A White Manhattan

Today is Wednesday and the glorious cushion of white that swirled and shimmered and covered this beautiful city has mostly turned to brown slush and black ice. But Monday was a lovely snow day for those of us lucky enough to be off from work and not relying on any mode of transportation to get from here to there, aside from one’s own feet.



Josh and I walked from his place on the east side across to do some shopping (window and otherwise) on Madison and Fifth, then continued through the park and ended up at the shopping center at Columbus Circle. It was his birthday and we joked that the whole city was halted in his honor. We warmed up in the afternoon at the Brooklyn Diner with skim lattes and split pea soup. Yum!


Check out these shots from our Winter Wonderland adventure.
Photo credit: Joshua Gerson 😉

Snow fall on 12.26. as seen from Josh’s window
Swirls of snow
Abandoned cabs were everywhere!
44th Street
A bench in Central Park
We found this cute guy in the park
Maniac running in shorts!
Peace
Columbus Circle in a blanket of white

My Boyfriend is Better Than Santa

I have to admit I am a very lucky girl. When it comes to clothes, I have pretty much every staple a NYC gal could want–little black dresses from Marc Jacobs, Catherine Malandrino, and Les Copains, a gray knee-length Prada skirt, a Louis bag, duds and accessories from Chloe, DVF, and Dior… the list goes on and on.

But Josh felt that something was missing. My stint at a prominent fashion magazine allowed me access to some of the greatest sample sales around, and thus my shoe collection is hardly lacking. I have Carrie’s favorite Manolos–the silver peep-toe slingbacks with the rhinestone oval at the front. I own Dolce & Gabbana maryjanes in a pale shade of olive with a simple stiletto and ivory-hued piping. I was also lucky enough to add to my collection last spring’s montrous Dior sandals whose heels are comprised of little Buddha-esque statues. And yet, my friends, this picture-perfect collection was missing the quintessential shoe. The red sole. The Christian Louboutin.

I won’t share the words of the card with you because they were too sweet and I want to keep them just for me. But the gist was that, in order to be inducted into the status of a true New York fashionista, Josh felt I was missing one special thing. And damned if he was going to get me the “entry level” black pump. My boy knows me well, as you can see. He went beyond. They are the most beautiful shoes these feet have ever stepped into. They are nude silk with a black lace overlay. Somewhere in heaven, my grandma, “Gaga,” whose own collection rivaled that of the movie stars of her day, is doing a little dance. I’m dancing right along with her. I am in shoe heaven this Christmas. Thanks to my man.

Dancing around the living room in the best Chrismy present ever

New Love: The Wind-Up

One of my dearest friends, Diana, turns 25 today. Happy birthday Princess Di! It’s no surprise that being born this time of year can be kind of a bummer because friends and loved ones are scattered here and there, or racing to finish up work on a deadline, or broke from Christmas shopping… or all of the above. Josh suffers from the same problem–he’s on the 27th–but more on that next week.

So I was thrilled to see that at Diana’s birthday bash on Saturday night, so many of her pals made it. The high school girls were there, my bro and I who (sort of) fit the hometown category, college friends about  whom I’d heard countless stories but had never met in person, and the guests of honor were her brother–and his band.

The band doing their thing at Arlene’s Grocery on Saturday Night

Now let me pause for a moment to say that I have a ton of appreciation and admiration for anyone who does something creative in this world. Clearly, as the writer of a blog that is only at its baby beginnings, I know there are a lot of good intentions swirling out there in the artistic world. However, in my humble opinion, usually when you hear someone refer to their “friend’s brother’s band from [insert Hometown, USA here],” chances are, they’re talking about a few crooners who bang around in someone’s dad’s garage a couple times a week putting new, slightly off-key spins on classic jams or writing what ends up sounding like poorly done Guster. Not so with my friend’s brother’s band from Long Island.

I first got introduced to The Wind-Up last year when the band’s album, “You Are a Beautiful Thing,” went up for sale on their website. I had only ever heard a few tunes in the backseat of someone’s car under the influence of at least a couple gin and tonics, so I had no idea if I’d like it or not. But when your friend calls you begging for you to spend ten bucks to make her day, you just do it, right? Within weeks the album was also available on iTunes. I was impressed!

The Wind-Up’s tunes shift in a moment from the soft, emotional sharing of a rock star with a great voice singing to a lost love, to a full-on jam session that leaves you bopping around in your subway seat. My favorite off the album has always been “Eleanor,” but the other night at Arlene’s Grocery, I actually found myself fist-pumping (What???) to “They Promised You Life” and others. I shed a few tears at “Song for Haley,” which is available from their demo on the website. Wow. I glanced around the room slowly and– as if in a movie–saw so many others holding back tears at the honesty and intensity of this ballad. Lyrics include, “…being without you is just like dying.” Every song by the band will resonate, yet the music is so basically catchy and fun, you don’t have to think about it.

What makes The Wind-Up so great is their talent, plain and simple. Each member brings something to the table, and the music is all written by them, reflecting various memories and hopes and pouring out the deepest inner struggles and triumphs. This is some moving sh**. And Robert Jonas can sing! I strongly recommend you check out their website for all songs as well as concert itinerary, photos, bios, etc. And you should just go for it and buy “You Are a Beautiful Thing” on iTunes. You won’t be sorry. I am so glad I finally made it to a Wind-Up concert, I just wish it had happened sooner. When you go, ladies, pack a tissue in your purse. Just in case they play that one song… or whichever one moves you to tears.
Check ’em out!

A Little Bit of Chrismy Sparkle

I already told you about the fabulous tree that Josh and I put up and decorated at his place. With our incredibly busy work schedules, we haven’t been spending as much time nesting at the apartment as we did last year at this time, and I’ve found myself for a week now toiling away at my laptop (which sits atop a Victorian washstand), glancing around the room to find it completely void of Chrismy cheer. So depressing! What’s a girl to do? Why, hightail it around the corner to Urban Outfitters of course, and grab herself some goods!

When they erected the Urban location right near my house, Mom called and very sternly told me she expected me to avoid it like the plague. I have an Urban Abuse Problem, I swear. I just love that the clothes and accessories are so accessible, there is something to fit every style, and the price point works for my (sad) budget. I promised Mom during that phone call that I would never enter the store unless accompanied by an adult. I promptly put down the phone, picked up my purse, and headed to Urban. Sorry Mom.

For now we will avoid discussing my Urban Abuse Problem as it pertains to clothing and accessories, because it just might happen that some of you cuties reading my blog are being gifted by Jensy from there this season! But I can tell you about all the cool Chrismy loot I discovered there the other night. So fab!

This is my sweet little tree, that sits in the corner of my living room on an end table. Isn’t sort of wonderfully Charlie Brown-ish? But it shines! Love the color as it fits in with my decor. Also available in fuscia. The tree retails for a mere $14 and I nabbed a box of these tiny glass ball ornaments at Urban too, for $10. The best part? At the end of the season, just pack it up and store for next year. No need to spend twice. A dream for a tiny New York City apartment!

I know you must think I am a Diet Coke Addict–you’d probably be right. But can you stand these string lights from Urban too? They were on sale for 9.99. I had to.

To polish the whole thing off, I purchased a few of these great, glittery feathers in turquoise and silver at $3 a pop. My original thought was to bring them to Josh’s to put on our tree, but they might be just a *tad* feminine. Anyway, I kind of want to keep them here. Am thinking of hanging them wherever they feel right. One in the bathroom, a couple by the window, and so on. What do you think?

Praying there will be canned food in his stocking…

The shining glory of my decorating spree this year though were the fabulous stockings I found us at the John Robshaw sample sale. Granted, even at the sale they were not exactly cheap (even though I told Josh that they were!), but aren’t they great? I love that they are not too “holiday” and can go with any decor. You can’t really tell in the photo, but those miniature circles are mirrors. So sparkly and fun! Sadly, the budget only allowed one for me and one for Josh, so Dolce is stuck with this paw print plush stocking from last year’s TJ Maxx run.
Sorry, D!

Velvet Loves You

My very first extraordinary outfit was a custom-made black velvet mock-neck, long-sleeved bodysuit with a full, red, satin skirt layered in tulle beneath and bedazzled with red hanging sequins. It was 1990 and my mom crimped my entire head of light brown stick-straight hair and threw it into a side pony with a sparkling red scrunchee. She let me wear lipgloss too. It was Christmas. I was in Little Girl Heaven.

Of course that sparkling skirt was a must-have for the year, but I have to tell you, nothing made me feel as good as snuggling up in my velvet bodysuit. I felt like a rock star. I was never a fan of turtle necks, being the itchiest-skinned kid on the block. Even the softest wools and cashmeres were annoying and left me blotchy and red, but velvet never bothered me. Same deal twenty years later. Except that I can no longer get away with a crimped side pony tail and a tulle lined skirt. Sigh…

Velvet conjures the most delightful memories, doesn’t it? There’s the Velveteen Rabbit, those fabulous floppy bows from childhood, the figure skating costumes of the 80s… and today (!), and of course for me there was that great bodysuit. It’s a smart fabric too, as it’s warm yet incredibly luxe. Luckily for those of us who are too old to pull it off as seen above, there are so many chic, grown-up ways to don the fabulous fabric nowadays. Here are some spectacular examples that you can afford. The best part? Velvet looks good on everyone. Velvet loves you back.

