Glimpse Into Fall

July 27, 2013

Who couldn't use a new hoodie from Quiksilver???

Who couldn’t use a new hoodie from Quiksilver???

Well I skipped dessert last night and did an extra workout this morning in the name of getting my fav cheese danish from the bakery this morning, which I have yet to have this summer, and wouldn’t you know it: sold out! There’s some sort of moral in that story but…strawberries and yogurt it is!

Let’s turn our attention now to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. This is a yearly event and I like it because it offers real savings on things before the season, and it’s things you might actually want! If your kids need back to school sneakers, they’ve got some Nikes. I like these adidas kicks but my son wasn’t into them. For women, these Frye boots are pretty rad, and they’ve got a bunch of denim and other staples if you’re in need. I also like the beauty exclusives they do for the sale, like these brushes from MAC.

Definitely worth taking a look around the sire. And Nordstrom, bless their hearts, always have free shipping and free returns, whatever the amount you spend. If you”re buying shoes and aren’t sure of the fit, I recommend ordering 2 sizes and then shipping the one back that doesn’t fit. That way you don’t end up disappointed if what you want is sold out. Sale is til August 5th, and then prices head back up.

Leg Up

There are a few things that I just have a hard time spending a lot of coin on — black leggings are one of them. These from Old Navy work well — and they come in long and a cropped version. They hold their shape and their color, which is a lot more than I can say for some other brands. And at less than $13, well, enough said.

Etc.

We are trying a new restaurant tonight — Ohana Grill. Heard it was good so we’ll see. Also I have yet to get there but people are raving about the fried chicken at Hybird, the fried chicken, dumplings and cupcake joint in Chelsea market from Stephen Starr and Questlove. Sounds like a must-try, no?

So glad the heat has broken, unfortunately as I look outside it is like the sun has gone away too! 😦 Happy weekend!!

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This Badgley Mischka gown from the Outnet is long and 100% silk...bingo!

This Badgley Mischka gown from the Outnet is long and 100% silk…bingo!

When the temps go over 90 and the humidity shoots up there it is hard to know what to wear at any time, let alone to a black tie wedding. Still, I was pretty shocked to see what people put on last weekend at the nuptials we attended, and I thought it was worth a post.

Just because it’s long doesn’t mean it’s fancy: I noticed a trend on the women in attendance: long, ankle or floor length dresses. On the surface, this seems like a nice direction for things to go — a gown can be beautiful. But these weren’t gowns, they were those maxi dresses that are perfect as a cover up for the beach or even a luau, but not a Saturday night black tie affair. Material matters. If it’s cotton and comes in some sort of stripey pattern, leave it on the hanger.

Black tie means black tie, boys: My husband wore his tuxedo and he was pissed at me because hardly anyone else was wearing one. I swore up and down that the invite said black tie, and even pulled the bride aside later in the evening so she could back up my story. Most of the men there opted for lighter suits, we assume because of the heat. But that’s not what was called for. For the record, the bride was not happy. “I was walking down the aisle and I’m like, ‘Really? This is what you wore to my wedding?'” Not cool. Take off your jacket if you’re hot.

Cork wedges are not for evening. Period.: Cork wedges are adorable, but nothing is faster at taking an outfit towards “picnic.” Ditto for flat casual sandals. I am not a heels fan but it really is the only thing that looks right for black tie. If you invest in one pair of mid-heel, black silk strappy shoes, they will take you everywhere.

Just about the only thing you have to lose by dressing appropriately is a large dry cleaning bill!

To The Office

To beat the heat on a commute, I like a dress. Any kind will do. I just do not like to wear pants when it’s really hot. If you’re in a more corporate environment, a sleeveless shift dress works, and carry a blazer that you can throw on once you reach your air-conditioned office. If you’re in a more casual setting, there are so many cute sundresses. Stash a cardigan (or two) in your bottom desk drawer if the air inside gets too icy. Just don’t forget to take it off if you go out for lunch!

