Sunday, October 4, 2015

Soulcycle Warehouse Sale Starts Wednesday!

Soulcycle Warehouse Sale

Men's and Women's Limited Collections
Starting at 40% off!

Wednesday, October 7th / 9am-8pm
Thursday, October 8th / 10am-8pm
Friday, October 9th / 11am-8pm
Saturday, October 10th / 11am-8pm
Sunday, October 11th / 11am-3pm

151 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10012

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Gilt City Warehouse Sale Review - Fall 2015

On Friday night, I had a VIP pass to enter the Gilt City Warehouse Sale at The Altman Building.  This allowed me to enter from 7-9pm on Friday night, in the very first group of shoppers to see the sale. Despite showing up promptly at 7pm for a time slot that was only supposed to have a very select group (a few advance tickets and a lot of industry contacts), I still had to wait in line outside in the rain for about 20 minutes before I could get into the sale.

Once I entered the staff was very friendly though. They checked my name, handed me a big recyclable shopping bag, and waved me through. I was able to get through pretty quickly by wearing a sweatshirt instead of a coat and by bringing a small clutch with me instead of a purse. Otherwise, I would have had to wait in the coat check line on the way in and on the way out. This is a good tip if you want to get through as quickly as possible.

A few brands had booths set up and were offering discounts, product, and refreshments for shoppers. My favorites were Argo Tea and Skinnygirl.  Be sure to try the Skinnygirl Cucumber Vodka with Bloody Mary Mix and the Skinnygirl Moscato while you're shopping - both were excellent and I plan on purchasing them in the future! Other booths included Justin's Almond Butter, Pretzel Crisps, Handy, a bottled water, a book promotion, and a jewelry brand. 

The womenswear section was about 8 racks deep and 2 racks wide. The racks toward the front on either side were XS and the sizes increased up to the back, where they had size L and just a handful of XL items. The largest collection of attractive items were in the Extra Small and Small sections. The total number of items on offer in the womenswear section felt pretty similar to the Rent the Runway sample sales I've been to in the past at 260 Sample Sales, to give you an idea.

There were a lot of multiples of items and quite a large selection of a few particular brands. Here's a list of most of the brands I remember seeing: Alice & Trixie, Cynthia Rowley, Alice & Olivia, Tibi, Alice by Temperley, Temperley, Red Valentino, Valentino, Monique Lhuillier, Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou, Ronny Kobo, Shoshanna, Kate Spade, Opening Ceremony, Missoni, L.K. Bennett, Pringle of Scotland, Diane von Furstenberg, Herve Leger, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Karen Walker, and Charlotte Olympia.

The menswear section just to the right of womenswear had some of the most attractive stuff in the whole sale. It was much smaller than womenswear but still a significant size. Of those in the crowd tonight, I would say only about 5-10% were men. So, if you're a fashionable man or you're stuck tagging along with your girlfriend, you're in luck! There are lots of nice coats and suits to be had.

The photo above should give you a feel for what the handbag section looked like downstairs. It was just a big pile on two round tables. The tables themselves weren't all that big, so really what you see in the photo is all that there is. I'm such a handbag person, but to be honest I wasn't even tempted by the selection. The only bags that remotely excited me were a patterned Rebecca Minkoff for $115 and a wicker Kate Spade clutch for $105. I've included photos of both below. Even those didn't really seem worth it though, as I've seen some more attractive offers at other sample sales and online. I don't think Gilt considered this section to be their strong suit.

You might be in luck, however, if you are searching for some luxurious new bed linens. Although crammed in a dark corner downstairs, there was a pretty large selection of bedding including quite a few things from the W Hotels collection. The other departments downstairs were: home (looked like a yard sale really, except a KitchenAid mixer for around $200), jewelry (no notable brands, all looked cheap), belts/scarves/misc, sunglasses, children's, and shoes. None of those sections were very large at all except the shoes section. That seemed to be the only one that anyone took any interest in really...though who wouldn't want a Moncler puffer coat for their little one at only $200?

