luxury

Little Bit of Luxury: High Quality Dinnerware

Happy Monday friends! This past few days has been quite chilly, but here’s hoping that getting through this period of cold weather will lead to much warmer day sooner than we think.

Recently I purchased a few things on Amazon that I both needed and wanted. I love to inject luxury into my life and small ways, and one of the ways that I do that is by using the best quality dinnerware and flatware that I can afford. I love eating off of beautiful plates and using lovely knives, forks, and spoons when eating my lunches, so I have a set that I use exclusively in my office.

But,  one of my worst nightmares occurred when I broke one of the pieces to my dinnerware set. I look to see if I could find a replacement piece, but I couldn’t locate the singular item that I needed to complete my set again. I also misplaced one of my spoons that was part of my flatware set. These two things happening within a 2 month timeframe  signaled to me that it was time to upgrade.

So I treated myself to new flatware and new dinnerware for my desk. Behold!

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I saw Mikasa’s “Love Story” design and had to get the set. I got the Mikasa Love Story 5-Piece Place Setting, Service for 1. The set has a salad plate, dinner plate, dessert plate, saucer, and cup.

To flesh out the set, I also bought the Mikasa Love Story Coupe Soup Bowl, 8-Inch. When I purchased it, it was discounted a bit, so I purchased it for a great price.Of course, I couldn’t forget flatware! I also got the Ginkgo Royal Chippendale 5-Piece Place Setting, Service for 1. My original set was Oneida, but I couldn’t find the design that I had previously, so I got a brand new set.

There’s something exhilarating about using your personal best as much as you can. You deserve to feel luxurious, pampered and distinguished at all times, and it can start with something as simple as what you use to eat your meals. Treating yourself includes investing well into things that you use regularly and enjoy. So, maybe dinnerware and flatware isnt’ your thing: whatever makes you feel amazing, make sure that you invest in it. Don’t save it for a “special day”: use it now!

I hope you all stay warm and cozy! I’ll be back tomorow with a VERY special post: I’m so excited! Talk to you all soon.

beauty · luxury

Review: Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation

Happy Friday, friends! We’ve made it through the week and now we have a reward of Saturday and Sunday ahead. It’s been a while since I’ve done a beauty review, so I was excited to prepare this one for you. I think it’s about time, don’t you?

Though I love luxury beauty products, I can’t believe that I’ve never tried Lancome. I’ve had a few perfume samples before, but never have I tried the company’s cosmetics.  I was excited to finally try the Teint Idole Ultra Wear foundation when I got a sample over the summer in a Sephora order.

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Initially, I was concerned about the shade. I received shade 500, which I suspect it would be a little too light for me. Based on the beauty vloggers I’ve seen on YouTube, I suspected that I probably wore a 510 or 520. But 500 was the closest shade to my complexion, so I decided to try it. I got it when I still had a bit of my summer tan, so I figured it might be a little too light. To my surprise, it was a perfect match then, and still a pretty great match now.

Both sides of my face with the foundation applied

You can see for yourself how flattering the finish is. I love this foundation. It felt light on the face and, while I use a primer underneath it, I didn’t use powder over it, so I got to see just how the foundation performed without any products topping it. I got a little oily throughout the day, but that’s fairly standard for me with any foundation. I didn’t feel that this formulation made my skin any  oilier than normal. just a dad was enough to give me a good medium coverage. I experimented with it on a different day and I found that it’s very buildable: this coverage could easily go from medium to full without weighing the face down. I don’t have many facial lines, but I also found that this foundation doesn’t exaggerate the lines that I have. Win!

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My adorable foundation sample

I’m so excited to have another  foundation in my arsenal! This foundaton performs just as well as I would expect it to, since it retails for $47. I’m going to experiment with a few other shades in the Teint Idole Ultra Wear line just to see if there’s a better match than this one, but if I can’t find anything that matches more perfectly, this will be just fine. I love it and can’t wait to try more!

That’s it for this week.  I’ll be back Monday with more posts for you. Take care, and enjoy your weekend!

luxury · style

My Top Three Tips for Finding Luxury Fashion Bargains

Hi friends! The roads are being cleared in the Mid-Atlantic region, only for more snow to fall in the next few days! I’m still staying warm and dry, and I hope the same for you all.

A few weeks ago, I went to one of my favorite thrift stores and just decided to check out what new finds they had. I walked out with two large bags of clothing and spent only $40. The bags contained several designer suits and some beautiful vintage blouses. I had gone to the same thrift store several weeks prior and gotten two lovely winter coats.

