Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

It's New Year's Eve, line up the cocktails...

It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is coming tonight. Yes, it’s New Year’s Eve and now is the time to make those resolutions. Most people make resolutions that involve eating better, being a better person, finishing school or the ever popular, losing weight. I on the other hand do not make promises I cannot keep so I only promise to find new fun things to do and enjoy.

This is where we spent Christmas day, Stanford Cancer Center
The past few years have not been kind to my hubby and me. We’ve both experienced health issues. I was diagnosed with SLE a couple of years ago and while the massive amount of medication I take daily keeps me status quote, I still feel bad once in a while. My poor hubby on the other hand was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer earlier in the year and is now going through a bone marrow transplant. Needless to say 2014 has to be a better year than this past one.


My hubby was hooked up to this monster...and we didn't get any figgy pudding
This is why I don’t feel a need for the mundane resolutions of losing weight or eating more fruit. I want to have some fun and maybe experience things more often. Things I will do the coming year. Buy jeans that fit, find a black handbag and maybe go to a party. I want to drink champagne, eat crazy appetizers and indulge in bread pudding with rum sauce. I’m going to go to the movies, plan a trip, and go to a museum. Basically I resolve to have some fun.


I didn't get to go to a museum on Christmas but at least Stanford had awesome artwork
Life is hectic and unpredictable so why make resolutions you can’t keep? Buying myself a pair of jeans is something I can actually get done. I also plan on reading a lot and not fussing about the condition of my house. While I lamented my lack of flowers this past summer, I’m not going to get crazy about the leaves in the pool. Sometimes the only resolution you need to make is to live life and if that means dirty dishes in the sink, so be it. So that’s why my resolutions are something that might actually get done in the coming year.
I'd rather be shopping for these...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Outfits for Traveling

And you don't even get to ride the Matterhorn at the end of this line

This is the most heavily traveled time of the year. I personally would rather have a root canal than spend time on a plane. I’ve been known to drive nine hours in order to avoid a two hour flight. It’s not because I’m afraid of flying or anything so mundane, I just hate being cooped up in a plane with people I don’t know who insist on stealing the arm rest and coughing up a lung during the entire flight. You know that the air is recirculated right?


Boyfriend jeans are great, note the big tote
One of the things that make me feel better is planning my travel outfit. You need something comfortable, easy to remove and carry. Do not wear belts or scarves as this just makes you a target for inspection. Explaining that the belt is actually attached to the dress doesn’t help especially when you’re explaining it to a male TSA agent. Guys just don’t get fashion.


Even Elle MacPherson does this look
My advice, wear pants and slip on shoes. If you’re traveling to an area where it’s cold, wear boots that are easy to take off and put on, no lace up shoes. Jeans are always a good bet, don’t wear ones that are too tight, now is the time to experience boyfriend jeans. You need to be able to bend over comfortably because you may have to put those shoes on while standing up. Most airports have too few seats at the end of the inspection section.


Boots are a good choice
Wear a comfortable sweater but make sure it isn’t too baggy. Believe it or not, they actually look at your body and if you look like your smuggling something on the plane they will pull you aside. I wear a jacket that’s easy off, has lots of pockets, this way I can stuff my pocket, dump the jacket in a bin and move on. For those traveling home, good luck, for those traveling to far off warmer destination, have fun. Remember, travel light and comfortable and your trip will always be awesome.
Chelsea boots with sturdy heels make walking easy

Friday, December 27, 2013

What is Coprolite?

Coprolite in its natural state, looks like poop!

You learn something new every day. Today’s lesson…coprolite is actually dinosaur feces. Coprolite is fossilized dinosaur dung, but it doesn’t smell. Over millions of years the poop from a dinosaur becomes a fossil. Like most fossils, the dung changes composition when it converts into other compounds such as silicates and calcium carbonates. The end result is a stone. You’re probably wondering why I mention coprolite, it’s because people make jewelry out of it.


You can cut it into beads and polish it to make a bracelet
I’m not sure if people who buy coprolite jewelry know its dinosaur poop, or maybe they do and want to have an interesting conversation piece. The funny thing is many coprolite stones are quite attractive when the stone is cut into pieces and polished. Like many naturally occurring transformations there are fascinating patterns that form when the feces is converted from its organic state into a fossil.

