Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The gloves that got me...

It's been a while since I've posted. What can I say, I got married and have been having a ball. Seriously, I have. But I also had to take a step back and prioritize my priorities - if there even is such a thing.

While I have always been an "animal lover," this past year has been an awakening for me in the animal rights and rescue movement, one of which I think I have been emotionally committed to, but am now physically, too. Friends often ask me when I became "like this." The question, I believe, is a delicate way of not really knowing what to call it.

Though I haven't eaten meat since I was 18, I only gave up chicken and turkey this year. In Nigeria, where I was born and raised, I was vaguely aware that animals were not treated kindly, and that affected me. Even my family's dogs, German Shepherds, were banished to the outdoors to sleep at night. Goats were hung and slaughtered under the large tree adjacent to the sandbox that I played in. As a result, it was a constant struggle to get me to eat goat meat. That explains the vegetarianism.

When I was 24, I saw a man beat a stray dog with a wooden pole in the streets of Casablanca. I pleaded with him to stop in broken-Moroccan (French and Arabic), which only enraged him more. "A woman telling me what to do? An American, no less," is what I imagined did it. That explains my growing interest in Dominion and how it pertains to animals -- and those who know me, know I am not a religious person. Convincing other cultures, where often animals are far worse off than they are in the United States, that an animal has rights, as I tried with the Moroccan man, does not work. Matthew Scully, the author of Dominion, The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy says that only conscience, perhaps only the fear of God Almighty, could make such a man draw back.

Not long ago my mother gave me a stack of papers that my late-grandmother had kept of all my letters, cards and writings over the years. Within the papers, I found what is perhaps most telling about my awakening: A fiction story I wrote in elementary school about an injured frog that a little girl discovers while walking home from school one day. The girl brings the frog home in her coat pocket and conceals it in an empty shoe box for fear of her father finding out. She begins to nurse him back to health, or in the frog's case, until he can hop again. She encounters a few close calls with her older brother who threatens to tell, and another with one of the household cats. Eventually the frog heals and she releases him into the wild in the woods behind the school yard. This explains my role in animal rescue. I was doing it at a tender age even in my subconscious, and am still doing it today.

So what does this all have to do with this blog which is about getting me to write rather than shop? It means that there is a good chance this blog could take a meandering course. So if you're an old reader I hope you will forgive me, and if you're a new one, I hope you will stay. While I will still shop and blog about the frivolousness of doing so, there is a good chance it won't be about python-embossed Jimmy Choo's. The move towards cutting all meat out of my diet is slowly being followed by converting my wardrobe and beauty essentials to socially-responsible, sustainable, vegan-friendly products.

It occurred to me that this was necessary when I bought a pair of Carolina Amato leather driver gloves late last year. They were gorgeous, fun and bold. But I overlooked the fact that they were made out of goat leather. When they arrived in the mail there was no denying that the gloves had the distinct, pungent smell of death. I put them on and cried. First, because I knew they had to go back, and second, because a new kind of awareness about shopping had been born.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ella's blog...

... I haven't shopped much this week because Ella's gone in for more surgery and has been gone from the apartment, (which has become so eerily quiet without her) since Wednesday. Anyhow, because this is a shopping blog, and so many people - from family, to friends, to neighbors - inquire about Ella, we have created a blog devoted solely to her. And because she loves to be the center of everyone's attention, we know she would be pleased. For updates on Ella, please feel free to stop by from time to time. http://ellaselbows.com/

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Patricia Field evens the playing field...

...by creating an affordable line of unique, original designs inspired by her work with worldwide
celebrity fashion icons.

Basically, it's a lot of the styles seen in Sex And The City The Movie that have been recreated at affordable prices. And of all places for the line - Destination Style New York - to unveil... HSN.com, the home shopping network!

There's no mistaking the similarities, but seriously, how can you try to recreate a one-of-a-kind vintage dress (below) to that thing on the drag-like model next to it?

There are a couple of good recreations though, like the studded rock-and-roll belt. I've seen a lot of remakes but this one is the closest yet and you have to appreciate the $45 price tag. Scoffed one up in white leather and I cannot wait to rock it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Finding time to squeeze in a trip to LF...

