#SHOPSMALL—Small Business Saturday

For the past 88 years, the official start for the holiday season was the arrival of Santa Claus at the finale of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York. Whether you watched at home or braved the cold to watch it live in Herald Square, everyone eagerly awaits Jolly Old St. Nick’s hearty chuckle signaling his arrival and ushering in the final countdown to the Big Day—and all the shopping that goes into preparing for it.

Santa Claus waves to the crowd during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 27, 2014 in New York City. The annual tradition marks the start of the holiday season. Getty Images/Andrew Burton

Black Friday now actually starts on Thanksgiving Day (seriously there were folks on the news camped out in front of stores having their turkey as they waited in line for the their door buster sales). And for those of us who do not brave the frigid temps, the long lines and sometimes insane shoppers, there is always Cyber Monday (which for some retailers has been going on for over a week). But how many remember to #ShopSmall?

What am I talking about?

Well four years ago American Express launched a “shopping” holiday to encourage the patronage of “brick and mortar” businesses—small and local—within our communities called Small Business Saturday. In all the holiday rush, many of these gems get loss in all the rush and excitement offered by big box retailers and e-commerce stores. Personally this is my favorite shopping day of all.

Shopping locally is a great way to find unique gifts (many small businesses feature the wares of local artisans, specialty items and more) and to give a boost to your local economy. In recent years, Small Business Saturday has gone on to include small e-commerce sites that may get lost among the Amazons and E-bays of the digital world. This year, I want to share the businesses where I #ShopSmall.

THE THRITY HOG & NOIR ET BLANC (NYC)

Located in the chic NoMad neighborhood in Manhattan, the Thrifty HoG is known for upscale vintage apparel and resale store specializing in items for the whole family and the home. Besides scoring some amazing finds (like vintage Louis Vuitton sneakers and super sexy Proenza Schouler booties), you’re not only supporting a local business but you will also be helping the homeless via Hearts of Gold, a charity founded by Deborah Koenigsberger whose mission is to help homeless women and their children build sustainable lives. All of the proceeds from the Thrifty HoG goes to support the various programs (including job training, school supplies and more) provided by Hearts of Gold—celebrating its 20th anniversary– throughout the year. On Small Business Saturday, the Thrifty HoG is offering 30% off your entire purchase.

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Deborah also owns the upscale women’s boutique next door called Noir et Blanc. Noir et Blanc (or NEB for short) features a curated selection of contemporary American and European designers handpicked by the owner herself. With brands including Tracy Reese, Chen Luu, Donna Morgan and Ali Ro, Deborah and her staff will definitely have you bringing the catwalk to the sidewalk with the beautiful collections they have in store. Shop Small with Noir et Blanc which is offering 40-50% off their 2014 winter collections.

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The Thrifty HoG is located at 11 W 25th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue and Noir et Blanc is next door at 7 W 25th Street in Manhattan.

SULA NYC

I have been singing the praises of SULA NYC for a while now. This New York-based luxury spa brand’s entire beauty collection is based around the core ingredient of argan oil. Founded by Patricia Reinders, SULA NYC is sustainably sourced in Morocco, is 100% organic and is never tested on animals (they’re Leaping Bunny certified). The brand has quickly established itself with high quality products with proven results. Shoppers can enjoy three of SULA NYC’s most popular products (including the famed signature scented moisturizer, Fruit of Desire) in a beautifully packaged gift box. Sold in select boutiques and spas worldwide, you can shop SULA NYC’s website for this set and other amazing products. The gift set retails for $55.

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NATURALLY ME (NC)

Founded by a mother who was looking for healthy, all- natural remedies for her children’s different skin care issues, Naturally Me had humble beginnings as a labor of love. Owned and operated by Chaundra Smith, Naturally Me is a North Carolina-based certified vegan body care and candle company. Created on the belief that what goes on the body is as important as what goes in the body, Naturally Me features amazing products including the All Over Butter (an all natural steroid-free body butter that can be used on everything from your scalp to the soles of your feet—it’s my go to moisturizer from my hair and body—especially in the winter) and their deliciously aromatic soy “dessert candles” (seriously there’s one that smells like chocolate chipped cookies)— all still handmade by Chaundra herself. Naturally Me can be found in select boutiques around the country and via their wesite. For the next few days, including Small Business Saturday, everything is 50% off!

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Interesting…as I just finished my last featurette, I just realized that every brand featured today is woman owned and operated. How cool is that? So not only are you supporting small businesses when you shop the stores/sites featured here, you’re also supported 3 womenpreneurs who are also mompreneurs!

