There is a God (At least a God of Fashion…)

We all love designers. We love to flip through Vogue and hold onto pipe dreams that these glorious items might someday be ours. And hey, once in a while there is nothing more fabulous than dumping your whole paycheck out in order to acquire the perfect Prada shoe, Giorgio Armani blazer, etc. But for all those other times in between, when you need something cheap, easy, and chic, where to turn? Why, H&M of course.

Here is the problem. There are so many locations (at least in New York), each one stocks different items, different unit amounts of the most popular items, and it’s so popular, that when you are looking for one specific thing it can take three or four trips to find it! I remember with crystal clarity the first time I tried to shop on hm.com. I kept clicking different thing, trying to outsmart the site and find the loophole that would allow me to click on something, drag it into a shopping bag, and see it in my mailbox a few days later. No dice. Like a test rat, I’ve gone back many times just to see. Just to check and see if maybe one capsule collection or somethingwas available for online purchase. Still, the sad truth that America’s favorite cheap-and-chic retailer has no online shopping component. Until… now!

Well, not “now,” exactly. We still have to wait a while, but penny-pinching fashionistas, get excited! It was announced this week that as of the 2011-2012 year shift, H&M will finally join its competitors in the arena of online shopping. The possibilities are endless, the prices are right, and this girl can’t wait to spend that lunch break snapping up the cute little $19 basics and fabulous party dresses in the right size with the click of a button–no crowds, no lines, and no drama. And now, with so many exciting new options from H&M–like their sustainable collection, top designer collaborations, and tres fashionable footwear, I think we should all start saving up today!

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We Said We’d Skate, Instead We Shopped.

The weekend was fantastic. I can hardly believe we’ve passed through another since I last blogged. More on that later, but I promise, there was a reason!

After enjoying brunch last Sunday at Pershing Square, Muffy and I hopped on the 3 down to 14th street and spent the afternoon strolling through the Meatpacking district. There are always so many great things to see in that neck of the woods, and Muff suggested we start at her favorite, All Saints. I love the store and find their gothic-chic atmosphere littered with sequined minis and great knits such a fun place. Sadly, the price point is a little high for this working girl to spend on twill, but they were having a SALE. And you know this Jewish gal loves a good sale.

All Saints makes me a little sad because their sizing is tough and somewhat inconsistent. Muffy who is teeny-tiny tried on a size six dress that fit her rockstar body perfectly but this would make the average girl a ten, meaning the curvier chicks lose out. In the end she decided against the dress–nowhere to wear it, and the fear of gaining one pound and not looking as perfect in it as she did in the store. After I tried on way too many complicated jersey knit tops, I walked out with the most fabulous pair of leggings that have ever existed. I adore the skirted waist. I actually wore them yesterday paired with a cropped winter white sweater and flat black boots, and got SO many compliments. They define that perfect place where simplicity, comfort, and chic intersect. Oh, and they were 30% off!

From All Saints we headed to my absolute favorite boutique, Catherine Malandrino. I’ve been a massive fan of her elegant, thoughtful designs for years. My first-ever piece of Malandrino was scored at a small boutique in my home town–a lovely little black stretch jersey knit dress with matte sequin detailing down the front. Recently I’ve been stocking up like a mad woman, thanks to having a Malandrino employee in the fam. I had a return to execute from my Christmas loot, so we strolled in to see what was new.

I have to admit, I have a major dress obsession. I own too many, I always want more, and this will probably never stop. I did try on an absolutely amazing show-stopper of a sheath in black silk chiffon with floaty cap sleeves and a lovely, swirly hem. In the end, though, the practical-meets-sexy side of me won out and I bought the absolute hottest black pants I’ve ever seen. An invisible side zip, stretch winter wool skinny trousers with the slightest bit of rouching at the ankles. I have scoured the net for a photo of the fabulous pants, but alas, I cannot seem to find them. I will update with a picture once I finally have the perfect occasion to rock them!

Weekend Weekend

This weekend is going to be so much fun; I can feel it in my bones. Tonight I plan to lay low and rest up. It’s been quite the week. Tomorrow, a morning Physique class and then a quick apartment clean-up, followed by the arrival of a dear friend from college. Let’s call her Bambi, as we did back in the day. I was Abs, though I hardly remember why, because I only had abs for a very brief window of time. I digress. She is one of those friends who doesn’t just say “let’s keep in touch” and “let’s get together,” she means it. She has sent me three-page handwritten letters from haflway around the world while fulfilling her Fulbright scholarship. She always markholidays and birthdays with phone calls, emails, or letters. And she wrote me one such email on Christmas day, suggesting we get together soon. Two weeks later, here she comes!

