Saturday, December 29, 2012

Travelogue: Beacon Hill Wanderlust

One of my good friends Liz invited me out to Beacon Hill for brunch while I was in Boston last weekend.  Located right below Boston Common, Beacon Hill is one of Boston's most historic neighborhoods dating back to the 1600's and home to Louisa May Alcott, Robert Frost, and the more recent Tom Brady/Gisele Bundchen.  Now lined with boutiques and restaurants, the neighborhood today has an old English charm to it, making it probably one of the most picture perfect destinations for Christmas shopping.

The bad news to Beacon Hill:  finding a place to park is awful, especially with the Christmas season. The great news:  even though I parked far away from the restaurant, this meant blocks worth of exploring along the way.  
Top:  Beacon Hill on Charles St.; Left:  North River Outfitters (NRO); Right:  Cards at Black Ink.
After brunch, Liz and I managed to browse through a couple shops before I rushed off to the airport.  I think my two favorite picks (although the choice was hard given that everything was beautiful, adorable or both simultaneously) were North River Outfitters (NRO at 112 Revere St., Boston, MA) and Black Ink (at 101 Charles St., Boston, MA).  

NRO showcased mens and womens fashions, with a classic New England vibe with brands like Tory Burch, Lilly Pulitzer and Patagonia.  The decor was impeccable, resembling a 1950's smoke room.  My absolute favorite had to be Black Ink. I'm a sucker for a lot of things, but if I had to pinpoint one completely useless thing that I love it's got to be stationary.  Black Ink had an array of random knick knacks like board games and kimono thermoses.  Its greatest ware are its collection of one-of-a-kind cards, with everything from beautiful calligraphy to the odd ones like a James Franco card I managed to snag.

What do you think lovelies?  Does Beacon Hill sound awesome? I particularly have been hung up Googling engagement sessions at Beacon Hill... ignore that.  Holler at your girl down below!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Travelogue: City Shopping in Historic Boston

Once, not too long ago, I posted a blog about Boston somewhere on the aging crevices on the Internet under the misappropriated title "I Think I'll Go to Boston."  Unfortunately, I was a dirty liar and went to a nearby suburb instead.  This time around, JZ challenged me to see the real Boston, as dear man of mine is a Boston native.  Of course, our expedition was not with out it's fair share of exploring the local shops and scenes around town.  After an obligatory visit to Newberry St. and Copley Square (the city's go-to shopping corridor), we stopped by Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market for the holiday and historical sights.

View of Quincy Market from the base of Fanueil Hall

I'm in love with colonial American history.  So to walk through a 21st century mall in a 18th century setting was quite the treat, as the sides were lined with gift shops and clothiers like Banana Republic, Orvis, and Gap.  If you manage to get out there, make sure you take a walk through Quincy Market, which is Boston's equivalent to Seattle's Pike's Place or New York's Chelsea Markets.  The long building is an extended hallway filled with Asian food, chowder stalls, and Italian cannoli stands left and right.  Not to mention, if you're in the center rotunda, there's a beautiful staircase that leads to some amazing little nooks where you can eat.

Flanking the marketplace and in Faneuil Hall next door, there are some great little souvenir shops and carts with everything ranging from colonial themed snacks to kitty cat socks.  I think my favorite had to be the original Cheers gift shop down in the basement of Quincy Market... because I'm clearly a sucker for old pop culture.  Although the kitty cat socks were quite tempting, we didn't come away with anything in particular other than a nice Banana Republic scarf for JZ.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a winter afternoon.  What do you think lovelies?  Think it's worth a shot to visit?  Think I need to take better pictures?  Got any other Boston recommendations?  Sound off below!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Deals & Steals: The Day After Edition

Peace on Earth and good will to men!  Welcome back to your sporadic edition of Deals and Steals.  If you're anything like me and enjoy noticing the trend in retail pricing marketing over the last month, then this might be the post for you.  You might also be like me and have problems.  If not, then snuggle up with your glass of eggnog by a roaring fire and check out these deals before braving the cold tonight or tomorrow at the stores.  Check out these picks of the litter... since everywhere will be having a sale tomorrow...

