Barneys on a Budget

There is no doubt that Barneys is pretty much every girl’s happy place; I go in sometimes just to visit my pretties in the jewelry department and swiftly walk out with a smile. Buuut, it’s not exactly wallet-friendly. You all know my distaste for paying full price (remember those Manolos on sale?), so the Barneys outlet back at home in Florida is probably the store I shop at most next to J.Crew. I can’t even count how much designer swag, particularly dresses and shoes, that I’ve scored at 70% percent off, including a lovely pair of turquoise Jil Sander t-straps for $90! It’s kinda dangerous;)

So this warehouse of goodies is definitely one of my first stops when I’m back in town. The key to shopping outlets is digging, though I’ll say I don’t think that this outlet is particularly daunting. There aren’t heaps of clothing buried in a mass on wide tables like some other outlet emporiums. It’s fairly organized by new merch in the front, with an abundant sale section usually in the back on racks. Everything from Celine (remember this from Pre Fall 2011?) and Balenciaga to more contemporary labels like rag & bone and DvF can be found at a discount of usually at least 30-50%, but there always seems to be some additional discount or promotion.

I walked away with this emerald silk beauty by Mason for $60, down from a hefty $350. No brainer! It’s hard to understand the fit from the picture, but it has a blousey fit on the top, with a very fitted pencil skirt silhouette on the bottom…and a saucy slit up the side! I thought it would be a sexy, sophisticated cocktail dress to add to my lacking night time wardrobe.

I also nabbed a cozy grey wool sweater (not pictured) with a detachable faux fur collar for a mere $35, ’cause a girl can never have too many sweaters, especially during New York winters! I thought the baby blue Marc by Marc backpack was pretty cool too, back to school style done the fashionable way.

And even after all the retail fun that I just couldn’t help but be stopped in my tracks by a STUNNING Lanvin textured wool coat (also Pre-Fall 2011) with leather buckles and a fur gilet in the front. It was pocket change at $3500 with an extra 60% off, down from a whopping $5000 something (pfff, totally reasonable). It caught my eye, but I didn’t even bother picking it up until I was in the dressing room and my mom runs over to me with the coat in hand and exclaims, “Isn’t this amazing?! You have to try it on.” Funny mom. She thought it was $350 and was ready to snatch it. So I indulged in a Paris high fashion moment just for fun and even got her to snag me some classic pumps to try it on with…Devil Wears Prada syndrome set in after that.

Just divine, darling. And vogue!

I’m having wayyy too much fun with this.

Oh, Alber. You make my heart sing.

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Bleau Samba

I’ve finally settled back into the flow of being in New York again and I’ve had a chance to gather some pics from my trip. I mentioned that I went home to visit family for a few days, but this trip had some special circumstances as it was a surprise for my Mom’s birthday! My dad and my sister and I concocted a plan to have us fly in, drive to Miami, seat ourselves at the restaurant and have my parents waltz in and see us. It went off without a hitch! Even better than expected, actually, since the waitress seated my parents at a two-top directly in our line of sight so it took my mom a few minutes to see us before she gasped and burst into tears. Very memorable moment.

Now, back to the setting. Every time I go home, I always try to drive down to Lincoln Road to walk along the strip, do some window-shopping, and catch some lunch outdoors (and certainly some Key Lime Custard at Shake Shack, a flavor unique to Miami). The weather didn’t exactly cooperate for sunny strolling this time around, but we were at least able to grab dinner at Sushi Samba, one of my fave places to eat in Miami. While there are two locations in New York, I think the latin-fused atmosphere is best suited to Miami and we all love any chance to eat some Brazilian inspired food. In addition to the Brazilian component, the menu also has touches of Japanese and Peruvian flavors to create a unique experience.

I ordered the moqueca (pictured above), a mix of jumbo shrimp, mussels, and white fish in a coconut milk based sauce similar to a Thai yellow curry without the spice. I wanted to drink the sauce by the ladel-ful, so I kinda wish that the sizable appearance matched the quantity of seafood inside. Still, the vibrant design and energetic samba playing in the background set just the right tone for the evening, which included another surprise!

Before we headed out for Miami, my dad had labeled a card “Instructions” for us to follow. Inside, Margaux and I found out that he had arranged for us to spend a night at the uber-trendy Fountainebleau hotel! My parents had arrived at the landmark hotel earlier in the day to enjoy the pool and just have a mini excursion, but we didn’t think that we would be invited! For this frugal new New Yorker, it was a wonderful luxury to feel like a queen for a night. And I finally got to bust out the embroidered, Marrakesh-inspired BCBG runway dress that I’ve been saving for years!

Upper West Side Story

The park may provide the only divider between the parallel neighborhoods, but for me, the Upper West Side may as well be in Jersey. East coast, Upper East Side, I just always thought I was more akin to one over the other. Robert has worked in Lincoln Center for months, yet I have never gone to meet him for happy hour nor had we ever been to Riverside Park. Last week, not only did I put a stop to that, but I somehow ended up walking through the park over to the West Side every day for some errand or just by happenstance.

Rob had told me over and over how different and beautiful the Upper West Side was and how European it looked and I never believed him until I saw the Haussmannian buildings and Victorian/Gothic brownstones for myself. There are fewer high rise 60’s residential buildings and so many more decorative, ornate facades. It seems quieter, more neighborhood-y, more trees. And once you get to the West End, the landscape seems to completely change and you suddenly feel as though you could be in San Francisco. There are classic brownstones built into undulating hills and there is a wide open vista of the Hudson and Riverside Park. It makes you feel like you can finally spread out your arms without smacking someone in the face!

Once inside the vast green strip, boys playing little league, lots of strollers, and packs of dogs with their owners mark the pace of the park. It seems much more private than Central Park, as though it belongs to a different city unto itself. I also couldn’t help but think of You’ve Got Mail, with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meeting serendipitously in the center walkway of the park at the end. Great New York movie moment.

Now when I feel like I need a dose of European grandeur, I know to saunter across the park and head west. Though I mostly just walked around taking it all in, (checking out the shops on Columbus and picking up some of Magnolia’s famous banana pudding), I definitely need to try out some of the culinary options and experience some more of the cultural life here. Maybe finally persuade someone to see a ballet with me at Lincoln Center, maybe grab a cocktail at Bar Boulud…stay tuned.

Wearing my dainty never-the-house-without-them Catbird rings (I wanted to show you what they look like on) and my tried and true Michael Kors watch.

I love my mom’s vintage rose gold ring from the 70’s that I recently discovered in an old box and have worn non-stop since!

It’s in the Bag- Beach Bound

I’m in Miami b****!! For those of you who don’t know, I’m actually from South Florida, which is hard to imagine for some considering my lack of interest in all things tropical. Despite this, once I moved up north I realized how much I enjoy and miss lazying around in the shade by the pool, able to take a quick dip whenever I felt the urge.

(From left to right: Vintage turquoise necklace, Theory tank, J.Crew shorts, Anthro scarf, Bloch flats, J.Crew jacket, Warby Parker shades, and Kate Spade bag)

So whenever I go home, I take full advantage of the central air, driving to Target and being able to throw something in the trunk of the car, walking through grocery store aisles as wide as my studio apartment, and swimming!  Before I get here, though, the tough part is always…what to pack.

(Vintage ring and necklace, BCBG Runway dress)

I am definitely the girl that wants to have options, including at least five pairs of shoes for a four day stay. Oh, and I neeever think about being able to combine pieces to create outfits. I just grab my brightest, most fun in the sun pieces, throw them in the bag, and hope for the best. This time, I thought, ‘Ok, Annick, let’s get real here. Am I really going to wear a long sleeved silk blouse in Miami …. in the summer?!” No. So, I thought it’d be fun to put together some snaps of what’s in my carry-on.

(Jil Sander shoes, vintage necklace, Aqua dress)

I’m not usually one to wear color or pattern, I usually go for solids and neutrals, but hey, when in Rome… ok, now it’s off to the pool!

(Bikini and turquoise ring from Brazil, Kiehl’s sunscreen–my summer skincare must-have!)

(J.Crew jacket and tank top, Zara shorts)

My go-to easy chic traveling outift.

(From left: J.Crew factory flats, Barneys CO-OP sweater, Anthro scarf, Warby Parker shades, J.Crew black skinnies, Balenciaga perfume, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in RebelleCatbird rings, Kiehl’s sunscreen, Kate Spade iPhone case and bag)

(Warby Parker shades, linen blazer from Clockhouse in Switzerland, vintage necklace, J.Crew striped tee and denim cutoffs)

(Warby Parker shades, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Rebelle, labradorite pendant from Penny Weights in New Canaan, Baggu pouch)

West Village, Old New York

If I could live in any neighborhood in New York, it would be West Village. I love the narrow, tree-lined streets and historic charm imbued in every brownstone, garden, and old bookstore. It has a quaint, neighborhood vibe while still maintaining close proximity to Soho, Meatpacking, and Union Square area.

When I lived in East Village one summer, I made a habit of walking across town every other day to buy myself a cupcake at Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker (walking burns calories, right?). West Village is a bit more of a trek these days, but when we can, Rob and I like to walk down Bleecker, picking up a gelato at Grom or an old-fashioned Italian pastry at Rocco’s along the way. And while Bleecker boasts plenty of awesome contemporary boutiques (it may just as well be named Marc Jacobs street), it is still nice to venture off onto side streets and duck into small shops like Three Lives and Company or walk through a lovely community garden like Jefferson Market Garden. Of the many patches of green, this well kept little space is my favorite, with it’s mini koi pond and lush red rose bushes. If you’re lucky enough to score a spot on one of the few benches, it can be a restful retreat from a long day of being on your feet. The towering Victorian Gothic library that stands adjacent to the garden is also one of highlighting features of the space; it really sets the historic marking point for the neighborhood.

When we’re here, we like to imagine what New York was like in the days of horse-drawn carriages and wood burning stoves. I can’t resist marveling at the grand townhouses and imagining what it would be like to live in such a home one day…maybe one day.

Like my pad? Oh, to dream.