Beauty Buy #1 -- Oil of Olay Regenerist Thermal Mini-Peel

Kate Somerville is my skin care dream come true.  However, she is also a pricey dream.  One of the products she recommends for any skin type and any age woman is some sort of glycolic treatment.  Her version sells for around $90 and suggests bi-weekly usage.   

Enter our friend Oil of Olay.  After years of not taking care of my face, glycolic acid has helped me reset my skin.  Don't let the word acid scare you!  It doesn't burn!  All the glycolic acid does is polish your skin by stripping away old dead skin cells and turnover healthy, fresh ones.

Oil of Olay has a wonderful product in their Regenerist line named Thermal Mini-Peel.  It is a product which not only contains glycolic acid but also hydrates and nourishes.  Bonus points for a warming features that activates when combined with water.  To Oil of Olay's point, it is like a mini spa treatment in the comfort of your own home.

Although the price tag is still $21 for one bottle, a little goes a long way.  You can get away using it once or twice a week.  One bottle can last for about 3 months or more.  For extra savings, Ulta usually has $3 off a $10 purchase offer as well.  Again, the results are worth spending a little extra.

Reason to Splurge #1 -- Marc by Marc Jacobs Knit Jeans

Black Knit Jeans
$228 Marc by Marc Jacobs

The jegging hybrid: part jean / part legging is like the new black pants.  It's everywhere, and for good reason.  Can you even think of one thing you can't wear with them?  Fine.  Underneath a swimsuit.

Why It Is Worth the Investment:  The knit is very luxurious and thick.  The denim-styling pockets add another protective layer between cellulite and the viewing public.  One of the features I love is the extra length for the perfect bunchy look around your ankle or you can pull the fabric down over your heel for my favorite L&L (long and lean) illusion.  Literally I have worn these pants so much when you divide out the price by wears, it is no more than a penny.  They are worth saving for.

How You Can Keep Your CC Status:  These black knit jeans are not for the petite and are meant more for heels than flats.  The cut is more contemporary which means it runs small and fitted; the rise is low.  Also, not so much an underneath tall boot pant.  That's it....it breaks my heart to even say that much about the loves of my life.

Size up.  You won't notice the difference between the 2 sizes but will be glad you did.  

Elegant flip-flop

Boca jeweled flip-flops
$24.50 at J. Crew

What an elegant go-to in your closet when you need a fancy flip-flop.

What I like: #1....there is not a whole lot not to like about flip-flops.  I think most women can relate to the need to have a pair of flip-flops in their wardrobe they can throw on with a great summer dress to add a finished polished.  Even better, keep them in your purse when your killer heels begin to hurt at events.  It's like jewelry for your feet without the toe ring.

What I wear it with:  Although it is still a little chilly, these flip-flops paired nicely with my black cotton sundress as well with my black cotton skirt and white tee.  If spring has not sprung, how about jeans and a tee with some cute jewels?  Make sure you go ankle length or capri.  I love the polished yet casual combo -- very Vera.

Only come in full sizes -- I size-up because I prefer a little extra room with my flops.  Read: no feet hanging off the sides.  May have to order online as stores were limited in sizes.


Feminine Military-Inspired Blouse

Rouched-Front Military Shirt
$49.50 at Express

A blouse that is both feminine and military-inspired?  Sounds like an oxymoron to me!  It really exists!

What I like:  Generally I am not a huge blouse fan because they are usually awkward across the chest and can be too boxy through the torso.  What makes this blouse different is the seaming and the rouching.  The seaming fits the blouse to your shape and the rouching effect gives the illusion of a feminine shape.  Women who have longer torsos will love the length.  The finished bottom works well either tucked in or left out.  Military details are already popular but will be an even bigger trend this fall -- be an early adopter!  The green camo color is perfect for a little nod to the military trend if you are not quite ready to buy combat boots.

What I wear it with:  So far I have worn this shirt tucked into a black pencil skirt for an army-chic feel, with black pants for office attire and with a pair of jeans for a night out.  The latter two all within the same day.  Go with a chunky gold bracelet for extra toughness.  Try this one, it is always a hit!

Cube Chain Bracelet
$7.80 at Forever21.com

Bought and kept my usual size in shirt - Don't forget your coupon!
Bracelet runs bigger.


