AFM: Thakoon

In our next round of Affordable Fashion Mania, fashion designer Thakoon is front and center with his line of Target. The Thakoon for Target online store is open for business today and stocked with it's first round of looks. The collection is primed with the florals, prints and cardigan-like embellishments you would expect to see based on his Spring 2009 Ready-To-Wear Collection. Happy Shopping!!


Easy Cooking...For Holidays & Everyday

Like many of you who are juggling career, personal life, organization commitments, family, etc. it feels like there isn't time to do the basic things like cooking yourself a easy delicious healthy meal. Since talks of the economy stress that we all do out best to save money, one of the easiest and most effective ways to save money is to cut back on eating out.

No more dining out = more cooking at home; and to not end up microwaving frozen foods that means planning ahead of time. Well I decided this weekend to cook shrimp scampi because it is so easy and tasty to do. In my quest to find a simple to follow recipe I came across www.startcooking.com.

What a site! I can literally watch every episode in one sitting. It is the combination of the animated narrator, the bright and visually appealing videos and the overall simple presentation that makes it such a great cooking reference.

Definitely bookmark this site. The site even goes over basics such as the three essential cooking knives you need and how to fry an egg (yes I have heard some of you out there are still struggling with this).

I guess I can put off cooking classes for a while:)

Bon Appetit!


You think you know, but you have no idea...

So think you know what your true Bra size is. Did you let one of those cute sales associates at Victoria's Secret measure you with pre-marked pink tape (hint: Vicky's may not even have your size! Can you really trust it?)? Or do you figure you've just had the same bra size since high school? If any of the above applies to you...sweetie, it's time to get a REAL Bra Fitting! You don't have to take my word for it. Tim Gunn regularly sends the guests on his show to professional bra fittings before starting the makeover process. Ensuring the proper fit for your girls will not only give you proper support but it is the necessary foundation to make your clothing far more flattering. In one episode Tim sent his guest to Bra*Tenders in the theatre district and I promptly setup an appointment. Yes, its by appointment only, but you're getting the personal attention the whole time! Raquel, the fit specialist, is a doll and absolutely AMAZING. She has been in the business since she was 15 year old a figured me out in a few quick looks. Evidently, I was wearing a band size too big and a cup size to small, nor would I have ever known without her because my size isn't sold in your average retail store!!! They have oodles of styles and brands, some I never heard of before; I could have been there for hours. For starters, I picked up a basic black, basic nude, and sexy little lace number for fun.

630 9th Avenue New York, NY 10036
(212) 957-7000

So please do yourself the favor and setup an appointment with Raquel. Your owe it to yourself to have at least one wardrobe-enhancing well-fitting brazier ($45-75 range).


ALERT! Awesome Shoe Sale

I recently went to Te Casan (for the first time) for one of those fashion fundraisers where a portion of the proceeds go to a charity. What a great event it was and the shoes were fabulous. Basically the sale breakdown as I recall goes as follows: Flats: $55; Pumps: $95; $Booties: $125. But the original cost for these shoes are $300 plus.

I did some close examination and research and the quality is up to par. The sale goes through the end of the month but the longer you wait you may miss your size.

382 W Broadway (bet. Broome and Spring)
(212) 584-8000‎

My favorites (and they all come in various colors):

PS - if you do go and visit and make a purcahse, ask if the proceeds from your buy can go to Black Girls Rock.


My Favorite Lip Balm

When it comes to lip balms I am tres tres picky. The one thing I hate is a shiny gloss that does nothing but makes your lips appear moist but underneath it feels dry. That only leads to having a two-setp process of applying moisturizer and then your favorite shine (ex: MAC's lip glass).

Finally I found a shiny lip balm that REALLY works. C.O. Bigelow's Mentha Cinnamint Lip Shine. It truly moisturizes and adds a lasting sheen. I am very much impressed.


ALERT! Body Shop Sale

This Thursday (11/20) The Body Shop is having their "Celebrate You Event" and all purchases receive an additional 20% off!

A good way to stock up on gifts and stuff just for you. I am a personal fan of their Home Fragrance Oils and of course the Body Butters.

