Continuing with the Friends Family sale fever, Bloomingdale’s is holding their sale starting November 10th. The sale will run through the 14th. In past years, the Friends Family sale for Bloomingdale’s has been available online too, so subscribe to Women’s Fashion Examiner for updates and coupon codes for the sale.

The sale grants shoppers 20% off nearly everything, but as with all Friends Family sales, some exclusions apply. Right now we know it isn’t valid on any fragrance or cosmetics and won’t be available on items in leased areas such as Louis Vuitton. For previous sales, you have been able to take the 20% off already reduced merchandise. Bloomingdale’s has already started their markdowns for the season, so with the extra 20% off, you can save considerable dough when shopping for a holiday herve leger discount dresses or grabbing a gift for Christmas.

Update: The Bloomingdale’s Friends Family sale runs online starting November 8th14th. Use code GIFT at checkout to apply the discount to most items. The original dates noted above are for the instore Friends Family sale.

Offer excludes Women’s Apparel from bahs, Marc Jacobs, UGG Australia (excluded online only), The North Face (excluded online only) and Agent Provocateur. Offer excludes Men’s Apparel from Burberry Prorsum, Duchamp, Moncler, Polo Black Label, PS Paul Smith, The North Face, Turnbull Asser, UGG Australia and Vilebrequin. Offer excludes Kids’ Apparel from Moncler, UGG Australia and The North Face (excluded online only). Offer excludes Women’s Shoes from Burberry, bags, Dior, Fendi, Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu, Prada, UGG Australia and The North Face (excluded online only). Offer excludes bags Fashion Accessories, Handbags and Soft Leather Goods, UGG Australia Fashion Accessories and Handbags (excluded online only) and The North Face Fashion Accessories (excluded online only). Offer excludes Handbags from Dior, Fendi, Salvatore Ferragamo Leased, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu and Prada. Offer excludes Ippolita (excluded online only), David Yurman, Cosmetics, Fragrances, Martine’s Chocolates, Shop at Home Services, Rug Cleaning Services, Interior Design Special Orders and Gift Cards. Small Electrics and Men’s Electronics receive 10% off. Delivery charges and applicable sales taxes are additional. Offer cannot be combined with any other certificate offer. Not transferable. Not valid on prior purchases or bill payments. Not valid in Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Stores. Offer valid instore. See a sales associate for details. All employees of Bloomingdale’s and its affiliates are excluded from all Friends and Family offers. Friends and Family online codes cannot be combined for double discount.

Check out the stores on fifth avenue for creative windows that feature clothing with modern art. Uniglo had some fashions with artwork by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jean Michel Basquiat. Dolce and Gabbana had interesting colorful porcelain sculptures and foot rests exhibiting their fine shoes and clothing.

Take a stoll down fifth avenue before they change their windows to the more demur.

Pittsburgh girls know and love fashion! They know what colors look good on them, what designer looks they covet, and where to shop. Pittsburgh girls are more than just Pens jerseys and Terrible Towels, they are fashionistas! Katie, a 28 year-old formerly of South Park who is now a nurse in Virginia Beach, Virginia gabs about her personal style and fashion!

What is one store you could spend thousands of dollars on clothes in?

Black House White Market

What is your favorite Pittsburgh mall?

South Hills Village

What color do you think you look best in?


What is one piece in your wardrobe you could never live without?

My heart necklace from Tiffany’s because it was given to me from the love of my life.

What is your favorite cut of jeans?

Skinny jeans

What is your ideal winter coat?

Pea coat in ivory

What is your favorite kind of dress?

Sun dress

What is your favorite type of footwear?


Money is no object, who is your favorite luxury fashion brand?

Michael Kors

5 adjectives to describe your style and wardrobe?

Colorful, form-fitting, fun, sassy, and bling

David Jones presented designs on the runway from forty-three designers at the Melbourne Fashion Festival yesterday. The designs were from the current season in Australia and featured a collection of medium to large handbags which shows a possible trend away from the current mini-handbag trend of 2014.
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The handbags on the David Jones runway yesterday at the Melbourne Fashion Festival were soft, large and shown in dark colors. There were several silhouettes featured including shoulder bags, north-south totes, duffle bags and clutches. The only handbag style shown on the David Jones in a small size were the clutches. The shoulder bags were medium and the totes, duffle bags and additional styles were shown in large sizes.

