Beauty Sage Deluxe Boxes

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Clockwise from top left: Oil You Need box, The Look Younger Box, Beauty Sleep Box, and The Clear Skin Box

So lately I’ve discovered the joy of subscription boxes. These little boxes of beauty come once a month and bring wonderful new products to try. I try to keep them a surprise but tend to cheat with my Ipsy (see my review of April’s box here) and Birchbox subscriptions. I always find spoilers before the boxes ship! Since a month is a looong time to wait for new beauty products I have discovered a new company to supplement my boxes between months. Beauty Sage offers deluxe boxes for $10 a month, including shipping. They currently have four different boxes to choose from, and since you know what is in each box it is easy to choose the box you want. Or like me you might want them all, in which case I fully suggest ordering all 4, you won’t be disappointed!

My first two boxes were the Oil You Need box and the Beauty Sleep Box. My skin has been angry with me lately, very dry and red and icky, and since I have always had a hard time sleeping I felt like these two boxes were meant for me. Here’s what was in them:

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Oil You Need box, Beauty Sage

 

The Oil You Need Box:

Kahina Giving Beauty 100% Organic Argan Oil ($36): This oil is actually in 3 out of 4 boxes, and I am not upset about that! It makes my skin feel amazing, and my husband said my porcelain skin looked better than normal after I applied it. The company says it “gives supple, radiant skin”, and it does! The sample is a decent size too, I’ve been using it daily all week and still have some left in my first sample. I expect the 3 will last me all month, yay!

Joya Travel Roll-On Composition No. 1 or No. 6 ($28): So I am not sure what No. I got, but it’s not a favorite. They state that it “adjusts to your body chemistry”, but for $28 I think I will pass on the Joya and stick with my normal Love And Toast roll-ons. This sample is a little small, but I don’t love the scent so I’m not too disappointed.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil ($46): This is my favorite of the box. It is a dry oil that works on face, body, and hair and it smells fantastic. I used it on my husbands sand-paper hands tonight and it worked miracles. He even loved the scent, and it contains “6 proven plant oils” that softened his skin. It is a huge sample and a little goes a long way, always a bonus in a sample box!

Shea Terra Argan and Green Coffee Around Eye Serum ($38): This sample promises to “send bags packing”. Well, I don’t really feel like I have bags to send packing despite my normal lack of sleep, but it makes the skin around my eyes feel good so I figure it can’t hurt. Any anti-aging products I put on now will hopefully make my skin look great for the long haul of life.

By Nieves “C” Perfect Skin Serum ($35): I have not used this little vial of serum yet, but it is “proven to tighten and brighten” so I look forward to trying it soon. It seems like a fairly small sample, but I bet you don’t need much. Each sample should contain 4 uses, but I bet I can get at least 5!

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Beauty Sleep Box

The Beauty Sleep Box:

This box, curated by Prevention Magazine, is right up my alley. I’ve had sleeping problems for as long as I can remember, it gave me pretty intense anxiety as a child and I currently use melatonin pills to help with this lack of slumber. These products are pretty awesome, but they haven’t really changed my sleep patterns. Still, I’m pretty happy with this box!

Lotus Wei Quiet Mind Mist ($40): This smells amazing and according to the pamphlet that came in the green mesh bag along with the sample it contains lemon, geranium, and coriander. Surprisingly it does not contain the typical “hey you should go to sleep” lavender and chamomile, which is a nice change. I’ve been spritzing it on every night and I have been feeling pretty relaxed. I also have been fighting off a cold and have felt exhausted lately, so it’s hard to say if this spray has made a difference but I love the scent, so it really doesn’t matter if it helps me sleep or not! I would love to try all the Lotus Wei scents, especially Pure Energy (grapefruit, coffee, and cinnamon) and Joy Juice (blood orange, davana, and marigold). It comes in a decent size spritzer bottle too.

