Favorite Facial Products

img_5148.jpg Thousands of facial products promise amazing results! It is all rather overwhelming.  I vary my products when I read or hear about something I believe will be beneficial to my skin type. My skin type is mature and dry! I don’t believe in miracle skin products, but I do believe the right products can allow our skin to feel and look its best.  I use a mixture of drug store brands as well as high end brands.

Today, I am sharing my current favorite facial products. As you see in the picture above, they are quite varied.

CLEANSE

Clarisonic NEW Mia Smart Bluetooth, App-Enhanced, Sonic Cleansing Face Brush with Customizable Routines

The clairsonic cleansing system is not new on the market, but I love it! My skin feels so fresh and soft after using this device.  It does an excellent job of removing dirt, oil and makeup from my face.  Several different heads offer a variety of cleansing options. Use the available app for this model to sync with your phone.

Clarisonic Gentle Radiance Foaming Milk

I use the Radiance Foaming Milk Cleanser paired with my Clairsonic. This gentle cleanser provides my skin with a healthy glow! Ingredients that include licorice root extract, peppermint leaf extract and gingko balbao leaf provide a light, lovely scent. A little bit of this goes a long way with lots of soap and bubbles.  I love how clean my face feels without being dry!

MOISTURIZE

L'Oreal Paris, RevitaLift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Night Cream Moisturizer 1.7 oz

L’Oreal Revitalift is my go to moiturizer! I have tried much pricier ones, and I always return to this one. It is Pro Retinol, but doesn’t dry my sensitive skin. They also offer a companion day cream with sunscreen. I use that in the warmer months. However, Chicago winters are cold and dry.  My skin needs all the moisture it can get. Therefore, I use the night cream for both day (a little more sparingly) and night.

 

 

L'Oréal Paris Skincare Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle and Firming Eye Cream Treatment with Pro-Retinol, Fragrance Free, 0.5 oz.

As with the facial cream, another great product L’Oreal offers is a Pro Retinol eye cream. This cream does an excellent job of moisturizing my delicate eye area.  I mix a little bit of it with my under eye concealer to achieve a smooth finish.

 

RESTORE

 About once per week I enjoy a facial mask.  My favorite is the Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Mask! I apply it on a lazy afternoon or evening and relax for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off. It hardens nicely and feels a bit like a scrub when removing it. I can just feel my pores cleansing with its use. It leaves my skin fresh and toned!

 

 These Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches feel SO good! I especially love them in the morning after a late or sleepless night. Apply one under each eye and relax with a cup of coffee. They hydrate and depuff! What’s not to love.

With so many facial products to choose from, I’m sure my choices will change over time.  But for now, these are the standouts I currently love. Share if you have some fabulous products you love as well!

 

XO,

Linda

Skip Resolutions, Set Goals Instead

 

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Happy New Year!! We are now a few days into 2019. How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? What’s that you say? Your motivation is already wearing thin. Eating nothing but lettuce and going to the gym every day is not working out for you? I, for one, believe New Year’s resolutions usually don’t work because they are not well defined or are unrealistic.

Instead of resolutions, set concrete goals. So often resolutions are obscure with no way to measure their success. For instance, a common resolution is to lose weight or eat more healthy.  While these are both admirable choices, they need a more concrete goal and action plan attached to them to be successful.  I know from experience that unless I am specific about my goals, I often fail.  What works best for me is to quantify my goal, so I can measure my progress and celebrate a success.  I also try to be honest with myself about what is reasonable.  Yes, goals should stretch us, but I am too old to be tortured by unrealistic expectations. Would I be happy if I lost 8 pounds? (what the 25 year old fitness trainer told me I should do) Of course, but it isn’t going to happen unless I lop off a leg!

As women, I believe our goals should also include pleasurable things as well as longtime dreams. If you have always wanted to paint, make it a goal to get started. Also, don’t let your dreams be just dreams, develop goals to support your dreams. The best way to make dreams a reality is by setting a goal and developing an action plan to achieve that goal.

I find a New Year exciting.  We can’t redo the past, but we can always make a new beginning.  I thought about my goals for 2019 and broke them down into four categories.  I have done my best to make them quantifiable. A number or a date is associated with each goal.  I also used action verbs to define each one.  Fitness Goals, Financial Goals, Fun Goals, and Future Goals and Dreams are the categories I chose.

I hope by sharing my thoughts on my goals and aspirations for 2019, you find inspiration.

