Thursday, October 31, 2013

The New York Subway Signs Experiment

I learn something new about New York every single day...this one did make me smile :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fall/Winter buys...One Love body serum

One Love Rose body serum 

I just bought this with my 20% off first purchase on Birchbox. I received a small sample of the One Love Organic body serum last year in my October Birchbox. Yes, one year ago, I got my first and only Birchbox which was a collab with Goop. I had not used this one particular sample until now because I thought it would be too oily and when I ran out of body lotion, I used it. The sample didn't last long. I really liked it. With the dry weather and my skin feeling tight everywhere, this will come in handy. It is not oily and spraying something on is absolutely convenient for someone like me who has no patience in slathering up my body. It absorbs mighty fast but maybe it is because my body needs to be quenched. The sample I got was Chamomile but I'm going to give Rose a try. Hope I like it! I guess Birchbox works although I made my first purchase one year later :) Oh, if you download the Birchbox app, you get 20% off your next purchase!

I also purchased a Clarisonic brush head for sensitive skin and now on the hunt for a new face moisturizer for winter. With the change of weather, my face is literally peeling and cracking, it's horrible. I just started using a free La Mer sample I got in the summer...but not sure if I'll purchase the smallest bottle for $155 yet. 

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Monday, October 28, 2013

On my 30th birthday... [Night snorkeling with Giant Manta Ray, Kona Hawaii]

On my birthday (in Eastern Std time hehe), after the sun set, we took a boat, put on some wet suits and snorkeling gears and did this...

It was kind of magical...

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Underwater shot series 2....Dive deeper

Underwater shot series in Hawaii 
I remember there was tons of fish down there but you only see 1-2 of them in this shot...It was like a living aquarium. Gorgeous ....

As you see, I am not over our Hawaii trip just yet. I still have a couple of these shots I want to share. I'm still not good at photoshop-ing these but doing my best! And doing my best is the best I can do :)

Happy weekend!

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David Yurman sample sale 2013 [October 2013 NY sample sale]

Moisaic chiclet rings at the David Yurman sample sale

Which ring would you pick? Check out my review on Racked for the David Yurman sample sale ending this weekend.

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Matt Bernson sample sale 2013 [October 2013 NY sample sale]

Matt Bernson tundra boots

These new boots will help my toes stay warm this Winter.
Check out the Matt Bernson sample sale happening through this weekend. Check out my review on Racked.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekender: Movies, photoshoots and $10 shoes

Beautiful Grand Central Station
This past weekend was a little relaxing and little bit romantic and lots me just being plain lazy. I have been addicted to streaming movies online and it has caused me to be a homebody more than ever. As Fall arrived, I took out our Restoration Hardware luxe faux fur throw (small version of this one) and can comfortably snuggle under it for hours. 

On Saturday, Dave left the apartment late in the afternoon to hang out with his friends while I decided to hang back and watch movies all day (and night!) long. I ended up watching about 4-5 movies including classics like Armageddon and Gladiator, while gobbling down leftovers, chocolates and homemade popcorn with tons of butter. I did do some house chores to set my guilt aside. When I started feeling sluggish, I thought I'd make my day just a bit more productive by getting a pedicure at some nail salon 5 minutes by stroll. Haha yea, reeeal productive but it was legit since I needed my feet to look pretty for the photoshoot we were going to do on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon is the romantic part of the weekend. It was the day we did our couple's photoshoot session with Bernie and Molina. Dave and I spent a lot of time close to each other and giving kisses during and in between shoots. It was nice smelling his breath for 3 hours. We met up with Bernie and Molina at their hotel near Times Square and started the photoshoot right there in their hotel room. They then brought the shoot over to Grand Central but not without taking a few pictures in the subway first. The photoshoot was awkward at first but soon felt at ease when Dave and I just kept making each other laugh under the guidance of our photographers. Since they are a wife and husband team, they were able to show us exactly what poses they'd like us to do. That made things a lot easier for us I think.

My favorite part of the shoot was when we were inside Grand Central station. By the time we got there, we were already more at ease with posing and pretending to make out every second. But now, we just had to overcome being stared at by curious bystanders in the crowded station. However, Dave and I really don't have a problem with doing silly things in public (especially at weddings) so it wasn't difficult. I can't wait to see all the pictures especially the ones where we were in this quiet part of Grand Central under a faint ray of light coming through the high ceiling windows. The best part of the shoot and most romantic or maybe weirdest (for us) was one of us standing in the middle of the crowded Grand Central station. We were in each other's arms with our eyes closed, absolutely still as stone for about 5 minutes, while Bernie and Molina were somewhere in the distance taking pictures. We were joking about putting a tip jar. You know, performing artist type thing. With our eyes closed, it was easier to ignore the crowd but before it started feeling uncomfortable, Molina came back to let us know they got what they need and we could relax. We wrapped up the shoot by getting some Shake Shack burgers, cheese fries and shakes at the food court below. Best way to end anything really.