I plan to spend Saturday afternoon bombing around the city with her–maybe a walk in the park (weather permitting), some shopping and a cup of coffee, and plenty of pictures. We need new ones to replace what’s in the albums [see above].

Saturday night we’ll paint the town red, and Sunday morning promises brunch with another member of our original four, Muffy. (No, that’s not her real name. Yes, she is from Fairfield). Muffs suggested ice skating. I am so excited! I haven’t skated in years, and I fell more frequentely than I managed to get up. Rockefeller Center is so lovely but so crowded. I’ve never skated at Bryant Park and it sounds amazing–and apparently, it’s free. Hopefully after this weekend I’ll have some great shots of us to post. Bundle up, my little ice bunnies. It’s cold out there.

Keeping Cute in the Cold

Guys, I am so cold I really can’t stand it. This morning I actually took a cab from the subway–that’s how insurmountable the five-block walk to work seemed. Truth be told, this was not the first time I’ve done it. I am not dressed today for cold weather. I had a business lunch and was trying to do the cute professional thing, but I consider it a fail if the outfit doesn’t work for the forecast. This is today’s look (And no, I am not the cute blonde model– I grabbed the pic on urbanoutfitters.com). I absolutely adore this little sheath. It fits beautifully and accentuates all my best features, concealing the rest. But warm, it is not. At all. For good measure, I threw on a pair of Wolford Cotton Velvet tights, but even they aren’t saving me from this silken disaster.

Yellow Is Gold silk dress, around $60, urbanoutfitters.com
And the shoes… Good gracious, the shoes. I won’t even post a picture of the shoes because you will all shun me. They are suede Cole Haan penny loafter stilettos with patent detailing. Black. So infinitely chic but the farthest thing from comfortable. Not to mention that they are a full size too small and a width setting too narrow. But they were on “Deep Sale” as Mom would say, a couple of seasons ago at Saks. And I love them. So there you have it. For outerwear I threw on an old, fur-detailed, hooded puffer of my mom’s. Doesn’t exactly go with the outfit but it is warm enough. Outerwear is never really my problem, though. The issue lies with what lies beneath.
Tomorrow there is a massive storm predicted, and even in the absense of snow, it is seriously time to bundle up. When I got to my lunch today, the girl I was meeting was dressed in a cropped puffer, a warm tee, comfy yet cute pants, and flat boots. She didn’t look sloppy or bored or tired. She looked WARM and fantastic. Now, if you subscribe to my “if you’re not overdressed, then you’re underdressed” law, you would probably be more comfortable in something else. Let’s explore.

For the Skinny Minis:

This beige Jenny Han sweater dress is kind of a steal, all things considered. $140 on revolveclothing.com. The puff detail at the shoulder is girly yet the length and figure-forming silhouette amp up the sex appeal. Probably not a look for the office, but if you’re super tiny and have some great opaque leggings to throw on with it, why not? We’re only young once…

Bananarepublic.com; $90

For the Average Jane:

Banana Republic is such a great option for work clothes, and I think these gray winter wool trousers are a perfect fit for colder days like this. For the gal without too much “junk in the trunk,” the waist and the back pocket detail are perfect. Throw on a great top and a blazer with these and you will be good to go.

For the Curvy Cutie:

I think the curvier girls will develop a true passion for pants by slipping into these “Boy Fit” trousers from the Gap–paired with whatever makes you feel warm and comfy, like a cardigan and a ton of necklaces. All of the Gap premium pants come in sizes 00 to 20, but in these you can go down a size or even two. They offer a great, slouchy fit that tapers at the bottom to accentuate the leg, making it look longer and leaner. They also won’t let wind whip you from the ankle up, and they’re even on sale right now at gap.com for $49.99!
For the Plus Size Princess:

This faux fur vest from Forever 21 is a great option for the office or for meeting up with friends. It allows you to complete the outfit without DYING of heat indoors, but provides a layer of warmth too so you aren’t just hanging out in a cotton tee. I love how this one comes with a built-in belt, but you can also do it un-belted, loose, and pair with a long necklace. I actually love her whole outfit; all pieces available on forever21.com.

