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Style on a Shoestring: Cheap Advice on the Best Stuff

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Budget Style on a Shoestring will be moved elsewhere. 
Stay tuned for info or email me at wendy.heppt@gmail.com for information. Thanks

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Great Clips is giving veterans a free haircut from Veteran’s Day, November 11, through Dec. 31 2014.
 How It Works:
  • Patronize any U.S. Great Clips salon on Nov. 11 and receive a free haircut card to give to a veteran.
  • Limit one card per customer.
  • The free haircut cards are redeemable by veterans at any U.S. Great Clips from Nov. 11–Dec. 31, 2014 with proof of service.
  • Veterans who visit Great Clips in the U.S. on Nov. 11 receive either a free haircut that day or a free haircut card to redeem by Dec. 31. After Nov. 11, veterans must have a free haircut card to get the free haircut.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bargain NEWS FLASH: 
Bloomingdale's Outlet Stores 
just introduced a fashionable 
selection of Longchamp 
bags, up to 50% off! Styles 
range from foldable fabric 
minis to luxe leather totes.
For locations visit 


Monday, December 2, 2013

Roasting Turkeys

style on a shoestring ... beauty, fashion, life

Roasting a community's turkeys

At Astoria bakery, the whole family pitched in to help

November 21, 2007 by JOE HEPPT. Special to Newsday /
Growing up, my family didn't have a Thanksgiving turkey,
we had dozens of them.

That's because we "took in" turkeys for neighbors. A European custom dating
back to when families cooked in pots over an open hearth and relied on the
local baker to roast their Christmas goose, my grandpa Joe adopted the
tradition on Thanksgiving in 1924 when he founded Heppt's bakery in Astoria, as
a courtesy to patrons short on oven space. As vividly as if it were yesterday,
my memory flashes back 45 years to a 6-year-old boy watching a bleary-eyed,
sleepy swarm of turkey-toting customers lining up outside the bakery on
Thanksgiving morning.

The frenzy started Thanksgiving eve, when my grandpa and my dad commenced
baking five hours earlier than usual, to prepare breads and cakes and pies in
time to free up the massive ovens for the turkey brigade. By 6 a.m., my mother
nudged me, my two brothers and my sister awake and shooed us downstairs to the
bakeshop. We appreciated that on Thanksgiving eve mom put us to bed in clothes
instead of pajamas to expedite events of the morning.

Growing into the business
Early on we merely helped out behind the counter, bagging rolls and boxing
cookies. Once my brothers and I grew strong enough to budge the heavy steel
oven doors and tall enough to reach them, we graduated to roasters, while my
sister mastered the cash register. We started by logging in and labeling the
turkeys. Next, we prepped the birds for cooking - a process that depended on
the way the turkeys arrived. Some came still sealed in supermarket shrink-wrap,
while others arrived lovingly stuffed and dressed to the nines.
Yet no matter how a turkey arrived, it left smelling delicious. Customers
often remarked how they could never recreate the flavors at home, especially
the pan drippings we gave out on the side to make gravy. It was our little
family secret: Baste the sorriest looking birds with pan juices from the best

Over the years we became quite adept at roasting, basting and timing turkey
to perfection, but I don't know why we bothered. We only charged clients a few
dollars, even less if they couldn't afford it, and my family let us kids
pocket the money.

Gradually, we all grew to dread Thanksgiving. Between the baked goods and
the turkeys, it was the busiest day of the year at our shop. We kids were the
extra help. It was no holiday for any of us. After laboring so intensively
throughout the long day, we lacked the energy and enthusiasm to sit down to our
own family celebration, so we never had one.
Although I never received a clear-cut answer, I think my grandpa - a
self-proclaimed narcissist - roasted turkeys for the praise and attention
customers showered on him. Then, once he retired and eventually passed on, my
father didn't want to break a neighborhood tradition that had flourished for
more than 50 years.

Despite rising before the sun and the drudgery of lifting and basting and
timing turkey after turkey, my brothers and I continued the roasting ritual -
even after we wed and started families of our own. We didn't need a reminder or
an invitation - we just walked in the front door of the bakery at the crack of
dawn every Thanksgiving morning. Then, sadly, this family and neighborhood
tradition ended abruptly just before Thanksgiving in 1985 when my brother
Eddie, an NYPD officer, died suddenly of an undetected heart condition at the
age of 29, leaving a wife and babies behind.

Heartbroken, my parents didn't open for business on Thanksgiving that year
and we never roasted turkeys again. My mother passed away, then my father
retired his rolling pins and closed up shop, although he still resides in the
apartment above the store, where he, and then I, grew up.
These days we enjoy a big, festive family Thanksgiving at my house in Port
Washington. The holiday starts off with a neighborhood father-son football
scrimmage, an annual event initiated when our sons played in the peewee league.
My wife, Wendy, orchestrates the family feast with my daughter Julie assisting
- but only if she feels like it - and I get an opportunity to joke around and
watch football on TV with my son Eddie, my father, my brother Bill and extended

Something lacking in leisure
I have the leisure I'd always dreamed of. Yet something's lacking. Back in
the day, Thanksgiving was a boisterous community event centered around Heppt's
bakery. Previously resentful for the part I was forced to play, now I'd give
anything to have it all back - my two brothers and I running in and out from
tossing a football around in the alleyway behind the store to baste the
turkeys, laughing over how we had secretly helped the less fortunate birds with
the bounty of their neighbors.
Now I regret that my own son never got to share in the Thanksgiving I knew
growing up. I secretly wish I could relive those days - especially the
brotherly camaraderie, father and grandpa watching over our shoulders. At least
I've stored the memories. And they spring to life every year on the third
Thursday in November.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

World's best lash curler: Buy it for $16 ... or $3.99

This handy little curler, voted tops by Good Housekeeping magazine, works better than other types on the market. One little drawback: press too hard and it might break, which is why I'd go for the $3.99 model.
Dare to compare:

 Laura Mercier's Eyelash Curler, $16.

