Online Shopping versus Brick and Mortar Retail

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To state the obvious, I have mastered the art of online shopping.  I am on a first name basis with the Fed Ex guy as he visits me on a regular basis.  What’s not to love?  You visit Amazon.com click and the next thing you know it is at your front door.  Now if I could just have Fresh Direct in my part of the country so I never had to visit the grocery again, life would be perfect – right?

Not so quick.  This week the WSJ had a lovely article about lunch/tea rooms in the iconic New York department stores.  I love a great lunch room.  Nordstroms has great food so you never have to leave the store.  Bergdorf Goodman has my favorite lunch spot on the 7th floor.  What could be better than looking out over Central Park from the 7th floor of BG’s?  Still, brick and mortar is struggling with relevance.  This was brought home yesterday.  I finally had a weekend where I was made to do errands.  I decided to bite the bullet and struck out to eradicate my “to do” list.  These were things where I wanted to touch and see what my options were.  While online is lovely sometimes you need to be there to try it on or see it in person, to consider your options.  It was so frustrating to be told  “we don’t have it in the store but you can order it online”.  The fifth time I was told that in the third store, I wanted to scream!  If I wanted to order it online I would not be out in the freezing cold and rain!

I don’t know what the answer is and I’m sympathetic to the business case regarding the cost of inventory.  Of course it is easier to have a larger selection online to complement what is offered in the store.  But, and you knew there was a but coming, if you have it on display, should you not have it in stock?  Just a thought . . .

 

Finding that perfect gift for the season, a few of my favorite things!

With Thanksgiving  tomorrow and soon to be over, I am ready to dive into Christmas.  I absolutely love Christmas.  Decorating the house, the tree, the shopping, the giving.  I’m funny about gift giving.  I don’t just want to buy something and hand it over for the occasion.  I want to find something special for the individual, something that I think they will like, something that makes them feel like I put thought into purchasing just the thing for them.  This year I’m taking a cue from my Cuz who shared something of herself with me for my birthday.  So this year for my gift guide, I’m thinking of my favorite things and how they might be a special something for one of the dear people on my Christmas list.

A few of my favorite things:

1.  Personalized note pads – who doesn’t need a notepad to jot down a reminder list or a note or message?  Why not make it unique by adding a name or initials?  Paper Source and Horchow are my go to stores for stationary.

2.  Calendars – I still like a fun calendar.  Inslee by Design is a go to for me with three options now, the Calendar Girls (my fav), the animals, and food.  What isn’t to love and they come with their own easel.

3.  Scented candles – Jo Malone and Diptyque are two of my favorites.  What is better for Pamper Sunday than a bubble bath with candle and a glass of wine?

4.  Scented soaps – Jo Malone is my go to but I also look for lavender soaps from Provence.

5.  A monogrammed tote – My favorite is from LL Bean.  Their totes come in multiple sizes and colors and may be monogrammed.

6.  A duffel bag for the traveler – The options abound for a duffel from Longchamp to Louis find the one that will fit your traveler.

7.  Jewel case from Leontine Linens – This is one of my favorite things.  I love Leontine Linens.  Their linens are fabulous.  I have a set of lingerie bags and the matching jewel case.   They are constantly in use for travel and I’ve gifted friends with their own custom monogrammed set.  The best yet is they are made to order so you can design exactly what you want for that special person.  Note they have a lead time so think about this one early.

8.  A comfy sweater or pullover – What is better for a Christmas gift than a cashmere sweater or pullover.  The sweater pictured here is from J. McLaughlin and is soft and comfy.  I also love the Vineyard Vines three-quarter zip pullovers for lounging at night.  This is a go to for those cold winter nights.

9.  Gloves – Who doesn’t need a new pair of gloves for those cold winter mornings?  It is already chilly here.  Those pictured here have the seamed fingers so you can use your phone!

Other favorite things for my list include Moravian cookies or sugar cake from Dewey’s Bakery, poinsettia or amaryllis for those who have everything and will enjoy something pretty for the season, a warm throw for those times you just want to curl up with a good book (so many options are out there from an H blanket to a faux fur throw from Pottery Barn).  A donation to a the charity that your friend or family member supports is another  great option.  The goal is to be creative, to think outside the box, to find that gift that places a smile on your friend or family member’s face.

 

 

 

The comfort restaurant, BG on 7

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Continuing with the theme of comfort food, do you have restaurants you return to time and time again?  I must be a creature of habit as I have favorites that I love and return to again and again.  One of those favorites is the restaurant on the seventh floor of Bergdorf Goodman in New York.  The store is a regular stop for me on any visit to the City.  I love to visit Carmen at the Chanel make up counter for a refresh on my look, there is the amazing shoe salon, and the restaurant.  Note when you have a small and narrow foot, there is no better place to visit than the second floor of BG.  This is also a favorite place to meet a friend for lunch.  What better than a cozy restaurant where you can chat, laugh and generally catch up on everything happening.

