Luxe for less? Read on!

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Elle reports Kim Kardashian spends an estimated $1,700 on her daily makeup routine (including tools).  If you don’t have that kind of cash, there are ways to save on your beauty buys while still pampering yourself!  I find that by shopping in a variety of places, I can be more selective. And saving on certain items leaves you a few more coins to splurge on pricy moisturizer or perfume.

Here are some items straight from my vanity., as shared on Talk of Alabama today: 

  1. KISS “Shy” Lashes, $4.50 at WalGreens: Yes, J. Lo may wear mink lashes, but that doesn’t mean you should. Save by buying these, which even have tapered (vs. blunt) ends, lending to a softer look. These are a great way to make your eyes “pop” during a night out, and are easy to apply. (Incidentally, Elle says KK spends about $2.99 a pair for her lashes.)
  2. Urban Decay “All Nighter” Makeup Setting Spray, $14.00-$30.00 at Ulta: Need your look to last for hours? I swear by this spray, which is oil and paraben free and as stated, “stops makeup meltdown.”  It’s for all skin types, keeps your makeup vibrantand creates smoother-looking skin without settling into fine lines. The travel size is perfect for your purse or vanity case, and smaller sizes keep you from stockpiling more than you need.
  3. Estee Lauder Take it Away Makeup Remover, $28 at department stores: When you’re finally ready to remove your “face,” try this soothing lotion: it removes longwear and waterproof makeup. It has a light citrus scent and leaves skin soft without a greasy residue. I received it as a free gift with purchase: so don’t throw those away! They’re great opportunities to try new products, and again, smaller sizes are easier to try, travel with and toss.
  4. L’Oreal Elnett Extra-Soft Hold Hairspray, $9.99/12.99 at Target: Ladies, if you’re searching for a hairspray that holds in our hot, humid climate, this is one to try.  The smaller size is $9.99, BUT: a little goes a long way and it works! It gives hair high shine and satin finish, minus flaking–and you it doesn’t leave you with super-stiff “helmet hair.” And might I mention, it’s been around for four decades?
  5. C. Booth Mimosa Honeysuckle Shaving Oil, $5.99 at T.J. Maxx/$29.99 at Amazon: Talk about a deal! This oil softens hair, guards against ingrown hairs and enhances razor glide–plus it smells delicious! And a little goes a very long way.  Check the price tag, then head over to TJ Maxx and Marshall’s for deals on major beauty brands.
  6. The Body Shop Honeymania Bath Melt and Exfoliant Creme, $5.99 each at T.J. Maxx/$13-15 each at Amazon: These are full size, super-pampering products also found at TJ Maxx, for $5.99 each. Soak in the Bath Melt bubble bath, exfoliate with the creme (before shaving with #5!) and still have money left in your wallet.

XO, Alexis

Tune in to Talk of Alabama this Thursday!

Toss some sequins and tune in to ABC 33/40 this THURSDAY  (8/13): I’ll be sharing some news you can use during the 9:00 hour! Not in the local viewing area? Try live-streaming it by clicking HERE, or catch the video when it’s posted later by clicking HERE.

Xo,

Alexis

Bleu et blanc

My summer style obsession is this simple mix of color and pattern. I can’t decide if it reminds me of the beach, or just my parents’ collection of ginger jars. J. Crew’s striped shift has enough visual interest that  I finally broke down and wore horiziontal stripes!

Simple and chic, no? InStyle definitely agrees, as they dressed July cover girl Zoe Saldana in it also!

Siren London “Bleu de Chine” set, $40
J. Crew Striped Tuxedo shift, $98

The Look: Draper James

I am in LOVE with this new line and lifestyle company, recently launched by Oscar winner and noted Southern girl Reese Witherspoon. Draper James is a salute and a celebration to the grace, charm, wit and ease that are hallmarks of this side of the United States.

In her own words, Reese says “I wanted to recapture and celebrate all that I love and remember about my grandparents and the South. That is why I created Draper James. With Draper James, our goal is to bring contemporary, yet timeless Southern style to your wardrobe and your home, no matter where you live.”

From clothing to accessories, jewelry and home goods, the pieces are thoughtfully designed with an emphasis on quality. Nothing is ostentatious, and it is sentimental without being passe (an achievement we applaud).

Magnolias and peaches make tasteful appearances as motifs; here’s hoping a camellia will show up too! Here are my favorite pieces:

  1. Statement stud pearl earrings, $125
  2. Southern Sayings embroidered linen cocktail napkins, $85
  3. Overlook bag (with option to monogram), $125
  4. Magnolia paperweight, $98

Happy shopping!

Xo, Alexis

We love: MILLY for Kohl’s DesigNation

Boy, do I need a vacay! Since I can’t take one just yet (thanks, grad school!) I can fantasize about it….or I could shop for it via the Milly for DesigNation Collection at Kohls! Even better: available pieces are now half off!

Entertainment Tonight! correspondent Brooke Anderson picked her favorite look for us via Twitter (see above)! She chose the Striped Pleated dress (now $35).

