Little Miss Savvy is now Savvy With Saving

I started this blog back in 2008 (wow I can’t believe it’s been that long!) to document all the great deals I was getting on my shopping adventures as well as share beauty and fashion tips. I had a lot of fun doing it – my wallet didn’t. Now that I’m a little older and hopefully a little wiser, my mindset on money has definitely changed. While I still love to shop, I no longer feel like I need to do it as much as I once did.

If you’ve noticed lately, I’ve had a few scattered posts about life and personal finance. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into my future and financial goals. And I’d like to share all that with you. I thought about keeping this blog called ‘Little Miss Savvy’ and blogging about both beauty and finance. But that to me felt too scattered and I wanted to give my blog a purpose.

With that said, I’ve started a new blog called Savvy With Saving where I’ll document all my personal finance and life adventures as a 20-something living in a big city. I may come back to this blog one day and continue to write about beauty but for now, I’m bidding adieu. Thanks for reading all this time and I hope you see you over at Savvy With Saving!



Battling Stretch Marks

We're well in the middle of bikini season. While we all try to enjoy some fun the sun, many of us can't help but feel a little self-conscious in those itsy bitsy, teeny tiny bikinis (myself included). Hibernation in the winter can really make you forget about your body so the summer months for me are always about eating right and getting back in shape. A little bit of weight gain in my teenage years gave me some unwanted stretch marks, which have been surprisingly difficult to get rid of. Yep, you heard right, stretch marks aren't only a foe of pregnant ladies - there are many causes. Everything from smoking to genetics can cause them, but if you have them, there are some great home remedies to help get rid of them. Here are a few tips:

1. Apply Cocoa Butter - Cocoa butter is great for scars and skin discoloration  - and it's also great for stretch marks. While it'll time and patience, it'll help fade it so be sure to apply at least twice a day. And on the plus side, it smells great!

2. Drink Water - You always hear this - drink water and lots of it. Water is great for the body and skin but I forgot never drink about. It's a great purifier and rids your body of toxins. It also helps with skins elasticity, which help fight stretch marks. Try to drink at least 8 glasses a day. If it helps, throw a few slices of lemons or cucumber to add a little bite of flavor.

3. Prevention - While this may seem a little too obvious, the easiest way to prevent stretch marks is preventing it in the first place. Obviously, there are some instances where you can't avoid it (like pregnancy). However, if you exercise and have a balanced diet, your weight won't fluctuate and your skin will be happier.

There are plenty of other easy tips but these are just a few. But at the end of the day, it's also important to remember to be comfortable in your own body. Enjoy the summer and rock that bikini!


How to Get Rid of Greasy Hair

My hair is a mess during the summertime. Literally, a hot mess. The fluctuations in weather and humidity wreak havoc on my strands. I generally have oily hair and it only seems to get worse in the summertime. I’ve tried numerous different approaches – some have worked and others have been a complete failure. From testing out different products and routines to asking others for advice, I’ve tried it all. Here are some of my tips for battling greasy hair:

  • Use Dry Shampoo – I get the urge to wash my hair every single day in the summer to get rid of the excess oil and grease. However, I know that doing that really isn’t good for my hair – after all, I would be washing away all the natural oils that are actually good. I’ve started using a dry shampoo and while it’s not the same as a full wash, it works great as a refresher in between washes. My personal favorite is the Batiste Dry Shampoo.

  • Tie It Up – I have a horrible habit of running my fingers through my hair. The oils and dirt from my hands then get on my hair, making the oily situation even worse. I do it subconsciously so it’s difficult to stop. I find that when I tie my hair up, I do it less. So put it up in a ponytail or a bun. It’ll also look great for summer.

  • Use natural shampoos - One thing I’ve heard from multiple people is the importance to using shampoos with good for you ingredients. Hair is actually much more delicate than you may think and many chemicals found in shampoos are actually too strong. Try to find one without sulfates.

  • Don’t Wash Too Frequently – As I mentioned, if I could wash my hair every day, I would. But you shouldn’t. Washing your hair stimulates the glands in your scalp, which can cause more oil production. My routine is now every other day, with some dry shampoo in between.

Everyone’s scalp is different so the most important part is finding the right routines and products for you. Go ahead and test out different things to see what works.

