Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Word to the Wise: Frette Sample sale next week

Shelly & Renee Presents: FRETTE Fine Italian Linens Sale
FRETTE Fine Italian Linens Sale · March 3 to 7, 2013 · Up to 80% Off Retail!
11:00AM to 5:00PM Sunday · 10:00AM to 6:00PM Monday to Thursday · 111 East 59th St. (Bet Park Ave & Lex Ave)

If you want some super fancy sheets (and who doesn't), head over to the Frette sample sale next week.

I would go but my troublemaker bunny chews holes in our sheets and it's hard to justify buying them anywhere other than Overstock.

Frette Sale
111 E. 59th st
March 3-7, weekdays 10am to 6pm

I've heard that at previous sales things like throws and plain sheets went quickly, so show up on the early side of the sale if you want the best stuff!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pretty Houseplants galore!

I love plants.
In my old office, I had about 11 on  my desk, as I was trying to create a jungle enclosure for myself.
Now I have all my plants at home and they have to be separated between the ones that can live with the cats and the ones that are cat poisonous and have to live in the bedroom or home office.

My most populous plant is my aloe. 
An internet friend had an aloe plant that had babies and was sending babies in the mail to anyone who wanted them.
I wanted one!
What I didn't realize at the time was that it was the most promiscuous plant EVER.
I repotted some babies and gave away 8-10 babies in the summer and I have more than 20 more to re-pot or get rid of now already.
There is one pot I really need to clean out.
The plants are busting out all over and I count at least 11 of them.

Aside from my many slutty aloes, I have a zz plant, a fuzzy purple climber whose name I don't know, a spider plant, a christmas cactus, a little moss terrarium, and a plant that looks like a mini tree that I think I got from Kmart.

But of course, I want more!
I want a million plants.
I especially could use some more flowering plants. When my christmas cactus flowers, I am so happy.

Someone on another site recommended Logee's for buying plants, and it looks like a great site.
Browsing through what they have, here are the ones I would pick as indoor plants:

Rosary Vine (Ceropegia linearis woodii)
$8.95 Rosary Vine

"Perfect for hanging baskets and capable of handling periods of neglect, this summer bloomer is a great conversation piece for any sunlit window. Small, succulent, heart-shaped leaves accented by white veining shower over the sides of a pot in long chains. Small, mahogany-and-gray flowers add drama to this reliable and time-tested houseplant. "

Bead Plant (Senecio rowleyanus)
$7.95 Bead plant
I've wanted one of these for a long time! They are so pretty and look like necklaces.
"Here’s an easy-to-grow succulent with round, fleshy leaves from which its common names, Bead Plant or String of Pearls, are derived. Unique in its form, yet tolerant of extremes in dryness, the draping basket of green beads lights up any room with greenery and plant life.  When it blooms, the Bead Plant has small white flowers that smell like cinnamon. This South African native is nearly indestructible when grown in full-to-partial sun. "

Variegated Hindu Rope (Hoya carnosa 'Crispa Variegata')
$10.95 Variegated Hindu Rope

"A wonderful companion to any indoor collection of low-to-moderate-light plants. The curled and twisted leaves are dappled in white, pink and green as they hug the trailing stems. Clusters of light-pink flowers arise from spring to fall, carrying a delicious mock-scent. Easily grown, it's perfect for hanging pots." 

Blue Monstrosity Cactus (Cereus peruvianus 'Monstrous')
$12.95 Blue Monstrosity cactus
Aww, you're not a monster to me, lumpy guy!
"Thought to be a freak of nature, or a natural mutation, Blue Monstrosity Cactus is a slow-growing, compact plant whose knobby growth has a bluish tint and very few fine hairs. This rare and unusual specimen grows 6” tall x 6” wide in containers. During the active growing season, water the soil only when dry. During the winter months, water very sparingly. Grow in full to partial sun in a well-drained cactus soil."

