Archive for April, 2011

Needle’s Haystack: Saving Time and Taking the Guesswork Out of Finding One-Of-A-Kind Jewelry

Posted by    |    April 25th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Time is a precious commodity these days, so who doesn’t want to save some it by finding everything you need in one spot? And better yet, what if that spot is online and allows you to have one smooth transaction involving several different vendors? For jewelry lovers of all kinds, Needle’s Haystack is designed to cater to the discriminating buyer who wants to save time and find unique pieces that will spark compliments.  When I first heard about this online jewelry marketplace, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I visited the site and learned that Needle’s Haystack gives designers an avenue to sell their beautiful products without any listing, membership, or monthly maintenance fees.  I love this concept because it allows newer designers who don’t have a large marketing budget to sell their up and coming works and establish a brand presence.  Though the concept sounds effortless, it began with Stephen Lehn, the CEO of Needle’s Haystack searching for a birthday gift for his mother. Who hasn’t struggled with that, right? He encountered a talented jewelry designer working from her home in Dallas; he discovered this designer’s profile included creating designs for a national luxury retailer.  Aside from word of mouth, she expressed disappointment because there were not any accessible markets solely focused on jewelry. After recruiting David Ganc, the COO of Needle’s Haystack, the two decided to create the only marketplace devoted to talented jewelry designers and one-of-a-kind jewelry. Their motto is, “We don’t succeed until the designer succeeds,” which is a testament to how much they love and respect the craft and labor of love that goes into a beautiful piece.

 The site is simple to navigate. With crisp, eye-catching photos of the jewelry, this online boutique allows you to buy from a variety of vendors and have one pleasant transaction once you’re finished shopping. How clever is that? Several designers with a noticeable “wow factor” are Coral Reef Dreams and their stunning Aqua Chalcedony and White Freshwater Pearl Necklace for $90, a Candy Pink Jade necklace with Citrine Drops on a 14K gold-filled chain by Star Candy, ?and CLQ Designs with a Mother-Of-Pearl Embellished Bangle that is the perfect addition to any summer ensemble for only $71.50.  Needle’s Haystack is so uncomplicated and fun, I think jewelry enthusiasts will thank their lucky stars for the time they will save looking for that perfect piece…. and enjoy the compliments that will undoubtedly follow.


Tan Your Hide

Posted by    |    April 21st, 2011 at 6:15 pm

It’s that time of year, when shorts and sundresses and swimwear come out from storage and on to our pasty bodies.  Well, unless you’re lucky enough to be an olive-skinned lass, which I am not.  I know that a bronzed body isn’t as widely sought after on the east coast and other parts of Middle America, but this is Dallas.  The city known for big everything, and the most beautiful women on the planet.  You don’t want to be caught at Sfuzzi sporting the whitest legs this side of the Rio Grande, do you?  I didn’t think so.  Me either.

Here are a few tanning tricks of the trade to keep in the back of your mind when you decide to tan your hide.  Some are from my own trial and error, and some were bequeathed to me from bronze goddess friends.

1. Mystic Tan and VersaSpa are both wonderful spray tan booths that work quickly and effectively.  I won’t lie, the solutions smell fairly terrible and if you sweat, this stuff WILL come out of your pores.  However, Palm Beach Tan Tanning Salons offer you the option to add a scent to your Mystic Tan, which alleviates the smell.  If you don’t want to put a few extra bucks towards this, I suggest going to tan before bed and let the smell dissipate over night.  Just sleep on dark sheets, my friends! You’ll be pleased with the more natural color these solutions offer than the older, more orange-y versions.

2. Accidentally go overboard with self-tanner or can’t get the remaining Mystic Tan out of your pores?  Buy a rough pumice stone (I got mine for around $6 at Market Street,) and a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide (also very inexpensive).  Take a warm to hot shower and let the steam open your pores.  Very carefully use the pumice stone to lightly scrub the trouble spots until you slough off the overly-tanned skin.  If the trouble spots are in sensitive areas or hard-to-get to (like between the fingers or on knuckles, elbows, etc.,) use a cotton ball or Q-tip dipped in Hydrogen Peroxide to scrub the areas.  These two methods are your best bet for removal.

3. Once you have either spray-tanned or used a self-tanning lotion, moisturize like you have OCD.  By keeping your skin hydrated the color will remain on your skin longer and have a nice, healthy sheen to it.

4. Legs can be the hardest place to get tan, both from the sun and from self-tanners.  One bronzer that works instantly and looks lovely is L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze One Day Tinted Gel, 6.7 fl oz?.  I recommend getting a pair of latex gloves and rubbing one smooth coat of this on each leg.  It dries quickly and smells nice, and it’s around $9 from drugstores.  Just be careful if you sit on light colored couches or car upholstery-this stuff does transfer on to light fabrics.  (Don’t ask how I know this.)

5. I know Benefit doesn’t carry it anymore, but if you can find Benefit Talk to the Tan online anywhere, this is the most amazing product to use on a pale face.  Almost like a tinted moisturizer, it’s sheer and smells good.  When I’m having a good skin day (thank you, Clairsonic!) I sometimes wear it instead of foundation.

