Category Archives: shopping

I Love Supporting Women-Owned Businesses

So a while back, I mentioned the awesome LA Cupcake Tour I was lucky to go on thanks to the Best of Tours folks and GM/Chevy.  This time around, the Best of Tours/Chevy gang were partnering with CraveLA for their take on the Best of Women Owned Businesses in Los Angeles.

A little full disclosure before we even get started…1) I know Nicole, the gal in charge of creating the Crave LA book and 2) I’m actually one of the featured Intelligentsia in the upcoming LA book.

Now that that little bit of clarification is over with, let’s get on with it.

For starters, we have the vehicles: Camero, Avalanche, Equinox and Malibu. Luxury all the way.  I wasn’t able to ride in all of them, but I was able to check out both the Avalanche and Equinox.  And if I didn’t say it last time…I’m loving that Equinox.  And chauffeur driven shopping, who could ask for more (unless we were maybe getting paid to shop too…that would be just too good to be true.).

Onto CRAVE (twitter): It all started in Seattle in 2001 when Melody Biringer realized that she was missing spending time with her friends.  Many were being pulled in different directions due to the work, family and social lives.  Melody thought a new way to connect was in order and CRAVE was born.  To put it in their own words, “CRAVE innovatively connects urban gals to the sassiest, gutsiest, most inspiring people they need to know in town. Soirees, gatherings and online networking—we are your guide to everything you CRAVE in your city.” What a fun concept!

The gang at Best of Tours/Chevy and CraveLA did an amazing job of picking our locations.  Of course, out of the possible 125 women owned businesses to be featured in the book, we wouldn’t be able to visit each and every one of them.  We started with just four this time around: Calleen Cordero, The Dry Bar, Studio Beauty Mix and Valerie Confections.  And what a fantastic group to start with.

I would like to spend a little more time on each business, so for now, I’m just going to keep it short and sweet.  That plus, I’d really like to visit each of them another time where I can maybe spend a little more time chatting with the fab women in charge as well as their products and services.  Well, that and I don’t want this post to be forever long with photos and rambling.

So until then we’ve got this…

First up, Calleen Cordero (website | twitter) on Beverly.  Calleen makes some of the most amazing and fabulous looking shoes and bags you’ve every seen.  Everything is made by hand, from the carved wooden soles to the rivets in the design.  Just gorgeous.


Onto The Dry Bar (website | twitter) in Brentwood.  The Dry Bar is not a bar at all…it’s better! It’s perky salon that only does blow outs.  No cuts.  No colors.  Just a wash and style for $35.  What this concept so long to come to be?  Definitely worth checking out when you want that fantastic blow out…I was eying the Cosmopolitan, big-curl style myself.  I will be back.


Next up, Studio Beauty Mix (website | twitter) at Fred Segal in Santa Monica.  Why have I never been to this store before?  It’s like Sephora meets Lucky Magazine meets Nordstrom with your own personal shopper…but better!  This boutique has everything from hair products, skincare, bath products, make up, candles and perfumes (I can’t wait to play around with creating my own fragrance at the Memoire Liquide counter) and even JimmyJane vibrators (I’m sure you’ve heard about their “FU*K LIMITED” 24k gold and stainless steel vibes).  I could get lost in this store.


And our final stop after a long drive through the city was Valerie’s Confections (website | twitter) located somewhere between Koreatown and Silver Lake. It may have been a long drive, but it was so very worth it. Valerie let us sample a couple of her handmade chocolates and all I can say is wow!  You heard each and every one of us ooh, ahh, mmm or exclaim in delight over how amazing her chocolates were.  I can’t decide which I liked best, the caramel, the champagne truffle, the salted toffee or the rose chocolate.  I do know that I came home with some toffee bites and two caramels and neither lasted the night.  Yes, they were that good.


The day lasted quite a bit longer than I think anyone expected.  But I have to say, it was so worth it.  All I can say is I sure hope that CraveLA and Best of Tours decide to do a couple more of these tours supporting local women owned businesses.  With 125 women in the book, there’s bound to be more stores and restaurants to visit.

Did I shop? You better believe it.

