Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sample sale mania! Again!

Tis the season. For sample sales. I've been staying away. Still recovering from JCrew spring sale that took YEARS off my life!
That being said I'm on a jewelry kick lately. My former favorite designer Alexis Bittar (a he, by the way) let me down the past few seasons.
A friend bought me earrings a few years ago for a milestone bday and I was addicted. But during the following few seasons I lost interest.
Then come this fall, I fell in love with two pairs of earrings at Bloomingdales and bought them both.
Today I learned Alexis Bittar ( had a sample sale and ran down to Chelsea to see what I could score. 30 minutes to push and shove and pile gold and silver gems onto my tray. The prices were discounted but still pricey. $290 later I had a gold link necklace, turquoise and crystal earrings and gold link drop gemstone earrings. What gemstone you ask? I have no clue! But I have some cool discounted designer gems and had male sample sale worker tell me how fabulous my earrings were. Bring cash,fortitude, your own mirror (they have none) and a hot cup of Starbucks to splash on your competitors as there are many "one of a kind pieces"you won't want anyone else to take!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


There are two things I love in life (beside my husband).  Shopping and Madonna .
  Of course  when  I was  15, I spent  my  babysitting  money on her first LP  "Madonna" and on dozens of rubber bangles. I vowed I would  be  a material girl!

Fast forward three decades later, I am a self-proclaimed  fashionista with a closet full of  "material things."  Several months ago when Madonna tickets went on sale , I was determined to get them .
And I did.  So this Thursday, September 6 , 2012 , I will be one of thousands of fans watching The Material Girl  aka  Her Madgesty, perform at Yankee Stadium. click to hear new album if you LUV MDNA

 What I did not realize  however  is that  Sept 6th, is also Fashions Night Out. Why did I not research this ? Hindsight is 20-20. What to do? click to see if what I may be missing at fashions night out.

  Studies have shown that people ultimately value "experiences" rather than material "things"  click for study. Contemplating my overstuffed  closet, the hours spent obtaining tickets and looking forward to the concert, I decided to forgo the crowds and the temptation to spend money on Fashions Night Out and go to Yankee Stadium instead.

This material girl is hanging  up her fashionista uniform and is going to enjoy a night of fun that  I  already paid for. The Material world will still be there when I get back!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Getting Tanked

So the lazy hazy days of summer turned me into a very lazy blogger. Actually I haven't been lazy at all, I've been working like a dog and been busy moving. If you are like me and are a shopaholic you probably have a lot of clothes. Moving my clothes was not an easy task. When my husband told me I had to empty my dresser in order for it to be moved, I panicked. But it was now or never. so I started going through my crammed drawers.
I first attacked my tank top drawer . "You have a tank top drawer???" my husband exclaimed. Doesn't everyone?
I have a lot of tanks. Almost too many to count. Cotton tanks, ribbed tanks, concert tanks, workout tanks, sleep tanks in a rainbow of colors.
Why so many tanks? Well like most woman I often focus on my bodily flaws. I don't love my hips or butt. My thighs could use some help. But I will say I have pretty great arms. My sister used to say I had Madonna arms. (that's the ultimate compliment to compare one material girl to another)!
A personal trainer once told me she wished she had my biceps.
If you got it flaunt It. And I guess I did, by buying a ton of tank tops. Tiedye tanks, nautical, monochromatic, my favorite? An edgy blank tank emblazoned with NYC across the chest.
How many tanks do I own? I counted 86. 86 tank tops. Not counting
silk tanks, sequined tanks or camisoles.That's like wearing a different tank every day for almost four months. Too bad summer is only three months.
Do I wear all of the them? Of corse not!
The funny thing is I can't part with most of them. I threw out some ratty ones.I won't be buying any more for maybe 86 months. The best thing? I can almost close my drawer now. Tank God for that!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sample Sale Redux

Here I am again.. Amex in tow waiting in a line in the rain to get on another line to get into a sample sale for Diane Von Furstenberg. What us New Yorkers will do for a discounted wrap dress! Never mind one for nearly wholesale.

I love sample sales. Love. In what other city can you get a 400 dollar top designer iconic dress for $150.00?

After being stripped of my coat, my tote, and handbag, permitted only my wallet, I entered the playing field of the NYC's most competitive indoor sport- The Sample Sale. "It's like rugby for females." I always say. "Its kill or be killed."

