The truth of the matter is we’ve been inside writing for far too long and are looking kind of pasty. So we got a little over excited when we popped into Sephora for a little afternoon pick-me-up. Since we’re only human, we waaaaaay overbought. You know how that cosmetics candy rush feels—so many products, so many colors, so many forms to play with: brush on, roll on, schmear-on, hard, soft, foaming…

We went in for a new blush and found ourselves overwhelmed searching for the right color, the right viscosity, the right whatever-it-is that would make us happy (okay we know a tall order for any modern woman let alone a bitch on a budget). In short, we needed help. (BTW, only ask for help from people whose makeup looks good on them; some of the salespeople looked ready for Halloween). Since we haven’t been out much and were feeling kind of bumpy and gray, we were very vulnerable. This got us into trouble, turning our Sephora jaunt into the make-up equivalent of stopping at the supermarket on your way home from work on a day you skipped lunch.

We left with a new foundation (which may be the foundation to end all foundations—we’ll report once we’ve used it ), a blush (which in the natural light at home is screaming pink and needs to go back), two new lipsticks (and we almost never wear lipstick), a new mascara, and three new eye pencils (we just couldn’t decide between plum, slate, or smoky brown). We will not reveal how much we spent.  Suffice to say this was not a simple splurge. It was a regular make-up binge.

Our gorging left us thinking: what, exactly, constitutes a splurge? The answer– it’s all relative. Whether it’s the state of your particular checkbook or the state of your emotional deprivation, a splurge is a very personal matter.  For example, if you’re absolutely dying for a new The Row or Elizabeth and James (yes, the Olson twins actually have very good taste) blazer that cost hundreds of dollars, then our $24.00 mascara1Blinc Kiss Me mascara is looking like a real bargain. But if you compare that price to what a perfectly functional $4.99 Maybelline mascara costs, then it’s a huge splurge.

All of which reminded us of a recent NY Times story about chicken wings being more expensive than white meat chicken at the wholesale level. Lowly chicken wings? (According to the Times, supermarket’s have yet to pass on the savings on the white meat to retail customers.) Does this mean that chicken wings are going to become a delicacy?  White meat the new gizzard?  Probably not.  But, remember that Maine lobster was once a poor person’s food and skirt steak a butcher’s leftover.

Our point? Remember that everything is relative.  A splurge can take many forms—some days high-end mascara can make you feel like queen of the world, while other days only that pricy The Row piece will do the trick. Your goal is to be smarter and more mindful than we were today at Sephora.

How? Well a tiny bit of foresight goes a long, long way. Before you step out the door, set a budget for whatever that fix is you need to perk you up. Leave credit cards at home and bring only enough cash to cover whatever you’ve budgeted. Be honest with yourself about how much you can spend at any given time, and plan shopping expeditions accordingly. Neverdeprive yourself—but don’t self-sabotage either! Always remember that the thing you covet now—the thing that seems so necessary—may not feel so critical tomorrow.

Oh, and don’t give those retailers that extra mark-up—buy breasts only on sale. (Chicken breasts that is, no new ones for you, honey– you’re on a budget.)

One of our favorite posts, ever.