Some Sales + Steals

August 27, 2015

Ever since our move to our new (and smaller!) apartment a few weeks ago, I am still spending my weekends getting settled and try to give myself a task to complete each weekend. Last weekend I cleared out bags and bags that were full of consignment and giveaway clothing and cluttering our hallway. Taking care of that took two full days but was a huge relief to the space in our apartment and to me! Molly and I started doing regular closet clean outs which I have found to be quite cleansing and actually enjoy doing now. It also allows room (and makes for less guilt) for any new purchases that I may make. By getting rid of things, it helps me to realize what types of pieces I don't wear/love as much so that I don't buy them again. Molly is MUCH better at doing this than I am, but I like to think that I am getting better at following her example:) I am hoping that after this coming weekend's "to-do" of finding a home for one last little box of things that we will feel all settled and in turn, less cluttered! Now that we have our two (big) pups living with us in our one bedroom place, we are determined to keep things organized around here. The lack of open areas or corners to put "stuff" really does force you to do that!

With school starting next week, it's hard not to get in the "back to school" mode of buying those few things I'd like to start a new school year with. Being a teacher I'm similar to a student in that way:) At the top of my list is a more casual "work bag" to carry my laptop in back and forth to school - I hate weighing down my nicer bags with a laptop and all of my other things. Currently looking at the MZ Wallace Metro totes or a classic L.L. Bean Boat and Tote, which I have in a giant size for the beach and love. Any suggestions are always welcome. Will also be taking advantage of the sales as "back to school" excuses! (read on to get the sales + steals)

 

Some Sales:

  • Ann Taylor: Extra 40% off sale styles. (these are an AMAZING deal and the black would be great to go into fall – the reviews sold me too)
  • Anthropologie: Extra 20% off sale items. (I feel like Anthro NEVER does this – take advantage! These are adorable and a great deal and I love the idea of this for a trip to St. Barths we’re taking in February!)
  • ASOS: Final clearance sale! Items are up to 70% off – shop it here.
  • Banana Republic: Extra 50% off women’s sale with code BRSALE.
  • Club Monaco: Free shipping on orders over $150 with code FREESHIP. (this is one of the prettier blouses I’ve seen in awhile and one I know would get SO much wear)
  • Eberjey: End of summer sale! Get 30% off all swim and coverups with code SUMMERSALE. Ends 8/31.
  • GAP: 30% off regular priced styled with code HAPPY – today only! (loving all the new arrivals – would love to try these jeans!)
  • J.Crew: 25% off select shirts, t-shirts, and sweaters with code SHOPNOW. (I absolutely adore the print on this top!)
  • J.Crew Factory: Up to 50% off all styles – today only! (this is so fantastic)
  • LOFT: 50% off sale styles!
  • Lulu and Georgia: 15 – 25% off when you spend $250-$1,000 (Great time to buy a rug or piece of furniture that you’ve been needing! (in love with these cute guys – if only we had a home for them in our new place)
  • Old Navy: Get 25% off when you spend $75+ with code ENJOY. Offer ends 8/28. (Molly just bought this, this, and this…very cute)
  • Splendid: 25% off select women’s styles!
  • French Connection: 50% off all sale items + free shipping with code 50SALE
  • The Outnet: End of Season Sale! Extra 40% off!
  • West Elm: Extra 15% off sale with code REDHOT! (I am generally not one for random assortments of coffee mugs, but a set of 6 of these would be amazing – would be a fun gift too)
Some Steals:

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Style

Tuxedo Tank

J.Crew has new arrivals. Have you seen them? There’s a lot of good stuff…we instantly zeroed in on this Tuxedo Tank Top. It’s a very wearable basic (great for layering) but the tuxedo pleating on the bib and trim around the sleeves and neck make for great texture and contrast. Right now it’s 25% off with code SHOPNOW. Also, we can’t talk about the new arrivals without mentioning this bag…so good.

Lifestyle

ksny Neopolitan Case

kate spade calls this the Watch Hill Stripe iPhone case but we think it should be named the “Neopolitan” case. The pale pink, black, and tan stripes remind us of a delish ice cream treat but look pretty great on an iPhone case. If you haven seen the new arrivals from ksny you need to take a look…so much fun whimsy and more neopolitan colors for this season! Loving this fun clutch.

Lifestyle

@APIECEOFTOAST

This Outfit + Mi Golondrina Event!

August 26, 2015

I feel lucky that I've been able to visit Dallas a fairly good amount since moving to Houston. Usually I make the 3.5 hour drive to host events and the work related trips make for a great excuse to see my besties that I miss so much. Cristina, one of my closest buds and the owner of Mi Golondrina, and I have a great routine down where I get to stay with her and we have delicious date night dinners. It's very romantic - as you might imagine - and gives us a lot of time to catch-up. The best part about seeing Cristina (aside from just basking in the glow of our friendship) is that I never leave Dallas empty handed...a new Mi Golondrina top or dress always comes back to Houston with me.