I see a woman with a pretty pretty dress. I must have it. But she's in the size 10 section. I go to the size 4-6 section, however, her dress is no where to be found.

I find a wrap dress in my size . Pink and blue. Is it last season or this season? Do I even care? Time is ticking away I need to grab the goods before they close. One of the frazzled workers screams out "One half hour left ladies!" galvanizing a mad rush to the dressing room. I find the end of the line only to learn its actually "the middle of the line" and  I am rudely directed across the room behind at least 30 other voracious fashionistas.
My hanger gets caught on some aggressive girl's armload of clothing she tugs away so hard I almost topple to the ground! And then she curses me out for slowing her down!!!
The gestapo operate the dressing room. The is no room for me or my clothes. I'm told I have to share space and another sample saler is pushed aside. Once again I get cursed. "15 minutes!" the dressing room warden barks, "You cannot try on things twice! You have no time to look in the mirror."
Mirror? Who the hell can get to a mirror in this fire code violation fashion sparring match?
I grab two dresses, my reflection unseen, and leave $278 dollars poorer. But with two pretty dresses, I emerge victorious. I almost expect a medal with my receipt.
I vow never to put myself in this gruesome situation again, until 2 weeks later when I take my place as person #168 in the J crew sample sale line!
DVF dress the color of the sunset

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vacation: What I Saw, What I Bought, What I Wore.

Okay, so I know I said no clothes shopping for three months, but taking my first vacation in 13 months (which turned out to be not much of a vacation) was kind of a special occasion. I declared it a fashion emergency and therefore exempt from all rules. OK maybe not all.

Usually I use a vacation as an excuse to buy a new "resort" wardrobe. That includes jewelry, waterproof  makeup and expensive sunscreen you can only buy in Sephora. But since I had my "No shopping for 3 months rule" (which I had held myself to, more or less) I had to do things differently. No Expensive Milly cover-ups, no Trina Turk bathing suits, no new wardrobe from my favorite resort store in the world Calypso St Barths. (Thank goodness, I was not going to St Barths, I would have to take out a second mortgage!)

My budget vacation dictated a budget wardrobe. So I shopped my closet, did some laundry and found some very suitable things from last years wardrobe. Like The cover-up I bought in Target, yes, Target) and never wore. I dug out my favorite fit flops (they are exercise sandals for your butt and yes, they really do work). A turquoise and green Lily Pulitzer dress I bought two years ago, which is oh-so-tropical and I ironically still LOVE it!

But I still needed stuff... I mean I can't wear an old stained stretched out bathing suit on the beach can I? So I stuck within a budget of under $200 and bought a few staples at Loft, Gap and shhh... Bloomingdale's

I bought this crazy zebra print bikini by  Ralph Lauren for about $110.00 dollars. It's a little wild for me, but wanted to do something different for a change. The model rocks it better than I could, but hey she is a bikini model probably half my age! What do you think?

I bought this tank at the Gap for about ten bucks. I also got one in white because you can never have too many white tank tops (mine usually turn yellow or gray by the end of season).

Petite Sunwash Tee 
I also bought a sun washed tee from Loft in a tangerine color. It was so summery and reminded me of a color you would find in a sunset. It was not on sale, but so soft and pretty, so for $20.00 I decided to buy it. I wore it to death while on vacation so now it is double sun washed.

Vacation is all about fantasy and excess, and so is shopping for some of us shopaholics, so...
I developed some rules of thumb for vacation shopping .
1. Take Inventory . See what you have before you buy. A trip to the cleaners, a bottle of Tide and some bleach can make last seasons crumpled dingy clothes squashed into a drawer or closet look brand new!

2. If it ain't totally broke (and you are ) it is OK. I thought I needed a new pair of designer sunglasses. My old glasses were slightly scratched and there was a chip on the frame near the hinge . But they worked. To have new glasses tossed around in the sand and on a snorkel boat made no sense, so I made do.

3 . Have a budget and stick to it . I thought  $200 for clothes, a bathing suit, sunscreen and waterproof makeup was too little. It was not! I did not even get to wear one of my tank tops .

4. Beg and borrow . During my sunglasses crisis, a friend with a sunglasses "collection" offered me to borrow a pair of  her Guccis, Prada ,etc. I didn't, but if you need earrings, a clutch or accessories and can't afford - ask around! This is  especially true if you are travelling off season.   Your friends will be wearing snow boots while you are on the beach! Borrow their flip flops!