This is an interesting move as most designers during fashion month in New York, Milan, Paris and London showed small and mini sized handbags for the fall/winter 2014/2015 season. In fact, there has been a move towards small handbags over the past few years. The larger handbags shown on David Jones runway at the Melbourne Fashion Festival last night could signal a possible move towards medium and large handbags as we move into 2015.

The designers showcased on the David Jones runway at the Melbourne Fashion Festival included Akin by Ginger & Smart, Alice McCall, Banjo & Matilda, Bassike, Bec & Bridge, Bianca Spender, CM Camilla and Marc, Calibre, Cameo, Camilla, Camilla and Marc, Christopher Esber, Dion Lee, Easton Pearson, Ellery, Etre Cecile, Finders Keepers, Ginger & Smart, Industrie, Jac + Jack, Jack London, Josh, Goot, Keepsake the Label, L’America, Lover, Michael Lo Sordo, Mimco, Mink Pink, Nicolas, Nicola Finetti, Rachel Gilbert, Romance Was Born, Sabatini, Scanlan Theodore, Shakuhachi, Staple the Label, Talulah, Thurley, Tigerlily, Vanishing Elephant, Viktoria + Woods, Willow, Zanerobe, and Zimmerman.

To view photos from the David Jones runway at the Melbourne Fashion Festival last night, please click on the slideshow associated with this article.

Spring is in the air! As you wipe out that hair out of your face and let the breeze lightly run through your face, it is time to take a look at your wardrobe. Does it reflect the pleasantness of the season? Not quite, right! Make merry with the spring collection available online exclusively for the most choosy fashion aficionados!
Floral prints are what are making the news in every Spring Collection worldwide. Jabong Online Shopping lists some of the must haves that you need to store in your wardrobe starting today! You needn’t flip through a fashion magazine or frantically run a Google search to know the season’s hottest fashion trends.

  1. Pastels – Vibrant rainbow shades have ruled every possible spring runaway collection. It flatters every silhouette as well as skin tone. Make the transition from royal blue to mint-green in sexy dresses that hug your natural curves.
  2. Bomber Jackets – We are forever indebted to the person who created these lifesaving jackets. Instill a breath of fresh air in your wardrobe with funky and snazzy jackets. Miaxminx presents jackets in a plethora of prints and textures that would make jackets your go-to object when you want to show off your hotness quotient.
  3. Crisp Shirts – Add solid crisp casual shirts to your bucket list! They are sophisticated, fresh and a perfect contrast to your other clothes. They can be worn with trousers, pencil skirts as well as denims. Still need a reason to ignore them?
  4. Timeless Coats- Essentially a layering piece, coat up with your neutral combo of a shirt and shorts or a monochrome dress. This piece perfectly works with even leather pants or trousers. Get innovative with your long coat by conjuring a clash with dresses!
  5. Printed Trousers – Florals are not only at the top but it’s a safe bet while styling your overall look. Streamline your look with unexpected neon yellow with a black casual button-down top.
  6. Stripes- Stripes are a must-have! From striped trousers to handbags, anything that is striped will definitely take your style quotient a notch higher. Check out brands like Only and Vero Moda and add some stripes to your collection.
  7. Black and White – The monochrome look is the fad this summer. Check out cute prints like polka dots, heart-shaped and Aztec in black and white. Perfect for any occasion from formals to party wear, incorporate this print in your wardrobe and be the center of all the attention.
  8. Florals – With spring, florals are in full bloom. From cute dresses to shoes and accessories, you can never go wrong with this ladylike print. Floral printed trousers are making huge waves this season; get it in mint green or pinks and reds for some fun and girly look.
  9. Animal Prints – Bring out your fierce side by channeling some animal prints! Always in fashion, it will add instant glamour to your look and give you a fashionable look.
  10. Skirt it up – Skirts are girly, flirty and FUN! Add some spice to your look with knee length skirts paired with a soft blouse for a casual combination.

Ready to take on spring? What’s it going to be? Tee time or Jabong Dresses for women?

