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Friday, January 30, 2009

Free Comedy, Gym Passes, Half Off Beauty

Complimentary Comedy: Sign up for goldstar.com alerts for deep entertainment discounts including free tickets to comedy nights (such as Cannoli and Cabbage: Irish/Italian/Catholic Comedy Night at the Broadway Comedy Club). Great discounts on theater, sporting events and local tourist attractions.

Money saving makeup: Live in or near NYC? If so, you have access to major beauty markdowns (up to 50% off) at company stores in midtown Manhattan including Avon, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Armani, Lancôme and Ralph Lauren. The catch: you must be chaperoned by a company employee (sort through facebook and LinkedIn to find friends or friends of friends who work there).

Free fitness: If you need to put your Equinox membership on hold and/or part ways with your personal trainer in an effort to cut costs, consider becoming a gym-hopper: Print out 1-3 day guest passes to hundreds of health clubs, Pilates and yoga studios at www.gymsearch.net and see how long you can continue to workout for free.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

People Style Watch Skin Conflict

February People Style Watch magazine has some great money saving fashion and beauty deals. Too bad the beauty feature, "Your Skin Problems Solved," promotes products put out by a few of the dermatologists listed in the "Expert Panel" for the feature. Is the advice in the reader's best interest or the dermatologists? What's your opinion?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Longing for a Gucci bag or Chanel bling?

Feel you currently can't afford luxuries? Rent them!

Netflix for bags and bling: Tote a Louis Vuitton Speedy and drape yourself in Chanel bling from bagborroworsteal.com.

An A-list stylist: Wardrobe NYC rents frocks from Zac Posen, Chloé, Stella McCartney and more. www.wardrobe-nyc.com

A genuine status watch: Rent a Rolex from blingyourself.com.

Free books: On PaperBackSwap.com, trade books for free.

A fresh batch of toys: www.babyplays.com lets you rent the impeccably clean toys for as long as you like, then return them for a new batch.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Haute Hair

Wish you could update your 'do with a superstar like Nick Arrojo, the hair maven on TLC's What Not To Wear? If the $500.00 fee is a deterrent, yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus: You can experience a Nick Arrojo cut or color for $68, by an experienced "base level" stylist, trained in his cutting/styling/makeover techniques. These stylists joined the salon with prior hairdressing experience and they have completed a two year apprenticeship. “Base level” stylists include Nicole, the second runner-up on Bravo's Shear Genius season 2. See bios of the base level stylists at http://www.arrojostudio.com/studio/featured/baselevelstylists.htm. A posh ‘do at this price sounds far fetched, considering other star-calibre NY Salons (including Warren Tricomi and Frederic Fekkai), charge $131 for cuts and $275 for highlights by junior stylists. Truth is, Julie, my budget/style savvy daughter (who, for the past year, got hair cuts and highlights for free as a hair model at Bumble & Bumble) discovered this Arrojo bargain and got gorgeous highlights for $68. She convinced me to join her for a haircut (we went to Rea) and the compliments have been coming ever since.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

There is Treasure in Your Jewelry Box

According to Money magazine, for real gold and other fine jewelry, you can get more than double what you would have gotten five years ago. Today gold is up, at around $850 per ounce.

I felt so bad when I noticed the diamond was missing from my engagement ring. The prongs that secured the stone had deteriorated, so even the 18K gold setting was unsalvageable. I added the ring to the other unusable items in my jewelry box ... several orphan gold earrings, a couple of knotted gold chains, some tarnished silver bracelets, and a gold and opal ring a long forgotten boyfriend gave me when I was 16 inscribed "Love, Richie".

As a freelance writer, I receive press releases from e-sites that buy gold. I googled the topic and I read a feature written by a reporter who sent her jewelry to several online sites that buy gold. The place that paid her the most was usgoldbuyers.com. But why ship my gold to a website address, when I have easy access to the famed 47th Street Jewelry District. Turns out, usgoldbuyers.com is based on 47th street, so I stuffed my tattered gold and silver in a ziplock bag and headed there. (My husband said selling jewelry seemed pathetic, but I wasn't pawning family heirlooms; my measly stash was basically junk).

When I arrived at 62 West 47th Street, the receptionist said: go in Room B and close the door. I found myself in a small enclosure with a plate glass window. A man appeared on the other side and directed me to slip my goods into the sliding drawer. He scraped and dabbed and weighed my jewelry, then he showed me a list with the current market prices and the pennyweights of my 18K gold, my 14K gold and my sterling silver. "$306.59, but we'll round it off to $307," he offered. "Ok," I replied, trying to hide my enthusiasm. "Cash or check?" he asked. I took the cash, stuffed it into a pocket, and left the building with a major smile. My skeptical husband was happy to help me spend my newfound funds.

Since the value of gold is extremely high, this is a great time for you to see what's hiding in your jewelry box. If you want more information, please contact me.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Excessive Sweating Ruining Your Life?

Excessive Sweating? - Smarter Beauty Blog

Are you a sweaty girl? Do you avoid overheated clubs and parties or make fashion fabric/style choices accordingly? Now you can put an end to pit stains with BOTOX injections, an FDA-approved treatment for excessive underarm sweating that might be covered by your health insurance.