Remember vacation is all is about the experience not your wardrobe! But I wish I had gotten a spray tan...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Sample Sale Challenge

Hello again! Been a bad blogger since I was away on vacation and came back with a bout of bad bronchitis!
So here is a mini mobile blog post...

I remain on my shopping detox although I made a purchase or two for my trip (blog post to follow). Hence,my elation and trepidation when a coworker asked me to go to the sample sale of my favorite outerwear designer Mackage. Never heard of Mackage? They are a Canadian based clothing company (www. that recently opened a flagship store in Soho. All the great trendy coats with signature leather belts you envy on those NYC fashionista types? Mackage!! Boy do I hate those girls! Why? Because I don't have one! Why don't I have one? Because I am only a faux fashionista who doesn't have $800 to spend on a trendy winter coat. Every time my friend Nina and I would see a girl in one of these coats, we would mutter "bitch!" under our breath!
One time I actually bought a Mackage from Bloomingdales, but returned it because it was ill-fitting and too expensive. (Or so my husband said when he saw the price tag!)
So I go to the sample sale with my friend/coworker,who has a great fashion sense, and already owns a Mackage (by the way she can be a bitch at times but I couldn't classify her as one). There are hundreds of coats. I try on half a dozen! And they are all half price! $360 for an $800 coat!! With fur! I am in love!!! Ok maybe the fur is fake but who cares! For a deep discount, I can be the girl you love to hate! I can be a Mackage bitch!!!
It's a deal of a century! But then I remember... I have no money. I no longer use credit cards and just paid 3K off my Amex bill. I can't afford to be a bitch right now. I fill out a card to win a free coat in their drawing but don't buy a thing. I leave in my tattered old Burberry as the same old sweet girl I was this morning. I passed the Sample Sale Challenge! Spring is here, but there is always next winter!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

For the Love of Shopping

Happy February!  February is the month of love. I love  flowers, chocolate and the fact that winter is half over. But there is nothing I love more than shopping They say if you you love something set it free, and on January first, that is exactly what I did. I made  a resolution not to shop for any new clothes or shoes for THREE months .
Three  months may not seem like a long time, but for a fashionista it is an eternity. So how am I coping?

Good question! I am proud to say for that past month and a half I have not bought any clothes or shoes. With the tiny exception (no pun) of a pair of underwear for $3 in an extreme emergency ( I forgot to pack a pair in my gym bag if you must know).

So how does one go three months without shopping for new things? Well I guess I can shop for old things but I hate thrift stores . And someone else's "old thing" would still be "new for me," so that would not count now, would it?

 So... I went shopping in the most convenient place of all... my closet! I found some old things that were brand new.With tags! And some in red, just in time for Valentine's day!

Trina Turk Wool Coat
My favorite find, was the holiday present I  forgot about. A wool Trina Turk coat in pretty shade of crimson. I love the asymmetrical buttons, the retro collar and the elegant cuffs. Modern meets classic!  What a way to brighten up a dreary day!

Trina Turk Mirren Dress
Another great non-shopping find, was something I bought off my fall wish list, during my November shopping spree, also by my favorite west coast designer Trina Turk. The tweed Mirren dress, which was steal on sale. I found this in my closet, still with tags on . A few snips of the scissor followed with pairing of black tights and boots, I walked out the door feeling brand new!
I received five compliments before I even finished pouring my morning coffee at work! And no, I did not style my outfit with the silly beret as I work in NYC, not Paris .

Last, but not least, was a past impulse buy at the DVF sample sale.
Barely breathing in my DVF sample sale dress.
I love the color, also red, a departure from my all black wardrobe. I really like the dress but don't love the fit . Too much holiday indulgence left this a little to snug for work, but it was fine for play. I decided to wear it at to my friend Corina's engagement party. I wish I loved the dress as much as she loves her fiance, but sometimes it's OK to be  "in-like" especially if you hate your credit card balances!

If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you are with. And that goes for the clothes and shoes in your closet. Stay tuned for more hidden closet finds, my next wish list, and whether or not I ended up buying vacation clothes!

p.s. if you even just "like" my blog, please leave a comment and/or become a follower!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Future is So Bright -Gotta Wear Shades!

