3 June 2009

[Daily Mail Reporter ]

“Shopping guru Mary Portas is back on our screens – and she’s turning her attention to the world of charity shopping. Here are her top tips for charity chic.

Mary Queen of Shops: Follow her advice on how to grab a chic item at a charity shop.
1. Head to shops in the posher postcodes of cities to bag a designer bargain. Out-of-town shops can be great for jewellery and classics.

2. Shop early in the week, as most people donate at the weekend. First thing Tuesday is perfect. Staff will have had time to put out new stock and you’ll beat others to the best stuff.

3. Be prepared to rummage and enjoy the thrill of hunting out a bargain. Nothing will be displayed in outfits – you need to work a little harder to find real fashion gems.

4. Make friends with the shop manager; they can call you when something great comes in. One store was given a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes when we were filming and called a woman who had been looking out for some straight away – so it does work.

5. People take winter clothes to shops in summer, so look for a great winter coat now. Don’t be afraid to ask what the shop has out the back. Most keep out-of-season items in the storeroom.

6. It can be OK to haggle. Just don’t be cheeky.

Look out for recurring trends that are hot catwalk looks right now, such as animal prints, or Eighties items.

Look for classic accessories – a great designer bag will always be an investment.
Snap up any retro-looking sunglasses, from Ray-Bans to Jackie O styles, and you won’t go wrong.

Jewellery is always a good buy – just say ‘vintage’, not second- hand.  “
Last updated at 12:19 AM on 04th June 2009

Bargain shop til you drop: MARY PORTAS’ top tips for charity chic

By Daily Mail Reporter

Posted by at 10:37 AM
APPAREL , BARGAIN GUIDES , Bargain Hunting , bargain news , Shopping Trends , STYLE/BEAUTY |

28 May 2009

Aside from some intermittent sunny weather and some great finds at sample sales, New York seems to be full of doom and gloom these days. Stores are closing, restaurants are empty and friends are losing their jobs.

Being jobless in New York is challenging no matter how great your severance package is. Trimming your budget and job hunting is tough enough, but using your time well can be the hardest part of all. Ask any unemployed gal what she did with her first week of freedom and she’ll probably answer “not much”. Somehow a trip to the gym, deli and dry cleaner can suddenly consume the whole day, leaving a girl wondering how she ever had time for a job.

Here are some tips for being Unemployed and Fabulous in New York, from how to keep the days from disappearing to budget alternatives to the necessities to fun stuff you never have time for.

Using your time

Get up at the same time everyday – and make it early. The easiest way to lose a day is sleeping it away. And getting off to a late start will put you in the slacker mindset. Life is your full-time job now so get up for it.

Set a schedule for yourself each morning and stick to it. This is the best way to ensure your free day doesn’t go to waste. If you have to do some job searching online, list the sites you need to visit and allot a certain amount of time to do it. The hours disappear way too easily when you’re online.

Plan your days around interviews and appointments. If you have an interview in midtown on Tuesday, make that your day to have lunch with a friend that works in the area. If you are have a hair appointment in SoHo on Friday, make that your downtown day. A lot of time can be wasted getting around the city.

Fun stuff to do
Obviously this town is full of great museums and galleries so you don’t need another list of those, but here are some fun activities you may not have thought of.

Make an appointment at Amsale or Kleinfeld’s and try on wedding gowns – no one has to know you’re not engaged. How often can you do that?


Clean out your closet and list the good stuff on Ebay. It takes a bit of time, but you’re unemployed. And you might as well get a few dollars for it!

Hit the Union Square Farmer’s Market. Anyone who has read French Women Don’t Get Fat knows that really fresh local fruits and veggies are one of the secrets. And they really are much tastier It’s open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Make Jewelry – there are a bunch of great bead shops in the garment center on 6th Ave between 38th and 40th Streets. The prices are wholesale so they are very reasonable and they have all off the tools you need. If you are unemployed, you might as well have some new accessories.

Keep in Shape

For the generous severance package – Physique 57 The classes aren’t cheap at $33 a pop. But this hour-long torture session is a favourite of Kelly Ripa and Karolina Kurkova among other ridiculously slim celebrities. Expect to feel pain in every muscle in your body (including ones you didn’t know you had) for 2-3 days after. But stick with it – just looking at the instructors should be enough to inspire you.