 

Because each Mi Golondrina piece is hand-made by Mexican artisans, no top or dress is exactly the same and each is truly a work of art. It’s the craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind beauty that makes it impossible for me to stop adding Cristina’s pieces to my closet. I can’t say no when something catches my eye because I hate the thought of missing the chance to snatch it up! The blouse I’m wearing here is one of the brand’s newest additions and I love how feminine and sweet it is. Cristina would be able to tell you the exact techniques used but it has pleating, open thread lace, and trim around the sleeves and neck. As Cristina would say, “it’s very angelic.”

I’m very, very excited that TOMORROW (Thursday, August 27th) Caroline Knapp of House of Harper and I will be hosting the Mi Golondrina trunk show at Biscuit Home! Biscuit is one of only two retailers that carries Cristina’s work so a trunk show means that there is a great selection of everything the brand has to offer. But be warned: pieces sell fast and sell out! Make sure you try to stop by so you can get your hands on something.

Here are all the details:

.Place & Time: Biscuit Home (1435 Westheimer Road) 2:00 – 8:00 p.m., Thursday, August 27th

.Enjoy: Margaritas! Mexican pastries! Yum and yum.

.Shop: A HUGE selection of Mi Golondrina tops, dresses, and bottoms. There will be fan favorites like the white sleeveless tops with multi-colored embroidery along with more unique and new designs (like the top I have on in this post).

If you live in Houston this is not something to miss out on…both Caroline and I look forward to seeing y’all there!

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Style

Ambra Flat

Okay…we admit that we might have a slight problem with finding look-alikes to the Aquazzura Christy Flats. But when there are some very legit and budget-friendly options available we think they need to be shared! And scooped up quickly. Lace-up flats seem to be for fall what the lace-up gladiators were for summer. The silver Ambra Flats by Loeffler Randall were a recent doppelgänger discovery we’re lusting after.

Lifestyle

Porter Mag

PORTER Magazine, the glossy print publication by Net-A-Porter, isn’t something new but we have yet to sign up for a subscription to get the six yearly issues mailed to us. It’s not a huge deal because they can be found on random news stands (especially at the airport) and individual issues can be bought online, but when we see covers like the summer issue with Karlie Kloss and a puppy we kick ourselves. Christmas gift idea?

Skyline Style

August 25, 2015

Heyy youuuu guyyyys. New York really took it out of me - I apologize for the lack of posts last week. After being a total sloth baby of sleep all weekend I feel like I'm almost back to feeling like myself. I'm not quite ready to jump back into my Pure Barre classes (going to resume those starting next Monday) but I have been smothering Blue with affection (my main form of working out) and am contemplating a doing a juice cleanse to really restart my system. If anyone has cleanse suggestions that won't break the bank or make me feel super zapped of energy, please pass them along!

New York definitely has the most impressive skyline around (at least from what I have seen from my limited travels) but it was very nice to return back to Texas and have the Houston cityscape greet me as a welcome. I figured these shots with some of downtown Houston's buildings in the background made for a fitting "welcome back" post. The architecture is nice but the Vince dress and sweater cape kind of steal the show.

 

Was I sweating while wearing that cape? Yes, yes I was. It’s not quite sweater weather in Texas (re: we’re still in the “feels like 100 degrees” territory) but I’m so obsessed with this cape that I’m seriously pining for crisp fall weather so I can wear it with more dresses, jeans, and more. Till then, I’ll wear it in my air conditioned apartment and sport the sleeveless dress. Most of the LWDs (little white dresses) I have are short so I got this one because the below the knee midi length was different than anything I have and I love the deep v-neck but otherwise modest cut. And it has pockets! What more could you want? Like last week’s dark grey dress, I also wore this while in NY but paired it with some flat sandals and more dainty jewelry. Very versatile little piece. Can’t wait to wear it – and the cape – through the fall.

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Cityguide Scarf

You don’t have to be an avid traveler to appreciate the charm of this Cityguide Scarf from Madewell. Molly saw it first on Hanna of Gadabout and now we are both big fans of the design. The sketch is a “playful and personal” map of Manhattan so it doubles as both a stylish accessory and a useful tool when looking for the Madewell team’s fave taco spot and favorite bike paths. The black and ivory will go with everything, too!

Beauty

Dinoplatz Balm

We have not had the pleasure of trying this Dinoplatz lip balm by brand Too Cool For School – but can you blame us for having some interest in it? That packaging is just fantastic. And according to Sephora, it helps plump lips and reduce the appearance of lines. Nice. We like the color (and tin design) of the Peach Melba hue pictured above but the formula comes in two other shades (Spilled Wine and Beet Jam).

GIVEAWAY – Stowaway Cosmetic Kits!

August 24, 2015

We buy, and use, a lot of beauty products. Rarely do we pay attention to expiration dates or advised "discontinue use after x amount of months after opening" suggestions. We wouldn't put food that's expired long past its date in our bodies so why use products that have gone past the healthy length of usage on our face and skin? Well...a lot of the products we currently use have ingredients in them that aren't great for us but make them last longer than normal beauty items should. That's pretty yuck.

