Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sorry about the lack of updates! I've had some big changes happen recently (like, moving back to New York last month, finishing out my Senior year of college, trying to prep myself for a permanent-ish move to London in just 10 months...!)

Sad to say but my blog will be on hiatus for a few weeks until I can get my bearings. So much to do, not enough time to blog. :(

Friday, August 12, 2011

Five Things.

Even though I grew up in the South, I always forget how brutal the summers can be. New York City may get hot but there's always a cool breeze when you need one. Here, the summer air is thick with humidity and the temperature is relentless. Iced tea, A/C and shorts aren't a 'must', they're an 'of course'. Here are five other things that are keeping me sane in this sweltering heat.

Evian spray. This is a lifesaver during the summertime. Not only does it keep your skin lightly moisturized, it also cools you down and refreshes your face. The cute little travel size fits into virtually any purse and no matter how hot it may get, the spray always feels blissfully cold.

Bright, fun flip-flops. These Nanette Lepore pair have been carrying me faithfully this entire summer. It doesn't get any easier than flip-flops, and trust me, when the temperature lounges at 100°F all week, you just want to slip into something easy.

BN Nook Color. Simply wonderful. Cooking and baking feels like a nightmare in the summertime but my new Nook makes the process enjoyable again. No bulky volumes on canning to juggle, and thanks to its built-in wifi, I can also use it to look up cooking techniques on Youtube in a pinch.

New purse. Roomy, lightweight... enough said.

Lavender aromatherapy sleep spray. Did you know? Your body temperature spikes slightly before you fall asleep (and then slowly drops during the night). This lavender spray is soothing without being cloying, and makes me forget all about the heat long enough to fall asleep.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Project Frugalista: You Don't Need Any More Shoes

I have an embarrassing number of shoes.

I have a lot. Like, I-don't-let-people-go-into-my-closet-for-fear-that-they-might-call-Hoarders-to-do-an-episode-on-me lot. Still, who can resist a good bargain?

Pour La Victoire 'Tyra' in Gold Mustard; Elizabeth and James 'Star' in Pewter Metallic
The PLVs were $59, marked down a staggering 80% from $295. The Elizabeth and James heels were $77 (another 80% markdown!), the original price being $385. So what if I only have one pair of feet?

Shipping was $7, and in total the shoes cost me $143. I now have $33 left out of my $200 monthly budget... and we're barely a week into August (!).

p.s. I'm ridiculously happy over the E&J heels. I've been staring at that exact pair in that exact same color for what seems like forever. I nearly bought it two months ago when it finally showed up on but didn't and have been kicking myself since. ...Well, not anymore!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Project Frugalista: Shopping Update

Banana Republic 3/4 sleeve cardigan sz Petite Medium

Steve Madden purple faux python slingbacks sz 8

So... I have imposed a $200 spending cap on fashion-y things per month and I am finding it much more difficult than I had imagined! These two items were purchased last week out of necessity (I needed a cardigan for work as the AC is working a little too well lately and all of my fall/winter clothes are still in New York; & I got the shoes to match a slinky black dress I'm planning on wearing to a party soon).

The cardigan was originally $49 and I got it for $5. I have no idea what the Steve Maddens originally cost but I got mine for $17, not too shabby! In total, with tax included, I've spent $24 so far.

Just Desserts

Pecan Caramel Sundae truffles: caramel and vanilla ganache center, milk chocolate shell topped with chopped pecans.
Neopolitan truffles: strawberry and vanilla ganache center, milk chocolate shell.
Rocky Road truffles: marshmallow and milk chocolate ganache center, milk chocolate shell topped with crushed almonds.
Double Dark Chocolate truffles: 72% cacao dark chocolate ganache center, dark chocolate shell.
Mint Chocolate Chip truffles: mint ganache with chocolate chips center, dark chocolate shell.
Pistachio truffles: pistachio and white chocolate ganache center, dark and white chocolate shell topped with crushed pistachios.

You're probably wondering what this is for. Well. I don't really have an answer for you. I make homemade truffles and cookies as mini gifts for my friends around holiday time and I thought those Godiva flavors were all good ideas! Posting this here so I don't lose it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Go Go Girlfriend Box .01

Rainy day at work made cheerier by my very first Go Go Girlfriend box!

