Moving Target

Yesterday I planned to go to Nordstrom’s, not so much for the event, but because I had some time, a rarity on a Sunday.

I should have taken it as a sign from the full parking lot that it might be crowded.

Yes, it was.

And then, one of the most irritating things in retail.

The counters had been moved around.  Kiehl’s had been moved from the center in front of the escalators, and had been replaced by Mario Bedescu, Erno Laslo, et al. You know, the lines that have a few specialty or cult products but are probably actually being given a last gasp before the store shows them the door.

And the counters were very crowded with people wanting to experience the event and the “new” offers.  I went by Bobbi Brown three times to sample her new BB cream-felt it on my hand, great texture.  At Clinique the rep had her hands full doing a makeover.

I finally found Kiehl’s which had been crowded onto half a counter.

This is my beef with Nordstrom’s they just don’t have enough reps at any given time.  You can roll a bowling ball through on some days, and even on a day projected to be busy weekend, there still aren’t enough reps.

Go to Macy’s and there are plenty of reps – but also a bunch of floaters – who can ring you up if you know what you want.  Or Neiman’s is usually staffed with someone who knows the line, but who are, like Sephora, driven by sales goals.  I get that it’s all about the sales, but consultative selling will when out over being pushed anyway.

I’m just not that easily convinced to buy a product just because someone says so. I guess that’s why buying color is challenging, unless if the rep actually gives a rip and is trying to get you the right color foundation, lip or eye selection.

Anyway-I like having things stay in the same place so I don’t have to wander around.

Don’t you?



See Me Clearly-Mirrors

Can I get a witness?

You just know that some stores have better try-on rooms than others.

Hands down in Honolulu – the absolute worst changing rooms whether it’s in the Brass Plum, Individualist, Savvy or otherwise, is in Nordstroms.

It’s a wonder that anyone buys anything. Doesn’t matter how many crunches you’ve done or pilates, or miles you’ve run, the mirrors, the lights-are the worst ever!  Nords on the mainland doesn’t seem to have this problem so what’s the deal?

Macy’s try-on rooms, pretty much anywhere in Hawaii are just filthy-nuff said.

You get what you pay for. In Neiman’s you get great lights, big 3-way mirrors and the salesperson cooing every few minutes asking if you’d like something else.  Plus they bring you a pair of shoes if you’re tooling around in your flip flops.

When DKNY was still open, you had the two junk rooms, and the one, larger great room.  My regular salesperson would put me in the big room, and the people not interested in their commission would put me in the small rooms, that were cramped.  DKNY did have good lights.

Betsy Johnson is closing and I am sad.  I have a few cocktail dresses from her- nothing like BJ for a sexy dress!  But her dressing rooms were pretty bad – using curtains!

Banana Republic Kahala  – not bad.  Definitely have skinny mirrors.

Gilly Hicks, Abercombie & Fitch. Ok I know I am an old fart just trying to buy a bra or t-shirt, but I can’t hear myself see in here!

Ohelo Road Kahala – for years I wore this boutique’s clothes. But nowadays, I swear they still have stuff on their shelves that just haven’t moved in the slow economy. But their try on rooms were just curtains as well.

I can give Sports Authority and other places not known for clothes no diss for bad try on rooms because that’s not what they are about-but they could improve from having gum on the floor.

Okay so I don’t enter Chanel and the like often-but really – if the lower priced stores shelled out for a few more lights, cleaning and doors don’t you think they would sell more?



I did have a penchant for St John for awhile-they had a season or two with more contemporary styles but, at the end of the day, nice dressing rooms, but the clothes are just too old fart!

Channel BATV-Beauty Appeal TV

I think when I was younger I would feel a little insecure when some guy got all starry-eyed when he mentioned some celeb and how hot some other girl on tv was.

One day it just dawned on me that the possibility of the reality of him ever meeting that person was nil, and how silly it was for the attraction to even register.

Of course, I’ve heard some pretty fantastical stories that involved Darryl Hannah, Lauren Bacall and another blonde from a man who had a penchant for long leggy blondes. But, when (to this day) he claimed he saw Mick Jagger in the UK at a tourist sight with no entourage, and I was there and saw the same person of which he still refers, I just laugh when he tells the stories of his chance meetings.