Some how The Body Shop has my number and sent out a mass voicemail with this info. Any questions call 888-534-6159



Tide-to-Go is Good-to-Go!

I totally vouch for this product. It saved my cream cashmere sweater from a pasta sauce disaster. I heart tide for making this! It also comes in a mini version to fit in your cute little clutch.

Tide-to-Go Mini 2-Pack


Retailer Bridges the GAP

I'm quite impress these days with Gap Inc. stores' collections - The Gap; Old Navy and Banana Republic.

All three stores had their horrible moments in the past: Old Navy thought they could be Forever 21; The Gap adopted the bright colors that Old Navy first launched with and Banana Republic just forgot about sophistication.

But now all three are back on track and I highly recommend to check out their stores ASAP for the great sales they are having.

BR: Has terrific jewel tone tops and dresses for awesome prices (their way of stimulating the shopping economy) - Tip: The one in SoHo on Broadway is surprisingly always stocked up, just battle the tourists
Gap: Has gone back to classic pieces and is also showcasing cute tops, skirts and dresses - Tip: try the one on 5th and 18th street
Old Gravy: Sometimes their stuff is too cute for the store itself. One thing is for sure they can easily check off your little black dress list. They always have a nice one in their collection. Tip: I've always scored with the 6th Ave and 19th street location.

Enjoy the below 30% off coupon:


A Thrifty Shopping Exerience...and Marc Jacobs was in attendance.

People, we are in a damn recession! As much as I have fought it, I have resorted to vintage (a.k.a thrift) shopping. Don't get me wrong, I'm not too proud to wear a used piece of clothing but vintage shopping requires more effort and patience than shopping retail. With this crappy economic crisis we are in, I decided that forgoing some extra time to get some worthwhile vintage finds is worth keeping some extra loot in my pocket. Vintage shopping for the friends of fashion should come with a very strict set of rules. Here are my rules:

  1. If you feel like you are paying to much then you are! If you find yourself trying to negotiate with yourself why paying that price is OK for secondhand or consigned new goods then that is a telltale sign of buyers remorse once you get home.

  2. Remember cost includes tailoring, cleaning, hemming, re-buttoning, etc. If you start to add the costs of updating the garment before use and it is more than its worth...see Rule #1.

  3. Aim for labels! Big labels! The ones you probably couldn't afford retail (even on sale). Some vintage stores recognize fashion labels and will hike up prizes but if you are patient you will find one or two high-end labels in mixed in the the $10 - $20 pile.

  4. See The Budget Fashionista's rules on shopping and cleaning.

  5. Last but not least - Be patient...very.....very....very patient. It may take a couple of days of checking in with stores and hopping around the city until you find something that appeals to you and your wallet. Remember, giving up your extra time is that price you pay to keep cash in your pocket.

My latest awesome find is a Marc Jacobs coat for $150 at the Angel Thrift Store Coat Sale. All I need cute bag to match!


Funky Fresh Fingers For Fall-Winter

Here is the skinny on the polish trend for upcoming cold months: Go Dark. Go Metallic.
Blacks, purples, blues, browns....Very dark polish is no longer just for punk rockers and goths. Take a look around on the train tomorrow morning, women of all ages and professions are embracing this powerful fashion statement in the boldest of colors with a splash of metallic shimmer. I stopped one fabulous 40-something on the 3 train last week wearing a striking yet feminine blackish-purple and asked her "where did you get the polish?". Her response was Essie - Sexy Divine. Essie is a very respected brand on the manicure circuit..now would they (or I) steer you wrong? Of course not! The economy sucks...if you can't spruce up your wardrobe just yet, get your nails a new doo!

Essie-Sexy Divide $8

TIP: I've been a huge on DIYmani/pedicures after I discover the secret to professional manicures at home....Step-by-Step buffers. They start you off with course buffer until you end on a smooth side to give your nails a natural high gloss shine. No matter how much of a rush I'm or if I screw-up my polish, a well buffed nail will ALWAYS look salon finished. I bought one at CVS for $3 and it has 7 steps. Also, I received Obey Your Body Nail Kit as a gift which has a great buffer,but is more costly.