 Avon Mini Eyelash Curler, $3.99 

Road tested both and there is no obvious difference except the price, and Avon's comes with a backup rubber curler pad.

To buy:

 at http://shop.avon.com/shop/product.aspx?level1_id=300&level2_id=301&pdept_id=315&cat_type=C&pf_id=44713

Friday, March 4, 2011

Get Mega Smooth Hair, No Brazilian Blow-Out Required

You can easily achieve mega-smooth hair using a flat iron. Even a novice can-do, with these pointers from the pros.New flat irons with ceramic or tourmaline plates are gentler on hair. “A flat iron that’s about 1 ½ inches wide is easiest to work with,” says Nick Arrojo, who until recently was the hairstyle guru for TLC’s What Not to Wear. "Never use a flat iron on wet hair; it fries the strands."
1. Prep dry hair with a thermal protective styling product to shield strands from heat, tame frizz and add shine.
2. Detangle with fingers or a brush.
3. Twist hair into a few sections; clip each in place, leaving one section loose.
4. Lift and hold the loose section of hair at a 90 degree angle from your head. Clamp the iron down on the hair close to the roots--without touching the scalp--then pull it slowly down the length of hair to the ends. Move gently and evenly down the hair shaft. “If you press the iron plates too firmly or move it too slowly you risk damaging hair,” says Arrojo. Once all sections are ironed, spritz hair with anti frizz spray to lock in smoothness.

Free/Fun Facebook Giveaways

Conair “Sneak Peek” Sweepstakes
Want fabulous hair? During the month of March, Conair is offering a “Sneak Peek” giveaway for a chance to win a choice of three new Conair hair styling tools. One winner each Friday! Give your hair some love with Conair and “LIKE” the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/conairhair) for more details!  
scünci "Bendini Blitz" Daily Giveaway
Just “Bend and Snap!” Starting March 7 - March 25, 2011, each day, one lucky Facebook fan will have the chance to win scünci’s newest hair accessory -- the Bendini Clip! Add a touch of sparkle to any hairstyle with a Bendini clip! Show your hair some love and “LIKE” the scünci Facebook page (www.facebook.com/scuncihair) for more details!

Certain Dri “All-Star Antiperspirant" Sweepstakes
Certain Dri wants to send you to the big leagues! From March 1, 2011- May 23, 2011, enter the Certain Dri “All-Star Antiperspirant” Sweepstakes for a chance to win our MLB All-Star baseball game prize package! One random winner will win a trip for two to the 2011 MLB All-Star game and the Homerun Derby (travel accommodations included) in Phoenix, Arizona along with a supply of Certain Dri connect with Certain Dri on Facebook (www.facebook.com/certaindri), for more details!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dine Out: $25 Gift Certificate to Your Fave Place for $2

Maybe there's no such thing as a free lunch, 
but Valentine's Day dinner will cost you practically 
nothing with the $25 Gift Certificate for $2 deal at 
restaurant.com. Most recently a $75 gift certificate 
to a popular restaurant was on sale for $9, and I used it on 
a $150 dinner that cost me $75. 
Join the site for free, use the promo code LOVE,
try an offer, then share your feedback. 
At checkout, enter Promo Code: LOVE
Offer ends Monday February 14, 2011.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cashmere Sweaters: Dry Clean or Hand Wash?

Debating whether to wash or dry clean? 

Bergdorf Goodman recently posted on Twitter:  @bergdorfs: Snowy day activities - dryel cashmere sweaters. If they can do it, so can you ... if you're patient and carefully follow directions. Learn how-to and print out dryel coupons at dryel.com

Truth is, many dry clean only items can be laundered. Clothing manufacturers will recommend "dry clean" if it’s the best way to care for the garment, but according to the Federal Trade Commission, many items including cashmere sweaters are mislabeled Dry Clean Only when in fact they may be washable.

Excluding lined wool or silk suits and coats and anything suede or leather labeled "dry clean only," I initially dry clean new garments labeled "dry clean," then I eventually hand wash or toss them in the washing machine and lay them flat to dry, with great results. 

Exception: investment pieces like Gucci, Chanel or Prada originals or stained garments are best left to a professional dry cleaner.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stressless Schlep-Free Holiday Shopping + Free Shipping

Shipping Wars & Last Minute Shopping:

Why schlep when you can cyber shop for the holidays + get free shipping? With a virtual shipping war, the competition among these and other sites gives you the advantage:

Walmart: free shipping on more than 60,000 online items through December 20th, no minimum order required.
Amazon.com: they’ll meet or beat any other free shipping deal on a limited selection of items.
Best Buy: free shipping offer valid on hundreds of thousands of items, including all CDs, Blue-Ray and DVD movies, gaming software and accessories.
Toys "R" Us: free shipping on purchases of $49 or more for all items except video game consoles/handhelds, software, hardware and accessories.
For more stores, visit freeshipping.org.

Bargains get better closer to Christmas, and this year you can cyber-shop last minute with free delivery, and get your goods before Santa makes it down the fireplace. FreeShipping.org has declared December 17 as Free Shipping Day, during which 1,000-plus merchants will offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Fall's beauty buys start with best bets on Cleansers:
Perricone schmerricone. Pricey cleansers are a dumb deal. In my recent story on Bad Beauty Deals for Consumer Report's Shop Smart Magazine, I reported that since cleanser is in contact with your skin literally for seconds, don't spend much money on yours. “Active ingredients such as hydroxy acids, peptides, and vitamins are more useful in facial moisturizers and eye creams because they remain on your skin much longer than a cleanser,” says NY Dermatologist Deborah Sarnoff, M.D., senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. Dermatologists, cosmetic chemists and users agree, one of the best facial cleansers you can buy is Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser.  A 16. fl. oz. 2-pack is $21.98 at Amazon.com, with free shipping.