Shoshanna Beaded Bridgette Dress - $161.70; Club Monaco Zar Box Clutch - $60.50; Cusp by Neiman Marcus John & Jenn Faux Leather Jacket - $123.00; Bloomingdales Aqua Drop Earrings - $28.50; Sephora Philosphy Grace Wardrobe Gift Set - $31.20

  • Bloomingdales - Up to 75% off sale merchandise, plus extra 30% off the handbag sale and extra 20% on overall purchase.
  • Club Monaco - Extra 50% off of sale items with code SAVE50 online and in stores.
  • Cusp by Neiman Marcus - Up to 60% off plus an additional 25% - 30% off.
  • Forever 21 - Extra 30% off sale, ends 1/2.
  • H&M - Day after Christmas Sale, items as low as $5 with scratch card savings, stores open 8 AM.  
  • Jewel Mint - Get 70% off of your first piece with code HURRAY.
  • Madewell - Extra 30% off with code BYEBYE.
  • Kate Spade - Extra 25% off of all sale items with code 25SALE before 12/26.
  • Neiman Marcus - Extra 25% - 33% off of select items, and up to 60% off of items.
  • Piperlime - Lime Tag Sale, up to 50% off marked merchandise.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue - Up to 70% off designer sale items.
  • Sephora - 20% off of already marked sale items online and in stores.
  • Shoshanna - Extra 30% off sale items with code Tinsel20 online only through 12/30.
  • Target - Extra 50% off holiday decor and clothing on sale, including the Neiman Marcus + Target collaboration.
  • Tibi - Extra 25% off sale items with code CHEER25, plus extra 20% if you register online at, ends 12/26.
  • Zara - Semi annual sale

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Travelogue: At the Union Square Christmas Market

It's Christmas time!   I've been going back and forth as to how to start this post off, and that apparent statement seems to be the only one that gets the point across.  The point that it is indeed the holidays, so get out of work, get yourself in a cozy couch and drink some hot chocolate while listening to the smooth sound of Boyz 2 Men.... because in my mind nothing says the holidays like 90's Christmas songs. A couple of weeks ago, JZ and I meandered over to the Union Square Holiday Market over in the Flatiron District in New York City.

The Christmas Market is the offspring of Urban Space NYC which puts on a variety of outdoor events throughout the year all across the city, such as Madison Square Eats, the Columbus Square Christmas Market, or the Bryant Park Christmas Market.  Vendors range from ornament distributors to fresh Greek food to Brooklyn Charm's make your own jewelry booth.  While I can go on talking about how amazing it is, I think the pictures speak for themselves.  Click the next page to check them out.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Travelogue: Holiday Blow Out at NYC DryBar

Man of mine (aka, one Mr. JZ) graciously allowed me to be his date for his office holiday party in the city that never sleeps last week.  Like any good semi-stylish and transient girlfriend with a gift card in tow, I ventured off into Midtown to the original New York DryBar at the Parker Meridien to get my hair done.  Humorously enough, Man of Mine wanted to tag along too, but then stopped short of the Parker Meridien's doors and decided to set up shop there instead.  No lie, I've been excited about this appointment for a while -- boyfriend or no boyfriend.  Being of the sort-of stiff Asian hair variety, my head doesn't rear itself around any orientation other than straight or out-of-bed-hair.  As such, it was pretty impressing to see something different.

Front desk and waiting area at DryBar Parker Meridien in New York City.

After being 10 minutes late, DryBar managed to hold my appointment, which was great because I looked like a hot rain-soaked mess.  My stylist was this lovely individual named Sean, whose hair resembled a Mardi Gras parade (and I mean that in the most awesome way possible) and wore the keenest handlebar mustache.  We bonded over the awkward nature of "polite chit chat" and cackled like old friends as he washed my hair with what I assumed to be Morrocan oil shampoo (?).

Click the next page to read more about the experience and see the final result.  It's a before and after picture, like Jared in the Subway commercials only a bit more flattering.  I stress "a bit."  Long story short, just click the next page.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Deals & Steals 12/4 to 12/11

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Sample Sale Challenge II: The Forgive & Regret List

In the however many months I've been traipsing back and forth between home and New York, I've come to develop a list of retail experiences that I would not even wish to befall on my worst enemy. Hell on Earth scenarios are what I like to call them, which may be greatly exaggerated but at the very least to the point. Take, for example, the sample sale. A fantastic place to find good quality and priced items, but with the high chance of resembling a Walmart at midnight on Black Friday... only in smaller confines with more people in sharper objects (curse you incredibly attractive leather stiletto boot trend!).  This time in tow I came with a forgive-and-regret list -- a list of all the sales I've been to and swore I'd never go to again, yet at this point am willing to reconsider, along with 4-5 other handpicked sales.

Coat and Jewelry Racks at the J. Crew Sample Sale

Case in point, the Rag and Bone and J. Crew sales of yore. Before, the lines were spilling out of the windows, the merchandise was overpriced and under quality, and the aisles resembled trenches (mind you, trenches of fashion). As expressed in this previous post, Rag and Bone was definitely out, but J. Crew managed to stay on the list out of purely because they were restocking.  Hence, the challenge:

Is a crazy sale really worth forgiving?

To read more of the ordeal, click the next page.  It's got pretty pictures of shoes, I swear.  Click!