Go Go Girlfriend is a beauty sampling subscription similar to Birchbox. For $12.99 a month Go Go Girlfriend ships you a little box filled with an assortment of beauty-related goodies to try out. I've gotten rather addicted to these sampling programs (in addition to Go Go Girlfriend I also subscribe to Birchbox, New Beauty Test Tube and BeautyFix). I really love them! It's like mini Christmas when one of these boxes arrive.

excuse the poor light! I took this with my phone.

Continued under the cut!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tasty Fakes pt. 1

Do you like caviar? I adore it. So much, in fact, that when I win the lottery I plan on filling a swimming pool with Malossol Beluga caviar and paddle around it in a little blini boat with an ivory oar.

Sadly, until that day comes I have to settle for something a little less extravagant. And, as a jar of decent Beluga caviar is out of my price range, I've devoted an inordinate amount of time and money into finding moderately priced and tasty brands of caviar. This particular brand is my current favorite. Despite being lumpfish roe and priced at $32.99 for 12 oz., the texture and flavor of Roland brand roe caviar is remarkably close to the good stuff.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Dog Days Are Over

Even though the weather outside is still sweltering, it makes me sad to know that with the advent August, summer is officially over. I'll use any tactic to squeeze in a few more poolside escapades, including wearing a bikini in lieu of underwear. It's a bizarre method, I realize, but if your friends are anything like mine you can never be too prepared for a night out.

1. Rachel by Rachel Roy, sleeveless Anjali dress - $99 $74.99
2. All Saints, Aztec bikini top - $75 $52.50
3. All Saints, Azetc bikini bottom - $75 $52.50
4. Forever 21, "nature elements" necklace - $1.50
5. Forever 21, round sunglasses - $5.80
6. Melissa, bow flip flops - $59
7. Kate Spade, Lawn Party half circle tote - $295 $147 

Lightweight, breathable dresses with a bit of structure will keep you from looking schlumpy even in 90° heat. A tribal print sequined bikini is exactly the kind of big reveal I want to make when I peel off my dress to jump into the pool. Of course, jumping into pools doesn't give a girl time to put her jewelry in a safe, dry place, so something like Forever 21's selection of baubles under $5 work perfectly for me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy Feet

How do you feel about the socks + heels trend? It seems like everyone I know either loves it or hates it. Personally, I can't get enough of the look.

The trick here is to pair like with like. Dainty heels need to be coordinated with thinner fabrics while chunkier heels and boots look best with thicker knitted socks. A key point in pulling off the socks and heels combo is to shy away from eclectic mixes. A wild frenzy of patterns and colors will make it look like you forgot to do the laundry instead of translating into effortless cool.

With proper coordination, you can even pair socks and heels together for an evening look.

*If anyone tries to tell you that wearing socks with heels is a fashion faux pas, gently remind them that the most iconic heels in Hollywood were worn with baby blue socks!

Project Frugalista

Happy August! Now that it's the first of the month I can officially start on Project Frugalista, the primary reason why I've started this fashion blog.

Rebecca from Confessions of a Shopaholic... NOT a role model!
 In an effort to spend money like a responsible grownup and dress with class, I'm going to limit my clothing purchases to $200 a month. Now I know that's a lot of money for some and not much money at all for others, but it's an amount I feel like is doable for most of us. For me, cutting down on frivolous spending is very important because of major future expenses that are soon coming. My fiancĂ© and I hope to have a nice apartment and a comfortable nest egg in the next few years, and with wedding expenses calculated in, there is a lot of saving to do!

The $200 spending cap isn't just about saving money, however. It's about getting into the habit of thinking carefully before making decisions. Mindfulness means purchasing high quality items that will carry me for several seasons and will still look fashionable when my daughter raids my closet 20 years from now. And, hopefully, the act of saving up for nicer items will help me appreciate them more.

Do you have any financial goals set for this month? How do you budget for your fashion expenses?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Like Music, Music Sounds Good.

Collecting cook books has become something of a hobby for me. There are a lot of weird and wonderful ones out there, and even if I'll never cook from some of them I still enjoy reading the recipes (the older volumes I've gotten from thrift stores, especially--it's like having a secret cadre of grandmothers whispering in your ear about their church bake sale secrets).