Anyone who has been, or is planning to go to Italy knows very well that it can be an expensive country to visit. It is not uncommon for visitors to pay well over 100 euro per night for a room and it can easily run you over 200 euro if you are looking for plush accommodations or a resort.

In our three trips to Italy, which combined for a total of over forty nights of accommodations, we have yet to pay over 100 euro for a room for a single night. In fact, on our first trip to Italy in 2009 we averaged only 77 euro per night, our second trip in 2010 averaged out to 82 euro per night, and on our third trip in 2012 we averaged 80 euro per night.
Villa Quartarella – Modica, Sicily. Unbelievable find for 75 euro per night. The largest rooms we have ever stayed in.
Villa Quartarella – Modica, Sicily. Unbelievable find for 75 euro per night. The largest rooms we have ever stayed in. | Source
Villa Rosa Convent in Rome, not far from the Colosseum. Huge clean rooms with high ceilings. Paid 90 euro per night.
Villa Rosa Convent in Rome, not far from the Colosseum. Huge clean rooms with high ceilings. Paid 90 euro per night. | Source

Before you tell yourself that these people must be willing to stay just about anywhere, I will tell you that we are in fact very picky about where we stay. The place must be above all else clean. If we have even the slightest indication that a place is not clean we will cross it off of our list. And because we have traveled to Italy in September when there is a chance for it to be quite warm we will usually, not always, wind up with a place that has air conditioning. Another criteria that we insist upon is that our room have private en-suite bathroom facilities, as we do not want to have to share a bathroom with other guests.
Agriturismo Le Caggiole. Beautifully restored farmhouse in Montepulciano with a great breakfast. Paid 85 euro per night
Agriturismo Le Caggiole. Beautifully restored farmhouse in Montepulciano with a great breakfast. Paid 85 euro per night | Source
Agriturismo Le Caggiole. Huge rooms with very large bathrooms.
Agriturismo Le Caggiole. Huge rooms with very large bathrooms. | Source

Agriturismo Review – Le Caggiole – Montepulciano, Sicily
Agriturismo Le Caggiole is located just outside of the medieval town of Montepulciano. The beautifully restored farmhouse is the perfect setting for a visit to the Val d’Orcia region of Tuscany.

How did we do it?

Our method is simple but effective and we have yet to stay at a place where we have had a really bad experience. After deciding on the basics, namely where we are going and when, we start by making a visit to TripAdvisor, the on-line travel forum. This user-friendly travel website is a great tool for getting travelers honest feedback on accommodations, restaurants and things to do. The website allows you to use filters to hone your search and we usually use this tool to make a short list of four to five places that look like they fit our criteria and are under 100 Euro.

You want to make sure that in addition to price you are taking into consideration other important factors such as; location, feedback on cleanliness, amenities that you may require, check in/out times, photos of the place, etc. TripAdvisor also lets you filter by the type of accommodation that you are looking for; hotel, B&B, or apartment. We have found that B&B’s, Apartments, Convents and Agriturismo’s are generally more affordable than a Hotel or Resort so we usually direct our search to this type of accommodation.
IL Girasole Apartment in Corniglia. Paid 65 euro per night.
IL Girasole Apartment in Corniglia. Paid 65 euro per night. | Source
Our room had a loft and a balcony. Great restored apartment in a very old building with a lot of character.
Our room had a loft and a balcony. Great restored apartment in a very old building with a lot of character. | Source

B&B Review – Villa Quartarella, Modica, Sicily
A review of the Masseria Quartarella in Modica, Sicily. For a first hand look at this unique bed and breakfast located in the hills just outside of Modica. For a true Sicilian experience pay a visit to this wonderful corner of Sicily.

Once you have four or five places on your list it’s time to dig deeper. I normally make a visit to the web site of the places to check out availability and to confirm that the prices that I saw on TripAdvisor are still accurate. TripAdvisor gives you an average price per night for the place so often times it will differ from the price you find on their web site. To find out if the establishment has rooms available sometimes requires sending them an e-mail. Some places have an on-line availability calendar but I have found on occasion that these are not accurate so it is best to always check with the place.
B&B Cappler in Tione di Trento. Wonderful host Franca. Large clean rooms and an amazing breakfast in a beautiful setting. Great find for 50 euro per night.
B&B Cappler in Tione di Trento. Wonderful host Franca. Large clean rooms and an amazing breakfast in a beautiful setting. Great find for 50 euro per night. | Source
B&B Cappler.
B&B Cappler. | Source

B&B Review – Bed and Breakfast You and Me, Venice, Italy
A complete first hand review of Bed and Breakfast You and Me. Conveniently located in the heart of Venice this charming Bed and Breakfast makes for the perfect retreat while visiting Venice.

