Why Macy’s is Failing

Macy’s announced they are closing 100 stores and laying off nearly 10,000 employees. They’re blaming e-commerce. I’m calling bull. As long as I can remember Macy’s has always been the most outdated store at the mall. It was the store I’d pop into if I needed a pair of dress shoes on sale, maybe some MAC that I didn’t need any assistance looking for. Macy’s isn’t a victim of e-commerce, it’s a victim of itself.

Here’s the problem, Macy’s needs a complete overhaul. They need updated stores, better buyers, and new sales people. Let’s take this step by step.

Most Macy’s these days are dumps! Their flagship store has been making notable renovations, but what about your local mall? Stepping into most of these stores feels like taking a step back about twenty-something years. The layouts are a hard to navigate mess. Signage? A joke. Let’s not even start with the dressing rooms. Okay, I’ll start a little. The lighting is usually flickering and dim. There is little assistance to be found (I’ll get into that soon). And the carpeting. THAT CARPETING! It has not been replaced in years. I was in one fitting room that smelled like urine. I’m guessing (hoping) some small child left that gift while waiting for their parent and it was never cleaned. The stench was not only nauseating, but seemed to have been there for a very long time.

Our favorite print is back! Bring a little fun fashion to your wardrobe with our new and improved cat print sweater. Layer this piece over your favorite oxford shirt to step up your cold weather wear.:

an adorable Maison Jules sweater I purchased last year (photo: Macys.com)

Next complaint. The buyers. Okay, so once again, the Herald Square flagship store has some really great brands. They have designer jeans. All the makeup you can imagine. Even some in-house brands, such as Maison Jules. Many of these items are hard, if not impossible, to find in smaller stores. Why not sell the full Maison Jules line in Rockaway, NJ? Lord & Taylor, a store that had been heading towards dullsville most of my adult life, has turned itself around in the last few years and now has a lot of my favorite brands, even in the most random malls (see: Rockaway).

The biggest fail, however, are the employees. At any given time there are a handful of employees wandering the store, but try to checkout and there is usually only one counter open. The other counters are all DESERTED. Many employees act annoyed when you ask for help. They are unfamiliar with their own merchandise. They just don’t care. Maybe they’re underpaid. Maybe they’re mismanaged. Maybe they’re just miserable human beings. Listen, this isn’t to say I haven’t encountered some lovely people who are great at their jobs, but it’s sad to say they are few and far between. This isn’t just a Macy’s problem. This is a department store problem period. There’s a reason people are fed up with shopping in stores. It’s becoming a truly unpleasant experience.

Sound trumpet noise: IN CONCLUSION, if Macy’s updates (and cleans up!) their stores, brings in a greater variety of merchandise, and hires employees who truly care, I think they can make themselves a destination store again. #soapbox

Express Daylight Savings Makeover

Remember that whole time change thing? If you’re like me you went to bed too late on Saturday night (1:59 suddenly turned into 3:00 am) and then overslept on Sunday. I happened to glance at my watch at 2:30 pm on Sunday (still feeling every bit 1pm at the time) while lazily watching the classic 10 Things I Hate About You. I panicked, realizing I had to be at my hostessing gig at 3 pm. It took me a whopping ten minutes to find an outfit to wear. Note to self: organize closet better. I had five minutes to straighten my ends, dry shampoo, and tease my roots to hide my hat hair. That left less than ten minutes to make my face presentable.

looking very pale and washed out

BEFORE: looking every bit as washed out as you’d expect of an east-coaster at the end of winter

THE TOOLS:

Nars tinted moisturizer

Nars tinted moisturizer

Nars blush in Orgasm

Nars blush in Orgasm

Nars Arabian Nights

Nars eye trio in Arabian Nights + Paula Dorf angel liner brush

I started out with my Nars tinted moisturizer. It evened out my skintone incredibly well and gave me a little bit of color. To think this is usually a hare to light on me and offers so much coverage in the winter makes me a bit depressed. I always try to make sure it’s good and dry before I put on any blush or I will get highly pigmented cheeks. My go-to blush is Nars Orgasm. It always adds the right flushed color with a nice little shimmer to perk things up a bit. Next I added water to an angled liner brush and used the shimmery black shade in my Arabian Nights eye trio by Nars (do you see a theme of my favorite makeup brand?) and lined the top and bottom of my lashline. Since I didn’t have time to do anything fancy I connected the two lines at the outside corner of my eye for added dramatic impact and OOMPH. With just a few simple products I already felt like I could’ve run out the door. With two minutes left I had enough time to add some shadow.

laskjdf

This look is from only three products!