Bernie and Molina!
After we said our goodbyes, Dave and I went to Soho together to check out stuff at REI. It is DAve's favorite store in NY or something. He'll just go there even if we don't have a trip planned and I just want any excuse to go to Soho. After he left for the gym, I went to check out the last day of Catherine Malandrino's sample sale not expecting much based on reviews. To my surprise, there was a table with Malandrino and Melissa shoes going for only $10. At first I didn't see any styles  I liked at all but mostly because there were no small sizes. But after flipping through some boxes, I spotted these Melissa+campana zig zag rubber flats for $10. They retail for $80 so I was pretty happy even if I wasn't sure I would wear these sparkly rubber shoes. I don't own any Melissa shoes and they actually fit quite comfortably.

After our photoshoot, we became really good at looking like we adored each other

I think if Dave could live in REI, he would! He's thinking about it here...

$10 for these Melissa + Campana zig zag shoes at the Catherine Malandrino sample sale

Since I was already in shopping mecca Soho, I promised to help my sister's ex-colleague ask about the price of a Prada purse she had her eyes and possibly ask me to purchase for her to bring back to Montreal. I imagined strolling in and pretending I wanted to buy a bag but when I was overwhelmed by the bag selection and couldn't remember which style her colleague wanted, I had to tell the salesperson what I was in there for. Just to get pricing and that I wasn't buying anything...yet. It seems the bags are way cheaper in New York than in Montreal but did you know that the retail prices of designer brands in Hawaii are wayyy lower? Yea. I found out while I was in Hawaii that there's indeed a difference in pricing on designer goods between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. So, for your next trip to Hawaii, remember to set some money aside if you've been eyeing a designer bag and get them there at almost 20-40% off. Sales tax in Hawaii is only 4%.

Prada ladida. The two bags on the left are newer than the bag on the right.

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Laura Mercier first-ever sample sale [October 2013 NYC sample sale]

Laura Mercier sample sale

I only got two bottles of nail polish at the sale. What would you have picked? Here's the review of the sale I wrote for Racked NY.

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Honeymoon travelogue part 2: 6 days 5 nights in Kauai [Hawaii Kauai mini travel guide]

Welcome to Kauai!

This post is overdue! We have been back from our honeymoon for over a month now and I already put up a list of things we did in Oahu and I have been working (procrastinating) on Kauai for too long. Is it relevant anymore? Have the restaurants we visited shut down yet? Are the snorkeling spots gone? Nah. The list is still good, so read on! Again, it's an almost complete list since I did leave out a couple of places (gas stations, postal office and grocery store).

Tree-lined road in Kauai

This tree lined road was one of the first awe-inducing welcoming scenery on our way to our resort on on the south shore of the island. A canopy of 520 eucalyptus planted over 100 years ago stretching for a mile. It's beautiful. Make a point to drive along this stretch and if you can, get out to snap some pictures. We took some from the car only because there was always too many cars for us to pull over.

In pictures: A hidden trail off the Kalalau lookout [Waimea Canyon, Kauai]

Just some pictures from our incredible hike at Waimea Canyon State Park off the Kalalau lookout. This was one of the highlights of our trip. We couldn't find much information about this trail and it is not shown on the park's maps. We happen to have found it when we saw two people walk out from the forest. We decided to put on our hiking shoes and check it out. We thought it would just be a short hike to get a better view but it turned out to be a legitimate hiking trail. We walked further and further because the view was getting more and more incredible. When we bumped into a couple of hikers and were told it would be 2-3 miles to the end, I looked at Dave like woah but we knew we didn't want to stop. Those are the times where I am happy to have someone like Dave by my side. We're both crazy. Since it was an impromptu hike, we didn't have sun lotion nor water on us. It was a bit difficult and because of the altitude, we were out of breath more quickly (or maybe simply out of shape). It was a great hike and not too difficult. At some parts of the trail, you have to watch your steps because you definitely do not want to slip as you may just fall to your death.

Here are just some of the pictures we took on top of the ones I have previously posted before.