Living Stones (Lithops species)
$11.95 Lithops
These are great because not only do they look like rocks, they also look like butts.
"A great gift for the young and inquisitive, these South African succulents look like beautifully marked pebbles. Living Stones can grow in a sunny window and remain contained in a limited space for years with little, if any, effort. Best yet, they need water only once or twice a month, a task even the smallest child can accomplish. An excellent gift for the beginning gardener! Shipped in a clay pot. "

Climbing Rock Plant (Stephania perrieri) $12.95 Climbing Rock plant
Another one that looks like a rock! At least on the bottom.
"Resilient in nature and forgiving to neglect, this caudiciform from Southeast Asia develops into a stunning specimen and with a little pruning is contained enough for the windowsill garden. As the caudex matures, it develops furrows and an undulating structure with the vining stems and heart shaped leaves emerging from the crown. If allowed to ramble, it will climb any nearby structure often with great vigor but it can be restrained by judicious pruning. Under dry cool conditions, it can be deciduous in the winter although when grown in warm temperatures, it remains evergreen. A most interesting tropical container plant for those who enjoy the unusual. "

Twin-Flowered Agave (Agave geminiflora)
$24.95 Twin-flower Agave
It looks like a pom-pom!
You only get flowers after 10 years, by which point I am sure you will have killed it, so lets just forget the name and focus on the plant looking like this.
"Creating a lovely rosette of narrow, dark green, flexible and spineless leaves and a full mounding habit, Agave geminiflora is a rare, slow-growing succulent that develops an attractive trunk with age (as shown in the photo). Geminiflora literally means “twin flowers” and when it’s fully mature (10-15 years) a tall flower spike emerges from the center of the rosette with yellow flowers appearing in pairs along the inflorescence. Grow in full to partial sun .Although drought tolerant, some supplemental summer watering is required. Agave geminiflora makes an attractive container plant. "

Elephant Ear ‘Stingray’ (Alocasia hybrid)
$14.95 Elephant Ear Stingray
What a cool name!
"Resembling an aquatic stingray with a long pointed tail, this new and unusual alocasia adds a touch of the exotic to your garden or patio. The large, round green leaves have a long, thin green tail at the terminal end of each leaf. This unusual alocasia mutation is fast growing and can reach 5-6’ tall. Prefers a partially shady location with moist, fertile soil. "

Starfish Flower (Stapelia scitula)
$9.95 Starfish flower cactus
So cute! It's nice when you can have a small plant and it still flowers.
"A miniature version of the larger Stapelias, its small slender stems are no more than 3" in height. Throughout the year, scitula is adorned with 1" reddish star-shaped blooms, each the size of a quarter. Free-blooming and at times prolific, this is the perfect plant for a sunny dry windowsill, especially where room is limited. Forgetful watering is a plus, as it needs some dryness between waterings to flourish. Note: plants are seed-grown creating some slight variation in color. "

Friday, February 22, 2013

Review of a Review of a Book about Fast Fashion

My friend Liz Colville wrote this great review of Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline

Should We Give Up 'Fast Fashion'?
$15.26 Overdressed on Amazon

A great point that Liz takes from Elizabeth's book is that fast fashion places like H&M and F21 are re-setting people's ideas of what clothing should cost. When you are used to seeing tops for $15, buying a mid-priced or luxury item seems exorbitantly more expensive.

So now mid-range brands are skimping on materials and manufacturing to better compete on price, and then end up being low quality as well.
Even designer brands like Luis Vuitton have moved manufacturing to cheaper places like China with lower quality control standards.

That means that the "good" brands aren't guaranteed to be high quality anymore either.

At first, that might make you want to throw your hands up and say "Well, if everything is made cheaply now, I might as well buy the cheap cheaply made stuff instead of the expensive cheaply made stuff."

But there are other alternatives like buying vintage, or buying used from thrift stores.
In general, if you see an item that's already been worn and it is still in good shape, you can guess that it has a few more years of wear in it left.

