Friday, June 17, 2011


Hello fellow fashion- and shoe-lovers,

As you may have already noticed, Style Bard has to go on temporary hiatus due to a few life changes and some new time constraints. Hopefully we can get going again soon, but in the meantime it's best to wait until quality, thoughtful content can be once again ensured.

Calling a major BRB,

~Style Bard

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Moving in NYC, Happy Anniversary

We all know that moving is a hassle. The packing. The planning. The paying-for-it part. But I think that trying to find a new apartment to rent in New York City (hence the photo -- nice, right?) is actually the hardest -- much less when, like me, this also involves locating a new roommate via such glorious devices as Craigslist.

It also involves so much paperwork. Between gathering my employment records and letters of recommendation, as well as all the communications and e-mails between myself and realtors and prospective roommates, plus all of the forms proving my identity and the application itself, I'm up to my elbows in electronic files and actual forms. Just to move! I keep almost chickening out and staying in my apartment (which I really hate after two years) just to avoid the whole hassle, even though I'm already entrenched in it and might as well just push forward by now.

Oh, right. And I guess I should mention that this month is my two-year anniversary in NYC. Happy Anniversary, self! Sometimes I really cannot believe I've been here (in this region much less this exact ghetto apartment) for that long. Other times it feels like I've merely blinked and the time disappeared. For example, when I was checking my credit score it told me that I had an 8-year-old credit history. But that's impossible, I thought. I opened my first credit line in college! ... Oh wait. Oh, god. I'm old.

My big points of pride right now are finagling ways to cut costs, like asking friends to help me move (TBD) and avoiding broker's fees (also slightly up in the air but I don't want to talk about it). I also truly hope that this will work out -- KNOCK ON WOOD -- and I will finally live in Manhattan instead of Brooklyn. But we'll see. If you have any prayers or voodoo vibes or good thoughts to send my way re: moving, I would greatly appreciate them, C/O Style Bard.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Send Me Your Fancy Nail Photos!

Check out my sister's awesome 70s-reminiscent "citrus nails" design:

She says: "the yellow is the base, so all the others are kind of a mix (well, the opi havana collection bright orangey one is pretty much the same). the green is actually kind of a shimmery light blue, & the lighter orange is actually pink/nude."

Feel free to send me any photos of cool nail stuff you're doing, since it's apparently our new hot topic!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Product Review ~Sally Hansen Salon Effects~

Today I applied Sally Hansen's Salon Effects "Real Nail Polish Strips" in "Cry Baby" (a bright Barbie pink):

These strips are like a combination of wet nail polish and a very thin sticker. You just rub them on with a little wooden stick and they're supposed to stay in place until you take it off with nail polish remover. Here's what went down:

1) Take off old nail polish:

2) Get out your kit (retails for about $9):

3) Peel off the clear plastic and the white backing; apply correct size over nail:

4) Bend the ends over and file them off the top of your nails:

5) Ta-da!

All in all, I prefer regular nail polish because I think it takes about as much time to put on from start to finish as does layering paint on the nails and letting them dry (maybe I'll get faster if I do this again soon). These are a little more smooth and consistent per nail, but I felt like getting there required more effort and brainpower than the repetition of painting your nails. We'll have to see how this holds up in terms of chipping and staying on for the final analysis. I think for a solid color, it's not really worth it. However, for one of the crazy patterns they have, you get an awesome effect with comparatively little work. End result (complete with the mess you'll have left over on your desk):

If you're thrifty and careful, each kit really has enough for two "manicures." Enjoy, and be sure to let me know what you think!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Nail Polish Update!

I got so many compliments on the new shiny pink color I was wearing in my new ring photos! In case you're wondering, the color is "Digital" from Sally Hansen's H-D Hi-Definition line:

This week, I changed it up and I'm now wearing a boringly named "118A" shade from cheapy brand NYC:

Next up will be a review of the new Sally Hansen Salon Effects press-on nail polish strips, so let's see how that compares to the same brand's pink liquid stuff! Can't wait.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Comparing Jewelry Boxes

About five years ago, I got my first grown-up jewelry box from my mother:

Now, it's pretty much overflowing and I have two separate jewelry boxes on the side. But I realized that I still have absolutely nowhere to keep my new huge ring, so I feel like it's about time I graduated to a larger and more organized jewelry box.

One kind that I'll always covet (because my grandmother had one that seemed like a veritable treasure chest to me when I was growing up) is the freestanding jewelry box:

This might not fit into my current lifestyle of NYC dwelling, where furniture is best kept minimal. Another option is the large, but still tabletop, variety:

A third idea is having more of my jewelry hanging or on display, so that the rest can be stored in a smaller box:

What kind of jewelry storage do you find elegant and functional?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Ring!