Welcome to another mobile blog post. I have had a lot of issues with this iPhone app so hoping they will upgrade it soon so I can blog more!
So the other day while shopping (for a gift, not for myself) I came across displays in Bloomies for the coming season's Brights. The color of the year Tangerine Tango is cropping up in store windows everywhere.
Kelly Greens, Bright Blues are the new "it colors." But I am not so sure I want to be Spring's "It Girl." Maybe if I lived in LA or Florida, but as a hard core New Yorker I am reluctant to give up the Costume de rigueur of head to toe black. I'm afraid of color like some people are afraid of snakes! Maybe it's because I went to an art school where "goth was the new preppy"? Or is it just functional to wear dark colors when you live in a filthy city? Most definitely wearing all black makes you five pounds thinner! So regardless of what the magazines will be promoting, I'm not buying it, or anything else for that matter as I am committed to my own bright future of not buying new clothes or shoes for the next three months! But I think I may need some new shades( if I were to shop, I would click here), those colors hurt my eyes!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

American Express Excess- Dont Leave Home With It .

I have holiday hangover and I am not talking about booze. It was tis the season... to overspend . And overspent I did. It started with Black Friday and ended with one last hurrah of finding the almost perfect new years outfit. (See last post).

Of course I didn't have the cash and since I no longer use credit cards, I put everything on Amex. I would just pay it off at the end of the month. After a plethora of holiday gifts and medical expenses combined with a non-existant Christmas bonus and an insurance check that never materialized,the end of the month came and I could not pay the balance in full .

I longed to be an American Express member since my college days. Maybe it was those celebrity endorsed commercials? Or perhaps the time my college boyfriend took me to a fancy hotel and the condescending clerk suddenly lost his "attitude" when he tossed his Amex onto the counter (he was probably a member since kindergarten, but that's another story). That's when I learned  membership has it's privileges .

Post college, my friends began applying for and receiving their own Amex cards, some through their employers, but many held claim to their own "personal card." It was the status symbol of the 90's. So I applied. Not for a gold, not for a platinum, just a measly little green card. A month later, I received a "Dear Nicole" letter that made me cry. They rejected me!

So you can imagine my elation when in 2004, I was finally granted membership into the special Amex club with my very own GOLD card!  A gold card would teach me responsibility because unlike a credit card, it is a charge card-  you have to pay it off at the end of the month (click to see difference between charge cards and credit cards). And usually I did (or at least within the grace period) .

The privileges of membership? My sister booked a trip to China on the Amex points she racked up. Another friend paid for her honeymoon with points alone! But they don't treat you as privileged when your bill is late! I put everything on Amex. The dry cleaner, my gym membership dues, tomatoes. Yes tomatoes. They can be expensive. I pay a hefty annual fee in exchange to show off my shiny gold card and collect "points." I am saving up for a trip to The Amalfi Coast!

I put so much on my Amex this past season, the Huffington Post even wrote about it in a story about shopaholics click for article. Then, on December 31st, somewhere in my stack of holiday cards I noticed a letter from Amex. And no it was not a discount to the Amalfi Coast! They said my bill was overdue and they threatened to contact the credit bureaus!

Now for a shopaholic, my credit is pretty good . Why? Because I pay my bills. On time. Almost always. So I freaked out and called customer service. I spoke to a young man named Jared, who was probably VPO (very pissed off) he had to work on a holiday. I was sweet and friendly. He was not. I soon learned that if you play hardball with your Amex, they play hardball back.  I explained my predicament: no Christmas bonus this year, an insurance claim that never paid, a Diane Von Furstenberg sample sale (okay, I left out the sample sale). All Jared wanted to know is "Can you pay this bill? Yes or No?" My answer was yes, but not right now. I somehow managed to channel the "holiday spirit" and  flirt my way into a payment plan. I was assured my credit score would not be adversely affected.

So three incremental payments later, I paid off a third of my bill on the schedule Amex set up for me . So you can imagine my surprise while getting a pedicure last week at Zen Spa in NYC, my cell phone rings. It was Amex demanding full payment! Talk about ruining my zen! How did these guys even get my cell number? How did I know it was not some scam artist asking for my bank routing number?  Yesterday, Amex called my house, threatening my spouse's credit score, even though we do not share an account and our finances (including our tax returns) are managed separately! I also learned that over 15,000 points I had earned over the past 7 years had been frozen because I may have been several days late on past payments! Can I get them back? Sure if I pay a fee of several HUNDRED dollars! Being a member of this club is not all it is cracked up to be. Amex demanded that my friend , who never had a late payment and paid his balance in FULL EVERY MONTH, produce several years of tax returns to prove he can justify his AMEX spending! Is not religiously paying your bill in full enough? We are not the only ones disgusted.( click here for consumer complaints)!

