It finally happened.

You write a shopping column for long enough (like, 14 years, as of last week, but who’s counting?) and one day you’ll walk in to find free swag on your desk.

In the interest of full disclosure, it was all quite accidental, but free and swaggy nonetheless. A gift is not to be looked in its gift mouth, or, er, something like that.

It started with a box that had no obvious home, addressed to neither the right company nor a person actually working here, sent by the Clarins Group, a French skin care brand, with a sticker that beckoned in giant letters, “MAKEUP BAG FOMO?”

After ruling out Mark LaFlamme (firmly), it was deemed the property of Bliss.



But what could it be??

Found inside under three flaps, nestled in shredded brown paper, in a smart red box: A little 0.5-oz jar of Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch under-makeup primer.

Well, now.

Bag Lady swiftly dropped a line to Shopping Siren: “Accurate to say you are not currently wearing expensive French under-makeup primer?”

SS: “So accurate.”

Online photo

I clearly had to try it, and then share. The little pot, which retails for $39, comes with a tiny plastic spatula to dip in and retrieve a pea-size dollop of lotion, so points to Clarins for design. It goes on super smooth and airy, no greasy streaking and no odor, so points there too.


There wasn’t an immediate, noticeable difference after applying my regular makeup over it, but maybe with time my pores would all but disappear, every ancient blemish banished, strutting about as an absolute vision!

In one week, Bag Lady used it exactly . . . twice.

Alas, it turns out I don’t have time in my life for expensive French under-makeup primer, no matter how adorable the spatula. (Filed under sentences you never thought you’d type . . .) It’s not looking very promising for Shopping Siren, either. Her calendar is very booked. Getting oil changes. Washing her hair. All the things.

But the experience was hardly a bust. A mystery box after 14 years = awesome, no two ways about it.

Should the good folks at Lindt or Mercedes-Benz want to mail anything, promise, we’ll find the time.

Also a vision


So our Christmas tree is still up, anyone else?

No? Um. OK.

Nothing to see here.

And lest we forget it’s Valentine’s Day . . .

Not to brag, but Mr. Bag Lady delivered the perfect, early Valentine’s Day gift a few weeks ago, HGTV Property Brothers’ Jonathan and Drew Scott’s book, “It takes two: Our story.”

They are the dorkiest dorks in the best way and the title couldn’t be more fitting for V-Day.


I got him tickets to a band I’ve never heard of and sprung for the ridiculously expensive parking pass so we could park without having to walk from two zip codes away.

Ahh, love. Hope you have it today, too.

Barring that, I hope there’s a grand mystery afoot.

Bag Lady’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who love pig ears) and the customer service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at

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