Once you have confirmed the availability and price your list will usually shrink by one or two places that are either not available or are too expensive and you are left with maybe two or three places to choose from. From here you can go to some of the other travel forums such as Fodor’s or Frommer’s and do a search on the name of the place you are considering. This is just another source for feedback and it can help you in making a final decision.

As you get closer to making your selection you should also revisit TripAdvisor and make sure that you read all of the reviews to insure that you didn’t miss anything. I have on occasion contacted some of the folks who have posted reviews to ask further questions and this has proven to be very helpful.
Piccole Suore della Sacra Famiglia Convent in Rome. Immaculately clean. Located across the street from the Vatican Museum. Paid 60 euro per night.
Piccole Suore della Sacra Famiglia Convent in Rome. Immaculately clean. Located across the street from the Vatican Museum. Paid 60 euro per night. | Source
Piccole Suore della Sacra Famiglia. Great room with a balcony, a huge bathroom, and air conditioning. Don’t know how you can do better than this for 60 euro in Rome.
Piccole Suore della Sacra Famiglia. Great room with a balcony, a huge bathroom, and air conditioning. Don’t know how you can do better than this for 60 euro in Rome. | Source
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Casetta Livia in Montemagno. This is a renovated 400 year old house that we rented for 4 nights. Paid 55 euro per couple per night. Casetta Livia, spacious common room and kitchen.
Casetta Livia in Montemagno. This is a renovated 400 year old house that we rented for 4 nights. Paid 55 euro per couple per night.
Casetta Livia in Montemagno. This is a renovated 400 year old house that we rented for 4 nights. Paid 55 euro per couple per night. | Source

By now it should be pretty clear where you want to stay and all that is left is to reserve the room for the nights you want. When doing this I always ask a few key questions such as: what do you require to hold the reservation (deposit or not), cancellation policy (just in case), and I request a confirmation reply via e-mail just so I have a document to bring with me in case of a problem when checking in. As I usually reserve places well in advance of my trip I will check in with the place periodically to make sure they still have our reservation and I will certainly reconfirm our reservation a few weeks before we depart for Italy.

All in all it’s a pretty simple process. There’s nothing magical or complex about it. It comes down to just following a process and knowing what your budget is and what your criteria are for your accommodations. Hopefully these tips help you on your next trip to Italy or wherever your travels take you, and you are as successful as we have been in finding great accommodations for less than 100 euro per night

Ciao for now.
B&B You and Me – Venice – 90 euro per night. Clean, spacious, a/c, great breakfast,
B&B You and Me – Venice – 90 euro per night. Clean, spacious, a/c, great breakfast, | Source
Other articles on Italy:

Top 10 Things to do in Venice, Italy
No city in the world can compare to Venice. My top 10 list of sights in Venice will take you off the beaten path as well as to all of the must see attractions. Check it out and get your walking shoes on.
Top 10 Things to do in Rome, Italy
Rome is like no other city in the world. It is one big on-going archeological dig mixed in with amazing ruins, beautiful monuments, history, culture, great food and crazy traffic.
Top 10 Things to do in Florence, Italy
Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance and is famous for its art, architecture, history and cultural heritage. No matter what you see on your visit to Florence, it is sure to be a memorable experience.
The Benefits of Staying in an Italian Agriturismo
If you’re looking for something a little different on your next trip to Italy why not check out an Agriturismo for your accommodations. They offer a unique experience that you won’t find at a Hotel or Bed and Breakfast.
Unique Convent & Monastery Accommodations in Rome, Italy
Ever consider staying in a Convent or Monastery? They are located all over Europe and offer an economical and unique experience that’s a little bit off the beaten path. Learn everything you need to know about Rome’s Convents and Monasteries

Introduction to saving money when changing from one currency to another

Money lost in foreign currency conversion is mostly gone unnoticed by most of people traveling abroad. Even frequent international travelers are ignorant about ways to save money while converting foreign exchange. A traveler can lose any thing between 4% to 10% when converting one currency to another, based on the method used for the conversion of money.