Goldfaden MD Wake Up Call ($80): This moisturizer that contains CoQ10 and a nourishing retinol is said to plump up your skin “so you wake up looking like you had a facial”. Well, I’ve never had a facial (my first is scheduled for next week!) so I don’t know if that’s what it looks like, but my skin did feel pretty good in the morning. I really like this product a lot and the sample should last me a few weeks.

Shea Terra Around Eye Beauty Serum ($38): See the review above, it also came in the “oil you need” box.

Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask ($29): The card in the box says to ” spot apply this dry (split ends, frizzes around your hairline), let it penetrate all night and rinse in the am”, and so that’s what I did. It smells great, and it made my dry, color-treated, overwashed hair feel soft and silky, and my hair was super shiny. This also is a huge sample that will last a while, since a little goes a long way in my thin hair.

By Nieves The Balm: This is a great multi-purpose sample. Cuticles, dry spots, and chapped lips are all soothed with this amazing balm. It comes in a pretty big pot that should last a while too!

Also included in this box is a card for a year long subscription to Prevention magazine, which is at least a $10 value. Can’t wait for my first issue!

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Since I loved the first two boxes so much I had to order the next two, The Look Younger box and The Clear Skin box. Since I have entered my 30’s my skin just isn’t as luminous as it was in my 20’s and is giving me more trouble than it did as a teenager! These two boxes contain products that will hopefully make my skin behave itself again.

The Look Younger Box:

Suntegrity “5 in 1” Tinted Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen ($45): This sunscreen “conceals, perfects, and protects”. The sample comes in a light color, which is perfect for my pale skin and is SPF 30, which is awesome since I live close to the sun in the mountains of Colorado. Now if it would only stop snowing so I could try it out. I currently use Garnier BB cream (which is comparable) so I look forward to trying this out, although it smells kind of icky. I do like that it is vegan, non-greasy, and non-toxic though.

Kahina Giving Beauty 100% Argan Oil ($36): See my review above. I love it!

One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque ($39): This powder “polishes skin with fresh pineapple enzymes”, and although I have not yet tried it I love it for the smell alone. It smells like pineapple and although the sample is pretty small (and easy to spill everywhere!) I hope I can stretch it out for a few uses. My dry skin is always in need of exfoliation!

Christopher Drummond Beauty Blush Alluring in Pink ($28): “Get a youthful rosy flush!” Well, wine does the same thing for me. This color is amazing on my hand though, which is the only place I’ve sampled it so far. It is a great pink color with a little shimmer to it. I very rarely wear blush though, so I guess I’ll save this sampling for a special occasion. I also can’t figure out how to get a brush into the pot to use it effficiently without wasting it!

By Nieves “C” Perfect Skin ($35): Another double from the Oil You Need box, see my review above. Well, see my thoughts since I haven’t tried it yet.

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The Clear Skin box

 

So this last box is honestly the most appropriate box for me right now, since my skin has been uncooperative lately despite the homemade facial masks I have been using. My love of wine in the evening isn’t helping, but my goal in the next few months is to drink more water and less wine. And to keep taking my vitamins!

The Clear Skin box:

Clarks Botanicals Deep Moisture Mask ($72): This can be used as a mask or a moisturizer and since this sample is pretty small I most likely will use it only as a moisturizer to make it last longer. My skin feels smooth and hydrated when I put it on although it is a little too perfumed for my taste in skin care. 

Kahina Giving Beauty 100% Argan Oil ($36): Yep, still love it. See my review above!

By Neives Face Fix ($32): This doubles as a mask or scrub. I am intrigued by this powdery sample and hope there is enough to try it both ways!

Shea Terra Authentic African Black Soap ($8): This is honestly one of the only samples that is in my price range for a full size sample. It makes my skin feel squeaky clean and is a proven acne-fighting powerhouse. I’ve heard quite a bit about black soap lately, so I am so excited that I finally get to try it out!

One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser ($29): I love a good foaming cleanser. This smells pretty neutral and is a pretty small sample so I’m not sure I’ll really be able to get a good idea of what this product does. 

