Friday, July 31, 2009

"i carried a watermelon" - inspired by the farmer's market

tuesday's post about flowers reminded me that i haven't been to the union square greenmarket in about a month. shame on me since i vowed this past winter to try to eat more local and sustainable foods. the greenmarket gets a bad reputation for being pricier than a regular old grocery store and i used to think the exact same thing. that is, until i learned more about the benefits of eating local, seasonal and sustainable food last year when my chef friend andrea launched the good knife and i read michael pollan's the omnivore's dilemma. now that i understand "the true cost of food," i'll happily spend my money at the greenmarket for so many reasons (i'll save you the the book to learn what they are).

food philosophy aside, i'm going to head up to the greenmarket during lunch today with a $20 bill and the goal of getting as many of the in-season, local ingredients for a watermelon and feta salad as possible (and maybe some fresh cookies for dessert). the balance of sweet and savory flavors is so refreshing - and it's easy to make. perfect for the trip to the beach that nick and i are planning for saturday!
  • 6 cups watermelon, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • half of a small red onion, sliced into thin half-moons and soaked in ice water for 15 minutes to tone down the bite
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives
  • bunch of chopped mint leaves (enough to fill one hand)
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
p.s. i'm bringing my thomas paul tote bag to the market so i don't have to pull a dirty dancing ("i carried a watermelon").

Thursday, July 30, 2009

gilt for cheapies like me launches 8/12

i check every single morning to prepare myself for the day's sales. and at noon on the dot i log in with my mouse poised. and at 12:01 i completely chicken out. i love the premium brands they feature and i love the deep discounts...but i'm the kinda girl that needs to toil over a $150+ purchase for days - not the 20 minutes they let you keep things in your cart.

that's why it was music to my ears to hear they're launching a sister site for cheapies like me - gilt fuse ("fusing fashion and affordability"). from what i hear, their first day's sale will feature brands like plenty by tracey reese and bcbg at price points between $75 and $150. i'm excited yet i'm not because i'm wondering if the selection will be any different from the sale rack at my local lord and taylor...either way, my morning routine just got one website longer.

if you're already a member of gilt, you'll have immediate access to gilt fuse. if not, you'll need an invitation.
email me

p.s. rachel pally and gorjana are on hautelook today at 11am eastern. i think i'm gonna go for gorjana first - i'm daydreaming of a few specific pieces right now. i'll post if i find anything fab!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

as seen in lucky and real simple - starburst clutch

even though fall lines are hitting stores, i'm such a summer girl that i shop for this season until there isn't a single summer item left at a single retailer. so when i saw last night that this sweet as spring opal clutch is back in stock on (or almost...backordered til 8/5), i practically had a heart attack. i fell in love with the combination of vintage look and warm weather feel when i first saw it featured in lucky a while back and of course it was sold out when i went to purchase...and here it is. i think it's fate.

it goes for $68.50 and 10% off promo code DelightSuperFriends works like a charm. btw, if you're not into the multi-colored look but you like the shape, it also comes in apple, ocean, punch and mango.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

fresh flowers on every street corner

one thing i absolutely love about new york city is the overwhelming supply of fresh cut flowers on every street corner. it seems that every bodega and grocery store in the five boroughs has loads and loads of practically any flower you can imagine. my friend megan and i were just saying a few weeks ago that you can't find that sort of thing anywhere else in the country - especially at the prices these flowers go for. i absolutely love stopping at a bodega on my way home with only a $10 bill in my hand - and walking away with a pocket full of change and a gorgeous fresh bouquet for the kitchen counter or coffee table. I DIE (to quote rachel zoe) for these in-season sunflowers and i also love a short vase filled with white hydrangea with hot pink peonies (maybe to match my punchy pink essie nail color this week?).

Monday, July 27, 2009

who doesn't love a hostess gift?

i've always struggled to come up with a unique thank you or hostess gift. that is, until i came across table topics - a box full of conversation starters - during a weekend in florida for katie's bachelorette party with some of my favorite ladies. the six of us spent hours getting to know each other even better thanks to the girls night out version (the champagne mojitos may have helped too).

i had a few girls in mind who i knew would love it - and who i knew i'd need a thank you or hostess gift for - so i got home from katie's bachelorette party and found them on immediately. at $25 a pop plus free super saver shipping, they're the perfect thing to order ahead of time. just pull from the closet, wrap and gift when needed!

a few of you may find them in your own gift bags at some point or another...