 

The restaurant on the seventh floor is conveniently located with a wonderful view overlooking Central Park.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have lunch in the prized whisper chairs and been there when it was so busy I was just happy to eat at the bar.  The service and menu are excellent.  The croque monsieur is a perennial favorite.  Who doesn’t love a toasted ham sandwich covered in a cheese bechamel sauce?  The greens that accompany the sandwich are the perfect complement to the meal.  Other repeat favorites include the tomato bisque soup, the butternut squash soup, and the lobster mac-n-cheese.  I’m usually full before I get to desert  but have indulged in a serving of cookies.  The menu also has several figure friendly options if you prefer.  One thing that I love is that the portions are such that I don’t feel bad about opting for something like the lobster man-n-cheese.

The next time you are in the City, stop by and enjoy the restaurant on 7.

 

 

 

New York City in 48 Hours

Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today, I want to be a part of it, New York, New York . . .  (Credit Frank Sinatra)

I’ve been in love with New York since my first visit with sorority sisters as a college freshman.  I’ve been fortunate to visit many cities and each has its own special je ne sais quoi but New York is definitely in its own class of city.  Museums, shopping, Central Park, Times Square, the theatre district, the architecture, eating, so much to enjoy and so little time.  So, what’s a girl to do, just how do you spend a weekend in the City?

The Met, as it is known by many, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is one of many museums available to frequent.  MOMA, The Frick, the Neue Galllery, and J.P. Morgan’s library are some of my favorites and a wonderful escape for when the weather is bad.

Madison Avenue, SOHO, and Fifth Avenue are home to designer and other boutiques.  If it can be bought, you would be hard pressed to not find it in the City.  Madison Avenue is my personal favorite.  I spent a wonderful birthday on the top floor of Tory Burch sipping Champagne  and purchasing new boots.  Claudia there is amazing.  Lexington Avenue also has a number of fun boutiques that are very New York.  Canine Styles is my favorite boutique for the quadraped and Gracious Homes is my go to store for linens.  I love their house brand sheets.

Central Park, so long as it is not freezing cold, is a must visit.  The boat pond, the Zoo, the Carousel , the Alice and Wonderland statute, John Lennon’s Imagine and, just simply, the existence of an oasis in the middle of the City means that it is not to be missed. Just take a walk, grab a sandwich, and simply enjoy the amazing green spaces in the middle of the metropolis.

So how do I spend 48 hours in the City?  First stop is a museum, usually the Met.  I pick one area of the Met to visit in a day.  You could spend days there and, as much as I love it, I find a couple of hours in one or two exhibits usually has me on sensory overload.  Next, I head to lunch.  The Met has several wonderful restaurants,  but Neil’s Coffee Shop on Lexington Avenue is an absolute favorite.  Forget the calories!  I go for a grilled cheese and fries and  enjoy.  If not Neil’s, then BG Restaurant  on the 7th floor is another favorite.  Their mac-n-cheese is another lunch favorite.  A bit of shopping has to be part of the visit.  I usually pick one of Madison Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Soho, or Fifth Avenue for a bit of retail therapy. The end of the day is perfect for dinner at any one of the City’s amazing restaurants. Cafe Carlyle, Bemelmans’ Bar, Cognac, Un Deux Trois, Deux Amis (yes, I have a thing for French restaurants), The Smiths, or Fig and Olive.  Finally, a Broadway play, or a concert, or simply an after dinner drink at the Peninsula Hotel or the St. Regis is an excellent way to end the day.

Day two usually begins with sleeping in a bit and then a Sunday brunch.  Balthazar’s on Spring Street, Esse-a-bagel, or Neil’s are all favorites.  The Botanical  Gardens are amazing and the Orchid show in February is always a treat.  Grand Central  is a fun stop and Sunday afternoons are great for the park or one of the museums.  Then, back to reality and time to return home so I head out to LaGuardia  or Penn Station for the trip back and a reunion with the pup.

So how did you spend your weekend?

 

Organizing my makeup drawer

I’m on an organizing mission these days.  The back to school, end of summer, beginning of fall is propelling me to get done those things that have languished on my to do list far too long. On top of that list is cleaning out my makeup drawer.  Makeup has a shelf life, especially mascara and eye liner.  One guideline for mascara and liquid eye liner is three to six months once opened.  Lip gloss has a similar time line.  Lipstick is a bit longer at six months.  The danger here is bacteria which may cause infection.  Since I wear contact lens, I’m very careful about my eye health and don’t care to take chances with my makeup.  So, about every four months, I do a thorough clean out of my makeup drawer.  The best part of this exercise is that everything is organized for ease of use and I have a clean space.  This cuts down on my searching for something when I’m getting ready for work in the morning.  Since I’m a night owl and not a morning person, this is a direct benefit to me.

 

The before:

 

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Not only do I throw away products near their expiration dates, I also clean out the clutter.  This means that eyeshadow that I thought I’d love but really don’t gets thrown out as clutter.  I also wash my brushes.  In the end I make a list of the things I need to replace.  I generally buy my products from Carmen at the Chanel counter at Bergdorf Goodman.  She is absolutely wonderful.  She lets me know when there is a gift card event and is wonderful to send samples for travel.

 

The after:

 

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