Eating - Can It Be This Good?

Not to say that the constant quest for that nice place to eat that doesn't put a dent in your wallet is over, but Cafetasia is definitely at the top of the list. Everyone is crazy about Spice, but this new Thai and Asian-inspired restaurant on East 8th between Green St. and University Place (take the R or W to 8th street and walk down two blocks) will make you think twice.

Interior Design - Absolutely beautiful. Dark wood, candles, flowers and modern accents. Why they have the cafeteria mention in the restaurant name? Is probably because of the two long wooden tables that have a really nice sophisticated community feel. There are still other small tables throughout the restaurant if you are not in the communal mood.

Menu - This is the best part! Price range is from $1 to $12 - can you beat that? The $12 meals are for items under their x-large selections, so you can easily have dinner or lunch for just $10.

Recommendation: This is truly a great spot to go have a nice chat with your best girlfriend; meet that guy for a nice causal date or even take out your parents. The overall vibe is very versatile, and absolutely feel free to just walk right in. If your party is 2-3 people the wait is pretty short. the staff is really nice and they will do what they can to make your experience worthy of a return.

My last visit I had the tamarind glazed spare ribs and rice - $7.00!! Yummy to the tummy and to the wallet.



Volatile Markets - Part 1

I used to watch CNBC in awe, hoping that one day I could sit back and kick up my feet while a stock market correspondent gushed over an investment direction that I took advantage of. However, I didn't understand what they said 80% of the time. My next move was to get a savvy financial advisor to help me make those decisions, so I called up my local top investment bank (TIB):

True Story
KC: "Hi, I'm looking for a financial advisor to help me build a portfolio."
TIB: "Great! We can set you up with someone. How much are you looking to invest? "
KC: "500."
TIB: "500 thousand?"
KC: "No, 500 dollars."
TIB: "Ummmm.....well...how about you just check our website. *CLICK*"

I knew then at that moment that I either need to hit the lottery or teach myself how make a $1 out of .15 cents. With the help of money conscious friends, I created a very rewarding investment portfolio with very little overhead costs. With a little patience so can you! Here are the steps I took:
  1. Learn what Stocks, Bonds, Indices, Mutual Funds and ETFs are. A well balanced, or diversified, portfolio should have a mixture of these easy to attain investments. Some investments are riskier than others, so don't put all your eggs in one basket!
  2. Get free trustworthy investment help. You wouldn't let the cable guy give you plumbing advice so don't let just anyone advise your investment direction. There are plenty of paid professionals out there who get paid to write articles about investing - consult them before you listen to ole' Uncle Jim. I am a Motley Fool fan. Their advice led me to pick a super hot stock with over a 18% return on investment in the past year. That is 3 times the return of a 5% CD!
  3. Get an online broker. Low fees and a low investment minimum is what you are looking for. For your first time around, you just want to dabble with a few bucks to get the hang of it. My broker is ShareBuilder.com because there are no minimums, no account fees, and trades are as little a $4 each! You can purchase Goverment securities straight from the government at TreasuryDirect.gov.
  4. You are looking for growth over time. Don't get so impressed when you see a stock who has gone up $50 per share in a year. If the stock costs $10,000 p/s then that's only a 0.5% increase. Now if the stock was $25 per share, then that's a 200% increase!!! Check out the stock's 52 week performance on Yahoo! or Google Finance.
  5. Never stop learning!

Make a hobby out of it. That is the best way to get going with out getting overwhelmed. Also, find a money buddy who is willing learn with you and share experiences. Can't find one?? Shoot me an email, I could gab about this all day ;-)

The best part is, the next time you're at a cocktail party and people start talking about the volatile market, you can wow them and say: "I took advantage of market speculation and bought low. However, I did hedge my risk by selling several commodities."


ALERT: L&T Coupon

As suggested before Lord and Taylor has some nice clothing and accessory lines.

They definitely get points for their not-so-crazy shoe section.

Here is a coupon to get you motivated:


Keeping the savvyness alive


Across the River....

Some of you may be die-hard New Yorkers, but let us not shun some of the offerings our friends across the river in New Jersey have for us.

Two things somewhat recently discovered. If you are already hip to this info, consider this a refresher.

  1. If you are ever thinking about renting a car try Dollar Rent A Car over by the Newport Mall. Why? because you save like 50% compared to NYC prices. It is sooo easy to get there too. If you are going on the weekend hop on the Path train heading to Hoboken and Journal Square and get off at Pavonia/Newport; if you are going during the week it is the one headed for Journal Square. The fair is a simple $1.50. When you get there it is through the mall in the parking garage and folks can direct you. When it is time to return the car; right out the Holland tunnel and a couple of turns you are there....so simple you can return it before going to work.