Friday, July 24, 2009

jumpsuits for late summer and fall

my obsession with rompers has now turned into an obsession with jumpsuits, especially now that all of the fall lines are starting to hit stores. i've been doing some exploring online and fell in love with one by halston. being that i will never own anything halston in my entire life (*sigh*), i continued on and came across a nice range of options - starting from almost $1,000 all the way down to "the look for less" for $28. since i'm a girl on a budget and am rarely able to buy anything over $100, i think the runner up to the halston is #8 from lulus fashion lounge. being that the rompers from lulus (see old post) didn't work out, i may have to send them back in exchange for the jumpsuit!

1) caroline hedaya jumpsuit on sale for $284.90 on
2) jay godfrey strapless jumper for $472 on
3) halston silk draped jumpsuit for $958.50 on
4) elizabeth and james oasis jumpsuit for $425 on
5) bop basics jumpsuit for $138 on
6) t-bags wide leg jumpsuit for $198 on
7) nine west foreign affair wide leg jumpsuit for $130 on
8) collective concepts pfieffer pantaloons for $68 on
9) forever 21 layered ruffle jumpsuit for $27.80 on

Thursday, July 23, 2009

remember swatch watches?

it seems lately there have been a ton of styles coming back that remind me of elementary school (see fishtail reference from yesterday). not the least of which is that swatch has come back big time, and this full-blooded gold swatch watch is pretty cool. it seems to have swept the nation - walking down the streets in the fashion district here in nyc, every hip woman seems to be wearing it and i've also seen it on a bunch of celebs, not the least of which include some of the new jersey housewives (wait, did i just bucket them in the "celeb" category???). it's nice and chunky on the wrist and the diamonds on the inside add a little tiny bit of extra bling - making it more a piece of statement jewelry rather than a regular old timepiece. it looks good worn with a casual outfit but works when dressed up, too.

i've had my eye on it for a few months and just yesterday saw it on jomashop for $116.99 (regular retail is $150) plus an extra $10 off with promo code "SUMMER". it's no cartier, but it's a fun accessory! and it fits right in with my recent gold obsession...

p.s. remember swatch guards so the watch face doesn't get scratched? ahhh the good old days.

p.p.s. if you're in the market and you're ok with spending a bit more, there's also this gold oversized chronograph watch by michael kors. LOVE!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

growing out hair with the help of braids and dry shampoo

braids have been back for quite some time now and i'm writing to reiterate how much i appreciate them. i'm in the process of growing out my bangs and could never get through the day without a handy little braid to hold them out of my face. the above are just a few of my go-to styles -- the top left of nicole richie is my absolute fave. according to the la times, the next hot look is the fishtail, but i'm not sure if i'll ever get back into that look...too many 6th grade memories, maybe (famous last words).

in addition to growing out my bangs, i'm also trying to grow my hair the final two inches i need before i can donate it to pantene's beautiful lengths. in an attempt to keep my hair healthy with minimal cutting and on the advice of every beauty/hair expert out there, i've been trying not to wash it everyday. so my new best friend is psssssst spray shampoo. it zaps up oil and makes hair feel instantly clean without "real" shampooing. available from (and i've seen it at regular old drugstores, too) for $5.99, it's the steal of the century. only words of warning -- i've heard that on dark hair it can leave white powder if you spray too much, so you may want to spring for the version made for brunettes. it's only an extra two bucks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

new new wayfarers

i've been pining away for a new pair of sunglasses all summer long, trying them on left and right to find a pair to fit my teeny tiny head (it's really small...really really really small). i love my ray-ban aviators so was excited to come across ray-ban's new wayfarers (that's their name - new wayfarers). they're smaller than the originals, they come in multiple sizes and colors, and they're cheaper than the originals, too. they retail for $109 but i found them on amazon for less than $80 from the merchant eyewear everywhere. i'm really glad i found next option was going to be the ray-ban junior/kids styles.

Monday, July 20, 2009

summer appetizer - no oven needed

i had a few girls over for my very first swap party on friday night. it was a huge success and everyone walked away with a few new items added to their wardrobes (if you're wondering what a swap party is, click here). being that it was 85 degrees and what felt like 600% humidity, i made it my mission to only serve appetizers that didn't require turning on the oven. my homemade mango salsa was a huge hit! although i usually try to shop at the greenmarket for local, seasonal produce, i had to hit up my neighborhood shoprite for the non-tri-state-area-grown ingredients. it makes a lot so cut it in half if you're not making it for a party.
  • 3 mangos, peeled and diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeno (add more if you like it hot)
  • half of a red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 big handful of roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 3 avocados (chill them beforehand so they don't mush up when you mix them into the rest of the ingredients)

mix everything together and season with salt and pepper. serve cold with multigrain tostitos. if you have leftovers, serve over pork tenderloin or fish. i may even add black beans to it next time...