I so rarely actually get the things I Love. Want. Need. so I wanted to share this one with you. I know you thought my phone photography couldn't get any worse, but you were wrong (bear with me):

And now I have no idea where to put this ginormous accessory because my jewelry box is full; read more about that Sunday.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My First Bikini Wax

Last week, on Tuesday to be exact, I had my very first bikini wax -- and yes, it was a Brazilian. You’d think that someone endeavoring on this very special experience for the first time would need some kind of good reason, right? Am I seeing someone special or about to book a cruise to the Bahamas? Nope. In fact, it’s been so chilly lately that I’m still in tights, hardly baring my legs much less -- well, anything else. But Completely Bare offered me the opportunity to try out their hair removal methods for free, in exchange for an accurate assessment of what I thought. At first I was slightly incredulous. We’ve all heard some pretty terrible things about getting a first bikini wax. Were they really so confident about what they had to offer that they trusted me to write an unbiased review?

Well, luckily for them, I happened to like it. Not that it wasn’t also...memorable. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The night before, as I enjoyed Mexican seder at Toloache in Midtown (...yes, you read that right), my girlfriend was telling me all about the time she tried a bikini wax -- once. She said that I was crazy. She said that I’d better drink up, indicating my full margarita glass. She said that getting a bikini wax was a rite of passage that every woman should do once, but that I should be prepared for the fact that I would probably only ever do it...once. I would not put myself through that again.

That morning, I managed to be running very late. Waiting in line at the post office and then getting lost as I headed to their downtown location (of six in NYC) added up to a very breathless, hectic arrival. But that actually worked in my favor, I think. I didn’t have time to dwell on what I was about to do, nor did I have to wait long in the chic but stark reception area:

Once I got into my private room, I met with the exact stereotype you'd expect: a foreign, curt, no-nonsense wax woman. I told her it was my first time, so I'd like it if she communicated with me about what she was doing as we went along. In short, she essentially said, "Look, I'm not going to lie to you. It's going to hurt. If anyone said different, they are lying. It's probably also going to bleed. I just want you to know. Don't say I didn't tell you. Now open your legs."

When waxing, it's both more and less violating than you might expect. For me, I was mostly wary of the all-white room I was in, which was sterile like a hospital. Forget the idea of Enya playing and pictures of beaches and mountains and bamboo. It was just all bare white. Over the table, which itself was draped in sanitary paper, was a magnifying lamp that would light me up and amplify me down there so the lady could have a clear sight. That was all highly intimidating to me.

On the other hand, I found it sort of easy to pull off my panties and hike up my dress and climb on the table. I figured if she was going to be stoic and professional, than I could put on a brave face and act all business, too. I was told to put the soles of my feet togather, knees apart, like a butterfly position. I surprised myself that I wasn't too out of shape to do this. This position sort of gives the woman access to the surface without exposing more; your legs are basically as closed as possible. She started patting on some preparatory lotions to sink in while she stirred and heated up a batch of wax. She stood by my head. We made chitchat.

The actual heart of the matter wasn't so bad. Really. Did it hurt? Yup. Each strip, especially in certain areas, hurts right when she rips it, like a bandaid. But right when it's done, it doesn't keep hurting. Or it didn't for me, anyway. The strips kind of blurred together; she let me know before she did most of them and she let me know which ones might be worse so I could brace myself. She showed me the two kinds of wax she used, telling me which was used on more sensitive areas in a very clinical and informative way. She asked if I was all right throughout. She told me I was a good sport.

The last part was the part that makes the Brazilian the Brazilian -- the back. For this, I had to change position. I put my knees together -- still with a manner of decorum -- and held those up against me as I rested on my back. She went to work. The worst part, all in all, was the cleanup. The woman peers right down there and finishes everything up with a tweezer. The individual plucks made me more impatient than one fast pull. Having her face closer felt more mortifying for me. And this is going to sound really strange -- at least, judging my the look on my specialist's face when I told her -- but when she plucked in certain places close to the pelvic bone it actually tickled. That was driving me nuts. Apparently this is just me, although I'd love to know if anyone else has ever experienced that??

And then, we were done. She left, I got dressed and paid. (Normally, a Brazilian runs about $75; a tip of 20% makes the total a round $90.) I wasn't uncomfortable walking out nor was I the rest of the day in my chair at work. And since then, I've really been enjoying being bare down there. I really don't think I'll mind doing it again when I have an excuse and the cash. I'm just worried that knowing what to expect will actually make me more nervous than I was just going in with no expectations and assuming the worst.

All in all, I recommend that before you go to your first bikini wax, you have a friend terrify you about it. That way, no matter what it’s like, you probably won’t suffer as much as you expected. Then, you should not arrive early and give yourself too much time to think about things. On the flip side, don’t arrive too late and have a hurried, bitter woman waxing you; that can’t be good.

And then, maybe you’ll be like my friend and never, ever go back. Or you might be like me and feel slightly addicted. But either way, there’s only one way to find out.