Anyway – I love New Beauty Magazine-it’s a bi-monthly-quarterly glossy mag that has the latest products. I love the celeb before and afters because I really think some of the befores are real because the celebs really look like they just fell out of bed, zits and all.

My bone to pick with NB is I don’t get the feeling so much that the editors are just reviewing product impartially, but for selling ads. Sometimes I question their view-they tend to be a little narrow in focus especially when it comes to skin lightening products.

Two things – if you don’t use anything at all then you’ll see results faster. If you already do a lot, any difference will take a lot longer. The second, would be everybody has their own little chemical system so products act differently. But New Beauty seems to recommend the same stuff that usually doesn’t work like licorice extract, kojic acid etc. I’m all for a gentle, more natural approach but I know to expect results on a much longer term basis(if at all).  Are they getting paid to feature those same products – supported by ad sales- or would they really back their hype up?

It’s all in the marketing anyway.

A few weeks ago I watched the series finale of Desperate Housewives, and I thought, wow-I know they are on tv and such, but they have a lot of make up on, and they all have really long hair. I love their outfits and they look great!

But then, those feelings of insecurity started up-maybe I should wear more makeup? Grow my hair longer and grow my bangs out?

Is the beauty ideal really just marketing people trying to entice you into buying one more cream, one more serum or something or other of a new whatever?

The tv show marketing people probably figured out this is how everybody wants to be? So they can sell more L’Oreal ads for hair color or wrinkle cream, or on The Good Wife where Juliana Marguiles is a spokesperson for L’Oreal and the show bumpers curiously enough use the same close up pose used in the ads.

So, fast forward to my Nordstrom’s Laura Mercier national make up application and I am asking Mark what about the makeup they use on tv shows?  He told me to the affect-if real people wore that much make up it would look really aging.

But it looks so pretty.

As I sit here in my pjs with no makeup and my hair in a post-sleep bun-I wonder,

does the ‘on’ button go on immediately, or is it just for when you walk out into the world?


A Place in the Sun

Hah! On my first date with the blue-eyed man aka man-in-my-life, he was telling me how much he enjoyed golf, kayaking and the water in general. I told him right then and there that I am a sunphobe.

Things were great up to that point, but just reading his face, I could tell he was a bit disappointed. To his credit he had a nice recovery and countered, but if it were later in the day when the sun isn’t so strong, that would be ok?

Life is a negotiation.

Sun exposure in and of it itself is a non-negotiable in Hawaii-most days we have a lot of sun. But people know to stay out of the sun during the hottest points of the day and wear plenty of sunscreen.

But when you are planning a day in the sun – like golfing when you haven’t golfed regularly and probably in for hours, well….

I’m starting off this morning by moisturizing mask of a thick layer of my ReVive’ cream.  I have jazz class later this morning and will drink at least a liter of Deep Sea Water (from the depths of the Big Island, underneath the sea I think.  Real deep sea water is more expensive because they have to desalinize it etc).

My plan is after my shower, Kiehl’s Power Line Concentrate vitamin C, followed by Rosa Artica to seal in that first layer.  Under my eyes I will try out Laura Mercier‘s Eye Serum.  After that has a moment to sink in I will follow with my Clarins spf40. Let that dry a bit and put on a physical block, Neutregena55.   Over that, Laura Mercier Radiance Primer, and then Laura Merceir Tinted Moisturizer – both spf20.

I asked the makeup artist from Laura Mercier, Mark the other day at the Nordstrom’s event, why the color products did not have higher spf and he said because it would effect the formula. Makes sense. They did recommend a chemical and a physical block, and that you can’t really put more spf over foundation if you want to be flawless.

For face color, I will do brows, and line with Laura Mercier tight liner in Bleu Marine, her creme shadow, and maybe a smudge of Caviar shadow in smoke – all products that have staying power.  For lips, I will line a little, put on some initial lip gel color in Courtesan(by Laura) and carry around my Baby Lips, spf25 lip balm.  I also keep a little pot of moisturizer in my pocket which I shamelessly apply in public.

Multiple layers yes–and that vitamin C layer is its own block in the form of anti-oxidants.