Monday, November 8, 2010


If you never pay full retail, you know the value of  deep discounts and you are  comfortable with borrowing or lending, I-ELLA.com is your dream come true. Browse this new fashionable/charitable online marketplace for vintage finds and one-of-a-kind pieces and designer labels including the Prada cardigan and Jimmy Choo bag, pictured here. Join for free when you're ready to  buy, borrow, swap, sell or lend new and gently used  apparel and accessories.  
More motivation to visit: 10% of each transaction fee  is donated to a charity or social venture. Plus, each week the site runs a charity auction from the closet of a different celebrity, with proceeds benefiting the celebrity’s charity of choice.

Tan Wool & Silk Cardigan
with Leather Details
Retail Price: $900.00
Buy for: $225.00

White Handbag
Retail Price:  $1,100.00
Buy for: $200.00
Borrow for: $30.00/wk or $40.00/mo


Thursday, October 28, 2010

20% Off Your Favorite Beauty and Household Goods + Free Shipping

 If you think virtual shops like drugstore.com are awesome, meet Soap.com. From the creators of diapers.com, this new site offers over 25,000 products, from beauty basics to nutritional and household necessities. What's it to you? 20% off your order if you enter the code "soapnyc" before checking out, free 1-2 day shipping, promotions and coupons including a $10 credit for referring a friend.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Real Pink Ribbon Deals That Give Back 100%

In honor of the 25th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, your pick of goods that divvy up some profits to breast cancer awareness is big. While this charitable gesture is appreciated, putting the pink ribbon on a product also stimulates sales ... so while it might seem nice when 5% of the proceeds from your purchase is donated, the other 95% is company profit. It's way more philanthropic when a company donates most or all of the profits from your purchase to help find a cure. These budget friendly buys, priced from $2 to $20, allocate a whopping 100% of the profits to breast cancer causes.

Saks Fifth Avenue Key To The Cure Tee is designed by Donna Karan. Saks sells it for $35, and 100% of the price goes to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Kohl's Cares® Simply Vera Vera Wang Coin Purse, $10.
Kohl's Cares® Simply Vera Vera Wang Multistrand Necklace, $5.

Kudos to Kohl’s for donating 100% of profits from these and other Simply Vera Vera Wang “Pink products to breast cancer research. More motivation to buy:
All items are $5 to $10 and shipping is a mere 99¢ each. 
Kohl's Cares Simply Vera Vera Wang Coin PurseVera Wang-kohls cares simply vera vera wang multistrand necklace
PacSun’s B4Bc Another Name Tote, $9.50, displays humorous names for boobs, and 100% of sales go to B4BC (Boarding for Breast Cancer).
Buy Philosophy Shower for the Cure, $20, and Philosophy sends shower for the cure shower gel100% of net proceeds to the
Women's Cancer Research Fund.

Pick up this Breast Cancer Awareness Bracelet at Payless for $2 and they donate 100% of the profits (at least $1 per bracelet) to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, plus you’re rewarded with a $5 off $25 coupon with every bracelet purchase.
Breast Cancer Awareness Bracelet

Buy Avon’s Breast Cancer Crusade Lips for Life Novelty Tote, $5, and 100% of the net profits go to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Click for details, or contact your Avon Representative.

Coming soon to an Avon Representative near you: the Marimekko designed Crusade Tote, $10.
Avon Crusade tote, $10


Sunday, October 17, 2010


L.L. Bean was avant-garde when they introduced pants that converted to shorts over 50 years ago. Since then, convertible clothing has seen little growth except for a jacket with a zip off hood or sleeves.

This season, double duty duds get their due justice, and you benefit from the options. Innovative fashions reverse, shift shapes and transform into a multitude of looks. You can pay a fortune for the privilege, or check out budget friendly ways to double your wardrobe.
3-in-1 BOOTS
Shoe Designers had fun this fall, creating boots that unzip, unbuckle or fold down, so a single pair can be worn at the knee, mid-calf or as ankle booties. Options that retail for $450 are nice, but Charlotte Russe 3-in-1 Boot has a lot going for it at $50. Wear it uncuffed, cuffed, or folded down to a bootie. Faux leather. charlotterusse.com

It’s easy to find a convertible coat for $1500, which makes the version at BCBG Max Azria, on sale for $340, a steal. Detachable option transforms it from a coat to a jacket. Detachable faux fur hood. At BCBG Max Azria.

Convertible Zip Leather Gloves … what a functional find from Michael Kors, available at Nordstrom for $150. It’s your choice: Full-length leather gloves zip down to medium and short lengths. At Nordstrom's.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Are Brazilian Keratin Treatments Toxic or Safe?

Breaking New about Brazilian Keratin Treatments, also called Brazilian Blowout:

On Thursday, Health Canada issued a warning stating the hair smoothing solution made by the California company, Brazilian Blowout, contained "unacceptable levels of formaldehyde." The brand is marketed as a formaldehyde-free, but the Brazilian Blowout solution had been found to contain 12 per cent formaldehyde. The tests and warning were sparked by six consumer and two trade complaints in June after those who worked with the product experienced burning eyes, nose, throat and breathing troubles.

