answer. I've tried A LOT of products and while I realize our skin types are all different, there's a good chance I can give advice at some capacity. Remember, I'm a product freak. :)

Happy Tuesday!

XOXO, Tiff.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My First Blog Post EVER!

For my first favorite thing post, I have to rave about where I am right now, which is Pillow Talk. Pillow Talk is an adorable lingerie boutique in Carmel, IN and is owned by my good friend Rachel Davidson. Not only does she carry unbelievably cute lingerie (mostly bra/undie sets), but she offers an unparalleled level of personal service that I believe makes the shopping experience memorable. Seriously, who enjoys shopping for a bra? Maybe there are a few out there who do, but I have never been one to really get into bra shopping - not really sure why that is. I think undies are way more fun to shop for, and maybe it's because there are so many more fun patterns and cute styles...I don't know. Thanks to Pillow Talk, however, bra shopping has hit a new high for me. Rachel carries Betsey Johnson, Cosabella, Eberjey, On Gossamer, and numerous other delicious lines. Betsey Johnson makes, quite possibly, the cutest bra/undie sets I've ever seen. All of her products have the most adorable little details; tiny bows on the bra straps, pretty lace detailing, ruching, ruffles. I think one of the best parts (and I am NOT in this category, mind you) is that Betsey produces her bras in really hard to find sizes, like 32-D. If a boy is reading this, you most likely didn't understand that. But for a girl, this is huge news! I have heard so many friends who fall into this category complain about the fact that they cannot find cute, pretty bras in their size - now they are able to wear the cutest styles they have always wanted!

I have to add that my first assumption when I initially came to Pillow Talk was that it would be way out of my price range...and how wrong I was. I would say that 80-85% of the products in this store are at a similar or lower price point than Victoria's Secret, but offer better quality. Sounds like a pretty amazing deal to me.

Pillow Talk also sells the super popular Ambre scent line...I can't say enough positive about these scents. Anyone who knows me understands that I am a *slight,* ok...MAJOR perfume/scent fanatic. Obsession might be a word to describe it as well. Anyhow, I don't think I've ever received more compliments on how I smell than when I'm wearing Ambre. An interesting fun fact is that Rachel and I went to high school with the creator of this line, so it's made locally. Ambre comes in 3 blends: the original Ambre, Invoke (which combines the original with floral notes), and Solace (a sensuous combination of the original with vanilla and another secret ingredient). I have to be honest, I LOVE THEM ALL. Seriously, there isn't one single one I wouldn't wear. And the body cream...oh the body cream. Heavenly smell? Check. Hydrating? Yes. Hydrating about 10 hours later? Ummmm, yes. Does your lotion do that? You have to check this line out.

I could go on and on about this place - and I probably will for future posts. But for now, just stop in and see for yourself. :)

Love, hugs, and kisses, Tiff.

Pillow Talk website:
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