  2. While you are out at the Newport Mall to grab your rental or not - Enjoy the mall. A while back it was a bit busy because of the no tax on clothing, but now that NYC offers the same, the shopping crowd is not bustling over there like they use to. You can do some shopping on 34th street and then jump on the Path train right there. In about 4 stops and again just $1.50 you are there - in what feels like a moment of suburbia:)



Reading is Power - Build Your Own Info Tank


One of the requirements to being and staying savvy is reading! Besides discussing with others, the news you need is either online or in hard copy print.

My mail box is fulled with publications and my email is stock full of ezines and e-newsletters. Here are some ways to go about putting together your own information tank:

  • Subscribe to pubs that will cover the following aspects of your life: Personal Finance; Beauty; Fashion; Health; Personal (respective to you nationality or maybe a element to your life that is not general to all); Professionalism/Career; General News
My example: I subscribe to: Smart Money; Allure; Harper's Bazaar; Fitness; Essence; Pink; Newsweek.

Tip: Go to StudentMags and sign up at a discount rate. They don't check to see if you are a student:)

Oh and whatever your preference online or in hand; NYT or WSJ - just read one. NYT offers the weekend subscription (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) - that is enough to keep you up on the ins and outs.



Farewell Mimosa....Hello Free Sangria!!!

Brunch has pretty much been the same ole "pretend" meal of the day ever since the clever little title was coined: Traditional breakfast option, traditional lunch option paired with a chilled mimosa. It's about time someplace remixed it to spark the interest of a new wave of savvy Brunchers and that someplace is Calle Ocho (82nd and Columbus). Their Sunday Brunch with a Cuban twist comes with an assortment of unique breads and spreads, a one-of-a-kind delish menu and (you're going to love me for this) FREE AND UNLIMITED SANGRIAS!!! They have 8 different barrels, 4 white & 4 red, of fruit infused goodness- you'll never want to touch a mimosa again. If I didn't sell you on the sangria then you'll love that it averages to only $15 person. Its lovely atmosphere would be perfect for get togethers and celebrations. Personally, I'm hooked and I will be there every Sunday I get a chance. Hope to see you there!

The Sangria Bar

Huevos Divorciados

Classic Cuban

Thanks Ash ;-)


Some Brands To Consider

Sometimes it is the unknown or not commonly discussed clothing lines that produce some nice pieces that will allow you to stand out.

About two years ago I started to browse in a section of Macy's juniors section (4th floor at the 34th street location) call American Rag. They line doesn't have it's own site - so I suppose they are a brand created by the department store. I suggest checking out because given whatever the trend is they make some really cute pieces for a good price. Ranging from $14.50 to $49.50.

...most importantly don't think of a teen girls line. When you browse they have pieces for everyone.

On the teen girl note, you should definitely add Alloy and Delia's to your favorites. Delias may be more to your liking as it is slightly more mature, but any trend you like but don't want to invest $$ a lot in, this is a great way to do so. And NO the sizes aren't made for people 90lbs and under...it is pretty true to size.

Enjoy Savvy ones:)


Upcoming Health Event To Attend - Sign Up!!!

Hey Savvy Ones,

The below event is in September, but sign-up now. It is a low cost of $25, but worth the networking opportunities and health advice:

"Here Comes the Sun: A Celebration of Yoga and Well-Being" organized by Health Magazine and benefiting Step Up.

Saturday, September 29, 2007
Rumsey Playfield
Central Park
New York, NY 10021

This all-day event will include:
Live performance by Joan Osborne
Classes for all levels featuring expert instructions for YogaWorks. Experience Vinyasa Flow, Yoga for beginners, Aromayoga, Yoga for better sleep, mat Pilates and much more!
Beauty makeovers
Delicious tastings
Sponsor samples and fun giveaways
All Step Up Members and Guests receive $5 off admission; regular tickets are $25. Click here to purchase your tickets. Enter "STEPUP" as your promotion code.
Questions? Please email newyork@suwn.org or call 212.822.8582.


ALERT: Get Paid to Buy Shoes!! Then Get Shoe Relief

Endless.com, the super user friendly online shoe and bag store, is having a special promotion: Overnight shipping is negative $5 (watch out Zappos) on all orders including sale items! They have nice mix of low, mid and high end makers. I'm giving these T-Straps the serious eye.
Thanks Changa!

While we are on the topic shoes. I want every shoe shopper out there (that means you!) to always keep a bottle of 'Premier Professional Shoe Stretch' handy. My mom used it when I was a kid to stretch my shoes to fit my rapidly growing feet. Nowadays, I find this extremely useful after I shop online and find my new shoes to be a bit tight. All you do is squirt the inside of your shoe, slip your feet in, walk for a few minutes and you'll have instant relief!! It is on sale at any local shoe repair store or get it online here. Your feet will thank you.