Monday, August 23, 2010

vena cava for aqua

The Vena Cava for Aqua collection went online today, and it looks pretty good. Designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock lent their aesthetic to Bloomingdales' private label for dresses and separates that are at half the price of an original Vena Cava. I love the color blocked dresses, and I don't know if it's because I've been freezing my butt off in a chilly office for weeks, but that faux fur vest in the middle looks pretty enticing ...
Prices range from $78 for a jeweled tank top to $188 for the faux fur vest above. That's pretty much Aqua's price range, but that being pretty close to Vena Cava's price tags, why not just splurge on the real thing? I love this classy dress, which is priced at $295 at Saks.
Or better yet, hit the Bloomie's sales rack, which has the Vena Cava dresses below from $78 to $165 dollars. There are still plenty of extra smalls and size 0s and 2s!
What would you get?

happy hour + bull riding

There's no better cure for the doldrums than gathering up a bunch of girls for an after-work session of mechanical bull riding. When the clock hit 5:30 last Thursday, we left work wearing bull-riding ready pants and naughty grins. A colleague saw us waiting by the elevators and rightly assessed, "This looks like trouble."

Adding fuel to the fire: Johnny's Utah's, the scene of the crime, has happy hour from 5-10PM Mondays to Fridays. That meant our delicious frozen margaritas were just $5 a pop ... which ensured everyone got enough liquid courage to show that bull who's boss. Most of the girls tried their hand at the bull, but I will leave their pictures off my blog since they're all lawyers and I like my life without lawsuits.

I'd definitely recommend Johnny Utah's for those in serious need of mid-week unwinding. Nothing quite like hopping on a bull and holding on for dear life to distract you from whatever's stressing you out! If you're going with co-workers though and you intend to ride, make sure you're appropriately dressed. Heck, forget going with co-workers; if you're going AT ALL and want to ride, please don't do it in a skirt. There was one lady in a dress bull-riding in front of her co-workers, and while she actually did look pretty hot most of the time, she had to fall off eventually. And now they all know her business.
Johnny Utah's is running a 20% discount on food and drinks (you have to order both; there's no discount on drinks alone) from Mondays to Saturdays, 5:00 - 8:30PM, until September 3, 2010. Just visit their website to redeem this offer.

Johnny Utah's is located at 25 West 51st Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Tel. (212) 265-8824

Sunday, August 22, 2010

spotted at the barney's warehouse sale

The problem with having brunch in Chelsea is that it leads you straight to the door of the Barney's Warehouse Sale and leaves you feeling heartbroken for walking away from potential loves of your fashion life. You and I could've had some happy times, Sigerson Morrison wedges. But the $179 it would take to bring you home has already been allotted for sailing in Ibiza.
There were also some very pretty Miu Miu cage heels but thankfully they were not really my size. The $279 I would've spent on them is better used towards my 5-day surf camp in Portugal.
Shopping was so much simpler when all I thought about was ... well shopping. For now, I choose life! But maybe I'll sneak back into the sale towards the end to see if those wedges are still waiting for me ...

If you want to check out the Barney's Warehouse Sale, it runs until September 6, 2010. Get your butt over to 255 West 17th Street (back entrance of the Chelsea Barneys Co-op). See Racked's recount of the experience here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

get your groupon: $25 for $50 worth of GAP merch

It took awhile but I finally got to buy today's extremely popular Groupon: $25 for $50 worth of merchandise at the GAP! It was perfect timing for me because I really was intending to go to the GAP this week to buy a present. So now I'll get to do a little bit of shopping for myself too with this Groupon. I've got my eye on this skinny metallic gold belt, which would go perfectly with my gold Steve Madden wedges. If they run out of my size (which they always do), I suppose I could settle for a cute polka-dotted scarf, a nautical bag for my Ibiza trip, or if I'm feeling indulgent, throw a little bit more money GAP's way for these really skinny pants.

What would you get? If you haven't bought one yet, click here to get your Groupon!

on blackboard eats: mermaid oyster bar

While we're on the topic of being out of it, how did I miss the existence of Blackboard Eats? It wasn't until Kathryn suggested we try Mermaid Oyster Bar so we could use the 30% off coupon she scored through it that I even heard of Blackboard Eats.

Me: So how did you get the 30% off coupon?
Kathryn: Blackboard Eats.
Me: Did you have to buy something?
Kathryn: No. I just signed up. And then if they feature a restaurant you're interested in trying, you can get a coupon.

Wha?! How did I miss a website that gives away 30% off coupons for ... well nothing?! Groupon does restaurant discounts too, but you usually have to make, say a $30 purchase that'll be worth $50 when you go to the restaurant. I don't like numbers so that's too much thinking for me. I'd rather do the Blackboard Eats way.

So this is how I ended up at Mermaid Oyster Bar on a Wednesday evening standing in front of two hostesses who could see me but refused to acknowledge my existence for about 2 minutes until I called their attention. Not a good first impression, particularly since I used to hostess myself and always made it a point to speak to a waiting customer before doing anything else. Other than that glitch, everything else was pretty okay. We started with a pitcher of sangria ($32 for a pitcher) at the bar, which was nice and refreshing for a humid summer evening. Our bartender didn't hear our order correctly and gave us a glass each, so we had to call her back and say, "Uhhh, we need a lot more alcohol than that!" It took a little while for us to get seated because we gave up our table to sit at the bar, only to realize that the Blackboard Eats discount's only applicable if we're seated in the dining area. So if you're a coupon holder, take note, it's not accepted at the bar!

Once we were seated and our orders were in front of us, we were quite pleased. I had the yummy fish tacos with cabbage, pico de gallo and crema ($18). Nice and fresh, the perfect thing to eat on a humid day.

Kathryn had the fried oyster po'boys with pico de gallo, remoulade and addictive bay fries. I had part of her sandwich and thought it was pretty good though I will always prefer my oysters raw and batter free.

A complimentary chocolate dessert was much appreciated, and the miracle fish a very cute touch. If you've never seen them, you're supposed to put the fish on the palm of your hand and its movement will indicate your romantic state—which could be anything from passionate to fickle to just dead. I think mine went from dead to indifferent, so I guess it's pretty accurate!
If you're already in possession of Blackboard Eats' 30% off coupon and have yet to use it, you'll be pleased to know that the promo's been extended to September 12. Again, please note that you'll have to be seated in the dining room (not the bar) to avail of your discount. If like me, you have never heard of Blackboard Eats, take this opportunity to get a clue.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

target + gilt groupe

I haven't shopped for the sake of shopping in such a long time that I am just completely out of the loop! If you've been following my 30 Before 30 Project, you've probably figured that all funds have been directed to travel, surf lessons, pole dancing lessons and whatnot rather than fashion items. So I was pretty stunned to receive the email below today ... Target has a new line coming up with Mulberry?!? WOW. I'm underwhelmed with the bags I've seen so far, but looking forward to seeing what else they have in store. There's also a clothing line from Tucker, which I must admit I know nothing about but seems to make very pretty dresses. I really like the vintage look of the ones they've done for Target, so far. Decoupage king John Derian also returns with a fresh new collection of homeware. I am already smitten with that flowered melamine plate in the image below.
So the big news is that Gilt Groupe members get a headstart on shopping Target's new designer collaborations this Friday at 12 noon. If you haven't registered for Gilt Groupe yet, then what rock have you been hiding under? Get on that right now and click here.

Happy bargain shopping!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

cel vs. steak

I like having throwdowns with food. Partly because they're already dead and unable to fight back, but largely because I just really, really like to eat. And I like to win. I usually win when I go at it with massive glasses of beer and obscene quantities of steak. Take this 24-ounce bone-in rib steak at Quality Meats. Didn't stand a chance.

The annihilation is in part due to my recently raging appetite from marathon training. All that running plus my weekly pole dancing classes have put my metabolism on overdrive. Imagine my shock when I weighed myself not too long after this obscenely decadent meal and found that I weighed a mere 98 pounds?! Ok to be fair, my weigh in was two days after completing the Queens Half Marathon on one of the hottest days of July, so I was probably still dehydrated and lost a lot of water weight. But seeing that number made me a lot less worried about my tendency to inhale food.

Our meal at Quality Meats was definitely one for the books. We started with several pans of rosemary- and salt-flavored brioche, while some of our other friends indulged further with bone marrow ($9) and scallops ($18) starters. The general consensus was that the free brioche buns were fantastic and while the highly anticipated roasted bone marrow was just so-so.

Since we were a party of maybe 18 (my memory's hazy from all the cholesterol), you can imagine it took forever for our main courses to come out. The kitchen must've had a hell of a time getting the timing of the service of that many steaks just right. It didn't help that Dante and Anaizza ordered this dinosaur-sized 64-ounce double rib steak for two ($55 per person). That completely threw the timing off. But just look at that beauty. Can you blame them?

When our steaks finally came, they were accompanied by some very delicious friends. The corn creme brulee ($11.50) and the pan roasted crispy potatoes ($9.50) were particularly delicious. The corn creme brulee and I got very chummy indeed because I failed to notice that Phil kept dishing spoonfuls of it on my plate when I was looking. They say I pretty much single-handedly wiped out one dish. In addition to obliterating my steak.

I'm not a total freak of nature though because I pretty much did not involve myself in dessert. I took a few swipes of Mia's fruity sherbet but could not find any more space for Jammy and Sancho's pint of Cookie Monster. The truth is, I'm not really much of a sweet tooth. I could easily do without chocolate, but a good slab of meat will make my mouth water in less than a second.

I think it's pretty clear though. In the fight Cel vs. steak, it's Cel for the win by KO.

Stay tuned for more food fights as crazy marathon training (and as a happy consequence, eating) continues!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

today i'm loving: desert chic

I apologize for falling off the face of the earth. I've been so preoccupied lately with life and the million and one things than can go wrong with my little 30 Before 30 Project so I've been unable to throw some TLC toward this blog's way. Several things have already gone awry with my upcoming road trip at the end of the month with Kate but I am fervently hoping that our luck will turn soon and we'll have nothing but good times on our trip. 

Between August 24 and 30, we'll be galavanting surrounded by awesome scenery like this (though we won't be as well-dressed, that's for sure) ...

J. Crew's catalogue team and I seem to be very much in tune this year. First they do a shoot in Portugal and next thing you know, I've got a ticket booked to Lisbon. Then after I go and plan an entire trip in the deserts of Utah and Arizona, look who comes up with an entire catalog photographed amidst just the scenery I plan to visit. Let's stop fighting it J. Crew. You and I are soulmates.

PS: Olive camp shirts + sequined pencil skirts are LOVE.
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