So today as you continue your world wind shopping spree, please #ShopSmall and support these and other local businesses today on Small Business Saturday!

THE CURVY SOCIALITE’S PICKS FOR FATHER’S DAY 2014

 

 

You forgot it was Father’s Day this weekend…didn’t you?  Let me give you a second to let the panic set in. Are you done? Ok…good. Take a deep breath and fear not. I have a few solutions for you gift dilemma for dear old Dad.

If you’re lucky, you have a father like I do. He sends wish lists (usually after Christmas the year before) of what he would like for the coming year and all the festivities (birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Father’s Day, etc) that it brings. If you aren’t as fortunate as I am or need some ideas aside from the annual tie (have you noticed he has never worn any of the ones you’ve given him in the last decade?) or the power tool (seriously do you want him tinkering around with a table saw?) here are a few ideas that might help you in your hunt for the perfect present.

According to Forbes, like women, there are essential pieces that every man should have in his wardrobe. No I am not suggesting you buy your father a whole new closet but maybe you can work on adding a few key items to it.

A HANDSOME WATCH

It doesn’t matter what line of business your dad is in (or no longer in if he is retired) he needs to tell time. A man doesn’t really have too many options for accessorizing. Aside from a wedding ring (if he’s hitched), the only “jewelry” many men wear is a watch. Though I find a fancy watch appealing, I think a good everyday watch for Daddy dearest is a great gift idea. Each time he puts it on, he’ll remember his favorite child gave him a snazzy timepiece. One of my favorite go to brands for a well made watch for daily wear is INVICTA.

Based in Switzerland (no one does a watch better than the Swiss) and founded in 1837, INVICTA is known for exceptional quality at an affordable price—perfect for a watch you want Dad to use regularly not just for special occasions. Here are my picks for Father’s Day:

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These can be found at your nearest INVICTA retailer (check the site for stockists), online or at the fabulous men’s boutique, St. James & Company in New Jersey.

THE PERFECT SHOE

We’ve all heard the phrase, “the shoes make the man.”  According to AskMen.com, the statement is definitely true and the quality of a man’s shoes reveals how much he respects himself. Match.com (yes the dating site) and author, Donna Sozio  (Never Trust A Man in Alligator Loafers: What His Shoes Really Say About His True Love Potential), went as far to say “The shoes a man wears and the way that he treats them are fail-safe indicators of not only his romantic personality, but also how he’ll treat his woman.” Now at the end of the day we want our dads to look good (for his wife/partner, a blind date or just for us when we take him out). But shoes have to fit your father’s personality. Here are some of my top choices from two of my favorite online retailers:

VIONIC is a footwear brand that marries science/medicine and fashion. I already know what you’re thinking….and no their not your grandpa’s orthopedic shoe. It’s no secret that many men (and women) suffer with foot, joint and back pain from wearing the wrong shoes, worn out shoes or just sacrificing comfort for the sake of fashion (yes men do that too). Vionic puts an end to this with a great men’s collection. With the summer season upon us, I am loving Vionic’s Regatta Deck Shoe (offered in suede and leather) and their Conner Casual Slip On. Both of these casual yet comfortable styles feature Vionic’s breakthrough Orthaheel technology developed by experts in biomechanics and foot health ensure relief from issues including plantar fasciitis, knee, back and foot pain.

 

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PLANET SHOES is quickly becoming one of my favorite sites for shoe shopping. The whole mission of the company is to “help customers make healthy choices for themselves the environment and the community.” Basically they sell great shoes that look good, feel good and do good for the environment. Planet shoes features brands from across the globe including the Spanish based shoe company, Pikolinos and American company, Red Wing. They have so many great shoes for men.  My favorites for Father’s Day choices include:

 

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THE MAN BAG

Everyone has a favorite bag—yes even men. Anytime I hope on the Metro North I see some very worn “favorites” seated next two well-suited gentleman as well as those in casual fare. They may not think they need a new one (hello, the handle of their brief case is holding on by mere threads), but they sure would appreciate a bag for Father’s Day. Here are my picks from my go-to men’s boutique, St. James & Company…

 

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GROOMING

No matter what a man says to you, he cares about how his skin looks. Please, they don’t want razor bumps, acne or wrinkles any more than a woman does. But he’s not about any 4 step cleansing processes either.  Enter MENAJI.

