Category Archives: Fashion

19 Things I’m loving

The Super Bowl was already weeks ago (Remember? The Patriots won. Again.) but there’s something I’ve been thinking about ever since the big game…why would celebrities, like really rich and successful public figures, appear in advertisements or commercials about products which they weren’t enthusiastic about truly using? All of those actors and sports figures in the big budget commercials, do you think they need the money? How much money would you want to be paid for promoting and intrinsically endorsing something you genuinely appreciate and use? Would you want more money if it was item or service that you didn’t actually avail yourself of?

if you know me, you know I don’t value money very much. I appreciate it and understand working to have enough,* but I certainly don’t believe the accumulation of it is my life’s work. And, while I’d happily consider accepting money from companies whose products I truly use, I’m just about equally pleased to just share the following list with you of things I’m really loving right now. Here goes…

 

  • New Max Mara framed eyeglasses.
  • My Waterpik, although I wish the cord was retractable.
  • Concert and airplane tickets
  • The Bleecker Salad at Dove and Deer
  • An Unlimited Subscription for Rent the Runway
  • Walks/Runs/Skis with Jeter at Albany Muni
  • My clunkiest Frye’s
  • Aaron’s 11:15 class on Saturdays at the Latham Hot Yoga Spot.
  • Aldi’s for produce and baking supplies.
  • Kat von D’s Studded Lipstick in Double Dare.
  • Van Morrison’s Poetic Champions Compose – I forgot how much I love this record.
  • Hot bubble baths. I can not get enough of my tub these days!
  • Midnight blue velvet skinnies from Gap bought on super sale for $12.
  • The lushness of my plants.
  • Wednesday night date night.
  • CBD roll-on applied to my sore muscles.
  • A true sense of owning my happiness.
  • Spending time with someone who makes me laugh.
  • Feeling comfortable in my skin.

What would be on your list?

*however you define “enough.”

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Filed under Albany, beauty, Dinner, Eating, Exercise, Fashion, favorites, Food, friends, ideas, Local, musings, Normanskill, Observations, Recommendations, running, Uncategorized, x-country skiing, yoga

Twinning with Princess Diana

There was a time in my life when holidays and birthdays often came with gifts of jewelry. Earrings were a popular choice and I was given some really beautiful ones that are special to me and probably even valuable. Like those .5 carat diamond studs of which I managed to lose one. Twice.


There was one pair in particular which quickly earned a spot in my rotation of ear accessories because they were reminiscent of Lady Di’s engagement ring. The studs with large oval sapphires (my birthstone) surrounded by small diamonds were about as close to Princess status as I was destined to achieve and I just loved them.


Except, they were
heavy and pulled my ear lobes uncomfortably. In the hopes that I would avoid losing one of these beauties, I had them modified into screw backs which ultimately only added to the discomfort because the posts were now thicker and caused some pain when I put them on and took them off.  They languished in a drawer for years, only seeing the light of day on the rare occasion when I would resign myself to suffering with them in my ears for the sake of the perfect outfit.


Recently, though, I decided I needed to have them modified to make them more wearable and I knew just where to bring them –
Byron & Gill Mercantile on Lark St. Siobhan Byron had previously created a necklace for me from a pair of ruby and diamond earrings, that single .5 carat diamond and a dangling ruby as a self-gift for my 50th and I knew she’d be able to help me wear these earrings more frequently. I left them with her and a couple of weeks later, I had myself a new pair of infinitely more comfortable to wear earrings. The price was reasonable (approx $150) for the quality of work(wo)manship and I am thrilled to be able to wear these pretty blue earrings with pride instead of pain.

If you’re looking to have a special piece created or a current item modified, I highly recommend Siobhan and Byron & Gill. Stop in and tell her I sent you.

 

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Black lace forever

Look at this top….

isn’t it amazing? It’s been mine for the last 24 years, but it’s time for me to pass it on to someone else. Even though that breaks my heart a little. I still love it and think it’s beautifully unique and well made, but it doesn’t fit me right and I know someone else can wear this far better than I.

I bought this blouse on my honeymoon. We were in our last destination and had been traveling more than a month. The weather had been mixed, but Amsterdam was hot. We had been forced to pry open the sliding glass door in our hotel room because there was no air conditioning and it was absolutely sweltering in our room. It gave us a more direct view into Tina’s House of Pain just across the brick sidewalk from our hotel.

