Thursday, September 26, 2013

Witness my Food Shame

This soup is called "Cheeseburger Cheeseburger." Two cheeseburgers.
It consists of: a thick cheese base; small chunks of ground meat; small slices of onion.

And that's it. It's like eating macaroni and cheese, but without the macaroni and with small Progresso soup-sized globules of probably-beef.

The guys at Devon and Blakely actually laughed at me when I ordered it for lunch yesterday. Which, for the record, I don't do often but sometimes it just feels so wrong that it's right.
While we're on the subject, I also microwaved leftover weekend pancakes in the work break room this week. On three separate occasions.
I'm sorry, but only because I know I should be.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

District Sample Sale Review: Almost a Complete Disappointment

There are many, many things I love about living in DC. The relaxed pace of the city, which seems to balance work life and family life better than NYC ever could (for lawyers, at least). The low height of the buildings, which allows you to see sky even in the depths of downtown. The metropolitan nature of the place, meaning that there are very few cultural phenomena you miss out on, even if NYC gets some of them first.
One thing I don't love? The lack of fashion culture here.
Now I am FAR from a fashionista. I read Atlantic-Pacific with the same sense of impossible bewilderment as the rest of us pleebs. But I enjoy a good sale as much as the next gal, and I miss being able to check RackedNY's list of sample sales on any given day and find something more or less interesting.
That feeling of loss is part of what motivated me to try out District Sample Sale, despite the following misgivings:
* The sale did not feature brands, but rather DC-area boutiques, only a few of which I'd ever heard of.
* The sale cost $40 TO GET IN.
These misgivings were eventually overcome partially by the fact that I missed going to sample sales, but mostly by the fact that there would be cupcakes.
FWIW, Georgetown Cupcakes are tasty, but extraordinarily overhyped.
So I ponied up the $40 and checked out the scene with a good friend of mine. This year's event was held at a building called the Sphynx club (where, incidentally, my boyfriend ran a charity poker tournament last year). I found the line to get in to be calm, well-organized, and short. The layout of the vendors inside was impressive:
The food offerings were also impressive. For your $40 ticket price, you could sample small bites from a bunch of excellent local restaurants. Some of the items up for grabs included a mushroom gnocci, several varieties of gazpacho, a delightful english pea soup, crab sandwiches, and a seasonal cocktail made with apples and squash.
Cocktail by Federal. They torched the rosemary. TORCHED it.
I started with the food. While I doubted I would make up my $40 ticket price in clothing savings, I figured I could throw down at least $20 in appetizers. Also, there was a bar in the back of the venue offering wine and a few cocktails, but everything used "Skinnygirl" alcohol products which I think kind of suck? Am I wrong? Did you know Skinnygirl makes wine, too? Why would you skinnify wine? I feel like this is a step too far.
The salmon had some kind of tequila-type glaze. Tasty.
Upon descending into the madness of the actual sample sale, I immediately felt discouraged. None of the prices before my eyes were particularly startling...most things worth buying seemed to be about 50-60% off of already pretty expensive prices. Lots of $100-$150 dresses, etc.
Case in point: This necklace, advertised as "unique" and "marked down" to $40, sells at Eastern Market for $15 (and you can negotiate down to $12 or $10). Dissappointing.
I mentally gave up on the clothes and sat down at a chair in the back to get free hairstyling:
My instruction was to make it look like Michelle Williams' Louis Vuitton campaign. It ultimately looked nothing like that.
Ultimately, my friend found a cute chartreuse fabric purse with a blue lobster on it for $25, and I bought a scarf and a $65 necklace, mostly out of desperation but also because the necklace is very pretty and consists of real pearls/turquoise, somewhat justifying the price.
Overall, I am not sure if I got my $40 worth at this event. I probably did, but only if you add it up as follows:
$12 worth of booze (I'm not a heavy drinker, plus it was hard to hold wine glasses while shopping)
+ $10 worth of food ([wo]man cannot live on small bites alone)
+ $10 worth of a blowout (of course, this would have cost more than that if I'd gone to a salon, but I would not have been going to a salon so it's not really money saved)
+ $0 in discounts (although the necklace was theoretically reduced in price from "retail," I have my doubts that this piece ever went for $130, as it was sold by the same vendors as the above-posted-$40-Eastern-Market-necklace. Had I nabbed some kind of a deal beyond an ordinary sale price, I would have put that amount here
= $32, plus probably a movie-ticket's worth of fun with a friend, so that comes out to about $40.
Of course, you could always point out that I definitely spent some money I otherwise would not have spent had I not attended this event (on the necklace and a scarf), so what I'm saying is I have no idea how I come out on whether the sample sale was worth it.

Would I attend this event next year? Possibly. It is a decently fun girl's night out and I think I can deduct the cost of entry as a charitable donation (proceeds went to charity, after all). As long as you don't go with the intention of scoring OMGAMAZINGDEALS then it will probably be a few hours interestingly-, if not well-, spent.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

OOTD: It's the Remix to Ignition

I found myself repeating it yesterday with slightly different and more weekday-friendly pieces:

Maxi skirt swapped for a new knee-length diddy in a similar color, which I got during a Labor Day sale on Rue La La or some similar site. Tee-like top (which is work-appropriate with the right bottom, IMHO) subbed for a longer-sleeved boatneck top from this weekend's jaunt to the LOFT outlet. Payless black patent flats subbed for J.Crew black patent wedges.

Same tote because, seriously, how great is this tote?

Who says you don't need multiple black polka dot tops and pink chiffony skirts?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Newest Member of the [Bag] Family

If you couldn't tell from the, oh, SEVEN MILLION bags I have purchased in the last month, I'm going through a bit of a bag phase. At some point perhaps I will document the bag binge I went on this month, but I'm not sure I want photographic evidence.

In any case, I visited an outlet mall this weekend with the intention of ridding myself of a Cole Haan gift certificate* that's been burning a hole in my pocket for about a year. Is anyone else like this with gift certificates? Sometimes I worry that if I don't just force myself to spend it, I will forget about it and it will expire. (This is of particular concern for stores I don't shop at as much, like Cole Haan.)

* I got the gift certificate after complaining to Cole Haan customer service that a bag I'd purchased at the outlets a year prior had become faded/discolored on only one panel. To Cole Haan's credit, they let me send the bag back, they inspected it and determined it was defective, and then gave me a gift card for the purchase price, even without a receipt. Even more, the gift card was good not only at outlets, but also online and in retail stores. Things like this make me much more likely to continue shopping a brand, so thanks for that, Cole Haan.

Sad; the bag had such promise.

Anyway, here's one of the things I got with the gift card:

The Cole Haan Haven Tote (available here in yellow for $119 (affiliate link) or here in mint for $160)

Things I was not kidding about: my love for big bags.

What I like most about this tote, aside from the great texture on the outside of the bag (the inside is rough) is that it's super smushy so it does not look too imposing from the front and it also smushes perfectly underneath/behind a second bag, if you want to use this as a gym bag/lunch bag/secondary bag of whatever purpose.

The added bonus is that there are these nice pockets and a key clip on the side so you don't have to fumble around for your phone or keys.

You can see the rough unfinished qualities of the interior leather here.  It doesn't bother me but if you prefer a more refined lining then give this a pass.

Anyway, it's a cute bag and it's definitely worth the "free" that I paid for it, although it's also probably worth the $125 outlet price if you're in the market for a good leather tote bag.

Monday, September 9, 2013

What the WHAAA? (a.k.a., An Interesting Sale Find)

Good morning.  Happy Monday.  For the record:  I don't care what your intentions are, but leaving a dozen chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting in the breakroom on a Monday morning is just cruel.  LET ME RECOVER FROM AN EAT-Y WEEKEND IN PEACE.

Anyway, just a quickie this morning to share a shopping find I stumbled upon while returning several of my purchases this month.  (INCLUDING the MBMJ bag approximately half of us, including myself, loved.  I just found myself gravitating towards other bags and couldn't justify the full sticker price.  Also, this other MBMJ tote (the lavender one) in the same style seems to be filling the void for a slouchy but professional-ish neutral leather bag.)

Did you know that Ralph Lauren makes a Prada-style saffiano double-zip tote??

Lauren Ralph Lauren Newbury Double-Zip Satchel ($298 at Piperlime*)

NEITHER DID I.  I'd been toying around with the idea of setting money aside for a Prada tote in December, using some of my bonus money and directing my parents to provide Channukah gifts in the form of purse-money or gift cards, but I was frustrated with the fact that you seemingly have to choose between a larger Prada or a shoulder strap.  (Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like shoulder straps are only offered up to a certain size?)  Anyway, we know I like big bags so this bothered me.

The size of this bag is perfect.  Definitely big enough for a laptop and then some.  I stupidly did not take a photo of the bag on me, but here's Zappos' photo of it against a model:

The leather feels rich and the construction looks solid for a bag at this price point.  My biggest problem with it (and I actually find this SUPER annoying) is that there is a RLL monogram on the front center of the bag instead of a logo (not visible in the first photo, but you can see it in the second).  My initials are not RLL so when I look at this it irks me a bit.  But I'm willing to overlook it given the bag's other great qualities and the reasonable price.

Even better, if you buy the bag at Macy's*, you can ask to purchase the bag as a "presale" item.  I guess Macy's is having some big sale starting on September 18 in which everything will be 20% off.  If you are willing to wait to possess this bag until the 18th, Macy's will let you buy it for 25% off today and then you can go pick it up on the 18th.  I'm not sure how presales work online (try calling customer service?) but I was able to arrange for my presale in the store.  With the 25% off, the purchase came to a very reasonable $223 before tax.

FYI:  It also comes in tan, red, and pink (or purple?  The Zappos photo* looks purple but the Macy's photo* looks pink).

I'll post a live photo once I pick it up next week!

*  Affiliate links.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

OOTD: A New Top and a Large Bag

I'm really struggling creatively today. Could you tell from the title of this post?
In this Outfit:
Ann Taylor Lace Top (M) (here
J.Crew Factory White Skirt (6) (similar for $40, similar for $20)
Kate Spade Metropolitan Pearls earrings (almost identical at Target for $13)
Kate Spade All Sorts Necklace
Michael Kors Davenport Watch in Rose Gold (here)
Tory Burch Robinson Saffiano East-West Tote (here)
Manolo Blahnik Pumps (39.5) (gifted)
(affiliate links)
This bag looks slim and slender from this angle, but from the other side:
KERCHOW! Now THAT'S a bag.

What can I say? I'm a big-bag girl and I make no apologies.
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