Canadians would have been forewarned if they read my report on BKT (Brazilian Keratin Treatment) in the March issue of ShopSmart Magazine:

Ads for Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT), a popular salon technique, claim that it leaves hair smooth and healthy-looking for months. A chief ingredient in the product is formaldehyde, says Perry Romanowski, an independent cosmetic chemist, which is not banned in hair straighteners by the FDA, but it’s a probable carcinogen that can also cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing; skin rash; and other reactions. “Some salons claim to do formaldehyde-free BKT. But if it does work as well, it probably features an aldehyde, which is like formaldehyde and is not safer,” Romanowski says. ShopSmart says Try a straightening iron. We like the Revlon Perfect Heat Ceramic RVST2001C, $30.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Power Plucker

If you're your own brow "handler," you need a Tweezerman Slant (the must-have for professional brow mavens). The Slant® tweezer has perfectly aligned hand-finished tips, capable of grabbing even the tiniest superfluous hair. You won't find Tweezerman on sale or discounted, but it’s a bargain in the long run. Tweezerman implements are guaranteed; the company will sharpen any of their tools that get dull through normal use for free, they replace damaged/dropped tools for half the purchase price and they repair bent tips for $5.00 per tool. No S&H charges. At drugstore.com, Bed Bath & Beyond and drug stores, $20. www.tweezerman.com.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Bring a friend to the Arrojo Studio in Soho and get two-for-one cuts, color and styling by big name celebrity hair pros. Mon-Thurs, 10AM-4PM
More Great Discounts at arrojostudio.com
212 242-7786
Arrojo Studio
180 Varick Street
New York, NY

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Eco Clean cleaning products made from pure Danish ingredients are the perfect way to clean green. Non-toxic cleaners for spiffing up the kitchen, the bathroom, and hand soap have a foaming option nozzle which minimizes the exposure of vapors. Unlike many bland looking green cleaners, Eco Clean packaging is stylish enough to display in your home, and each product retails for an affordable $4.49 at Alice.com and Duane Reade.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Get Double the Mileage From Your Beauty Favorites

Use much less mascara: Curl your lashes first and you'll need to apply just a smidge of mascara to make them stand out. To do, using a traditional lash curler (Revlon and Maybelline sell under $5 versions at drugstore.com) firmly clamp curler pad on lashes mid way between tips and roots; squeeze curler for at least 30 seconds then release.

Stretch your foundation: Apply foundation with your fingers instead of sponge. Makeup tends to absorb into a cosmetic sponge so some goes to waste. Foundation also spreads easier and more evenly when applied with your fingers, which is why makeup artists recommend it.

Save on scent: Spot application ... spritzing fragrance on your neck, wrists, cleavage, etc ... can be overpowering. For subtler, all over scent, spritz fragrance once directly over your head, then close your eyes as the scent floats down and envelops you.

Everlasting nail file: Some experts claim that using a metal nail file can damage nails, but that's not true if you file gently and in one direction, not back and forth. A high tech metal file such as Diamancel Diamond Nail File ($28 at sephora.com) or the classic Diamond Deb Nail File ($3.99 at amazon.com) can last you a lifetime.

Cheapest/best makeup remover: Many experts, including NY dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, recommend Vaseline. You can't find a less expensive product, it's extremely gentle and it easily removes mascara.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Luxury Hair Products Debut at Duane Reade

Drugstores Are Going Glam! Peter Lamas Products, once only available at Fred Segal and Macy’s, are now going mass market, debuting in Duane Reade on April 29th.

While this is NY-specific news, the company is also offering a NATIONAL giveaway. To celebrate the launch, Peter Lamas himself will be making appearances at the Herald Square and Rock Center Duane Reade locations to provide free hair consultations and to announce his FREE YEAR OF HAIR CARE giveaway! From now through June, Lamas fans all over the country can enter online for a chance to win. 256 winners will be selected. For more details visit lamasbeauty.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do-able at home hair color: Save up to $2,000 a year

Coloring your hair at home is a big money saver, and it's a cinch once you get skilled at it. Benefits include no travel time or waiting time, and you can multi-task doing chores around the house while waiting for the color to set.

The experts at Consumer Report's Shop Smart Magazine ran tests of at home hair color kits and results showed that it's possible to get salon results at home. For more information, see the current issue of Shop Smart or follow this link
for my no-risk tips for how-to ... without ruining your hair or staining the bathroom.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Budget Style on a Shoestring is active again after a short hiatus (while I was guest blogging and writing about beauty in-house at Avon).
Watch for more stylish ways to save big on beauty, fashion, fun and more.
Have a beauty problem or question? Post it on this blog or email me and I'll provide free advice from a leading expert.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Girdles for Guys

Now there's a manly version of Spanx. Guys who can use some slimming can disguise their bulges without the hassle of dieting or the expense of liposuction, and they are no longer limited to boxers or briefs. EQUMEN recently launched the bulge-smoothing Core Precision Undershirt and Precision Underwear for men, sold at major department stores and at freshpair.com. Pantyhose for men, or "mantyhose," is another growing trend, but beware of males who voluntarily subject themselves to the discomfort ... and the risk of runs.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter makeup trends from Chatterberries.com

Chances are you don't want to go super trendy with your makeup, but sticking by too traditional can be a bit ho-hum. What's in season? Trend forecaster Sharon Graubard, Senior V.P of Stylesight (a leading trend forecasting provider for the style industry) reports that this winter, makeup is dramatic, with strong yet wearable looks that complement current fashion trends. "Rich, deep colors and defined eyes add drama to simple ensembles, while offbeat, ornate apparel demands a more subdued palette for the face," she reports.

True 80's

This season makeup has a retro influence. "There's a return to the bright, eye-catching makeup that was popular in the 80s," says NYC based makeup artist Gita Bass, who created Tina Fey's red carpet look for the 2009 Oscars. "With this trend, your eyes will be a main attraction, so technique is important," she cautions. "Choose shadows for the eye that pop, like turquoise, hot pink or emerald green," Bass suggests. "Next, grab black liner and blend it up toward the crease." Try a gel liner, like Buxom by Bare Escentuals Lashliner in Leatherette, and tons of black mascara - such as Rimmel Sexy Curves Waterproof Mascara--for extra definition.

Statement Lips

Classic French style, with crimson lips set against porcelain skin, gets updated for fall. The hot look is creamy red, blotted to a semi matte finish, plus there are new deep wine stained lipsticks for even more femme fatal allure, like Laura Geller Creme Couture Lipstick in Bordeaux. "To pull off a bold mouth, line the lips with a liner that matches your natural lip color and feather it all over your lips as a base," Bass says. "Apply a bright matte red over your lips, straight from the tube, then blend the color along the edges of the lip using a stiff lip brush and correct any mistakes with a pointy cotton swab. Blot and reapply, and don't forget to get the inner corners of your lips." Reds to try: Lorac Breakthrough Performance Lipstick in Leading Lady, Duwop Private Red Lipstick.