Also, you can buy handmade items or items directly from the seller, which means that the people making the goods take pride in their quality. Etsy can be a good example of this, but local designers might be even better. The more you interface with the maker of the stuff, the more pressure there is for that stuff not to disappoint you.

I still have not read this book, but after reading so many reviews of it, I think I get it.
The idea of buying fewer, higher quality items from companies whose working practices you respect is not a new idea. And it is a good idea.
But I don't think I'll ever be convinced that trendy pieces should be made to last, or that I will outgrow impulse buys and the lure of cheap gifts to myself.

Because I'm lucky and live in NYC, most of my shopping is at sample sales where I can get high quality stuff marked wayyyy down, or at Beacon's Closet or other used clothing stores that have a lot of cool stuff and frequent turnover.
But I do still shop at fast fashion places, and I could cut down.
I imagine if I lived somewhere that didn't have sample sales and good thrift shopping, I'd be at H&M a lot more often.

What do you guys think?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

iPad toilet paper holder

Boxshot: Pedestal Stand with Roll Holder for iPad by CTA Digital

$49.99 Pedestal stand with roll holder for iPad   

Well, World, this is what we've come to. I hope you're proud.

This iPad toilet paper roll stand is being sold by GameStop so I guess the idea is that you don't have to pause for a "bio break" when you are playing "BioShock."

OOOHH good one, Rebecca!

This is something that I bet we will be seeing in hotels soon.
First it was the Bose alarm clock that you can plug your iphone into, and now it's the toilet stand you can plug your ipad into.
Maybe you can even order room service to the bathroom from it.
When you think about it, why move....ever?

If you are too lazy to hold your ipad on your lap in the bathroom, you're welcome for showing you this crucial advance in technology.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Zipper Tie

Clip on ties are really tacky, but there's gotta be a better solution for lazy people or people who don't know how to tie a tie.

Enter the zipper tie which looks sleek and modern and is designed to zip right down the middle.

No bulky tie knots here.
$65 Zip tie from Uncommon Goods

The tie is made of gray merino wool and the zipper is nylon.
It's a standard wide style tie.
It would look great with a slim black or navy pinstripe suit.

I think they should make a skinny black one with a silver zipper too. Wouldn't that look cool?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cute Mini Binder Clips

$3.99 for 36 black and white clips

Aren't these printed black and white mini binder clips adorable?
Way better than the normal clunky black ones in the office, and not much more expensive.
(Compare to these boring black ones at Staples for $3.49/pack of 40)

I am a big fan of desk and office space upgrades.
It's important to like the look of where you spend so much time every day.
And if a little clip is going to make you happy for a brief moment, and make that boring work task a bit more bearable, then it is worth it.

Same thing as my mouse that looks like a bar of gold. It makes me smile for a sec inside when I first use it, so even though it is stupid and not free like a normal work mouse would be, I like it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Prabal Garung for Target

I haven't seen this line yet in person, but it came out this weekend to much fanfare. Or at least to much marketing.

I am looking through the items online now and I am not super attracted to any of them.
Are you going to get any?
I hear they are sold out in Manhattan but some pieces are left in Brooklyn.

Here is a report about the status at the Atlantic terminal Target.

These are my picks, I like the prints most.

Prabal Gurung For Target® Drop Waist Dress in First Date Print
$34.99 drop waist shirt dress 
Would be a fun beach cover up in the summer

Prabal Gurung For Target® Pleated Skirt in Nolita Print
$29.99 Printed skirt with lace bottom
I like the colors and pleating but the lace looks a little underwear-ish to me

Prabal Gurung For Target® Lace Hard Sided Clutch - Yellow
$34.99 Lace hard sided clutch
The shape and color reminds me of a shell. Very ladylike. It's 3x6x2 so it should be able to fit your phone and credit cards and cash and lipstick.
 Prabal Gurung For Target® Nolita Print Hard Sided Clutch - Multicolor
 $34.99 Rectangle clutch
A more standard shape

Women's Prabal Gurung for Target® Wedge Sandal with Ankle Strap -  Apple Red  
$29.99 Wedge sandal
The tilt is a good angle, and not too steep. I think these would only work on people with pretty toes and narrow feet because wide feet and bunions or weird toes would look weird with a little safety belt trying to hold them in.

