Friday, November 30, 2012

The Recessionista Relaunches



Since 2008 when our sister site, The Recessionista,  was discovered by The New York Times as “A Label for a Pleather Economy ",  the site and its traffic have steadily grown.  That's no mean feat in a tough economy, where it's harder than ever for small businesses to survive and thrive. With a small budget, and  love for living chic on the cheap The Recessionista has grown from a blogspot to a dot com, and now to a complete new design with a new logo.  Don't be confused by sites that scream out "Fake it til you make it.The Recessionista is not about faking it in any shape, manner or form. There's nothing chic about a fake.  The site is about being chic on the cheap.  You'll recognize the new site by its distinctive new logo that pays homage to Chanel’s simple “little black dress.”  We think the little black dress is the essential garment for recessionistas. A great little black dress can take you anywhere.  Take a look at the newly designed The Recessionista today with streamlined navigation and new sections (Travel, Wine/Food and Beauty.) The new site offers more pages and enhanced images.  Click here to subscribe.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Los Angeles: Divine Design 2012 Offers Great Shopping for a Great Cause

Shop Project Angel Food 
 Save the Date Savvy Shoppers in Los Angeles! The 2012 edition for Project Angel Food's super  Divine Design sale has officially been announced.  The sale will kick-off to the general public after Thanksgiving  in Los Angeles with General Shopping Days from  Dec. 1 to 3.    This unique shopping extravaganza offers fabuless fashion, home, beauty and gift items at 50-90% off. Check their website for details and tickets at Divine by Design.  Be sure to get the $10.00 off discount coupon  offered on the website page. Click here for details for details about the Gala Opening Event and VIP shopping party. Divine Design will kick off on Thursday, November 29th with an Opening Night Rock ‘n’ Roll Party which will be held inside the Divine Design Marketplace at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard (the former Robinson’s May building).  Designers David Meister and Project Runway's Mila Hermanovski will be featured in the opening festivities. Mila will co-hosts Divine Design’s VIP Cocktail Shopping Party on Nov. 29th at 6:00 pm in the marketplace. The sale benefits a cause that is near and dear to my heart: Project Angel Food. Project Angel Food is a free meal-delivery program that serves men, women and children debilitated by HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses throughout Los Angeles County. The program literally brings nourishment to the needy.  Next week the sale will bring retail nourishment to holiday shoppers looking for a bargain.  Over 200 designers will contribute to this year's sale including:  David Meister, BCBG, LAMB, Ports 1961, Trina Turk and many more.

The sale features men's clothing (Ted Baker), children's clothes, toys, plus designer brands favored by savvy shoppers everywhere.  Another key attraction of the sale is top of the line skincare products offered by Kiehl's.  Last year the Kiehl's products seemed to sell out in a hot minute.  Kate Sommerville beauty products will also be featured.  A new addition to this year's sale is a technology area sponsored by Time Warner cable.  Time Warner Cable (TWC) is sponsoring a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired Signature Home Lounge outfitted with guitar wall fixtures, cobalt carpet, gunmetal walls and modern technology twists.  Attendees will be able to participate in Social Media activities from the lounge by blogging, post or tweet, their messages which will them be displayed in the big lounge for all to see. If you haven' t shopped this sale before, remember the prices are reduced more each day of the sale, with the last day having the lowest, or final clearance prices.  The only issue with going the last day is there may not be the best selection or everything, but on the other hand, you won't have the all the temptations either. For more information, visit the Divine Design Website.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

eBay Launches their Holiday Collective with Top Designers and Worldwide Shipping


The new eBay Holiday collective featuring top designers : Billy Reid, Chris Benz, Fallon, Jonathan Adler, Ruffian, Steven Alan and Tibi, has announced the eBay Holiday Collective - an original, limited-edition gift collection of men's and women's apparel, jewelry, travel and electronics accessories and home décor.  My favorites in the collection are the Chris Benz lounge wear and the Tibi fashions.   For men, the Billy Reid travel items and the Steve Alan tech items maybe of interest. Everything is under $100.00 US and the sale is on until Dec. 10th until 8 am PT or while quantities last. If you check it out, let me know what you think. My personal pick is the Chris Benz cashmere scarf for $55.00 US.  The holiday collection is available to all eBay customers worldwide, so check shipping based on your area/country.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Los Angeles: Get Free Tickets to the Sassy City Chicks Shopping Party on Nov. 1


The Sassy City Chicks LA Fashion Bash is back in Los Angeles on Nov.1 with the perfect opportunity to score all-new Fall/Winter designer trends, pampering spa treatments, feminine-chic cocktails, and fabulous, NEW, girly swag bags! The Petersen Automotive Museum will once again play host to the one of the best Sample-Sale events of the season, The Sassy City Chicks LA Fashion Bash Event!  Last year I scored some amazing deals from Jessica Elliot jewelry, Excess Baggage and Brit Boy.

Pictured: Shopping one of my favorites from last year's event, Brit Boy
 Guests can expect to find deep discounts, up to 80% off, on designer clothes, handbags, and accessories all across the show floor. Top runway brands such as BCBG, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Prada, Ralph Lauren, and many more can find their way into your closet at only a fraction of the retail price!   I enjoyed shopping Renee Vintage, BritBoy, Shop Excess Baggage & Jessica Elliot at last year's event. Event sponsors Pixi, POP Beauty will also be showcasing their newest products for sale – there will be no shortage of goodies to be found at great prices!  Need a ticket? Be one of the FIRST 25 fashionistas to enter code RECESSIONISTA at checkout and you’ll get a FREE Sassy Tote Ticket! Includes admission, swag bag, open bar, & more. CLICK TO ENTER


WHO:        Sassy City Chicks Los Angeles Fashion Bash

WHAT:    Designer clothing at discounted prices, complimentary cocktails, free spa services, and fabulous girly swag!

