Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mario Badescu: My Spa Gift to...ME

I decided to get myself yet another gift for the holidays: a spa treatment. I looked online at a few spas I've been to over the years, including Bliss, Soho Sanctuary and Mario Badescu. I decided to go with M.B. because they have a package called the "Quick Pick Me Up" that includes an hour massage, a facial, and a mani/pedi all for $165 (which is pretty good). And I walked there and back, so I got a pre- and post workout too. Happy New Year to me!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gift Cards and Returns and Cash...Oh My!

I asked for a red scarf for Christmas. And I got it. And then when I brought it home I thought, "why did I ask for this?" So I returned it (sorry mom) - but I got something so much better! A gold (OK, not real gold) Skagen watch. I can't get enough of these Skagen watches, I have four! Then I also had a gift card from Bloomingdale's, so I went there and bought some Laura Mercier makeup...and then with the remainder put a small dent in a Elie Tahari coat that I couldn't say no to. It is so great - the style I have been seeking, 30% off, and...IT FITS! Then I headed to the Apple store where I bought a new iPod (an 8GB Nano) that I love - they have made some vast improvements over the one I bought about a year and a half ago. And since I gave them my old one back for "recycling," I got 10% off. THEN I went to Sephora because I had another gift card (thanks mom) and I bought a bunch of other fun makeup odds and ends from Make Up For Ever, Smashbox and Stila. I swear that store is a candy store for women.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Casket Jewelry by Mariam Aryai-Rivera

The other night, my friend's friend was wearing a necklace with a giant gold clasp in the shape of an octopus. I was charmed, moved and...I found out the name of the designer. It's Mariam Aryai-Rivera.

Not only sea creatures, she also makes bracelets out of metal tags taken off of caskets...yes, caskets. Here's a bit about those: http://thehandoffatima.blogspot.com/2008/12/im-not-morbidreally.html

Here's what else I found out about her: "I am a jewelry designer from New York City, specializing in reconstruction of antique and vintage parts into one-of-a-kind pieces. I sell my work on http://www.thehandoffatima.etsy.com/. My work has been featured in BUST magazine, and newsday.com, along with several reputable blogs." (oooo, now she can include Guerilla Shopper too!)

website: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=104420
blog: http://thehandoffatima.blogspot.com/
portfolio: http://www.etsy.com/shop_sold.php?user_id=104420
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/6/406/6b4

Post Xmas Sales

Hi ladies, sorry I've been gone so long but I have been burning the holiday candles at both ends. But here are a couple of sales going on right now right now:

Also, if you received any gift cards, remember to spend them quickly - not only are a lot of stores going out of business fast and furiously, but also gift cards often lose their value over time until they are completely worthless. I got a couple and am planning to spend them within the next week.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Room & Board: Sample Event Dec. 26 - Jan 3

Room & Board
Not entirely my style, but I did buy a great dresser on clearance from them a couple of years ago (and blogged about it)...go check it out, because believe me, furniture stores NEED your money these days more than most kinds of stores...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Til Dec. 24: Neiman Marcus Last Call stores

If you are in a last-minute bind, you might want to check out the event taking place at all Neiman Marcus Last Call stores (http://www.nmlastcallclearancecenter.com/) going on until December 24th. Also, if you use a Neiman Marcus credit card you will save an additional 20% off on top of the sale prices. There will also be an after Christmas sale.

Dec. 27: Housing Works Thrift Shops’ Steven Alan Sale!

Housing Works Thrift Shops’ Steven Alan Sale!

Acclaimed New York-based designer Steven Alan has generously donated more than 1,000 items of brand-new women’s and men’s clothes to Housing Works. Every item in the entire Steven Alan donation—which also includes dozens of items from labels Lulu, Willa, Sophie, Sea and Reve Seam—will be priced at an incredible 70 percent off retail. Don’t miss racks and racks of women’s tops, dresses, shorts, camisole-shorts sets and sweaters and men’s shirts, pants and light jackets.

WHEN: Entire Steven Alan donation goes on sale December 27 at 11am

WHERE: Housing Works Thrift Shop, 143 W. 17th St. between 6th and 7th Avenues

PRICE: Sale is free. All items are 70 percent off retail.

BENEFITS: All Housing Works Thrift Shops profits go to lifesaving services for homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS. For more information on Housing Works’ mission and services, visit http://www.housingworks.org/.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Bill Blass - Gone for Good?