Lighter Fare

I cannot eat anything heavy when the temperature soars. So I was pleasantly surprised when we went to the brunch the day after the wedding, and they had a deconstructed spinach salad. I am definitely serving this at the next lunch party I host. They had a large bowl of baby spinach, and then small bowls of everything one might want to put on top: bacon, red onion, chopped egg, sunflower seeds, blue cheese…really you can put out and on whatever makes you happy. Then they had a light buttermilk ranch and a balsamic vinaigrette that you could put on. It was easy and light and much appreciated. You can put some nice rolls on the side, a pitcher of iced tea or lemonade,  and what summer guest wouldn’t be psyched?

Etc.

I am in the middle of a 2 week vacation and enjoying every minute. Last week was a little more hectic with guests, a bbq for my daughter’s birthday, and the aforementioned wedding which involved a lot of traffic. But this week my son and I are hanging out together and it is really nice. I am always busy but somehow it just feels like a different pace.

Hope  you all have time off to enjoy friends and family this summer!

imperial-palace-cherry-blossom_13295_600x450I am hopeful that spring has finally sprung, people. And that calls for some changes in the routine. Some suggestions:

Breakfast: Get out of your cereal rut! Berries are back, more local, sweeter and at better prices. Get yourself some Greek yogurt (the nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s is tasty), top it with some raspberries and either wheat germ or granola and you have yourself a fresh and healthy way to start the day. Still hungry? If you have a favorite a bakery, buy some muffins, a few at a time, cut them in half and then freeze them. In the morning, pull out a half, throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds and voila! You have a delicious treat, with half the calories and at half the price than if you ate the whole dang thing at your desk.

Makeup: Lighten up! Banish the darker colors to the back of your drawer, or mix them with some good lip balm (Kiehl’s makes one of the best; Korres makes a nice natural one) and then put it on your lips with a lip brush or your fingers. That will soften your lips with a hint of color, and take you out of looking like Broomhilda.

Style: This sort of inbetween weather can pose a challenge when getting ready in the morning. I like a nice short-sleeved sweater with pants. That way you’re not sporting bare legs if the chilly morning doesn’t give way to a warmer afternoon, and the short sleeved sweater keeps it professional without seeming over dressed for the weather. (I work in a somewhat casual office and I reserve the sleeveless tank tops and gauzy dresses for the true dog days of summer — when it’s near 100 and no one can argue with the fact that you’ve got next to nothing on…) For guys, a cotton button down shirt in a spring color — turquoise gingham check? — keeps it awesome.

Food & Drink: More salads make sense — particularly for dinner. Arugula from the farmer’s market is the best. (Zesty!) And I figure if you’re saving a few calories, you have some left over to head out for some frozen yogurt for dessert…and pass the bottle of rose! It’s definitely my drink of choice when the weather gets warmer.

Plans: Get your butt outside! In most places, this is really the most glorious weather of the year, so do yourself a favor and plan some outdoor activities. Even if you plan to walk a few places instead of taking the car. Take a walk or a bike ride to Dunkin’ Donuts, where any size iced tea is only 99 cents! That’s a deal. We went to see the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and just that and the magnolia trees were worth the price of admission! (Go early to avoid the crowds.)

Etc.

I can’t decide if I’m liking Mad Men this season. But I am sticking with it, given that there’s only one more season after this!

I was send an advance copy of the new HBO Liberace movie starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, so I’ll let you know how it is…

Why are you still reading this? Get outside already!!

Alexander Wang Chelsea Boot

It’s amazing how quickly you can go from being in the thick of summer and all its joys, to having to get into the mindset of fall and all that it has to offer/obligate…so what am I looking forward to this fall?

Something hunter green: A ribbed turtleneck or maybe a funnel – neck coat…this is the color to give a shot of now! to your wardrobe. Runner up: Blood red.

A black leather motorcycle jacket: I have one from several years back but it seems too stiff and manly — this year’s crop are buttery and just plain cool.

A new bag: Hopefully my husband isn’t reading this (which is a joke because he has to read EVERY SINGLE POST, no??) but I’m crushing on so many new bags this fall — I especially like the mixed leather ones, like embossed croc with suede. Tracy Reese has a relaunched line of bags coming out, and Foley + Corinna has some nice ones too. Bring it!

Alexander Wang booties: I like things that are different and weird but not too far out there, if that makes sense. These leather booties from the Wang-ster fit the bill. Check out the cut out in the heel.