Completely Bare offers complimentary consultations if you’re interested to learn more. Honestly, I recommend just biting the bullet and making an appointment. In my experience, that's the way to get your first bikini wax.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Weekly Update: Style Bard Shoes

Check out the shoe sales posted this week on Style Bard Shoes:


Last Day - 15% Off Shoes at Old Navy - Expired


Free Shipping on Steve Madden Shoes - Limited Time Only


Spring Sale at Piperlime - Limited Time Only


BOGO on Isotoner Slippers - Expires April 30, 2011


15% Off Shiekh Shoes for Easter - Expiring This Week - April 24, 2011


*Deal of the Week* Save the Planet, Get 15% Off Shoes - Expired

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nautical & Nice

So I know 70s-style is supposed to be the big thing happening this spring, and it may be because I just saw "Anything Goes" this week, but I'm really feeling stripes instead of floral. I anticipate an unexpected deluge of nautical-themed outfits and accessories this spring, actually--so mark it, NYC. If it happens, Style Bard prophesied it here first.

Here are a few striped pieces I love:

ASOS Long Sleeved Simple Striped Top - $32.27
You can't argue with how effortless the model makes this look...well, look.

Shopbop Marc Jacobs 10th Anniversary Bow Wow Striped Dress - $328
Apparently this dress was reissued as a shopper favorite, and I can see why.

Gap Denim Micro Stripe Capri - $52.95
I tend to love a good, thick railroad stripe -- but these tiny micro-stripes are really speaking to me in a print-as-a-solid-neutral way.

Topshop Stripe Suntop - $50
I think this is just too cute for words; sadly $50 plus shipping for a breezy sleeveless top is probably not justifiable in my life right now.

Bergdorf Goodman Diane Von Furstenburg Maryelle Striped Bikini - $125
Of course this post couldn't be complete without the retro striped bikini.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weekly Update: Style Bard Shoes

Don't forget to check out what shoes went on sale last week at Style Bard Shoes:


The Great Shoe Sale at Macy's - Expiring This Week - April 16, 2011


Last Day - Aldo Clearance Shoes On Sale - Expired


$10 Off FootSmart Shoes + Free Shipping - Expires May 2, 2011


$15 Off $75 Willow St. Shoes - Expiring This Week - April 17, 2011


15% Off Dress Shoes at Planet Shoes - Expiring This Week - April 20, 2011


*Deal of the Week* Ash Shoes On Sale at Bluefly - While Supplies Last

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Love. Want. Need. ~Elephant Ring~

Okay, well this one is kind of a cheat since I already pre-ordered it! And I can't wait until it gets here. My only concern is that it didn't ever ask me for a size, hmmm. I hope my fingers are somewhat average in width, if there is such a thing?

What is it with me and animal jewelry lately? I already have one elephant ring in gold, so I can't wait to add this one to my collection.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beauty Product Reviews - In Brief

I got a ton of new beauty products to play with recently! Instead of giving each one its own post, I thought it might be fun to do a sort of drive-by overview (you know your attention span is as short as mine is, anyway):

1. Miracle Skin(TM) Transformer - This lightweight product with antioxidents and SPF 20 acts as a base for your foundation or, if you like light coverage, could act as foundation itself. It's less moist than some of my other bases (which cost a third of the price), but seems to coat evenly and provide good coverage, so I still like it better than primer. Which leads me to...

2. Sephora Perfecting Eye Primer - I've never bought primer before, so you can just imagine how convincing this Sephora sales lady was. I took home a sample of expensive primer years ago, tried it out, saw no difference and forgot about it. This is pretty much the same experience; I put this on my eyes before applying either compact or loose shadow (see below) for long- or short-term wear, and I'm not entirely sure what the point is. Anyone have input about eye primer? Am I missing something?

3. MAC Pigment Colour Powder "Violet" - Now this beauty product, I can get behind. I thought the color might be a little too bright for nighttime wear, but it's the perfect mix of vibrancy and pop for a night on the town, rather than daytime office lighting. I'm pretty much in love, so glad I got a big pot of it.

4. Jane Carter Nourish & Shine - This product reminds me of Burt's Bees; I love the scent but the texture is a little grainy and oily, so I don't want to rub it on my skin and hair as instructed. I can see how it would add shine, but I'm not sure if it's worth the consistency, personally. Maybe for that beach-hair look? However, I love this as a cuticle cream, so it's still a win.

5. Baronessa Cali's Oliva Corpo Body Emulsion - Love this! The scent is pleasant and light, but fades fast before you get sick of it. Perfect combination of lingering moisture but blends into the skin without residue. I really do want to smooth it all over my entire body, as the bottle suggests. I could see it competing with my current favorite, L'Occitane hand cream.

6. MAC Cremeblend Blush "Ladyblush" - I'll stick to my powders for blush, thanks. My skin sort of absorbed the color and I kept putting on more and more but finally gave up. Plus, it doesn't come with an applicator, so I just used my fingers and I'd rather have not. I guess I'd try the product once more in another color to see if it's a matter of function or form.