Instead of investing in different products, winter trends are right on target in Cargo's Runway Kit. The color palette includes metallics, neutrals and brights for eyes and lips, silky powder blushes and their best-selling Medium Bronzer. A $175 value, CARGO's Runway Kit retails for $49.

Wendy Korn Heppt

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Read the March issue of Consumer Reports Shop Smart Magazine for my latest feature on bad beauty deals. Lots of products out there can be a waste of money, or worse. For every beauty dilemma, there’s a product that’s claimed to solve it. But many don’t, and lots of us have been suckered into buying stuff that doesn’t work.

Want the real dish on Lash Growers sold at Sephora and Duane Read?
Did you know Brazilian Keratin Treatment is all about formaldehyde? Legend has it that a Brazilian realized that when formaldehyde was used to embalm the dead it also straightened the hair, which led to the BKT that's so popular today
Lip Plumpers don't work and nothing will eliminate a scar or firm your bust.

Read this and more at shopsmartmag.org.

Looking for more information on any of the topics? I have plenty of expert advice so just leave a comment or email wendykorn@yahoo.com.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Leading dermatologists Susan H. Weinkle, M.D. and Heidi A. Waldorf, M.D. tell how to get the most out of your beauty budget. The key is to invest wisely and know where you can and can't compromise. The three essentials to keep your skin in top shape now--to avoid expensive corrective procedures later--are sunscreen, an antioxidant moisturizer, and a product containing retinoic acid.

Products – money savers and splurges

Worth the Price:
* Prescription retinoids (tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene) – nothing else has been shown to do as much for photoaged skin; and one tube should last several months
* Certain cosmeceuticals (idebenone, coffeeberry) – your dermatologist knows what works and what you’re more likely to tolerate

Budget Picks:
* Cleansers – a gentle over-the-counter non-drying cleanser will do the job.
* Sunscreen – drug store options with appropriate ingredients abound, and you need to use a lot of it.
* Eye cream – to save money, use your face cream for your eye area too.

Augmenting in-office treatments at home:
* Get more bang for your buck – use a home microdermabrasion system between professional treatments
* Non-invasive treatments work best when accompanied by an effective at home regimen of sun protection and some combination of retinoids, anti-oxidants and/or peptides.
* Don’t work against your treatment: avoid cigarettes, tanning, and picking.
* Ask your dermatologist for a prescription to slow hair growth while you’re undergoing laser hair removal

When is do-it-yourself okay and when do you need the doctor?

* Pop your own pimple or ingrown hair – you’re just spreading the inflammation
* Mix together at home peel kits with other ingredients –the combination can increase the depth of penetration dangerously
* Play with at home lasers and gadgets when you’re tan – you risk skin discoloration and scarring

* See your dermatologist for a painful acne cyst – a dilute cortisone injection can reduce it in 1 – 2 days
* Gently exfoliate once or twice a week but avoid anything sharp (if it hurts on your hand, don’t use it on your face)
* See your dermatologist for laser or light treatments – she can confirm it’s safe and appropriate for your problem

Reasonable investments for Long-term beauty
* The current long-lasting fillers are cost-effective. A recent study of hyaluronic acid showed that once you achieve your optimal correction, keeping it up requires only half the original volume used once or twice a year. For patients who can’t pay for full correction the first visit, there’s the option to gradually achieve correction over several months – each treatment builds on the last because the prior filler isn’t gone and new collagen has been formed.
* Tightening procedures utilizing lasers and radiofrequency cost far less than surgery, can put off the expense of a surgical lift for several years and don’t require a lot of time off from work.
* Botulinum toxins continue to be a safe and effective way to look fresher without downtime and for about the cost of hair and nail maintenance.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

There's More to Do Than Watch The Baseball/Football TV Marathon This Weekend

Of course we're rooting for the Yankees and the Giants this weekend, but that doesn't mean we have to watch every game (from Friday evening to Saturday evening and all day Sunday!) Leave the boys home and check out these stylish and deeply discounted fun activities:

On Location Tours' Bus tour of sites seen on TV's Gossip Girl guides you through over 40 sites seen in the hit TV drama , including the New York Palace Hotel.
Full price: $40
Goldstar.com price: $19

$100 Lunch or Dinner for $50
At Wild Ginger Restaurants: A $100 dining coupon is just $50 online at nyhalfoff.com.
Valid at 4 Wild Ginger Locations:
226 E. 51st St, NY, NY
10 Park Place, NY, NY
48 Great Neck Rd, Great Neck
467 Columbus Ave, NY, NY

Play Tourist for a Weekend (or an entire week)
At citypass.com, $79 Citypass includes admission to 6 top NY attractions (a $140 value). Citypass booklet contains six actual admission tickets, each with a tip revealing a secret to skip main ticket lines. Plan a weekend -- or take up to nine leisurely days to explore shops, restaurants, and neighborhoods.
Empire State Building Observatory
American Museum of Natural History & Rose Center
Guggenheim Museum
The Museum of Modern Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters
Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

Monday, October 12, 2009

Defensive Driving Course Available Online Saves You Hundreds

Pay less for auto insurance and you’ll have more to spend on clothes, makeup and other fun stuff. If you’re not getting an easy 10% discount off your annual auto insurance rates because the required two-day defensive driving course is a time consuming hassle, here’s news: you can take a virtual defensive driving course online (I just completed mine, in between commercials during Mad Men, in my PJ’s).