Here's a good representation of what was on offer, 
including a few of my top finds:

Alice by Temperley Jumpsuit $235.00
($930.00 RRP)

Balenciaga Dress $269.00
($339.00 RRP)

Charlotte Olympia Heels $315.00
($895.00 RRP)

Cynthia Rowley Skirt $29.00
($350.00 RRP)

Kate Spade Mules $105.00
($298.00 RRP)
Sadly, the sole was damaged.

Mary Katrantzou Jacket

Herve Leger Dress $929.00
(RRP $1,590.00 Leger Tag / $3,720.00 Gilt Tag)
This is the only Leger item I saw in the whole sale.

Mary Katrantzou Blouse, $929.00
($3,720.00 RRP)

Oscar de la Renta Jacket $529.00

Diane von Furstenberg Dress (center)

Rebecca Minkoff Purse $115.00
($425.00 RRP)

($316.00 RRP)

Missoni Scarf (center) $69.00
($295.00 RRP)

Karen Walker Sunglasses $75.00
($250.00 RRP)
This is one of three pairs of Karen Walker sunglasses I saw in the whole sale.

Temperley Dress $759.00
($2,175.00 RRP)

Valentino Wedding Dress approximately $3,000

Kate Spade Clutch $105.00
($348.00 RRP)
This is one of three Kate Spade items I saw in the whole sale.

Since I didn't come in with a $2,000 budget, the Temperley and Valentino items were still unfortunately out of my price range. Admittedly, I didn't see a whole lot that I loved for under $500. So, I didn't walk away with much. I was tempted by a few things above, but ultimately decided the best value seemed to be all the Torn by Ronny Kobo items. I ended up purchasing a Gamma Dress for $69.00 ($398.00 RRP). It's a really great quality, flattering dress, so that was definitely a great deal.

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I was provided with a VIP entry pass for free from a GILT staff member. 
While my admission fee was covered, all product purchases were my own expense.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Celebrate Pink October for Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that more than 200,000 cases of breast cancer are expected in 2015 and that it is the 2nd major cause of death for women around the world?

This month many companies are lending a hand to show their support for breast cancer research.  Can you imagine a future where no women will die of breast cancer? Charm jewelry brand Glamulet can! They are one of the companies helping the cause. They have just designed a limited edition set of pink charms just for the occasion. For every set of charms that is added to a shopper's cart, Glamulet will donate 50% of sales to a charity fund for breast cancer. 

Want to do more? Glamulet has started a campaign called #GlamuletPinkOctober. They are encouraging women to spread awareness through blog posts, special banners they've created, and survivor stories share on social media. There are even some themed prizes to be won. Check out the campaign here.

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This is a sponsored post for Glamulet via Brandbacker.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My At-Home Four Minute Mani with Impress

Busy young mom? International Jet-setter? It can be hard to find the time to look fabulous every day. Luckily, the folks at imPRESS have come up with a fantastic solution for us.  The imPRESS Press-on Manicure gives you a salon-pefect ultra gel shine manicure in just a few minutes! There's no dry time and no mess. You just peel off the backing and press on your new, perfectly manicured nails. With over 40 colors and designs to choose from, they'll suit any taste or occassion.

Each package comes with everything you need: 24 individual nails of varying sizes, a prep pad & file, adhesive & charms (on applicable styles), and an instruction booklet. 

These are the only waterproof press-on nails on the market and they last up to one week thanks to imPRESS's "Ultra-Hold Adhesive Technology". They are safe on natural nails and removal is very easy - just peel them off rather than messing around with any acetone or soak-off removal. 

Here's my video tutorial so you can see just how quick and easy these are to apply:

As you can tell from the above, it took me a minute to figure out how to add the finishing touches...i.e. the dazzling little charm. So, here's another video tutorial to show you how to do that bit:

...and here's the final result! What do you think?