Dark Blue Nail Polish: Bright blue was right for the warm temps of summer, but come fall it’s time to darken it up a little bit, and only on the toes. Dark blue with a touch of grey does nicely. Try OPI or Essie.

As the season progresses, I am sure the list will be continued, but that should be enough to get us all started!!

Speaking of Nail Polish

I went and got a pedicure at a new place, and my fab technician scrubbed every piece of dead skin off my heels — amazing!! To keep them soft, she told me to put Aveeno foot cream on at night with socks and after a week they will be in supreme condition. I think I’ll try it!

And in other salon news, I recently realized that I was not leaving conditioner on my hair long enough in the shower. I was putting it on and then rinsing it out. But now I put it on, and do something else — like shave my legs or use bodywash — and then I rinse it out. And let me tell you, big difference! My hair is much softer and easier to get a comb through. So if you’ve been quickly washing it out, try this and see if it makes a difference…

Etc.

Well, the party’s over. I have been at the beach for over 2 weeks and tomorrow it is time to get home and back to reality. I can’t believe the kids are starting school this week. I have one more day to get myself in the proper mindset! Homework, picking out outfits the night before, waking up early to get everyone out the door on time…

Goodbye summer…it was great while it lasted!

Goin’ Coconuts

July 13, 2012

Whether you are near a beach or not, that coconut smell always makes you feel like it’s a day at the beach. So why not indulge? It’s a low cost way to take a vacation!

Organix makes a great coconut milk shampoo — and its got no parabens or sulfates, so it’s safe to use on the kiddies. I keep some in the outdoor shower to keep the beach smell alive! ($6.99)

Pacifica makes a heavenly-smelling Indian Coconut Nectar line. There’s body butter but I’m mad for the shower gel — and it’s another line that has nothing nasty in it, so it’s fun for the whole family! ($10 for the smaller bottle, $16 for 17 ounces)

Burt’s Bees makes a coconut foot creme that gets your feet sandal ready. The trick with it — or any foot cream — is to slather it on at night, before you go to bed, on clean feet, and then put some thick cotton socks on while you sleep. It helps the moisturizers really go to work.  And again, all natural! ($9)

Let’s not discuss that the mother of all coconut products, Hawaiian Tropic oil, is probably responsible for all of the sunspots on my body from my misinformed youthful escapades in the sun, with a reflector. Ah! These are much kinder, gentler coconut alternatives.

White Light

George Michael is soon blessing us with a new video for a new song, celebrating the fact that he didn’t die during his recent medical troubles. There’s a teaser! Kate Moss, a coin, a gun — this is gonna be good, people!! ha ha

Etc.

I received the catalog for Nordstrom’s annual sale in the mail this week, and I was irritated because nothing kills the summer vibe than fall! But they actually had some cute things, so I perked up a bit…the sale starts July 20 (for the uninitiated, they put everything on sale, before the season.)

Hope you all have a super fab weekend!! I think I am going to make some fish tacos.

 

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!

Back to Cool

September 13, 2011

What is it about Back to School that fills the air with a certain anticipation and…dread?!?!? I don’t even go to school and yet you never stop getting that feeling right after Labor Day. (It certainly doesn’t help that 9/11 comes so soon after, which brings its own somber tone to the times.)

But here’s something to cheer you up: Missoni for Target, debuting September 13th! I have to say, it is one of their better collaborations (think: Liberty) and covers everything from clothing to housewares to lingerie to kids shoes to luggage, all in that unmistakable Missoni colorful way, which can’t help but brighten your world.

Back in the day, when the lira was weak and the dollar was very, very mighty, I used to buy myself a Missoni scarf in the Milan airport as a consolation prize for having to leave Italy. Ten years later they still look fantastic and are the perfect pick me up for a solid color coat. Think: accent. I’m not a fan of head to toe Missoni color, but as an accent to your clothes or your dishes (dessert plates? fabulous!) or for someone in the under 5 set, totally awesome.