So I am starting to think maybe I am allergic to plastic and maybe the club I wanted so badly to be a part of, is not all that, (sort of like my ex-college boyfriend with his very own Amex card). My number one New Years Resolution? Pay off my Amex card and never use it again! Unless of course there is an emergency...or a sample sale!

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Monday, January 2, 2012

One Last (Shopping) Hurrah!

2011 was quite the year. I came out to the world as a closet shopaholic (no pun) and made a resolution to stop using my credit cards. If you have been reading my posts however, you probably learned I did stop using my credit cards (it will be one year on January 26!) but did not stop shopping. Stopping shopping, is akin to stopping breathing, for me at least.

What I did learn in 2011 is that  even if you pay cash, or use a charge card like Amex, it is still quite difficult to pay down your debt. Especially if if your cash flow is being diverted through the retail flood gates of Madison and Fifth Avenues.  Hence, as we welcome 2012, I resolve not only to continue on my credit card ban, but to stop shopping and commit to not buying any new clothes for three months! That may not seem like a long time, but for a shopaholic/fashionista it is an eternity.  

That being said, how did I end 2011? With a shopping spree!
With the clock rapidly ticking and New Years Eve celebration just hours away. I hit the stores hard. And they hit back even harder . Even with the after Christmas sales, I learned that ANYTHING sparkly was marked UP not down.

 My dilemma was that I was going to a nice restaurant for dinner, but then to Times Square to watch the ball drop. Born and raised in NYC, I have only seen this spectacular event on TV. The challenge was how to look fashionable at dinner, yet stay warm and comfortable standing on my feet for several hours. I had bought a J Crew sequin tank on sale, but did not have a suitable bottom (no pun, once again). One friend advised me that you can't wear sparkly on top and on bottom, because it becomes a clash of the sequins! I was also informed sequins make your ass look ten pounds heavier. I was about to give up when I was saved by the Japanese... who can miraculously combine fashion with technology.

 I found a great dress by Tashishi Shoji.  With ruching across the bodice,sheer sleeves and  sequin detailing, it was sophisticated,sexy and sparkly!
 And it was on sale!  At 40% off  from $345, it totalled, well... who had time for math? It was on sale! 
To stay warm I turned to my favorite  fashion invention, the Japanese brand Uniqlo's Heat Tech line which is super thin microfiber that retains heat sans bulk. I layered a tank underneath my dress and layered Heat Tech socks over my tights then finished styling with a pair of last years Cole Hahn boots . No peep toe stilettos on this night. I was going all for the Nike Air technology!

I then hit the Chanel counter. Can they do my makeup? The associate laughed at me."Do you know night this is?" she asked.
Me in Tadashi Shoji and Laila Rowe!
She helped me pick a new lipstick and gloss and sold me a concealer to hide the dark  circles  under my eyes, I mean the night had not started, and I already looked exhausted! What is a girl to do?
Then off to my hair at Frederick Fekkai. Michael, a brilliant stylist made me look like a million bucks .It also cost me nearly that! I almost forgot- I needed accessories!
 Accessories? I had no money left.
So, I was off to Laila Rowe for cheap jewelry. Yep Laila Rowe. I don't shop there. Really, I don't. But with a near zero bank balance, I wasn't exactly marching to Harry Winston!
I bought a set of sparkly bangles and a pair of earrings for $20 total that were too cute!  
My total for the  last night of 2011 was close to $400 including tax and tip and a  lip gloss application.And this is with wearing last years shoes!!  Was it worth it?

 For the first time in my life, I experienced Times Square on New Years Eve, rocking away to Lady GaGa and feeling that NYC energy turned up to a volume I never knew existed. Words cannot describe what it was like to be in the center of the universe when the Waterford Crystal Ball descended at midnight. The experience, however, was more about the people and places, not the price tag of my outfit!

Yes I watched the ball drop, but when it came to spending , I was the one who "dropped the ball." Another lesson learned.  Here's to a Happy Healthy 2012, and all my NEW resolutions!