Stowaway Cosmetics is a new company started with several goals in mind - the one that struck us the most is that their products are created with the highest beauty regulatory standards and come packaged in "right-sized" portions so they can be used, and ideally finished, before they expire. We got to try the six preciously small sized items for ourselves and loved them so much that we wanted to work with the Stowaway team to giveaway their complete kit with all the products for THREE of you lucky readers to try! (continue reading to enter)

 

About those regulatory standards…we think you’ll find this as interesting as we did. All natural beauty products are tricky, mostly because “all-natural” is not a regulated term. What Stowaway does is hold all their products to the highest standards in the beauty industry by being EU compliant. Unlike the US, which bans only 11 items in cosmetics (a questionably low number), Europe bans over 1,300 items in their cosmetics. By being EU compliant, Stowaway is making some of the safest beauty products you can put on your face. Hence the expiration date – hence the small packaging size!

As women we like to think that the beauty stuffs we use should conceal blemishes and highlight our features so we can feel beautiful. Sometimes it’s hard to do something that sounds so simple when you’re always on the go and can’t bring your entire makeup bag/bathroom vanity with you everywhere. If makeup is suppose to blend into our lifestyles, shouldn’t it be easy to bring anywhere and everywhere? The two founders of Stowaway say, “YES!” to this question and it’s why they created six core products that could achieve beautiful solutions. From the beauty balm to the eyeliner – each product has been thoughtfully designed to work hard but not overpower what beauty you naturally have going on. Simple shades take the guess out of choosing and work with most skin tones while the pretty and petite packaging means your purse/makeup bag gets lighter and your bank account gets a break…you won’t be spending more on products that are too large to finish and the smaller size means that Stowaway gets to create more premium products without those yuck ingredients.

We are always into trying new beauty items but we’ll be honest, when we got the smaller than “average” products in the mail we were doubtful about how they would compare to what’s already in our makeup arsenal. What we found was that each product was a pleasant surprise…cute and tiny packaging (along with being EU-compliant, paraben-, phthalate-, and cruelty-free) doesn’t mean that they don’t measure up. Here’s our thoughts on each product offered by Stowaway and what comes in the $75 kit:

Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm (in fair): very creamy but not heavy, we love how it blended while providing moisture and a nice glow. We loved the tip Stowaway gave of “start from your nose and blend outward.” We’ve always started with our cheeks – such rookies!

Creaseless Concealer (in fair): this stuff…is legit. Equally great for totally concealing the under-eye circles we are prone to and covering stray red bumps and blemishes. And no, it doesn’t crease at. all.

Cheek & Lip Pot Rouge (in peony): we usually tend to go for powder blushes because we’re not great at controlling cream formulas that need a finger application, but this really surprised us. The consistency is nice and sheer so unless you really go to town, you won’t end up looking like a clown (rhyme not intended).

Creme Lipstick (in champagne): this little baby is so tiny you want to kiss it! Like all the other products, don’t let the size fool you…just one swipe is all you need to get a smooth, just right application of opaque color. We try a lot of nude colored lipsticks and this one is definitely a new favorite.

Effortless Eyeliner (in jet): both of us typically use liquid or gel liners so we fumbled a bit with the application of the eyeliner at first. Call it user error, because once we got the pressure and line right, the cream pencil delivers a natural look that sets and then doesn’t smudge.

Defined Lash Mascara: most beauty addicts will tell you that they have tried every mascara out there…we tell a similar tale. But this stuff is different. We can’t determine if it’s the brush (that’s flat and curved) or the buildable fibers that give great length and volume without causing clumps – but we really, really like it. Fingers crossed that they come out with a waterproof version because we are blessed with under- and above-eye smudges (damn long lashes!).

We’re still in the process of working through our items but we know that there will definitely be more than a few we’ll be re-ordering once we run out! Now…how excited are y’all to enter to win a kit of your own (including BB cream, concealer, pot rouge, lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara) that you can customize with the shades of your choosing?! Even if you don’t end up a winner – or you just want to order a kit now – Stowaway is offering additional free lipstick and pot rouge with the purchase of a kit so you can try out multiple colors on them (it’s a savings of $30 on a $75 order). Click here to start the process of creating a custom kit (the specific link will prompt you to select the two free products of your choice) and use the code PIECEOFTOAST when checking out to redeem the awesome offer!

To enter the giveaway, simply follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below (if you are reading this via email or a feed, you’ll have to click over to apieceoftoastblog.com to enter)! Entries must be posted by the end of day (11:59pm CST) Friday, August 28th, and THREE winners will be chosen at random and announced on this post the following day. Good luck!

[No purchase necessary to enter, only open to US readers with a US shipping address. Please only enter via the Rafflecopter widget, comments do not count as entry. $75 total value. Winners of the giveaway will be contacted via email once the giveaway closes and announced on this post soon after.]

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Pieces From The Post

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