 

woman holding black dumbbells
Photo by Leon Martinez on Pexels.com

FITNESS GOALS

  1. Lift weights/cardio twice weekly.
  2. Practice Yoga two times per week.
  3. Walk 30 minutes outside when weather permits.
  4. Eat 4 fruits/vegetables per day.
  5. Limit dessert to one day per week.
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FINANCIAL GOALS

  1. Save $500 per month. (see number 2)
  2. Reduce spending by $500 per month. (This is a companion to the first one and tough for me. I love to shop!)
  3. Expand blog exposure to include Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest by April 1.
  4. Establish affiliate marketing plan by March 1.

 

photo of a toast
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FUN GOALS

  1. Schedule plans with my daughter once per month.
  2. Schedule and plan dinner date with my husband once per week.
  3. Schedule lunch with girlfriends once per month.
  4. Attend one theatrical, musical, or fun event per month.
  5. Make one call per week to family and friends I don’t see often.

 

picture of eiffel tower
Photo by Thorsten technoman on Pexels.com

FUTURE GOALS AND DREAMS

  1. Plan European vacation for 2020.
  2. Plan for a future lake house (financial analysis and areas to consider).

I am excited to begin developing an action plan to achieve my goals this year. I hope you find what I have shared inspiring!

I wish you all a happy and successful New Year!

XO,

Linda

Merry Christmas!

IMG_5107.jpg Christmas is bittersweet for me this year. It will be the first one without my Mom, but I am blessed to be sharing it with other beloved family members.  The Spode dinnerware shown above was a gift from my Mom and Dad 30 years ago when I was newly married.  I treasure it even more this year! Throughout the years, I have added linens, glassware and serving pieces to the collection.  Gold chargers enhance the plates. I’ve chosen a plaid tablecloth  and navy velvet runner to compliment the beautiful Spode Christmas tree pattern.  Crystal and brass candlesticks with white tapers complete the look. I decided to keep the floral arrangement simple and elegant.  Fresh evergreens and white roses provide just the right compliment for the table setting. I can’t wait to celebrate the joy of food and family together at our table!

I extend my sincere hope that you experience all the joys of Christmas with family and friends.  I am thinking of you, Mom (Miss you!), and also looking forward to a Christmas spent with loved ones!

XO,

Linda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May you and your families experience the many blessings of Christmas with those you love. I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!

XO,

Linda

 

Christmas in Chicago

 

Image result for art institute lions wreath The holiday season in Chicago boasts an array of activities and plenty of festive cheer for everybody! Over the years, I have experienced everything from performances of “The Nutcracker”, “Zoo Lights” and even a “Santa Run”! The activities are way too numerous to mention.  Our family never misses an opportunity to soak up the beauty of Chicago at Christmastime. Something about the hustle and bustle adds an air of excitement to the season. Magnificent decorations abound everywhere. Second City? I think not!

This past Saturday, my daughter and I enjoyed a delightful Saturday together taking in the sights and sounds of Chicago at Christmas. Today, I am sharing some of my favorite things to do to celebrate the season. None are specific to a certain day or week during the season, just all super fun!

 TAKE IN A MUSEUM

So many word class museums exist in Chicago that it is difficult to select favorites. Pictured above are the wreathed lions that flank the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago. Enjoy thousands of pieces of art from all reaches of the globe.  I never tire of a visit here.

 

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The Driehaus Museum is housed in a magnificent mansion in the gold coast area that showcases the art, architecture and design of the gilded age. During the holiday season they offer high tea and also a Santa program for the little ones.

ENJOY A SPECIAL LUNCH

 

The RL Restaurant is one of my all time favorites.  My daughter and I savored a delicious lunch there on Saturday. Located steps off of the Magnificant Mile and attached to its namesake store, Ralph Lauren, it provides a perfect respite from holiday shopping. Make reservations as it fills up weeks in advance!

SAUNTER DOWN OAK STREET

Image result for oak street chicago pictures Yes, the prices are sky high, but the stores and their window displays are oh so beautiful!

SHOP THE MAGNIFICENT MILE

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Crowds? Of course! My daughter and I still enjoy this holiday right of passage, shopping the vast array of stores on Michigan Avenue while enjoying its sights and sounds.

MAKE TIME FOR SOME HOLIDAY CHEER ( THE ALCOHOL KIND)

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Tavern on Rush is one of my favorite spots year round. We popped in here for some refreshments after mastering the crowds of the day. The festive decor and lively ambiance make it especially fun during the holidays.

