San Francisco, After the Fact

I forgot to include a few details about my trip to San Francisco two weeks ago.


View from my 33rd floor hotel room.








Since this was a work trip, I had to work. A lot. But much of the downtime was spent with my friend K, who happens to be a BFF from high school who’s in the same profession, so when we can, we both attend this conference and share a hotel room. We stay up waaaay too late, catching up.

One more view from our room:


I already posted about eating three meals at The Grove, a local mini-chain with food I love:


Since I’ve been on a healthy eating kick for the past two months, I didn’t eat my way through San Francisco like I usually would. I did have a some excellent bread twice and this was worth the splurge, but I decided to still forego cocktails and all sweets. I only missed them a tiny bit and felt a lot better in the end for skipping the gluttony.

One day I had a short amount of free time and walked to the Ferry Building, where I finally got to try Pressed Juicery (long-time admirer, first time drinker):


After the fact. This was delicious.

Since one of my many nicknames for Trixie is Bumblebee, I love all things apian, like this tea towel I found at a garden outpost in the Ferry Building:


BTW, I also scored this charity shirt (the last one in store!) at a SF J. Crew on a separate occasion:


Back to the Ferry Building: there were at least two more stores worth mentioning. One was Benedetta, a farm-sourced organic skin care line. I really liked their Rose Hydrosol, which is a facial mist (photo from Benedetta).


I’m also a sucker for sampler sets, so this travel-sized Ylang Ylang regimen appealed to me. This isn’t exactly meant for my skin type, but the scent won me over:


The last thing that I bought was a body wash with a scent that’s hard to describe. After I got it home, I thought it smelled like stout. And I mean that in a good way.



The second place that I had to visit was Heath Ceramics. I’d heard high praise for this line for a long time in various design magazines and sites.

The Ferry Building stall isn’t large, but I still spent a long time looking at everything they had on display, finally deciding on a pair of candles:


Walking back to my hotel from the Ferry Building, I spotted a farmer’s market with a gluten-free stand. I brought back two brownies, one for my friend K. and one for Trixie. They both have severe celiac disease, so this was a treat.


Randomly, K. and I were out walking and shopping one night (she needed a dress for her nephew’s wedding this summer and found a great one), and we got a sample of free chips:


Sadly, I didn’t get to try these. K. told me they were good but poison for the breath.

And then the samples kept coming. Score, score, score.

I hit the Neiman Marcus near Union Square because I know they carry Aerin cosmetics in-store. Aerin is seriously hard to find.

I previously purchased some Aerin there in 2012, shortly after the line’s launch, and I really liked the lip gloss.

The Aerin line is very edited, and there are only two glosses available now. They’re called Weekday and Weekend, and I got them both.


Weekend (left) and Weekday (right).

The texture is smooth and they’re slightly rose-scented. The colors are subtle and pretty. Total wins.

Since it was close to Mother’s Day, there was also a lip balm and hand cream set in a pretty case. I don’t have a photo of this, but at $60, it was a good deal since these normally retail for $48 (bag) + $28 (lip balm) + $40 (hand cream) = $116.

But … wait for it! The salesperson at the Aerin counter – and no joke, I still remember her from 2012; she is so sweet and helpful – absolutely showered us with free samples:


I felt like I’d won the freebie lottery. 

A parting shot:



See you next time, San Francisco!

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Deals

Oh, how I love the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! 

Spectacularly sad but true, I look forward to this event with no small amount of anticipation every year.

The Beauty Exclusives are particularly hard to resist.

Yesterday I got my hair done at a salon that happens to be a mere 10 minutes away from the only Nordstrom around, and mysteriously my car navigated there on my way home.

This year did not disappoint.

First up, this Kate Somerville set.

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While this set is still pricey ($98), it’s worth $191, making it one of the best deals of the sale. The Age Arrest Anti-Wrinkle cream is worth $90 alone. And if you haven’t tried it, the ExfoliKate treatment is one of the line’s star products. 

Next, AERIN Beauty’s ‘Lilac Path’ perfume:

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This was a wild-card that I did not anticipate purchasing (and also not an official Beauty Exclusive), but I got swept up in the scent and had to have it. There are five fragrances in this line, and it was difficult to pick out the one I liked best. I was waffling between this one and two others, ‘Ikat Jasmine’ and ‘Evening Rose.’ They were all really sophisticated and a little more perfume-y than what I normally wear (either Bobbi Brown or Jo Malone). This picture doesn’t do the bottle justice; the cap has a lovely lilac stone on top.

With the AERIN perfume, I received an Estee Lauder gift with purchase. I chose the cool colors for the lipstick and eyeshadows. You also could select a moisturizer in a generous sample size. The other items were a cleanser, mascara and serum, all packed in a navy blue bag.

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These Voluspa candles were a steal! I bought two sets, one for myself and one for gifting. I’m not sure if I’ll keep them together or break them up, since they make such great hostess gifts and are easy to wrap in colorful fabric, furoshiki-style.

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The last thing I purchased was a bit of a beauty risk, at least for me.

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Since I’ve been maintaining my fake eyelashes, I’ve been wearing almost no eye makeup, which means my lips need a little more attention lest I look completely washed out. 

Once again, I’m late to the party, but I love the modern look of a nude eye and bright, matte lip. Except up to now, not on me.

This M.A.C. set came in pink, coral or nude. It still feels outside of my comfort zone, but I went for the pink. Bright, shocking pink.

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Besides the gloss and lipstick, there’s a brown eyeliner (full-size) and eyeshadow trio with two champagne-y colors and one that is a sparkly plum. All are pretty.

Here’s me trying out the lipstick:

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Still not sure if I’m ready to go out like this. Baby steps.

In the end, I got another bag of beauty samples, which I love to save and use for traveling.

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The blue bag is the Estee Lauder one from the gift with purchase, and the purple nylon one contained the samples above. There were two Jo Malone perfumes (score!), plus samples from Kiehl’s, Lancome and Laura Mercier.

I was embarrassingly excited over this haul. 











Chapped Lips

Lip balms have been mysteriously disappearing around Fancy Pants Ranch as of late.

I suspect the timing and events are largely due to MGM’s recent discovery that mint-favored Chapstick is both therapeutic and delicious. I went to use one of the lonely remaining ones on my nightstand the other day, and there were definitely some bites taken out of the stick. Ick.

Trixie has a fairly large stash of Lip Smackers – one of my all-time faves, even now – but no one can ever seem to locate one when they’re needed.

Hands down, I think Aveda Lip Saver is the best lip balm on the market. The texture is just right – not too sticky or waxy – and a thick layer will stay on all night while you slumber. It’s $8.50 a pop, so definitely not a Chapstick-level bargain, but I think the quality is worth the price.


However, Naturopathica’s Honey Vanilla lip balm is close contender:


For the price, it’s hard to beat Yes to Carrot’s lip balms in grapefruit, pomegranate or blueberry. Regular price is only $2.99 but their website has them listed for less than $2. Worth stocking up if your kids use them as snacks like mine do.


On the other end of the price spectrum is Aerin’s Rose Lip Conditioner. At $28, you really need to hide this one from the kiddos. It definitely feels luxurious, though.


Want to try your hand at making your own lip balm? Here’s a guide.

P.S. I spent waaaay too much time on the Lip Smackers site while researching this post. It’s awesome!