 

Overall I am super happy with all the boxes I received from Beauty Sage. I will use everything in these boxes, which I can’t say about my monthly subscriptions. Now I just hope I don’t fall in love too much with the products, since most are a little out of my price range. Although the prices are not so outrageous that I can’t budget it in if I reeeeallly love something. Also you can earn points with every purchase on Beauty Sage just like you can with Birchbox, which is a nice perk. I can’t wait for my first issue of Prevention too, and I hope Beauty Sage will release some different boxes soon!

Now for what YOU can get out of reading this long review! I have a few discount codes that came in my boxes. Comment below for a code to receive 10% off full size versions of the samples reviewed above ( I have 4 that expire in about 6 weeks). I also have 2 codes for 10% off your order, expires 5/24/2013. First come first serve!

You are all beautiful,

 

 

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Waste Not – Making Chicken Stock

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Before…..

As I mentioned in my Thriftin’ and Chick’n post a few days ago I like to make homemade chicken stock from the leftover carcass of a roasted bird. Sure, it’s so easy to grab a can from the cabinet, but what fun is there in that? And have you ever really looked at the stuff coming out of those cans? It’s really gross, with bits and pieces of mystery substances floating in it. I’d much rather make my own. Not only is it healthier but it also makes use of the whole bird so you don’t waste a bit. Well, other than the innards shoved in the cavity of the bird. I forgot I was making stock and threw those away. 

After you roast a bird and enjoy a succulent chicken dinner there tends to be a lot of meat left over, at least in a household of two. Once the chicken cools I pull as much meat off the bones as I can and put it in the fridge for chicken salad, stir fry, soup, etc. Then the fun begins! Ok, so it’s really not that fun or exciting. But it is easy and makes the house smell wonderful! Just make sure you’ll be able to stay near the stove for a couple hours. You don’t want to burn the house down for a few cups of broth!

What You Need:

– Carcass of 5 lb chicken, including skin and innards (if you remembered to keep them and they don’t gross you out)

– 1 onion, quartered. I like to leave the skin on, it gives great color to the stock

– 3 ribs celery, cut into large chunks

– 4 carrots, cut in large chunks

– 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed

– 3 sprigs parsley

– 2 bay leaves, pepper, any other spices you like- I add about 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, because I add them to everything! *

– 8 cups cold water 

*traditionally salt is not added to a stock, since it can make soups or sauces too salty  

What You Do:

Add carcass and chicken bits, vegetables, spices, and water to a large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Let it simmer for at least four hours. Enjoy the smell of Thanksgiving in your house.

Now from here you could strain all the bones and other bits from the stock, let it cool, and throw it in the fridge to use as you like. Or you could cool it to room temperature and pour it into ice cube trays to freeze for future use. However I do it a little different. After I simmer it for about 4-5 hours (I’m a night owl so it’s easy to do) I take it off the heat, let it cool, and put the whole pot in the fridge overnight. I feel like this lets the flavors blend together even more. Then the next day I put it back on the stove, bring it to a boil and simmer for another hour or so. THEN I strain all the solids out of it and store it in a jar in the fridge. I feel like this yields the best results, but it could be in my mind and this extra step is probably not necessary.

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….And After! No more canned chicken stock for me!

Now once the stock starts to cool you’ll notice a layer of fat floating on top. I put it in the fridge like this and just skim the fat off after it solidifies. 

After this has been refrigerated for 12-24 hours you should notice it has thickened up and become gelatinous. Basically it will look like chicken jello, which would be pretty gross when you think about it. But this just means you did it right, and you did it well. When you simmer the bones long enough you extract collagen, which has many health benefits and makes for a gelatinous stock. Once it is heated it melts back into a wonderful liquid stock. For more information on stocks in general check this out!

And that’s it. If you have about 5 minutes to chop up some veggies and a few hours to babysit the stove then you can make this nutritious base for many meals to come!

What ways will you use your stock? Please share your recipes in the comment section below!

Bagawk!

J

 

When life gives you lululemons….