WHEN:        Thursday, Nov. 1, 5:00-10:00 PM

WHERE:       The Petersen Automotive Museum,
                      6060 Wilshire Blvd (at Fairfax),  Los Angeles CA 90036

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Guide to the Hot Tickets at the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival 2012.



The 2012 Big Sur Wine and Food Festival kicks off next week on Nov 1st with a full roster of delicious food, wonderful wines, cheese and even auctions.  Now in its fourth year, the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival promises to be a frugal foodie's dream come true.  For the price of a flat rate ticket, attendees can enjoy some of California's best wines and dishes from some of California's best Chefs. Some events are sold out, while a few tickets still remain for other events including tastings and dinners. To help inform visitors and potential attendees,  I sat down with the festival organizer, Toby Rowland-Jones, to get the inside track on the festival.  With 22 events over 4 days, there's plenty going on along the rugged Big Sur coast.

Q.  How much has been raised for charity in the past?
 In 3 years, we have raised over $65,000 for local Big Sur nonprofits in areas of  Health, Safety and Education and the Arts, as well as sponsored a local Big Sur  resident to attend the CIA in Hyde Park, NY as part of her ongoing culinary education.  It's a great achievement given the current state of the climate and that we had very few sponsors in the first three years.

Q. I believe the auction lunch event  at the Post Ranch Inn on Saturday is sold out correct? What other events do you think wine and food lovers should consider snapping up tickets for?
Yes, the Auction lunch is sold out, but for those interested in calling in during the Auction, we will have operators standing by! The best events/hottest tickets will be:
  • The Gateway to Big Sur - Presented by the Hyatt Carmel Highlands - which is, in a way, an homage to the past Masters of Food and Wine - the finest food and wine festival in the world during its peak. 
  • The Pinot Walkabout - traditionally not many attendees due to the Friday afternoon time slot, which means guests get a truly great opportunity to actually chat with the winemakers instead of just asking for whatever they are pouring. The Pinot Walkabout, is not actually a hike, as some might think, but instead a stroll around the Post Ranch Inn's small but glorious kitchen garden with 30 of the top Pinot producers we admire and know.  
  •  Pinot and The Muse -  the concept of this is also SO unique to us - winemakers presenting their current vintages, but also showing and talking about the wines that  originally inspired them to become winemakers. The actual value of the wines being poured is FAR in excess of the ticket price - $50, as some of them are pouring some very rare wines that have been sponsored by a local Big Sur resident.
  • The Hiking With Stemware tour takes guests on to magical and very private private properties for guided hikes with lunch included. For those who do not wish to be so "exertive", the Magical Mystery Tours will be luxury shuttles ferrying people to other private and exclusive, well-hidden homes here along the coast, with wine and tapas at each stop.

Q. What are some of the items that we be featured at the Auction that are unique?
Our Auction, we like to think, is among the finest one could imagine. It doesn't raise the largest sums, such as Auction Napa, or the Central Coast Wine Classic, but where else would one be able to find a private guided walk in Big Sur with the co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Aubert de Villaine? Or the once in a lifetime chance to be on a Turn Boat during the America's Cup, courtesy of Lexus?  Then there's a dinner at some of the most extraordinary architectural gems with winemakers and great chefs here in Big Sur. How about an ornately carved Indonesian Teak Hutch filled with 36 different magnums of wine, each signed by the winemakers? Just a small sampling. This Lunch is now sold out, but we have the capacity to take phone calls for off-site bidding.  If you would like to be an absentee bidder, please contact Toby at toby@bigsurfoodandwine.org.


Q. Can people do "walk ins" to the events and register at the last minute?
Yes, they could, but honestly, they'll be extremely disappointed if an event is sold out - which will happen in most cases.

For up to date information on events and remaining tickets, check the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival Website for details.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

City Target Opens in Los Angeles at Fig and 7th

The new City Target Store Open to a Festive Reception of Seventh and Fig.
The new City Target Store Open to a Festive Reception of Seventh and Fig
Target  previewed their new store opening last week in Los Angeles to press and VIPS.  The store will officially open to consumers on Oct. 17th in  Downtown Los Angeles at Seventh & Figueroa. The Target in Downtown LA will be part of a new retail area called 7thandFig featuring shops and restaurants.
CityTarget will offer commuters, tourists and urban dwellers the convenience of one-stop shopping with urban living essentials, on-trend fashions and exclusive designer collections. The Beverly Connection store will create approximately 200 local jobs and will provide a convenient one-stop shopping option for this busy central Los Angeles area. Target currently operates 58 stores in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

The Downtown Los Angeles Central CityTarget will be the second of three (Beverly Connection, Westwood & DTLA)  CityTarget stores opening in Los Angeles. The store’s grand opening is Sunday, Oct. 14.  That’s good news for all the folks living in downtown where there is not a convenient big grocery store or big box retail store.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Los Angeles: Oct. 17th Celebrating Women Runway Event at 7 pm, Ontario Mills, CA





The Celebrating Women Runway Event hosted by E! News co-host Giuliana Rancic is coming to Ontario Mills Mall on Oct. 17, 2012.  Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Ontario on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 pm, this is a MUST ATTEND EVENT, hosted by Giuliana Rancic and produced by James Campbell.  The dazzling show under the stars, features top professional models strutting the over sized catwalk, will highlight a collection of the best that Ontario Mills has to offer for less!

“Celebrating Women is the perfect platform for us to showcase our unique brand of shopping as one of California’s most popular shopping destinations with more than 200 fashion forward outlet and value retail stores,” said Masa Liles, area director of marketing at Ontario Mills. “We are thrilled to have Giuliana return as our special guest of this signature event, which only magnifies the excitement of our growing designer collection of fashionable stores.”

Ontario Mills’ Runway Event will be a dazzling show under the stars with top professional models strutting the oversized catwalk wearing a collection of the best that Ontario Mills has to offer for less. Designer brands will be sure to turn heads such as Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Elie Tahari and more found at select stores at Ontario Mills.