I’ve seen pictures of the collection (you can check out some here) but last week for Fashion’s Night Out I tried to go over to the pop-up shop for a preview. The line was INSANE, but I did get a chance to peek into some bags of those who got in, and the quality of what I saw was good. (Now, let’s not get carried away. It’s not going to be full-on Missoni quality, complete with the $1,000 price tag. It’s Target.) I think it’s a good one, and if you’re smart you’ll check it out early before it all goes bye-bye. (target.com)

Coffee Bean Arrives

It’s true, Times Square has gotten a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I went the other night and I have to say I think it is a block or 2 too far downtown (note to corporations looking for Times Square locations: I think 40th Street is as low as we Times Square worker bees will go for a coffee fix. Lower than that feels like…Herald Square.) Anyway the iced blendeds are as tasty as ever, just pricier than ever (a regular size tops $5). Rumor has it they are scouting locations on the Upper West Side, so maybe by this time next year there will be one on every corner.

Etc.

I didn’t turn the TV on once yesterday, to keep myself from re-living such an awful day. I have such vivid memories of that day, what a beautiful, blue sky there was, and how it all unraveled so quickly. I was on the phone with my friend from LA and looking out the window at the World Trade Center with smoke coming out of it, when I saw the second plane hit and a huge fire ball shoot out. From there it was about accounting for family and friends, wondering if we were going to have to evacuate, seeing army guys in fatigues with machine guns doing check points in my neighborhood, hearing fighter jets constantly circling over head and then looking out the window to see klieg lights on 7th Avenue, and a slew of empty stretchers, doctors and nurses waiting all night for survivors who never came.

My kids, who weren’t alive then, have started asking about it. It’s a fine line between being honest and not wanting to scare them about something so awful that happened in almost quite literally their backyard.

I purposely didn’t take photos when it was all happening, because I didn’t want to remember it too clearly. It was too painful. Ten years later, even without my own personal documentation, I still remember it remarkably clearly, and my hope is that none of us ever has to go through anything like it again.

Fashion as Art

June 7, 2011

Before we get to today’s Favs I think we all need to reflect for a moment on how stupid these male politicos are: dude, do not tweet photos of yourself to women you don’t know! It’s kind of unbelievable. And once again we can all take away the lesson that LYING ONLY MAKES IT WORSE! Seriously. All I can say is, his poor wife. Hopefully she’s somewhere far, far away having a drink with her boss, Hillary Clinton. Irony never sleeps.

Anyway…last week I took a day off to check out the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I can honestly say it is one of the best exhibits I have ever seen. Yes, ever.

For those of you not familiar, Alexander McQueen was a bad boy British fashion designer who worked making custom suits on Savile Row and then helmed Givenchy, before getting his own line. He was always known for his outsized vision and was always pushing the boundaries (Lady Gaga was a client), but his clothes were always impeccably cut (Michelle Obama wore him too). Unfortunately he killed himself last year at 40 years old, cutting short of life of true genius.

Do not think of this as a fashion exhibit — it is art, through and through, that just happens to be wearable. As a creative person, seeing how he built a complete vision for each collection, from the clothes (an Elizabethan coat made out of hand-painted gold feathers!) to the accessories (a hat that’s a bird made from twigs) to the music (an African drumbeat where a coyote howls every two and a half minutes), really showcases the inner workings of his mind.

Beyond the actual clothes, which are gorgeous, the way they exhibit the pieces works well — some outfits are on revolving platforms so you get a 360 degree view, and moments from his different fashion shows are recreated, whether it be the box that was a mirror and a stage for the audience, Kate Moss’ hologram or slashed floorboards from “Highland Rape.” His use of organic materials like feathers, mussel shells and fresh flowers adds to the beauty and fragility.

This is one not to miss — they just extended it til August 7th and if you pay $50, you can even get in to check it out when the rest of the museum is closed. When you go, I recommend going very early or very late. LOTS of people go so there are lines and once inside, it just gets too crowded to see anything.

Click here for more info. I did the audio guide which was helpful in adding some background info and interesting to hear from people who knew him, but it isn’t essential and if it’s really crowded, I could see it being really annoying.

Etc.

I’ve truly been enjoying this spring-like weather and am sad to see that the mid-90s are coming back.  It’s early June! Give it rest til August.

Hope your week is fab!