Personally, I don't love the smell of nail polish remover (who does?) or the hassle of remembering to put your nail clippers in your checked luggage. I also can't be bothered to go out and purchase those things on a trip, even if my nails break or my polish chips.  So, this seems like the perfect thing to bring along with me on my travels...especially ideal for destination weddings! The nails actually look pretty natural and I can attest that they definitely stay in place.  If for any reason something causes one to fall off, you do get a few spares in the box.

The best part? These kits are available nationwide at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, and Kmart and retail at just $6.99 - that's even less than a manicure at the salon!

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This is a sponsored post.  imPRESS provided me with two Press-on Manicure Sets for
review purposes via BrandBacker.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rent the Runway Sample Sale Starts Tomorrow!

Rent the Runway Sample Sale

260 Fifth Avenue, New York , NY
(between 28th & 29th Streets)
N/R/6 Trains to 28th Street

Tuesday, September 29th / 11am-8pm
Wednesday, September 30th / 10am-8pm
Thursday, October 1st / 10am-8pm
Friday, October 2nd / 10am-7pm
Saturday, October 3rd / 10am-7pm
Sunday, October 4th / 10am-3pm

Buy gently-used designer dresses and accessories at up to 90% off retail prices. A few brands: Badgley Mischka, Halston Heritage, Nicole Miller, Erin Fetherston, Sachin & Babi, and more!

Any questions: 212-725-5400

Know before you go
Check out my reviews of the Rent the Runway Sample Sales in 

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Birchbox for Selfridge's London 2015 Review

Stop III of my "Birchbox Around the World" tour was Selfridge's Department Store in London. Last but not least, as this was my favorite Birchbox of the three! 

Here's the basic information:

Where: Selfridge's Department Store - Flagship at 400 Oxford Street, The Beauty Workshop at the back of the Ground Level Floor

When: August 28th, 2015 until September 27th, 2015

Cost£15 including tax (about $23) for 6 deluxe samples

Can't make it to Selfridge's by tomorrow? No worries, there is a limited edition Birchbox available on the Selfridge's website. It was just introduced on September 10th, so it should be around a little longer.

A typical Birchbox in the UK runs £12.95/month (about $20) which is about double what it costs in the USA. The difference is that each month Birchbox UK subscribers receive all deluxe size samples presented in a cloth pouch. I think the UK customer demands the larger sample size because there is a long history of getting beauty samples for free with magazines like Harper's Bazaar or Elle in the UK, when you purchase them from a newsstand - sometimes even full sized products! 

Again, I only heard about the Birchbox pop-up at Selfridge's from Birchbox Co-Founder Hayley Barna's speech at the World Retail Congress in Rome. Otherwise, I never would have known about it, despite my frequent trips to the UK and extensive knowledge of British beauty products.

The set-up was pretty much the same as that at the Build Your Own Birchbox station at the Soho NYC store and at Le Bon Marche in Paris. In this case, you go around and select 6 samples:, one skincare, one body care, one haircare, one beauty treat, and two makeup items. Because the Selfridge's staff tie up the pouch for you and check off the items, it did not seem like you could change the rules and select two samples in any category other than make-up. This was kind of unfortunate because I was much more excited about all the other categories, especially skincare and body care.

The first make-up sample I selected was this Stila Lip Glaze in "Glitter EF" because it looked nearly full-sized. This was .05 fl oz and a full-size retails at $22 for .08 fl oz. Not too exciting for me, as I've owned this in the past and Stila is an American brand. However, there were no British brands in this category aside from the Eyeko eyeshadow which was a rusty copper color I swatched on my hand and didn't like.

My second choice in the make-up section was this Wild About Beauty lip balm. There were three colors to choose from and I picked Rosaria because it had the highest concentration of pigment. I mainly picked this sample because the brand was new to me and is Italian rather than American, so I thought it might not be as easy to find at home. Admittedly, I was initially tempted by the Benefit Air Patrol BB Cream Eyelid Primer but the sample was very small and I figured I met get it sometime through my Birchbox USA subscription.

