Friday, June 29, 2012

Lookbook: Blazing White at Work

Out with the old and in with the new?  Being the spendthrift that I am (or in other words, "incredibly cheap"), that saying doesn't exactly sit well with me.  When you're a fresh college graduate with a wardrobe that can best be described as "blue, black, and gray," finding the right summer work outfit can be quite the challenge, especially when on a budget and with limited suitcase space.  The key characteristics to aim for when styling yourself for travel-related work is portable, reusable, and current.  As such, I tried to combine an old dress with some new pieces to create a whole new outfit.  Even not-trendy Vivian is a little surprised at how well this turned out.

Zara Navy Jersey Blazer (sold out; similar ); Club Monaco White Sheath Dress (old; similar); Plenty by Tracy Reese Black Suede Pumps(old); Madewell Gold Trapeze Necklace; Marc Jacobs Black Leather Cross Body (old)

I first got this dress on sale from Club Monaco two years ago.  It was hip hugging and had a little bit of a conservative sexiness to it, which in turn made it a great game day dress for football games.  Keep in mind, I was in a sorority in a public Southern school.  As such, football was king, and it was perfectly normal for us to wear our Sunday best on game day.  Case in point:  same dress, different occasion.  The dress by itself showed a little too much skin on top to be work appropriate and my office keeps the air conditioning on ridiculously cold.  As such, I added a navy jersey blazer that I had just purchased from Zara.  As my friend David the personal shopper says, every woman needs a good blazer in her wardrobe.

With one final touch, I also paired it with a gold geometric necklace from Madewell.  The necklace is great because it really goes with any occasion from work to casual to night life.  Not to mention, it's incredibly compact, making packing it as easy as stuffing it into my little Marc Jacobs purse.

Posing at Dekalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn.

Thanks to my friend Caitlin who indulged me when I asked her to take these pictures on our lunch break.  Clearly, she has a lot of patience for dealing with my inner Tyra Banks.  If you're wondering what's behind me, we had lunch over at Dekalb Market, a marketplace filled with restaurants and clothing stores within storage containers over in Downtown Brooklyn.  Unfortunately, Dekalb is closing this October to make way for a Century 21.  If you're in Brooklyn and looking for lunch you should check it out!  I recommend getting a salad at Next Door Organics, a grilled cheese sandwich at Mrs. Dorsey's, blueberry mint lemonade at Cheesesteak, and a cupcake at Robicelli's.

Give me a holler with what you think.  Have you ever reworked an outfit?  Share and leave a comment down below.

Weekend Deals & Steals 6/31 - 7/02


  • Aldo - Sandals 30%-50% off.
  • Ann Taylor Loft - Extra 50% off in all stores from 12 PM to 7 PM
  • Bloomingdales - 4th of July Sale
  • C-Wonder -  Up to 50% off
  • H&M - Up to 75% off

Sample Sales - Atlanta
  • Lily Kai Vintage - Style Suite, RVSP here

Sample Sales - New York City
  • Rachel Zoe - 250 Fifth Avenue, between 28th and 29th Sts.  Ends Saturday
  • Matt Bernson - Kenmare St., between Bowery and Elizabeth Sts.  Ends Sunday

My friend Lu has requested me to say that he wanted to let you know that he's on sale this weekend too.  He says he will give you "best price!"

Lu.  On sale at a street corner near you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Travelogue: Bright, Bold and Brilliantly NYC

Aside from the fact that it was more than 90 degrees outside on Saturday, last weekend in Manhattan proved to be bright, beautiful and unabashedly the most fabulous weekend ever.  Think of this blog as part three of the ongoing series, "Fun Adventures with Vivian and Salvador."  In this episode, Salvador and Vivian explore the rainbow-spattered world that is Soho, with the added bonus of the most colorful parade I've ever witnessed.  Spoiler Alert:  Vivian and Salvador see Cyndi Lauper, George Takei, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the Bitch from Apartment 23 herself, Krysten Ritter (.... yeah Salvador had no idea who that was either, but apparently I watched enough Gilmore Girls to recognize that one).