Listen smarty pants, in addition to saving money, I bet even you can brush up on your driving skills.
For instance:
What’s the #1 cause of fatal crashes? A. Speeding. B. Drunk Driving. C. Failing to Maintain Lane Position.
Correct answer: C.
If you think you’re perfect at maintaining lane position when driving, you’re smarter than the 41,000 people who die in motor vehicle crashes each year.
True or False: Never take your eyes off the road?
Correct answer: False.
Rule for changing lanes safely: before you change lanes glance over your shoulder to check the blind areas to be certain no one is near the left or right-rear corners of your vehicle.

If you’re the world’s best know it all when it comes to driving, then just do it for the discount. The in-person or virtual course fee averages $49 and is good for three years. Save 15% at Idrivesafely.com; the site offers a defensive driving course for only $35.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Half Price Haute Haircuts, Haircolor

Great deal: Get your hair cut and/or colored at one of the world’s hippest, most fashionable salons for about what you spend at the corner beauty shop. Nick Arrojo, the hair pro on the hit show What Not to Wear, is offering summer specials including two-for-one and blow-dry lessons with the pros.

• Half Price Cuts/Color: Mon-Thurs, bring a friend(s) who is new to ARROJO studio and get two cuts and/or colorings for the price of one (11:30-4:45pm). Using one of the lower priced but still very experienced stylists, you and your friend(s) can pay as little as $34@ plus tip. Both appointments must be back-to-back with the same stylist.

• Be a Blow-Dry Pro: $50 gets you into a professional group blow-dry class, where you’ll learn to do a smooth blow-out, loose flowing waves, tousled and textured tresses. You leave with $50 of ARROJO product for free. Call for class schedules.

To make an appointment, or to check on availability of these offers call 212 242 7786. Mention the offer you are booking when you make your appointment.
Arrojo Studio
180 Varick Street
New York, NY
photo ©Arrojostudio

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

99¢ Pasta Wins Taste Test

New York Magazine recently taste tested several brands of pasta. Quick, easy, filling, and still cheap, which brand is the best? And is the artisanal Italian variety better than what you can get at D’Ag’s?

Expert panel of pastavores blind-tasted eight brands of dried spaghetti. The 99-cent underdog from Trader Joe’s triumphed, edging out the pricey artisanal competition and the popular Barilla brand.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Quit Flushing

If you turn red when you’re trying to maintain your cool and you break out like a kid, you might have rosacea.

Characterized by redness, bumps and pimple-like blemishes, rosacea is a chronic beauty bummer. If you suspect you have rosacea or have tried traditional medications and lifestyle changes with little success, recently FDA approved oral Oracea ® (doxycycline, USP), seems extremely promising. "I often recommend my patients take Oracea® to help treat the signs and symptoms of rosacea," said Hilary Baldwin, MD, associate professor and vice chair, department of dermatology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Available by prescription from dermatologists, Oracea® is unique because it doesn't cause bacterial resistance like long term antibiotics used to treat rosacea and it can reduce red bumps and pimples associated with the condition. With Oracea® on the job, it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing many W.C Fields look-a-likes in the future. For more ways to tame rosacea, visit www.BestFaceForward.com/

Hmmm, if Oracea® works on rosacea induced pimples, maybe it’s an “off-label” cure for common acne?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Be a Budget Savvy Bride

Know anyone getting married on long island? Check out gettingmarriedonlongisland.com. This awesome new website, started by a budget savvy wedding expert, includes unique ideas, hot trends and one-on-one advice.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ride out the Economic Downturn with Bangs Instead of Botox

Press releases that hit my inbox are generally ho hum sales pitches, but this budget savvy one from a PR wiz at Trent & Co deserves a shout out.

Bangs instead of Botox? A simple snip could have the same overall affect to someone’s face as those paralyzing toxins. According to celebrity stylist Suki Duggan, owner of Donsuki Townhouse Salon, bangs are an affordable wrinkle fix. “A lot of my clients are asking me for bangs as a way to hide the imperfections of their forehead,” said Duggan.
Budget style on a shoestring adds: Hurray for bangs; this season they're a major beauty trend. Many models and stars ( including Kate Beckinsale) showed up at NY Fashion Week sporting freshly cropped fringes. Insider tip: Bangs need more frequent trims then the rest of your hair but, it's protocol for hairdressers to offer free bang trims in between haircuts.
Instyle.com tells how to groom long wispy bangs like Jessica Alba's:
HOW-TO: Blow-dry with a paddle brush, not a round one, to avoid a wave-like effect on hair and bangs. Finish with an anti-frizz sp
ray to ensure a smooth look. TRICK: Because of the thinness of these bangs, they can easily be pinned to the side or clipped back and are easy to
grow out.
BUY ONLINE NOW Spornette Small Paddle Brush, $6; shop.com.

Monday, March 23, 2009

When your beauty favorite goes bye bye

What to do when your favorite beauty product is hard to find or discontinued? Find out by reading my story in latest Consumer Reports Shop Smart Magazine, featured on CBS early show this morning. See When Your Beauty Favorite Goes Bye Bye http://shopsmartmag.org/

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quick Fix for Biggest Beauty Blunders

Producing makeovers for magazines for years (including 620 makeovers in 12 years for Woman's World Magazine) I've witnessed what works and what doesn't, what's too pricey, too time consuming or a waste of time. Between budget friendly blogging, I'll be sharing some of the best hair and makeup artists tips I've come across. I'll also blog about makeovers for beauty blunders ... those no no's hair and makeup artists see most ... and that are easiest to fix.
First installment: Coping with comma brow
Comma brow comes from over plucking, resulting in a sperm-like blob where the brow starts, and an overly rounded pencil thin line to the rest of it ... like a big surprised comma.
Quick fix: brush or pencil in a natural looking arch while you try to let your brows grow in.
Best way to learn: stop in at Sephora or a makeup counter at Macy's and have their makeup pro show you how-to, for free.
On your own: find your ideal arch. To do, line an eyeshadow brush up with the outside edge of the colored part of your eye; where the brush meets the brow is where the highest part of your arch should be. Your brow line should be full from the inner corner to the arch, gradually narrowing from the arch to the outer corner.
To plump comma brows: Makeup artists recommend you use an eyeliner brush to brush brown or taupe matte eye shadow or brow powder along your brow line. To try: Maybelline Ultra Brow Brush on Color, $4.99.
For truly sparse spots: using a brown or taupe pencil, diagonally feather tiny hair-like flecks to fill in. Many makeup lines include a brush on brow color, which is ideal for plumping the brow line and to cover grays ... but it doesn't fix a comma shape.
If you're really all thumbs: it's more of an investment than a splurge to get a one-time grooming by celebrity brow maven, Eliza Petrescu ($120 at Exhale Spa in NY). She'll also tell-all about how to do-it-yourself so from then on, you can do your own upkeep. Check Eliza's website, elizaseyes.com, for more dish on her and for a virtual encyclopedia of tips on beautifying your brows.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Don't Fall Victim to Beauty Puffery!