The company that bears the name of designer Bill Blass is closing its doors according to an announcement on December 17. Blass retired a decade ago and the latest company designer departed in October.The label was put up for sale earlier this year by its parent company, NexCen Brands Inc., which announced in May that it was facing a severe cash squeeze. NexCen is still trying to sell the brand.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Portolano Sample Sale: Dec, 8 - 23, 2008

Since everyone always seems to love this sale, it is currently "on" again:

Portolano Sample Sale
Many items below wholesale
December 8 - 23
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
(closed Saturday & Sunday)
15 W. 37th St. (11th Fl.)
NYC 10018

Major credit cards accepted

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Boerum Hill: 1-BR w/Private Garden for Rent


Looking to move into a solid one-bedroom apartment...SOON? The shopper may have your answer:

Recently renovated very large 1BR w/ great private garden. Brand new washer/dryer & dishwasher. Huge, wide open, eat-in kitchen. High ceilings. Exposed brick wall in BR. Wood floors. Great location - steps away from Smith street restaurants/shopping. Two blocks from F&G trains. Tons of space. Very clean. New appliances. Dogs/cats are OK. Ideally looking for January 1st til April 30th. Can start new lease with landlord as well.

See photos and full listing on Craigslist: http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/sub/956428215.html

Friday, December 12, 2008

RUN DMC Limited Edition T-Shirt from Marc Ecko

Did you know that it's RUN DMC's 25th Anniversary? How old do you feel now!?

So check it out: the Ultra Limited Edition Commemorative T-Shirt co-designed by Marc Ecko and Marco. Shirts will be on shopecko.com next week

My sources tell me that only 1,000 of these were made - and about 100 of them were sold last night at the industry where they were unveiled. I believe they are about $45 each.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dec. 12-14: Spend $20, Save 20%...Duane Reade!

This offer may be worth enduring poor service and one open register per 15 customers. Duane Reade!!

Lord & Taylor: Bellwether that the Retail Sky is Falling

So I knew something was up when I started getting coupons from Lord & Taylor almost everyday. But then yesterday I got the ultimate Friends and Family coupon offering 25% off of pretty much everything and 10% off of fragrances and cosmetics. I didn't think I had ever heard of such a thing, and my instincts were confirmed when a GS stringer sent me an email noting her shock of the same. She also indicated that she was getting similar sky-is-falling sales notices from Neiman Marcus and Bendel's!

And by the way, anyone know the origin of the word "bellwether?"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vinegar Hill House is Both Cool & Good...

... in fact, it is definitely cooler than I am. A stunning feat in itself.

Somewhere near the York F stop dwells this new, charming restaurant, apparently brought to the good people of Brooklyn by former employees of Freeman's. The food is very similar - both in selection and quality. I.e. it is really good MEAT. My friend and I ate sausage, chicken, etc. And while my photos are funnier than they are illustrative of the grandness of the place or the food, please take my word for it. It's really good. And will be a superb place to go when it's freezing and snowing outside. Actually, it's kind of a perfect spot for a holiday dinner.

They are getting their liquor license on Tuesday, December 16, but you can BYO or call a nearby liquor store to deliver wine to your table in the meantime. Which is what we did.

And even though the crowd was so damn hip that they could have shot a movie or an ad campaign in there without changing a thing, the vibe was welcoming and the staff down to earth and attentive - from the hostess, to the waiter, to the always affable bartender (Ryan from Hotel Delmano).

Oh and it's pretty cheap too! We had an appetizer, two entrees and dessert (an amazing spice cake that was to die for, by the way), and it ran around $47. Once the liquor license is in effect, I'm sure this average bill will expand, however.

Save 25% at Century 21

Century 21 - the Department Store, not the real estate company with bright yellow polyester sport coats... Click here for the coupon, which is good through December 14.

Get Money Off at Calypso

And since everything at Calypso costs about $500 or more, you are sure to save $100!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Tips: Filene's Basement 15% off

OK, so you may have heard that the off-price department stores are chock full of amazing inventory because the retailers need to unload unload unload. So now is a better time than any to visit TJ Maxx, Daffy's and Filene's Basement (15% off coupon ). I've been to 2 out of 3 and have made some incredible scores.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Barneys: The End of the $700 Shoe is upon us

I remember a couple of years ago when I started noticing that it had become "normal" for stores to charge $700 for a single pair of shoes. It wasn't just at the highest-end boutiques, it was rampant. I remember thinking, "No way, this is insanity." And now that the economic "adjustment" is upon us, I am happy to have been proved correct (for now). Apparently it also caused me to use "quotation marks" without pause, but I digress...