Ontario Mills’ Celebrating Women Runway Event is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (909) 484-8300, visit http://www.OntarioMills.com or check us out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OntarioMills and Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ShopOntario.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Los Angeles : City Target Stores Coming to Downtown LA and Beverly Connection



Target has announced that they are expanding their stores in Los Angeles.  New stores are scheduled to open at Beverly Center and on Oct. 17th in  Downtown Los Angeles at Seventh & Figueroa. The Target in Downtown LA will be part of a new retail area called 7thandFig featuring shops and restaurants.

CityTarget will offer commuters, tourists and urban dwellers the convenience of one-stop shopping with urban living essentials, on-trend fashions and exclusive designer collections. The Beverly Connection store will create approximately 200 local jobs and will provide a convenient one-stop shopping option for this busy central Los Angeles area. Target currently operates 58 stores in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

The Downtown Los Angeles Central CityTarget will be the second of three (Beverly Connection, Westwood & DTLA)  CityTarget stores opening in Los Angeles. The store’s grand opening is Sunday, Oct. 14.  That's good news for all the folks living in downtown where's there not a convenient big grocery store or big box retail store.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Los Angeles & Orange County Spa Deal at Burke William




 In need of a little pampering and relaxation? Burke Williams Day Spa has a great deal for fall.  They are offering a Hot Stone massage enhancement and Anti-Aging Facial package. Both services are on special for the public to enjoy at all spa locations beginning in October for just $99.00.  Here are the details:
 
October 1 through November 15 enjoy a 50-minute Signature Swedish Massage with a Hot Stone Enhancement for only $99, regularly priced at $145 or higher or a 50-minute Deep Tissue Massage with Hot Stone Enhancement for $119, regularly priced at $165 or higher.  Hot stones are the ultimate organic tools used to ease stiff muscles into the deepest relaxation and increase joint circulation. Each precise stone placement, paired with a customized massage session, enhances the benefits of therapy during the treatment.
 
October 15 through November 1 experience the results-driven Anti-Aging Facial for just $169 in Southern California and San Jose and $179 in San Francisco, regularly priced from $195 to $215. The Burke Williams Anti-Aging Facial utilizes cutting edge regenerative technology through a custom blend of stem cells and illuminating concentrate. A unique combination of H2V R3 Transform and Matrixyl Peptides lifts, firms, brightens and evens the skin tone while repairing damage. During the facial, guests have the opportunity to consult with their esthetician to create a personalized anti-aging moisturizer just for their skin type.
 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Real Housewife Heather Thomson Offers Yummie Life Fans a Chance to Dish in New York City


Yummie Life  founder, and Real Housewives of New York City star, Heather Thomson,  is offering her fans the chance to win a trip to New York City  to enjoy a luxurious trip and dish with her over lunch.  To learn more, and to enter, go to the Yummie website.  There's plenty of time to enter this one, as the contest doesn't end until Dec. 15, 2012.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Beverly Center Offers Shoppers Fashion Shows & Deals for Fashion's Night Out Los Angeles

Tonight I had the opportunity to attend a briefing on what's in store for Fashion's Night Out in Los Angeles.  There will be activities going on all over the city,  but the Beverly Center Mall with its central location and wide array of shops offers a great place for fashionista's to get deals from both high-end designers and discount shops (like Forever XXI and H&M.) With the wide range of price points and fashions, there will  literally will be something for everyone at the La Cienega shopping behemoth. There will even be two full-on fashion shows for Beverly Center visitors to attend.   But it's not only the retailers who will be offering deals, the restaurants are getting in the act too. Recently,  I had the opportunity to savor cocktails and appetizers from the Mozzarella Bar and I can personally recommend both.  It's a tough job to be sure, but someone has to taste the food and drink  :) Other places offering shopping breaks include the Grand Lux Cafe and PF Chang's.   Read on to get the scoop on all the highlights and deals that are in store for savvy shoppers.  Even the Mayor and a few celebrities will be on hand to support the local economy.

I had the opportunity to cruise around the Beverly Center tonight, and there are already plenty of sales to be had, but my personal tip is to wait until next week on Sept. 6th to make your purchase so that you can enjoy the entertainment and reap extra savings.

Highlights for Fashion's Night Out at the Beverly Center, Los Angeles, CA
5:00 PM RED CARPET ARRIVALS
6:30 PM OPENING CEREMONY
MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA VIDEO ADDRESS
LISA LOVE, WEST COAST EDITOR OF VOGUE
HOST LUCY HALE, ACTRESS AND SINGER
KENDALL JENNER, BEVERLY CENTER'S FNO CAMPAIGN MODEL
7:00 PM FASHION SHOW
BLOOMINGDALE’S | MACY’S | TRUE RELIGION BRAND JEANS
TRAFFIC | DIESEL | MAX&CO. | J.LINDEBERG | LACOSTE
9:00 PM FASHION SHOW
XXI FOREVER EXCLUSIVE

NATIONAL SUPPORTING SPONSOR
MAYBELLINE NEW YORK

LOCAL SUPPORTING SPONSOR
TRUE RELIGION BRAND JEANS

EVENTS             
GUESTS ELLE & BLAIR FOWLER - FASHION AND BEAUTY VLOGGERS
CELEBRITY DJ AND FASHION BLOGGER LINDSAY LUV
ANGELENO MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE VIP LUXURY LOUNGE
GENLUX MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE RED CARPET AFTER PARTY
Click here for a full listing  (on our sister site The Recessionista ) of the retailers and restaurants offering deals at the Beverly Center on Sept. 6th.   Who says you have to go to New York Fashion Week to see a runway show?