Do you have any tips for battling greasy hair during the summertime?


What I Learned From Quitting My Job

About two years ago, I decided to leave my-then job for another opportunity. One, I was unhappy where I was and two, I wanted to try something else. Making the decision to quit my job was easy, actually doing it was the hard part. I had the worst anxiety in the days leading up to it. It was my first job after college and so it was my first time ever quitting a job. While I knew it was the absolute right decision for me to go, something about actually doing it felt so wrong. Here is what I learned:

1. Everyone is Replaceable - I had a enormous sense of loyalty to my boss. She gave me a great opportunity right out of college and I considered her to be a mentor of sorts. I didn't want to put her in a tough position. I kept thinking what is she going to do without me? Well, she did just fine. It's sad to say but everyone is replaceable. Yes, it might take some time for them to find someone new and train them but it'll work out just fine.

2. It's Not Personal, It's Business - I had built genuine friendships with people outside of work and so it was difficult for me to separate work from life. I didn't want anyone to take my decision leaving personally because I genuinely liked everyone. But at the end of the day, you're there to work and earn a paycheck - it's business. I'm still great friends with many of my old co-workers.

3. Bosses Are People Too - We forget this sometimes but bosses are people too. They too have dreams, goals, ambitions...oh and a life outside of work. Chances are, they've been in your shoes before. They'll understand.

4. You Have To Take Risks - This is one thing I still have to remind myself everyday. Don't be afraid to take risks. I was scared to leave because I was so comfortable where I was. But I knew if I stayed there, I wouldn't get to where I wanted to be. Take chances. If it doesn't work out, then you move on to the next thing.

5. Plan Ahead - Luckily for me, I had landed a job offer before I quit and I also saved up a sizable amount. Yes, follow your dreams but be smart about it. Make sure that you'll be able to financially support your self post-job.

6. Nothing is Permanent - I was also afraid I wouldn't be happy at my new job. But then I realized, so what? I can move on. You're not tied to anything.

I read a interesting article not too long ago (I wish I could find it) about how Gen Y-ers have approximately 7 different jobs in there 20s. Compare that to Baby Boomers or Gen X-ers, who typically held the same job for 10+ years. Some people see this as an alarming example of how fickle or even irresponsible young adults are today. I think it's a positive sign. As long as you are smart about it, don't settle. For most of us, we're not going to land our dream job right out of college. It's not a bad thing to go out and test the waters. You never know until you try.

Going back to my quitting story, I eventually mustered up enough courage to tell my boss. She was actually very supportive of my decision (like I said, bosses are people too). It turned out that my next opportunity wasn't what I had thought it would be and I left that job too (quitting the second time around was much easier). I'm happier where I am now but I think my dream job is still out there. To be continued...


My Favorite Makeup Brushes

It's no secret that I like to splurge every once in a while on beauty products. I'm becoming more and more conscious about money and spending but if I have once weakness, it's makeup. My full time gig is in the beauty industry and when you spend your days marketing all kinds of makeup, you can't help but lust after it yourself. There's certainly some higher end products that are worth the price tags. But I realized that all the makeup brushes I love are pretty affordable. I'm pretty basic with my everyday routine so I don't really need anything special or high end. The brushes I use do just the trick and are affordable (in fact, one of them is only a buck!).

My favorite brushes, from left to right:

I was going to go into more detail about each one but then I realized I'm going to end up saying the same thing about all of them. These are all great basic brushes that are good quality for the price you pay for them. They're great if you're just starting your makeup collection or want a good brush without having to spend 50 bucks. Beauty doesn't always have to cost an arm and a leg...well cause most of use don't have any extra limbs to spare (don't you just love that saying?).