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Now, as you all may recall, I like to shop selectively. I don’t enjoy spending my money on items that won’t last very long. I like high quality pieces for great prices. This is part of the reason why I’ve distanced myself from some of the bargain retailers that I used to enjoy . . . I need clothes that will give me the best bang for my buck.

I also don’t like to clutter my wardrobe with a bunch of items that won’t last beyond the season. When I shop, I prefer to purchase investment pieces. This applies even when I’m at thrift stores. Just because the item has been pre-owned does it mean that I don’t hold it to a high standard! My family and friends are always amazed at some of the incredible buys that I can find, especially since these items are usually designer pieces. Their questions led me to creating this post just for you all to describe how I can find amazing luxury item for great prices. Enjoy!

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  • Do your research

What good is saving your money, picking an item, and purchasing it if you find out later that you invested poorly? It’s important to do research before investing in any luxury item. Remember that cost does not equal high quality: there are many items that label themselves “luxurious” but are in actuality overpriced, low quality goods. So do your research before purchasing any luxury item. Learn about the items best features and why it’s superior to its competitors. Compare it with similar items. If you find an item that’s being presented as a bargain, it helps to know the average selling price so that you can determine for yourself whether the price that it’s being offered for is a true bargain or if it’s too good to be true. There are a lot of high-quality knock-offs on the market, that are being sold for a pittance. If you are interested in buying true luxury goods, knowing the regular retail prices can help you avoid purchasing a good-looking fake.

  • Never be in a rush

When buying a luxury item, it’s crucial to take your time. Some of the best items can be purchased for  a steal if you time it right. Timing is not only about waiting for Black Friday sales; Actually, when it comes to most luxury goods, Black Friday is not the day that you can expect to find your best prices. Some retailers have seasons, or certain times of the year, when they clear out their overstocked  items. Patiently waiting for discounts can save a savvy consumer quite a bit of money when purchasing luxury goods.

  • There’s no shame in buying used luxury items

The beauty of pre-owned luxury items is that many of the previous owners have taken excellent care of their possessions.  if you don’t disclose when and how you bought an item, no one will know that you purchased it used. Also, depending on the luxury item, having previous owners may be unavoidable. Think of fashions from the 1920s and 1930s: surely you wouldn’t be the first person to own those items! So when purchasing used luxury items, just make sure that the items are in excellent condition or, at very minimum, in a condition that is suitable to you. Some items, such as furniture or home other home goods, may not need to be in pristine condition for what you’re intending. In fact, depending on the item, a slightly used, worn-in look maybe preferred.

Since this conversation is about luxury fashion, you would want to make sure that the clothing is in great condition before purchasing. Even vintage items should be scrutinized for signs of wear that can detract from the attractiveness of the garment.

Those are my top three tips for finding luxury fashion bargains! Do you all have any other tips? If so, please let me know in the comments below!

art · luxury

Americana Week – Best of Bonhams Auction

As part of Americana Week, I will be taking a look at each of the major auction houses that will be featuring Americana-themed sales. Today’s auction house is Bonhams , an auction house that has more luxury auto auctions than any of the others. This particular auction, still aligned with the Americana theme, will be in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 17th 2019, starting at 11 MST. Bonhams will be showcasing luxury cars from the early 1900’s through to the modern day

Americans have a long-standing love affair with automobiles, so it makes sense that cars would factor into Americana Week. As a side note, only two of the auction houses that I am profiling will be selling luxury vehicles this week. Bonhams, of course is one of them; however, Sotheby’s will also be getting in on the luxury automobile action. Despite still being Americana-themed, many of the cars at the Scottsdale sales, will be foreign-made cars such as Mercedes, Maserati, Lamborghinis, Porsches and so on. The truth is, Americans love all cars – including foreign ones!

My favorite lot in this auction is the 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce, a sleek, stylish car that looks like it was made for me. The plush red interior, clean lines, and, as Bonhams puts it, “nimble handling”, all sound like the perfect features for my future sports car.  This beauty could fetch up to $130,000 at auction though, as lovely as this restored vehicle is, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s sold for more. However, if any of you are wondering whether you should get this for me, the answer is yes and thank you in advance!

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My future car

I kid, I kid. However if you are interested in this car or some of the other beauties that will be at the Scottsdale auction, make sure to check out Bonhams. They have wonderful offerings for this auction: so many gorgeous sport cars, so little time to enjoy them all! 

Have a happy Friday, friends! I’ll be back on Monday. Enjoy your weekend!

 

beauty · luxury

Beauty Review: Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying

It’s been AGES since I did a mud mask on my face. I used to use clay- and mud-based masks regularly for my oily skin, but as my life got busier, I just didn’t have as much time to wait for a mask to dry, then all of the extra time needed to rinse it off was more than I wanted to commit to . . . So I let mud masks go.

