Happy Thanksgiving! Did you gobble up the turkey or go out early bargain hunting?
A few years ago my husband came home after Black Friday in-store shopping with bruised ribs and no TV to show for it. Ever since that incident, I insist we buy everything online. It seems there are many other shoppers who share my attitude because it is so much easier than trooping to a store and braving the midnight cold and crowd.
Stores are welcoming the change and finding new ways to reach their customers. Last night through the whole Thanksgiving meal my phone was filling up with emails offering me to shop here and save there. While we were still eating turkey, stores were begging to open and encourage shoppers to abandon their thanks giving and do some buck saving instead. With that in mind, let's just say neither Thanksgiving nor Black Friday are quite what they used to be.
Two years ago I stayed up all night bargain-hunting on the web. This year, some sales started as early as mid-November. So for Black Friday this year I slept in. And when I woke up - there was even more deals to go around! Here's a few of the best ones:
got some crazy doorbusters plus an extra 50% off all sale items, plus an extra 50% off all shoes and bags! I know it's a love/hate thing with Forever21
, but at these prices it's worth at least a look :)
There are some benefits to being a girl. Guys let you go first and even open doors for you. You can hide blemishes with a concealer. You can have as many shoes as you want (or can can afford to stuff in your closet ;) And you can have jewels, and they are pretty and sparkle and make your eyes shine!
You can also be silly, which is probably one of my favorite perks of them all :)
Sure, there are some downfalls like financial inequality, monthly stomach cramps and years of oppression and domination by the opposite sex, but I don't want to talk about that today. After all, must it always come down to men, money and periods? No. Sometimes you just need to enjoy being a girl. So put your favorite necklace and some heels on, darling, you are so lovely today :)
Back in my high school days I used to dream of Coach
sneakers. I used to dream of sneakers, period - because my feet would always be killing me in cheap uncomfortable heels, but Coach sneakers in particular were the peak of my desires at the time! They had the logo print which identifies the brand right away and these cool velcro straps that were so popular back then. I'd go to Macy's, try them on and plead with my mom. Then I'd give them back to the salesperson and go home. At the time, we just arrived to America, and my parents were more concerned with buying a car than a pair of cool sneakers.
A few years later, I got a summer job giving out flyers. It involved standing up all day so to treat myself for all those hours of baking in the sun on my feet I bought myself a pair of Coach sneakers and I couldn't have been more happier! That ended the obsession :)
A few weeks ago I was in Macy's in Herald Square checking out their newly re-designer shoe paradise on the second floor. One of the many brands they had on display was Coach. It got me thinking about those High School days and I realized I haven't thought much about the brand since (except for when they came out with Legacy bags
). Now I was pleasantly surprised that their selection goes way beyond sneakers and flats, and they also offer very chic pumps and stylish flat boots.
So although I no longer feel like I'm willing to sell my soul (and my entire summer) for a pair of sneakers, Coach is still on my shopping list even though my dream brand list has grown a few more names since high school. Who was your dream brand in high school? Whoever it was, hope those teenage dreams came true for you at some point!
Last few weeks I've felt a bit overwhelmed. It's a busy season for shopping right now, as it gets colder, the holidays get closer and things go on sale. So I've been working a lot of hours, answering a lot of messages, making a lot of to do lists because all of it couldn't fit in my head. For every thing I checked off the list, two more popped up...
Another thing that was pressing on me is the enormous giftbag I received at LuckyFabb
. It was actually two bags - one for each day of the conference. And if my husband picked me up the first day, the second day I faced a crazy challenge of hauling the humongous thing in the picture above from one borough to another. (Thank you SnapSac
for making a bag that can carry it all!)
After LuckyFabb, all the stuff I received continued to pile up on my kitchen table for about a week. It was simply too much too deal with. Then, slowly, I started to sort through it. Because it was a conference for fashion and beauty bloggers, the gift bags contained bags, jewelry and lots of beauty goodies to try out. I didn't want to rush into it and give something a positive review just because it came in a pretty bottle. So I'm taking my time to try everything out and then highlight the products I liked best.