Using Urban Decay’s Naked palette I swiped the light pink Sin across my lids. I then brushed Sidecar onto my crease. Eyes done. For my lips I used Laqa & Co’s Lil’ Lip crayon in Ring of Fire and Laura Mercier’s lip glace in Rose. I purchased the lip glace last year as part of the shop for a cause line, which benefits the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund. Please check out this year’s products as it goes to a charity near and dear to my heart.

Urban Decay Naked palette

a slice of the Urban Decay Naked palette

lil' lip and laura mercier

Laqa & Co Lil’ Lip in Ring of Fire + Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Rose

Lip gloss applied, it was time to race (while driving carefully, of course) to the restaurant! Luckily for me I live less than five minutes away. The lights were in my favor and I arrived on time. Then, to my horror, I realized I forgot mascara!! Luckily, I still had a tube of Eyeko Black Magic hiding in my pocketbook. Did you know you can use the reflection off a black screensaver in a pinch? I think it came out pretty nicely!

made it to work!

made it to work!

While I normally love to spend lots of time playing with my different makeup looks this one was nice and easy and it worked within my time constraints. What’s your makeup-to-go routine? Do you stick with your comfort brands when you’re in a rush?

Until next time!
mags signature

YWW: Ed Sheeran covers Dirrty

Here I was all set to declare a new hashtag and a quick google search revealed I wasn’t as creative as I thought. Regardless, here it is: Ed Sheeran covers Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” and it is everything we wanted and more. To quote my friend Alanna “There is not one thing about this that isn’t perfect. I love that ginger so much.” I concur.

You’re Welcome Wednesday.

mags signature

Desert island beauty pick

I'm going to be really bummed when this makeup washes off

I’m going to be really bummed when this makeup washes off…                                …oh yeah and I’m stranded here

Somebody asked me today what one beauty product I’d pick if I was marooned on a desert island.

The smart answer would be sunscreen.

The fun answer would be lipstick or mascara.

The silly answer would be shimmer.

Honestly, my pick would be chapstick/lipbalm. There is nothing more frustrating skincare wise than having chapped lips. When they crack it takes forever to heal. And only with lots of vaseline, aquaphor, neosporin, or constant reapplication of Burt’s Bees. I’d like to think I’ll be marooned with other people (Lost style – minus the crazy others and smoke monster), and yes it would be nice to look great for them, but I think after a while nobody would be worrying about lipstick anyways. Do we even have access to mirrors?

Sunscreen would be a good choice to prevent burns and skin cancer, but I have alternate thoughts on that. While I would burn initially, after a while my skin would get used to the sun and darken, much like natives of any island. Humans spent many years (albeit under a less destroyed ozone layer…) in the sun without protection. Our bodies find ways to protect us. I could get skin cancer, but really what is my life expectancy on a deserted island anyways?

My skin would at least be pretty smooth since sand is a natural exfoliant. I’m going to assume there are coconuts on this island, which would create many great meal ideas and of course… coconut oil! I would make my own natural moisturizers and so on. In this castaway universe I suddenly develop scientific skills. Maybe it’s my time hanging with the Professor.

So, readers, what are your deserted island beauty products?

Listed below are my favorite lip balms in no particular order:

the popular one

the popular one

Burt’s Bees – I probably own more of these than I can count. I try to keep one in every pocketbook and jacket. It’s smooth, it tingles a little, and makes my lips nice and soft. Whenever I see the $10 four packs I grab a box. The lip shimmers not only have the same great feeling and rich lip color, but work as a great blush on the run (in my go-to color rhubarb).

the classic

the classic

Chapstick brand – an oldie, but a goodie. Chapstick still has the old faithful formulas I’ve been using since childhood (my favorites cherry and mint), but they’re constantly coming out with great new products. My newest favorite is the hydration lock double-sided day and night balm. The daytime side has SPF 10 in it. The nighttime side also makes for a fantastic lipstick primer. These are usually what I take skiing with me. Fun fact: there’s probably an old ski jacket buried deep in my dad’s basement with one of these sticks hidden in a pocket.