"Anya" wouldn't belive who I saw in Target today...

Do the words "I'm not a plastic bag" ring a bell? Of course they do. You remember the craze that plauged Manhattan Whole Food stores that faithful rainy July morning last year. So many wanted that bag and who wouldn't...uber-affordablity, eco-friendly, well-made, designer label all rolled into one cute shopping tote by an awesome handbag designer fairly unknown to Americans before "INAPB" took us by storm. For her encore, Anya created an affordale collection of her chic handbags with that preztel-knot logo we've come to adore. Anya Hindmarch for Target is available online for (2-6 weeks delivery). My pick is below. But before you snub at the $50 price tag for Target bag, let me let you in on a secret. My Proenza Scholer for Target handbag from March of last year is still holding strong and continually collects a healthy set of compliments on a daily basis. I don't expect disappointments here!

Anya Hindmarch® for Target®


Shh....I have a fab SATC secret.....shhhh

I love Sex and the City...no big secret. Chances are you do to and you bought the extended cut of the Sex and City Movie DVD. One of the several bonus scenes has Carrie using a payphone with a fabulous set of gloves - the too cute (and 10 time more practical then its awkward 4 finger predecessor) 5-Finger Leather Half Glove!!! Now here is the secret...after being sold out for the umpteenth time...Patrica Fields will have these in stock Nov 1st in her Manhattan shop. Shh...don't tell anyone until I get my pair!

Patricia Fields - $48


JCP's Good Deal

You may be wondering why I'm giving info on JC Penny; isn't that where moms and grandmothers shop? Yes and no. We may not think of JCP as fashionable but there is more to buying clothes...think of home; electronics; furniture and the list goes on.

Right now JCP has a promotion where you can save 30% off your purchase - OMG! You can seriously decrease a comforter set (which I just did) AND you can use it on sale items.

Use the following code: FallFun
Coupon code expires on 10/20/08.

One cool feature about JCP is that if you are worried about ordering and not being home to accept delivery and you really don't want to send it to your job, well JCP has various centers throughout the city where you can have it shipped and pick it up at a different time- sweet!


Good Deal at Enterprise

Now that it's getting a bit cooler, I bet all the errands you have to run will be so much better if you were behind a wheel versus waiting at a cold bus stop. For those that don't own a car and need to rent once in a while, I found a pretty good deal on retailmenot.com for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Here are the details:

Promotion: 20% off
Code: ETC7HC
Cool factor: This is not limited to airport locations - yes!

I've used this before and even the people that work at enterprise comment on how good a deal it is . You can practically get a Saturday AM to Monday AM rental for a little over $80 - now that is a everywhere-outside-of-NYC price:)



ALERT: J.Crew Skirts $17!

Right not J.Crew is having an -in-store sale of an additional 40% off sale prices. They have a few skirts that with the discount cost around $17!!! There are more items on sale but you have to move fast.

Definitely go to the one on 5th Ave. and 17th street. Students you get an extra 10% off and teachers you score a nice additional 15% off.



ALERT: J. Crew Addtional 30% Off

Online and in-stores J. Crew sale items are an additional 30% off from today until Monday:

Here is the small print:
DOES NOT INCLUDE J.CREW FACTORY STORES. 30% discount applies to sale items only. All sales final. No exchanges, no returns. Offer is valid through Monday, August 18, 2008 9:59 pm ET. Savings are reflected after promo code is entered at checkout. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotion. Previous purchases are not eligible for this discount.

Barney's Warehouse Sale - Save the Date

The below ad says it all. My advice is that whenever you do make it to the sale carry a small bottle of water and a snack bar because it can get intense and it will not be cute to pass out in the middle of a sale - you might get stepped on:

Directions: Take the 1 to 18th street.


Ask For Helen...

As much as there are many nail salons throughout NYC I still find it challenging to find one that does a good job. I've tried several places ranging from salons I saw on the street to ones that made it on someone's "Best in New York City" list. Today my two favorite spa/salons have been consistently good for quite sometime now. What I love about them is they are the perfect medium between a full fancy spa and a neighborhood walk-in spot. They are not pretentious but offer great service to everyone:

6th Avenue between 26th and 27th street
Note: Ask for Helen, she takes her time to make sure every nail bed is clean and polished perfectly.