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Fall Fashion at Kohl's: Jennifer Lopez Collection Lace Dress

Pictured: Jennifer Lopez Lace Shift Dress at Kohl's for $40.00
 Once of the hottest trends of this year, has been the lace overlay dress and Kohl's has a terrific version of it in the edition of the best selling JLo line.  The new Jennifer Lopez collection lace shift dress in now on sale  for $40.00.  Kohl's sent me a sample of the dress in the Corsica Red. The cut is very tailored and similar to Kate's designer dress. For the price tag, it's a nice dress. It's fully lined, and can easily take you from Summer through Fall.  I went to my local Kohl's store to order another one for my sister, but couldn't find it in store, so I used the Kohl's kiosk to place my order.  While doing that, I made a savvy discovery.  The coupon and the kiosks default coupon seems to be 15% off, guaranteeing you even better savings. Online or at the kiosk, use code LOCKER15 until Aug. 23 to save 15%. Are you surprised this dress is in JLo's Kohl's line? I was.  It's not what I expected from the entertainer's collection, which usually looks like stuff la Lopez would wear, not Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.  This dress looks a lot like an Erdum dress that Kate wore on her tour of Canada last year.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Announcing Teeology a new T-shirt site, curated by JLo

She may be leaving American Idol, but Jennifer Lopez clearly has other things she is working on. One of them is a newly announced T-shirt site called Teeology. So what's this all about?  It sounds like crowd sourcing plus affordable fashion. The value proposition is that the site will gives its members the ultimate power to decide which designs are produced and sold. “We saw a huge opportunity to jump into the luxury tee market by offering the same high-quality product you can buy at a Nordstrom or Bloomingdales, but for a fraction of the price,” says Eng, Teeology’s Co-Founder and CEO.  “Because of our voting/pre-order mechanism, focus on social buzz, and limited-edition runs, Teeology isn’t saddled with a huge inventory and excess merchandise. By rethinking the traditional retail model that can often require a 3-6 month lead time on production we are able to remain nimble and on trend.”

Honestly, the idea reminds me of T-Shirt site Threadless.  With Teeology, designers will submit designs to be reviewed by Teeology’s curators (like Lopez), who come up with bi-weekly themes to guide the process and then select the best designs to go up for vote.  Teeology members then vote for their favorites and share them on their social networking channels to ultimately choose the tees that get produced in limited runs and sold in Teeology’s online store. The brains behind this start up obviously hope that social media influencers, Tweeps and Facebook fans will fuel this site.  I'll be interested to see how this does.  If J.Lo wasn't shilling it, I think it would fly under the radar, especially since Threadless has already built a strong community and established itself.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bring your morning Starbucks receipt back to the store after 2 pm for a discounted drink



If you're a coffee lover, here's a deal from Starbucks that you will love, especially if you like both a morning jolt and an afternoon pick me up.  Bring your morning receipt in after 2 p.m. at participating stores and Starbucks will serve you up a Grande cold beverage for just $2.

That's any cold drink: iced coffee, tea or Frappuccino®(R) blended beverage, a new Starbucks Refreshers beverage or even a sinful  Caramel Frappuccino®(R) blended beverage. This offer is good from now until 9/3.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chef Hora Fires Up Engine Co. No. 28 in Downtown Los Angeles

Pictured: A 1912 Firehouse turned Restaurant (photo: M. Hall)

What do you get when you combine a renovated 1912 Fire Station with Chef Christopher Hora’s unique sweet and savory fare? A winning combination that fits in beautifully with the renewal and renovation of Downtown Los Angeles. This little gem of a restaurant was once a 1912 Firehouse replete with fire engines, alarms  and a brass pole (see above) for fire fighters to slide down. Today the  historic setting at 644 Figueroa St. is home to the cuisine of  Chef Christopher Hora.  A graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and native Californian, Chef Hora inherited his appreciation of fresh food and savory ingredients from his Italian mother and Czech Father when he was growing up.  That influence carries over to the hearty menu at Engine Co. No. 28.  The restaurant serves breakfast during the week, brunch on the weekends plus lunch and dinner.  There’s also a well-priced happy hour for those working in Downtown looking for relief from office stress.  Other offerings to alleviate stress  include a wine dinners and beer tastings.

Cali Bennie dish
Pictured: Cali Benni, a delicious twist of Eggs Benedict

I visited the restaurant on Sunday for brunch to get a feel for Chef Hora’s cooking skills prior to his two  appearances at this week’s LA Food and Wine Fest.   Brunch is a new addition to the Engine Co. 28 menu, and the fare is literally both sweet and savory.  Dishes like the French Toast with Bourbon soaked Orange Marmalade offer a new twist on traditional breakfast fare.  The dish is sweet but not too sweet,  with just the right subtle flavor from the Orange complimenting the French Toast. “ I don’t like anything to be too sweet, “ says Chef Hora. “If it’s too sweet it just stays in the front of your month and you don’t taste all the favors.”   The Cali Bennie of smoked salmon, avocado, spinach, poached egg and sauce cherone is simply a revelation.  It’s just the right twist on the more traditional eggs benedict with a cherone sauce that is more robust than a hollandaise offering hints of tomato, spices and shallots swimming in a rich sauce of egg yolk.  A less subtle dish is the Chicken and Waffles served with a heavy sauce that updates southern “red-eye’ gravy.  While the Cali Bennie tickles the taste buds with delicate flavor, the Chicken and Waffles is pure comfort food that assaults the mouth with a heavy cream sauce laden with bacon and hints of coffee.  It’s delicious, but it’s difficult to each too much of it, at least in one sitting.   It goes without saying that you won’t find this dish on any menu of recommended healthy diet foods.

Best Desserts
Pictured: Delicious desserts on are the menu too.
Other menu highlights include rich desserts like Bananas Napoleon, cream pies and a rich Cheesecake served with fresh fruit.  Brunch at Engine Co. No. 28 offers everything from Porridge with toppings to Omelets, plus Bread and Butter Pudding.  The simple ingredients  don’t prepare the visitor for the deliciousness of the dishes.  “Anything is good if you begin with great product and sound technique,” said Executive Chef Christopher Hora.  His dishes are proof of his culinary talent for skillfully combining what might be considered unlikely ingredients.  Who else would conceive of Hamachi Ceviche complimented with blood orange, grapefruit and cactus? (This will be one of the the Chef’s dishes at the LA Food  and Wine Fest this week.)