How To Shop Amazon.com

I will literally buy anything on Amazon (well almost anything). From food (non-perishables of course) to makeup to furniture, I've bought it there. I’m huge on internet shopping, especially living in a big city. Why lug a big box of toilet paper around when you can get it shipped straight to your door at a great price? Amazon may seem like a difficult-to-shop website with a mish-mash of random products but here are some of my tips on finding what you want at a great price:

1.       Amazon Prime  - Amazon offers a great service called Prime. For a subscription fee of $79 a year, items that are sold by Amazon can be shipped to you within 2 business days, with no shipping minimum. You also get access to select movies, videos, and Kindle books. I know this may seem unnecessary to some but I’ve been a member for two years and really do value the speed of shipping. It cuts down on a lot of trips to the store to pick up things you forgot on your last trip.
2.       Subscribe & Save – Many items on Amazon are eligible for Subscribe & Save, which means you can receive 5% off if you sign up to receive an item on a regular basis (for instance, you can sign up to receive a bottle of dishwashing soap every 2 months). You can decide on the quantity and the frequency. You can literally just set it and forget it (which can be dangerous too but you can always cancel your next shipment if you don’t need it). Also, if you have 5 items shipping to you in a given month, you’ll receive 15% off instead of 5%.
3.       Marketplace – Thousands of people and businesses sell on Amazon marketplace so you’ll most likely find what you’re looking for, no matter how random it is. This also makes pricing very competitive. If Amazon doesn’t sell it themselves, you’ll find a marketplace seller that has it 99% of time. A lot of these sellers are small businesses trying to get into the .com space so it’s nice to give them business as well.
4.       Customer Service – I’ve heard some negative things on Amazon’s customer service and I can’t really understand why. For the most part, they provide quick and efficient service. They have live chat available, which can connect you to someone almost instantly. If you prefer to speak with someone, you can request to have someone call you (and  they actually do!). I’ve had issues to packaging and delivery in the past and they’re always resolved  and replaced it without a fuss.
5.       Know what you want or figure it somewhere else – Once of Amazon’s pitfalls is it’s tough to navigate site. It’s not the most consumer intuitive and I end up have to do a search for it instead. They’re product description are also lacking – sometimes there’s just not enough info or it’s incorrect all together. While brick-and-mortar stocks hate this and I’m am guilty of it, try to figure out exactly want you want either in another store or on another website. Match up the product numbers or UPCs. Then comparison price shop on Amazon. 

Now I know what people say…Amazon is the Walmart of the internet. I can’t say I disagree so I say this all with a grain of salt. Try not to forget the mom and pop stores.

*This is not a sponsorded post. I just really like to shop on Amazon.


TGIF | Week In Review

Oh yes I do like to exercise...occasionally...when I'm not tired...or hungry....or sleepy. Yea, nevermind.

This week was a hot one in New York. We're currently in the middle of a heatwave and temperatures have reached 100. Personally, I hate New York in the summertime. Hot, humid, and lots of people. It's gross, particularly rush hour on the subway - think armpits in your face gross. 

On a non-weather related note, I signed up for Elance this week, a website where you can find freelance jobs instantly. I've applied to a few jobs and have heard back from one, which I think is pretty good considering I just started. I'm thinking about writing a review on this site once I play around with it a little more, will keep you posted!

As for this weekend, I don't have much planned (except for errands) and will play it by ear. I foresee a lot of staying at home and chilling with the good ol' AC time. 

And lastly, for my July goals, it's been a hit or miss. I've actually been pretty good about eating in and I think I'm going to hit my goal of doing that 3 times this week. As for working out, that has been a huge miss. Haven't done a single thing this week. I find it so hard to motivate myself. How do you guys do it!? I also haven't signed up yet for driving lessons either but I will do it next week whens it's not to hot (I blame everything on the weather).

Here is a recap of my posts this week in case you missed it:
1. Things I Would Tell My College Self
2. Unboxing My Birchbox | July '13
3. Living More...With Less

Happy Friday, stay cool and have a great weekend!


Things I Would Tell My College Self

They say college is the best four years of your life. I can't say whether I can agree or not just yet, I'm sure I have many more great life experiences to come. But my college years were definitely some of the most important in my life. I grew up, met amazing people, and started figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. But at the same time, if I had to do it all over again, I would do some things differently. I'm not one to regret but there are definitely things I wish I knew during my college years to help me make better decisions. Here are a few:

  1.  Take classes that have nothing to do with what you intend to major in or what your interests are- I was very generic with the classes I choose to take to fulfill my basic requirements...english literature, statistics, intro to chemistry, etc. Pick things you normally wouldn't. It's one of your only chances to explore.Who knows, you might just find a new interest or even your career path.
  2. Study Abroad - I had considered going aboard for a semester but in the end, I didn't because I was too scared to be so far away from home. But I should have. When you're in the so-called 'real world', it's hard to take months off just to travel and explore.
  3. Roommate with a stranger - For the two years that I lived on campus, my roommate was someone that I knew from high school. We had known each other for years so we didn't have any awkward new roommate phase to go through... we were already comfortable. But it was a missed opportunity for me to meet someone new, someone with a completely different story than myself. Roommate with someone you don't know if you have the opportunity to.Yes, it might not turn out to be the perfect situation but on the other hand, you could meet someone really awesome.
  4. Figure out what you enjoy and then figure out how you can make a career out of it - I always followed the path that I thought I should follow - major in something I can make money in. I ended up with a business degree. I don't regret it but do I think it's what I want to spend the rest of my life doing? No. Figure out what you really enjoy doing and then figure out how you can make a career out of it. Money isn't everything. Do what you love and you'll love what you do.
  5. Have fun - Some people wish that they took college more seriously. I'm the opposite. I was a little too serious and spent too many long nights in the library. It was worth it but I could've spent a little more time living a little. Go out, party, have fun (responsibly of course). You'll have the rest of your life to work. 
These are things I wish I did or knew. So if you're heading to college this fall, take some time to think about what you want out of the next four years. Work hard at it but don't forgot to take some time to have fun along the way. Four years go by faster than you might think.


Unboxing My Birchbox | July '13

I've been a Birchbox subscriber for almost two years now and I really do look forward to it every month. My July Birchbox came last week and unfortunately, this is another underwhelming box. Maybe I need to tweak my profile a bit but I use to love the boxes I got. I like receiving more makeup samples but lately, I've been been getting mostly skincare and haircare (Birchbox, I don't need another body cream sample!). Well at least that's better than a perfume sample, right? Sigh.

As you can see nothing too exciting- a face cream, a 'prep & protect' for hair, a few packets of body cream, and a sample of the girl meets pearl luminizer from Benefit. I usually love makeup by Benefit but I'm not a fan of luminizers in general- I'll still give this a shot though. And they also threw in a couple bobby pins this month. Cute but I miss those chocolate samples of boxes past!

So not a great month for me this time. One bone to pick with Birchbox though, my boxes seem to come later and later in the month. I use to get my box the first week but now, it's been arriving the second week at the earliest. What's up with that, Birchbox?


Living More...With Less

I stumbled upon an article in the New York Times a few months ago that struck a chord. It was entitled Living With Less. A Lot Less. In it, Graham Hill talks about his success launching a start up, selling it off, and making the big bucks. With the money, he ended up with all this 'stuff'. He eventually sold it all, traveled and started more companies right from his laptop. Now, he lives in a 420 square foot studio - and he's happy. It really got me thinking, what is my relationship with 'stuff'? I've come to the realization that its not the healthiest.

I love to shop. I live in New York City- arguably the mecca of over indulgence and consumption. Everywhere you go, there's something you can buy. And, I've never been good about resisting. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bad with money. I end up saving about half of my monthly take home income. But I still don't think I'm saving as much I can. I buy because of wants, not needs. Do I need this dress? No but it'll look good on me when I wear it. Do I need a $5 latte? Of course not but it tastes so good. The list can go on and on.

As I've gotten older with more money to spare, I've started to really think long and hard about how I'm spending and what I'm spending on. I've never really thought about what my goals were - financially, personally, professionally. I've always pictured being a home owner some day. But I don't have a solid plan. I've always thought that I was too young to think about these things But if I want to own a home in the next 3 years, is it too early? Or am I already too late?

I also love stuff. This might sound sad but I love the thrill of finding something I like and then calling it mine. But is it worth it? Most of the time, no. I don't really need another shirt. It might shrink after a few wears. Or I might even throw it in the back of my closet and forget about it. Is there something I could be spending more wisely on? Perhaps a trip? I'm sure the memories of traveling with stay longer with me than new shoes.

And so, I leave this post with a lot of open questions. That's because I haven't really answered them myself yet. But it's a least a first step to realize that I need to reassess. That was the easy part.