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Lululemon Ice Queen top, retails for $88. I got this limited edition blue stripe top for $5.

So I have a problem. Other than the fact I need to visit the thrift store every week I feel the need to purchase just about every piece of lululemon clothing I come across. The company has been in a bit of hot water lately over their see-through yoga pants (check out this article from the Boston Globe) but that doesn’t deter me. I find a certain satisfaction in paying less than $10 for athletic wear that retails for $50-$180. Even if it’s not my size. I have thrifted lululemon clothes in sizes 4-10 that I can’t seem to part with. The top pictured above is actually a size 4, which I am definitely not. However it fit ok, a little tight but it provides motivation to lose a few more lbs. And it has elbow patches, which I have been looking for all winter! It will be a great layering piece, and If I don’t wear it I am sure I can sell it and make some $$.

I also found a dress by Evan-Picone today. According to the Vintage Fashion Guild Evan-Picone started in 1949 and provided the wardrobe for the Mary Tyler Moore show! I’m not sure what era this dress is from, but it is a great sheath dress in a colorful Ikat-like print that hits at the knee, and unlike the lululemon top it fits perfectly. And it’s a size 8! I can’t wait to wear it somewhere special, although I might try to dress it down for work. We’ll see. I found some great pointy black ballet flats to go with it too (new with tags!) and they are so comfortable!

I also found a pair of sage green “paper bag” shorts and a chambray button up with stud detailing. I actually saw this shirt last week and tried it on, it was a little tight over the bust so I passed it up. Then I kicked myself all week for not buying it, since I can always wear it unbuttoned. All women’s clothing was 1/2 off today so I couldn’t pass it up for $4! And it has the name Wanda written in sharpie on the inside of the collar. Is there a rock and roll cowgirl named Wanda somewhere? Did she bedazzle this shirt herself? I like thinking about this shirt’s history with Wanda!

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Clockwise from top: Wanda’s shirt ($5), black flats ($6), paper bag shorts ($3) and Ikat sheath dress ($10)

So once again I thrifted some great things! Oh, and I had a spa consultation before my thrifting adventure, how could I forget! I have a gift certificate for a facial and wanted to talk with the professionals about what I might need for my aging skin. The facial lady (spa-tician?) told me I have great skin, although lately I haven’t thought the same. But I have an appointment in a few weeks for my first facial and I couldn’t be more excited! Jennifer also used some weird light thing to zap my blemishes (for free!), she was great and I know I will leave her looking my best in a few weeks!

My two days off have left me feeling refreshed and ready to face the long boring week ahead. And as always I will be looking stylish in my new thrifted threads!

Happy Hunting,

J

Thriftin’ n Chick’n

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I love days off! After a few painfully slow days at work it was nice to have a day to entertain myself. I enjoyed a (late) morning cup of coffee while watching “What Not to Wear-Biggest Meltdown” episode (it was awesome) then took the dogs out for a wrestle in the snow. There were elk all over the hillside! Ollie gave chase but soon gave up, since running up hill in the snow is hard!

Then like every Thursday I visited the local Thrifty Shop. I usually spend about an hour looking at every rack and trying a lot on. Today was no different. I found a great grey Converse sweater that is loose and comfy, and looks almost like a poncho. And I love a good poncho sweater! They also had all women’s short sleeves on sale so I was able to snag a black and white wide striped tee and a white Bongo tee for about $10.

I also noticed a few short sleeve tops with tags still on, brand new, and bought those as well. The two sporty black polo shirts and coral colored flower embellished tunic/dress I bought retailed for over $300! They were immediately brought to the consignment shop so I hope I can at least make back the $22.50 I paid for the three!

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After working up an appetite shopping I decided to roast a whole chicken for dinner. I usually make one every month, it’s cheap and the leftovers make great chicken salad or soup for the next few days. I also like to make my own chicken stock from the bones, which is pretty easy to do but rather time consuming. That will be a lesson for another day!