The biggest culprit is ignorance or misinformation provided by middlemen engaged in currency conversion trade. Travelers choose credit cards or other methods to change money in another currency solely out of habit or influenced by advertisement available at airports, travel websites or banks.

Money can be converted by buying foreign currency from the bank or Forex dealer in the home country or abroad. In addition, credit cards, stored value Forex debit cards, bank debit cards, travelers checks, bank drafts can be used for changing money from one currency to another. Choice of method used for exchange of domestic currency should ideally be decided by answering following questions:

How much money do I need to convert?
What is the length of my total stay abroad?
Do I plan to travel to one country or multiple countries? What will be duration of stay in each of the country?
What is the minimum amount of cash I would absolutely need at each location?

It is also influenced by individual preference for cost saving, convenience and safety. Generally convenient or safer methods will cost more to convert foreign currency. Let’s examine following most popular methods for converting one currency into another and cost / convenience associated with them.

Travel from the airport is easy enough as there are a number of transport services in Ireland. Once you reach the airport you can either take a bus or a cab which will not cost you too much.

The first stop should be Dublin as this is the city centre filled with a fantastic buzz and the nightlife is something that you have to experience while you are there.

Accommodation in Dublin can get expensive but there are a few places that are cheap enough for you to keep money to spend on souvenirs.

If you want a comfortable five star experience then a hotel like the Gresham or the Shelbourne Renaissance hotel are fantastic but expensive if you are on a budget. The average price of a room for these hotels range between 100 to 250 euro’s per night.

For a chance to meet Bono and U2, you can stay in their hotel called the “Clarence” which is an average of 200 euro’s per night but if it is five star service you are looking for then you would have a better chance of meeting the band as the service and the décor is old and tired.

Spending money on expensive accommodation is not worth your while as there is so much to do there and finding something central just to allow you to explore Dublin is a good idea.

Budget accommodation in the city centre should cost you about 30 euro’s per night but to find the cheapest rate you can look at as they have specials and “top secret” locations for great prices.

The city centre is in walking distance to everything but you do need to know that every city has their crime and to avoid being mugged, you should stay out of the alley ways and walk on the main roads or take a bus or cab to get to where you need to be.

Looking for accommodation in the city centre means that you need to know which of the streets are the most popular for tourists and stay one or two streets behind them.

Temple bar is a terrific place to let your hair down and have fun, listening to the Irish music on the cobble stone streets, visiting the local pub and places to eat can get expensive as they do cater for tourists. The best option is to look for the places that all the locals go to, to avoid being ripped off.

It is a festive city and the atmosphere is fantastic with so much to explore while you are there.

I would recommend staying in the city for two nights so that you can get to see everything there is to see there before you move on to the next stop.

Looking for accommodation is easy and all you need to do is ask a local for the best place. The Irish are very friendly and helpful, their currency is euro’s and the drink in Ireland is Guinness.

The Guinness Storehouse, photographed by Pat Swan for the Guinness Photo gallery competition
The Guinness Storehouse, photographed by Pat Swan for the Guinness Photo gallery competition
Attractions in Dublin

Dublin has many places for you to see and the first stop should be the Guinness Storehouse. Here you can do the tour and watch how they make their famous drink as well as get your very own pint as you watch the view of Dublin from the “Gravity Bar.”

There are souvenirs and you can eat there too but it is very interesting to have a look at the old building which was bought by the Guinness family when they signed a 9000 year lease for the property.

The Guinness Storehouse has its very own fire department, ambulance service and employees that have retired are welcome to go there every day for a pint.

The building itself, is beautiful and very old but fantastic to photograph.

You will find the Storehouse at St James Gate, Dublin and it is open from 9:30 to 5pm everyday and the tickets cost about 15 euro’s per adult, which includes a free pint of Guinness.