Best Chef Hora
Pictured: Chef Christopher Hora

If you work in Downtown Los Angeles, or you are going downtown for the theatre or a sporting event, put Engine Co. No. 28 on your list.  Shuttle service to  the Ahamanson theater is offered and the Staples Center and LA Live are within walking distance. Prices for Brunch start at $11.00 with bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s (with the Chef’s own spicy mix) offered for $20.00.  There’s nothing pretentious on the menu, just simple ingredients and delicious fare that’s reasonably priced, served up in a historic setting.

One More Day to Enter! Ideeli Offers Best in Shop Contest


Online retail is not immune to Olympic fever, as women-owned small businesses can go for the gold here at home by entering ideeli’s “Best in Shop,” a contest celebrating women entrepreneurs and small businesses. Created in partnership with New York Times bestselling author and small business champion Tory Johnson, the contest, which is accepting entries through August 7th, invites women entrepreneurs to enter for a chance to have their business featured on ideeli, the online retailer that was named to the top of Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest growing private companies in 2011.

Whether running a business that sells gorgeous gowns or fabulous flatware, women entrepreneurs across America are invited tell their story, share their creations and win a moment in the spotlight. Best in Shop is open to women nationwide whose small companies sell apparel, accessories, or home décor, with a chance for their company and products to be featured on ideeli, the popular online retail site with more than 5.5 million members. Best in Shop entries will be featured on ideeli’s Facebook landing page, and best in shop winners will be featured on the site.

Business owners or authorized representatives can learn more and enter the contest at www.ideeli.com/bestinshop. On August 20, ideeli and Tory Johnson will announce 20 finalists and voting will open to the public. The three companies with the most votes will be announced on September 5th, and will work with Johnson and the ideeli team to curate a sale of their products to be featured in a special fall edition of ideeli’s "Tory's Shop" (www.ideeli.com/tory), a series of sales curated in collaboration with Tory Johnson, featuring women-run small businesses from around the country.

For more information on ideeli’s Best in Shop contest, visit www.ideeli.com/bestinshop

eBay Announces Designer Holiday Collection

  
Pictured: Leather Tibi T-shirt for eBay (photo via eBay)

Not to be outdone by Neiman Marcus and Target, eBay has entered the designer collection foray with their own announcement of a holiday collection featuring 7 hot designers. The new partnership will feature  designers Billy Reid, Chris Benz, Fallon, Jonathan Adler, Ruffian, Steven Alan and Tibi, has announced the eBay Holiday Collective - an original, limited-edition gift collection of men's and women's apparel, jewelry, travel and electronics accessories and home décor. Available on eBay on Nov. 12th for the 2012 holiday season, the Collective marks the first time eBay is collaborating with a group of leading designers to create an exclusive product range.

Each member of the Collective has designed a unique capsule collection to deliver, together, a singular suite of 40+ inspired gift items. From the trendy traveler and luxurious lounger to the holiday hostess and the gadget guru, the bespoke collection features gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list. Starting November 12, the collection will be available globally, exclusively on eBay, at accessible, "Buy it Now" prices from $50 to $100 and will include free U.S. and international shipping. "


Last week ELLE magazine published exclusive preview pictures of the collection.   There are pajamas from Chris Benz, a Steven Alan iPad case, Jonathan Adler salt and pepper shakers, Fallon jewelry and a bright pink RUFF scarf by Ruffian plus the above pictured leather t-shirt from Tibi.  I'll be interested to learn more about this one.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Attention Wine Lovers: Big Sur Announces the 2012 Food and Wine Festival

Pictured: The perfect combination, Talbott Kali Hart 2010 Pinot Noir & Big Sur (photo: M. Hall)
Is there anything better than enjoying a delicious, fragrant glass of wine while looking at one of the natural wonders of California, and really the entire world? This is the premise of the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival.  The Big Sur Food and Wine fest for 2012 has just been announced, promising both great wines from Monterey county plus a fantastic setting. The festival offers attendees amazing deals on some of the area's best food and wine from Nov 1-4. The Hyatt Highlands will be kicking off the festivities with what promises to be an incredible first night of epicurean delights from their Pacific Edge restaurant. If you've been to Big Sur, you know the terrain and roads can be rough and sometimes even washed out by driving rain which can bring the travel nightmare of mud slides.

Pictured: A perfect combination: Big Sur views & fresh Abalone at the Pacific Edge, Hyatt Highlands (photo: M. Hall)
That's why I'm so intrigued by the an offering on this year's festival menu, the "Gateway to Big Sur" an opening night event at the Carmel Hyatt Highlands Hotel. Centrally located between the small village of Carmel, and the open vistas of Big Sur, the Hyatt Hotel will offer a special night of tastings from 35 wineries and 18 chefs in their Pacific’s Edge restaurant including the Lounge and Fireside Room.  Tickets are priced at $160.00 each.  I think this is a great deal for wine lovers and foodies, especially when you consider the quality of the food that will be provided.  I recently dinned at the Pacific's Edge restaurant and can highly recommend the food, especially the signature Abalone appetizer (see above).  The other thing I like about this special night is that everything is offered in one location. That's makes it safe for visitors and locals, as there is no driving while drinking from winery to winery and food is offered at the same time you are tasting.  Guests will enjoy spectacular sunset views as they dine on the best of what Big Sur chefs, Hyatt chefs and other invited restaurants prepare for this one special night.  Check out the Big Sur wine festival website  for more information and tickets. The Big Sur Food and Wine Festival is now in its fourth year, and has raised over $65,000 for local non-profit causes.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summer Cooking Made Healthy & Easy: Five Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking Book

Like many people, I love to eat but I'm always looking for ways to eat well but stay on a healthy diet.  Camilla V. Saulsbury's book "Five Steps to Healthy Cooking" fits the bill.  The author's public relations representatives sent me an evaluation of this cookbook and I've been riffling through the pages enjoying the pictures, tips, nutritional informational and even storage tips provided by the Author.  As a busy working woman, I don't always cook as much as I would like to at home. But when I put the effort into cooking, I want it to be good and easy.  With the exception of a few vegetarian recipes for making veggie or chickpea burgers, the majority of these recipes don't take long to throw together.   Everything is laid out in easy steps and helpful tips. Information on the food ingredients is provided via call out boxes and sidebars throughout the book.  When you're busy, it's easy to glance at the 500 recipes in this book and pick out a few that are appealing for the ingredients and the nutritional value, and then decide which ones you want to make.  There are no "hidden calories" here as everything is disclosed in the nutritional information boxes including calories, fat, cholesterol, carbs, fiber and protein.