I looked at some recipes on line before settling on the Pioneer Woman‘s roast chicken recipe. Click the link for this entire recipe and more! I used only one lemon zested into the butter (I only used 3/4 stick) and added about 1/2 tbsp Herbes de Provence in addition to rosemary and thyme. I then rubbed the butter on the skin, under the skin, and into the chest cavity. I added a shallot and three cloves of garlic into the cavity as well. I put the bird in a roasting pan with some carrots, celery and one medium shallot and roasted at 450 for about an hour and a half. It came out with delicious roasted skin and nice juicy meat.

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Totally delish! But I think what made this meal special was the sides I made to go with the chicken. Carrots boiled with some shallot until crisp-tender and some mashed potatoes really made this dish sing! My mom made these carrots pretty often when I was a kid, it was a recipe she got from my Grandma Lena. It makes me think of home every time I make them!

*Again, I am kind of estimating my measurements since I tend to cook by taste. Tweak the amounts of seasonings until it suits YOUR taste!

Brown Sugar Carrots with Onions and Truffle Salt 

2 cups carrots, cut into rounds

One shallot, diced

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp brown sugar

parsley

truffle salt and pepper to taste.

Boil carrots and shallot until carrots are tender but still crisp. You could also steam them, I just don’t own a steamer (my mom would even cook them in the microwave sometimes). Drain the water out and stir in butter and brown sugar. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle on some parsley and think of Grandma Lena, the greatest German lady who ever lived.

Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish and Boursin

4-5 Red potatoes, diced but not peeled

2 Tbsp butter

Milk, enough to get texture you desire. I use about 1/2 cup.

1/4 5.oz box shallot and chive boursin cheese

1 cup sharp cheddar

1 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish

salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in lightly salted water. Cook until fork tender then mash with butter and milk until smooth. Stir in boursin and cheddar until melted. Add horseradish 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until desired flavor. Add salt and pepper. You could add some bacon too if you are feeling sassy and want a true calorie fest. Just do not stir the potatoes too much or they might get a little gummy.

So this might not be the healthiest meal, considering the amount of cheese and butter needed to create the amazing flavors, but it is the ultimate comfort meal on a cold wintry Spring day. You could healthy it up, but sometimes you just have to splurge!

Anyway, thanks for spending my day off with me. Let me know how your chicken turns out, or just make a meal out of Lena’s delicious glazed carrots.

stay hungry,

J

Yippy Ipsy!

ImageOk, ok, I know. Subscription box reviews have been done before. But since I am new to the world of subscription boxes I feel the need to share my new obsession. For those of you that are not aware of the subscription box phenomenon…. they are amazing! For a nominal fee (in most cases anyway) these companies will send you random makeup, hair, nail, and lifestyle samples. Some also send food, craft, or samples for the kiddos. So far I’ve subscribed to Ipsy and Birchbox*, for $10 a month each. I also ordered 2 deluxe sample boxes from Beauty Sage this month, which have contained my favorite products so far. But I digress. We’ll leave that for another day. Back to my monthly boxes. Today I’ll highlight my first Ipsy bag for April. Stay tuned for Birchbox and Beauty Sage!

I think Ipsy was the winner overall this month, which was a little surprising to me. The theme was “pretty in pink” which, ugh, is so not me. However once I received it I was pretty excited to try all the products.

First, there was the Be a Bombshell blush in sweet cheeks. This was a coveted FULL SIZE sample (it retails for around $14), yay! I have never used blush, but this highly pigmented rosy pink blush made me want to wear it everyday. I’m still trying to apply it without looking clownish, but I love the chance to try a new product for cheap!

Next was the Mica Beauty Cosmetics mineral eye shadow in Earth, a shimmery pink. I don’t normally wear eyeshadow, but I like having this on hand for special occasions. It ls pretty shimmery but not glittery, so I will definitely save this for the right occasion. And the rose gold color is amazing!

I’ve always wanted to try the Big Sexy Hair line of products and I finally got one in this bag. I got the Powder Play volumizer and it is fantastic! I have fine hair that tends to fall flat, but this powder gave me noticeable lift without the chalky feel of dry shampoos or other texturizers I’ve tried. I give it two thumbs up! 