Next up: Sally Hanson's Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips, whenever I have to time and occasion to apply them!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Weekly Update: Style Bard Shoes

Check out the shoe sales posted this week to Style Bard Shoes:


Last Day for Free Shipping on PacSun Shoes - Expired


Last Day for 30% Off Aldo Boots - Expired


20% Off Gina Shoes - Expires April 20, 2011


It's Here: The Payless Easter Sale - April 24, 2011


Free Shipping at Sakes Fifth Avenue - Expiring This Week April 13, 2011


*Deal of the Week* Adidas Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto - While Supplies Last

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Love. Want. Need. ~Serpenti~

At 2011's BASELWORLD convention (each spring in Switzerland), Bvlgari debuted a new range of luscious I-can-never-afford-these watches; but the star of the show, in Style Bard's humble opinion, is the "Serpenti" - behold:

But this watch isn't all hiss and no bite. Each coil is meticulously handcrafted to sit perfectly on the forearm, set in pink-gold with over 200 diamonds.

Bvlgari notes the importance of its symbolism as well:

"The reptile figure [is] the incarnation of eternal youth and immortality. [...] The snake archetype, a symbol of earth and water, knowledge and fertility, immortality and rebirth [...] runs through human history."

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Where Fashion Meets Royalty

I won an amazing giveaway from Zuburbia, and was able to attend the Afingo Fashion Forum at the Fashion Institute of Technology on Friday. I asked a girlfriend who happens to be a designer to come along as my guest, and since the panels went all day (9-5), we decided to just go to the second half.

1. Iconic Wisdom

Who spoke: Nick Axelrod of ELLE interviewed top designer Cynthia Rowley.
Takeaway quote: "What's that saying? Every wall is a door?" - Cynthia Rowley, on optimistism, opportunities and her proclivity for malapropisms.

2. Ready to Launch Your Line?

Who spoke: Fern Mallis led a panel including Steven Cox and Daniel Silver (Duckie Brown), Miguelina Gambaccini (Miguelina), Adam Lippes (Adam), Bibhu Mohapatra (Bibhu) and Randi Packard (Real Simple).
Takeaway quote: "Remember, they need you as much as you need them. They want you to be the one. Believe in yourself, and they'll believe in you." - Steven Cox, on the relationship between designers and buyers or editors.

3. Social Media and Publicity

Who spoke: Christene Barberich of Refinery29 led a panel of Patrick Bradbury (Bradbury Lewis), Keith Pollock (, Michelle Cerwin (HL Group) Pam Bristow (consultant) and Izzy Grinspan (Racked NY).
Takeaway message: When communicating via social media, think personality not promotion.

Afterward, we dropped by the quintessentially cute and fem offices of Bella PR for a princess party inspired by the upcoming nuptials of Prince William to Kate Middleton; all of the lovely ladies of Bella were dressed as Disney princesses and invited us to sip tea (okay, it was red wine) and nibble petits fours (okayokay, mini cupcakes), then let us sample some beauty products--hopefully I'll get to review some of these for you! It was one of the most friendly and effortless such marketing gatherings I've attended. Perfect to round off a fun, informative day.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Shopping Spree

Okay, I went a little crazy this weekend and bought a ton of things! I spent nearly my month's rent in shopping. At least most of the things I bought were much-needed, practical or unbearably on sale.

In addition to travel, meals and groceries, here's some of the fun stuff:

1. Shelves.

Okay, I know you may not think that's very fun, but I got to reorganize and sort all of my shoes. I'm very excited about this development! I can now save minutes getting ready each and every day.

2. Dress.

Dig that 70s vibe! I'm not always the trendiest person, but I can't wait to throw on some platform wedges and go out in this lovely, flowy frock.

3. Blazer.

I pretty much loved this one on first sight, but what can I say? It's shiny. And I love blazers and jackets. The fit is basically like it's made for me; a woman can actually have some shape and show it off. Can't wait to wear it! Perhaps over...

4. Shirtdress.

Not this exact shirtdress! But a very similar one from Apart Style. To compare, it's this identical shirt but longer and navy.

5. I also got a gorgeous tri-tone bracelet but intend to return it, because it fits weird on the wrist (sigh). Also, there are no photos online of it and my phone decided to die when I went to take a picture, all of which are signs to start getting over it, I think.

6. At first I couldn't decide between the following B. Makowsky purses:

But I went with these (the red purse was another on-sale snag!):

I might return it because black just feels so boring! Especially black leather for summer. Your thoughts?

(P.S. Check out the two pairs of new shoes I got.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekly Update: Style Bard Shoes

Check out the shoe sales that were posted last week at Style Bard Shoes:


Last Day for 30% Off Gap Shoes - Expired


Free Shipping at PacSun - Expiring This Week - March 27, 2011


Boots Under $100 + Flat Rate Shipping - Expired


Payless Spring Escape Sale - Expiring April 4, 2011


Sandals Under $60 - Expiring April 10, 2011


*Deal of the Week* 30% Off Reebok - Expiring This Week

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Alzerina Jewelry: Interview

At Couture Fashion Week, Alzerina Jewelry was on display; and since I'd previously met Alzerina in a social setting, I was grateful for the opportunity to see more of her line up close under the perfectly adequate auspices of the Waldorf Astoria. And she was gracious enough to pose for the above photo, despite the fact that my camera was being particularly fidgety in the hotel's lighting, for some reason!