We were in awe every step of the way...

A waterfall!

A rainbow!

We heard goats echoing in the valley. We thought they were seabirds at first.

Almost there to the end..

The view below. The Kalalau beach which is the end of the infamous Kalalau trail. 
Hey, when you finally get up have to take as many pictures as possible.

On our way back:
Dense foliage in some part of the trail

One last glimpse
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dream destinations..United glitch.

Hawaii 2013

If you can fly anywhere for free (or almost free) where would you go?

A couple of days ago, had some issues with their website where people were able to purchase flights using miles they did not have. By simply clicking on the refresh button a couple of times, you were able to get free tickets and just pay just the airport taxes and fees. Read more about it here and people making fun of it on twitter. Of course, United Airlines are not honoring these tickets because they called it a "manipulation" on the customer's part to get these tickets. I agree that we didn't have the points and therefore, are not entitled to the tickets but we did it anyway...hoping they would honor it.

Dave started going at it like crazy while I only got one reservation to work. It looks like the destinations Dave and I picked aren't epic at all because we were being logical and thought about the vacation days we were able to take off next year.

My true dream travel list would be something like this:

-Scotland (The Highlands)
-Australia (The Outbacks)
-South Africa (Safari!)
-Anywhere in Europe (Anywhere!)
-Tonga (New on my dream list only because you can legally swim with humpback whales there!)
I can add a dozen more countries...

But our picks and what we made reservations for were a bit more local and a dash of international:

-New Orleans (Culture!)
-Chicago (somewhere close to visit with Dave's parents)
-Portland Oregon (craft beer and food)
-Los Angeles (to see a friend)
-Paris (macarons and bread and wine and butter and Chanel!)
-Taiwan (to visit parents)

And those were our destination choices when we could have picked anywhere to fly in the world! Lame? Maybe, but do-able without losing our jobs!

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Fenton/Fallon sample sale [October 2013 NYC sample sale]

Fenton/Fallon sample sale necklaces $60

Lack of statement jewelry? Craving spikes and chains for a grunge look? Fenton and Fallon sample sale is where you should go. See my review on Racked here.

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In pictures: Liebeskind sample sale [October 2013 NY sample sale]

When there is a one-day sample sale, you kind of expect it be good which means true samples and great prices. So, after work today, I decided to check out the Liebeskind's one day sample sale which ended at 8 p.m. giving me ample time to head there from work. The sale was held in the basement of their Soho store on Lafayette street. 

When you descend to the basement, you're greeted with a pleasing price list where the most expensive items are $50 for leather bags. You become hopeful. Other prices include $40 for large nylon or small leather crossbody bags. Wallets and belts were $15, pouches were $10 and mobile sleeves were $5. Shoes were $40 and that's where the supposed samples were (overheard a sales lady). Sizing was limited but some styles (metallic flats) came in multiple sizes. 

It was an hour before closing and it was quiet as a library down there with just a couple of shoppers coming in and out. Maybe it was better in the morning and all the good stuff has been picked through. There was a lot of stock left especially for the belts. They should have just given them all out for $1 just to get rid of them. I picked up a pair of flats reminiscent of my Rag and Bone Newbury flats. Actually, they are almost identical except for the color but these were made in Italy, oxford red and only $40. There was only one size left.

Click 'read more' for pictures...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Couple's takes two!

Dave and I take many pictures together especially when we travel but what we don't have a lot of are professional pictures. The only ones we have so far are from our wedding and I wasn't super pleased with them. We looked so awkward together for many of the shots and we didn't seem natural AT ALL. Many people asked us why we didn't take any engagement pictures. Well, we weren't comfortable with the idea of posing and don't really like the cheesy generic shots and by the look of the wedding pictures, we were right. We're not good at looking natural unless we're not posing. However, there's always cheesy posing but if done right, it can look completely natural. So I guess we just didn't find the right photographers here in NY. I am pretty picky as well.

This weekend, we're finally doing a real photoshoot together and I'm excited yet dreading it. I want it to be casual but I don't want to ruin the pictures therefore a little effort needs to be made. I have to do my hair and put on a dab of makeup. Thinking about our outfits and accessories? Shoes? What color lipstick? Heels or flats? ...argh! It's cool, it's cool. It is not the end of the world. We're going to start the photoshoot in one of Dave's favorite buildings in the city which is Grand Central Station. It will be a classic! These will be photos we will keep forever representing both of us at the age of 30, married, living together in one of the greatest cities in the world!