Women's Prabal Gurung for Target® Pointy-Toe Pump - Nolita Print
$39.99 Nolita print pump
I love these fun colors! I think this is my favorite piece out of everything.

Women's Prabal Gurung for Target® Lace-up Pump - Apple Red
$39.99 Lace up gladiator pump

Lots going on here. I think you have to have skinny calves to wear these which counts me out, but they would look great on toothpick legs.

Prabal Gurung For Target® Crystal Stone Earrings - Silver  
$12.99 Crystal stud earrings
The crystals are piled together like they just fell that way.

Prabal Gurung For Target® Diamond Shape Earrings with Stones - Silver  
$12.99 Silver diamond earrings
These are embedded and cool looking. They also come in black.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Word to the Wise: Kai D. Sample Sale

Men of NYC: Kai D. is a MUST visit!!!

I went today with E and we got a ton of stuff. Seriously. It felt like a ton. I had to carry it all home by myself.

Anyway, Kai D. is a Korean designer whose Chelsea shop is moving to Williamsburg.
Before the move, they are lightening their load of merch and we get awesome deals.

When I was there, Kai himself came out to talk to me and tell me about his clothes.
They are all so impeccably made, with cool linings and details.
He said that they are going to narrow the focus of the line and concentrate more on shirts, jackets, and ties.

That means this might be the last chance to get his super soft tee shirts and fine wool pants.

Here is Racked's info on it:
Deal: Deep discounts on men's clothing. Tees are $5 and $10, design archive samples and dress shirts are up to $20, work shirts are $20 to $30, knit shirts are $20, and jackets are $50 to $75. There will also be two bins of miscellaneous garments that are free.
When/Where: Wednesday, February 6 through Friday, February 22. Mon—Fri 9am—6pm, Sat—Sun 12pm—5pm. 161 W. 22nd St between Sixth and Seventh Aves. Ring buzzer for ThinCtank 3F to be let in (646-861-2878)
Here were the prices at the sale:

$30 button down shirts
$20 knits
$10 tees
$50 blazers
$75 short coats
$150 long coats

Some of the items which are full price on the website right now are marked down at the sample sale.

I saw these:

Crombie Coat
Kai D. Crombie coat was $495, sale $150

New Bond Street Jacket 
Kai D. New Bond St coat was $250, sale $75

Euston Jacket
Kai D. Euston jacket was $205, sale $50

E got this one! He loves the plaid and the asymmetric pockets and the leather elbow patches.

Linus Shirt
Kai D, Utility shirt was $255, sale $30

Morris Work Shirt in Felt
Kai D. Morris work shirt was $155, sale $30

Lawrence Knit Cardigan
Kai D. Lawrence fine wool cardigan was $105, sale $20
I almost bought this for myself, but the sleeves were just a little too long.

They were also selling vintage pieces that they use as inspiration like an old military canvas coat and a vintage Schott leather jacket ($50!), as well as some tees and button downs.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day from the Drugstore and Supermarket

OH CRAP! It's valentine's day.
Did you prepare?
Me neither.

The best thing to do at this point is give up on reservations and fancy gifts and get a plan in place.
On your way home tonight, you will make one or two stops at the grocery store and at the drug store.

A special dinner doesn't have to be out. Make a picnic on your floor with a fancy cheese plate.

Here is what you need:
3 cheeses (one soft like goat or brie, one medium like cheddar or gouda, and one hard like gruyere or parmesan or asiago)
2 kinds of crackers (a table water cracker like Carrs and a more substantial one with seeds or nuts in it)
Dried fruit like apricots, dates, cranberries
Nuts like almonds or walnuts or pistachios

Arrange these all on the biggest plate you have, or a wooden cutting board and you will be good to go.