Friday, July 17, 2009

luxury hand soap?

if you had asked me a year ago what the heck makes molton brown hand wash (yes wash, not soap) worth the regular retail price of $25, i would have looked at you in disbelief - $25?! but ever since trying it at houston's restaurant on park ave (they all have my favorite naran ji scent hand wash in their bathrooms), i'm a believer.

i've come <---> this close to purchasing in the past but always talk myself out of it. i mean, $25 on a 10 oz bottle of soap? but just yesterday i found it on sale for $18.75 on the bath and body works website (they're owned by the same company). still a lot, but now that it's under the $20 threshold, i might have to bite the bullet. my friend christy will back me up on this one...she shares my love for it. i think it's totally worth it for a guest bathroom next to some really plush, soft hand towels. now if only i had a guest bathroom! well whatever. i think i'll run over to the molton brown store on spring street during lunch today to see if they'll do a price match so i don't have to pay for shipping...

p.s. on the off chance they don't price match at the store, i'll probably still spring for it - bath and body works is having a today-only special on shipping. $4 no matter what with promo code 4SHIP.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

finallllllly...i found my dark colored romper(s)!

if you're a regular reader, you are aware that i've been on a quest for a navy/black/grey romper for a few weeks now. i've come across a bunch of potential winners...but in true annie fashion have decided to be super picky and wait until i found just the right one at just the right price. the goal was to find one that is appropriate for work yet cute enough to dress up for a night on the town - and also workable into the early fall to get maximum usage out of it. yep, a tall order, i'd say. i found the best options on - the tweedle dee romper in navy and the scooter romper in black (i also looooove the little lucy romper in black - not pictured - but it didn't meet all of my criteria). we'll see once they get here which one wins (or if i'll pull a "martha" and send them both back)!

p.s. be advised that if you order from, their mention of "standard - two-day overnight" shipping on the home page apparently doesn't mean "standard = two-day overnight". it means there's "standard" and there's "two-day overnight". don't get your hopes up like i did. it's been a week and UPS says my package is on a truck somewhere in the midwest.

p.p.s. i used coupon code "FACEBOOK FAN" (because i am) for 20% off! if that doesn't work for you, just google "lulus coupon code" - there were a bunch when i did the same.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

baby steps to being grown up

this bedroom photo from crate and barrel is my ultimate dream come true. i think it is absolutely gorgeous - modern, sophisticated and just so so so pretty. as part of our quest to live like grown-ups with grown-up furniture, nick and i recently splurged on the bed frame in the photo (the colette bed from crate and barrel). i'm completely obsessed with it.

and as part of our continued quest to live like grown-ups with grown-up furniture, i have had my eye on the accompanying dubois mirrors. their antique finish is really neat in person - no two mirrors are alike - and i love the way they look when hung up in two rows of three. i have a friend who has them (she lives like a grown-up) and they look really nice on a wall above her dining room table. they're on sale right now for $159 for a set of two, marked down from $179. and i just happen to have a 10% off coupon they sent me a few weeks might be the time to splurge!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

30% off yumi kim - thanks, lucky mag! ...MAKE THAT 50%!

UPDATE: friends and family sale is going on until tomorrow (7/15) and you'll get 50% off with promo code "ykfamily" (thanks, martha).

some of my early blog readers may remember when i wrote about yumi kim in my very first week on-air (seems like ages ago, doesn't it?). yumi kim is a contemporary line designed by kim phan with a flagship store in nyc, and is "inspired by vintage prints and silhouettes with a touch of funk and urban femininity." i've seen so many really hip girls breezing around the city in her unstoppable prints - versatile enough to run errands or a night on the town for a girls night out.

yumi kim is featured in this month's lucky mag (awesome press coverage!) and they're offering 30% off to lucky readers. just go online to and enter "luckybreaks8" at checkout. i personally have my eye on this nicole romper and bella top.

kim even has a blog (she sometimes posts friends and family events or sale info)!