BEST DRESS

This wintry Juicy Couture sheath hugs the body in all the right places and the long sleeves render it super-comfortable despite its party flair. Love the length. Style it as seen here with black Wolford Cotton Velvet (!) tights and a great black pump, or dress it down with a nubby legging and flat boots. Personally, I don’t adore this necklace though. A great little staple like this does better with a flashy, dangling vintage earring and a crap-ton of bangles.

Bloomingdales.com, ON SALE for about $160

BEST BLAZER

The fastest path to chic… throw on a velvet blazer with just about anything and instantly look more put-together yet approachable. My current favorite is this absolute steal from the Gap. At a mere $98, the gorgeous jacket is cut to perfection and features a cute notched collar, single button closure and perfect side pockets. It’s offered in sizes 0 to 20, so no one misses out. Pair with a crisp white shirt, skinny jeans and boots or a great dress and tights. Or a nice thick legging and a cute graphic tee. Or, you get the idea…

Gap.com, $98

BEST TOP

Beige silk top with Dolman-inspired sleeve and all-over black velvet floral. Obsession. This would be great with a black pencil skirt, tights, and a nice heeled boot, or black pants. It adds a subtle taste of spring to your winter wardrobe and floats gently away from the body for maximum comfort–and the ability to indulge in Chrismy cookies without having to suck in the tummy all night long.

Anthropologie.com, $118

BEST BOTTOMS

Oh, J. Brand, how I love thee…

When it comes to finding the perfect fit in a pant, J. Brand is your new best friend. Just trust me on this if you have not yet discovered the truth for yourself. I will admit, sometimes it bums me that I have to go up a size in their non-stretchy styles, but whatever. Are you dying over these pocketed velvet legging/pants? I am. They fit like a glove, the tush looks impeccable in them, and at $165, they are a doable staple that you will live in all winter long… and next winter, and the one after that. I would work these in wherever jeans go but since they fit snugly you could get away with a dress too. Rock them at night with a fabulous party shoe and a glittery top, or to the office with a contrasting blazer or a demure blouse and low black pump.

Bloomingdales.com, $165

BEST SHOE

These Alexander Wang come-hither penny loafers are the perfect marriage of fun and sophisticated. The penny loafer front is reminiscent of little girl days, yet the thick heel is powerful and sturdy, suggesting the wearer is no weak damsel. The stretch-velvet shaft dresses them up to nighttime status and is a fun way to work the great trend into footwear without looking too sweet.

Shopbop.com, ON SALE for about $520

CONCLUSION
The moral of the story is, you can wear velvet, no matter what your personal style. It’s everywhere, it’s affordable, and it is the epitome of cozy-chic. Happy shopping, my little velveteen rabbits!

Oh, Chrismy Tree

My day job has taken over! Agh! There is no excuse to abandon your projects, your fun and creative outlets… but I have done so for the past several days. I apologize, devoted readers! Two more days of work nightmarishness, and then Jensy gets a long-awaited, well-deserved break. In the meantime, last night Josh and I took a pause from all the pressure to do my favorite thing of the year. We bought and decorated our tree.

For those of you who know me personally and are wondering what a Jewish girl with a non-Christian Japanese boyfriend is doing buying a Christmas tree, sorry to disappoint, but I do nothing by the books. Growing up we always had Christmas trees and did the whole present thing, and rocked out to all the music, and I won’t apologize for it. Josh is in, too. Such a relief!

My man carries the tree… ❤ Sorry so blurry

My brothers and I started calling Christmas “Chrismy” in childhood. I feel like we stole it from the Muppet Special or some other strange Christmas-themed television program for kids. Whatever the reason, it stuck, and we love it. So there you have that.

Check out what $60 will do for you! Amazed.

Last year Josh picked up our tree at a Home Depot in Jersey, which was a pretty good choice since it was cheap and he had a car to transport it to the city. This year we had no such luck on the car, so we decided to go to a street vendor. We comparison shopped–the first guy seemed somewhat clueless and vaguely attitidunal. We walked up a couple of blocks to the guy outside the Food Emporium on 2nd and 51st. He seemed to know everything about Christmas trees–and even gave us the tip that we should put a crushed aspirin (NOT Tylenol or Advil) in room temp water for the tree to keep it alive and well through New Year’s Day. He also negotiated a decent price on a great tree, and sent us home with a little piece of stump so we could figure out our tree’s age, and a bunch of branches to use as decor in the apartment. Success!