There are a few salad recipes in this book that I highly recommend for summer.  Both the "Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad" and the "Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad" are simply amazing and unique.  You can bring these to any gathering and not run the risk of someone else turning up with the same dish.   If you're a vegetarian cook, there are many wonderful dishes in this book that will be appealing to you. To literally get a taste of Camilla Saulsbury's recipes, check out her blog " Enlightened Cooking."   If you love seafood, and  you have some serious cooking time, check out her amazing Fire Roasted Seafood Stew with Fennel and Fresh Herbs recipe.   


Here's a tempting excerpt from the book, the Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad recipe.



Makes 6 side-dish servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 large bulb fennel, halved lengthwise, cored and very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted brine-cured black olives (such as kalamata), quartered

Directions:

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut peel and pith from oranges. Working over a large bowl, cut between membranes to release segments. Squeeze the membranes to release any remaining juice into the bowl.
  2. To the oranges, add fennel, red onion, mint, salt, pepper and oil, gently tossing to combine. Sprinkle with olives.
TIP:
To prepare the fennel bulb, trim off the tough stalks from the top and the bottom root end before cutting the bulb in half. Chop any feathery fronds from the stalks and sprinkle on top of the salad with the olives, if desired. If the outer layers of the bulb are tough and stringy, you can discard them or peel off the outer layer with a sharp vegetable peeler.

Nutrients per serving

Calories 100
Total fat 6 grams
Saturated fat 1 grams
Cholesterol 0 milligrams
Sodium 151 milligrams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Fiber 3 grams
Protein 1 gram
Calcium 60 milligrams
Iron 0.8 milligrams

Excerpted from 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking (page 116) by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.



Monday, July 2, 2012

Enter to win a Louis Vuitton Tote Bag from HipSwap




Our friends at HipSwap in Santa Monica, Cali-forni-a are giving away a gorgeous Louis Vuitton Tote. Click here to enter!  Yes, you heard that right, Louis Vuitton.  Here are the details. They are giving away a 100% guaranteed authentic Louis Vuitton monogram canvas “tote” style shoulder bag. The traditional monogram canvas has been Louis Vuitton’s symbol since its introduction in 1896 and widely recognized as an elite status symbol around the world. This handbag has style and functionality which makes it a perfect everyday bag, whether you are taking it to the office or doing your errands. This is a classic bag that is sure to be chic and stylish for years to come.  Follow @HipSwap on Twitter to learn more about all their upcoming handbag giveaways.

Supplied by celebrity consignment shop, Encore Closet.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Apartment Guide Partners with Bloggers for a Style Update Contest


Is your place in need of a style update?  Apartment Guide has partnered with TV host and design expert Kim Myles, as well as style bloggers,  for the second annual Apartment Guide “Your Picks. Your Place.” Sweepstakes.  From now until August 14, visit YourPicksYourPlace.com to vote once per day for your preferred room design showcasing furniture and home décor items selected by featured bloggers.  The site will feature four different room designs every two weeks.  Here's the deal.  When you visit the site and vote, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize or one of eight $250 weekly prizes to go towards your own selections for your home. While you’re on the site, check out the design and décor tips from Kim Myles, Apartment Guide and featured bloggers to help you design a room that’s uniquely you.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes ends @ 9:00 PM on 8/14/12, subject to Entry Periods outlined in Official Rules. Must be a US legal resident of the 50 US or DC and 18 years of age or older. Sweepstakes subject to full Official Rules available at www.yourpicksyourplace.com. Void where prohibited.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Last Minute Father's Day Gift Ideas


Father's Day is almost here.  It's coming quick, Sunday, the 17th of June.  With Father's Day coming up this weekend, it's time to seriously consider some gifts for Dad.  Here are a few last minute gift ideas.
  • American Express gift card to let Dad do his own shopping for a new iPhone or anything else he wants. Amex gift cards have no fees, so you get the full card amount to spend (so Dad can get what he really wants)
  • Tickets to Sporting Events (LA Lakers comes to mind) or concerts (Check TicketLiquidator.com for deals)
  • If your Dad or Husband likes to play Grill man, look for grill deals everywhere from Big Lots to Sears.
  • Dinner out at the restaurant of his choice (check Restaurants.com for deals or buy a gift card at Costco for restaurants like Flemings.)
  • Look for tech gadgets  like iPod/iPhone accessories at TJ Maxx/Marshalls. They are always near the check out line/cash register.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cannes Film Festival Style

Pictured: The always chic and beautiful Jane Fonda at Cannes (photo courtesy of Chopard)
Check out 74 year old actress Jane Fonda on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival.  The former French resident and Mrs. Vadim looked amazing! Don't we all want to look like this at age 74?  Or maybe even younger? This is a good look at any age.  Jane was wearing sparkling jewels by Chopard and Stella McCartney's Octavia dress, known as the optical illusion dress. The dress is very slimming due to the cut-out pattern on the front.  As for the jewelry, her earrings are a stunning pair of 18k white gold earrings set with 2 magnificent emeralds (66.75carats) and 88 white diamonds by Chopard.  What I wouldn't give to borrow those gorgeous emeralds. I don't think those earrings have any peer.As for the dress, the Octavia dress has been worn by many celebrities, perhaps most famously by Kate Winslet last year.  It retails for about $4,000 US at Stella McCartney. See our sister site, The Recessionista to learn about a cut-out dress from ASOS for a fraction of the price that is somewhat similar to Fonda's illusion dress by Stella McCartney.