Coprolite cross section, what pretty colors inside

Using granite as an example, you can see swirls, veins and other patterns which are similar in coprolite. Unlike granite, both digested and undigested bits of food are what make the interesting colors and patterns as the dung converts during fossilization. There are even large enough pieces that show distinctive fossilization so you know what the dinosaur has eaten, even fish bones. This is how paleontologist discerned which dinosaurs were carnivores and which were herbivores.


Cut into shapes, it polished quite nicely
Like any other naturally occurring stone or gem someone found it pretty and decided to cut a piece to fit jewelry and polished it till it shone. The examples I’ve seen of coprolite jewelry are quite attractive and if you didn’t know it was dinosaur poop you would probably be pretty impressed. Come to think of it, the fact that something that is so pretty now and was formerly poop is quite impressive. Just goes to show you, if you hang on to anything long enough it will become worth something, even poop.
A coprolite ring makes an interesting conversation piece

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Now that Christmas is over...

So maybe you didn't get one of these...

Now that Christmas is over let the returns and real shopping begin. The leftovers are wrapped and snug in the refrigerator and the beautiful wrapping paper is just a sorry mess tumbled together in the recycling bin. All the surprises are gone, we now know what that weirdly shaped box under the tree held. We either got everything we wanted or at least everything that we needed. So why are retailers advertising great sales?


or even one of these
Many people give cash or gift card for Christmas. It’s an easy way to satisfy a picky shopper or at least be able to make sure that you gave a gift that will be used. Teenagers are particularly hard to shop for so giving a gift card at their favorite store makes you a hero. When I was younger I got many a sweater that didn’t fit because an elderly relative hadn’t seen me in years and I grew. Not so much a problem with gift cards.

You might be doing this...
Retailer know that all those gift cards that were purchased are now going to be redeemed and they also know that there are a lot of ill-fitting sweaters out there. So what do they do? They have a sale. If they can get you to spend a little of your own money on top of the gift card or credit from the return then they win. By making items more affordable they can get you to shop and buy more.


because you didn't get any of these
So while Black Friday was a huge shopping day the shopping malls are going to be packed today and into this weekend. The real shoppers armed with cash, gift cards and credit returns are going to be flocking to the stores to buy things at really good prices. If you think merchandise was cheap after Thanksgiving, just wait. While there might be less of a selection real bargain hunters know that after Christmas sales are when pricing goes down because retailer want to move the last of their remaining winter stock. So happy bargain hunting!

Maybe you wanted a Zombie Gnome for the garden but didn't get one. You can still go shopping.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Bad Month for Tiffany

Tiffany & Company

This has been a bad month for the famed jeweler, Tiffany & Company. Now I don’t mean that they’ve had bad sales, or maybe some break-in but it has just been a bad month in regards to their reputation as reflected in some court cases and various scandals.


Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun sentenced to 1 year in jail
First the scandal, former Tiffany executive Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun has been sentence to one year in jail for stealing approximately $1 million in jewelry from Tiffany. Apparently, she had been “checking out” jewelry but neglected to return it. Instead she sold the pieces to a Manhattan retailer for about $1.3 million. She only checked out pieces under $10,000 because these didn’t show up on the Tiffany radar. For an executive with Tiffany she was pretty dumb to think no one would notice eventually.


Although these earrings explain why someone would steal from Tiffany, beautiful!
On the side of things not going well for Tiffany, a Dutch arbitrator has ruled in favor of Swatch in a case involving a failed watch venture. Tiffany has been ordered to pay $449.5 million to Swatch, 2/3 of the arbitration fees and all legal fees. This puts Tiffany out a small fortune. Add this to the $1 million in lost jewelry and Tiffany has had a pretty terrible month.


Swatch Relogios watch with diamonds
To top everything off all this bad news has affected Tiffany’s bottom line, less cash but on the plus side it cancels the contract between Tiffany and Swatch. Since Tiffany plans to move forward with its watch endeavor at least now they won’t have to hassle with a partner. Tiffany insists that all is well and while they are disappointed with the recent turn of events they are still moving along. This is what you expect from a 150+ year old company.
This too shall pass because Tiffany & Company is iconic

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas is Around the Corner

Maybe a pair of Frye Carmen X Stitch Short Boots

For those of you have already gotten their Christmas shopping done, my hats off to you, you are a superior shopper or at least organized. I on the other hand am not afraid to admit I’ve done nothing. Things have been hectic, going back and forth to the doctors, keeping track of medications, meals and of course business. I think I have a good excuse for not shopping for anything more than gift cards.