Our guest blogger Denielle gets ready to see her oldest child leave kindergarten and pre-school behind, with some lessons we can all take away:

My oldest daughter’s first year of kindergarten is coming to a close on June 9. There’s nothing that makes me feel older than realizing my kids are now an age I remember being myself!!! I recall collecting worms in first grade for science, being Sandy (yes, the dog) in our rendition of ANNIE and playing dogs on the playground at recess (perhaps inspired by my stage debut).

It has been said (in graduation speeches and humor columns mostly) that everything we need to know in life we learned in kindergarten. If that’s true, then I’m soaking up some major life lessons when Cecelia shares her daily adventures.

Some of the things I’ve re-learned this year include (in no particular order):

  1. Monkey bars are hard. They can be mastered by determination and practice.
  2. A common phonetic spelling of “pizza” is “peze” (just in case you are reading any important works by 6 year olds).
  3. Before speaking, we should ask ourselves if it is kind, true or necessary. Technically speaking this is part of her school’s anti-bullying code and is an old Quaker adage but I sure wish more people knew about it!
  4. In the digraphs “QU,” Q is always faithful to U, but not vice versa (Damn U).
  5. Female spiders eat their mates after mating. Ewwww!
  6. Chocolate milk for lunch every day gets old around April 3. Variety may very well be the spice of life.
  7. We can be many colors, shades, sizes and shapes on the outside, but we’re all pretty much the same on the inside.

Next week her sharing topic is “best kindergarten memory.” I hope she remembers the above listed lessons and so many more of the accomplishments I have witnessed.

First grade, here we come!

Single of the Week

Here’s Ken:

Unless you ride the NY subway, attend Polish weddings or vacation at a gypsy camp, you probably don’t come into much contact with accordion players. Los Tigres Del Norte, a norteño group from Mexico has got the squeezebox thing down, and they did it live with Paulina Rubio:


Who’s Paulina Rubio? She’s an international superstar, but all I know is that she did this video, which was clearly funded by the IMF.

Etc.

If you’re in need of anything at The Gap, they’re taking an extra 40% off most things, in-store only. Worth checking out — I got some nice summer pajamas and a light windbreaker, perfect for rainy summer days.

Nothing like a 77 degrees and sunny day to lift your spirits! Let’s hope it continues…

I’ve been noticing that more and more companies are starting to get the message that people don’t want to put stuff on their bodies that are full of petrochemicals, which is good news for all of us. Whereas “all natural” has pretty much consistently translated to “higher price tag,” the more companies that jump into the game, the better for consumers.

At Target recently I noticed Neutrogena is the latest to come out with a line, Neutrogena Naturals. They bill it as “no harsh chemical sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, dyes, phthalates.” I decided to try the facial cleanser and with the purchase, I got a free lip balm. I haven’t used the facial cleanser yet, but I have the lip balm in my gym bag and I use it just about every morning. It has a pleasing, light scent and it keeps my lips hydrated through my workout, which is all I really need. Products in the line seem to run from $2 to $8. Thumbs up to Neutrogena for coming up with an all natural formula that doesn’t break the bank.

Missing the Bullseye

Speaking of Target, I haven’t seen it in person but I was underwhelmed by Calypso’s line that debuted there earlier this month. (You can check it out, as I did, online here.) But I have high hopes that the recently announced Missoni collaboration could be good. It’s slated to have 400 items and hits stores September 13th, just before my birthday!! 🙂

Single of the Week

Before I get to Ken, I must give kudos where kudos are due to him for picking Duck Sauce’s “Barbra Streisand” weeks before it exploded into the mainstream, including Glee and commercials for Vitamin Water and Express. We bring it to you first, Favs fans…here’s this week’s — check it out before everyone else does!!

You heard it here first: Mayor Bloomberg is running for president in 2012. Here are his three main campaign promises:
1. A rat in every kitchen.
2. No hooker left behind.
3. Rock anthemy singles of the week like The Lonely Forest:

Etc.

Well, yesterday George Michael announced a brand new 22 city European concert tour. I think I may need to go — he’ll be backed by a full orchestra and is playing some of the world’s best opera houses. Road trip!!

Allergies are SO bad this year — my poor son got socked with it this morning and had trouble breathing. I had to take him to the doctor and it seems to be under control.

Hope this week is treating you well…