Onto the bod.

My plan is to moisturize with my Johnson&Johnson 24 hour (my last bottle). On top of that I have Kiehl’s spf30 which I will put on my neck, arms and legs.  For my chest I will also apply another layer of Neutregena55.  I’ve noticed the times that I am out in the sun a little bit the neck area gets pink on me.

For my hair, believe it or not that’s a consideration as well.  I use the Kitoko Oil in my hair which has anti-oxidants which provide UV protection-probably not a lot but something is better than nothing.  Since I use a gloss on my hair, my color doesn’t really fade-it washes out after 6 weeks or so, but my grow out is faster so I am on a 4 week schedule at this point.

So that’s pre-sun. What about apres soleil?

I think we are going out to dinner so this may follow later. But I plan to do a Korean cloth mask with hyularonic acid.  HA is a naturally occurring chemical in your body which is basically a moisturizer.  They also use it in products like Restylane which is injected into your crevices to plump up lines.

Follow that with a mask of Orlane, and a generous slather of Rosa Artica and Vitamin C. I think that will help repair any exposure damage.

For my body, I have my new favorite moisturizers-CeraVe’ body cream and Aveena Baby 24 Hour Body Cream for Sensitive Skin.

I know-it’s a lot but I take skin and sun exposure seriously.

Anyway, this is what I do—


Got Protection? Tinted Sunscreen

I’m always on the prowl for anything new in the way of sunscreen.  Living in Hawaii it’s a necessity with pretty much sunny weather 365 days a year.

A few weeks ago I was tooling around Nordstroms and picked up a sample of the Clarin’s spf 40 Tinted Moisturizer that is offered in light, medium and dark shades.

Love the texture- the tinted version uses the same as the original formula, which is a opaque white but dries clear with no chalky look.

There’s a few reservations I have for the product. As usual for most products that have the one size fits all approach of light, medium, dark-they don’t take into consideration all the different shades of complexion.  Which is ok, but if that’s all you’re wearing in terms of foundation-one size does not fit all.

The other thing I was thinking this morning as I did my morning routine, was if I use only the tinted moisturizer, would I be covering all areas on my face?  I put my foundation on with a very light hand, just a little pea of product which I rub with my fingertips and pat on.

A far cry from the recommended dime size dollop of sunscreen-and that’s really for those creamy thick formulas that you wear to the beach.

I use the regular formula Clarins spf40 as my daily face sunscreen and I draw out about an inch of product and using the same fingertip rub motion I pat that on, but all over.

So, if I was only using the tinted moisturizer I wouldn’t necessarily get it on my entire face.

So it makes sense to use both regular sunscreen, followed by the tinted version. But isn’t that double?

Yeah, but more is better when it comes to sunscreen.

And then there’s foundations and BB creams with spf.

In my opinion, same thing.  You really need to use regular sunscreen under, and put the color product on over.

I’ve done both for years, foundation and sunscreen- even if the foundation has spf15-but why is it so low?  Is it because higher spfs mess with the foundation formula?

Must be something like that, because I have tried all my sunscreens-Clarins, Trish McAvoy, Laura Mercier’s Primer w spf, Neutragena and my outdoor screen, Ocean Potion and none of them work well with the Laura Mercier’s new moisturizing foundation.

I put sunscreen on, let it dry, and everything I have tried so far, the new foundation “pills” and I end up smearing it off. Ick. Not my favorite thing since I disliked doing anything that pulls or tugs my skin.

I can only thing using a makeup sponge or brush would make the problem worse and more streaky weird.

In a few days, I’m going to Nordstorms event with the Laura Mercier national artist applying the makeup-so I will definitely ask, What’s up?

But as for sunscreen, apply, and repeat.


Make Me Moist! New Foundation and Sunscreen Options!

My blue-eyed friend informed me he did not use sunscreen on a daily basis. What?! We live in Hawaii with the sun shining on us everyday, having a position close to the equator  – it is pretty brutal.

So, since he’s a guy, I had him try out my Clarins SFP40-my fave-it goes under makeup really well, very light, not greasy, and doesn’t feel like it has fine grains of something that some blocks have. For guys, it has a very light but pleasant fragrance.