14th Street between Union Square West and Fifth Avenue
Note: Ask for Lilly and get the smoothing pedicure if you can


Today & Tomorrow - Jimmy Choo Sample Sale

Here's a Kiss for you (keeping it short and simple)

Shoes, bags, and accessories from 60 percent off.
General Public
Tuesday, July 15, 3-8pm
Wednesday, July 16, 9-6pm
@ The Metropolitan Pavilion 125 W 18 th street at 6th avenue

Thanks KL for the info:)


RSVP Soon - Shopping Event

DailyCandy and AMEX are teaming up for a pretty neat shopping event at EDGE*nyNOHO. Learn more about EDGE here, but it is pretty much a space that promotes and sells upcoming fashion designers = nice opportunity for cute unique clothes.

RSVP for The Cutting Edge Event

Thanks T:)


Near and Far...Sales Sales Everywhere!

So basically all of your and our favorite stores are having great sales. Here is a very brief rundown/reminder:
- Zara: Sale prices as low as 50% off; best kept secret, kind of, is Zara shoes can be really comfortable. This is a great time to grab some pumps or cute sandals; fashionable outerwear (although it is hot now, it will be cool before you know it); and their cute angel hair spaghetti strap tanks - so basic but so sexy.
- Banana Republic: Many cute tops for work and also a good opportunity to grab a nice dress
- Urban Outfitters: Check them online as today is the last day to get an extra 20% off sale items. They have a ton of cute accessories on sale.
- Anthropologie: Yes, even with a sale they can still be pricey but they have racks and racks of goods on sale and a little digging might bring up some nice quality pieces that won't come out to $200+.
- Old Navy: Or as my friends like to say Old Gravy, they seem to be picking up the slack of the Gap and making nicer cuter clothes. Not all items are on sale but what they are offering is worth getting at full price.


ALERT! - 50% Entire Store - United Colors of Benetton

I just went into a local Benetton during a stroll down the Union Square 5th ave. area and learned that Benetton expanded their yearly sale to the entire store - 50% off EVERYTHING!

The folks at the one on 5th and 19th (133 5th ave. 1 212 420- 5700) were really nice and helpful. They didn't say when the sale ends but it looks like it is a way for them to get inventory moving.
You can also try the one on Broadway and 8th street.

If you are in need of a suit this is a really good time to go.

I find a lot of people don't keep up with Benetton sales as with similar retailers like the Gap and Banana Republic; because of this they tend to have all sizes in stock a lot longer.
...less of a chance to be seen in the same threads as the next person.:)

Happy Shopping!


More Sales - Lucky Us

J.Crew is obviously pushing out their late spring and some early summer clothes by taking an extra 25% off sale items both online and in-store (get moving - try locations like the Seaport, SoHo and Rockefeller Center they tend to be stocked pretty nicely although they are in prime tourist traps). If anything you MUST check out the online shoes and accessories sale - it is especially nice if you are in search of espadrilles. **sale ends Wednesday.

Lucky Brand Jeans Twice Yearly sale is back - 50% off select jeans, clothes and accessories (FINALLY they added jewelry-this is the plus to this year's sale). ** sale to last for another week or so.


ALERT: This Weekend's Coupons - Expires Soon

I got a hold of several coupons and sales alerts but the turnaround time to redeem is short, so don't delay (most end Sunday and or Monday). They are listed below. They are : Keihl's; MAC; Express; Triple 5 Soul and Lord and Taylor:


ALERT! J.Crew Summer Sale

One word - Sick!

I think J. Crew decided to add some nice clothing and accessories to its sales section - it's been a while since we've seen a sale like this. They are taking 20% off sales items (ends Friday 6/13 @ 9:59PM - yes I read the fine print).

I won't waste time posting pics of some of the great deals they have, but my observation from looking through is that this sale is best for getting shoes and accessories - especially if you need a pair of wellies, a cute scarf or some girlie flip flops.