After poring over each cuff and earring (they're spectacular in person but these photos will have to do them justice), I was quick to suggest an interview, since I definitely had a few questions about her professional progression. And now I'm happy to share with you the results of that interlude:

SB: First things first: How did you get started in jewelry-making? What attracted you to this industry?
A: Since I was little, I always had a love for accessorizing. Even at the age of 14 when I constructed a clothing line I incorporated jewelry with every outfit. To me, jewelry is the final touch of an outfit; last item someone puts on but without it the look would be incomplete. Put a necklace and a ring on with a pair of jeans and a simple tee and now you have a whole ensemble. Jewelry ties the outfit together.

My push into the glimmering world of the Jewelry Industry was the inspiration I acquired from Daniel Swarovski’s crystals. From that moment on I could not get jewelry out of my mind. I even dreamed about new designs I wished to create. I went with my gut and changed my main career focus to jewelry design. It was not however, until I moved to New York, 10 years ago, I started my own line. And it was the best decision I could have made. Designing jewelry gives me a happiness that I cannot really put into words. When I finish a new creation, I feel as if I am floating on air.

SB: What makes your pieces stand apart?
A: An attribute our clients notice and appreciate is the uniqueness of our pieces. I use my own inspirations for designs; I do not follow the current trend. I invent new collections depending on what mood I am in or from a flower I saw in Central Park, even from women walking on the streets. Life inspires me. The individuality attracts people to the jewelry, plus who can resist a shimmering crystal!

SB: What's your favorite piece? The most popular?
A: My favorite collection in 2011 is the Couture collection. Every piece is intricately constructed giving the pieces a sophisticated sex appeal. Vintage Laces encapsulates this concept the most. The chocker [Shown above - SB] is a crowd stopping; you will not go unnoticed while wearing this necklace. I think one reason for this, going back to why my jewelry stands apart from others, is no one else is wearing anything like it. The marriage between originality and the craft is why it is my favorite piece.

Though our most popular collection is The City. To sum up this collection in one word would be: glam! A client commented she felt as if she was in old Hollywood getting ready for a red carpet event, while wearing pieces from The City. There has been so much positive feedback we extended the collection into spring colors. Many of the pieces can be worn multiple ways and that is an attractive element for the consumer. Skyline, one of the necklaces, can be worn three different ways with the bow in the back, front, or side. Each way provides a whole new feeling to an outfit!

SB: You recently displayed your collection at Couture Fashion Week. Can you tell me more about that experience? Do you consider your line "couture"?
A: This was my first time participating in Couture Weekend and I am very happy I was a part of it. I met many interesting people who similarly to me using creativity as an outlet to portray who they are. It is refreshing to see independent designers who have wonderful imaginations but do not show at Lincoln Center or Bryan Park.

Not everything I construct can be labeled true couture but my line, Couture, exemplifies the qualities it takes to be considered couture. Each pieces is one of a kind, hand made and is very complex so it usually takes several days to complete.

SB: Here's a fun one: Many celebrities have been spotted in Alzerina jewelry. What has been your favorite celebrity encounter or experience? Who would you just love to see in Alzerina?
A: I cannot choose one celebrity that was my favorite to work with. I have a special relationship with every client of mine, celebrity and “non” celebrity. I want women who are confident and sexy to wear my jewelry, who can carry themselves along with the jewelry. Two actresses who portray that type of women are Scarlett Johansson or Halle Berry. It would be a top ten moment to see them in a few of my pieces.

SB: Is there anything else you'd like to share with Style Bard readers?
A: I want your readers to know that I create my jewelry for everybody; we are always changing our style. There [are] pieces in each collection for everyone. My goal as a designer is to create for comfort while making [the] client feel beautiful. If you would like to purchase any of our jewelry, we can set up an appointment for jewelry fitting, and we can also put together a trunk show for you and your friends!

SB: Also asked in person was which of her pieces was garnering the most attention during Couture Fashion Week, and Alzerina said that her vintage lace pieces were particularly popular:

Check out the Alzerina website for even more photographs and information about this haute and hardworking jewelry designer.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weekly Update: Style Bard Shoes

Check out the shoe sales that were posted last week at Style Bard Shoes:


Last Day for Macy's Shoe Sale - Expired


BOGO Shoes at Target - Expiring This Week - March 26, 2011


50% Off Isotoner Sandals - Limited Time Only


Shoes: Fast Facts


Happy St. Patrick's Day! - Expired


*Deal of the Week* 5% Off Antia Shoes - Limited Time Only

Sunday, March 13, 2011

NYC Theatre: Book of Mormon

As we can plainly see, my grand plan to start updating on Sundays and Wednesdays hasn't quite worked out. But this week was madness; I'm apartment hunting and it's eating up all of my spare time as well as my sanity. I think we'll stick to this schedule for now until I get back to something like regularity!

So let's see, where were we? Oh, right:

As a friend was telling me this afternoon over coffee and sinfully delicious Luscious Lemon Mousseline at Amy's Bread, I'm apparently the only person on the planet who didn't like this play. Including Jon Stewart, who calls it "so good it makes me fucking angry" in his review/interview, from which the photo below is taken. But saying that I didn't like it isn't quite accurate; I thought it was fine. Entertaining, even. I laughed! But it honestly felt like a really long episode of South Park.