Left:  Suit Supply at Broome and Mercer in Soho; Top-Right:  Uniqlo at Broadway and Spring in Soho; Bottom-Right:  Bloomingdales' shoe department at Broadway and Broome in Soho

No surprise, I dragged Salvador to Soho to go shopping.  His only request was that I take him to shops that can't be found anywhere else in the East Coast.  With really two real hours to go shop and wander, we were limited to three stores that were both New York-specific and male friendly.  Boys need to have fun too sometimes.  The stops?

  • Suit Supply (Broome St. and Mercer St.):  Alright, I lied a little bit.  Salvador was the one who took me here.  One of our good friends David is a personal shopper over at the men's suiting store, which has a huge number of gorgeous suits and ties for good prices.  Word on the street is they're adding another U.S. store in Atlanta.
  • Bloomingdales (Broadway Ave. and Broome St.):  Salvador shopped for t-shirts in the men's section, while I wandered around.  Surprisingly, I'm a much larger fan of the Soho Bloomingdales than the flagship over in Midtown.  This is mostly because I hate the idea of competing with people who can clearly afford these clothes more than I can.  The key takeaway?  Bloomingdales has a huge and fabulous sale on summer shoes right now.  Selected styles are an additional 40% off.  Go wild.
  • Uniqlo (Broadway Ave. and Spring St.):  For New Yorkers, Uniqlo is as standard as H&M and Forever 21.  However, the Japanese basics brand's only North American locations are in the city.  With jeans, t-shirts, polos, and dress shirts from $5 to $35 and of pretty good quality, it's no wonder that Salvador absolutely flipped when he walked in.  It took a good hour to get him out of there.

Next stop?  The noted parade!  If you still haven't guessed what parade we went to this weekend by the description above, you best click the next page.  If you have guessed what parade it was, but just like to look at pretty colors, you should still click the next page.  Just click the next page.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Makin' Music: Asherel & The Kingston Springs

Clearly, Salvador and I had a productive weekend, because I feel like it's going to take me 3 separate blog posts to encapsulate everything of interest that has occurred.  Salvador, also goes by the title "forced-photographer", is in New York visiting before he's off to the big, scary world that is adulthood.  Since writing 3 posts in one night isn't incredibly appealing to me as I have a real job to do in the morning, I figured I'd go from most recent and work my way backwards.  Apologies to you, dear reader, you're going to have to put up with me blogging back in time for the next week.

Tonight dressed in my best at-work-til-8:30-today attire of a black J. Crew pencil skirt and a silk rayon tangerine top, I met up with Salvador, who was having an absolute ball of a day without me, at a friend's New York City concert debut.  While I like to pretend I hang out with rock stars all day, it was one of Salvador's fraternity brothers from Georgia Tech playing with his band Asherel (who just got signed last year with Columbia Records) at Piano's in the Lower East Side.  


Walking in, Sal and I looked like part of a "one of these things is not like the other" game.  Luckily, we ran into another friend Charles who helped minimize how completely yuppie we looked.  Clearly, Piano's (a great venue for cheap, great rock and indie folk bands) attracted crowds of a "hipper" variety, and less so of the finance consultant variety.  In any case, the bands playing highlight one of the things that I love most about New York -- loud, amazing rock music at low, low prices ($8 tickets to see 4 bands?  Yes please!).  Rushing over from my office in Brooklyn, I made it for the last two songs of their set and they KILLED it.  If the Foo Fighters and Bob Dylan had a baby, that would be Asherel.  According to Graham, one of the guitarists, the band will be releasing their debut album later this year.

The Kingston Springs

Despite heckling me for the secret hipster that I am, Salvador was kind enough to let me stay a little longer and catch the next act, the Nashville-based band The Kingston Springs, who had a very Alabama Shakes vibe about them.  You could clearly tell by the dress and the music, these guys were from the South, but their sound was an mixture of old school folk mixed in with some blue grass and indie rock.  Eclectic is a good word for them.  Unfortunately, we got pretty hungry, so we missed out on the very last band, The Weeks.  All three of the bands are probably going to make it into my work-music rotation some time this week.  Check them out, and let me know what you think.