the retro throwback

the retro throwback

Vaseline lip therapy in rosy balm – while I’m not a fan of the goopy finger I get from using this, I love love love the way this feels on my lips. It heals my winter chapped lips in an instant and gives me a nice natural gloss. I could wear this on it’s own and still feel like I’ve got pretty lips. Sometimes I’ll layer it on top of lipstick for a slight glossy look. It’s priced the same as Chapstick and Burt’s Bees ($2 range) and comes in an adorable little .25 oz tub (can you call something that tiny a tub?). It also reminds me of the giant vats of vaseline we used to have slathered over our lips as children.

the splurge

the splurge

Fresh sugar tinted lip treatment – I love all the colors. Like the Burt’s Bees color balms, these come in great hues that can also be used for a little cheek color in a pinch. The Sugar treatment feels really moisturizing for such a rich color product (builds up from semi-sheer to bright) and also protects with SPF 15. They last for an incredibly long amount of time, and feel great. The only negative is the steep price ($22.50 vs. $5 Burt’s Bees lip shimmer). When I accidentally put my brand new Sugar petal treatment in the washing machine I was pretty devastated. Your best bet is to get these in gift sets. You’ll get multiple colors at a more reasonable price. And if you’re feeling generous you can even give them as gifts!

Supergoop! mint fusion lip balm – this comes in a squeezable tube, which separates it from the rest of the gang in design. I spent most of the summer taking this to camp with me. It soothes my lips post campfire and keeps them protected while I spend time in the sun. This has an SPF 30 and a tingly cooling feeling that also freshens your breath. At $8.50 I wouldn’t call it cheap, but I think it’s fairly priced enough that I will regularly stock buy it.

Question: am I allowed to take ALL of these lip balms on the deserted island with me? Because I’m not sure I’m ready to make that big of a decision.

Undecidely,

mags signature

Thank you note to Bauble Bar

I’ve found in my time shopping that customer service can make a huge difference. If I get bad service chances are I will not be coming back, especially with the wealth of places to shop. If I get great service you better believe you have my loyalty. Even when I don’t have much money I will make a point of making my purchase with you before looking elsewhere.

I’ve been shopping with BaubleBar for about six months now. I used to sell Stella & Dot and while I love their styles the prices were just too high for costume pieces. I found BaubleBar via birchbox, stila, or another company I get frequent emails from. I was looking for some pieces to wear to my dad’s wedding and purchased a few statement necklaces and some earrings. I ended up being given a necklace to wear, but I loved the jewelry so much I kept it all and continue to wear it regularly. I’ve been buying myself little treats here and there ever since.

I recently bought a pair of Mariposa ear jackets. They cost $32 which seemed pretty reasonable for an earring as complicated as these are. The main earring is a stud and then you can choose to hook onto the back this great bejeweled dangly piece that hangs behind your ear. I was nervous at first, I wasn’t sure if my ear could pull off the trend. I couldn’t be more wrong. They look awesome. They work dressy, they work casual with jeans. They make every outfit.

My only complaint with the studs was that the back fell off. This was probably my fault entirely, because I played with my earrings to the point where I lost the little silicone piece that goes behind the actual back. The earring probably got caught in my scarf, and the stud disappeared. Luckily the best part, the dangly piece got caught inside my coat and I found it before it was too late.

A few days ago I was browsing on BaubleBar to see what studs I could buy to replace my missing piece. Money is tight and I was hoping to find something inexpensive rather than repurchasing the whole earring. I clicked on the “chat with a stylist” option and got to video chat (well my mic wasn’t working, so I typed and awkwardly smiled at the camera while she chatted) with a great service rep, Nikki. I asked for her advice on what to purchase, and boy did she surprise me. Nikki arranged for my missing piece to be replaced. All I have to do is mail back the old earrings. I couldn’t be more excited or thankful. So if you come across this Nikki, thank you thank you thank you!

new earrings, an adorable layering necklace, and a beauty blender!

new earrings, an adorable layering necklace, and a beauty blender!

When the new earrings arrived a week later I was FLOORED. Not only were the earrings and a friendly note from Nikki included, but a “cheer up” layering necklace and a Beauty Blender were included. Did BaubleBar read my mind to know I’ve been playing with layering necklaces and learning how to use a Beauty Blender? Probably not, but I like that they seem to know me pretty well.

