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