#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!

WADING THROUGH ALL THE MUCK: The Muck B 1802 Boot

As I said in a previous post, I’m not big on the whole reality TV thing. But I have to admit there is one reality show that is a guilty pleasure of mine…The Amazing Race. Maybe it’s the thrill of the competition (11 teams of two compete in an elimination style “race” for a grand prize of $1 million) or the exotic destinations that the teams get to visit throughout the competition—whatever “it” is, it has made a fan out of me.  The Amazing Race has had some memorable teams over the years. One of my favorites happened to be the season 21 winners (and the stars of another reality TV show entitled The Fabulous Beekman Boys—ironic right?), Josh Kilmer Purcell and his husband, Brent Ridge.

Back in 2007, the couple bought a 19th century farm called Beekman Mansion in bucolic town of Sharon Springs in upstate New York. The couple launched a business, Beekman 1802 selling products derived from the produced grown on the farm.  Last week, Brent and Josh took their lifestyle brand one step further by teaming with The Original Muck Boot Company on the footwear company’s first fashion collaboration inspired by the growing farm-to-table movement—Muck B 1802. Known for creating comfortable boots ideal for messy and tough conditions in work, farming, agriculture, outdoor sporting, lawn and garden– even the spring monsoons that now plaguing New York. The Muck B 1802 boot is the perfect marriage of both brands—combining style and substance. The boot debuted this past week in New York City at the charming organic eatery, Green Table, located in the famed Chelsea Market.

Muck B 1802 boot
Muck B 1802 boot

Only 200 pairs of the limited edition boot will be sold on both the Beekman 1802 website and on www.muckbootcompany.com. The Muck B 1802 boots come in two styles: black with red trim and black with grey trim. The 100 percent waterproof boot will feature Muck’s XpressCool liner, which keeps feet cool in warm weather. A lightweight sole with rubber pods provide optimal traction and support with comfort and flexibility. The boot’s suggested retail price is $170.

The Muck B 1802 boots come in two styles: black with red trim and black with grey trim.
The Muck B 1802 boots come in two styles: black with red trim and black with grey trim.

The debut of the Muck B 1802 boot also heralded the announcement of the winner of Beekman 1802’s first annual Mortgage “Lift” award which gives a $10,000 grant  to a deserving family farm that demonstrates innovative business practices, helping restore small farms as the economic backbone of America.  This grant was inspired by Ridge and Purcell’s own experience trying to pay off their own loan which led to the production and naming of an heirloom tomato variety, “The Mortgage Lifter,” which they hoped the pasta sauce it produced would raise enough to pay off their own land loan. While bottling their first jars of sauce, Brent and Josh won the Amazing Race. With the proceeds, they were able to pay off their own mortgage. It was then they pledged to give back 25 percent of proceeds of the sauce—2014 marks the awards inauguration.

Not only does the Mortgage Lifter award winner take the “Lift” award grant to invest in the future of their farm, The Original Muck Company donated their best selling Chore farm boot to the entire staff of the winning farm.

For more information on The Original Muck Boot Company, visit www.muckbootcompany.com.

For more information on The Fabulous Beekman Boys, visit www.beekman1802.com,

 

The Fabulous Beekman Boys at "work."
The Fabulous Beekman Boys at “work.”

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NYFW F/W 2014: Asaf Ganot (Refined Ruggedness)

As per the request of Mr. Socialite—I am going delve into the world of menswear and its accoutrements more. Hopefully you won’t mind too much.  It can actually be quite interesting. Besides…I have a weakness for a well dressed man (I think that is how I got snagged by Mr. Socialite in the first place).  I don’t know what it is…maybe it is the confidence—that swagger—that he exudes knowing that he looks debonair. He knows he’s a dapper don in that immaculately tailored suit and commands the attention of every room he walks into. That is the power urbane gentleman …and in the end what makes him sexy.  New York-based menswear designer, Asaf Ganot, depicted that this season at his presentation during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

With the former cathedral turned event space of Hoffman Hall at the High Line Hotel serving as a backdrop, the Asaf Ganot Fall/Winter 2014 collection was a glimpse into the appeal of all things manly.

Known for his signature aesthetic, Asaf Ganot marries luxe materials and impeccable craftsmanship. His collection fused contemporary menswear with cutting edge construction capturing the true essence of luxury. Drawing inspiration from Asaf’s travels and experiences and translating that into a vision of the modern man, he created a sophisticated assortment of looks that are both rough and refined and radiates an air of confidence.

Featuring quilted leather jackets, cashmeres with Donegal patchwork, cable knits finished with leather detailing, rich tweed suits complemented by shearling trimmed coats in a deeply rich palette of obsidian, ash and stone contrasted with shiraz, beluga blue and regal purples, the line was a blend of rugged looks paired with classic Italian made menswear fabrics that with the power of today’s technology was enhanced to ensure comfort and function without sacrificing style.  The knits were treated with unique washes in faded and tie-die finishes resulting in pieces that appeared to be worn by salt, air, snow – that of an active lifestyle of a worldly, strong man of style.