Recently, I was invited to a press briefing where I watched NYC dermatologist Doris Day inject botox into a woman’s armpits (she said it was painless) and heard first-hand stories about how these Botox treatments dramatically improved their quality of life.

However if you’re looking for less invasive options, you'll find long lasting sweat-stoppage with an old standby: Mitchum Solid Antiperspirant. For more severe sweating, Dr. Day recommends CertainDri , an OTC antiperspirant that offers 72 Hour Protection, or Drysol, a prescription antiperspirant you wear at night and wash off in the morning.

Botox certainly seems to be a sweat-stopping breakthrough for perpetual perspirers … when conventional treatments aren’t effective. But NYC dermatologist Deborah Sarnoff cautions that if your problem is more body odor than sweat related, up your hygiene efforts (if your skin and clothing are bacteria free they won’t be so odor-breeding).

Are there any awesome sweat solutions you’d like to share? If so we’d I'd love to hear about them.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Best kept beauty secrets: Drug store skin care products are comparable to or better than Perricone, Murad, Clinique, etc

“My patients are disbelieving, when I tell them Olay’s Regenerist Night Serum measures up to the priciest dermatologist wrinkle fighters and it is as good as and has the same active ingredient as the much sought after StriVectin, at $135 a tube,” says Joely Kaufman, MD.

Does Doctor Know Best? Are dermatologist's products better?

Celebrity dermatologists such as Nicholas Perricone captivated a niche of women willing to spend hundreds on cosmeceuticals for the promise of eternally youthful skin. The latest physicians-turned-cosmetologist trend is mainstreaming doctor-brands by partnering with big companies that buy and sell in volume and keep retail prices low, so now inexpensive offerings are as close as the corner drugstore.

Great skin shouldn’t be a luxury. “That price determines quality is a beauty industry induced misconception, so my credo is Dermocracy, all skin created equal.” says Patricia Wexler, MD, New York’s most sought after beauty doc (Her $500 consultation requires a six month wait). Her skin care line, Patricia Wexler MD, is sold at Bath & Bodyworks.

In a similar fashion, Yale University dermatologist Jeffrey Dover teamed with CVS for his anti-aging line, Skin Effects by Dr. Jeffrey Dover. “CVS, the world’s largest drug chain, allows me access to the best ingredients, chemists and packaging that money can buy,” he says. “I could sell 1,000 bottles of wrinkle serum for $100@ at Sephora or 10,000 bottles of the same exact product for $10@ through CVS, and I prefer women pay less.”

Are dermatologist’s products better? “Dermatologists know what helps the skin and what doesn’t,” says Deborah Sarnoff, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, NYU Medical Center. Yet if a skin care product really works miracles -- or at least does what a dermatologist can do with lasers and injectables – it would be classified as a drug and not a cosmetic. Like all “cosmeceuticals,” doctor’s products don't require FDA approval and needn't prove their claims, so there’s a lot of puffery in ads and on packaging.

So there’s no guarantee a doctor’s product is superior. “While some brands claim to use unique technology or stronger formulations, there is a ceiling on how much active ingredient you can add to any product without making it unappealing or irritating to the skin,” Dr. Sarnoff explains. “There are also only so many buzz word ingredients … antioxidants, hydroxy acids, enzymes, peptides -- and the latest and greatest are used in dermatologist and regular products today.

Joely Kaufman, MD, Director of the Aging and Geriatric Skin Center, University of Miami School of Medicine, agrees. “A dermatologist may not be able to offer more in a jar than popular brands like Neutrogena or Olay,” she says. Yet she notes exceptions such as Sheldon Pinnell, MD, of Duke University, founder of Skinceuticals: “He discovered that topical vitamin C, formulated as L-ascorbic acid, provides antioxidant protection against skin damage and aging from the sun, which is about the most you can expect from an OTC skin care product today,” she explains.

Dermatologists have a hard time competing with the technology behind giants like Neutrogena, Olay and Estee Lauder, with hundreds of experts at research facilities world wide. Since compounding a cosmeceutical from scratch is complex, many dermatologists sell an existing product with a personalized label, and a consumer can’t differentiate if the doctor actually formulated it.

Named or not, dermatologists help formulate just about every skin care line anyway, a protocol that originated in 1968, when NY dermatologist Norman Orentreich developed the Clinique brand for Estee Lauder.

“The consensus seems to be that you needn’t spend a bundle to get good skin care, unless you believe a product works better if it costs more,” says Dr. Kaufman. “People tend to think they’re getting more when they pay more, but much of the price tag of an expensive product is related to marketing and packaging, not to the actual contents,” she adds. “If you compare labels you’ll find products on the market with the exact same active ingredients, yet one sells for $20 and the other is $120.”

It’s human nature to put more trust in a brand that has a doctor’s credibility behind it. Bottom Line: If you have more faith in a dermatologist’s brand chances are you’ll use it more, and if price has been a deterrent in the past, the new mass market doctor-brands fill a niche.