(photo from The Daily Show; Jon Stewart interviews Trey Parker and Matt Stone)

With good reason, of course. If you don't know a thing about this show, Book of Mormon is by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who frequently imbue the essence of musical theater into their works, from Cannibal! The Musical to Team America. Another notable (and obvious contributor) is Avenue Q's composer/lyricist, Tony Lopez. Although (full disclosure) I've never been the hugest fan of Avenue Q (though I liked it better than this), I do like South Park (and Family Guy, and currently Archer). That's not the problem. But I could do without 2.5 hours of it. Yes, 2.5 hours--of content that felt like it was written to fill only about 22 minutes, but stretched out into a full-length production. While it was funny, it could also be gratuitous and a little too irreverent for my tastes.

The boys that I went with loved the show far more than our female companion and I did. They thought it was the best thing they'd seen on Broadway in a really long time. The girl and I thought it was 150 minutes of jokes about sex, poop, poverty and religion. Which all have their place in comedy, of course. It's just not what I'd call "good" theatre. Sadly, the audience with whom we saw the show--a packed house, even on a Wednesday night while the show was in previews--seemed to agree with the boys. Somehow, a raucous young crowd seemed to find their way to the theater to hoot, holler, bellow and catcall at every punchline. They gave it a standing ovation. I suppose that says something in and of itself for this show: It's potentially bringing theater to new audiences. It's a decent, casual date night that the boyfriend or hubby won't whine about. If they're like my guy friends, they will even look forward to going back a second time so that they can more concretely memorize all of the grossest lines.

So no, it's not that the play doesn't have its place. My complaint is just that the play doesn't seem to be put in its place; satire is being conflated with substance, a pairing that does often but does not exclusively go hand in hand. Without a memorable tune or relateable character, the show is carried sheerly by its fearlessness to make every raunchy joke and stoop to every stereotype. True, the core message of the show is a rather valid one about metaphor and making your own meaning in life--which might have been what surprised me the most. An additional bonus is that most of the costumes, lighting, sound and staging were spot-on. And lead Andrew Rannells (below) can belt the hell out of every number; he can almost convince you that the music and lyrics are actually good, when they seemed at first pass to be fairly forgettable and rote.

(photo from

The premise is as such: Two Mormon missionaries are assigned to complete two years of evangelizing in Uganda, Africa. The region has its own Mormon outpost, but none of the missionaries have been able to successfully convert any of the locals or complete a baptism. They only have a short time to prove their mission isn't fruitless as they are under threat of being shut down, leaving the people of this fictional village to brutal guerrilla warfare and despair. Can one promising, ambitious young Mormon by the name of Elder Price save the day? Or will he be stymied by hubris, doubt and one fat, foolish partner who doesn't even know the true meaning of Latter Day Saints? I won't spoil the ending for you, but let's just say it's not exactly what you might expect--although it does pay a decent homage to religion in general without being too cruel.

I almost which it had been a touch snippier, a tad more intellectual, pithy, brief and brutal. Perhaps I'm spoiled by having just seen Roundabout Theater's The Importance of Being Earnest, but some snappy dialogue and fast pacing can go a long way, there's no need to slow things down onstage--unless you're making up for a lack of substance and stretching material thin to meet what you reckon is a common run time.

But it isn't jukebox theater at least, or the remake of a movie; it's new and people are paying to watch it, so I suppose I should shut my mouth and support the arts. I just wish that I felt like Book of Mormon could, with any seriousness or decency, be called art.

Maybe it's just all part of the craze of putting things into 3-D. And what's more 3-D than taking an animated show and putting it on Broadway? But I'd rather download the original South Park episode, "All About the Mormons," which has all the laughs neatly parceled and packaged in a concise and tolerable bundle; bigger, longer and uncut just doesn't work for me in the live theater setting. Not without the cunning and causticity to fulfill the threat, or promise, of South Park live and unbridled.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Weekly Update: Style Bard Shoes

Check out the shoe sales that were posted last week at Style Bard Shoes:


Donald J Pliner On Sale - While Supplies Last


Spring Clearance: 20% Off Espadrilles - Expires March 31, 2011


Free Shipping at FootSmart - Expires March 14, 2011


Just My Size: 10 - While Supplies Last


$20 Off $80 at Gap - Expiring March 12, 2011


*Deal of the Week* Cordani Shoes: Trunk Show - Expiring This Week - March 13, 2011

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Restaurant Review: Double Crown

The highlight of last week was definitely getting to see Book of Mormon in previews with some friends. But before we get to that review, I wanted to backtrack a little and tell you about having drinks and dinner at Double Crown, since that was originally part of my Couture Fashion Week adventure but I don't want to wait forever to talk about it. Here goes:

Double Crown is an unassuming restaurant and bar tucked away on the corner of Bleeker and Bowery. When my friends originally suggested it, I honestly wasn't sure if I expected a sort of run-down local hangout (what I usually hit up when I'm in that area) or something too swanky for my budget (which the name sort of hinted). Instead, it fell neatly in between, perfectly suiting my outfit and mood for the evening.