FOR EVERYONE:
Our bodies might need unique treatment and styles, but every gal loves a perfect shoe–and this Aquatalia by Marvin K. one is it! They are an absolute, undeniable splurge at $495, but endless.com offers free shipping. 🙂
Wonderful for the snow, waterproof and warm, and somehow sexy without even trying? Yes, please! Now, if only our entire budgets could be forked over for footwear. Sigh…

A Morning in Brooklyn

I hung out with the little bro on Friday evening, having spent the week just working and sleeping–mostly working. I needed a night out and we enjoyed some wine with our friend Di, munching on brown rice and roasted chicken and vegetables that Noah had prepared. Later in the evening we headed out for some cocktails and snacks (oops–there went the New Year’s diet…) at a Cuban place around the corner from his waterside home.

Saturday morning we awoke to a new day. It was crisp–freezing, really. Diana needed to head home to Long Island and No and I were starving, so we walked her part way to the subway before finding our spot. The Lovin’ Cup on North Sixth street in Williamsburg boasts a “Drunk Brunch” on a chalkboard out front. We went in and discovered that this delightful $15 prix fix includes a brunch entree and three drinks–mimosas, bloody Mary’s, or draft beers. Or any combination of the three. We each ordered the vegetarian “Sweet Jane scrambler” with egg whites and delighted in the pile of tots that came with it. The coffee was fresh, hot, and bold, and the mimosas were so tall, we each only had two. And left totally drunk.

Hanging out with my cute little bro, wearing one of his oversized t-shirts as a dress and a newsboy cap borrowed from his closet, wandering the streets of his lovely neighborhood, made for an absolutely delightful Saturday morning in winter. And I can tell you this much: nowhere in Manhattan will you find a Drunk Brunch that refreshing and delightful at a price anywhere near $15.

Check out their brunch and dinner menu here.

What’s a lonely girl to do?

Josh left for a two-week vacation in Asia–much deserved! He works harder than anyone I know, and hasn’t had a long, luxurious trip in so long. However, Jensy remained in New York, with work commitments piling up and not enough dough to travel. Two weeks is a long time for me! I love having him around, and I get bored without my best bud. In summer months, I would be camped out on the roof of my apartment building with an ice cold can of Diet Coke and a pile of fashion magazines by my side and I would be content there for hours. But in the harsh and whipping cold, where no coat seems warm enough and a two-block walk to the drug store makes my eyes tear and the hem of my pants muddy, I need an indoor itinerary to keep me busy and entertained, yet warm.
Books
My favorite way to pass the time is reading. I love to go for classics but recently have been on a kick with newly released fiction. Something about reading things written in and about the decades and places that are familiar to me just makes me feel at ease. I picked up “Life in Miniature” by Linda Schlossberg the other night. It’s her debut novel, and I see great things from her in the future. I am very into her unique style–this novel is written from the perspective of a pre-adolescent whose mother suffers from mental illness, giving an interesting view of this complicated topic. I’m only about halfway through, but obsessed! Check it out.
Museums
I totally play favorites with museums. It seems that no matter how many times I go to the Met, the Modern, or the Guggenheim, I am never bored, and I always find something new and exciting to enjoy. But I really am looking to head outside of my comfort zone and check out something new. I haven’t been to the Frick since I was eleven or twelve, and I remember it feeling a bit stodgy and too, well, museum-y, but maybe with new eyes and several years distance it will be a different experience? My mom adores the Frick. Adding it to the list! I am also chomping at the bit to see the Hopper exhibit at the Whitney, so that might be the first stop. Also thinking of finally heading to the Jewish museum; it seems high time.
Movies
The two movies I am absolutely dying to see are so indicative of the two sides of my personality. Black Swan and Country Strong. I know what you’re thinking. Dark psychological thriller vs. fluffy romance set against the backdrop of the corniest music genre out there. I know I am going to love both. There’s been so much press on Black Swan but I still feel like everyone I’ve spoken to has had a totally different and reaction to, and experience with, the film. I know its impact will probably earn another blog entry once I’ve seen it.
Country Strong I haven’t actually read anything about yet; I’ve only seen the trailers. I’m a total sucker for love and I know it’s going to make me cry. Pookie and I have always loved country music. I remember so vividly driving around the mountains of Vermont with the local country station blasting through the speakers of her Ford Explorer or my VW Bug and singing along to every sad, silly, and true word. I feel like seeing this movie will bring me right back.
Girl Time
Admittedly, aside from reading half a book, the only thing I’ve really done on my hit list is grab some wine with a girl friend. Monique and I have a new office in midtown and we set out on foot Monday night to check out the ‘hood. We googled “wine bar” in the west 40’s and found Gallo Nero, an absolutely lovely little tapas place with a wine list from here to heaven. We tucked ourselves into a corner table in the dark and intimate spot and stayed for hours, sharing the prosciutto and mozzerella plate, the roasted chicken with mashed potatoes, and a few glasses of wine–hers red, mine white. I have a feeling many more of these nights lie ahead. I am looking for sweet little spots to try where the wine flows and the food is yummy yet I don’t leave feeling so broke I could cry.
Mom Time
Mom is heading into the city at some point to help me organize the apartment–which has grown quite scary with heaps of clothes that don’t fit into closets and bags of Christmas presents searching for a home. I will post photos and tips on the reorganization once it is finished. Nothing like having Mom around to help keep you busy!

