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Best Budget Beauty Buys

I love when my friend Suzy comes to visit me in California. Splitting her time between the posh resort town of Aspen and bustling Manhattan, style expert and author Susan Redstone keeps me current on critical fashion advice and inspiration. (I was so relieved when Suzy gave my favorite Ugg boots a nod of approval—yes, they’re still a fashion “Do”!)

Over a bottle of deliciously light Pinot Grigio from Cellar360 Paso Robles, Suzy shared her favorite budget beauty buys, which she recently touted on a Fox TV segment. These are quality products that do everything from maximize to moisturize—for far less cash than pricey department store brands.

Sealed With A Cure Lip GlossSuzy’s top picks for brides include Maybelline’s Pulse Perfection™ Vibrating Mascara; Orly’s Once Upon A Time and Matte Couture nail color (“Matte polish is very ‘in’ right now”); and Sealed with a Cure lip gloss in a shimmering pale pink with gold flecks; it’s pretty, paraben-free and packed with lip-friendly botanical ingredients—and 20% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research.

For more of Suzy’s fashion wisdom, have a look at her book, Just Try It On, a smart seasonal guide of when to buy what—with a whole chapter devoted to weddings!

See Suzy here:

Jolene Posted by Jolene on Dec 18, 2009.
Filed under Bridal Beauty AdviceBudget Wedding IdeasMake-upStuff We Love


Decadence Deconstructed: Parker-Lusseau Pastries

There are so many things to love about this job, but when notable Monterey pastry chefs from Parker-Lusseau Pastries bring you an assortment of cakes and pastries to taste in the middle of a day-long meeting…well, let’s just say they never get such treatment at my husband’s workplace!

Sure, Parker-Lusseau also delivered a delicious lunch. As I made my way through my curried tuna with freshly-baked wholegrain bread, I was already convinced this company knew their stuff. And then came dessert.

We knew it’d be nothing short of silly if we came to Monterey and didn’t order cakes from a place that makes wedding pastries as gorgeous as, well, Exhibit A:

Parker-Lusseau Wedding Cake

To properly sample the wares of this Certified By The Guide wedding vendor, we’d each prepared for this day by ordering a mini-tart or piece of cake to taste in advance, and when they arrived we laid them all out on a plate so we could pass them around.

As we looked at the plate of decadence, we all muttered versions of the same tired ladylike line: “How will we finish this? It’s just so much!”  I’m both proud and slightly ashamed to say that a few minutes later the plate was almost clean.

Could you blame us? Look at this menu: Chocolate mousse and raspberries with pistachio cake, double lemon tart, tiramisu, chocolate mousse combined with creme brulee and flourless chocolate cake (yup, that’s one cake!)...

Several hours later, after our initial sugar high had subsided, we dipped into a box of rich Parker-Lusseau truffles. You know, just because.

This wasn’t a day to count calories.
It was a day to count our blessings: We’d found a company that not only knows their way around cakes and tarts, they also deliver them to your doorstep.

Lisa Posted by Lisa on Dec 17, 2009.
Filed under Food and DrinkStuff We Love


Recyling Heirloom Jewelry: Turning Something Old Into Something New

A while back, my mom gave me her diamond engagement ring. She said she wanted me to have it now so that I could enjoy it sooner than later. I was very touched, of course, but given that it was several sizes too large for any of my fingers there was no way I could wear it. So…it sat around in a box for over a year. Clearly I wasn’t enjoying it as my mother had intended, and I’m sure she was quietly wondering if her gift would ever see the light of day again.

Since I’m not really a ring person, I decided to turn my heirloom into a pendant and I knew just where I wanted to have it done: the Christensen Heller Gallery in Oakland. I love going into their store on College Avenue, because it’s cozy and intimate, their display cases are filled with lots of distinctive jewelry, and their staff is incredibly easy to work with.

Christensen Heller GalleryWhen I sat down with gemologist Baird Heffron, I asked him to design something simple, elegant and not too pricey. He not only satisfied me on all counts, he and Jan Christensen Heller, the owner, were able to use some of the settings from the original ring, which made my pendant even more affordable. Angela Prieto stepped in to help me select a chain, and Baird even did an appraisal of the completed necklace. What more could a woman ask for?

Whether you come to the Christensen Heller Gallery to snap up a pair of earrings you saw in the window or to order a custom-designed piece, these very talented professionals will take care of you. They’re knowledgeable, patient, and will make your whole experience a pleasure.

Your wedding day is a perfect excuse to breathe new life in your family’s heirloom jewels. For inspiration to help you turn your “something old” into “something new,” check out their gallery.

Jan Posted by Jan on Dec 14, 2009.
Filed under Wedding IdeasWedding Jewelry and Rings


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