... because they're having a fire sale! One would think this would be easy as the store, one of my neighborhood faves, is just a few blocks from my apartment. But I'm sick with a sinus infection and beginning my first day on antibiotics. If I come home from work and sneak off to shop or check out the sale, then I won't get the royal "sicky" treatment that I've become accustomed to. To shop or not to shop?

Ok, enough! After all, this blog is about shopping not about my marriage!

LF is a hot spot for fun tees, jumpers, shorts, dresses, you name it -- and their spring collection was just reduced once again.

Check out the new price points... and if you see me there tonight, don't be surprised!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cooing for Kooba...

... or just any classic, must-be-designer, black bag. This is not the first fall I've scoured the Internet, and stores, for the perfect black bag. The dilemma I always run into that I seem not to be able to solve, is how versatile I want this bag to be.

I won't bore you with my quest, but I will say that after much perusing and price comparing, I was about to get Kooba's new Classic Natasha bag
in 'shiny black' off Revolve Clothing ($645) when a simple Google search turned up the same bag in 'leather denim' off Piperlime for almost half the price!

No offense Piper, but when I think of you I think "Gap, Banana," and my fingers and my wallet just don't go in that direction. Who would have thunk that Piper has, albeit not a big selection, designer brands like Kooba, Botkier, Treesje? Despite the rain pounding down here in NY and this impossibly uncomfortable sinus infection I am battling, Piper has managed to make my day!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No "oooo's" till fall...

...that's what I promised my new (insert the word "first" or "only," here) husband. First off, I've been away for what seems like forever and there's no excuse, not even the fact that I got married and went on vacation right after. Even though I was busy, I was shopping my way through it and I should have posted.

But now I'm back, I'm settled (nothing's different by the way) and I am shopping and concealing my purchases. You would think I was an alchy hiding my bottles, I suppose you could equate the two, accept my addiction usually comes wrapped in perfect boxes, or bags with an Italian name written across the packaging.

"No oooo's till fall" is a phrase J and I came up with while honeymooning in Paris. He would get to drag me along to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame and I in turn, would walk past a boutique window, see a gorgeous pair of Michel Perry pumps or an Antik Batik wool coat and say, "ooooo..." At first, he found it endearing and would even accompany me inside and more often then not, pay for the item(s) I fell in love with.

Because weddings in New York aren't cheap, and because the Euro pulverized our Dollar while we were Paris, we agreed that I wouldn't make any purchases until fall. Hence, "no ooooo's till fall!"

But who was I kidding to commit to something I clearly am not able to? So, this is my friendly and hopefully cute way of warning him about the influx of packages that are about to arrive at our apartment. And if he's smart, he'll welcome them with open arms or the John Varvatos tie I got for him will go right back!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Black tie wedding...

Ok, so I have a black tie wedding to go to in September and of course the dozen or so black dresses hanging in my closet won't do... so I am on the hunt people! And no, Jason doesn't approve...

I have fallen in absolute, head-over-heels love with this number but I am afraid I just can't justify dropping $400 on a dress right now, as my own upcoming wedding has been putting a nauseating dent in my money market account.

But anyone who knows me, knows brown is my color. I hope Saks will put this A.B.S. number on sale and that there will be a size 4 and a 6 left over for me to try, and possibly buy.

In the meantime, if anyone sees the dress anywhere else, please drop me a line...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sex and the shoes...

Sex and the City Movie: Hopefully you've seen it. If you have then you'll know that the fashion was unmistakably New York and unmistakably Patricia Field, too. But how about those shoes?! Anyone, anyone?

The gladiator sandals are great: they're flat and comfy, they're so Russell Crowe and they also happen to be last year! Believe me, I'm not knockin' em. I own a pair and live for em'. But there is absolutely no denying how freakin'
HOT SJP's pump version of the gladiator sandal is. Come on, admit it, they're smoking!

The scandalous Dior's could be yours for just $770...

Exorbitant, I know. So if you want to rock the look but you're not feelin' the price, Steve Madden came out with a pair that are a quarter of an inch shorter and seven times cheaper at $110. The only thing is, they're on back order until the end of the summer. And you know who you have to thank for that, right?!!

But if you still want the label and want to save a bit in the process, Giuseppe Zanotti has a pair with a different take on the heel. They're on sale at Zappos for $523.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In the trenches...