The skincare category was actually my first tough decision. I own a number of Caudalie products and really love them, but I didn't necessarily need another makeup removing product (especially since I own and love their Make-up Remover Cleansing Water).  When I swatched it on my hand, it also came out quickly and felt pretty greasy. I was really tempted by the Sarah Chapman Skinesis 3D Moisture Infusion Mask because I've been trying out a lot of masks lately and this looked like a British brand that hasn't yet made it to the US. Ultimately, I went for the Caudalie product because I know the brand is good quality and the bottle would last me a long time rather than a one time use mask. It seemed a shame though to go for the French product and not the British one! I wish I could have taken home both or purchased a Sarah Chapman mask separately. 

I saw that earlier in the summer this category and the body care one included another one of my favorite French brands, Nuxe. Unfortunately during my visit the options had changed and there were no Nuxe products in any of the categories.

I was beyond thrilled to see Cowshed included in the options! If you're not familiar, Cowshed is the spa owned by Soho House. I love how their products all smell bit spicy and are pretty gender-neutral. The liquid hand soaps and lotions used to be in all of the Premium Economy bathrooms on Virgin Atlantic flights, but I noticed the last couple of times that they aren't's just the standard issue VA soap now.

That's a shame because I first fell in love with the product during one of my flights. I really like the Cow Pat scent which reminds me a bit of anise seed and cracked pepper. It's been sold out on the Birchbox US website for a while now and is typically quite expensive. I did get my hands on one of the travel sized lotions in Cow Pat for about  £6 (approximately $9) at the Cowshed shop in London during GQ Style Night (Fashion's Night Out) on Carnaby Street, which offered a 20% discount. That travel size lotion is 50ml/1.69 fl oz, but this deluxe sample is actually 100ml/3.38 fl oz. So, needless to say, it has very significant value! I like the Gorgeous Cow scent too. It has floral notes and is a bit more feminine than Cow Pat...but still a little bit spicy!

Again, this was a tough choice because Dutch brand Rituals was also included in this category and I adore them too. This time it was the Honey Touch Body Cream, but I saw that earlier in the summer they had one of the foaming body washes. Ultimately, I had to go with the Cowshed product because it's British, quite valuable, and not as easy to find as Rituals (Rituals has a store in NYC on my subway line). I also have quite a few Rituals products already, as I stocked up at their shop on my last stopover in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

The haircare category was not especially exciting, as there were no British brands on offer. I think I saw Phillip Kingsley products were on offer earlier this summer and I've never tried that British brand, so I would have picked them if they'd been on offer. Given my options, I picked the Macadamia Professional Moisture Shampoo because it was a large sample and I've used their moisturizing hair mask several times before and really liked it. It's definitely a good brand for very dry, color-treated hair. Also, this product is almost always at TJ Maxx. So if you end up liking it, it can actually be quite affordable.

The beauty treat category was a fun and creative one. There were only four options though and two of them were basically the same (two versions of a This Works Pillow Spray in varying intensities). I'm not quite sure what the difference is between the two but I really like the idea of the product and since I'm not a great sleeper, assumed the "sleep plus" option was the right one for me.  I was a bit torn between that and the Birchbox key ring. It's the same one that I've seen a lot of US subscribers get a promo code for after they've subscribed to Birchbox for one year and I've been a subscriber for more than one year but never received it. It is a cute pink leather tassel, but honestly I wasn't really sure how much I would use it. The other option was a whitening toothpaste which was very practical but maybe less fun than the others. Ultimately, I decided on the "deep sleep" pillow spray. It is a British brand and has a lovely lavender scent.  If this product really works, I would definitely buy it!

Like the box at Le Bon Marche, this one also included a discount code for new subscribers. Since it's a pretty obvious promo code (SELFRIDGES), I'm going to go ahead and share it! It's good for £5 off your first Birchbox UK box, which makes it a total of £7.95. It needs to ship to a UK address, so this offer is only good for my UK based readers I'm afraid...although it would make a nice care package for any friends you have who are studying abroad in the UK too! From everything I've seen about Birchbox UK, I like the offer more than Birchbox US. I wish we could get them over here!

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