Will I be back to visit each and every store on the tour?  Oh, hell yes!

Will I tell everyone about how I spend my weekend?  I think I just did. 😉

CraveLA, thank you for introducing me to some fabulous new places to spend my hard earned money.  Best of Tours/Chevy, thanks for helping to put it all together.

Is It Possible to Vacation Without First Shopping?

Hello, my name is Kat and I’d like to make a little confession…

I can’t seem to take a vacation (no matter how short), without first having to shop and pamper myself a bit.

The worst part, I know this about myself and typically try to stop myself from doing this and wait until the last possible minute to shop (though I have avoided the pampering part).

We’re finally getting around to scheduling a little R&R at the northern California coast before the year ends and yes, you guessed it…I’ve been shopping.

I told myself I didn’t need to shop.  We went to Ireland last winter, so I have plenty of cold-weather wear, complete with waterproof shoes and a jacket. So for the most part, I’ve managed to avoid the shopping (much like I’ve avoided actually doing any Christmas shopping thus far).

Until this weekend, that is.

This weekend I picked up a lovely cashmere sweater on clearance at J.Jill and of course, I had to pay extra to speed up the shipping.  Then on Sunday, after a solid weekend of rain, I decided that I was going to make the leap and get a pair of real Uggs (I’ve been wearing my faux-uggs to pieces since the weather changed).

Little did I know that the Ugg clogs I fell in love with were last year’s style.  Basically, I spent most of the day searching every online and local store for these babies in black and in my size.


They’ll be perfect for the cold, wet weather I’m sure to encounter in Mendocino.  Plus, they’re not quite so casual and ugg-obvious as the typical Ugg boat so I’d be able to wear them with jeans and a nice top and not feel like a slob.

Well, it took a few hours and the advice of a good friend, but I finally ordered my new shoes through Neiman’s and just had them sent directly to the hotel (even speedy shipping couldn’t get them to me on time).  Thankfully, my expedited shipping was FREE!!

That said, I don’t think I have any desire to spend large chunks of my time searching for the “perfect” must-have item any time soon.  Let alone doing so while hoping and praying it arrives in a timely manner.  That level of obsession was just a tad too freaky for my tastes.

Do you do anything particular before heading out of town –  shopping, pampering, grooming, packing weeks in advance??

It’s That Time of Year Again

And no, I’m not talking Christmas.  Nope, I’m talking cooking! Winter cooking (you know, the only time I can actually cook).

Better still, holiday cooking.


Any other time of the year, I can walk away from magazine; cooking, entertaining, decorating, womens, you name it.  But as soon as the “holiday” features start to show up on the covers, they go home with me.

Then I read them.  Devour what they have to say.  Oooh and ahhh over the recipes and photos.

And sadly, never cook or bake a damn thing from them.


It’s too much to make for just the two of us and my inlaws won’t eat anything they’ve never eaten before.  So there’s no one to cook it for.

Of course that won’t stop me from buying a few more magazines before the year is over.  What can I say, it’s a weakness.  Thankfully, it’s not a terribly expensive weakness and it only happens once a year.

What’s your holiday-related weakness?

Weird Fashion Related Mistakes

I never said I was a fashion plate.  In fact, I blogged about being fashionably challenged some time over the summer.  While I have gotten a bit more fashionable since I started teaching again – I mean, considering I can’t teach in yoga pants and sweats – I’ve still got a lot to learn.

The other day I figured I’d head on over to Kohls and spend my well earned $20 in Kohls cash.  What better to spend my free money on than a new pair of slumming around jeans (I have enough nice trouser jeans, but nothing to schlep around it).  Easy, right?

Well, for the most part it was.  I decided on two pair; one clearance and the other on sale (don’t even get me started on what I ended up spending that shopping trip…I’ll give you a hint, it was more than my $20 in Kohls cash).

Fast forward to today and well, yesterday too…

I noticed that every time I entered or left a store (any store), I’d set off the security alarms.  I just assumed it had to be something in my purse (I’ll throw anything in there…why I love me a big bag).  Then today I set off the alarm again in Barnes and Noble.  Thing is, this time I was only carrying my wristlet.  So the only thing in common was me, my wallet and my phone.  Confusion.