And here are my favorite looks:

Look 8: Scuba Crop Top and Solid Midi Scuba Skirt

Look 15: Capri Graphic Tank and Solid Midi Scuba Skirt

Striped Fit and Flare Dress

Happy shopping!

Xo, Alexis

So you want to wear a wedding jumpsuit…

Jumpsuits

You’ve come to the right place.

Yes, I am still obsessed with the elegant ensemble Solange Knowles chose for her wedding to Alan Ferguson a few months ago. Amal Clooney didn’t do too badly either, with her choice of a sleek pantsuit groom. And I loved Olivia Palermo’s wedding shorts+overskirt…tres daring!  If you’re jumping the broom soon and going for a more traditional gown, perhaps you could incorporate the look into your engagement photo shoot, bridal luncheon or bachelorette bash or even your reception/farewell ensemble.

Here are  a few options:

Crepe cowl-neck halter jumpsuit, $650 at David’s Bridal

Lola jumpsuit, $300 at BHLDN.com

Matilda jumpsuit, $800 at BHLDN.com

Ivory Love Always romper, $185 at Trussville’s South Boutique.

Ivory Lace romper, $66 at Trussville’s South Boutique.

It’s crucial that you consider your undergarments when wearing this type of look. There should be no lumps, bumps or visible panty lines! And if the item you choose is not lined, you can either have one made at an alterations shop or you may “fake it” by wearing nude pantyhose underneath, depending on the fabric (snip the legs to an appropriate length).

Xo,

Alexis

Own a piece of history from the Ebony Fashion Fair

If you’ve been reading this blog any length of time, you know my love for all things Ebony. Recently someone asked me if “black history” was my beat as a journalist and I politely explained that it was not. I see history as history: all entries and moments are important.  Ebony and the Ebony Fashion Fair are definitely a part of that.  It saddens me that the fashion show no longer struts and sashays through towns and cities. However, thanks to an auction to be held this Wednesday, we have the opportunity to bid on “the best of the best” from the archives.

Here’s more on the Ebony Fashion Fair:

Haute couture by Oscar de la Renta, Yves St. Laurent, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Lanvin, Carolina Herrera  and more are among over 500 lots up for auction. The collection includes gowns, cocktail dresses, coats, capes, separates and shoes.  And yes: the pieces have all the detail and drama you may recall if you ever attended one of the charity shows. The sale of these beautiful pieces will go on to benefit education just as they did in the past: a portion of proceeds will go to Johnson Prep. The live auction is to be conduction by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, and will begin at noon CST on June 10.

To view the catalog, click HERE. Note, you must register ahead of time in order to bid.

Did you know? Mrs. Eunice Johnson, the show’s founder and driving force, was a Selma, Ala. native. She was educated at Talladega College.

All images via the Treasures from the Ebony Fashion Fair Collection. See them all by clicking HERE.

I said YES to the dress!

  

August 1, here I come! I found my graduation dress! I am finally getting excited about receiving my Master of Arts degree in Journalism, and this silk gazar strapless sheath by J. Crew is everything I’m going to need in my life when I cross the stage.

This sleek, chic stunner was originally $895, but it was purchased for just under $90 on…wait for it…eBay! 

Darlings, if you’re not shopping there – or at least browsing there – you are totally missing the party! It is as easy as creating an account (I suggest creating a PayPal account as well for secure payments), and searching for your heart’s (or wardrobe’s) desire. Whether that means entering “white cocktail dress” or something more specific including a brand and style number, it has been my go-to for years. And no, it doesn’t mean ending up with used or dirty items. You can find “New Old Stock” or items that are “New With Tags.” You can also find vintage items galore.

Even better: the more you shop, the more eBay Bucks you can accumulate to use on future purchases! Bloop!

A few caveats:

  • Ask any and all questions you may have about a garment BEFORE purchasing!
  • Make sure you know the seller’s return policy!
  • Know your size!
  • I stick with brands I’m familiar with, but random searches can turn up some jewels as well.
  • If it looks suspicious, proceed with caution!
  • EBay’s guarantee means you get what you pay for…or you get your money back!

Happy shopping!

I survived #LillyforTarget.

IMG_0868Here’s a recap of what happened yesterday morning, my Lilly for Target haul, plus a final word on #PinkSunday.

After staying up all night waiting for the Lilly Pulitzer collection to launch online, I drove to the Hoover West store in hopes of having better luck. I arrived around 6:15 AM in the pouring rain and no line had formed. Once the weather died down, I hopped out with a book and a piece of cardboard to sit on and made myself comfortable at the front door closest to the Electronic section (both sets of doors would be opened at 8:00, but this set was the quickest way to Ladies Apparel). Just when I began to think I was a little nuts, other cars began trickling into the parking lot. By 7:00 there was a line that eventually extended into the rain as well as one at the second set of doors near the Grocery section.