For the not-so-generous severance package – Dance class. It’s a fun and suprisingly affordable way to keep in shape. There are studios throughout the city offering ballet, jazz, modern and theatre dance classes. And the most expensive is $18. These studios often offer yoga, pilates and stretch classes at the same price. And they’re great for celeb sightings – those performing on Broadway need to hone their dance skills.
Upper West Side –
Upper East Side –
Midtown West –
Midtown Central –
Union Square –
Downtown/Tribeca –

For the former employee of a company that has declared Chapter 11 – ride your bike or walk along the west side down to Battery Park. I did this recently and was amazed at the beautiful landscaping and how extensive the trail is.

abc news

Personal maintenance
Ok, you may have to cutback on the trips to Sally Hershberger and the Red Door Spa, but you still need to be groomed for your interviews. Solution: Chinatown

Go for a blowout for $12-15 at the dozens of salons there. Try Tops Cut Salon – 76 Elizabeth Street (at Grand) 212.219.0728

Lose the blackheads and clean up the eyebrows at one of the skin care centers. They aren’t fancy but most of them use great products, are very clean and affordable. Facials are as low as $45 at Katy’s face on Mott Street. And they do a great job on eyebrows for $15.  Katy’s Face 184 Mott St  (212) 226-3278, Face to Face Skincare 166 Mott St (212) 226-3312



Posted by at 12:00 AM
BARGAIN GUIDES , bargain news , Shopping Trends |

Fringes- Folly or Foe?

11 May 2009

Side-swept, blunt, wispy and chopped: this so-called “trimming terminology”dances across the tongues of thousands of women (and Pete Wentz) when in the comfort of their hair stylist’s chair. Bangs are the hair’s mane accessory – pun intended – and can virtually transform a person’s look in a matter of snips. If you’ve heard the, “It’s just hair” argument more times than you can count and still can’t decide if a flirty fringe above your brow is right for you, here are a few factors to consider before taking the proverbial plunge. 

Maintenance and cost

Pro: Major salons offer free bang trims to repeat customers. I, as a frequent purveyor of bangs, will tip my stylist $10, even if there’s no charge involved. I won’t share how much I pay to have the rest of my hair cut – as a bargain “connoisseur,” it’s almost embarrassing, though I will defend as necessary – but will say that free is almost always cheaper than a charge.
Con: Expect to be tipping out on a biweekly basis. Even if you’re growing your bangs out, they require maintenance to look less scraggly and more sophisticated.


Pro: As stated, bangs can change your look in a matter of minutes. A side-swept bang can soften the face; a shorter, blunt fringe is edgy and the motif of many a rockstar.
Con: Many five-year olds would agree. Make sure your stylist knows you’re going for grownup, not hopscotch. Also, pay adamant attention to your forehead – the likelihood of breakouts, even on preternaturally perfect skin, is higher when rubbed against follicles laden with styling products and natural scalp oils – and for heaven’s sake, keep your hands off the goods.


Pro: If the thought of going from a below-the-shoulder shag to a chin-happy bob sends you into shock, adding bangs will cut out some length without cutting your lifeline.
Con: When you do grow them out, say hello to your two new best friends: headbands and bobby pins.

And if you still can’t make up your mind, remember: it really is just hair.

-Karyn Polewaczyk

Posted by Mirela at 12:48 AM
BARGAIN GUIDES , bargain news , BEAUTY , Fashion: Trends, Style, and Business , Style , STYLE/BEAUTY |

9 May 2009

Mother's Day Spa

Browsing through this weeks random free and almost free publications, I noticed a variety of Mother’s Day spa specials. Doggie moms are moms too, right? And since my pooch don’t got no daddy, I treated myself to an early Mother’s Day present and booked a day of services Friday.

For $89 plus tip, I was promised a papaya mango body polish, a 30 minute massage and a mani/pedi. When I arrived at the spa, I was immediately turned off by the late 70’s style chairs they have at the manicure stands. My brain reminded my mind not to judge a book by the cover, and I moved swiftly past said chairs to check in. The staff were courteous and contained only a little of the New York edge I usually encounter at these spa special joints. I was offered a choice between a Deep Tissue, Swedish or Craniosacral Massage, which I thought sounded like only a doctor should perform. I chose door #1, then took my robed and slippers to change.

The body scrub was okay. This may sound petty, but I get weirded out when I don’t know the brand of products used. I’m fine going to Elizabeth Arden, Bliss or Aveda, but feel skeevy when random “papaya” lotion is lathered on my naked body. The woman scrubbed me all right. She damn near scrubbed this doggie mama raw; but afterward, I felt five pounds lighter and my skin soft like a baby’s. My deep tissue massage made me scream in pain. I request three times not sooooo deep, and eventually she lightened up. Word of warning: if you can’t take the heat, don’t go in the Deep Tissue Massage’s kitchen. Choose #2 or #3.

The mani/pedi concluded my treatment and was pretty standard with a little more scrubbing and massaging on my now nothing-but-bone calves. It was the same caliber you would get at a Bloomie’s but with uglier chairs. My overall rating for this service is a low B. I would probably give it a C if it weren’t so cheap and might even give it a low A if I knew the products used.

Is it worth it? If you need smoother skin and a massage, yes. But like everything these days, it depends on you budget. Should you give a Vada Spa for a gift for your mother? Probably not. But it is totally fine to get a friend or your brother’s wife. No, really.

Vada Spa 387 6th Avenue between Greenwich and Waverly Open 9a.m. to 10p.m. 7 days a week. 212-206-1572

Posted by Emma Dinzebach at 12:00 AM
BARGAIN GUIDES , bargain news , BEAUTY , Shopping Trends , Spa Treatments , STYLE/BEAUTY , Tips Guides |

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