Gift It Together, People

November 30, 2011

Yes, I’m a day late with the post, but come on: my Pilates teacher of ten years told me she’s leaving (ah!), George Michael is in the hospital with pneumonia (no!), and Barney Frank won’t be running for re-election (say it ain’t so!)…so better late than never!

C. Wonder

I am not much of a Black Friday shopper, and can you blame me, with people getting all pepper sprayed for a video game? I’d rather stay in my pajamas in my tryptophanic haze the day after Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday, on the other hand, I will say has turned into a nice tradition. (Lord and Taylor has extended their 25% off site wide til Wednesday if you still need something.)

But what about if you need a great gift from an actual store? Well, some new ones have opened up in the city, and I’m here to give you the low-down.

If you’ve got some fashionable prepsters in your life and Tory Burch is out of your price range, C. Wonder has what you need. (Apparently the store was created by Tory Burch’s ex-husband…odd.) From faux leather clutches to solid merino wool v-necks to charm bracelets to bikes, this new Spring Street find has clothing, jewelery, housewares and other items to please those on your list who would crave a small leopard print cross body satchel and a coral resin frame. Nothing feels incredibly original, but packable ballet flats are always in style. I actually saw Bethenny Frankel (was she a desperate housewife?) there with her daughter, picking up a few things. If you’re not in the NYC area, check it out online at cwonder.com.

When you want to spend money but want to assuage your guilt by having it all go to local children’s charities, Treasure & Bond is for you. It’s a concept store on West Broadway from Nordstrom. The merchandise is high end (almost annoyingly so — the stuff is v. cool but I’m not sure I touched anything under $300. I actually told the saleswoman this when she asked what I thought of the store.) and all of the profits made go into local children’s charities. They’ve got brands you know (like Vince sweaters) and many you don’t , including one of a kind jewelry. They have books, housewares, shoes, accessories, even stuff for kids. And they post on the wall what two charities will get the proceeds that month. Worth checking out.

Tired of Hunter boots? Then check out Tretorn for their colorful assortment of rainboots and casual shoes. They’ve even still got the old school kicks with the color of your choice in the logo. I love them for little girls, and they have them in kids sizes…They have a funny display of Tretorn shoes’ history, too.

So much shopping to do…stay tuned!

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That’s Entertainment!

November 22, 2011

Well I am still recovering from Regis’ last show, but somehow  I will pull myself together to write a post for you all on this march to Thanksgiving. I have to say that as much as I think they drew the whole thing out, I will miss Regis! I started watching the show when I moved to NYC a little over 20 years ago, and it was the perfect thing to have on while I finished getting ready for work. Regis would always talk about the weather, which was helpful my first two years here, when I lived in an interior apartment which made it tough to tell just what the sky was doing. (Our living room windows butted up against another building’s windows, and we were too lazy to shut the curtains so my roommate and I convinced ourselves that the guys living there were priests and couldn’t care less if we were clothed or not. Ah, youth.) Anyway, I liked how Reege would always discuss what he had done in our fair city the night before, sometimes going to the same events I went to, which somehow made everything a little bigger than life. I hope he finds his next audience, wherever it may be. I don’t want to be a naysayer, but Kelly alone has never had the same appeal.

So the tourists have descended, and a lot of them are headed to Broadway. We went to see The Book of Mormon last week, and I must say it is a fun night (although not for the feint of heart…or easily offended). In fact I realized after seeing that show that very little offends me, which I’m not sure is a good thing, but it just is. The guys from South Park, and the guy from Avenue Q, who I feel like never gets mentioned in the mix, have taken their perceptive and humorous powers to skewer organized religion in general (through Mormonism) and everything from Disney to celebrities to Orlando and everything in between. The songs are catchy, and, let’s be honest, these guys get away with all of this because deep down, no matter how outrageous, what they say is true! It was a packed house, and it’s probably sold out for a while, but get yourself some tix. It will give you something to look forward to!

Etc.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with lots of tasty side dishes. (Because it’s really not about the bird, right?) I’ll be bringing banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery, because sometimes pumpkin pie just doesn’t cut it.

Have a good one!

Being Thankful

November 15, 2011

Guest Blogger Denielle recovers from the freak October snowstorm and reminds us what this season is all about:

On Saturday I came home from picking up my daughter up from a sleep-under (a PJ party where they go home before bed) to find a bag of powdered donuts and a half-gallon of farm fresh pressed apple cider on my doorstep.  Yummmm!  The delicious gift was from a friend/neighbor who wanted to share a sweet treat as a thank you for checking in on her and her family during our recent, week-long, ice-storm induced power outage.

As one of the only houses in the immediate area with full power and heat (we installed a generator following a similar experience with Hurricane Irene), we offered what we could to our friends and neighbors — e.g. guest room, basement playroom, freezer space, washer/dryer and hot showers and heat.

Even though my friend spent most of the power outage at her parents’ house and never took me up on my offer to do her laundry, she just wanted to do something nice.

That got me thinking about giving thanks.  Paying it forward. Random acts of kindness…however you want to qualify it, it feels good, and in this season of giving, is an important behavior to model.

I’m thankful to live in a neighborhood that looks out for each other so my kids see this behavior all the time; We pinch-babysit for each other and when Halloween was officially cancelled in my town, we got together and co-developed a front-yard party for all the children.  And of course, we support and enable each other’s addictions to sweets. With that in mind, I’m now off to deliver some banana bread to a friend.

Happy Thanksgiving. Have a great holiday!

Good Week/Bad Week

November 11, 2011

No matter how bad your week was, if you’re not Joe Paterno or Rick Perry you’re probably ok. (That’s me, always looking on the bright side.) I don’t want to delve too far into the mess at Penn State, but maybe all those protesting Joe Pa’s ouster should take a minute to think about the real victims in this case. Just awful.