I recently found a cook book for $2 at a local vintage shop. It's titled "I Like Food, Food Tastes Good" and is a compilation of recipes by indie bands like Les Savy Fav, My Morning Jacket, Interpol, Grizzly Bear, Battles, RJD2... basically the recipe index looks like a Pitchfork list of must-listen-to bands. In true rock star style (the recipes are printed verbatim as the bands have submitted them), the instructions for most of these dishes are vague and/or laced with profanities... and in the case of Devandra Banhart's recipe for something called Africanitas Ricas, the last five lines of "instructions" seem to be pure gibberish.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

These Jeffrey Campbell Fox Tick’s are so drool-worthy, even though everyone and their grandma already has a pair of Tick booties.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Art In Motion

I’m one of those cretinous people who will spend more time in the museum gift shop than the actual museum itself.

In my defense, the world’s best museums often have the world’s best gift shops. The Museum of Modern Art, I’ll even venture to say, has a gift shop that outshines the actual museum itself (I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really “get” modern art—two years ago I saw a video exhibit at MoMA that included a clip of bare breasted woman walking in a shallow pool filled with trash… I’m still losing sleep at night trying to decipher its meaning).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop has hands-down one of the best jewelry selections of any retailer, period. Since most of their designs are either direct copies of historical artifacts or inspired by a specific period, you would think the jewelry would feel dated or costume-y. On the contrary! A surprising number of the pieces have a cool, classic-contemporary vibe and can easily be mixed into a modern wardrobe.

1. Egyptian Princess Turquoise Necklace - $75.00 $56.25
2. Golden Fringe Earrings - $75.00
3. Parisian Art Nouveau Pendant Necklace - $110.00
4. Precolumbian Ornament Earrings - $85.00
5. Two-Tone Egyptian Knot Bangle Bracelet - $185.00
6. Art Nouveau Peacock Feather Bracelet - $265.00
7. Russian Imperial Enamel Ring - $63.75

(Not) For The Servantless American Cook

While Julia Child’s opus, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, has seen a healthy revival in interest thanks to Julie & Julia, the original bible of French cuisine remains under the mainstream radar.

Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935) was called “the King of Chefs and the Chef of Kings”. He refined French haute cuisine and virtually created the modern professional kitchen through the development of the brigade de cuisine system. His book, Le Guide de Culinaire, is a veritable encyclopedia of French cuisine—an absolutely invaluable source of haute cuisine protocol, how-to’s and of course, recipes.

Since Escoffier’s intended audience was other professional chefs and chefs-to-be, some of the recipes in Le Guide de Culinaire are difficult to execute in the home kitchen. Nonetheless, Escoffier’s masterpiece deserves a place on the shelves of any home cook who appreciates culinary history and restaurant technique. The new translation (available on Amazon for $44) has gone through a cosmetic revision as well. The chic black and white cover makes the book all the more covetable.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Lovin'

When it’s sweltering outside, even looking at long loose hair on other girls makes me feel hot. Braids, ponytails and cute little chignons are a great way to keep you (and observant neurotics like moi) feeling cool and refreshed.

Easy-to-follow instructions and hairdo inspiration from the S/S 2011 runways! HERE.

Closet Confession

I’m at an odd crossroads in my life. At 18 I thought that in college I’d start investing in proper grown up things. Stuff that would make me look polished and sharp. People will respect me for my tasteful sartorial decisions! I thought.

More business casual, less drunk party girl.
Things didn’t exactly go according to plan. Almost six years later my closet still holds steadfast to ruffled, sequined things, with plenty of studded denim and short hems. Not to say that ruffly, sequin-y, studded short things don’t have a place in my life, but there is an unhealthy amount of frivolous pieces in my wardrobe that need to be balanced out. To start, I think a careful re-evaluation of my closet is in order…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shorts Story

It seems like at the end of every summer I get suckered into buying “staples” I don’t really need, all under the misconception that I’m somehow saving money.

Yes, it is SUMMER CLEARANCE season and recessionistas all over are advising you stock up now on strappy sandals and printed sundresses for the next summer. In theory, it’s not a bad idea—every summer calls for sandals and sundresses—but the sad fact is that the cute stuff I buy during clearance sales never get any play by the time next summer rolls around… The things I thought were cute last year have morphed into Bad Ideas, or worse, there are much cuter offerings this year that I have to buy.

This time I’m sticking to shorts Only. They can be enjoyed now, in the last dregs of summer, and can easily pull double-duty in the upcoming months: a shorts + tights combo can get you a lot of mileage in the fall.