When I arrived, in the midst of dinner service, I was asked if I had a reservation with a kind of pitying glance from the hostess. That cued me right away that this was not your normal downtown resto. It turned out that we did in fact already have our name in, but we could only get a reservation for a party of our size (six) in about a half an hour. So of course I thought my friends would be waiting for me at the bar...and they were. Sort of. You see, far in back corner of Double Crown is a hidden door that leads to a cozy little clandestine speakeasy, Madam Geneva:

With attentive (and attractive) bartenders mixing up original cocktails from fresh and inspired ingredients, the quality of these drinks almost actually justified their $12 pricetag--a rarity in NYC. Immediately, I loved it. I've read about tons of bars with this theme in NYC, but had yet to visit one, so this was a delightful surprise. With four of us taking turns ordering from the specialty menu, I managed to try most of the offerings. But it was the "Ellison" that stole my heart and kept me coming back: Beefeater 24 Gin, homemade lime cordial, cucumber and mint. It was the perfect palate-cleanser between sipping everyone else's drinks, on top of being light and crisp and refreshing.

Dinner, when we finally got there, was less exciting than the cocktails but still delicious. I opted for Avocado and Seaweed Salad as an appetizer; it was the perfect ignition for my hunger after noshing on nothing but my drinks' cucumber garnish, but light enough not to make me full. I shared with my two gal pals, and we all wrestled for the delicious strips of soy-soaked avocado. For my entree, the waitress recommended the Butternut Squash Curry--soft, smooth, silken and not too spicy. My friend ordered the Sweet and Sour Eggplant, which I got to then try as well; it was a little too sweet for my taste, though my bite was also from the bottom of the bowl where the eggplant and tofu was undoubtedly marinating in the sauces for awhile. I wish I could review the duck, pork belly or oysters for you as well, but since I'm a vegetarian this is just not that blog. And while I can say the desserts all looked delicious, I was so stuffed and sated from my meal by then that I didn't even try the 2-3 beautiful dishes that the table ordered to split.

Honestly, I can't wait to come back again. The menu was reasonably priced (with most items less than $20), the food was all delicious and the ambiance was spot-on: refined diners transitioned to a bustling crowd surrounding the bar(s) as the night wore on, but always busy and lively in an otherwise swank setting. I guess I'll just always need to remember to put in a reservation, first! Food aside, I would head back just for the "Ellison"--or to see what else they're shaking up in the back room.

Postscript: My sister suggested posting two shorter blogs throughout the week instead of a longer one just on Sundays, so we're gonna try it out! Check back Wednesday to hear about Book of Mormon.

Also, it seems like Couture Fashion Week is still in the process of posting official photos of the shows; someone needs to volunteer to be in charge of this for them in exchange for tickets to avoid this ridiculousness for next season, please!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Weekly Update: Style Bard Shoes

Check out the shoe sales that were posted last week at Style Bard Shoes:


40% Off TOTES Istoner Sale Center - Expired


Choose My Shoes


15% Off for Lugz New Customers - Expires March 31, 2011


Free Shipping on Overstock Shoes $75+ - Expires April 5, 2011


20% Off Gap Shoes - Expired


*Deal of the Week* Additional 15% Off Bluefly Shoes - Expiring This Week - March 7, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Castle's Costumes

Okay guys, it's being sort of strangely difficult to get ahold of official Couture Fashion Week photos so far, so you may need to wait another week for the synopsis. SO SORRY. Maybe someday I'll have my very own photographer to tag along with me--or at least front-row seats to take good ones on my own (I was only second-tier this time, I'm afraid). In the meantime, this week we get to talk about how characters dress on TV!

I've just started watching Castle this weekend from the beginning of the series, and so far I've seen episodes 1-5 of Season One, as well as Episode 12 randomly because a file was mislabeled. I noticed that the costumer for the show decided to give Kate Beckett, the lead female detective, a wardrobe "thing." Like when they decided Fresh Prince's Carlton needed to wear bow ties or the titular Blossom needed to always wear a hat. Sometimes these choices work and can help reflect a character's personality on the exterior--and sometimes it's just not okay.