Eddie Murphy is out as Oscar host. Now Billy Crystal is in. NBC wants Ricky Gervais to host the Golden Globes again. If you remember, last year was an awesomely uncomfortable event where he insulted everyone in the room and pissed off the Hollywood Foreign Press, whoever they are. I think it’s going to happen. Ratings gold!

And finally, Heavy D, we hardly knew ye. Too young to die. Now that we’ve found love what are we gonna do?

Sales Mania!

This weekend is 40% off during friends and family at Loft. Over at the Gap, they’re giving 30% off, and if you bring in the email, you can get 40% off if you use your Gap, Old Navy or Banana Republic card. Worth checking out, although I must say I found the pickin’s were mighty slim. I did get my son some jeans at a good price, so that’s worth it if anyone in your house needs denim. And if you need baby items, this weekend is Giggle’s Friends and Family savings – enter FF11 online at checkout for 20% savings on everything.

Earlier this week I gave kudos to Nordstrom for their new free shipping policy. Now I want to give kudos to them in that they announced they won’t be decorating for the holidays (i.e. Christmas) until after Thanksgiving, because they like to “celebrate one holiday at a time.” Finally a retailer with some common sense. We don’t need to hear Christmas music half the year — a month or so is fine. Unless it’s “Last Christmas”  Or that one Mariah does. Then you can play it…

Single of the Week

Ken brings it:

Political scandal alert hot off of the wires! NJ Governor Chris Christie was caught in a Millburn hotel room with a salad and slice of cantaloupe. Sources also report that the waistline-challenged governor was kickin’ it old school with this tune from Jeremih:

Listen to it here.

Well, like it or not, the holidays are upon us — or at least the stores would like us to think that. I am starting to think about what I might get for people, and let’s be honest, if there’s anything I want to get myself along the way!! Bloomingdale’s is having its holiday friends and family sale this weekend, and it has already started online. Just enter “HAPPY” when you check out and it will take 20% off just about everything. AND, and this is what will perhaps seal the deal if you’re on the fence about buying anything, through Sunday, the code “FREESHIP11” gives you free shipping on any order.

Speaking of free shipping, because I must admit it is ofter a barrier for me when I am shopping online, I want to applaud the sites who don’t charge shipping at any time, no matter what the size of the order. Barneys.com is one of those, and Nordstrom.com  just recently followed suit. L.L. Bean also eliminated their shipping fees. I know shipping is a real cost of doing business online, but I’d be willing to bet these sites see an increase in purchases without the shipping charge, or a shipping minimum. And if you, like me, like the fact that certain sites ship for free, vote with your wallet and shop there for the holidays!

Philly Fare

We were down in Philadelphia this past weekend, and I continue to be a fan of the Starr Restaurant empire. Pod, down at Penn, is a pan-asian spot with the added benefit of sushi on a conveyor belt, always a crowd pleaser. The sushi is good but for me the dishes are the standouts: udon noodles with tofu and mushrooms and the seafood rice are both good choices. And while most Asian spots call for getting the check after the main course, the desserts are actually quite tasty here. The chocolate bread pudding is worth a taste, and fluffernutter spring rolls with peanut butter and chocolate dipping sauce are almost a compulsory order, no?

For lunch, if you’re near Rittenhouse Square, the Dandelion is some facsimile of a British gastro-pub. We had a large group and everyone was satisfied for brunch — from french toast and pancakes to fish and chips and a grilled chicken sandwich on raisin bread. The prices are reasonable (most entrees are around $12) and the service is welcoming.

So Stephen Starr, kudos to you and your team!

Etc.

Isn’t it amazing how changing the clocks one dang hour screws everything up? I much prefer the Fall, where we gain an hour, but still…I have been looking into sleep studies a lot lately. I am going to try adjusting things in my own schedule to see if it makes a difference. If so, I’ll report back.

Take care!

Spooked

November 1, 2011

As I write this, I can hear the sound of the Halloween revelers at the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. And I can tell you that Halloween really makes people crazy. If you need proof of this, just watch some footage of what happened on Good Morning America this morning, when it turned into a crazy dance party on live television for many. many minutes, leaving poor George Stephanopoulos to stand in the background, in costume, dumbstruck and drinking. Bananas. (Check it out.)

So now what to do with all of that candy? In my house we try to wrench the non-chocolate candy out of their paws. At least the chocolate has some sort of redeeming nutritional qualities…Nerds are just going to rot their beautiful little teeth. We let them trade it for a treat at the toy store of their choice. And the rest can go into work…for co-workers to rot their beautiful teeth. But at least I don’t have to pay for that dental work!

But here’s what’s really spooky: snow — lots of it — in October. Town upon town without power so they have to postpone Halloween. And now, November. Which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And then…the holidays. I’ve already planned a shopping day with my friend to knock out a lot of holiday shopping right after Turkey Day. (Not Black Friday, of course.) I say get as much as you can done early, so you can try and enjoy the season.

Like I said, spooked.

Candy!

If you’re a grown up in need of a chocolate fix, and the remnants of your kids’ pumpkin haul just aren’t cutting it, Jacques Torres has all kinds of tempting treats. (Not cheap, but hey, you’re worth it.) I’m a big fan of their dark almond bark, and for the season they’ve got chocolate covered pumpkin seed brittle. I haven’t had them, but others swear by their chocolate covered cheerios. Stop by in Chelsea Market or one of their other locations — I had a tasty latte at the one in Dumbo a couple of weekends ago.

Etc.

Happy Halloween! Hope you had a good one.