Saving the best for last! My favorite of this bag was the Sation nail polish in Love At First Byte. This light peachy-pink color is not something I normally would gravitate towards, but it looks great with my skin type. It goes on really smooth and sheer, and after 3 coats I got the best peach color! It has also held up amazingly well, after 4 days my nails still look amazing. This was also a full size sample, it retails for about $5. It looks great by itself but I plan to use it with some other bright colors since I am obsessed with nail art!

All these wonderful samples came contained in a white makeup bag with pink zipper and white/pink ipsy print on the inside. Cute, but nothing special. Each month they send their samples in a makeup bag, which is why they started as My Glam Bag. Blurg, I am so glad they went with the name Ipsy instead. My Glam Bag makes me think of something advertised in Seventeen Magazine. And I am far from 17! But with either name I am excited to see what might be in next month’s bag, and can’t wait to see that bright pink mailer in my po box!

*There’s currently a waiting list for Birchbox and Ipsy. Feel free to use my referral to speed things up with Birchbox. And Ipsy just opened up some spots but they go quick, so get on it!

**Birchbox also has a men’s box and limited edition home boxes!

Thanks for reading,

J

Snow Day!

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Clockwise from top left: Tauraka, me in thrifted j brand jeans, Bonfire/Pendleton jacket, and Sorel Joan of Arctic boots, Ollie dog, Ute, snowy branches.

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.  ~Mark Twain

Well, winter has returned! In the last two days over two feet of snow has fallen, which is honestly a little unwelcome. I want to sit out in the warm sun with a book, see the wildflowers popping up, and watch the birds and chipmunks play around the yard. However, our weather forecast for the week doesn’t seem to be cooperating with that dream. Maybe next week. As the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait 5 minutes!

All we could do today was make the best of the weather. The landlords are out of town so we have the joy of dog/cat/horse sitting. We love their animals so much, so its nice to have a week to pretend they are ours! Since our 2nd wedding anniversary is tomorrow (!) but we both work we decided to celebrate today. A snow day with my hubby! After mailing my taxes (I’m a bit of a procrastinator, especially when I owe a few hundred) we went for a sushi lunch. Spicy tuna is my favorite, the hubs prefers salmon. Rolls were half off so we were able to try some new flavors too.

After we both were full of omega-3s a movie sounded pretty inviting. We rented Chasing Mavericks (I prefer Point Break, but it was ok) and cuddled with the animals- minus the horses of course! Then my loving husband spent an HOUR AND A HALF shoveling our driveway by hand. I knew he was a keeper!

Despite the snowy weather we had a great relaxing day full of sushi, pets, and love! I look forward to many more years exploring life with my amazing husband. I love you CW!

xoxo,

J

 

For Rich Girls…

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This vintage housedress is one of my favorites. It is a lovely mint green (the color is better in person) and it has birds and flowers that match the tattoo on my chest perfectly!

Today I am going to share my absolute favorite dress. It’s polyester and staticky, but the fit is amazing and I love the color and pattern. I’m sure it has a great story as well, since it is vintage!

This past fall I went to Denver on a work trip, which I used as an opportunity to visit some big-city thrift shops. Wow, did i find some good things. In addition to a Southwestern inspired rug, a multi-colored throw pillow, and some almost-new fringed minnetonka moccasin booties I found this gem.

Tucked away in the costume section at a large ARC thrift store, this mint green shirt dress caught my eye immediately. It has a great colorful bird and flower print, and the whole time I was shopping I was praying it would fit. And it did! The label says it was made by Bleeker Street, a Jonathan Logan design. According to the Vintage Fashion Guild it is a brand started in the late 1960’s, for “rich girls with tight fists”. Well, this not-so-rich girl was pretty happy to stumble upon this incredible little shirt dress, and it’s been a great addition to my wardrobe!

Cheers to Springtime,

J