Loft has cute cable knit sweaters
This is course does not keep me from thinking about what I would love to find under the tree. Since I can’t have my first wish of good health or my second wish of winning the Mega Millions Lottery, I’m going to go for more mundane items. I of course wish for anything in fashion. This counts things like new jeans, a new handbag, some cute boots or maybe a sweater.

Michael Kors Golden Runway Touch of Glitz Watch
I recently splurged for a pair of Lucky Brand jeans. I do have to say that they fit very well and seem to be holding up well. I miss that about many clothing items today, quality. While very pricey, they do seem well made and I am still testing longevity before I buy another pair. A new handbag is always a plus. I usually buy them on special occasions and this Christmas is certainly special enough to consider this expense.

Dooney & Bourke Cavallino Saddle Bag is a classic
Boots are another one of my big downfalls. It also doesn’t help that Zappos.com keeps sending me updates on the latest styles available from Frye. These boots aren’t cheap but I know that they last. I have been wearing the same pair for going on two years and they still look great. If boots, jeans or handbags don’t work I can always fall back on sweaters.  A girl can’t have too many sweaters and a cable knit fisherman’s sweater has been on my wish list all year. Now I just have to go shopping.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Adventures in Shipping

A Christmas tradition, standing in line at the post office

I ship quite a few packages each year and I’m pretty consistent throughout the year. This means I’m not a seasonal shipper like many people standing in line at the post office. What is shocking to me is the number of people who don’t have a clue on how to send a letter, let alone a package. People come to the post office with items in hand and ask the clerks how they should send this gift. They don’t even have boxes! You would think that they would know that they would have to have a box.


Be prepared for long lines, bring a snack...
This time of year is pretty insane when it comes to the postal service. My words of advice, be prepared for anything and expect long lines caused by the shipping uninformed. I understand with the advent of email and computers that fewer and fewer people are sending letters by snail mail. Some interesting facts about the postal service, yes they charge for letters. True story, a young woman somewhere in her twenties came into the post office, stood in line and then was aghast when she was told she would have to pay for a postage stamp. She thought it was free because it was a government agency.


This is their busiest time of the year
Another weird story, packages that take little side trips, as an example, I’m in Northern California and was sending a package to Southern California. After a couple of days the customer inquired about their package as they noticed the tracking number showed the package was in Baltimore Maryland. Now I don’t know about you but I think going through Baltimore on a trip from San Francisco to Long Beach is the long way around.


Just like the airport Thanksgiving Day weekend
Today an older gentleman very calmly asked the postal clerk how to mail a package. He wanted to know where to get a box, how to address it, what the postage would cost (without telling him how much it would weigh) and other various questions that are probably best answered by actually going through the motions of buying a box, packing the item and then bring it down to the post office. One word of advice, this is the busiest time of year for the post office, please plan ahead, be prepared and don’t ask stupid questions, it will make everything go much more smoothly.
Hard to open packages mean there's something good inside

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Would You Put this on Your Face?

Napolean Perdis BBB Cream $45 a tube, two shades

Every now and then I come across an advertisement or article that makes me shake my head and wonder. Today I found an ad for Napolean Perdis Auto Pilot BBB Cream and accordingly it contains Helix Aspersa Muller Glycoconjugates or what is more commonly known as snail mucus.


Does it come with a snail?
Apparently the mucus from a snail has healing properties and has been used as an acne remedy for a number of years in Europe. It was discovered by Chilean snail farmers who handled snails that were slated for the tables of restaurants that had Escargot on their menus. Leave it to the French. Anyways, the farmers noticed that their wounds healed faster so a new beauty product was born.


Hard to think their mucus is okay to put on your face
I find it fascinating that people willingly put snail mucus on their skin. The Koreans have been doing it for years and they even cultivate snails and feed them red ginseng to enhance the healing properties. I personally have a hard time with the concept of putting snail mucus on my face, no matter how good it is supposed to be for my skin.


This brand is only $34.95 a jar
Although it is becoming popular, this beauty treatment isn’t new to this century; Hippocrates recommended crushed snails to heal skin sores quickly. How anyone can stand to crush snails is beyond me. I get the heebie-jeebies when I step on one in my front yard when it rains. So the latest beauty craze to hit the market is snail mucus. My hats off to you if you can stand to put it on your face, sounds like something out of a reality TV show contest.
If you stepped on one in your yard, you wouldn't put it on your face

Friday, December 13, 2013

I Know I've Been Slacking Off

How we will be spending out weekend

Just a quick note to my readers who have probably noticed by now that I’ve been slacking off in writing stuff for my blog, frankly I would rather write. Things have been pretty hectic in my life and I haven’t had the time to take care of business, write and keep my personal life from falling into utter chaos. About eight months ago my husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer so we’ve been pretty busy with the doctors.


