Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My trip and shopping in NYC

Large building in the Rockefeller area (top left),  random street art (top right), statue I saw somewhere (bottom left), St. Patricks Cathedral (bottom right)
You might have noticed last week that I was a bit MIA from the blog. I was on a quick business trip to New York. I managed a post on Monday, but work, packing, and a super-early bed time made it difficult to sit down and write. While I was there, I was busy exploring, so instead I tried to keep in touch via Twitter and Instagram. But I know it's not always the same.

I had a great time during my down time in the city exploring some Fifth Avenue shopping and just walking around. I only had a few hours to myself to explore, so there was only so much I could do. Pictured above are some of the places I visited. I walked by St. Patrick's Cathedral about a million times before I realized what it was. It was under renovation and there was scaffolding everywhere, so it wasn't until Thursday morning when I was heading out for breakfast that I realized what the building was and finally walked in. It was absolutely beautiful and I imagine it's only a precursor to what I will see in Italy in October.

The first place I ran to after I dropped off my luggage at the hotel was Bergdorff Goodman. After the walk from my hotel to the store, I had foot cramps (I blame dehydration, I normally drink my full 64 oz a day and I only drank maybe 16 oz that day) on both feet. It made it hard to concentrate inside, but I powered through. That store is a maze, but one I was happy to get lost in. Everything in there was so pretty and the shoe display -  oh my word! I had to sit down when I got up there. Ok, because my foot cramped, but it gave me a chance to really take it all in. Such beautiful shoes!

Perhaps my favorite part of Bergdorffs was the basement level (where the beauty department is housed). You would think I was captivated by makeup, but no. It was the perfume that got me. So many great scents! I'm particularly in love with Kilian Rose Oud. When the sales man first sprayed me I thought it was nice, but I wasn't sold. In fact, I thought it was a bit too strong. But after I left and walked around all day, and kept smelling it lingering on me throughout the day, I changed my mind. After it sat on my skin and the scent developed, my goodness, it was divine. I can't describe perfumes very well, but it certainly smelled decadent, sultry, and seductive. At $400 a bottle, I didn't get it. Heaven forbid something happen to it in transit in my checked luggage! But, it's on my wish list now, and I may just be giving myself a nice little gift sometime in the future when I accomplish some goal I set for myself. For now, I must be content with smelling it on the cardboard he sprayed it on, which I snuck into one of my drawers and whenever I open it -- wow, just wow.

Bergdorff Goodman entrance (top left), NBC News building Rockefeller Plaza (top right),  J.Crew store Rockefeller Plaza (bottom right), Rockefeller Plaza sign (bottom left)

Ok, ok, so I know I said I didn't want to go shopping in stores that I had available where I lived, but I had to break with that just a little. Only a little, don't judge me. Let me explain. First, the Saks Fifth Avenue store where I live is small. It will never compare to the real thing. I had to go in. And I just loved how they have an express elevator that takes you straight to the shoe floor. I had a very similar reaction to their shoe displays as I did at Bergdorff. Gorgeous. Just beautiful shoes. Also, the flagship Saks store carries some brands that aren't available at the Saks at home. For example, I purchased some Burberry makeup. You know, because I just had to. They also had the very covetted Tom Ford line, although I refrained (and it was really hard).

Instead I opted for the new Burberry Velvet Foundation, which is a long wearing, water proof foundation. And by the way, it feels quite velvety going on, so the name is suiting. It just looks and feels so luxe. Even the box it comes in doesn't really feel like regular cardboard, but like really nice fancy thick paper stock. And it looks really great on too. I figured since it's long wearing and waterproof, it would be great for Italy while I'm walking around outside all day long. This is how I justified it to myself. I was pretty surprised it wasn't as expensive as I would have imagined. The foundation was $50 (by the way, I got shade 205). Not cheap, but not much more than the Make Up Forever foundation I use from Sephora, which is $42.

The makeup gal also put some pretty eyeliner on me, and I had to get it. The color is called Midnight Ash and it's a beautiful dark army green that borders on black and has some gold flecks in it. The photo below doesn't really pick it up well, but trust me when I say, it's gorgeous and a fun deviation from my typical black or brown liner. It doesn't really look like green when applied, it's so dark it could pass as a muted black, but those gold flecks just make it pick up light and looks really pretty on. I believe I paid about $30 for it. That's the most I've ever paid for an eyeliner. I was on a trip and I indulged, there's really no good rationale for it. I liked it. I didn't have anything like it. I couldn't get it at home. I bought it. Perhaps I'll eventually find a dupe for it. But for now, I'll enjoy my luxurious makeup purchase.

Burberry Velvet Foundation (No. 205), Burberry Eye Definer (Midnight Ash)

I also went to J. Crew. I know, I know. But hear me out. I used to work for J.Crew in college and several holiday seasons since college. I love J.Crew. I had to visit the mothership in New York. They are the ones that get all the good stuff! Whenever we would get new shipments at my store, there was inevitably a boat load of items that we wouldn't get because of the size of our store and location (hey, we don't really need as many winter coats as they do up north) and I just had to go see the store that got it all. And my darling readers, it paid off! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I received a small $25 rewards gift card from J.Crew (rewards points for using my J. Crew card) and I figured why not go in there and see if I find anything to spend it on. I did. I nearly skipped out of the store squealing. I've been wanting a pair of the Cece suede ballet flats. I had a few colors picked out that I wanted. But whenever they went on sale (which with my employee discount would make them practically nothing and they retail for $138) they never had my size in the colors that I wanted.