Image result for butch mcguires christmas Butch McGuire’s offers a feast for the eyes this time of year. Words defy the number of Christmas decorations here.  From zillions of lights to running trains, Butch’s has it all. But….be prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder here for a cocktail!

DINNER AT A STEAKHOUSE

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As most people know, Chicago is known for its incredible steakhouses.  My new favorite is Gibson’s Italia.  Situated where the river branches with theater style seating, no restaurant in the city has a view like this! And the food…spectacular!

SEE A SHOW

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Hamilton! Need I say more?

Performed with the Chicago 1893 World’s Fair as its backdrop, this show is outstanding.

Obviously, these are only two of the hundreds of shows now playing in Chicago. Finish your fabulous day by taking one in.

So, I have offered a small sampling of holiday activities in the magnificent city of Chicago. More favorites include Macy’s animated Christmas windows, Tea at the Drake Hotel, Lincoln Park’s Zoo Lights, Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest, Museum of Science and Industry’s  Christmas around the World Festival, Ice skating at Millennium Park, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas program, and on and on and on! I hope you are able to enjoy a  bit of what Chicago has to offer this holiday season! And oh yeah, maybe take in a Chicago Bears game….NFC champs!

XO,

Linda

Personalized Gifts for Him

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Monograms and personalized gifts aren’t just for women! Please don’t forget about the special men in your life when it comes to personalizing a gift! Add a monogram to elevate the look of a shirt, decanter, or briefcase. Let your imagination run wild! Not a monogram kind of guy? ….Consider a personal phrase for a fun twist.

Today I am sharing some of my favorite personalized gift ideas for your husband, significant other, father, brother or friend. (Anyone you can think of!)

 

FOR WHEN HE WANTS THE PERFECT FIT:

 

The ultimate in personalization, customize a shirt for the special man in your life. Brooks Brothers allows a choice of fit type, color, collar, back, sleeve length, neck size and monogram placement. This shirt is only one of a multitude of options.

Engraving Preview

Not interested in monogramming the cuffs themselves? Try a stunning pair of classic silver cufflinks from Tiffany’s with custom engraving. Pair the cufflinks with a french cuff shirt of your choosing for an elegant gift.

 

FOR WHEN HE WANTS TO CHILL:

Randall Plaid Men's Robe Robes provide a perfect canvas for personalization. Add a handsome monogram to this sophisticated plaid robe.

 

FOR WHEN HE WANTS TO SHOW OFF HIS STYLE APTITUDE:

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Let him flaunt his style! A perfectly paired set includes a monogrammed handkerchief, tie and socks. Select from a variety of colorful options.

 

FOR HIS WATCH COLLECTION:

Monogram Watch Box,
                        Main,
                        color, F Watches deserve their own special showcase.  Allow him to safely store his collection in this monogrammed watch box.

FOR WHEN HE TRAVELS:

Leather Charger Roll Up, Navy Organize your techie guy when he’s on the road or in the air.  A luxurious leather case holds all his charger necessities.

Alternate Image An overnight duffel bag with his initials offers both handsome form and function. The waxed canvas of this bag adds updated appeal.

 

FOR HIS ____ (FILL IN THE BLANK) YEAR OLD SCOTCH:

Etched Windowpane Decanter

A drink just tastes better when poured from an elegant decanter. With an etched windowpane pattern and a classic monogram, who could question the quality of the scotch.

 

FOR HIS MARTINI:

Monogrammed Martini Glasses, Triple-Initial, Set of 4

Is he a martini drinker? Bring back memories of a bygone era with a set of monogrammed martini glasses.

 

I have way too many ideas to share in one post, but I hope you find inspiration in everything I have shared today! Contemplate his lifestyle and match a special, personalized gift with that image.  Happy shopping!

XO,

Linda

Five Fabulous Faux Furs for Under $50

IMG_E5006 Heat up your wardrobe with a faux fur coat or jacket! Faux Fur is so hot right now, that it is the must have piece of outwear for this winter! Every style, shape and color appears on both runways and streets. Since trends come and go quickly, I do not like to overspend on a trendy item.