In Castle, Beckett seems to constantly be wearing some kind of stretchy, synthetic, high-cut blouse or a very, very long scarf. Sometimes, she wears both at once. While I know people's style tends to reflect some pattern of taste and preference (on Dexter, sister Debra is often caught in 3/4 length sleeves to minimize her gangly frame), it is the rare bird indeed who goes into stores and just keeps repeatedly buying the same exact thing in different colors. Here are a few random shots from the first 5 episodes; trust me, I'm showing about a third of the evidence but I'm a pretty lazy screencapper:

From Episode 5, a prime example of the kind of shirt I'm describing. Either with a slight boatneck or a turtleneck, but always very unflattering to the bust. Sometimes with a bit of sheen. Here are a few more examples:
Actually, I'm fairly positive the green and purple shirts are the same, as are the red and blue shirts (sorry not all the shots are that great). From Episode 4, the same red shirt, now paired with a super-long red scarf:

Ready for more scarves? Here:

And then of course, sometimes you get the double whammy, shirt and scarf, like in Episode 5:

All in all, I feel like this sort of wardrobing is only okay if you are purposefully trying to drive home a point, or if you are dressing a cartoon character. I also feel like Castle's Costumes would make a wonderful drinking game. And, I have concluded that this procedural is not meant to be watched back to back, it does weird things to your brain. Thankfully, I am assured by a friend that Beckett begins dressing better in later seasons.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekly Update: Style Bard Shoes

Check out the shoe sales that were posted last week at Style Bard Shoes:


Last Day - 20% Off Clearance Boots at Victoria's Secret - Expired


Last Day - 2-Way President's Day Sale at Gap - Expired


Boots Under $50 - Expired


Planet Shoes: Operation Clean Sweep - Expires March 7, 2011


Pre-Order Moxsie's Latest Indie Shoes - Expiring This Week- February 28, 2011


*Deal of the Week* Shoe Shopping with - No Expiration

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cigarettes and Valentines

This chapter of Style Bard's recent (mis)adventures begins with Valentine's Day, which I managed to celebrate and enjoy even if I don't have a boyfriend. Being single doesn't mean you have to pretend the day doesn't exist. It doesn't mean you have to conference call your single girlfriends and bitch about men, or hit the bar after work because you know that's where the single guys will be. So what's a NYC gal to do on the big day?

Style Bard started out at the Blogger Breakroom (shown above), hosted jointly by Fashion Indie and In honor of V-Day and Fashion Week, the little ninth-story sanctuary overlooking 30th featured spa treatments, snacks, booze and hookups to the Internet. There were also drinks, mini cupcakes and Popchips--which are now my favorite hard-to-find treat (I'm pissed my store doesn't carry them). They're low-fat, low-cal baked snacks that taste just like chips if not better, with a great crunch and a tasty saltiness. Talk about falling in love.

At the "spa" I indulged in an amazing, painless eyebrow wax and then a manicure from Spa Merge, all while sipping on champagne. (Also available were spray tans, massages, makeup consultations and more!) With time left before I had to head back to the office, I decided to complete the luxury with a pedicure and foot massage at a nearby salon, treating myself. Then I hunted down a local Jamba Juice, which I'd been craving for days. On my way to work, I picked up chocolates for my co-workers, bringing the spirit of decadence and relaxation to everyone else. Showing some love doesn't start and stop with your SO!

You can learn more at the official wrap-up for more great photos and info. All in all, I managed to have a great day, despite the fact that I was very exhausted somehow from all of my running around (and maybe a sugar crash or two).

But the story doesn't end there. Later in the week, I was supposed to meet a friend and her boyfriend at Amsterdam Alehouse (such delicious fries and brews!), followed by a comedy improv musical, Broadway's Next Hit Musical. Of course I was a little worried about being the third wheel (single girl peril!), but thankfully we wound up meeting up with other friends as well. The show was great, I definitely laughed out loud (with the help of a two-drink minimum) and would be happy to go back. If you're unfamiliar with the premise, the audience puts song title suggestions into a bowl, the performers pick the title at random and have to perform it as the hit song from a musical. After about four of these skits, the audience determines which concept will be turned into a full Broadway production--in one hour, right in front of your eyes. It's fun! And everyone on stage--including the astounding pianist, who kept up with it all--rocked.

But wait, the night gets even better. Our crew wanted to do the traditional post-drinks roundup at Bubby's thanks to the ideal combination of a bar plus midnight brunch menu--and besides, it was one gal's birthday and they do have amazing pies that they will even serve with candles. So we walked in and immediately noted a motley crew at the large table next to us--why, it was the cast of American Idiot! Despite all of us being , but at least we were all Green Day fans, although that's almost requisite of those born in the 80s and rebellious teens in the 90s. But it gets better. After they helped us sing Happy Birthday to our pal, a nice older lady came over to say hello and let us know that it was also her son's birthday. Her son, Billie Joe. Yes, that Billie Joe Armstrong, who apparently was born on February 17. She let us know that we were the fourth birthday gang in there that night, and that her son was really miffed about having such a popular birthday and wished he was born on a less conspicuous date. And then she had him come over to say hello and Happy Birthday, which we echoed back in earnest. Y'all, I met Mr. Green Day (and Mommy Green Day). And sampled about five delicious pies. It was a magical, magical night.

The weekend has also been insanity, since I managed to wangle tickets to Couture Fashion Week to go see the previously mentioned Alzerina showing her gorgeous, meticulous, handmade, beaded jewelry. Although the entire event (held at the palatial Waldorf Astoria) was exciting and beautifully executed, you will just have to wait until later this week or next Sunday for the full scoop, when I have all my notes and pictures in order.

Hey, I just got home two hours ago's been a long week. To say the least.