Artistic, flowy top that does not look maternity

Print Woven Top
$15.80 at Forever21.com

A mesmerizing top that illustrates the trend of artwork as fashion.

What I like: This top is the perfect combo of colors.  Some gold, silver, black, white and teal...perfect match with any jewelry and can be worn with all your basics.  The straps are bra friendly and the racerback keeps the top more fitted.  For $15.80 the fabric does not look cheap either.  Let's be honest, a top that hides your stomach and does not look like maternity wear is like winning the lotto.

What I wear it with: I cannot think of one basic this top will not coordinate with.  I have worn this top with both black skinny pants and platform boots as well as ripped skinny jeans with a cuff.  I have also worn it underneath a black suit.  My only recommendation is stick with a skinny or fitted bottom to prevent looking too wide.  If you can do shorts like the model, do nude sandals for long legs.  Turquoise jewelry is the perfect coordinating accessory.

Bought and kept my usual size.  It is a little roomy and I love it!


More delicate take on a gladiator

Elkie Peep Toe Sandal
$89 Nine West.com
Currently on-sale 50% off

These shoes are beyond versatile

I have to give credit where credit is due. My Mom actually bought these for me as a birthday present. They are the perfect shoe for a modern lady!

What I like: they are feminine while achieving the "in" chunky look for shoes. They are surprisingly comfortable and can be worn for hours at a time. Sexy but tasteful.

What I wear them with: Everything. However, I will specifically shout-out leggings and skinny jeans. Skinny jeans with a cuff? Even better. Of course you cannot go wrong with a dress or skirt but I would caution against anything with a shorter hemline. You don't want too much sex appeal!

Bought and kept my usual size.

Who knew tie-dye could be so edgy?

Norma Kamali tie-dye leggings
$10 at Walmart.com

I bought these leggings and could not be happier.

Who really wants to spend $98 on a pair of leggings that really look like a DIY craft project. I love the look but did not love the price until I found these.

What I like: the rise is high and keeps your tummy nice and secure. The tie-dye is just down the side so your legs look nice and long. The black dye does not come off on your skin.

What I wear them with: Looks super cool with tall black boots, equally cool with gladiator heels and even good with flats. I recommend a long, basic top so as not to compete with the busyness of the tie-dye. Your long, black cardigan with a white tank underneath perhaps? Extra points for cool royal blue shoes. A little edge to a favorite basic.

Runs true to size including length. I bought and kept my usual size.

Tip #3 -- Embrace the Golden Rule

It is the Golden Rule of Shopping – Invest in basics. Basics need not be your entire budget but are worth spending a little extra on because this is where you will get the most bang for your buck.

Every woman must have in their closet a pair of black pants and a black skirt. The Limited and Express both have options for different body types and best of all a variety of pant lengths. And for around $70, you will get a pair that holds up for quite awhile and does not pill. While you are at the shop, pick-up a black blazer because this is a must as well.

I think it goes without saying a woman should have 1 pair of jeans that fit her well and are versatile. When it comes to fit, it is important to make sure the length is right, especially if you are planning on wearing heels. Avoid any and all jeans that accentuate the muffin top or make your butt look flat or wide. I recommend a skinny jean in a darker wash because you can cuff the jean depending on the shoe. Generally a dark wash and skinny leg make your legs look longer and leaner. Plus this cut can do dressy to casual, day to night, and will fit well underneath boots. If skinny is not your thing, then go with a slight flare or boot cut.

Unfortunately when it comes to jeans, and any basics for that matter, you have to try on multiple styles to find the perfect fit. Not a ton of fun I know. I would say I have had luck at the Gap if I am looking for a good basic jean. Again, lots of variety when it comes to style and lengths.

The last 2 items I would consider basics and a staple to any wardrobe: long, black cardigan in a fine knit and leggings. A cardigan can go over your sleeveless tops as a layering piece. This will help you get more mileage out of your wardrobe during colder weather too. Last but not least, leggings are the ultimate go to. You can wear under tunics, dresses, long tops and with flats, tall boots and chunky heels. If you even want to take it there, to exercise in. As you can see, very versatile indeed!

If you plan on doing any shopping at The Limited, Express or Gap, sign-up for their email mailing lists. You will receive different discounts regularly and really have no good reason to buy anything at full-price.

That is Part II of the Golden Rule of Shopping – wait for a coupon.