Recently, while shopping at Target, I saw the leopard coat I am wearing in the photo above. As you know from my previous posts, I love all things animal print! With a price tag of $49.99, how could I resist? Needless to say, the coat went in my basket. Inspired by my recent faux fur purchase, I thought, why not share some fabulous faux fur choices that are also inexpensive? Add a bit of whimsy to your winter wardrobe with these additional five faux furs all under $50!

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Who can deny the appeal of this darling, burgundy short jacket? How perfect would this be for upcoming holiday parties? And a price tag of $39.99 makes it irresistible.

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A black, fuzzy jacket offers a versatile option.  It’s pictured casually here, but added to your little black dress it’s perfect for any soiree!

Image 1 of SOFT FAUX FUR COAT from Zara

 

A beautiful neutral colored fur says “wear me with anything”! With winter upon us, this coat provides cozy warmth.

Faux Fur Hooded Jacket A faux fur and an on trend green color make this bomber jacket a stand out.  Also available in ivory, throw this jacket on over your activewear to meet friends for coffee.

 

Adelaqueen Faux Fur Coat Jacket Women Black Long Sleeve Coat Jacket Large Winter Coat Clothing Plus Fluffy Fake Fur Coat Thick Cheap Fashion Faux Fur Lady Coat Outerwear Shaggy Fuzzy Elegant Coat XS

Wear this black faux fur dressed down with jeans or out for an evening this holiday season.  I love the slightly vintage feel of this coat!

Why not heat up your wardrobe with a bit of fabulous, faux fur? The hard part becomes selecting only one!

XO,

Linda

Personalized Gifts for Her

Image result for monograms pictures

Nothing personalizes a gift more than adding a monogram!  I must admit, I am a monogram addict. I know a little goes a long way, but I can’t resist a good monogrammed scarf, bag, towel, or anything. My sorority days included the requisite monogrammed sweater. Nowadays though, monograms can be traditional or modern.

Today, I am sharing some of my favorite personalized gifts for that certain someone on your list.  Add a monogram to individualize a special gift.

 A stunning cashmere robe provides the perfect canvas for a monogram. Restoration Hardware offers this robe in 9 colors. Select from a variety of monogram styles.

Alternate Image A classic set of quality cotton pjs should be on everyone’s list. Monogram the sleeve for a different twist. Imagine how chic she will look when she appears before her guests in the morning.

Women's Suede Moccasin Slippers

Monogrammed slippers add an air of sophistication to any sleeping ensemble.  These slippers are also offered in English Tan and Classic Navy.

Women's Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves

A simple initial or monogram ups the style quotient of a black coat with these sumptuous colored leather gloves. An added bonus is the cashmere lining.

Women's Twisted Cable Scarf

A well priced, cable knit scarf takes it up a notch with a simple initial.

 

Image result for photo shoot An acrylic block necklace lends a modern flair to the monogram.  This necklace has oodles of customization options. Choose the chain metal, chain length, acrylic color (12 available), monogram size, monogram letters. Talk about personalizing!

Slide View: 1: Block Letter Monogram Necklace A classic block letter adorns this gold necklace. I love how the initial falls in an unexpected way when worn.

 

Tortoise Cuff For the love of tortoise, I am sharing this elegant bracelet.  Dress it up with black or down with raw hem jeans.

 

engraved cologne 30ml bottle

Be still my heart! A Jo Malone fragrance and monogramming? Jo Malone of London offers engraving on either the bottle or lid of its fragrances. I have been wearing Jo Malone perfume for several years now. Their scents are so lovely, unique and never cloying.  I take advantage of the option of wearing two scents at once for my own personal blend.

Gold Foil Medium Julian Navy Topsail

Who doesn’t love a great Brahmin bag? Add a classic monogram to a luxurious leather handbag or zip wristlet.

 

 

Leather Passport Case

Don’t forget about the traveler! Gift a monogrammed passport case in a fun color. Add one of the other travel accessories for a matched set.

Slide View: 1: Monogram Lidded Jewelry Box A lidded jewelry box to store her precious gems will be a hit with the darling print and initial monogram.

Slide View: 1: Tea Time Monogram Mug How about a floral teacup for the tea drinker? The monogram is personal, and the teacup acknowledges you know she prefers tea to coffee.

Monogram  Box of 8 Flat Notes & Matching Envelopes I usually love everything the Rifle Paper Company makes.  These adorable monogrammed note cards are no exception.

So many choices are available to make your holiday gift to her a special one.  I hope my selections have inspired you to personalize your gift with a monogram.

Get shopping!

XO,

Linda