Now on to the Gifts:
Go to the drug store.
1. DO NOT BUY the heart shaped box of chocolates. They are cheap and gross.


2. DO NOT BUY the stupid teddy bear. It is tacky and thoughtless.


3. DO BUY a card and make sure it isn't for a grandparent or a christening.

4. DO BUY your date's favorite candy bar. Actually, buy 5. This is way more thoughtful than a red box of shitty chocolates they won't like.

If you don't know their favorite, buy a sampler of your favorites. Worst case scenario, they won't like one and you get to eat it. Score!

5. DO BUY a spool of red ribbon and wrap those candy bars up together.

6. DO BUY a pretty lotion or lipstick or nail polish if she likes makeup. Or shaving cream in a nice bottle if he shaves. Make sure you DO NOT BUY anything like acne lotion. Even if he or she is a total pizza-face. It's not the time to suggest self-improvements.

7. That's it!
Now you have a cute picnic and a nice little gift and card.

see you next year.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Word to the Wise: Mai Cashmere sample sale

Mai Cashmere is having a sample sale and it would be a great place to go for a last-minute Valentine's day gift for a nice lady in your life or for yourself.

Sample Sally has the score:
You’ll find deals on women’s spring cashmere, cotton, linen, scarves and more… The label’s signature scarves (cashmere, linen blends) will start at $35 for actual samples and $65 for stock.  Basic cotton and linen knitwear pieces will be $20 as will  short-sleeved cashmere tops. Long-sleeved cashmere basics will be tagged at $30, cardigans are at $50.  Plus, the $10 bins will return with past season and irregular items.
 Here is an example of the long sleeved cashmere basics that will be $30:
Wide V-Neck Tee
$30 Wide V neck long sleeved cashmere top (originally $355)

These pants would be my pick if I saw them:

Yoga Pant 
$385 Cashmere Yoga Pants

Or maybe this dress:

V-Neck Dress
 $495 Cashmere V neck sweater dress

Or this robe:
$1,850 Shawl collar robe

Ahhh I love cashmere so much. I want to just live in silk and cashmere.

Mai Cashmere Showroom
49 West 38th Street (b/w 6th & 5th Aves), Floor 12A 
Feb 12-14 (11am-6pm).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I went to the Limited sample sale and all I got was... Ok I got a bunch

Remember that Limited Sample Sale last week?
Well this one was not as enormous as in the past and even though I got there around lunchtime on the first day, things were mostly gone!

And, like I predicted in that post, I had to battle it out with a bunch of middle aged Asian ladies for the remainders.

In sales past, as I call them "the glory days," there were tops and dresses and pants and skirts galore. Mostly in size 6 and 8. It was amazing. There were even some wedding dresses!
And tons of work staples.

This time, I mostly saw Eloquii stuff (their plus size label) and lots of damaged pieces.

I hung around the bins, waiting for cast-offs from the ladies deciding what they were not going to take.
It did pay off, I snagged a few fun pieces, but I had to toss back most for being cut/damaged.

Here is what I ended up with all folded on my bed

From left to right:
-white lace dress $5
-gold and brown drapey sweater $5
-light blue skinny jeans $5
-red velvet wide leg pants $5
-cobalt blue work pants $5
-orange printed maxi dress $5

And some things for my sister:
-white lacey 3/4 sleeve top $5
-dark skinny jeans with orange racing stripe $5
-black jumpsuit $5
-striped blue and white tee $5
-black sequin tee $5

Total $55
Not bad!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

DIY Sitting and Standing Desk

 Materials: 2x Lack Wall Shelf (191cm), 2x Expedit Shelving Units (2x2) , 1x Expedit Desk, 6x Lack Shelf (26cm)

I saw this great post on Ikea Hackers and thought you guys would want to see it.

Standing desks are the new hot thing, but it's hard to justify spending a thousand dollars replacing your current desk just to see if you like it.
The benefits of standing desks are that they're supposed to help you feel more energized, burn more calories, prevent heart disease, and generally be better than sitting in one position all day.

But you can't stand the whole time. Your feet get tired and you need a rest.
Or you are concentrating really hard and need to sit.

So most people with standing desks also have a table or a chair or somewhere they can sit for a while during the day.

Right now, there are a bunch of adjustable desks on the market that you can raise and lower, but as easy and light as they make it, I would not want to do that. I like things in their places and I would probably forget to adjust it ever.

I'd be much happier with a dual sitting and standing desk, but I don't see many on the market.

Luckily I work from home where I have a bar height counter I can stand at, and my regular desk to sit at, but I bet I'd switch more often if they were right next to each other and convenient.

That's why this Ikea hack really appealed to me.
You get both desks, right next to each other, and it looks like one unit instead of two shoved together.

Read the original poster's take on it here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Stimulating hair wash

Ok so this stimulating hair wash recipe comes from a Victorian beauty quiz (which I knew way too many answers to for some reason, btw).

It is a hair rinse, but I'd also probably drink it.
Is that the point? Was it a "hair rinse?" wink wink nudge nudge slash excuse for women to get drunk?

Who knows.
One recipe for stimulating hair wash: A handful each of rosemary leaves and box (eucalyptus) leaves, boiled in a quart of water until it becomes a pint; strain, and, when cold, add a gill (4 oz.) of rum. Pour into bottles and cork them down.
Where can I get some eucalyptus to try this out?

I already have rosemary from the food coop.

Victorian era dress

Monday, February 4, 2013

Word to the wise: Limited $5 sample sale is back! Feb 7-8


9AM – 7 PM

9AM – 4PM




As you might remember, this sale is awesome and always super packed.
You will have to wait on line behind a lot of Chinese women (I have no idea why they love this sale in particular but it's like 96% Chinese women who go), but the wait will be worth it.
Because you can get your whole new wardrobe for the next year there for $100.

Some things I buy at the sale I don't end up wearing a ton, like a blue scuba-inspired dress, but others I wear all the time, like the 4 pencil skirts in different fabrics that were an awesome choice. It all evens out I think. Plus I got my sister some fun colored jeans at the last one.

There are clothes and some shoes and bags, but I think the dresses, pants and tops are the best offerings.

Last time I was there, I even saw wedding dresses, which was kind of crazy.

Also they have some samples from other designers that I guess they are taking inspiration from? Or something? I got a Massimo Dutti floral dress last time which was a great find.

Good luck!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Urban Outfitters Apartment section Sale surfing

Hippo Toothbrush Holder
$7.99 Hippo toothbrush holder (was $12)
A great accessory for a kids bathroom (or my bathroom) and much cuter than a random metal thing from Target.

Magical Thinking Geo Empire Duvet Cover
$39.99 Zig Zag duvet cover (was $89)
This is a very on-trend look now. And in 8 years when chevrons are dated, you can get a new one knowing you only spent 40 bucks on it.
The review says it is not soft, but since it is 100% cotton, it should soften up with a few washings.

Spider Byte Cord Holder
$1.99 Spider Byte cord holder (was $8)
 You unscrew its body and wind your cord around it, then pop the top back on to keep everything from getting tangled. $2 is the right amount to pay for this.

Fun Earbud Headphones - Disco
$5.99 Disco ball ear buds (was $12)
Party in your ears! I wonder if they only play disco music.

Assembly Home Mirrored Diamond Rug
$14.99 Geometric rug (was $59)
I contend that Urban Outfitters has the best cheap rugs you can find. I have one I really like from there and the patterns and prices are continually surprisingly good.
This one is 3' x 5'.

OK this one isn't on sale but I like it:
Functional Art Bunny Bank
$24 Functional Art Bunny
Why didn't they call this "Money Bunny"?!
That is clearly the best name for a piggy bank in the shape of a rabbit. Duh
I want this!

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