Also, if you're into loud, crazy amazing indie rock music and are in the Lower East Side, check out Piano's   and its next door neighbor, the Living Room.  It'll make for an interesting weeknight.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lookbook: Color Pops and the Plain White Tee

Before I start posting pictures of myself in what I would deem as a "lookbook", let me be completely frank in saying that I am not a stylish person.  While I do have brief and rare epiphanies , my actual ability to style myself is quite lacking, if else, non-existent all together.  Case in point, I present terrible moments in Vivian fashion history (so much wrong, so little right).  Hence, when I graduated from college, I challenged myself to rebuild my wardrobe.  Specifically, I wanted to find ways to integrate what I already had and combine them with new, quality, and timeless pieces for work, play, and everything in between.  Not to mention, whatever I these "new, quality, and timeless pieces" were, my "rebuilt wardrobe" had to pass the ultimate test -- fitting into my suitcase.  (Darn you, limited suitcase space!)

After quite a bit of hesitation and some urging from a friend, I decided to go through with this "lookbook" of mine.  I'm sorry, but I am awkward in front of a camera.  Do you need me to pull out a "terrible moments in Vivian photographic history collage?"  In any case, my friend Salvador played forced-photographer to my freaked out fashionista.  Since it was summer in the city, less meant more in 90+ degree weather.  While the plain white v-neck could play host to a number of different options, I paired it with some color-pop shorts from J. Crew.  The scarf added a nice touch of pattern and textural contrast against the solid colors... not to mention it made a super fun turban later in the day when I got bored.

Madewell V-Neck Pocket TeeJ. Crew 5" Chino Shorts, Madewell Scarf (similar),  Silver Coach watch (old), Marc Jacobs black leather cross body bag (old), Katie & Kelly sandals from DSW (old)

Paired with some nude sandals and gold accessories, I was ready to explore SoHo and the East Side.  Let's save that story for another time.  A girl's got to get her beauty rest.

In any case, what do you think?  What basic thing do you think is necessary in a wardrobe?  If you're brave enough, what are some of your own terrible moments?  Holla at yo girl.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Travelogue: Vintage Adventures in Brooklyn

Admission:  I secretly love hipsters.  Alright, if you know me personally, you know that's not much of a secret.  I'm quite sure that at some point in the last four years, I've gotten a paper plate award for "Most Likely to Drink PBR Ironically and Listen to Some Band You've Never Heard Of."  Thus, it may come as no surprise that one item off my New York bucket list is to explore Brooklyn.  Thus on my day off yesterday, I donned my best checkered silk Madewell shirt and fake Ray-Bans and hopped on a train to Park Slope's 5th Avenue for some girl time, vintage shopping, and the desperate hope that I would run into my current brain-crush Lena Dunham with my lovely friends Nicole and Anna (the insanely talented artist behind Grey-Hoodie).  One can only hope for the last one, right?

In any case, what was intended to be a lighthearted evening of progressive coffee drinking and Israeli food eating, turned into two hours of vintage shopping and chatting with various shopkeepers about ridiculous things like belts and boys.  The first of whom was Shay of Pony, who proved not only to have excellent style but was definitely and instigator for our shopping addiction.

Left, Bottom-Right:  Pony at 5th Ave. and St. Mark's Place; Top-Right:  Banana Republic Strappy Sandals for $23.

Pony has got to be one of the keenest shops I've ever been into.  Mind you, I'm not a huge fan of vintage shopping.  The idea of wearing someone else's clothes weirds me out to no end.  You don't know where it's been!  Not only do they have an excellent collection of second-hand designer goods from Marc Jacobs to Diane von Furstenberg at affordable prices, but they steam and clean each one of their pieces.  My favorite part has to be their selection of jewelry, bags and belts.  Not to mention, Shay will tell you how great you look the entire time, which is great for your self confidence but not for your wallet.  I came out with a comfortable pair of strappy leather heels for $23.  My wallet blames Shay and Nicole.