Luckily Josh is stronger than I am; he toted the tree home over his shoulder like the hero that he is. And though he declined to indulge me with the Christmas tunes I requested, we had a blast decorating our cute tree. We nabbed this glittery star topper at Duane Reade last year and most of our basic ball ornaments were a steal at TJ Maxx last year as well. The Diet Coke ornament is my personal favorite–available on urbanoutfitters.com along with SO many other cute ones. And no New Yorker’s tree would be complete without a Starbucks cup dangling somewhere. We have one already, but is it weird that I kind of want more?

As for the extra branches, I had fun arranging them in a gorgeous crystal vase and hanging a few ornaments from it. Makes for a sweet embellishment when you don’t have the time or $$ to invest in a ton of Chrismy crap to put everywhere.

Sorry, all you staunch Jews out here, but I adore Chrismy and the warm and delicious feeling it gives me. So excited to post more words and photos of inspiration throughout my favorite season 🙂

xoxo Jensy is a happy girl today!

Obsession of the Moment: Levi’s Jeans

I know what you’re thinking. It could not get anymore obvious, or quintessentially American, than a pair of Levi’s jeans. They look great on everyone, they have the whole history of denim clothing thing working for them, and of course, the price is right. But today we ladies have a lot more to celebrate from the classic brand.

Let me ‘splain. For the longest time I’ve thought that my body woes were my own. I’ve always understand that other girls struggle with different parts and curves and bumps and bones just like I do. But I really thought my jeans problem was mine alone. I have relatively thin legs and a small waist, but I have such an ample tush that it literally appears to have been transplanted there from some other place. I’m not complaining. Really, I hear this is a good thing. But let me tell you, it’s a literal pain in the a** finding jeans. The proper waist size won’t pull up over my butt. Sizing up creates gaps in the legs or requires use of a belt. Finding the right pair can only ever happen if there is stretch involved, and even then, I’m looking at at least $200 a pop. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a reason I am known in my circle as the “dress girl.” The reasoning goes far beyond mere love of all things girly.

Enter Levi’s “Curve ID” system. I first found out about the new phenomenon as advertised on a billboard near Times Square. The genius sizing scale categorizes three types: Slight, Demi, and Bold. Waist and leg sizing remains true to the style–skinny, relaxed, and so on. But you can actually buy a pair of pants that is customized to your butt. It’s amazing! I rejoiced. I ran to the Levi store in SoHo. I was helped by a lovely sales girl who took me around the store pointing out things I would love–and diagnosed me as a “Bold.” No surprise there.

I nabbed a pair of the Cry Baby Skinny (only 69.50!) and went for it with a stonewashed “jegging”– the Darted Legging jean (also $69.50). I couldn’t help it–so, so cute. And with this whole understanding of the a** thing, it was the first time in nearly ten years that I have gone shopping for jeans without shedding a single tear. I even went down a size from my normal in the Cry Baby. I’m in love. You will be too!

M.A.C. AIDS Fund: Look Pretty for a Good Cause

Admittedly, this idea stemmed from a conversation with Mom. How often these things do! She mentioned on the phone that she had found a “To Die For” shade of M.A.C. lipstick that I had to own, a bold and gorgeous pink from the Viva Glam collection. I knew immediately she was talking about the Gaga shade, named after my favorite pop star today, Miss Gaga herself. I’d been meaning to try the color forever anyway, so I hightailed to the M.A.C. store and picked one up. I wasn’t disappointed.

Maybe you are not ready to take the Pepto pink plunge with your lips this fall. I get that, I really do. But you’ve lucked out because there are other great new options for contributing to the M.A.C. AIDS fund. I honestly have grown fed up with cosmetics and fashion companies who do a quickie campaign for some cause or another and then throw 10% of proceeds at it, pocketing the rest.

Established in 1994, the fund donates every penny of sales towards affected men, women, and children worldwide. On their site, macaidsfund.org, you can find lots of fun stats on where your money is going. One lipstick, for example, equals two hours of childcare for an HIV positive women so she can go to her doctor’s appointments, or eight individually tailored, nutritious meals, or one pair of school shoes for an affected child. The list goes on and on, and the stories are so inspiring.

So, if you’re not ready to go Gaga, there’s always the standard Viva Glam shades and this fall, in honor of M.A.C.’s new Tartan Tale collection (which you should also check out, and invest in, just ’cause it’s all so cute) they are offering Sir Teddy, too. This little tartan guy makes a great gift for your favorite kid in support of AIDS and is part of the Kids Helping Kids outreach that M.A.C. AIDS fund is supporting. They even have these great HIV-positive-kid-designed note cards to offer as well.

Check out maccosmetics.com for full product lists, pricing, and to shop online. And yeah, pat yourself on the back for buying some cute garb and helping out really deserving people all over the world at the same time.