Amsterdam has a great flea market and I’ve done well there with clothing. I saw this blouse hanging on a rod loaded with vintage clothing and immediately wanted it. I tried to dicker the price down without success. Our budget was tight and it was an indulgence, particularly during our fifth week in Europe. But, after initially walking away from the blouse, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Later in the afternoon, I returned to the vendor along the canal and gave him his requested price of 30 guilder. I don’t remember the conversion rate, but I do know it was the most expensive article of clothing I had purchased at that point in my life, Frye boots aside.

It’s been an honor to own this garment but it’s time to get it out of my closet and into someone else’s. So, I’ll be bringing this blouse to an upcoming clothing swap. I’ll just keep the memories.

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Filed under aging, beauty, Europe, Fashion, favorites, marriage, musings, travel, Uncategorized, vacation

Wrapping up Rent the Runway

You know that credit game? The one when you transfer an outstanding balance on a credit card to a new bank which promises zero percent interest for a limited amount of time, which gives you enough time to pay off your debt at a minimal expense? Well, back in the day, I was a champ at that game. My recent experience with Rent the Runway provided me with a similar sense of totallygettingoverontheman accomplishment.

To recap, I purchased a one month unlimited subscription which provided me with 4 garments at a time with an unlimited number of swaps for new items. There was no charge for shipping, cleaning or insurance. All this came for a special offer price of $106, a great discount from the usual $159+ tax charge.


Here’s how I maximized my rentals:

 I purchased and activated the subscription exactly one month minus a day ahead of the big event I planned to attend in a rented gown. This meant the last day of my subscription, aka the day everything needed to be shipped back, was the day after my event.
 My first couple of shipments included gowns that I was considering for the gala. The dress I ultimately selected arrived in my very first shipment and hung on the back of my bedroom door for the entire month – great incentive for running that extra mile and declining a third cookie. Although this decision meant I really only had 3 slots in rotation, I was too worried that I’d somehow “lose” the dress if I sent it back and tried to have it reshipped closer to my date.
 My absolute favorite item was the gorgeous, purple motorcycle jacket which arrived brand new with tags on. I wore the hell out of it for a week and felt like a rockstar each time I put it on.
 I made a point of choosing garments that are beyond my budget. Why waste time with a dress that retails for $150* when you can wear one that would set you back $500 or $600? 


I’ve placed my membership on “hold” rather than cancelling it, which gives me the option of simply restarting my subscription. This courtesy is available for 3 months at which point I’ll need to either restart or cancel. I’ll see what kind of deals I’m offered in the next 10 or 12 weeks and will consider reactivating if the price is right and my social life demands an infusion of new outfits.


Overall verdict – awesome. If you’re interested in giving it a whirl, leave a comment and I’ll try to share a code that will give you $30 off your rental.

*even $150 is more than I’ve ever spent on a garment other than a leather coat.

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Revisiting Rent the Runway

I’ve got about a week left of my Unlimited Membership and honestly, if the cost of my initial month ($106) was the regular price, I’d be re-upping in a heartbeat and continuing the service. With one little hiccup aside, more a shipping issue than any fault of RtR, I’ve loved the experience.

I’ve had 10 items delivered (including three formal gowns, all options for an early December event) and have worn, or will wear, 8 of them. One of the two gowns which were part of my initial shipment is exactly what I wanted for the upcoming gala, so I’ve held onto it for the entire duration of my subscription. not wanting to risk it not being available closer to my date. That left me with three open spots to rotate garments through, a fun challenge that I really enjoyed.

The quality of the clothing has been high with everything arriving on hangars, in plastic. One dress had some very minor “pulls” in the fabric, but beyond that, everything has been pristine. I’ve made a point of selecting garments which are beyond my typical budget for clothing, i.e. designer dresses which retail for $500-$700, gowns that top out north of the $1000 mark, a real indulgence which I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to experience. That being said, I’ve been a bit surprised by the manufacturing standards of what I consider to be very expensive items – a Jason Wu dress with a hem that isn’t turned of truly finished. They just don’t make things like they used to…

When I reflect on what I’ve borrowed, it’s apparent I have a real fondness for easy sweater or knit dresses in eye-catching patterns – the kind of stuff that is strikingly vivid, yet quickly repetitive. Exactly what I want in a garment that I’m only going to wear two or three times. The shipment that I’m expecting tomorrow includes a really high end leather jacket in a beautiful raisin color. I could never justify buying a $1200 motorcycle jacket, but I will be wearing this one as frequently as possible before my subscription ends. Look for me in it!