Did Park Slope make my wallet cry more?  Want to know some more vintage shops to check out?  Click that next page, and click it HARD.

Ahoy, Bargain Seekers!


  • Extra 35% off at Banana Republic Online (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) local time.
Banana Republic Online sale promo code for 35% off

  • Extra 30% off at J. Crew (Tomorrow) - Code is SHOPNOW


  • Extra 40% off at Madewell Stores
  • Extra 30% off at J. Crew Stores

Sample Sales (New York)

  • J. Crew Sample Sale (Today through Sunday)
  • Natori Sample Sale (Tomorrow) 
  • Shoshanna Sample Sale (Tomorrow)
For more information on New York Sample sales, check out

Happy deal searching!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Travelogue: The South, the Spence, and the Super Chef

Two consequences come from having the job that I have.  The first is that I'm never home so time with friends is hard to come by.  The second is that I never have any food in my refrigerator (excluding the pint of Ben and Jerry's that has scrawled over it "break in case of emergency", and to be frank, eating a pint of ice cream for dinner sounds like a terrible idea).  In vein of killing two birds with one stone, my friend Patricia and I had some much needed girl time at the Richard Blais' new restaurant in Tech Square, The Spence.

Having spent the last five years at Tech, I've seen that space go from vacant to failed ritzy restaurant to even more failed Parking and Transportation office space.  Thus, it came as a surprise to me that another ritzy-looking restaurant was setting up shop last week when I drove by campus.  However, when I found out it was the great Top Chef champion and Atlanta food god Richard Blais at the helm, my skepticism subsided.  If the name doesn't sound familiar, Blais was responsible for bringing high-class fast food to Atlanta with Flip Burger and HD-1.  Somewhere on the Internet, there's a food review I wrote from 4 years ago where he brought great joy to my mouth (pun intended) and tastebuds.  Most notably, Blais placed second in Bravo's Top Chef and won Top Chef All-Stars in the two out of the nine seasons I actually paid attention to.  If anyone could turn that space into something successful, it ought to be him.

Top:  Open kitchen at The Spence; Bottom Left:  Sample of the menu; Bottom Right:  The Fairbanks Fizz and Left-Handed Hummingbird.

Predictably, the place was packed when we got there, so we resigned to sitting at the bar, which was more like community tables and probably more entertaining than getting a table.  Like the lovely southern ladies that we are, we ordered two cocktails -- The Fairbanks Fizz (gin-based with flower water and lemon lime) and the Left-Handed Hummingbird (tequila-based mixed with herbs and topped off with a basil icecube).   The Hummingbird was strong and packed a punch that you can only get from good tequila, and the Fizz was a light and fruity ending to balance out the tequila. Upon the recommendation of the bartender, I ordered the suckling pig with fingerling potatoes.  I'm not the biggest fan of pork, so the dish didn't do much to change my feelings.  Patricia's "Juicy Lucy" burger however, dripped in juicy deliciousness, and the crisp steak frites were nicely seasoned.  Above all else, Blais knows how to make a good burger and a great cocktail.

The prices make it a little bit on the upper levels of expensive for the average college student, but it's  a great place to take mommy and daddy to and make them pay for it.  The night, of course, would not have been complete without an amazing brush with the food god himself.  Unfortunately, Blais wasn't at the restaurant, BUT...

Continue to find out what happened!  Click that next page!  You know you want to...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Sample Sale Challenge: 5 Sales in 3 Hours

I decided to take a few vacation days this week from work and,  as a result, I had a couple hours free this morning (a side effect of my biological clock telling me to wake up for work and my early afternoon flight back to Atlanta)... which brings me to:  THE SAMPLE SALE CHALLENGE.  What is a Sample Sale, you may ask dear reader?  Well, luckily for you, I have that answer!  As defined by Wikipedia, a Sample Sale is a sale event used by "retail businesses to discard excess merchandise."  As defined by Vivian, a Sample Sale is an awesome retail bonanza with by lots of beautiful people (which makes for fabulous people watching -- let me tell you), packed together to score good deals on designer clothing, in an almost feverishly competitive manner.  See below for example:

Rag & Bone Sample Sale
In my limited time in New York, I've only been able to go to two, but the purchases I made were astounding.  A $200+ Barney's Co-Op dress for $80 at the Warehouse Sale?  Yes please!  An original price $1200 Lela Rose dress at the Rent the Runway Sale for $125?  Of course!  Hence, the Sample Sale challenge was born.  The challenge?  Fit in 5 sample sales from Midtown Manhattan to the Meatpacking District within a 3 hour span from 9 A.M. to 12 P.M., prior to jetting off to make my 2:10 P.M. flight at Laguardia, without spending any money on taxis.

Now, I'd be silly if I didn't do the research beforehand.  I definitely recommend these websites/blogs for research on sales and deals of any kind going on in New York.

  • New York Magazine's Sales and Bargains page and "The Cut" blog - A great listing of ongoing sales.  While the Sales and Bargains page is a great cumulative listing of sales, "The Cut" updates their content more regularly and includes sales that the page doesn't list sometimes.
  • Daily Candy's Fashion page - Provides a monthly list of sample sales going on throughout the city from mid-range retail to high-price fashion.  The con?  You may have to dig a little just to find the post each month on the blog.  Daily Candy also has pages for most major U.S. cities.
  • - New York - Provides specific blog entries reviewing and previewing sample sales.  They include pictures and some wonderfully tongue-in-cheek commentary.  Racked also has pages for Los Angeles and Chicago.

With that, I made a list of 5 sales to check out:  1) Yves Sant Laurant, 2) Noir Jewelry, 3)  Sam Edelman Handbags, 4)  Nicholas K, and 5) Rag & Bone.  

Click onwards for the play-by-play action.  Do I make it to all the stores?  Find out by clicking the next page!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Travelogue: New York, New York

Today -- or at least for the next 30 minutes, marks my four month anniversary in New York City.  Mind you, if you haven't wandered on over to the "About" section (which to my own admission is still "Under Construction" at this point in time), could have probably figured out that I'm actually not from here.  If not, the admission that I'm currently sitting in a hotel room in my skivvies as I type this on my work laptop listening to Rihanna will affirm it.

This week also marks the half-month point until I finally leave this amazing city.  You may be wondering, "Why start a lifestyle blog revolving around travel when you're about to leave one of the greatest cities on Earth?"  For now, let's blame it on pure laziness, and let this blog at least serve as a catch-up to the present day.  In plain honesty though, the sheer amount to do has taken up a majority of time here, even if that time is limited to the 4-5 hours I get outside of work.

Left:  Skyline taken from the rooftop lounge at the Sheraton Tribeca; Right:  The Empire State Building taken from the rooftop bar, 230 Fifth.

Continue reading for more...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another Day, Another Blog

Hello again, World.  I see we meet again.

I know what you're thinking: another blog written by a twenty-something ingenue striving for some chunk of fame, fortune or attention at the cross section of Internet love, food, fashion, and travel.  While obsessing over "Eat, Pray, Love" and a number of other fashion blogs may have fueled the desire to start this one, the real reasons for starting this blog is that I travel.  A lot.  I shop.  A lot.  I eat.  Way more than I should.  Most of all, I love to write and would like to do a lot more of it.

I'm not setting out to be a guide or guru on any subject, but to at least provide a different perspective.  What I do hope this blog can provide you with is a look at the world through my travels.  Whether it's in the form of a food review to how to pair outfits given that you only have one tiny suitcase to some sweet deals going on for vendors of all kinds!  Most of all, I hope this blog can provide you with some entertainment, whoever you are at whereever you are.  Who knows, maybe you'll learn a thing or two, or teach me a little something new.

If it should entertain you so much, you can follow my blog with Bloglovin.  If you have any ideas or need any insight at any point in time, feel free email me or write me a comment down below.  I'd love to hear it.  So, here we go, World.  Let's get started.