6.  Last, but not least, is the world’s best waterproof bronzer for your face.  Waterproof, you say?  Yes! I bought Hourglass Water-proof Bronzer last summer in an attempt to find something that wouldn’t wash away the second I went under the water while doing water aerobics (I know, kind of old lady-ish of me, but it’s fun,) and this totally does the trick.  It has no glitter or sheen to it, which is an added bonus. Sephora carries this brand, and though they can be a little pricey, this one is worth the $48.

Always remember to be “sun safe” and wear an SPF, a stylish hat, and sunglasses to protect your beautiful peepers. Being bronze and beautiful isn’t worth a melanoma scare, so be smart when catching some rays.

Cute and Affordable Birthday Gifts

Posted by    |    April 18th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

It seems like there are more spring and summer birthdays than any other time of year, and it can be challenging to find something personal to give year after year.  Though giftcards have become the preferred method of gifting, it’s still a little sweeter to hand-pick a trinket for friends and loved ones.  Since cash is tight for the vast majority and taxes are due today (yuck!) I thought I’d show you my picks for affordable and sweet gifts for the birthday gals and guys in your life.

First up, an adorable Mod Bird with Silver Nest and Eggs necklace in sterling silver.  Not only is this a steal at $25, it’s a great conversation starter.  You can find it for sale here.

For the list-maker and to-do fanatics, Mary Kate McDevitt creates unique and stylish chalkboards. Her hand-lettering and quirky designs are the perfect way to take boring to-do lists and make them much more fun.  These are around $45.

If you have to mail a birthday greeting, why not send a Postcarden?  These green postcards unfold into three-dimensional structures that contain edible cress seeds. Choose the structure type that best fits the recipient, like a cityscape, botanical, or football. Put the seeds into the base, add some water and soon you have your very own mini-garden! This runs you about $10 plus a little for shipping.

Lastly, for the interior design lover who seeks funky and unique prints to frame and create a gallery wall, these links will make their day.  From the beautiful peacock vintage print here to the hilarious take on the “Keep Calm” signs here, they all run about $10.  These also make nice framed prints to keep at a desk for a co-worker’s birthday.

There you have it!  Birthday ideas that won’t break the bank.  (But if you’re looking to do just that, check out this USB Typewriter...genius!)




Tips for Comfortable Spring Shoes

Posted by    |    April 14th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I tend to buy shoes that look good, regardless of whether or not they are comfortable.  This is fine if you’re only wearing them a short time and walking a short distance, but that doesn’t usually happen.  With a fear that bunions and corns might start showing up in my twilight years, I have had to get creative with ways to make the shoes I love work for my feet.

One of the most frustrating things that can happen is finding your dream pair of heels and they don’t come in a half size.  I can typically wear a size five and a half to a six and a half, but some pairs only come in whole sizes.  What to do?  Buy a pair that will pinch my feet, or buy a pair that will slip off my heel when I walk?

I err on the side of buying too small, and then have found creative ways of stretching them without paying a cobbler to do it for me.  I now bestow these simple tricks on other shoe lovers who have felt my pain.


Fill two ziplock plastic bags 1/4 full with water and place one inside each shoe. Place your shoes in the freezer for several hours until the water freezes. As water freezes it expands, so your shoes should stretch. Take out your shoes once they have frozen, and let them thaw for 20 minutes. Remove the ice packs out of  your shoes once they have thawed out enough. Clean off any lingering water and they should be stretched nicely!

TIP #2:

Take your blowdryer on medium heat and blast warm air on the part of the shoe you need stretched (focus especially on the inside of the shoe).  Let the warm air penetrate the shoe for 10-20 seconds, and then let the shoe cool down for a few seconds before placing it on your foot.  Walk around a bit and let the shoe material strech.  Repeat this several times if necessary.  It really works!

TIP #3:

If all else fails, head to Wal-Mart or Target to get shoe stretching spray and wooden stretchers.  Follow the directions and enjoy a roomier shoe!


What Are They Really Like? Celebrity Tell-All From the Red Carpet

Posted by    |    April 7th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

One of the cool things about covering the red carpet for any event is getting up close and person with the folks we normally see on our television screens or in the movie theatre. (Or these days, on Hulu.)  Over the years I’ve been very impressed with some in their interviews, like Paris Hilton, for example.  She was poised, articulate, and stunning in person-not quite what I had expected.  Some were less than impressive, like Lorenzo Lamas.  (He brought two dates and neither of them seemed to know the alphabet.)  So what is the consensus from the Dallas International Film Festival red carpet interactions?  Here is my personal run-down….

Opening Night I was pleased to chat with the filmmakers of Being Elmo, who were not only some of the nicest people at the festival, but didn’t give the feeling they were only there to self-promote.  Connie Marks and James Miller acted as if they were here to also make friends, which makes them cool as a fan in my book.

Outlaw country legend Jerry Jeff Walker was friendly and warm, and seems to still have an affinity for lovely ladies.  His wife is a knockout!  There may be snow on the roof, but there’s clearly fire in the furnace.  He is a man who has seen it all and done it all, and isn’t afraid of anybody.