Last but not least, I want to share with you a documentary I saw recently saw called The Queen of Versailles. The film follows the Siegel family in the midst of building the largest home in America and then hitting financial turmoil during the economic crisis in 2008. It's quite thought provoking...and really makes me love my one bedroom apartment that much more.


TGIF | Food for Thought

it's really that simple!

happy friday and have a great weekend!

(photo found here)


Deals | Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencils

I just received this little gem of an email in my inbox and I wanted to share.The 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil by Urban Decay is one of my favorites and lucky for me (us), their spring/summer colors are all on sale for 50% off. Still debating whether I want to pick up a couple since I'm on this saving-spree and all but if you're looking for a new eye liner in fun summer colors, check this out here.


Setting Goals

I've never really been one to set goals and keep them. And I've never really had a reason to before either. In all honesty, I've always had a rather blasé, go with the flow attitude about most things, from work to relationships to what I'll eat for dinner. Well, I've come to the realization that I've got to get my act together. You can call it a quarter life crisis of sorts. I've always had quasi-goals and passions but what have I done to achieve them? Nothing really. For instance, I've been saying for the past year that I want to run a marathon in the next couple of years. And what have I done to achieve that? Nothing, zero, zilch. In fact, I've actually done more to stop myself from reaching that goal, such as sitting on the coach watching Real Housewives with a cup of Haagen Dazs. The problem is that my goals aren't attainable. Yes, I want to run a marathon but how am I going to set myself up to get there? That's the problem with most of us. We like create things that sound nice in our heads like New Year's Resolutions, subconciously knowing we'll never reach it. Come on, who can really plan a whole year ahead of time? So instead, I'm focusing on baby steps - starting small with goals at are attainable and measurable. Crawl before I walk, so to say. I'm going to document my monthly goals here and provide some updates on how they're going. Something about writing it down makes it feel more real. 

July Goals
  • Cook dinner 3 times a week. I've realized that my boyfriend and I spend around $180 a week just on take out. If I can cut this back 3 times a week, I can save $90 a week or $360 a month.
  • Exercise 3 times week. So no, I'm ready to run a marathon. But I can at least get my butt into shape. I've been a fan of Blogilates on youtube- anything to make a workout more fun!
  • Sign up for driving lessons. I'm a city girl so no, I can't drive. I'm getting to an age where I feel like I need to learn.
  • Cut back shopping spending to $200. I've never really budgeted how much I've spend on frivolous shopping but I feel like setting my budget to $200 is a good start. This includes clothing, personal care items, and anything else that it not food/household related.
  • Blog 3 times a week. If you look at my archives, you know I'm not a consistent blogger. Yes, I started in 2008 but then there was 2012 were I didn't blog at on. Well, July 2013, I'm getting back on track!
 There you have it, my five goals for the month. Baby steps, guys...baby steps.


Starbucks Adventures

The first and most obvious reason I love Starbucks is because of the coffee. I'm a self proclaimed addict and if I need a little pick me up, there is nothing better to me than a cup of joe (except for a cup of iced joe). Now, the second reason I love Starbucks is for the names they write on the cups. While my name isn't super common, I'd say it's fairly recognizable and easy to spell but the baristas at Starbucks tend to get it wrong about 90% of the time. Nothing against anyone at Starbucks - hell, if I had a line of 20 grouchy people clamoring for a cup of liquid crack every morning - I wouldn't be able to spell either. Anyways, reading my Starbucks cup has become a highlight of my days. Here are a few of my favorites:

Hmm...maybe this needs an accent mark?
Coney..as in Coney Island?
This one put a smile on my face...I might just tell everyone to call me Miss C from now on.
Ding ding! We have a winner.


My Everyday Makeup

I do love playing with makeup but my everyday routine is pretty minimal and dare I say, boring. I change out and test new products every now and then but when I find something I like, I really stick too it. Some of these product have been tried and true for me and others are fairly new discoveries. Here is the roundup (clockwise):

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer I've only started to use primer recently. I never really thought that I needed it. It seemed like just an extra step that made my morning routine longer than it needed to be. However, I really started to like this primer by Laura Mercier, especially in the summer months. New York summers can get hot and humid and this helps my makeup stay on a little longer.

Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara This is one of my HG products. I've used this for years and still love it. It gives my lashes that little extra umph.

Maybelline Color Tattoo, Barely Beige I love cream eyeshadows because it is just so easy to put on. One swipe of this across my eyelids is all I need. I love these by Maybelline. I switch is up between Barely Beige and Bad to the Bronze.

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder I'm am pretty fair and this bronzer is just the perfect color to give my skin a little sunkissed glow without looking fake, dirty or orangey (a pale girl's makeup nightmare). It's also matte which is great for some natural color. And the best part? It's only 3 bucks.

Boscia BB Cream I just wrote a review about this so needless to say, this is one of my favorite BB cream. For everyday, I generally wear this and some concealer on top. No foundation needed.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, SC-1 I love this concealer to cover up blemishes (I wouldn't recommend it for undereye though). The compact comes with two colors so you can mix for your perfect shade.

Laura Mercier Lip Glace This just happens to be the lip color I'm wearing today, I tend to mix it up from day to day. I mostly stick to a gloss or tinted balm for day, lipstick for night if I'm feeling bold!

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner, Black I discovered this a few months ago and am still loving it. I like a very thin line so the pointed felt tip is perfect for just that. Also great for a cat eye.

NARS Blush, Orgasm Is there anything I need to say about this that hasn't already been sad? A much loved color by almost everyone. It is shimmery, which can be turn off for some, but I love it.

And there you have it, my everyday routine. I try to keep it as simple (and fast!) as possible. What are some of your everyday products?


Happy (early) Friday | Food for Thought

Happy Friday!

A literal food for thought this time...the perfect summer meal in nyc from luke's lobster. with a little siracha. checkkk it out.

and enjoy the long weekend! happy fourth!


Boscia BB Cream + Other Favorites

By now, I'm sure you know what a BB Cream is (on the other hand, I'm still trying to figure out CC Creams?). For the most part, I use a BB Cream as part of my everyday routine. I'm lucky enough to have fairly good skin, with the occasional blemish, and on most days, I can get away with a BB Cream and some concealer. I have definitely tested out my fair share of BB Creams in my day. Some I loved, some not so much. One that I find myself going back to is the Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 PA+++. Boscia was one of the first with a BB Cream out in the American market and I still do think that it's one of the best.

One of the main issues I have with BB creams is that some aren't really BB creams. The market is really saturated with tinted moisturizers masked as a beauty balm. The thing I love about the Boscia one is that it looks rich and creamy when squeezed out of the tube but the actual feel of it is completely different. Like a beauty balm should, this one has a high water content. It goes on smooth and feels very light, absorbing into your skin quickly like a good BB cream should. It's oil free and has SPF, so you're really all set with this product but you can wear your everyday moisturizer under it if you like.

There is one thing though that I don't love about this Boscia BB cream and its the shimmer. It's not so extreme that it'll make you look like a disco ball and personally, I don't mind it. But it's definitely noticeable and if that's something you really can't stand, then this BB cream might not be for you. This also only comes in one shade, like many BB creams. The tube claims that its a 'self-adjusting shade for all skin types'...which might be true but I'm not sure I buy it. It could work for most with light to medium skin tones but I would be weary to pick this up for those with darker skin tones.

Overall, this is a great product for those looking for something to even out their skin tone and blur imperfections. This is definitely not anything close to a foundation and if you're looking for medium to heavy coverage, this is not for you. But for those days you want to have a little makeup on, this is perfect. This Boscia BB cream retails for $38 and also comes in a travel version at Sephora. If you're looking for something a little more affordable, I recommend the Lioele Water Drop BB Cream (an original favorite from a Korean brand) or Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream (which comes in multiple shades).

Have you tried this? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Little Miss Savvy


Summer Bucket List

learn to drive  i'm a city gal at heart...which means i can't drive.

ride a bike  test out those new citibikes

run  and get up off that couch. my goal for the year is to run a 5k.

go to central park  be in the center of it all and yet do nothing at all.

dine outside or al fresco, shall I say?

eat gelato  upgrade from mister softee to il laboratorio del gelato

visit a beach  get my tan on

getaway for a little rest, relaxation... and food