It usually downpours in in April, and by May, there are flowers and tree buds galore. But this May, here in NY, that's not quite the case! A few weeks back friends of mine at work deliberated about making an "essential" and "timeless" investment... the Burberry trench.

I didn't post about it right away because at the time, I'll admit, I was a skeptic. Why drop that much money on something you'll wear only a few times a year? My thoughts were, "I'll give you $30 to buy a trench at H&M. Spend the money you
would have spent on the trench on a pair of delicious Christian Louboutin's, instead." At least you don't have to take those off when you're out cuttin' a rug!

But we're 21 days into May and the rain hasn't stopped. And now I'm starting to think that the Burberry trench might be a wise purchase after all.

Only thing is, Christine and Joie are all talk. They're too busy buying sun dresses and beach cover-up's. One goes off to Anguilla, and the other takes off for Puerto Rico, and I am left in rainy New York blogging about something they will likely never buy.

Christine $1,295

Joie $1,695

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ella update...

I haven't done much shopping lately. In fact, the last three purchases I made were for wee-wee pads, a high-tech doggie stroller, and a custom-made canine harness.

We were one week into giving a dog who has had a very hard life, a new home, when Jason and I got thrown for a loop. As a result, many people have been inquiring about her and sending their well wishes... so this post is an attempt to tell her story, and bring everyone up-to-date.

We learned about the injured dog in late March immediately following her rescue by Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. She was left on the steps of the Brooklyn ACC with two fractured elbows and a broken tail. Had it not been for the remarkable Siobhan Healy with Mayor's Alliance, she wouldn't even be here right now because she would have been put down that day.

We met her for the first time in early April as she was recovering post-op at a vet's office in Murray Hill. We prepared all month for her arrival home and decided to name her Ella, after her broken elbows, and after Eleanor, the woman J and I know one another because of. But we knew when she came home that Ella was only halfway there. She would need aggressive physical therapy, and because Ella was born with a severe heart murmur, she would need more surgery for that, too.

Ella came home the first weekend in May. We learned right away that she wasn't all that house broken. After all, she had spent the majority of her life in a cage at vet's offices around NYC. But she hobbled around some and delighted J and I with her voracious appetite and snorts and grunts and groans. Despite her injuries she was a happy dog, and an instant celebrity in the big, dog-friendly building that we live in.

We noticed that one of Ella's elbows looked funny - she had excess skin and tissue that extended beyond the point of an elbow - but we assumed it was just how she healed from the surgery. Feeling good and feeling proud to have such a determined and beautiful dog, we took El to her first hydro therapy and acupuncture appointment in the neighborhood. X-rays were taken, the first set since the surgery, and they showed that the pin holding the plate to her bone had come loose and could protrude through the skin at any moment. That was last Sunday.

The following morning on the way to 5th Avenue Vet Hospital, while J was driving alone with Ella in the backseat, the pin came through. They whisked her away from J, and what ensued were back-to-back, three hour surgeries on her elbows. The left elbow on Monday, which went well, and the right elbow on Tuesday, which didn't go as well.

We weren't allowed to visit with Ella until Wednesday night. They needed to monitor her coming off the anesthesia and IV meds without her getting excited or stressed from seeing her people. But the following night, we walked hand-in-hand and got into our car to pick her up. The excitement we felt then was mixed with uncertainty, sort of like the night before Christmas meets a box of chocolates.

So Ella's home now and we're back at square one. This time, she's not recovering at a vets office, but in our small apartment, which is actually ideal since she's not supposed to walk around. And unfortunately, we're also back at square one with the house training, too! On top of all that she's been through, Ella is also in heat! Not fun, I know. She hasn't been spayed up until this point because every time she's been at the hospital, the anesthesia's Ella got were for more important operations.

In order for Ella to get her heart surgery done, and to be spayed, the take-two on the elbow surgery
HAS to work. So what this means for J and I is pretty much no life, and to be extra good care-givers, which we are willing to do, because we know this dog wants to be alive.

So many people say Ella is lucky to have us. And she is, we know that. But we also feel we are lucky to have her. Ella is an unfortunate example of animal abuse and a symbol of something for which we are both passionate about, animal rights. She has taught us so much in such a short period of time, and has also brought us closer together in a whole new way.