Monday, July 13, 2009

gold rush

gold was never a big part of my life until a few seasons ago when it started popping up all over the place in my closet - buttons, shoes, bags, sunglasses, headbands, yadda yadda. so since my army of gold accessories has been expanding, i came to realize i had a huge gaping hole where a gold belt should be. i haven't been on a mission or anything, but i've known in the back of my head for the past few weeks that i should be keeping an eye out for one. so when i went to the j.crew women's store on friday to check out the new fall line, i was pleasantly suprised by two things: 1) since opening the new men's store a few blocks away on broadway, they've dedicated the entire prince street location to the women's line...therefore making it even more spacious with room for even more inventory and 2) since there's more room for inventory, that means more room for SALE STUFF!

i was perusing the sale racks downstairs and came across this perfect skinny leather belt in gold - marked down from $29.99 to $12.99 PLUS an extra 20% because it's final sale. i'm having issues with the website right now because the sale price is being squirrely and isn't showing up - but i swear i got it on sale at the store.

phew, my life decked out in gold is now complete.

Friday, July 10, 2009

saving an old friend (trying, at least)

i'm a huge fan of trying to make a pair of shoes last for more than one season - which is a pretty big feat (not feet) after they are beat to sh*t on the streets of manhattan. i have always made it my mission to find a top notch cobbler wherever i live and they can usually work magic and whip up a resole or repair in no time for a reasonable price.

so when the strap started to come loose from my ultimate absolute favorite numero uno amaaaaazing nude leather steve madden t-straps after a solid summer and a half, i didn't panic. that is, until i got to the cobbler. he took one look at them and said "it's not worth it." so: 1) that particular cobbler is elevated in my book since he gave me an honest answer instead of taking my money and 2) i went straight to my computer to scour the internets so i could re-buy the same shoes. and they are NOWHERE. TO. BE. FOUND.

but there is some good news to come of this - i found a really great (and pretty similar) pair made by dolce vita (called the able) on - for $25 less than anywhere else and with free overnight shipping (thank you zappos for starting that trend). they're really comfy, i love the basket situation on the heel and they're sleek/minimal enough in the front that they don't make me look any stumpier than i already am.

in the meantime, i've also whipped out the krazy glue to make my ole' faves last just a tiny bit longer. they're reserved for special occasions, of course, and i have a backup pair of flops in my purse just in case there's a sidewalk blowout.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

RIP LC (no, not lauren conrad)

sob sob tear tear. when my alma mater, loyola college in maryland, decided to move forward with changing the name to loyola university maryland, i personally had no real objections (there was some major dramz, let me tell you). but now that it's actually happening, the overly sensitive and sentimental part of me is getting really really sad! so many things have changed at loyola already that have been easier to swallow, probably because i'm not there in person to see it happening (e.g. the death of gators, new bizarroooo names for residence halls, chipotle opening on york road, tackleberry making a sting...or not). but this change is having a bigger impact on me.

i think maybe it's hitting me so hard because i'll no longer be able to buy loyola college gear. the good news to come out of all this is that everything with "college" on it at the loyola bookstore is 50% off. maybe i should stock up. anything with "loyola college" on it is TOTALLY vintage, after all.
no, really, i am buying the onesies for friends. too cute to pass up. RIP LC, you will be missed.

one day...weekly pedis...a girl can dream *sigh*

i think one area where i'm really a girly-girl is that i love wearing nail polish and i love trying new and different shades. now living in the jerz, i've come to realize that there are certain things that are cheaper in nyc than anywhere else in the world: 1) breakfast sandwiches and 2) pedicures. however, i still don't let myself go to the nail salon unless i REALLY REALLY crave it or need it. so i've taught myself how to do a pretty good job of painting my own. every few months i'll toil for a few days over which color i can't live without and head to my local ricky's to make the purchase. my current favorites are all by OPI (sometimes they even come with extra-wide brushes = awesome) and i'm in a constant struggle for which to put on my little piggies next.
  1. curry up don't be late = a lower-key metallic that looks best with a fresh summer tan
  2. russian navy in matte = i think this matte version of the dark blue is super-chic
  3. OPI on collins ave = a serious pop of orangey-red color for those weekend jaunts to miami (ha)
  4. feelin' hot hot hot = i love nothing more than a neony bubble gum pink on summer feet
at ten-ish dollars per bottle from ricky's, i really like building my own collection and giving myself a toe makeover pretty often. hmmm...which color should i use next???