Pictured: Ideeli's Film Festival Sale
 For more film festival fashion, check out shopping club Ideeli today.  They have a sale on film festival inspired fashion including Notte by Marchessa.  If you're not already a member of Ideeli, click here to use my invite to join.  Please note, in the interest of full disclosure,  I do earn a small referral fee if you shop on Ideeli's using my invite.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Aerosoles ShoeSanity Sweepstakes, Shoes and a Free Trip to New York are the prizes

 Aerosole has announced a Sweepstakes for Shoe Lovers. Aerosoles is giving away hundreds fabbie shoe styles. To enter, simply today, visit Aerosoles on Facebook and enter the Aerosoles ‘Shoesanity’ Sweepstakes. The grand prize is a 3-day, 2-night trip to NYC and a $500 Aerosoles shopping spree! Don’t worry if you aren’t the grand prize winner, there are 200 first-prize winners.  Those winners will receive their favorite spring shoe. Look for a  weekly question  posted on the Facebook page, you can answer the questions by visiting the Aerosoles website for the answers at  www.Aerosoles.com. Contest runs until May 31st. If you enter, post on Facebbook who sent you :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Gilt Groupe and Diane von Furstenberg Sweepstakes


Shopping club Gilt Groupe has partnered with designer  Diane von Furstenberg (DVF)  to do a special sweepstakes where one lucky entrant will win a $1,000 shopping spree at DVF. How good is that? Always in search of the best fashions for the best price,  I just entered the Gilt and Diane von Furstenberg contest. If you wish to enter, click here.   Two runners up will receive a DVF wrap dress or handbag, so there are multiple chance to win here.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Los Angeles, Sassy City Chicks Fashion Event Giveaway

The Sassy City Chicks LA Fashion Bash is back in Los Angeles on April 26th with the perfect opportunity to score all-new spring designer trends, glorious spa treatments, feminine-chic cocktails, and fabulous, NEW, girly swag bags! The Petersen Automotive Museum will once again play host to the most talked about Sample-Sale event of the season, The Sassy City Chicks LA Fashion Bash Event!

Pictured: Shopping one of my favorites from last year's event, Brit Boy
 Guests can expect to find deep discounts, up to 80% off, on designer clothes, handbags, and accessories all across the show floor. Top runway brands such as BCBG, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Prada, Ralph Lauren, and many more can find their way into your closet at only a fraction of the retail price!   I enjoyed shopping Renee Vintage, BritBoy, Shop Excess Baggage & Jessica Elliot at last year's event. Event sponsors Pixi & POP Beauty will also be showcasing their newest products for sale – there will be no shortage of goodies to be found at great prices!  Need a ticket? Be one of the FIRST 25 fashionistas to enter code RECESSIONISTA at checkout and you’ll get a FREE Sassy Tote Ticket! Includes admission, swag bag, open bar, & more. CLICK TO ENTER


WHO:        Sassy City Chicks Los Angeles Fashion Bash

WHAT:    Designer clothing at discounted prices, complimentary cocktails, free spa services, and fabulous girly swag!

WHEN:        Thursday, April 26, 2012, 5:00-10:00 PM

WHERE:       The Petersen Automotive Museum,
                      6060 Wilshire Blvd (at Fairfax),  Los Angeles CA 90036

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Ross Dress for Less Shoe Event

Pictured: Sample Shoes from the Ross Shoe Event.

Over at Ross, the big shoe event is on, just in time for Easter.   My spies tell me all shoes are on the sale, even kid's shoes and that prices are as low as $13.00.  I learned today at my gym, that if you are over 55 you can save an extra 10% at Ross on Tuesdays.  Warning, you will be carded at the register, but if you're the right age, why not get the deal?

Monday, March 19, 2012

DermStore Launches Flagship Store & Spa in Hermosa Beach, CA


Today DermStore is opening of its first ever flagship store in Los Angeles, in Hermosa Beach. In addition to carrying the best of beauty brands, the DermStore flagship store is a sanctuary for west coast beauty lovers. The new store and salon is steps away from the Hermosa Pier in Hermosa Beach, CA. The upscale brick and mortar location of the popular online store is  more than an average beauty supply store. The new store includes an expansive retail selection of quality products synonymous with DermStore.com, a luxurious hair salon and a spa featuring treatments from brands such as Decleor, Eminence, Phytomer, YonKa, Dermalogica, Guinot and Thibiant.  The spa is small with two spa treatment rooms, but the services are terrific.  I should know because I was treated to special pre-opening facial at the Hermosa store using organic Eminence products from Hungary.  I was very pleased with the results, as I left with glowing skin that had been gently cleansed.  Even the "extractions" were not painful, but gentle.  Living in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, it's not always easy to find a good facialist or spa.  Most of Los Angeles spas are in Beverly Hills or on the Westside.  The addition of Dermastore to the South Bay area is a real plus.  Now residents of Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and other beach cities can have access to top-notch services and beauty products like Thibiant, that we've had to trek out of area for.  Even better, visitors who go into the new store today will receive 10% off services and products in celebration of the grand opening.

Pictured: Featured products at Dermastore in Hermosa Beach
DermStore launched in 1999 with the vision of fulfilling the unmet need for a reputable dermatologist-backed online store, carrying only the finest cosmetic dermatology products. Since that time, it has evolved into the premier online destination for beauty and skin care products. The rapid expansion and evolution of the e-commerce site naturally led to the development of the new store.  In addition to skincare, the new store will also feature hair care services and waxing services.