When I got home I figured I’d better check out those new jeans.  Well, turns out it was just a stupid tag SEWN into the jeans.  Why would they use a security system sewn into the product if they’re not going to un-charge desensitize them before handing them over to me?  Crazy.

Oh well, it’s fixed now.


During this very same Kohls shopping trip, I thought I’d check out the clearance.  You could tell they’d just organized or cleaned up since all the bras were organized nice and neatly by size.  I took a quick peek and found two bras in my size; one black and lacy, one boring and beige.  Perfect!  And both were only like $6 each.  Total score.

Then some time yesterday or so, I was lying in bed (probably napping after class) and it hit me that I bought the wrong size.  I bought my old, pre-reduction size that I was over 10 years ago.  What the hell.

Guess where I’ll be going later this week?

I’m half-wondering what sort of message is in these two related, yet not, fashion mishaps.  Any idea?

Working On This Green Thing


On the one hand, I’m totally on the bandwagon and have been for years.  I was raised recycling and making our own household products.  I’ve been refusing bags or bringing my own bags places long before it was all sorts of trendy and cool (I love my mini-Rume bag and keep one in my purse at all times – at the grocery store I just use my SXSW cloth bags).

But sometimes, I’ll admit it, I just can’t get into it.

Sometimes, the mere scent of a new bath or body product is just too tempting to walk away from because it’s not organic.  Or the killer laundry product that I can’t even begin to imagine walking away from – like the new Spray ‘n Wash Bright & White that gets my clothes amazingly white for the first time in I don’t know how long (but I do know it’s been years since I’ve not done my laundry at a laundromat).

I’ll admit it though, Kermit was right…it’s not easy being green.

Now that weather is cooler, I’m not going to have a window sill to rest my drying bottles and cans in (and I’ve learned the hard way, if I’m storing my bottles and cans inside, they MUST be rinsed out). I’m going to have to come up with a plan B here.

And while I have no problem spending a little extra for my organic health and beauty supplies, I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed in how they’ve been working.  So far, I think I’ve wasted more money and more products on things I didn’t like or that didn’t live up to the hype.  And I have to wonder, is it worth it?

I will say, there are some products that I’m trying that I love (keep in mind, they’re not all 100% organic or environmentally safe)…

  • Cargo’s Plant Love Organic Loose Powder – I’m pretty much a die hard Bare Minerals kind of gal, but I have to say, I love this stuff.  There aren’t as many colors to choose from, so it’s more challenging to find that perfect shade.  But…not having to deal with the BE/BM burn is awfully nice.
  • Mrs Meyer’s cleaning supplies – I’ve switched over to her cleaning products a couple years ago. While I know I can just as easily make my own cleaning supplies, I have to say, I’m addicted to the aromas.  I love that I can hop into my shower, close those icky doors, and start scrubbing off the soap scum without having to worry about fainting from the cleaning agents.  Always a good thing.
  • Dessert Essence Natural Roll-On Deodorant – who knew finding a natural deodorant that works would be so difficult.  My girlfriend actually picked this one up for me when she was perusing her co-op website.  So far I love it.  Since I also use their tea tree oil, I had a place an order for me so I could try some more of their products.
  • The Green Beauty Guide – Like I said, I’m having some challenges here, so I could use all the help I can get finding those new products to try.
  • Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm – I was given this as a giftie by a friend that works for Burt’s Bees.  Lip balm addict that I am (with a gazillion and one lip balms lying about), I stuck it in a purse that I rarely use and never gave it much thought.  I was using that purse the other day and whipped it out. Wow, I love this!  It’s got just enough color and it’s minty.  Very cool.
  • Josie Maran Lip Gloss – this baby sits in my concert bag (yes, I have a small purse just for when I go to shows – holds close to nothing, but it’s also easy to hold on to).  I keep this bag stocked and ready to go – toss in the ID and the Blackberry and all is good.  While I can’t attest to the color – I’m usually in the dark – I do love the scent, the taste and the last power.  It’s not too goopy and stays on through most of the show.
  • Laundry Tree Soap Nuts – I love, love, love these babies.  We were given samples in our BlogHer swag bag two years ago.  I loved them so much, I arranged to do a giveaway on ConstantChatter.  Basically, instead of using detergent, you just toss the nuts into the wash and let them work their magic.  I’d use them more often if I didn’t have to use a laundromat (feel like I’m wasting them since more than likely, the machine is already filled with enough soap residue to wash with water alone).
  • Dryer Balls – I also love to use dryer balls instead of fabric softener.  The roll around and beat up the clothes so they get soft and fluffy without the chemicals.  I will say, they don’t completely cut down on the static, but you can deal with it.

I can’t say I’m doing perfect here in my quest to go green.  But it’s not such a bad start.  I tell myself that once we move into our own place (and I no longer have to use the laundromat) or fight to get the recyclables taken care of, it will be much easier.

What are you doing to go green[er]?  What are some of your favorite products?

Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me Sooner?


I’ve said it before, but I’ve never been the kind of gal that goes crazy for shoes.  Flip flops maybe, but not shoes.  And certainly not heels.

I think one of the many reasons why I love my flip flops so much is that they don’t need time to break them in.  There’s no painful rubbing on the bone near my big toe (sadly, I’m beginning to realize that that might be a sign of age *ack*) And there’s no digging my achilles heel raw.

Thing is, I can’t wear flip flops to work.  You know, I have to be an example of a professional women and all that (no really, this what I was told).

Thing is, when I first got this teaching gig last January, I needed some new shoes quickly.  And I needed more professional clothes as well (read: no jeans or yoga pants).  So, I did what any bargain shopper would do…I picked up whatever I thought might work, as cheaply as possible.

I’ve realized lately though, that buying inexpensive shoes means you have to take time to break them in.  They’re not ready to go from time you cut the elastic holding them together (I told you I went inexpensive here).

In my case, every time I wore a pair of shoes, I either got a blister or rubbed something raw.  And needless to say, once you’ve done that, it makes wearing even more comfortable, broken-in shoes quite unpleasant.  Especially if you have to walk a few blocks from the car to the office and then have to walk around the room or stand for two hours straight.

I figured it was about time to grow up and be kinder to my feet.

So, today I did it. I headed on over to the mall and hit up my nearest Aerosoles store.  I picked up three new pairs of shoes: two flats (one black, one brown) and one pair of black heels (I’ll get brown another time).  Sadly, I only came home with one pair, but the other two should get here next week sometime.

Why didn’t someone tell me that when you spend more than $20 on shoes they actually FEEL BETTER?!?!

I can’t tell you how excited I am to find shoes that feel comfortable right out of the box (and there’s no elastic to cut to separate them!).  I’m actually looking forward to wearing my new shoes tomorrow. Assuming it’s not raining.  If it’s raining, I might have to hold off a day (or wear a different pair to the classroom) since they’re suede.

I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship!!

Just call me a Bag Hag and Bring On the New Purse!

Bag Hag

I’ll admit it, actually, I’ll admit two things…1) if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a plus-sized gal and 2) I love me some purses.

What does one have to do with the other? Well, as a plus-size gal, our fabulous fashion choices are often quite limited. This of course leaves many of us larger than life gals (ha! all those cuteisms for “plus size” drive me crazy) with shoe, purse or makeup addiction. I’ve heard it explained that accessories always fit.

Needless to say, I’ve always been good about reining in my purse addiction. I try to limit myself to one, pricier purse, once a year. And today was my lucky day.

I was in Costco of all places and over by the entrance, there it was. It was the perfect black hobo. It wasn’t too big, it wasn’t too small (though I wouldn’t mind if it was a tad bit larger). It had silver hardware and soft, supple leather.

I think I’m in love.

Having learned my lesson from missing out on other “perfect” bags, I bought this one, left all the tags on and tried it on at home. I figured if I didn’t like it, I could return it. But you know, for just over $100, I say it’s a keeper.

Thank you Marc of New York and Costco. You both made this girl’s day!