I definitely saw a few pieces that would be the perfect addition to Mr. Socialite’s wardrobe and the well-dressed man in your life too.

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SHOPPING EVENT: #NYCurvyCloset sponsored by Simply Be

SHOPPING EVENT:  #NYCurvyCloset sponsored by Simply Be

One of the UK’s best loved plus brands is teaming up with some of the curvy world’s favorite bloggers to bring you an exclusive shopping event….#NYCurvyCloset.

Come out and some of your favorite plus size personalities at this amazing event catering to sizes 10-28.

Shop clothing, accessories, shoes and lavish in some awesome giveaways. EVERYTHING IS UNDER $50!

Open to the public but register for early admission! http://nycurvycloset.eventbrite.com

See you there!

FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN: Renzo + Kai S/S 2013 Presentation (NYFW)

A few months ago I had the pleasure of becoming a member of the Bloggers’ Collective, a New York-based curation of fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogs. One of the biggest benefits I’ve had thus far from being a member is having the opportunity to meet some amazing bloggers who I might not have necessarily come across on my journey through the blogosphere. One of the bloggers I’ve met is Heather Epstein— the maven behind Fashionista NY Girl.

This Fashion Week, I had the opportunity to guest blog on Fashionista NY Girl where I covered the beautiful (but early morning– thank goodness they had coffee) presentation of Renzo + Kai at the famed Empire Hotel (no Chuck Bass sightings Gossip Girl fans). Check out the post on Heather’s blog here.

Gown from the Renzo + Kai Spring/Summer 2013 Collection

NEW ON THE EXAMINER: STEPPING UP YOUR SHOE GAME: Fratelli Rossetti Spring/Summer 2013 Collection (NYFW)

Some say the shoe makes the outfit or even the man. Either way, at the end of the day nothing beats a beautiful pair of shoes on a man or a woman. The well-heeled seem to glide down the street with an air of confidence that only the perfect footwear can elicit. That’s something that Italian design brand, Fratelli Rossetti, takes to heart with each pair of handcrafted shoes that they make.

Showcasing their Spring 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week, Fratelli Rossetti reminded us why the fashion world fell in love with their brand more than fifty years ago with both a men’s and women’s collection that will definitely be spotted at next year’s polo match at Liberty State Park or a picnic in Prospect Park.

For my full article on the Examiner, click here.

Fratelli Rosetti Spring 2013 Presentation during New York Fashion week

NEW ON THE EXAMINER: New York Fashion Week S/S 2013: Tanya Taylor

New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) provided the scene for the Tanya Taylor spring 2013 collection. Presenting a collection perfect for those who love vintage 1950s fashion, the New York designer (formerly of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen‘s Elizabeth and James), showcased a collection full of refined A-line dresses, pencil skirts and structured tops and pants in silk, merino wool, and lightweight knits colored in white, black lemon, tangerine coupled with floral prints, the line is perfect for the seasonal transition. Styled by Natasha Royt, each look was complimented by lady-like accoutrements including white gloves, wide-brimmed sun hats, scarves and sunglasses.

For the full article on the Examiner, featuring the photography of the South Florida Style Guide‘s Anna Rodney, click here.

NEW YORK FASHION WEEK: Tanya Taylor Spring/Summer 2013 (courtesy of Anna Rodney, South Florida Style Guide)

POLITICAL FASHION: AND SHE WORE TRACY REESE

Tonight, Michelle Obama dazzled the delegates at the Democratic National Convention with a rousing speech that spoke to her passion for her husband, military families, motherhood, the future and her love of her country. With New York Fashion Week beginning tomorrow, I wanted to just highlight the fact that she also showed her support to the American Fashion industry by wearing Tracy Reese. The First Lady has been an avid supporter of American designers from the moment she set foot on the national stage (and even before as she supported Chicago-area designers regularly at the many political functions she attended while in the role of  a senator’s wife).

Missed the FLOTUS’ speech? Click on the image to see the video.

To watch her speech from tonight, please click on the picture of the FLOTUS.

NEW ARTICLE ON THE EXAMINER: Introducing Our Lady of Lourdes

Sketches from Our Lady of Lourdes Universal Military Collection for Fall 2012

Thunderlily (www. thunderlily.com), the online “fashion workshop” recently announced the winner of its design competition was Westchester-based fashion ingénue, Lourdes “Lou” Torres. An up-and-coming designer, entrepreneur and activist, the New York bred single mom beat out a formidable group to win the coveted prize (having her autumn capsule collection produced and sold by the emerging fashion technology company).

For the full article, click the image above.