Retailers have remembered our demand for comfy and cute during the pandemic by flooding the stores with tons of loungy, matching short sets this summer that are perfect for post-pool, post-beach relaxation. The T-town choices are everywhere, from Target to TJ Maxx. Online options, on Steinmart.com (yep, it’s still alive online) and boutiques such as Red Dress Boutique are even more stylish. Definitely a trend to stock up on!
In a time when things are still uncertain and weird, there is nothing better than the everlasting pursuit of a product we believe will make us more beautiful, more youthful and that perhaps, is an undiscovered treasure.
Recently, this has been the Avene product line for me. It’s funny to note that I had just discussed succombing to Botox for the very distinct forehead lines and “11s” between my eyebrows with my friends when I came across an article on Instyle.com about Avene products. “Cures canyon-wide wrinkles” the article said. Women in their 70s and 80s claimed they didn’t even need to wear makeup anymore because the Avene products diminished their wrinkles to such an extent, the article said.
I have since been completely hooked. I read all about the mineral-rich thermal waters from which Avene creates its products, using a sacred spring in France that legend says, cured a horse of alopecia in the 18th century and has since been thoroughly researched for its healing properties for the last 300 years. In fact, the water was sent to help soothe victims of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. You can read more about it here.
So far, I haven’t seen super-incredible improvement in my own canyon-sized wrinkles, but I’m completely willing to believe the narrative. At the very least, the products feel incredibly luxurious to use.
A few things heard around T-town:
Do you like Burberry? Check out Posh Boutique on Instagram, @shopposhboutique, for some awesome, pre-loved, luxury finds, and grab them before they’re gone! Recent arrivals include Burberry rain boots and stylish shoulder bags!
Did you know W Boutique offers closet edits? Inquire about styling services at its St. Philip’s Plaza digs.
The Green Monkey Boutique has re-located to Plaza Palomino, leaving its previous spot at River Center.
Our household recently got a nice surprise – a shipment of delicious, desert-themed popcorn from Popped Artisan Popcorn, which is made right here in T-town! First off, I’m a packaging girl and the simple brown paper bags emblazoned with majestic saguaros won me over. The popcorn is also light and very flavorful! The small-batch, handcrafted popcorn comes in flavors like Mesquite Smoked Cheddar, Sweet Chili Lime, Mexican Hot Chocolate and many more. Let’s just say, the Prickly Pear Caramel and Mesquite Smoked Mezcal Caramel didn’t even make it one night before they were completely devoured. What a cool Christmas or holiday present to send someone?
It was at an outdoor engagement party for my friend Haley where I first saw Farmgirl Flowers a year ago. Wrapped in burlap, the beautiful blooms made the tables both stunning and rustic– the perfect vibe for the cute new couple. I asked Haley’s mom where she found them and she told me all about the company and how its founder, Christina Stembel, was the subject of a CNBC show about how she built Farmgirl herself from her savings!
To this day, Farmgirl Flowers is my go-to place to send blooms to friends and family for birthdays and thank yous and other special occasions! The arrangements are gorgeous and just look so much better than something you could find at a grocery store. The website photography is stunning and the entire order process is seamless and easy. The fact that its a woman-owned business makes it even easier to promote.
You can find out more about the company and order at www.farmgirlflowers.com.
Madewell, the stylish brand that focuses on all things denim, has opened its doors in the spot vacated by Louis Vuitton at La Encantada…..and none too soon! The new digs are a welcome addition to Tucson’s most beautiful shopping mall, along with West Elm. In the company’s own words, “a good day starts with great jeans,” so Madewell focuses on everything to make you look hot in them — including tops, dresses, accessories and more. Madewell is the chief moneymaker for parent J. Crew, which is working to emerge from bankruptcy, so this store needs our support!
With tragic new headlines every day about stores closing their doors — Lord & Taylor, SteinMart, Century 21– Charming Charlie has launched an online comeback after declaring bankruptcy and having to shutter doors a few years ago.
My family and I first fell in love with Charming Charlie stores in Texas, so when the store opened a location in Tucson Mall, it was the place to go for cute clothes, accessories and gifts. The store’s color-organized clothing also made it really easy to find outfits for football games. You’d be seriously surprised how difficult it is to find CUTE RED CLOTHING for Arizona football games in this town. (Not that I have to worry about that this year – 2020 slowly killing me…)
But anyway, check out the store online! Some very cute clothes, good prices and even the masks are unique!
Winky Lux, the campy cosmetics brand founded in 2015 by two friends, is a nice little surprise at Target stores these days! The fun brand known for its flower petal-infused lip balms used to be purchased only at Nordstrom and other high-end boutiques, but now is widely available to our T-town masses. According to the brand’s website: “Winky Lux was born with the idea that since every beauty product is technically a little gift, from you to you, it should always look and feel as special as the person receiving it (who is also you).” Genius!
One of the first things you notice about Ashley La Russa’s Facebook page is her positive, ambitious drive to make things happen.
Founder of Tucson’s Roux Events LLC and the dynamic force behind #BlaxFriday, La Russa often posts her activities each week – all focused on community progress. The beautiful, accompanying illustrations by Afro-French artist Nicholle Kobi only confirm that this vibrant woman is on the move.
“Roux Events was founded in 2019 with the primary focus of supporting community leaders and organizations that value equity, diversity and inclusion,” she said. “Roux Events is an event management company that serves as a foundation for collaboration within our community.”
A graduate of Sam Houston State University in Texas, La Russa was invited to Tucson in 2008 after meeting the artistic director of Arizona Theatre Company when she was an intern in Florida. She accepted the position of assistant state manager and devoted a decade to the group, serving in several capacities there.
“I fell in love with Tucson within the first week of moving here,” said La Russa. “The pink and lavender sunsets are remarkable with the backdrop of the mountains. Tucson also has a wealth of culture based in Tohono O’odham and Sonoran traditions. Proud to live in the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy and enjoy delicious dishes from world-renowned chefs.”
Notably, she picked the name “Roux” for her company because in culinary terms, it’s the essential base of butter and flour that enriches many Creole dishes with hearty flavor and texture – a strong foundation for a successful result.
And Roux Events is successfully bringing projects like “BlaxFriday to the public forefront. “As a Black woman-owned business, we started #BlaxFriday to spotlight local Black-owned businesses” that have traditionally been ignored and unrecognized. Besides a kickoff event earlier this summer, La Russa has helped engineer a BlaxFriday app and hopes to expand into Phoenix too. She consistently uses her social media to promote numerous burgeoning businesses here.
All the while, she is also working to create stand-out events. “The key to creating a memorable event is the experience,” she said. “This could be achieved by theatrical productions, connections with new community members and swag. Swag is a must. Everyone loves a goodie bag filled with surprises and gifts.”
More recently because of the pandemic, she is adding the “digital experience” to her portfolio, as “…the virtual event space is booming,” La Russa said.
“While we are unable to meet in large gatherings for events, this time has truly shaped my mindset to value positivity and advocacy. The things that used to bother me or stifle progress are now pushed aside to allow the abundance of blessed guidance.”
In these pandemic times, you can always count on the creativity of people in their attempts to make required protective wear for the masses as stylish as possible. So many retailers are selling masks, from embellished to streamlined. Truly, the choices are endless.
In that spirit, I’d like to feature one of my favorite mask vendors on Etsy–HappyStarla. Since March, I have made three different purchases of her cloth masks–adding to her more than 15,000 sales. These masks are gentle on the face and ears and come in camouflage, leopard, polka dot, lace, metallic and bright color versions. They are also machine washable. While not the best choice for high-intensity exercise or humid climates, the HappyStarla masks are a fun choice right now.