In the interim, as we plan our lives around a handicapped dog, I find myself saying tiny prayers, something I have not done a lot of in my life. 'I hope she heals. I hope she is at our wedding. I hope she learns to tell us when she has to poop. I hope the stroller arrives in the mail today,' and the list goes on...

Ah, the stroller... how much easier life will be when we don't have to carry around a 45 pound dog. Sure, people will point, and they will snicker, but what matters most is that some people will learn something, too. And for that reason alone, Ella is a gift.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A bride needs to dress her bridesmaids...

I am helping Kelly, my friend and my boss at the shelter where I volunteer (http://www.animalhavenshelter.org/), find a dress for her bridesmaids.

Some background:
A manager at Animal Haven SoHo, Kelly is wedding her musician fiance on Sunday, September 21 at 4:30 in the afternoon at a marina on eastern Long Island.

I've seen Kelly's dress, it's sexy and hip and it happens to be gorgeous on her! So while Kelly has her dress figured out for the big day, right now, her five bridesmaids are wearing the towels they come out of the shower with... unless, of course,
you can help her!

Kelly is not a big color person. The few colors she does admire tend to be earthy colors such as browns, off whites, and metallics. A true Leo, Kelly also loves dark red colors which is why the flowers on her big day will be dark red mixed with lighter shades of red and mango.

Kelly's dress is an antique, metallic white so keep that in mind as you learn that the color she would like the women to be in is a light color -- possibly ivory or champagne.

I put my shopping skills to work and came up with several options in the requested price range that are both long and short. Please vote on which one you like best for Kelly's outdoor, fall wedding. And if Kelly happens to seal the deal on one of these, I'll be sure to write a follow-up post.

On behalf of Kelly and me, thanks for reading and for voting!

Option 1 - A.B.S. chiffon v-neck gown in pale gold

Option 2
- Nicole Miller silk halter gown in champagne

Option 3
- Maggy London chiffon charmeuse gown in ivory

Option 4
- Maggy London beaded chiffon dress in alabaster

Option 5
- Yoana Barasachi silk eyelet dress in sand

Option 6
- Calypso satin wrap dress in cream

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bring in the bling for spring...

One of my favorite jewelery shops in all of Brooklyn, Spangle (http://www.spanglejewelry.com/), is having a sale just in time for Mother's Day. I first stumbled upon Spangle last fall walking home from the art house movie theater in Cobble Hill with J. If it weren't for the soft green lights, the inviting floor-to-ceiling windows and the glass display cases that called to me from the street, I would not presently own one of my fav necklaces, or have met Brooklyn's coolest boutique owner.

As some of you may know, my man's not much of a shopper. I've learned to leave him at home when I need to exercise my womanly needs - easy, not
those womanly needs! But he must have really enjoyed the movie we came out of because I was surprised when he let me steer him off the main road and in through the doors of Spangle.

We were greeted immediately by Spangle's owner, Sharon Koweek, a warm, gentle and affable woman. I'll talk to just about anyone, and find something fascinating in just about all the people I meet, but when J does it's usually a pretty good indication to me of a person's character. Not that he's Gandhi or anything, it's just that he doesn't strike up conversations with people that he doesn't know as easily as I might.

It turns out that we have a lot in common with Sharon. For starters, she loves jewelery! No seriously, she and her husband also live in a crammed apartment in Brooklyn Heights and hope to buy in the area. And like J, her husband is in film while Sharon is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz, also like J. So while J and Sharon chat fluidly about film and real estate, I get to browse the display cases and the walls full of all her dangly, dainty and fabulous creations. Don't get me wrong, I love talking to Sharon, too. I especially love the fact that she doesn't require eye contact while we catch up so that I can browse efficiently.

So if you like unique jewelery and love a sale (it runs through Sunday May 11th) then you should definitely check out Spangle. And if you buy anything, write a comment or send an email about it so that I can live vicariously through you... oh yea, and please tell Sharon that I say hello.

Monday, April 28, 2008

To change or not to change...

On an unusually warm weekend afternoon about a month ago, I walked into Diane T. on Court Street in Cobble Hill. They were having a sale and it was bedlam. I approached the sale rack and immediately a white sparkly number caught my eye. $750 marked down to $525. It was a hot dress but I was too overwhelmed by the crowd, the lack of ventilation, the price, and the fact that my fiance was waiting for me to return home (
without shopping bags).