"I'm thrilled about the opening of the new DermStore retail store in LA," said Dan Obegi, DermStore CEO. "It gives us another opportunity to serve our clientele and gives us a space where we can meet our customers face to face every day. We'll use the DermStore retail store to test products before they hit the market, as a location for our photo and video shoots, and as another avenue for our customers to get the best products and the best service."

DermStore is not merely a distributor of high-end skin care and cosmetic products, but stocks traditional retail beauty brands. DermStore only sells products purchased directly from the manufacturers and sells according to the brand's requirements so brands can sell - and consumers can purchase - with confidence.  

With more than 620 brands and over 23,000 products, DermStore has quickly become the leader in luxury skin care, beauty, and cosmetics online.  Some of its most popular lines include Dermalogica, SkinMedica, SkinCeuticals, Obagi, jane iredale, Sonya Dakar, Philosophy, Glytone and Essie – however, the list expands as new luxury brands are added monthly. 

The DermStore flagship store is located at 1316 Hermosa Beach Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 and is open seven days a week, 10am-8pm.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feb. 29: Exclusive MadMen Collection Preview at Banana Republic Stores


The new Banana Republic MadMen Collection is launching March 1st. Click here to see pictures from the collection, and get details on the latest fashions. If you're a fan, check the locations on the picture above for a sneak peak party at your local story.  Banana Republic card holders will receive early access to the collection.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Luxe Hotels Offers Facebook Contest to Award Travel Packages


Luxe Hotels has kicked off a Facebook contest in coordination with the launch of their new signature 360° package, a wraparound luxury service that includes a personal town car pick up and drop off service at a Los Angeles airport. Mmm... that sounds kinda good, right?

Here are the details about the contest.  The contest will award the winning couples a chance to experience the Luxe Hotels 360° package, by offering a complimentary stay for two at any of the three Luxe Hotels in California—the Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel in Beverly Hills, the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel  in Bel Air, and the Luxe City Center Hotel in Downtown, Los Angeles.

To vie for the Let Us Sweep You Off Your Feet contest, Luxe Hotel Facebook fans will need to post a descriptor of what they love about LA—in 360 characters or less, on the Luxe Hotels Facebook page, starting on February 7.  Each month, for the duration of the contest, one lucky couple will be awarded the prize, selected from the most compelling posts uploaded on www.facebook.com/LuxeSunsetHotel. The choice, as to which Luxe Hotel to be swept off their feet  at, will be theirs.

“With the Luxe Hotels 360° package, you actually get 360 degrees of service, meaning personal attention and the signature style of service that defines the Luxe Hotels brand,” said CEO Efrem Harkham. “Those who have ever waited on the long taxi or rental car lines so typical at LAX and the Burbank airport, will be especially pleased with the personal town car service.”

In addition to airport pick up and drop off, this package includes the use of an iPad2 for the duration of the stay, a luxurious upgraded room, a complimentary bottle of Shiraz wine, daily American breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi.  Now that's traveling in style!

In case you don't want to leave things to chance, the package, is now available for booking at all three hotels, runs at a nightly rate of $360, requires a two night minimum stay and is discounted to $265 every night, thereafter.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Los Angeles Fashion Designers Show in London during Fashion Week

Pictured from left: Curly V, Chris Erven, Alana Hale, Victor Wilde & Jen Awad.
A group of savvy Los Angeles Fashion Designers packed up their winter clothes to brave the snow and cold temperatures to bring their designs to London this week.  The designers made a special appearance at the Loading Bay Gallery at Truman Brewery in East London. “Having the opportunity to be an L.A. designer showing in London has been a once in a lifetime experience - meeting with London based press and buyers has put L.A back on a global fashion platform” says designer Jen Awad.  In addition to  Jen Award, designers showing in London included Alana Hale, Curly V, Victor Wilde, and Chris Erven. Collections from  Kittinhawk, Robynn Molino, Kao Pao Shu and Bijou Van Ness were also on show.

It's great to see these talented designers gaining global exposure for their work. Los Angeles has a very productive and innovative group of designers producing great fashions and it's great to see this collective getting out there and show what they can do!  We'll see more from this group during the upcoming Los Angeles Fashion Week.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Facebook Giveaway Today from Tulle

If you're looking for something for free on this Valentines, and want to try your hand at a giveway, here's a good one from Tulle. Tulle is having a Facebook contest for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Tulle4us.com today only! Simply click over to Tulle's Facebook page  and you will have the chance to win by leaving a comment.  Plus today only 20% off dresses! Enter code: Vday20 at checkout.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

NYFW: Misha Vaidya Sketch for Fall 2012


The By Misha Fall 2012 collection, designed by emerging British designer Misha Vaidya, offers a color palette of rich jeweled tones in fuschia, emerald, mustard and royal blues accentuating sparkling blacks and golden layered sequin.  Fabric and textures blend to create regal gowns, cocktail dresses, tops and trousers fit for royalty from our childhood story books with an elegant grown-up touch. By Misha will debut the Fall 2012 collection on February 10, 2012.  This preview sketch looks Academy Awards worthy!  Misha Vaidya will be showing her Fall 2012 collection on Friday February 10, 2012 from 6-8pm at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery.

Snoopy Valentines Twitter Party & Giveaway


So many people loved the Snoopy Twitter party we did back in December for Christmas, that Snoopy has decided to do another one just for Valentines day!  You're all invited to join us on February 8 at 9:00PM EST/6:00PM PST for a #snoopyvalentine Twitter party co-hosted by Snoopy and Charlie Brown’s favorite little red-headed girl, singer-actress Ariana Grande, star of Nickelodeon's "Victorious"!
Simply log on to Twitter and use hashtag #snoopyvalentine to follow all the fun!



Pictured: The  Valentine's Snoopy Prize Package
But wait, there's more! Our sister site, The Recessionista is hosting a giveaway of 3 Snoopy Peanuts Prize Packs featuring fashionable Tees from Uniqlo.   Click here to enter to win! Happy Valentines Peanuts lovers!