Can a lip product plump your pout? DuWop Lip Venom ($16), Lipfusion ($38) and a slew of other plumpers promise to boost lips like collagen.

On assignment for the NY Daily News, I convinced my daughter Julie (pictured, right) to test dozens of popular lip plumpers. Julie said some made her lips sting or burn, others added a pretty gloss, but none truly plumped her pout … and she’s not the only one. In a study published in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, researchers found the products offered no observable change in lip size on a study of female patients. "If a lip-enhancing product did what a dermatologist can do, armed with lip-plumping injectables, it would be classified as a drug and not a cosmetic," says Deborah Sarnoff, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Medical School. "Like all 'cosmeceuticals,' lip plumpers don't require FDA approval, nor do they need to prove their claims," she adds.

Lip plumpers contain ingredients such as niacin, cinnamon, capsaicin, menthol and clove that can make the mouth sting or burn. You'll
get fuller looking lips with reasonably priced lip liner and lipstick from companies like L'Oreal, Cover Girl, Max Factor or Maybelline. To do:

* Using lip pencil in a shade close to the lip color you'll wear, keep mouth relaxed and slightly open. Rest your elbow on a table or counter for support and hold the lip pencil like a regular pencil. Balance your pinky on the side of your chin to help maintain a steady hand.
* Place pencil tip at the center point between crests of your upper lip. Following the outer rim of the natural shape of your lips, draw a line from center to top of crest on one side; repeat on other side. Extend the line from top of each crest, along the very outer edge of your lip line, down to the outer corners of your mouth. For bottom lip, pinpoint the exact center by holding the lip pencil vertically under the tip of your nose. The point where the pencil touches your bottom lip is the center. Draw a dot there. Starting at the dot, draw a line along the very outer rim of your lip line, to the outer corner of your mouth; repeat on other side. Apply a long wearing lip color within outlined area. Another option: Use a lip pencil to line and color lips; it's less creamy than lipstick, so color lasts longer.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Save on Avon

Looking to earn extra cash? A popular way is direct marketing, selling products not available in stores to consumers. Problem is, many companies require a substantial initial investment, offer pricey goods and pressure you to stalk everyone –- from your babysitter to your boss -- to buy. One exception is Avon: becoming a Representative is a $10 investment; you needn't sell to a single customer and you automatically get substantial discounts on your personal orders.

Scaling back on spending? Avon has some great buys. Their Anew costs less than most other anti-aging brands, and budget friendly Skin-So-Soft is a global best-seller. Today you no longer need to thumb through little catalogues, since many Avon Representatives are online. My Avon "Lady," Susan Broderick, currently offers Free Shipping on online orders (use coupon code 6SFWR) and 50% off on many items, including ANEW REJUVENATE Flash Facial Revitalizing Concentrate, now $24; Lighten Up Plus Eye Cream, now $7.50; MOISTURE THERAPY Intensive Hand Cream, now $0.99; Skin So Soft Body Wash, now $2.99. Shop Susan’s store (or sign up to be an Avon Rep) at youravon.com/sbroderick.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Freebie Finds

Free Shoes: As a DSW Rewards Member (no fee), you get a $10 Welcome Certificate, reward certificates for every 1,500 points earned, double points shopping days, special offers and a birthday gift certificate. At a recent DSW clearance sale, I found my favorite sneakers -- New Balance 725's -- marked down from $75 to $29.95. Armed with a $20 reward certificate and my $10 birthday certificate, the cashier handed over the shoes and I paid nothing. Unlike most stores, DSW allows you to apply multiple offers to a single purchase.

If you've had a similar experience at another store, please tell us about it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Professional manicures no longer fit your budget? Here’s how to pay less or to do-it-yourself like a pro.

Abandon acrylics: Foregoing fake nails is a real money saver, but removing acrylics is tricky, time consuming and best left to a pro.

Reduce your manicure budget: every other manicure, get a polish change instead.

Picking polish: Essie,($8) Opi,($8.50) and Creative Nail Design,($6) cost twice as much as Maybelline, but these brands brush on smoother and stay on longer than others, which is why professional manicurists use them.

Color cues: light shades are most forgiving and the finish looks better, longer. With fashionable dark colors, smudges, sloppy application and chips are obvious.

Do it yourself:
1. Shape: With an emery board, file nails across the tips, in one direction. Only file sides or corners to smooth nicks.
2. Condition: Massage cuticle conditioner into cuticles and nail beds. Next, gently nudge cuticles down using a cotton swab or an orangewood stick. Wash and dry hands. Best bets: Creative Nail Solar Oil,(½ oz, $5.50), prevents cuticles and nails from becoming brittle and promotes healthy nail growth. Cheapie petroleum jelly also works well.
3. Color: Apply a ridge-filling base coat, so color has a flawless surface to adhere to. Follow with two coats of color, then clear top coat. To do, apply enamel up the center--from cuticle to nail tip--and then up each side of the nail; let dry a few minutes between coats and thirty minutes after top coat has been applied.
4. Maintain: Every few days, apply a fresh layer of top coat so your manicure lasts longer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stretch Your Beauty Dollar

Money Saving Suggestions of the Day:
Avoid excessive application of beauty and grooming products. People tend to apply more than they need, so adhere to these beauty rules:
Apply a dime-sized dose of:
Facial moisturizer
Use a quarter sized dose of:
Use an amount the size of a golf ball of:
Body moisturizer
Full body sunscreen
Shaving Cream

Conditioner Trumps Shampoo, Moisturizer Trumps Cleanser, and so on

Skimp on shampoo, spend on conditioner: any shampoo will clean your hair, it's what you use after that affects your hair's condition. For instance, try pairing a classic like Flex Shampoo, (15 oz, $2.69 at drugstore.com), with the highly rated Aveda Shampure Conditioner (8.5 oz, $9.50 at Aveda.com.)