Get moving and start right here and the good thing is that items are not final sale (we hate when they do that).

Express Yourself - Must Have Shirt

Ruffle tops are obvious a major trend this year but it is also a timeless style because of its classic feminine appeal; also because my mom is wearing her ruffles from the 80s and getting many compliments.

If you are in need of a a ruffle shirt that you can wear to work and out (yeah for multipurpose use) then definitely run over to your nearby Express and grab their Sleeveless Ruffle Blouse that was originally $49.50 and is now $24.50 (NYC = no tax). The colors they have are literally gems. Besides the basic black and cream they have a rich blue, pink and green. Hues from this past Fall's jewel colors but with enough punch that you can certainly where during all seasons (yes another score for multipurpose use - the best way to stretch the dollar in these here recession times).

My favorite Express location to grab sales items is the one near Union Square: 5th Avenue bet 18th and 19th street. Also you can try the two at 34th street/Herald Square (one in the Manhattan Mall and the other on 34th street bet 5th and 6th Aves - if one doesn't have it you can walk 3 minutes to the other).

Happy shopping!


Track Your Stimulus Payment

I just learned that you can track your IRS Stimulus Payment online. Many of you are probably wondering "where is my money?" Click here to begin tracking. Don't panic if it says "Sorry, no information available" because my understanding is the IRS is quite behind.


Sales & Coupon Galore - Starts Tomorrow

As you all shop for Memorial Day weekend mini-vacation wears, here are some coupons and sales to help with any last minute purchases. Below is:
- J. Crew online sale reminder
- Friends and Family coupons for : Ann Klein; Easy Spirit and Bandolino.
Many thanks to my friends A & E for the info *waving at you*


Your Face, by Abebi

Rukiya Jeffers, NYC based make-up artist and esthetician extraordinare, is ready to glam your look for your next special occasions. Weddings, graduations, girls night out...you name it and she will be there to bring on the pretty! She is especially talented in working with woman of color and complex skin types. Check out her work below!

Make-up Application

Chemical Skin Peel

Abebi Beauty
917 769 5518


Old Gravy - A 2nd Serving

Months ago I talked about how Old Navy has its moments of providing basic to key fashion pieces at very reasonable prices. Some of you all might avoid this brand because of the family-esque feel it has. Don't be shy or shame to check out the latest collection. One thing that seems to be top of mind is feel good clothes. I noticed several basic tops with slight detail to lessen the blandness, but the fabrics were super soft and the prices (under $25) fit right in with a recession budget.

Cowl neck top for $14.50
Knee length dress $24.50
I thought these were cute and they are just $7.00!!!! online


Feeling Fab Under $20

I know I talk a great deal about being financially responsible and glamming it up on the budget....but sometimes I really want something for the sake of having it. For instance, I LOVE Chanel...such an iconic feminine and uber fabulous brand and I often daydream about touting a big 'ole Chanel bag on my shoulder down 5th Ave. I know there are fashionista's out there who feel the same. In fact, I once heard this woman calling into the Suze Orman show asking if it was O.K. for her to spend a WHOLE paycheck on limited edition Chanel clutch (DENIED!)

In the end, it is the desire to *feel* fabulous which causes brief glitches in our sanity from time to time. With that I offer an alternative! Get your fix of glam with the less expensive designer accent pieces. Let's say a watch, a wallet, or even nail polish...yes nail polish!!

I walked in to the SOHO Bloomingdales and picked-up this $19.00 bottle of Chanel Le Vernis. I absolutely adore it; the color is chic, it's very durable and I do feel sassy walking in to the nail salon with this cute bottle. I am very happy with my Chanel fix and even happier I didn't spend my rent money to get it!


Cool Financial Tool

I just got this link via one of my favorite daily e-newsletters - Thrillist. The DollarTimes calculator helps you determine when you will be a millionaire depending on current savings, monthly contributions and your current rate of return.

For anyone that took accounting in college you may recall do a similar exercise where if you were to contribute about $85 a month starting at age 22 to an account with an average return of 10% you will have a million by your mid 40s. Basically it is not how much you save but when you start to save.

So get your save on!