Tooling around Nordstroms, where as usual, no one is at the counter at Clarins, Kiehls, Bobbi etc. Doesn’t matter.  I know what I want.

But I do see something new on the counter – Clarins has made their super wonderful spf40 sunscreen in tints!  They offer light, medium and dark in the same silky liquid formula. Since no one was around, I helped myself to a sample.  I’m wondering at the same time, if this is why Nordstroms leaves out their sample pots – for whatever reason, the salespeople are rarely at their stations.  I can’t ding my friend there because it was her day off.

I see the Revive’ product rep, Crystal, and ask her to help me buy the regular formula Clarins.  She highly recommended the Cleau De Peau spf50 sunscreen and gave me a sample.  I asked, you recommend this over Revive? She said yes because the Revive’ packaging is being changed because customers can’t use the entire product without taking out the pump.  Nearly half the product is wasted.  Be on the lookout for new packaging. At $95 a bottle-I’m sure we all want to use it to the last drop!

A few days prior, I was browsing to check out new stuff–at Laura Mercier I saw they had new foundation in both oil free and moisture formulas.  Moisture Supreme (pronounced suh-prem) is another dream product!  I used it over my regular regimen of Kiehl’s Power Line, Rosa Artica and Clarins spf40, and wore it for an entire day without feeling dry.  Awesome!

I had tried Laura Mercier’s tinted radiance moisturizer and decided I didn’t like to be that shimmery.  When the Revive’ guys came, I saw that the Revive’ girls were all wearing it-I could tell by the shimmery effect it has.  It reminds me of those horrible mother of pearl products brought out maybe 10 years ago that gave you a radiant look, but really if you look at it in the sun it looks weird and fakey. Sorry Laura.

I’m sitting writing this with the Clarins tinted spf40 on and it feels and looks great.  I’ll post again at how it wears during the day.  What’s more, because it’s tinted with just enough pigment you can tell if you’re getting your face covered with the sunscreen protection.

On men sunscreen.  I also checked out Facial Fuel by Kiehls – it is liquid, but it has a chalky texture and a not unpleasant, but somewhat chemical scent.  The Clinique men’s line, carried in NM but not Nordstrom, is pretty nice.  Packaged in sort of a gunmetal color, “M” line offers everything the same as the “women’s” line.  Plus they had some interesting sunscreens that were on the men’s counter.  Smelled pretty good.  I would use them.

That said, Clinique Super Defense spf25 is really great.  The other products don’t have treatment, but Super Defense is also anti-aging and moisturizing.

So, that and that said, if you’re sitting inside with a lot of windows and sunlight, make sure you use your sunscreen! Even on overcast days!



Nothing ignites a little sparkle in my eye and a  skip in my step than a GWP, or gift with purchase.  I just love getting a little something extra when I buy something-something for nothing these days is great!


Lately, it seems like our Honolulu stores, Neiman Marcus and Nordstroms time their beauty events very close together.

For example, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom had their events only weeks apart.  Once NM announced the presale for their event, Nordstrom came out and brought out an amazing bag of treats! For a purchase of $125,  I’ll try to remember the highlights, Laura Mercier Baked Eye Color, travel size foundation brush, full size Clarins Body Firm, Coach perfume, somebody’s mascara and I forgot the rest.  I was in the store buying my bf his Clinique Super Defense in quantity, plus some Clarin’s spf 40, so made the $125 easily.

I think I ended up getting the NM bag of treats as well.

Recently, I waited around for two weeks to buy Lancome primer so I could get the gift–cute little pink bag, lip gloss, mascara primer, Visionaire, Genefique and moisturizer – I picked Renergie.  That was at Macy’s.

I really depend on the counter reps to let me know the events are coming up because so far,  all three stores, for the most part, don’t send me the info. Or it comes after the fact.  Though the really on the ball ones get my phone or email and let me know way in advance – yay!!

This past Christmas holiday I was able to SuperSize some gifts with the great GWPs at Nordstroms.  They by far, online, had the very best product offers and incentives to buy.  I  got Kiehl’s and L’Occitane’ gifts and their accompanying GWPs.  Plus they threw in a men’s top bag of treats which I gave to my Dad.