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

my favorite leisure suit (normal people call them rompers or jumpers)

when they started flying off the racks earlier this year, i wasn’t so sure i’d be a leisure suit kinda girl. but after finding one by prairie new york in an awesome blue and yellow anchor print – same print, different colors than pictured – i was a changed woman. i consider it my casual weekend leisure suit and i can say with confidence that it is one of the things i’ve worn most often this summer. super comf, light stretch jersey silk, nice fit, lots of compliments.

and i’m super excited that prairie new york – one of my faves – is going to be on hautelook tomorrow (weds 7.8)! the sale starts at 11am eastern and includes a number of exclusive styles and colors with the prairie new york signature elements – lots of embellishments, rosettes and stones. rumor has it this may be our only chance to get these particular styles and colors, so needless to say i’ll be waiting at the computer at 10:59am with the mouse in one hand and my fingers crossed on the other. let me know if you need a hautelook invite and i’ll hook it up asap!

p.s. i cannot take credit. thanks, martha, for renaming rompers “leisure suits”.

p.p.s. for those of you interested in my quest for the perfect black or grey leisure suit for $40 or less, i have been scouring the universe. forever 21 – strike one. h&m – strike two. bloomies – strike three. zara – strike four. lulus – strike five. nolita boutiques – strike six. yadda yadda yadda. i have a new lead on one today so I’ll let you guys know if it pans out!

p.p.p.s. sorry for the late post today. dang you, verizon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

shopping at the mall + july 4th = american

after a lovely weekend relaxing and enjoying america, nick and i went for a stroll last night and ended up at the newport centre mall in our now-native jerz city. having lived in new york city for so long, the idea of going to a mall is actually kinda exciting...the scent of the food court, the token pet store with tortured puppies, the children screaming after having their ears pierced at claire's accessory boutique...ahhhh memories.

the mall itself isn't the cat's meow but they get the job done, i guess...especially considering i found this painted floral silk top at forever 21! the photo doesn't really do it justice - the colors are really bright and it's nice and flowy but still flattering. a good find for $16.90, i'd say. the only bummer is that i didn't find that shorts jumper/romper situation i mentioned last thursday...hopefully this week. i've made it my mission.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

i heart america

yay america! happy independence day! i'm looking forward to many fourth of july activities this weekend including laying by the pool, drinking some st. germain and bubbly, seeing the hangover, going for a bike ride, visiting the new zeppelin hall beer garden in jersey city, watching the macy's fireworks from my apartment window (yet another perk of moving to the jerz city waterfront)...and possibly visiting a few of my favorite retailers (i think i'm in the market for a shorts jumpsuit/romper situation). i'm a teensy bit overwhelmed with all of the emails i've gotten about holiday sales this weekend so i'm sure there will be tons to write about on monday. enjoy the long weekend!!

isn't all clothing necessary?

since starting this blog i have come to realize that most of my most-frequented shopping locations are my dirty little secret. one of the most embarrassing is that i go to necessary clothing in noho on a regular basis. i think the first time i went i was wearing a trench coat and sunglasses so that no one would recognize me or see me come in/out. but my dirty little secret became a little easier to swallow after i recently asked a girl on the street where she got her super cute dress. after quietly replying in a hushed tone, "necessary objects on broadway," i thought she was going to faint from relief when i exclaimed, "i love that place!"

although the store is tiny, the service is horrible and not to mention slower than slow, the deals just can't be beat. yes, some of their stuff is totally from the jcpenney juniors section and you have to weed through the crap, but they also have hidden gems for waaaaaay less than in other stores, like:
- $20 sundresses i've seen at urban outfitters for $80.
- ultra stretch wifebeater tanks with pretty gold and silver trim for $6.
- and my new favorite staple, this jersey wrap sweater in both steel blue and white for $18. one could argue that i consider practically everything in my closet a "staple", but this wrap sweater truly is. necessary clothing doesn't have a website but they have a store in noho and one in soho. my favorite is broadway and great jones. yes, i've been to both (*hangs head in shame*).

p.s. sorry sorry sorry for the tuuuuuurrrrible photo of me taken with my phone, but i couldn't find a photo anywhere on the world wide web!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

the cutest teeniest tiniest earrings ever

i came across catbird's lowercase stud earrings on daily candy a while back and couldn't get them out of my head. so i fiiiiiiiiiiinally stopped torturing myself a few weeks ago and ran over to the catbird store in williamsburg to pick myself up a little teeny tiny "d" for my second hole, along with two "w"s for my best friend - the first letter of her new last name. i got into work the next day and showed my coworker how cute they are and she, too, ran over to catbird to get herself a "m" for her first name and a "b" for her last name (one for each ear so when she introduces herself she just turns her head left and right, hilarious). and just yesterday i showed them to another coworker looking for a birthday gift for his girlfriend and he, too, ran over to catbird to get a pair of "c"s.

each stud is $28 in silver and $40 in 14k gold. the catbird store itself is also suuuuuuper cute and they have a really nice selection of jewelry, accessories and other small gifts. definitely worth the trek over to brooklyn (or cost of shipping from their online shop, if you're not lucky enough to have brooklyn only one stop away on the L train).

p.s. that's not me - photos are from catbird's website.