ALERT: J.Crew Sales Ends 5/2

J. Crew is taking 20% off their current spring sale items. Offer expires May 2nd at 9:59PM EST.

The clothes are so so but it looks like a good deal to grab some cute espadrilles or so some stylish yet functioning flats. For the espadrilles, they are all cute, but I will share with you my thoughts on which colors to pick.: If you are looking for these shoes to be worn past this summer I say go for one where the strap and fabric are in close color to the wicker-like sole. I say this because it creates a one shoe look. Also, depending on where you are wearing them, for instance a summer Friday at work - the look of one color looks a bit more classic. Just my thoughts.


ALERT - Sample Sale End Tomorrow

I haven't gone to this one and may not get a chance to, but just passing along the info of this sample sale that features fun cute designs - including our darling Mackage.
See below image for details:
It is located at 275 West 39th Street (bet. 8th and 7th (Fashion Ave)) closest train station is Time Square - so you have to walk a few blocks. Enjoy!


Free Wine Tasting Tour - 4.12.08

I just got this in from one of my favorite e-newsletters - Thrillist.com (you should definitely sign-up). There is a free wine tasting tour this Saturday - it is the Rioja Wine Tour and it will educate you on some tasty Spanish grapes.

Get more info here
Also, here is the schedule:
2:30: Bottlerocket: 5 West 19th St, between 5th and 6th (serving from 2-5)

3:30: Chelsea Wine Vault: 75 9th Ave, at 16th (serving from 2-5)

4:15: Sea Grape Wine: 512 Hudson St, btw Christopher and W 10th (serving from 4-8:30)

4:45: Le Du Wines: 600 Washington Street, at Leroy (serving from 3-5)

5:15: Golden Rule Wine and Liquor: 457 Hudson St, at Barrow (serving from 5-7)

6:30: Astor Wines and Astor Center: 399 Lafayette St, at E 4th (serving from 6:30-8:30)


Alerts! J.Crew Ends Soon & More...

Hi All,
The below images of the J.Crew sale (ends Friday) and Sephora Promotion (for Sephora if you can't see the promotion code is "HONEY" are self-explanatory). I won't waste your time with creative narrative:


Ends Tomorrow 3.31 - No Min MMDA - A Must Do

Let's talk money quickly, efficiently and effectively!
I wish I knew of this weeks ago, but we can't change the past and can only move forward. Suze Orman has teamed up with TD Ameritrade to offer a Money Market Deposit Accounts (MMDA) known as the Save Yourself Plan with no minimum deposit requirement - well sort of. Here is why and how to do it:

Why/Explanation of MMDA:
- A high-yield FDIC insured savings account that has less administrative fees, but is less liquid than a regular savings accounts, meaning there is a limit to how many checks/withdrawals can be made from the account.

- A great way to save money that you don't want to be tempted to touch. Maybe it is for an emergency account that is 3 months worth of your regular expenses in case something happens; saving for a new car or for a trip with friends overseas.

How To:
It is GREAT news and HUGE opportunity that Suze Orman and TD Ameritrade teamed up for this offer. Almost all, at least all of MMDA's I have seen, require a minimum deposit to open an account. Sometimes $500 but usually $1K or more. Why? Because MMDAs are designed for those that have substantial money in their savings account, and can put their money in a higher yielding (a higher interest rate) account to make more money.

Important Notes:
- No minimum deposit is necessary to open a Save Yourself Plan account, but you have to setup an automatic deposit for at least $50 a month. The first $50 has to be made within 30 days of opening the account - which is not bad at all.
- The GOOD CATCH is that after 12 consecutive months of deposits TD Ameritrade will deposit $100 into your account.

Additional Details:
- I did some research on BankRate.com and the MMDA yield ranged from 1.25% to 3.30% so TD Ameritrade's current 2.78% as of February 1st is on the higher end.
- You will get regular emails form Suze Orman to encourage you on your saving endeavours along the way.

Very Important:
- You need a code inside her book to get started, but of course I googled and found it. It is 701

This is a great way to open an MMDA without having to wait until you have $2,500 on hand.
Definitely take advantage of this offer you only have a day left to do so!