When it comes to layering accessories, we have yet to master the wear-every-ring-you-own-at-the-same-time look. So, we consulted style expert Shahrnaz Shifteh to find out how to pull off wearing numerous rings on multiple fingers. (Hint: Contrary to popular belief, this does not involve actually wearing every ring you own.) Take style notes from Shifteh to pack the most sartorial punch into your accessory layering.

Master Understated Style

When layering rings, it’s a good rule of thumb to pick a metal and stick with it. In this look, Shifteh has layered gold rings — some with stones, some without. Stick with rings that have similarly sized stones and gems to ensure the rings stack up nicely. “You can stock up on relatively inexpensive rings to create this casual effect. One ring might not look nice on it’s own, but you may be surprised by how chic it looks when it’s stacked with several rings,” said Shifteh.

Keep it Effortlessly Cool

“Pinky rings are trendy again and they are so easy to wear that you never have to take them off — you can always have a touch of jewelry on,” advised Shifteh. They are also very versatile so you can pair them with larger, more elaborate rings, just be sure to match your metals. Spiky rings, like the ones Shifteh is wearing here, are timeless and exude an effortlessly cool vibe.

Get Cocktail-Ready

As their name suggests, cocktail rings are great accessories for occasions that call for dressy attire. “If you’re going to wear a big statement ring, you have to have clean, polished nails because it draws so much attention to your hands,” advised Shifteh. “Even something as simple as a coat of clear or iridescent polish will do the trick.”

Jane Iredale Magic Hour Spring 2014 Makeup Collection
March 17, 2014
Jane Iredale’s Spring 2014 makeup collection was inspired by Jane Iredale’s iconic Moonglow Quad Bronzer. And if you want to celebrate Spring, the soft pastels of this collection will have you feeling feminine, with new products that flatter just about every skin tone.

The new Magic Hour collection includes new Lip Fixations in coral and muave, a In Touch highlighter (perfect for face + lips), a trio of gold eyeshadow, and inky gel liners in black and brown.Here’s a bit more about the products:

New Jelly Jar Gel Eyeliner – Soft and creamy; glides on smoothly for a defined or smudgeable line, then sets to stay just where you want it. Highly pigmented; provides inky color in black or brown. *I tried this on my hand and let me tell you, it stayed put1 Of course you can remove it, but it won’t smudge or run.. This is good news, especially in the warmer months when you don’t want perspiration ruining your eye look. I like the new, angled eye liner brush that makes application of gel or liquid liner easier, too.

Comfort In Touch Highlighter – A sun-kissed coral, cream-to-powder highlighter that gives skin a natural-looking radiance. *no matter what intensity of skin tone you have, this beautiful highlighter will enhance it.

Golden Girl PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple – A harmonious trio of shimmering gold colors that flatter every skin tone. *who doesn’t like a trio? Great for travel, and you can wear it so many ways.

New shades of Lip Fixation – The Magic Hour collection features two new Lip Fixations, a flirtatious coral, Craze and a flattering mauve, Compulsion. *these are gorgeous and they feel amazing. They’re a bit too light for me since I’ve been wearing red most of the time, but on a casual day they’re lovely, and the shimmery clear gloss on these dual-ended products are crazy-good!

The Bottom Line: When I looked at the collection I thought: “These colors are really soft and pretty, perfect for Spring and the daytime — but how will they translate for evening, and for those women who like a deeper, more edgy look? The “how-to” for the edgier, evening look is below. It’s easy!

Using the Eye Contour Brush, press the darkest shade of the Golden Girl PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple into the outer corner of the eye.

Using the Eye Shader Brush, apply the lightest shade of the Golden Girl PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple. Start at the center of the lid and work to the inner corner. Be sure to blend the two shades at the center of the eye.

Using the Angle Eyeliner Brush, apply the Black Jelly Jar Gel Eyeliner by pressing the length of the brush along your upper lash and lower lash line, starting at the outer corner. Go back and sweep product over this line.

Apply a sheer layer of Comfort In Touch Highlighter to the top of the cheekbones. Apply directly from the tube and blend with your finger.

Try Craze Lip Fixation Lip Stain/Gloss for a melon lip, or Compulsion Lip Fixation for a neutral lip. Apply a single dot of the stain to the middle of your upper lip, blend with your finger. Apply another dot to the middle of your bottom lip, blend with your finger. Don’t add gloss to maintain the matte look.