Looking for the Perfect Eye Shadow

eye_shadowI’m on a quest.  Much like I was looking for the best drugstore mascara not all too long ago (found it…Maybelline Stiletto).  This time around, I’m looking for the perfect all over eyeshadow.  You know, that one shadow that you can wear daily that doesn’t necessarily look like you’re wearing shadow, but just kind of makes you look put togther.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve just used the same blush that I was wearing as my all over color.  Then I started to add a highlighter to my browbone.  Now that I’m working again (and networking and doing speaking gigs), I feel the need to look a bit more polished day to day.

I have two MAC colors that I picked up, but I’m not completley happy with either.  The one is goldish and well, has a bit of sparkle.  The other is pink and matte, but I think it’s just a tad too dark.

So I’m wondering, if you wear shadow and just use that one, all over kind of color, what do you use?  It can be drugstore or department store (since the shelf-life is so much longer than mascara I’m okay spending a bit more).  What works for you?

It’s Monday So Let’s Have a Giveaway!


Enter for Your Chance to Win an Envirosax Bag!

The good folks from Envirosax contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a giveaway here.  I’m all about using reusable bags for shopping that you better believe I jumped at the opportunity.

The goal was to get it up about a week ago and tell you all how great these bags would be for the dad in your life.  But as you all know, I’ve been so busy that I just didn’t get around to it.  I was also waiting for the bags to arrive so I could see just which designs I was giving away.

I don’t yet have my own Envirosax bag (well, when you have 10+ large canvas sacks, there’s just no need to buy the bags), so this was my first time seeing them in person.  Wow, not only are the bags HUGE, the designs are just way cute.  So as they say on their site, you can spread “the eco-friendly message with style!”  And the convenient part is that they fold up nicely so that you can keep one in your bag – no more forgetting your bag back at the car.

I think my only complaint about the bags is that I’d love for a longer handle.  These bags can hold SO much stuff, that it can often make carrying the bags difficult.  With a longer strap that can go over your shoulder you can not only carry more weight, but you can also have your hands free to do the important stuff like unlock the door.  For many, I’m sure the handles are just fine (and can indeed slip over the shoulder), I’ve just gotten so used to my canvas bags with their long straps, that I like when my bags sit lower on my body and not right under my armpit.

Eh, it’s all preference and these bags are so cute (and fold up so tiny), that it more than makes up for it.

Be sure to follow them on Facebook as well, as they’ve been known to host more giveaways there.

To enter for your chance to win one of these two bags, just leave me a comment telling me why you’d love to win one or where you would use your bag.  The winner will be chosen at random through

Fell free to tweet, blog or post this on your Facebook for extra chances to win – just make sure you give me the link so I can verify the posts.

The contest will close on Sunday, June 21st at 11:59 PM (Pacific)

Good luck!!

Makeup Primers, Oh How I Love Thee

I’ve known about makeup primers for a couple years now. I remember before I moved out here to LA, my girlfriend was in love with a particular primer (I don’t think Smashbox had their product out just yet). She’d pick up a new tube any time she came out here to LA. Sometimes I was lucky enough to even borrow it from time to time. Man, that stuff was impressive.

Then I moved out here to LA and the land of beauty and learned about the Smashbox primer that everyone raved about. I’ll admit that I’m not a religious user, though I do keep a small tube in my travel makeup case.

Nowadays, since I mostly use mineral makeup, I use a primer from Bare Minerals made to compliment the makeup and whatever stories they sold me along with the tube. If I’m wearing mineral makeup, then I’m wearing that primer. I like it, but I’m not so sure it works as well as the Smashbox primer.

But my favorite primer yet…shadow primer! Why did no one ever tell me about this before? I mean, it can keep your eye shadow on for the entire day. Seriously, I can nap with this shit on and I wake up (with sheet creases) and full shadow still on. It also helps to keep my eyeliner on longer. The fact the the colors are much brighter is just a pleasant side effect.

Since no one thought to tell me about what a difference shadow primer can make to your look (trust me, using my regular primer on my eyes didn’t make a difference like this), I thought I’d share my find with you. I can’t talk about what brand is better than another, but I can tell you that I’m using the Too Faced Shadow Insurance and loving it.

So if you wear any eye makeup beyond just mascara, give this a try. You can find them for under $20. Let me know what you think.