I will be a loyal customer of BaubleBar forever now. And I insist everybody go and check out their pieces. I have a referral code you can use, but I must emphasize this is NOT a sponsored post, this a 100% Maggerific inspired piece sharing my favorites with you, the reader. Use the code, don’t use the code, but please check out BaubleBar!

Review: When Travelmate Sheet Mask

I had recently reviewed the Dr. Jart+ pore minimalist mask reaching a disappointed conclusion. Imagine my nerves/excitement/dread when the When Travelmate Sheet Mask showed up in my January Birchbox. I had to try it the first night.

from birchbox.com

from birchbox.com

This mask was MUCH messier to open and apply than the last mask. It also had the funny flip open nose. Unlike the open and go Dr. Jart+ mask this one had two sheets to take off. Next time I plan on using my bathroom counter rather than my initial mistake of opening the thing standing in the middle of my bedroom. I maybe shouldn’t have picked such a bitter cold night to do the mask, because at first the serum was FREEZING! And it was thick. Once I warmed up it felt nice. It didn’t tingle, but it felt really clean, like my favorite Nars night cream (the recently discontinued aqua gel hydrator). If I looked like I had on a wooden mask with the Dr. Jart+ one, this was even more disconcerting.

my alien looking face definitely startled me!

my alien looking face definitely startled me!

Voldemort

Voldemort

ODO

ODO

hatchetfish

Hatchettfish

I could see my face but it was covered in goo. All my features were distorted and I looked like an alien. At one point I passed myself in the mirror and jumped. OOPS! This mask stayed on for thirty minutes, and honestly I could have kept it on longer quite comfortably. It didn’t irritate my eyes and it clung to my face almost perfectly (still a few tricky spots along my jaw line, maybe I’m oddly shaped). My only real complaint is that it didn’t get the sides of my nose, a big problem area for me. Another plus is that the sheet mask does not need to be washed off when finished. My face felt incredibly fresh once I took the mask off. It reminded me of that post-facial glow.

I loved this mask so much that (the next day!) I already logged onto Birchbox and bought an entire box of these masks. At $28 for four masks the price is a little steep. I won’t lie, I used some Birchbox points to bring the price down. Regardless, I think the masks are fantastic and will make a nice weekly treat for myself. I may even buy the sampler pack down the road to try out some of When’s other products.

Who are you drinking?

my new motto: #coffeefirst

my new motto: #coffeefirst

My new motto lately has been #coffeefirst. Yes. Hashtag included. I purchased a bracelet from Baublebar with that expression and it has taken over my mornings. I’m not what you’d call a morning person. I usually wake up sleep-drunk (it’s a real thing, google it) and completely bleary-eyed. Against my better judgement I’ve become somewhat of a coffee addict. Oops.

As I clutched my Starbucks mocha latte, aka pure sugar and caffeine that I couldn’t receive via IV drip, I realized coffee has become a fashion accessory. Your coffee cup is even more front and center than the bag you carry. Not to mention that shiny, pretty, manicure. Accent nail accented by a caramel macchiato.

nice mani

nice mani

Each type of coffee seems to correspond to specific designer bags. Starbucks is the Michael Kors of coffee. It has a designer status and is overpriced, but everybody has one. Sometimes Michael Kors will have a real hit of a bag, much like the Pumpkin Spice latte, but then it goes mainstream and suddenly every person and her mother are carrying one around. It’s completely lost whatever makes it unique.

Dunkin Donuts is that store brand bag that’s easily available on every corner or station stop. It’s functional, and the plain ones can be downright amazing (we all need a basic black bag or a black coffee), but try to add some design or flavor and it’s very hit or miss. The price is right, though.

Places like La Colombe are hidden gems. You’re privileged if you can find one and it’s more expensive than you could ever imagine a cup of coffee being. It’s the Chloe bag only a few people know to lust after, but those in the know can’t stop thinking about it.
BYO coffee, brought from home. An exotic blend? Nobody knows what is hiding in your mug. Naturally stylish. Off the radar. A little mysterious. May have some booze mixed in. You never know. This is a chance to show off your own personal flair with your choice of mug or tumbler, to take the attention off of the drink inside. This can also be an enormous risk. Much like the coffee turning lukewarm, so too, can your style.
One thing is for certain in this world of putting our coffees first for the world to see- we must always accessorize with a nice manicure.
love mags + coffee