Cheap cleanser, quality moisturizer: Facial cleanser gets washed away, moisturizer works all day. Pair the dermatologist recommended Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (8 oz., $7.99 at Walgreens) with Allure Magazine's Best of Beauty Award winner: Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 45, (1.7 oz, $12.39 at Target).

Check back for more trumps, tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spider Woman

The health fairy hasn't been kind to my cousin. 50 years old, she's been on oxygen and cortisone 24/7 for decades. She doesn't consider herself alluring, but what eyelashes! At a recent visit, I couldn't help noticing her lashes; they looked downright "spidery," they were so long and curly. "Awesome lashes," I told her, thinking she had on over-the-top false lashes, the kind worn by drag queens. "My doctor has me on eye drops for glaucoma," she explained. "Now my lashes are growing out of control; they squish into my eyeglasses." I asked if she'd heard that a side effect of glaucoma drops is lash growth. "My ophthalmologist never mentioned that, but knowing it now is a big relief," she said. I also told her how a few beauty companies had illegally used the drug in OTC lash growth products, until the FDA got wind of it. Tempted to ask if I could try her eye drops, instead I offered to trim her lashes for her; she refused to let me.

Although this seemingly miraculous lash growth is no longer attainable over-the- counter, Allergan (maker of Lumigan, the eye drops for glaucoma) just introduced Latisse, the first and only FDA approved prescription drug for growing longer, fuller lashes. In a clinical trial, lashes typically grew 25 percent longer, 106 percent thicker and 18 percent darker.

Parting ways with your lash curler and never fussing with mascara again is a convenient concept, but unless you already indulge in professional lash extensions or you wear mink eyelashes like Madonna does, the $120 price tag for a monthly dose of Latisse might seem extravagant. If so, plump your peepers the old fashioned way: In a recent review in Consumer Reports Shop Smart Magazine, Lancome Paris Definicils, $24, got the highest marks. The runner up: Max Factor Lash Perfection Volume Couture, $7. Honorable mentions include Maybelline Defin-A-Lash, $8 and L'Oreal Telescopic Clean Definition, $9.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's Crazy to Pay Retail These Days

One benefit to today's economy -- at least for consumers -- is big retail markdowns. These days it's crazy to pay full price for anything.
H & M is offering buy 3 items, get 50% off lowest price, with a coupon at www.hm.com/us.
Target has Isaac Mizrahi at 50% off, including cashmere sweaters starting at $12.49.
At Barney's annual warehouse sale, regular prices are cut 50-75% thru March 1. (255 West 17th Street, NY, NY)
Forever 21 features daily 21 specials -- 20% off 21 items -- in-store and on their website, forever21.com. Bigger bargains include a sleeveless satin top, $7.50.

Product Safety Savvy

Price doesn’t determine quality in beauty and personal care products. In fact, some pricey products are produced by tiny companies that lack the self-monitoring, quality control and product safety capabilities of big corporations. Turns out you may be better off with brands from giants like Revlon or P & G.

Truth is, with any cosmetic or personal care product, the FDA doesn't require cosmetic and personal care companies to test their own products for safety. "Under federal law, companies can put virtually anything into personal care products, and many of them do. Mercury, lead, and placenta extract —these and other hazardous materials are in products that millions of Americans, including children, use every day," says Jane Houlihan, Vice President of Research at EWG (Environmental Working Group).

EWG is petitioning Congress to turn this around and make personal care products safe. In the meantime, you can check products you use for safety at cosmeticsdatabase.com, a database with information on nearly 25,000 personal care products.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dry Skin Rx: Less expensive moisturizing products deliver.

Dry, chapped skin is nearly epidemic this time of year, induced by winter's chill and indoor heating. Fortunately the solutions for smoothing and softening needn’t cost a bundle. In fact, products dermatologists recommend most are inexpensive and available in your local supermarket or chain drug store.

Cleanser: Cetaphil is a non-irritating moisturizing cleanser, recommended by dermatologists for sensitive skin, acne, rosacea, dermatitis, eczema and other conditions. This lotion is so gentle it’s safe for use on a newborn baby! It's also probably the world's least expensive makeup remover. Unlike soap, Cetaphil is non-comedogenic, and fragrance free (16 oz, apx. $11.50). Compare to Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser (5 oz. apx. $18.50).

Rough skin smoother: What makes AmLactin® 12% Moisturizing Lotion a cure for rough heels, cracked skin, callouses, elephant-hide elbows and other skin conditions is a high concentration of lactic acid, an exfoliant that helps seal moisture into the skin. One reason Amlactin is so effective is its pH balance. The natural pH of the skin ranges between 4.5 to 5.5. "Detergents and cold, dry weather strip away this protective barrier; once it's breached, the skin cells pull away from each other, allowing moisture to escape and the result is flaky, sensitive, itching skin," says dermatologist Audrey Kunin. "Before the skin is broken, apply an active moisturizer containing lactic acid," she advises. Amlactin, 7.9 oz. apx. $17. Get a $2 off coupon at amlactin.com/coupon.lasso. Compare this product to B. Kamins Lactic 8, 1 oz. apx. $38.