At 7:30 or so, a store manager came out to ask us not to run once we were let in, and to be kind to each other. We agreed at the front of the line that this would not be an issue. However, three people did attempt to break the line, which I thought was extremely tacky. When the doors were opened, I quickly made my way  toward Ladies Apparel. I never looked back, but I could feel the crush of about 60 people behind me.  I pulled the Fan Dance shift dress I wanted in two sizes and the Nosie Posey clutch I wanted as well, and hustled over to the Beauty aisle to grab the Fan Dance double-zip train case. Then I went back to try on the dresses.  When I came out, I noted the decimated clothes racks and bewilderment of women who’d gotten there late. I handed the dress I didn’t want to a lady who was very grateful, then headed to the cashier. I saw no fighting or crying, but I did see lots of grabbing, some stockpiling and several hurt, disappointed and confused faces. The stock was definitely wiped out within minutes.

After checking out, I drove eight miles to the Bessemer store to look for the Fan Dance round top clutch, but found the Pineapple juicer instead.  I’m ashamed to admit that I drove to two other stores in search of the clutch (with no luck), but at that point I was pretty delirious.

A note on the quality: while some minor details are missing on the shift (lace trim and bra strap holders), I’m happy with what I received. The clutch is sturdy with beautiful embroidery and a vibrant floral design. The train case and porcelain juicer are well-made as well.  I couldn’t care less about someone thinking it’s cheap. I thought the items were cute overall and nicely done at the price point offered. It is a shame Target is not planning to restock so more people can enjoy the collection.

All in all, it paid to get there early (and to have long legs and a strategy). But I’m not sure I will go this extreme again.

Aside from the problems experienced with the website and the hassle of shopping the store, I hated the fact that the quantities were so limited. If you got to the store at 8:00, you could basically forget it. This release brought out the ugly side of a lot of people, fighting and grabbing up things to sell at ridiculous prices elsewhere.  Then there is the faction of Lilly snobs who came out in full force on social media to bash people who enjoy the novelty of these collaborations as well as the democratization of fashion (i.e. whining because Lilly is no longer limited to those who live in exclusive enclaves and have exclusive tastes). On another note, I wish Target would make these launches into “events” with music, food and giveaways for customers who congregate at the store.  It might’ve helped the atmosphere a little. After all, Lilly was famous for her Palm Beach juice stand; they could’ve at least served orange juice!

I say “never again,” for now…at least until the next collaboration is announced. Don’t judge me.

Images via Google

#PinkSundayProblems: #LillyforTarget online launch is a haute mess

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If you stayed up for the Lilly Pulitzer for Target online launch, you may have grabbed items from your wish list from one of the links that were leaked early. Slow hand clap for you! If not, you may have stayed up until the wee hours (waiting for updates and frantically trying mobile links from affiliate sellers via your cell phone) only to end up empty-handed. Target’s website froze and crashed multiple times, items were added to carts only to be removed, and other items sold out within minutes. Do these seven stages of grief sound familiar?

  1. DENIAL: “I’ve been following this since the announcement in January. I set my alarm clock and began stalking the website at 7:00. What do you MEAN the Fan Dance shift is sold out?! Is this life?!”
  2. HOPE: When you *think* you’ve successfully added all your items to your cart and prepare to check out with glee.
  3. ANGER: Prompted by the “rotating wheel of doom” and your lack of sleep or caffeine.
  4. BARGAINING: Reducing wish list from 30 items to 3.
  5. COMMISERATION: Heading to Twitter to vent.
  6. DEPRESSION: Better known as that infamous “Oops!” notice.
  7. ACCEPTANCE: *Changes into sweats and sneakers for a mad dash at the brick and mortar when it opens.*

To be fair, this is a “limited edition” collection. And with Lilly’s loyal followers and all the hype, seasoned shoppers knew it would be a free-for-all. At this point your options are to shop your local store (which is probably sold out or close to it), wait for items to show up at rock-bottom prices at Dirt Cheap (yes, that actually happens), give up all together…or spend a bit more and shop at Lilly Pulitzer. Them’s the breaks, kids. For more tips, check out Fashionista.com’s post.

In all seriousness, Target has had well-documented issues with its designer collabo launches before from quality to quantity issues (hello, Missoni and Jason Wu). I won’t start on people who snap up everything and list it at ungodly prices on eBay. To not have plus size items in store this time around is a bad look, and frankly, to hear about a swanky pop-up preview soiree+sale at Bryant Park in NYC is disheartening when there are (were?) so many loyal customers around the United States. Why not really democratize fashion by hosting launches and special events in stores in other cities (such as the Neiman Marcus launch a few years ago)?

This could be a teachable moment for Target from an e-commerce, customer service and social media perspective:

  1. Make sure your e-commerce situation is in check! Some kinks are to be expected, but the early release of mobile links, multiple crashes, lengthy delays and numerous inadvertent duplicate orders is ridiculous. Work things out FAR in advance of a launch!
  2. Keep customers informed in a timely fashion. Target’s President Jason Goldberg tweeted replies and information to followers on Twitter, but I also saw the usual canned replies from Target’s account. However, not everyone was seeing these messages across social media. The comment section on the Target Style Facebook page was in shambles.
  3. Offer something to sweeten ruffled feathers. A massive goodwill campaign will be needed to win back some of Target’s customers, and even that may not be enough.

Your thoughts? How was your #LillyforTarget experience?

Happy shopping!

Xo, Alexis

Screenshots via Target, Gigi Goes Shopping, Lisa Vingerling and Twitter

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