But I couldn't get the dress out of my mind. I asked my friend Joie at work what she thought of a bride changing halfway through her wedding reception. A total diva, she replied, "Oh, I'll change at
least five times!" I told her about the sexy white frock that was marked down and that had caught my eye a few weeks earlier. She urged me right then and there to call the store and make sure they still had it.

The next day I was back at Diane T. I was met by the owner, Diane T., and a friendly and eager, young sales associate. The store was relatively empty as the two women prepped the tables and racks with colorful spring inventory.

I tried on the Catherine Malandrino dress (from the winter holiday collection) which was actually half off the originally marked $750! A steal at $375! It didn't zip over my breasts, but looked dynamite everywhere else. I was pretty bummed.

When the young sales associate asked what it was for, I told her I was deliberating about changing into a party dress for the second half of my wedding in New York City. She loved the idea and shared in my disappointment that the dress did not fit. I felt defeated, so I did what any sensible shopper would do, I browsed the rack some more. I came across a black shirt-dress with flowy, butterfly-like sleeves. It fit and I loved the look. It too was half off, so I bought it.

As I approached the counter to pay, Diane T. asked what occasion the white dress would have been for. The young sales associate answered for me and told her it was for my wedding. The owner's eyes widened then as her jaw dropped. She said she was going to guess that it was for my high school graduation. You could imagine her shock when I told her I was 30.

I could have kissed Diane T. when she said that, but instead a flood of other thoughts rushed through my head like, "What parent would ever let their 18 year old daughter wear that to her graduation? Was the graduate a star on Gossip Girl? Do I look like Billy Ray's offspring? How would an 18 year old girl afford a dress like this? Am I really in the same salary cap as an 18 year old girl, or better yet, her parents?"

When the compliment wore off (by the way, I had my hair in a ponytail and was wearing a short, pink plaid dress, looking unusually young that day), a long conversation ensued about changing into a party dress halfway through the wedding. Christina Aguilera had done it, Ivana Trump most recently did it, and I learned that Diane T. had done it, too!

An hour after I entered the store I left two friends richer, and $125 poorer. I walked in for something white and walked out with something black and still don't know if I am sold on changing from a gown and into a party dress on my wedding day. So I leave you, my readers, with this question: To change or not to change?

Mom, no need to take the poll, I already know your answer.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Letting go of the designer name...

I've finally found my wedding dress. Saying "finally" is kind of funny because it wasn't like I had a hard time finding one, or two, or even three. When I shop, I'm impulsive and act with a kind of fervor that I would liken to a kid in a candy store. Want proof? I had my maid of honor's dress picked out and paid for before I even began the search for my dress!

I wasn't the least bit surprised when I saw what a non-traditional bride I was turning out to be. I didn't want to wear white and wouldn't be caught dead in a poof. So it made all the sense in the world that I should set out on my wedding dress hunt by targeting my favorite designer, Marchesa.

I bought dress #1 on the Internet: A champagne lace gown with a vintage appeal that I just adored. It was gorgeous, but somehow NOT right for a backyard, garden ceremony.
I sent it back.

Thanks to a sultry redhead who I shared a Saks Fifth Avenue dressing room with, along came dress #2: Monique Lhuillier's Iman gown. While she tried on poofs, I tried on sleek, silky numbers that were akin to the lingerie I had hanging in my closet at home. When I put on the Iman I told her that I thought my fiance would approve and that he would probably devour me in it. She replied, "Are you kidding, I'd devour you in that!" So I bought the Iman at at a bottom-bargain, sample sale price, and told myself there were others after Britney who wore Monique on their wedding day. I took it home where it sat in a Saks garment bag in my closet for months, putting off the inevitable... the dress needed work. It turned out that the dress was going to cost more money to alter and preserve than I had paid for it. All I have to say is thank goodness for eBay.

When I was willing to let go of the designer name -- hey, what can I say, I live in New York -- I found dress #3. THE dress. I was with mom, not a mouse and
not an anonymous redhead. Picture to come post-wedding... after all, some things should be a surprise!