Founded by beauty expert and professional make-up artist, Michele Probst (alongside a team of dermatologists and chemists), Menaji is a line of men’s skincare and grooming products that are all about enhancing his skin. I am a big fan of their Gentleman’s Kit. It gives the father in your life all the core products needed to cleanse, replenish, rejuvenate and maintain their skin. Dad may look at you funny when you give it to him (Mr. Socialite did when I asked him to sample them) but all you have to tell him is that some of the most well-known men in the world (Johnny Depp, Kevin Bacon,  Kevin Costner, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw….hell, even President Obama and Regis Philbin) use it.  You can order this set via the Menaji website for $125.

 

The Gentleman’s Kit (Aftershave Hydrator, Face & Body Scrub, Eraser, Lip Agent)

 

These are just a few ideas for Daddy.

With that said, Happy Father’s Day from the Curvy Socialite

108stitches Spring Trunk Show (Event Alert)

108stitches Spring Trunk Show (Event Alert)

Hello lovlies!

Did you know that Harriette Cole launched a clothing line last year called 108stitches?

As Ms. Cole herself describes it, “108 Stitches is a line of hand-crocheted accessories that I launched last year. Made from sumptuous yarns, each piece is a meditation on love.”

From the images I have seen on the website featuring American Ballet Theatre soloist, Misty Copeland (one of my favorite dancers), the collection looks amazing.

She’s hosting a trunk show on June 18th at one of my favorite boutiques, Noir et Blanc NYC! I can’t wait to see the collection in person.

Check our Instagram on the 18th for images from the event.

 

 

 

BUILDING A LEGACY OF STYLE

St. James & Company owner, Cabral Miller (standing) and model at a recent shoot at the Newark-based boutique.  (Photography by Rachelle Clinton)

As you know, from time to time I pen pieces for a variety of media outlets that cover some of my favorite lifestyle topics (fashion, beauty, culture, etc) and more. I recently was tapped by Heed Magazine (an online magazine whose mission is “focused on expressing the positive, diverse and spiritual perspectives…as it relates to current events, politics and pop culture) to profile a very special place– St. James & Company, a family owned and operated men’s boutique in the heart of Newark’s burgeoning arts district.

Owned by the Miller siblings, Utenzi and Cabral Miller, St. James & Company is a beautiful example of Newark’s drive and passion to revamp and rebuild its tattered reputation– building a legacy to be proud of.

Read the article about Cabral Miller and St. James & Company here.

SHOPPING NEWS: Eva Mendes teams with New York & Company for new collection

Eva Mendes has always been on my personal best-dressed list since she first began making the rounds at major red-carpet events.  She had this chic yet sexy and confident style about her—a sophisticated feminine swagger.

I’ve always picture Eva as that girlfriend with the perfect closet. Everything she puts on just looks great on her. Not only does she know how to dress for her body type but Eva has an innate style sense that can’t be taught.  Ok, so not all us are blessed with the ability to step into our closet and walk out a style icon, but thanks to Ms. Mendes and New York & Company, at least we can look like we did.

Back in February of this year, Ms. Mendes announced that she was collaborating with the affordable fashion retailer on a new collection. On Wednesday, Eva debuted the vintage-inspired line at store’s flagship in New York City.

Recently, Eva Mendes recently spoke about her foray into fashion design. “The challenging part of this process was knowing that I had women, especially my sisters, counting on me to make them look good,” Mendes tells the Huffington Post. “I take this very seriously … I can’t wait to get feedback from women about what works for them and what doesn’t. I hope I don’t disappoint them!”

Full of stylishly flirty pieces, the Eva Mendes Collection features dresses, skirts, blouses and accessories with an ultra femme feel. And every piece is under $100 (except for the coat which comes in soft pink ad camel). The collection launched on Thursday (September 19th– this blogger’s birthday). Many of the pieces are already sold out. Shop the collection here.

For the line’s launch on Wednesday, Eva Mendes wore a white draped bodysuit, black brocade pencil skirt and necklace.
Eva’s favorite dress from the collection is this front tunic style that is priced at $69.95. “I adore this dress,” she said, in the collection notes. “The silhouette is simple, flattering, and feminine.” It’s my favorite too…bought one for myself as a pre-birthday gift.
Another super cute piece that can be paired with jeans, slacks or a skirt…this polka-dot printed blouse for $49.95

This isn’t the first venture into the design world for Mendes. She launched a home décor line, Vida, with her former beau George Augusto.  In 2008, Eva launched a line of bed linens with Macy’s. She later teamed again with Macy’s to launch a line of dinnerware in 2010.

Want learn more about Eva Mendes’ inspiration behind the line and see more of the collection, check out this video from New York & Company.