Our photographers will be Bernie and Molina who are traveling all the way from Toronto to attend a conference but allocated some time to do photoshoots. And we were lucky to be squeezed in their, I am sure, busy schedule. I like their style and I have a feeling the pictures will turn out great! Cross my fingers and toes xxx

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Underwater shot series 1....Aloha

At Pu'uhonua o Honaunau bay (Two step), Kona, Big Island

I have so many underwater shots but only a couple I like...

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

The 3rd annual Racked Awards 2013

This was my vision by the end of the night at the 2013 Racked Awards celebrated at the Heath inside the McKittrick hotel. Alright, I didn't drink thaaat much but those cocktails were pretty strong...except the punch which was so good! The winners of the 2013 Racked Awards were announced earlier in the day and could claim their golden turbans at the party. 

Just to mention a few winners voted by Racked readers:

Best New Store-Personnel of New York (which I personally want to check out!)
Best Sample sale went to 'Comme des Garçon'. (That's where I got my Tretorn sneakers for $20.)
Best New Home Goods Store-Jung Lee. (Another store I want to check out.)
Best French Import- Maison Kitsuné (It's a nice store!)
Best Online Goes Offline- Warby Parker. (I have a pair!)

The Racked Awards golden turbans!

The Heathens played up some great tunes! Oldies, classics and new songs!

3 choices of Tito vodka's handmade cocktails (with fresh ingredients, simple syrups and everything!) were being concocted at the bar. We tried all 3 cocktails as you can see.

photo by Kenneth Bachor 
A party is not complete without a photobooth! There was one set up called Rotobooth inside this mini model train cart! (I need to return to the Heath one day!) Rotobooth lets you use a rotary dial to enter your cellphone number so you can get a text with the link to your 4 pictures! It is a pretty neat idea but freakin' takes forever to dial when you're slightly buzzed which the booth attendant said, guests often are! I'm 30 so I did have a rotary dial phone at home when I was young but I thought, for the younger kids, they must think it is such an ancient but novel idea! 

And right after you finish dialing, you have to step back and get ready immediately for the shot or else you will look like this...

The I Am Not Ready Yet look
But then you get the hang of it and look like this...professional synchronized photobooth takers. 

Fobby Asian pose

We took 12 different poses

Live band, free drinks, a psychic reader and photobooth! More pictures of the party here! Thank you Racked for an awesome party!

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pierre Balmain sample sale and multi-designer clearance sale [October 2013 NY sample sale]

Karl Lagerfeld amber crystal bead-embellished cotton collar 

Click here for my review of the Pierre Balmain sample sale and multi-designer clearance sale for Racked. The best find for me was this embellished collar from Karl Lagerfeld. It was in an accessories bin for $20 (retailed at $185).

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nykeiko shops: J. Mendel sample sale...yes, there are (some) samples! [October 2013 NY sample sale]

The beautiful gowns at the J,Mendel sample sale

I attended the J. Mendel private sample sale last night. I was expecting the same amount of inventory as the last sale but there was definitely less stock (evening gowns, ready to wear, accessories) this time around. The selection of fur items was also very my relief. 

When you enter the showroom, you have your long gowns to your right organized by size (size 0-4, size 4-6, 8 and 10-16). Most gowns went for 85% off the retail price tag and most gowns were priced over $6000 retail. There were a few samples amongst the bunch but mostly in size 0. Ever seen a J.Mendel runway show? It is skinny model heaven. 

All the gowns were lustrous and beautiful as expected. The most abundant variety of dresses and styles, including a couple of bridal gowns, are in the size 0-4 rack. There were a couple of damaged or stained pieces though.

The ready to wear pieces were nice but not great. A pretty pink blush dress stood out for me. There were also some decent leather pieces and the fur coats were 85% off. 

All the accessories at the sale were displayed on one long table. When I got there, there was only a pair of hand warmers, two white bags, two fur throws in pink and brown, silk sequined scarves for $50, leather belts and a bunch of embellished satin belts for $25. I wonder if the items were already picked over or the selection was just that small.

Finally, a rack with fur vests/capes and wraps were priced between $350 and $550. This white fox fur cape was so decent and marked at $400 down from $3,290, some might say they got themselves a deal? Not for me although I pictured myself wearing it on the red carpet of an imaginary event that would never happen...

$1395 laced beauty

$25 embellished belts

Furry hand warmers

J.Mendel fox fur cape $400

Gorgeous! For an underwater photoshoot maybe? $1737 (marked down from $6950)

J. Mendel fur and shearling coats

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