This past week, though, I had a little extra time. AND, I had a trial size of Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying in one of the Sephora Play boxes that I ordered. So I decided to give it a whirl. My skin isn’t as oily as it used to be when I was younger, but I figured this would still be a fun treat for my combination complexion.

So shiny, so silver: it looked more like an eyeshadow than a beauty treatment

The product is described as being made with ” with zinc, copper, and white clay”, and it’s supposed to “cleanses and purifies pores, absorbs excess sebum, and reduces the appearance of blemishes without overdrying. Skin is left clean, matte, and soft after each use.” I figured that, with all of those promises, I should give it a try.

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When first applied, it’s a dark grey hue

I applied a thin layer after washing and drying my face. The consistency of the mask was smooth overall but there were a few lumps (I’m not sure if it was just my sample or if that’s how it usually looks). The smell isn’t too strong, but definitely noticeable. I let it dry for about 15 minutes.  I then rinsed off the mask: it came off easily and quickly. In fact, this is the only mask I’ve ever used that rinsed totally clean without needing a washcloth to assist in removing the product in stubborn areas.

When dry, it’s chalky white (left to right: partially dry and fully dry)

My skin felt very clean and more matte but not stripped. My skin felt very soft but balanced. I skipped my hydrogen peroxide toner and followed the remaining steps of my skin routine.

This mask retails for $20 and I would definitely purchase it and use it again. It’s difficult to find a mask that rinses clean and doesn’t strip all of the moisture out of my skin. I also liked the smell: I couldn’t pinpoint it, but it had a very clean essence that is familiar and (fortunately) not cloying. This one gets a thumbs up from me!

luxury · travel

Fine Jewelry at Freeman’s

Freeman’s Auction has done it again. You may recall that I attended my first Freeman’s Auction a few months ago, when I saw a brooch that I wanted to add to my collection. I got a catalog from them a few days ago, letting me know about an upcoming fine jewelry auction.

Guys, I’m thinking about making the trip.

I generally avoid going anywhere north of Washington, DC from the months of November to April (I hate the cold) but I may put my usual protocol aside to do this trip. Besides, I loved the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a return trip would be awesome.

As far as the auction goes, I liked a few pieces in the catalog but I wasn’t struck by any lot in particular. However, I was much more impressed when I checked out the full list of jewelry on the Freeman’s website. My favorite is this wheat stalk brooch. It’s 18 karat gold, simple but unique. How many wheat brooches have you seen recently? Exactly. I’m sure there are only, like, 2 of them in existence. And I’d love to own this one.

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This gold pillbox is also going to be auctioned by Freeman’s and it’s so beautiful and vintage: I can’t stand it! It’s also 18 karat gold and has a Greek key-like pattern on the outer edge, and concentric circles on the top. No one has elegant holders for their pills anymore: how lovely is this?

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The Freeman’s Fine Jewelry Auction will be held on November 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, PA at 12PM EST. I may be there, so if you decide to make the trip, make sure that you say hello if you see me!

beauty · luxury

Review: Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Balm

Happy Hump Day! We’re going to get over this week’s hump with a beauty review. I received the Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Woppin’ Watermelon last month. It was one of the items available in Sephora’s Play box from several months ago (I’m not subscribed to Play but I’ve purchase a couple of the excess Play boxes directly from the Sephora website).

This product is described as a “treat” that offers lips “mouthwatering moisture and a hint of soft shine”. The color – Woppin’ Watermelon – is a translucent bubblegum pink. It applied smoothly and indeed felt very moisturizing on my lips. Despite being a much brighter pink than I normally wear, the sheerness of the product meant that I could easily wear it alone or paired with a liner or lipstick.

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Swatch of Woppin’ Watermelon

I paired it with my trusty, cheap, dark brown lip liner and I loved the subtle way that the liner “toned down” the pink. However, I’ll likely wear this product alone, too. It looks soft and pretty: it looks great for work or play. This was in one of the summer Play boxes, which makes sense to me: the formula, packaging, and color all work well for the warm months and days at the beach.

Left – no liner; Right – with liner

Now, here’s the thing: this chubby stick retails for $18.50. My Sephora Play box was only $10, so I got a great value with my purchase. But, I can’t comfortably state that the product is worth the price. The product has barely any color and I feel that the moisturizing properties could easily be found in drugstore products that will deposit equally sheer color. If you can get this during any sales, then go for it. If not, I recommend that you pass.

That’s my brief review of the Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Balm. Have you all tried it? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!