OK, so these are by no means "cheap," but I thought everyone would like to know about the huge shoe sale going on at Barneys, including everyone's favorite over-the-top designers.

As pictured above:
Prada : was $750, now $450
Christian Louboutin (red): was $865, now $520
Robert Clergerie (turquoise platform): was $695, now $415

Friday, December 05, 2008

Te Casan Folds!: Am I the Last to Know?

I am just reading this tragic news on Bluefly:
In more sad retail news, SoHo, New York fave Te Casan, the
shoe shop famed for carrying
Natalie Portman's vegan pumps, recently folded.
Personally, I've enjoyed many a party 'n' cocktail at this space and simply
adored the sales staff (I even did a photoshoot there once) but alas,
comes to the rescue--
Te Casan shoes anyone?

Dec. 11: Yves Saint Laurent Event at Housing Works Thrift Shops

This is some crazy sh*t!:

Special Yves Saint Laurent Event at Housing Works Thrift Shops!
Nearly 500 gorgeous YSL pieces available from from $45 to $250. Get the pictured vintage YSL evening dress for $150.

WHAT: Housing Works Thrift Shops recently received a generous donation of nearly 500 vintage Yves Saint Laurent pieces from a single donor. This amazing collection—including leather skirts, slinky evening gowns, pinstriped power suits, flirty blouses and elegant coats—will be unveiled in its entirety at a free and open-to-the-pubic cocktail party.

A sampling of what’s available (click on links to see photos!):
Black evening dress: $200
Fuchsia evening dress: $150
Red leather skirt: $90
Double-breasted pinstripe suit: $150
Floral blouse and matching jacket: $65
Sheer ruffled blouse: $50
Metallic cocktail jacket: $125

WHERE: Housing Works Thrift Shop at 157 East 23rd St. between Lexington and Third Avenue, 212-529-5955

WHEN: December 11, 6pm to 9pm

Get Fitty Dollars from Club Monaco, 12/5-12/8

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dec. 7-10: LeSportsac Sample Sale


"Return to Classics"Sample Sale
December 7-10, 2008
Sunday: 10am to 7pm
Monday: 8am to 7pm
Tuesday: 8am to 7pm
Wednesday: 8am to 7pm

Metropolitan Pavillion123 West 18th Street (between 6th & 7th Avenues)
4th Floor Gallery
212-736-6262 x 2007

60%-80% off Current and Past Collections

Classics - Beach - Artist in Residence - Men's - Guys'
Visit LeSportsac.com

Cash, Mastercard, Visa and American Express accepted. No checks. All sales final. No exchanges. No refunds.

Dec. 4-8:Canterbury of New Zealand Sample Sale

What the hell is Canterbury of New Zealand? Well it looks like it's some kind of rugby gear. If you're into that kind of thing. Overprice preppy nonsense. But hey! Get it for cheaper here!

Another Mediocre Sale from BoConcept, Dec. 1-24

Unimpressive sale pricing is as follows:

Queen Size Walnut Veneer
Was $999 Now $899

Black-Stained Oak
Was $1,099 Now $899

King Size and California King Size Walnut Veneer
Was $1,099 Now $999 (WHOA! A WHOLE HUNDRED DOLLARS!)
Black-Stained Oak
Was $1,199 Now $999

To find your nearest BoConcept location, visit http://www.boconcept.com/

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dec. 3-5, Nooka Sample Sale: Damn These are Ugly Watches!

But what do I know? If you're into this kind of stuff, check it out:

Nooka Sample Sale
40-60% off select Nookas
December 3rd, 4th and 5th
9am until 9pm

Location: 262 West 38th street, Suite 1002 NY, NY 10018, 212-842-2763

Cash and Credit Cards accepted!

Exclusive Bare Escentuals Offer from Sephora

This in from the KING KONG of guerilla shoppers (one of my stringers):

Exclusive Bare Escentuals Offer from Sephora!
Buy a full size Bare Escentuals foundation from Sephora (your choice of 5 shades) and get a full-size kabuki brush for FREE ($53 Value) for $25! Limited quantities so buy now!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Rouge Tomate: 4 Stars / Barneys: $2,500

I wrote about this fabulous-yet-health-conscious restaurant a few weeks ago. The raves continue. So if shopping at Barneys (or just ogling at Barneys), eat here afterwards!

Speaking of which, did you know you can sign up to win a $2,500 shopping spree at Barneys by just providing them with your email address? The winner will be notified on or about January 15, 2009.

New York Daily News Restaurant Review
At midtown restaurant Rouge Tomate, less is more
Tuesday, December 2nd 2008

The interior of Rouge Tomate.10 E. 60th St., between Fifth and Madison, (212) 237-8977;
Open seven days, noon-4:30 p.m., 5:30-10:30 p.m.;
CUISINE: Modern American;
VIBE: Glossy culinary spa;
OCCASION Midtown lunch, business dinner, detox dining;
DON'T MISS DISH: Arctic char, yellowjack crudo, rabbit with chestnut pasta; PRICE: Appetizers $10, entrees $20, desserts $10;
RESERVATIONS Accepted in downstairs dining room. Different menu in upstairs cafe; both equally good.

There are 393 calories in the rabbit Fleischnacke at Rouge Tomate. The nutritionist counted. How many restaurants do you know that have a nutritionist?
Fleischnacke is German for minced meat rolled in pasta and cooked in a stock. At Rouge Tomate, this means farm-raised, braised rabbit rolled up in chestnut pasta and sautéed in rabbit jus. None of the ingredients requires quotation marks.
There's not a mock anything anywhere in this dish. Those 393 calories also include a celery root purée, roasted celery root, roasted chestnuts, chestnut foam and a salad of apples, celery leaves and tarragon.
And that's one of the more caloric dishes on the menu.
My favorite appetizer - the celery root and almond panna cotta - is only 155 calories. The panna cotta is made with unhomogenized whole milk and topped with lots of peekytoe crab, grapefruit segments and fresh tarragon. The calories matter, but only because the food is so exceptional.
Usually the thought of self-consciously healthy food makes me depressed - so depressed I get the urge to curl up with a jar of peanut butter and a spoon.
But I don't feel that way at Rouge Tomate, even though they've replaced most of the fats we associate with haute cuisine. Take butter, cheese and cream away from most chefs and they would throw their hands up in despair. But Jeremy Bearman, chef at Rouge Tomate, has had a few good mentors, including Joel Robuchon and Daniel Boulud.
Here's how it works: Take the lobster à la plancha with green fennel risotto. Usually, what binds a risotto together is butter and cheese. Instead, Bearman uses fennel stock, fennel purée, fennel juice and fennel-fronds purée - the quintessence of fennel. He finishes the dish with sauce Americaine, a brandy-spiked lobster stock with a splash of Pernod. These are robust flavors and you never pine for the absent fats.
Rouge Tomate adheres to an 85-page S.P.E. charter - Latin for Sanitas Per Escam. That means health through food, a phrase that comes from Emmanuel Verstraeten, the founder of the original Rouge Tomate in Brussels. What this really means is sourcing, preparation and enhancement. It's the cult of culinary balance - the balance of taste and nutrition - not a bad cult to be in. But it's bigger than that.
Rouge Tomate may be a prototype for a restaurant of the future - a new way of thinking, a new way of eating, a new way of dining out.
Let me just point out some of the highlights of this wonderful menu: squab and slow-roasted faro salad; Arctic char with smoked sea salt and Asian pear sorbet; and yellowtail amberjack crudo with vanilla salt, a mung bean salad, crispy ginger, kaffir lime and fresh tropical fruit.
There's also dessert, which is where you would really mourn the missing calories. Except you don't here. The chocolate and banana tasting is 272 calories - a chocolate and caramelized banana napoleon, roasted baby banana split and a teacup of rich hot cocoa. James Distefano, the pastry chef, makes a terrific parfait with yogurt, fresh huckleberries, candied lemon and a chamomile crisp. In fact, the only dessert that doesn't work is the Hudson Valley apple soup.
I hope Rouge Tomate is going to be here for a long, long time. Especially if Jeremy Bearman stays in the kitchen.