For now, here is a recap of five things that I enjoyed best so far plus one more special one :)
It's a love/hate relationship I got with Forever21. On the one hand, they offer so many goodies - trendy and cheap, which are two of a fashionista's favorite words :) On the other hand, as anyone who ever tried to call Forever21 customer service number would know, they offer almost zero support accompanied by a forty minute long hold. And although I am generally picky about how service is delivered, Forever21 is one of those stores I come back to for years now. Just like I said in a previous post
- some trends I am not prepared to invest in. And Forever21 got them all at an affordable price. So every few weeks I find myself browsing their website
What about you? Which one do you prefer - an affordable price tag or a good customer service experience?
Most Popular for November:
I have a thing for attention-getting shoes. At one point I found myself with all sorts of pumps possible, creative wedges and fancy sneakers with absolutely no comfortable "every days" shoes to wear. And do you think it stopped me? No, I went on buying more eye-catching shoes. To me, they are almost like pieces of art that you see on your feet every time you look down. And that makes me smile. That's all the excuse I need to buy a new pair :)
While browsing through a shoe department I came across these fancy creations labeled Steve Madden. Turned out it was a special edition collection by Keyshia Cole for the brand. Eye-catching at it's finest here!
More from Steve Madden Fall Collection:
Eva Mendes' appearance on LuckyFabb
can only be described as star-striking. It was one of the very few times in my life when I was completely silenced into total appreciation (anyone who knows me personally understands what sort of impact she must have had on me in order for that
to happen.) Everything about Eva, from her mimics to body language to her amazingly graceful and sensual walk, is strikingly in alignment with the media persona she projects yet feels absolutely genuine and heartfelt.
The audience immediately felt comfortable with her and in awe. Her warm smile, comfortable pose and sincere responses made it feel like an evening chat with some girlfriends rather than an on-stage interview with a famous actress and editor in chief of Lucky Magazine. (At one point, when someone asked her who makes her sexy nude pumps, she took a shoe off to read the label on the inside - Rupert Sanderson
- and then shrugged and added - "yeah, that guy
" :) Yet, after that, she did another thing that blew us away even more.
Eva mentioned that she loves experimenting with her style, and one of the things she is always playing around with is hair accessories. Than she decided to get up and ask the audience for a scarf. There was a volunteer right away, sitting behind me. Ms. Mendes asked if it would be ok if she tied the scarf around her hair to which the girl responded with "Of course!" (I'd frame that scarf now, if I was her :)
Then Eva got back to her seat and in about three seconds created a chic concoction on her head without any help or even a mirror! This was immediately photographed, blogged and instagrammed by dozen of attendees and we all felt completely in love with her! It was such a cute, girly thing to do!
Eva shared more than just hair styling techniques, she told us about her life growing up, pre-Hollywood, and about how it inspired her new clothing line currently available at New York & Co
. Turns out that Ms. Mendes is actually a first-generation American, her family is from Cuba. Before she became a rich and famous actress, her and her mom, a lower-middle class family, often went window shopping back at home, it was a ritual for them. So when designing a collection, one of the things that was important to Eva was to collaborate with a brand that could make her clothes affordable, for anyone who wants them. Eva Chen, the editor in chief of Lucky Magazine mentioned that editors at Lucky loved the collection, their favorite was this sugar-pink one button Milano coat:
The way Eva Mendes spoke about her culture and family showed how proud she is of her background and where she comes from. It was really endearing and inspiring to hear, as my own background is somewhat similar - I am also from an immigrant family and I also took window shopping, something my mom and I love to do, and turned into this blog and business. It really shows that your background is never something to be ashamed of or forgotten, rather something that can drive and inspire you through your whole life!
The interview concluded with Eva Chen (the editor) asking Eva Mendes (the actress) (I know, it was confusing :) a series of quick questions to which Eva Mendes was suppose to give one word answers, but no one could (or would want to) stop her from elaborating. I loved her answers, and they really defined the persona she projected and the style she carried and translated into her clothing line. To me, they are very close to the essence of femininity:Q: Lipstick or Gloss?A: Lipstick. Definitely only lipstick.