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Trying on Rent the Runway

I like clothes. Period. Honestly, I’ve been like this my whole life. One of my earliest memories is of a lacy pink “bra” and panties set that I had when I was about 3 years old. I recall whipping off any clothing that may have hidden this fabulous outfit whenever our doorbell rang, keeping our visitors waiting at the door until I was ready to  be seen. True story.  I’m still a bit enamored of lingerie, but most days I manage to keep my undergarments private, choosing instead to exert my sartorial sense in a more appropriate manner.

And, man do I love pretty dress.

There have been a bunch fun events in recent months and I’ve been giving my wardrobe a workout. I’ve got an embarrassing amount of clothing, with a fair amount of pretty dresses mixed in, but I was getting low on new looks. I didn’t want to buy another thing to add to my (double-sided) garment rack, nor was I interested in spending money on a garment with limited capacity to be repeated…

What a perfect time to sample Rent the Runway.

I signed up for an account, but not a plan, and began stalking the site. Eventually, I downloaded the app and started receiving fairly aggressively frequent emails. No worries. It left me in a position to sit back and see what kind of offers came my way, finally jumping when I scored a 30-day Unlimited Plan for $106. I was able to select and borrow four items at a time with unlimited exchanges. There were no cleaning, shipping or insuring charges and most of the gowns I had my eye on were part of the plan. Great.

I ordered my items on a Thursday and received them the next day, all bundled together in a compact fabric bag looking surprisingly small. I unzipped the bag and hung the garments on back-of-the-door hooks, giving the wrinkles some time to loosen up.

Then the party began!

It was like the best dressing room in your favorite four stores – lighting that familiar because it was in your home, all your shoes in one place, and every piece of lingerie necessary right in your drawer. Winning.

I loved one of the two gowns and, fortunately, it was the one which was my first choice for an event next month. This dress would have cost $80 to rent, had I not purchased a plan and instead simply rented this particular item for 4 days. There were two sweater dresses, also, for work and weekend wear, and one of the two has worked out really well. I think I’m going to keep it another week and wear it for a third occasion. The other? Not so much. The fit wasn’t great and that’s kind of everything with a sweater dress, don’t you think?

I’ll keep you posted on the remainder of the month with an update or two. Share your experiences with a clothing delivery/rental service in the comments!

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Breaking up with R.H. Macy

I’ve been a Macy’s girl since I moved to Albany and finally had one just a bus ride away. As a kid growing up outside of NYC, Macy’s was the mythical place of parades, magical cosmetics and fragrance counters, and brand name merchandise that I aspired to one day be able to afford. It was kind of the retail dream.

Over the years, I’ve bought an incredible array of items from Macy’s – home furnishings, rugs, housewares, luggage, shoes and, of course, clothing. There have also been a few pieces of jewelry purchased, a tennis bracelet (when those were all the rage), a necklace, and a pair of perfect gold hoop earrings. In February, the day I left for Rome, I realized I was only wearing one gold hoop earring, instead of the two I had put on in the morning. Bummer.

Having lost one of these earrings previously, I was overly optimistic that it would reappear as it had done in the past. By the end of April, I finally accepted that my lost earring wasn’t coming back and began searching for a replacement pair. This led to my (fulfilled) wish for new earrings for Mother’s Day and my own self-indulgent purchase of a second pair because A. They were on sale and B. I was greedy and I wanted both yellow and rose gold hoops.

So, I’ve worn the earrings a combined total of maybe 10 times, usually opting for the rose gold ones because my kid bought them for me and that’s what you do. I reached for the yellow ones the other day and was disappointed to see that they were broken. The piece that goes through the ear had fallen off leaving a useless and incomplete gold circle. Today, I took the earrings back to Macy’s fully expecting them to either replace them, offer to fix them or take them back. None of that happened.

Instead, it was explained to me that I could purchase (for an undetermined price somewhere between $16-60) the insurance plan they offered and they would back date it to the purchase date. With their plan, I would be eligible to potentially have the earring repaired. Now, I paid $70 or so for the earrings (although the tag inside the box said $360), obviously not a lot of money. I spoke to the manager and she said it was their policy and since they’d been worn and the tags were off and that’s all she could do. And then she apologized for “the inconvenience.”

The inconvenience? Really?

I replied that it really wasn’t that I had been inconvenienced, it was more that I was disappointed by Macy’s lack of responsibility for the quality of the items that they sell. The earrings had not been mishandled, abused or even slept in. Nope, what they were was poorly made. And what I was, was a former shopper. Bye, bye, Macy’s.

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