I Resolve To…

It is the second of January and I can hardly believe we are here again. Embarking on a new year, a new chapter, a time to change and to grow and to examine. 2010 brought a multitude of opportunities and challenges to me personally and I am sure to many of you as well.

With the changing economy, some of us who thought our jobs were secure ended up being slapped in the face by unemployment in 2010–I was among them. Being laid off from my magazine job was one of the darkest hours I have experienced. I was scared, defeated, and hurt. I don’t mean to get religious, or philosophical, or to subscribe to what my mother calls “magical thinking” [insert negative connotation here], but I turned out even luckier than not. By the grace of something, I ended up finding a job I love more, that challenges and excites me daily, and working for a team of people who care about the work and about each other.

Most importantly, I have a family, friends, and wonderful boyfriend who make every day count. 2010 rocked me to my core, but pulled me back up to the top again, and for that I am very grateful.

A new year is upon us and it is time to take a close look at the mistakes we have made historically and those that have turned into patterns. It is time to think about the people in our lives who deserve certain things from us that they may not already be receiving. It is time to look in the mirror and figure out what that person needs, too. Bring on the resolutions!

This year, I resolve to:

-Be healthier. There is the whole losing and/or maintaining weight factor but this year the goal is much larger than that. I want to eat more green foods and whole grains, less sugar and salt, and ingest more vitamins and water and less fat and toxins because my body needs this. As much as I’d love to pretend I am still a teenager whose complexion, muscles, eyes, etc. will just continue to bounce back after the abuse cycle, this is not so. More sleep, less stress. More exercise, less partying.

-Listen better. I am a very chatty girl. I know this not only because people are always telling me to “calm down,” or “give them a minute,” or “shh,” but also because I hear myself doing it! If there is a lull in conversation, I feel the need to fill it. Sometimes with meaningful tidbits but most often with anything that will cancel the void. I do this with the most genuine of intentions–I don’t want anyone (myself included) to experience an awkward silence. However, sometimes it proves to be at the detriment to those around me, because my mindless chatter can eliminate others’ abilities to tell me things. I love finding out more about other people, and in 2011 I resolve to shut my mouth more often to let everyone else get a word in.

Searching for things to worry about…

-Worry less. I am the original worrier. Watching home movies from the ’80s and early ’90s, it is almost comical to observe. Everyone in the scene is laughing, munching on birthday cake, throwing a two-year-old tantrum, or playing a game. I am the four-year-old in the corner with the crumpled brow, anxiously preoccupied by what my brothers are up to, worrying that I might trip and fall, that I will miss my friends when they go home. To this day, I spend an inordinate amount of time each day worrying about my family, my boyfriend, the cat. Worrying that some horrible tragedy might befall us but also that I have left the hair straightener plugged in, or I have not charged my cell for long enough. Worrying that the subway will take too long to get here or that I might miss an important call. The madness distresses me and those around me, and it needs to come to an end, or at least to recede somewhat. I am so tired of allowing unnecessary worries to consume the good time I could be having.

-Get more pedicures. I need them, they make me feel great, and it is a luxury that takes half an hour and a chunk of change small enough that there will be no more excuses not to do it.
That’s all I’ve got for now. What about you guys?
Happy New Year! May 2011 bring love, glamour, and joy to you all. 
Starting 2011 on the right note