Eva said that she has so much going on on her face that shiny lips "make it look like wow! that's a lot!" She prefers smoky eyes to defined glossy lips.Q: Hair. Straight or curly?
Whatever you natural state is, that's the best. I believe a few ladies in the audience clapped to this, and I couldn't agree more!Q: Laptop or Desktop?
Enough said! :))Q: Clothes. Loose or fitted?
A: Fitted at the waist and loose all over.
That works for almost every body type and accentuates our figure while hiding any flaws. That vision is carried into Eva's collection for New York & Co
making it perfect for any wardrobe.Q: Heels or flats?
A: Heels! Of course, I'm Cuban! Only Heels
:) And she looks amazing walking in them! The best advice on how to tie your hair with a scarf: with confidence!
Aside from the enormous gift bag which I'm still trying to work my way through, Eva Mendes's appearance was one of the biggest treats for all the fashion and beauty bloggers and professionals attending that day. Thank you again, Lucky Magazine
Eva Chen, Editor of Lucky Magazine
is wearing a DKNY
1990s turtleneck sweater she borrowed from her mom, a Marc Jacobs
dress, from her favorite designer of all times, socks she stole from her husband ("Sorry, Tom!") and Topshop
loafer-y shoes.Eva Mendes
is wearing top & skirt by Eva Mendes for New York & Co.
thrift shop belt and Rupert Sanderson
shoes (as she helped us discover :)Some outfit inspirations:
Unfortunately, Eva Mendes for New York & Co doesn't ship outside the United States. If you are in another country and would like to place and order for any of these products, contact us here
I don't feel like Halloween this year. I'm not a fan of dressing up in porn-movies-inspired costumes outdoors as it is, and I am plain scared of zombies or undead of any kind (in fact, late at night, before I fall asleep, I sometimes make a plan on how to escape in case of a zombie apocalypses) So it's just not my cup of tea. Considering hurricane Sandy hit this area a year ago around this time, the "Caution" tape people use to decorate their houses for "holiday spirit" plain annoys me (they were using the same tape last year, only to mark areas where water made building foundations collapse). Overall, today on Halloween, I feel like Grumpy Cat at a birthday party
. Even when my husband asked me if I got any Halloween candy, I replied with "To eat, right?"
So I'm rebelling against main stream, no costumes for me today! Instead, here is a recap of some of my favorite outfits I got to wear this year :)
You know, sometimes I don't feel completely sold on a trend. It seems like a good idea in a magazine, but when I put it on it's not exactly "me". Unfortunately, not every awesome designer creation fits over my awesome non-designer-sized butt :) And some of their brilliant couture ideas pinch my toes (such as the case with pointy-toe shoes
.) It won't stop me from loving or wanting the look, but it makes me think twice before spending big bucks on something that I won't wear a season from now.
That's where budget brands come in. Over the last five years, brands like Steve Madden
and Zara have mastered delivering trendy items just at the right time and for the right price. Some designers went a step further to offer separate product lines at different price rangers, like, in this case, BCBGMAXAZRIA
I came across BCBGeneration shoes in a local mall and I was delighted to see how many different styles they offer - not just chic pumps, but cozy booties and flats perfect for fall, even sneakers! All of them at an affordable price, allowing you to still enjoy a trend, even if it's more of a whim than a necessity. After all, a girl really can't have too many shoes!
I did it all wrong. At 7 am on Thursday morning (the day of LuckyFabb) I was sawing a button onto my skirt and the night before I had to rush back to my office because I forgot to print out my ticket. It was my first LuckyFabb and to say that I was unprepared is an understatement of the year. It got even worse: at 8:45 am, 15 minutes past the start of the conference, I was still strutting down West 43 st. desperately trying to find where the venue was! And it's not like I was traveling for the event to a new city, I live in New York!!
Well, that's me at my finest. I'm a total mess sometimes! I've learned to live with myself over the years. I just hope no one out there will repeat my mistakes!! That's why here is a check list of how to get ready for an important event: