Phoenix Rizing

There is something particularly special about a woman jewelry shopping for herself. It’s a personal indulgence; a purchase meant to bring her joy every time she looks at her new sparkle, as well as a certain feeling of accomplishment that comes with investing in something purely for adornment. Whenever I think of saving my money for something special, it’s inevitably jewelry. Shoes are my guilty pleasure, but they are better purchased in a fleeting moment of impulse. It makes it more fun.

Jewelry, on the other hand, is something that benefits from delayed gratification. I always felt proud about saving my petty cash for some shimmer. Of course, the targets have changed over the years. When I was younger, it would be a hippie-dippie oversized sterling silver moonstone ring and later it was an enamel floral cocktail ring by Kenneth Jay Lane that I considered a major splurge. After working in jewelry production, however, my sights are set a bit higher as I appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty of each piece so much more. My tastes still veer towards the teeny, the delicate, and sometimes the slightly edgy, which is why Phoenix Roze is a fast favorite of mine.

Stepping into this boutique is an experience–the lighting is low, there are mirrors everywhere, and the eye candy is highlighted quietly behind minimalist glass displays. It almost feels like a mini museum of gems, but the mood is anything but stodgy. You are incited to come close, look at the pieces at your leisure, try on something if you like. No scare tactics here. I took my time noticing the subtle nuances of each piece and my wish list grew longer by the minute. Mini hoops set with emeralds (my birthstone), an incredible arrow ring (pictured at top), and a dainty necklace featuring a trio of tiny bezel-set diamonds topped my list.

That is, until Margaux and I spotted this little solitaire ring strung on a thin gold chain. We’re totally smitten! Such a sweet and inventive way to put a ring on it ;)

Regardless of your tastes, each piece at Phoenix Roze feels personal and precious, even if you can only loosen your pursestrings enough for a sterling silver incarnation. I also appreciate the use of colored gemstones, a rarity among many local jewelers who prefer a more monochromatic look and stick to diamonds. Moonstone, aquamarine, chrysoprase and amethyst all have their place here and the selection is so much more interesting for it. I was also lucky enough to meet the designer himself, a man who clearly enjoys every minute of his work. Guy Rozenstrich handcrafts each piece in the West Village spot and really takes care to engage his customers. He came over to show me a gorgeous, custom rose-cut engagement ring and then graciously invited me to an uptown soirée to fête his new boutique opening on Madison. An opportunity to shop some more pretties? Yes, please!

The Upper East Side location is just as special, with lots of organic elements like petrified wood and mineral clusters to enhance the simplicity of the jewelry. In addition to the signature line, there is also a magnificent vintage display that the designer has obviously carefully curated. With a new location close to home, I know exactly where to set my sights for my next special purchase, when the day comes. They say sometimes a rose is just a rose, but I’d beg to differ ;)

I used to collect antique skeleton keys as a kid, so this mini rose gold version is an obvious pick.

I saw a couple of trendy ladies wearing the cat’s claw studs (in the small tray) and I instantly fell in love with them. Tiny, but edgy.

How sweet is that teeny trio necklace?

If you wanna go for a personal choice, these pave initials are instant crowd-pleasers.

These antique ruby and diamond chandeliers are fit for a princess.

I had to try on something shiny! The perfect tiny hoops, with just a little extra dangle to zhush it up a bit.


Buried Treasure

I love to shop just as much as the next girl, so I think it’s great when a brand decides to merge that interest with philanthropy to create the perfect win-win situation. Meet Treasure & Bond, Nordstrom’s first New York retail venture which opened last year. Unusual for a big name department store that doesn’t yet have a eponymous presence in the city (only to come in 2018!) to launch such a conceptual store, but this is an idea I can really get behind. All of the proceeds benefit children’s philanthropic organizations in New York, such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Association to Benefit Chidlren and with awesome wares by Erickson Beamon and Vince, among many that are newly discovered, there is no need to sacrifice style for charity. This ain’t your local churchyard charity sale.

Simply by placing this concept store in highly-visible Soho, Treasure & Bond seeks to capture the attention of the eclectic downtown girl on the hunt for the latest cool item. There are lots of artisanal goods, lots of clever home wares, a variety of one-off pieces, and a library’s worth of enviable coffee table books. For the first twenty minutes of walking around, browsing the warehouse-like space, I had no idea that this store was in any way connected to Nordstrom. Only until I saw Nordstrom stamped in white industrial paint on a black trunk and then noticed the Ruben Toledo illustrations all over the elevator did I piece together Treasure & Bond’s origins. Strangely, the fact that it didn’t seem at all associated with Nordstrom elevated my opinion of the department store chain. While the prices are still a bit too spicy for my wallet, this is definitely where I would shop if I wanted a totally individual look to separate me from the crowds of mass-fashion wearing mannequins. When I do have the spare change, I can rest assured that I really will be shopping for the greater good (I have always wanted a real reason to justify saying that!).

These Wayuu Tayu bags would be my go-to beach bag if I actually had a beach nearby :/

I’m in love with summer scarves in vibrant colors!

I have hunted down these Serpui Marie clutches everywhere online and am now even more in love with them after seeing one in person!

I’ve always been a huge fan of Ruben Toledo’s fashion illustrations and I love that he lent his legendary hand to make this space even more unique.

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.


Without the end of classes to mark a long summer filled with beach days, vacations, and lazy afternoons, it’s harder to feel like summer is really here. Life continues, work continues, and the sun can sometimes feel like it’s taunting you. But this year, I really felt that Memorial Day weekend was the beginning of what I’m hoping will be an exciting summer spent with friends and family. My two best girlfriends from college came to visit me this past weekend and it was a marathon of sightseeing, restaurant hopping, and boutique shopping. I feel like I’m still recuperating, though it felt so nice to have the company of my girls again!

So before I get into all of the fun details of my girls’ weekend jaunts, I wanted to share pictures from last weekend’s adventures in Connecticut. Never ones to stay the course, my family and I took the opportunity to get out of the city and explore the picturesque towns of New Canaan, Westport, and Greenwich. It will always feel strange to me that just 45 minutes outside of the city, another lush, green, suburban world awaits, complete with main streets and ice cream shops. Mad Men always springs to mind, a domestic Betty Draper reality contrasted with the grit of the working world of Manhattan.

Anyway, the scenery was refreshing and I loved peeking into the independently owned boutiques and gift stores. I picked up a beautiful labradorite pendant at a boutique in New Canaan and then started adding everything to my wish list once we got to Dovecote in Westport. I first went to Dovecote last year on a mini business trip and I absolutely fell in love. The owner is a former fashion buyer who now travels to Paris several times a year to source one-of-a-kind treasures for her store. Totally my dream job. The boutique is exceptionally curated and features color-coordinated vignettes and pieces from every price point, as well as an adjoining section for stunning jewelry. It is the ideal place to find unique pieces to add flair and a layer of sophistication to your space. Of course, I have an expensive eye and kept picking up shagreen boxes and frames and ostrich leather clutches, but I would have been equally satisfied walking out with any one of the lovely scented candles or coffee table books on fashion and design.

In short, Dovecote is what my design dreams are built upon. A layer of slick modernity, a smattering of beautiful antique craftsmanship, and a touch of whimsy and color. Love, love, love.

The perfect vignette for a beachside getaway.

I went nuts for that elephant pillow–the gold Buddha’s pretty rad too though.

I can never say no to white lacquer, so chic.

Convex mirrors are so neat, I want one!

The perfect sized settee for a small apartment like mine–wink, wink.

I don’t know when I started loving all things elephantine, but I WANT this print. The fact that it’s actually split in two and framed separately makes it even more interesting and distinct.

Sole Searching

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas, but nearly as nice. The semi annual Manolo Blahnik sample sale descended on the city in full force, taking me (and my sound judgement) along with it. I am, as anyone who knows me, OBSESSED with shoes. My sister calls me the shoe whisperer, they just call to me. So one huge advantage of living in New York is the constant parade of sample sales going on daily somewhere in the city. It’s easy to get swept along in the current and difficult to imagine paying full price for anything.

My first experience at the legendary shoe sale was last season, in November, when my former boss told me that she had read a tweet from Andre Leon Talley announcing the sale, which had gone unpublished anywhere for the first time ever. Being only four blocks away, we dropped everything for the afternoon and ran over to scramble and find something before it ended. We walked right in, I found an amazing pair of metallic purple ankle strap stilettos ($100!!) and walked out feeling like a super cool customer.

This time around, not so. With the date encroaching, I stalked Racked to see when and if they would announce it. They did, on Tuesday and I started my planning. Having read that the wait can be up to four hours, I decided to get there around 9, 9:30 for a sale that opened to the public at noon (VIPS sashayed in at 10). Well, I did arrive at 9:30, armed to the teeth with water, a book, headphones, and snacks, ready to wait and thinking I might make it in early. Four hours later and somewhat jaded, my sister and I finally snuck in, greeted by swarms of voracious women, some sitting on the floor within a mound of thirty pairs.

The key to the sale is to dig. Dig until you don’t think you can dig anymore. Dig through the piles of 35s, 42s, don’t bother thinking that you can stick to your picked through table of 38.5s and actually find something. With no restocking and women walking out with 15 pairs, I was terrified that I would walk out with zip. No matter, after six and a half hours, I exited the sale triumphant, exhausted, and enormously disoriented.

So meet my pretties: one a perfect shade of ballerina pink suede (I credit my affliction for shoes with ballet, Dorothy, and Cinderella, typical) and the other a delicate, silver pair of t strap stilettos. As it’s my birthday next week, I will say happy birthday to me in advance!

Oh, and check out photos and coverage of the madness from Racked.