This weekend he is beginning his 90 day odyssey into a bone marrow transplant. By the way I would like to point out that doctors and hospitals are just as disorganized as the rest of us, they just have staff to hide behind. So this weekend Stanford Hospital is putting us in local housing to keep us near the hospital. This past week has been daily visits while they prep him for the procedure. Hopefully things will get back to normal once this round is over but I doubt it.

Keep your fingers crossed because the hospital couldn’t of pick a worse day to go in for chemo, Friday the 13th.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Give a Little Bling for Christmas

This Q&Q ladies watch has crystals

The holidays are that time to give a little something to those we love. Sometimes we know exactly what to give someone, other times we don’t have a clue. My motto when it comes to gifts, give them a little something that they probably wouldn’t buy for themselves. Everyone buys that gift or item that they really want but it’s the little things that we don’t think of that might be well enjoyed and make a perfect gift.


Fur trimmed gloves keep our hands warm
When it comes to women we like things that sparkle, smell good and keep us warm. This opens a lot of avenues for gift giving. There are plenty of gifts that sparkle. Watches, bracelets, earrings and any type of jewelry that has crystals or facets will sparkle and shine. It doesn’t always have to be diamonds. You can find many items that will make her happy as long as you add a little shine. A pretty pair of dangle earrings makes a great gift that she can wear to parties, so does a crystal bracelet.


A sparkly gold metal clutch makes a great gift
Unless the woman who is receiving the gift is allergic, a favor perfume or scent can make a great gift. Some perfumes can be expensive so giving a bottle as a gift can be a special treat. Just make sure you know which is their favor scent when it comes to perfumes. If you’re not sure about which perfume to buy candles make a great gift. We don’t always buy candles for ourselves and some can get pricey. A sweet smelling candle can be lit and fill a room with fragrance.


From Esty.com BranchDesignGiftware makes candles in repurposed tea cups, how cute!
Lastly, women are generally feeling colder than average most of the winter. I know my hands get very cold. Gloves are an easy gift and if you can splurge think leather or maybe fur lined or trimmed. Purchasing a pair of gloves or maybe a scarf will keep someone warm through the winter, and it has been cold lately. So when thinking of what to get that special someone, think about tan item that they may like but are reluctant to purchase for themselves. The best gifts are those that might be a little pricey for the everyday budget.
One of my daughter's favorites, Poppy from Coach

Monday, December 9, 2013

Kate Middleton Wears $35 Necklace

$35.90 from Zara

You know you’re a world famous fashion icon if you can wear a $35 costume jewelry necklace to a movie premium and then it sells out within hours of your appearance. Kate Middleton wore a $35.90 necklace from Zara and the next thing you know you can’t find it anywhere. Apparently everyone wants to look like Kate and the store is selling out of items she’s worn to various events. This isn’t the first time a dress or accessory worn by Kate Middleton has run out of the stores once it makes a public appearance with her.


$42 by ASOS
This is probably a retailer’s dream. You buy 100 units of an inexpensive costume jewelry piece and the next thing you know, they’re all gone. What would make this scenario even better would be the ability to reorder. So you sold 100 of these babies but you have 500 more on the way and several preorders already on the books. Like I said, a retailer’s dream.


Kate's TopShop Polka Dot Dress
This isn’t the reality of retailing unless you sell something that Kate Middleton wore. Anything she wears becomes an instant success and apparently Kate Middleton loves off the rack on occasion. When she wore a $42 dress from ASOS they sold out. When she wore a $55 dress from TopShop, all gone, apparently a lot of women want to look like Kate. Now it’s not all off the rack, Kate was photographed wearing the Lotus Flower Tiara to Buckingham Palace the other day so she wears some pretty expensive baubles once in awhile.


Another $55 find from TopShop
It must be nice to have a mother in law who has such a beautiful jewelry collection. It gets even better if she lets you borrow pieces for royal occasions, now that’s a closet I would love to dig through. While Kate is still very young, in my eyes, she is turning many heads and has a style that is quite wonderful, she is ladylike but fashionable, young but not too overblown or crazy. She is the perfect princess, no wonder everyone wants to wear what she wears.
Kate looking very royal in the Lotus Tiara