Well, you guessed it. They had a pair in my size at the store in New York. They are the purple ones (or as J. Crew calls it, Orchid - they are photographing blue but they are purple) and they were marked down to $69.99. I had a $25 card, so they only cost me $45. I've been in the market for some comfortable ballet flats, and with my honeymoon trip looming, I needed to find them quickly. I did not want to walk around Italy in athletic shoes. Gasp! The horror! I tried not to think about how much better the price would have been if I were still an employee, but the gift card helped, and made it pretty close to what I would have paid if I could still give them my employee number.  So that ladies is my excuse. That is why I went into two stores that I have at home. Forgivable, right?

Clockwise: J.Crew Cece sude ballet flats  ($70), Steve Madden quilted cap toe ballet flats ($63), Joe Fresh yoga shirt ($5), Uniqlo ultra stretch skinny jeans in black ($30), Joe Fresh silk short sleeve blouse ($39), Joe Fresh polka dot cardi ($39)
If you come here often, you also knew I was on a mission to visit Joe Fresh thanks to Felicia at This That Beauty. And people, she knows her stuff. That store was fantastic. It was affordable and they had very cute things. I wanted so much stuff, but stupidly, I did not bring a decent sized suitcase, so I had space limitations. I could kick myself! They had so many cute ballet flats, but none of the things I saw on their website and talked about in my post about them. But that was ok, they still had some cute things. For those of you who don't have a Joe Fresh around you, I'd describe it as a more affordable J. Crew. I guess maybe like the H&M equivalent for a J. Crew or a Gap.

I know a few of my blogger friends will be up in New York for fashion week and some of them want to visit Joe Fresh. A word to the wise, the tops run a little large. Also, get everything you want because you can't order anything online. I wish I had realized that when I was there.

I'm glad I tried stuff on. I ended up with three items, an adorable polka dot cotton cardi (it looks so cute on!), a cobalt blue silk button down shirt (I wanted the green one too, but they didn't have my size and I thought I could just order it when I got home, big mistake), and a regular t-shirt. I got the yoga shirt because the shirt I packed to come back home in was going to be too hot to wear (bonus, it was on sale for $5 from $10, I had no idea until I saw my receipt). Boy am I glad I got it. It is amazingly comfortable. I wanted to go back for more of them, but I got side tracked at J. Crew. If any of my blogger pals hits up Joe Fresh when they are up there next week and wants to do me a solid, get me a few more of those yoga shirts (I'll pay you back girl!).

I was so nervous about fitting everything into my little suitcase, I was conservative in my shopping. I kept thinking I could order online. I'm so sad that I can't. I had the same thought when I went to Uniqlo. They have the most AMAZING ultra stretch skinny jeans. I was in the market for a black pair. It was late when I went into the store (considering I'd been up since 3 a.m. to get to the airport by 4:30 a.m.) and I still hadn't eaten. I went, grabbed the jeans, tried them on, and left. Here's the kicker: I bypassed their cashmere sweaters that were on sale. Seriously, I was out of my mind by then. Should of, could of, would of. Head-desk. But, I'm glad I got the jeans. First, I almost paid three times that for a pair at Nordstrom that I only kind of liked (glad I held off). These are so stretchy and comfortable, I feel like I could do yoga in them. For real. That comfy girls. Amazing. Normally priced at $40, I got them for $30. The only thing is they only come in a 33" length. I'm 5'3" so that's obviously too long. But even if I factor in getting them hemmed they are still way less that what I almost paid and they look a million times better. If only they had e-commerce available on their US website. Why?! Get on that guys!

Finally, I hit up Steve Madden, which is across from Joe Fresh. Yes, I know, I can get Steve Madden shoes everywhere, but there was a sale sign up. So naturally I walked in. I got a new pair of ballet flats. I bought these before I got the ones at J. Crew. My feet were hurting in my sandals and these ballet flats were much more comfortable. They were also on sale for 30 percent off and neutral. Need I say more? Bought them and wore them for the rest of the trip.

Obviously, I went into a lot more stores while I was there. These were just the stores where I purchased something. I walked into so many places I can't even keep track. The Sephora there is huge and amazing, but I only walked in did a lap and walked out (too crowded) and there were few designer specific stores I walked into and admired too. I can't list them all, this post is already epic.

A little thing I learned while I was up there that might benefit a few of my friends going up there soon: Any purchase under $100 is tax free. At least this is what the sales people told me and what my sales receipt showed. So that's kinda nice. Thankfully everything I got fit perfectly in my tiny suitcase and I only had to carry my new shoes in a bag with me on the plane. So, being conservative in my shopping paid off in that sense. Now I just need to make plans for another trip. This time over the weekend so I have more than just a few hours to shop and explore. Remember, I was only really there for a little over 24 hours (and that's including travel time, and time spent in the office working).

What do you think of my quickie purchases?


  1. Wow! I love NYC too. How much coverage does the Burberry velvet foundaton have?? TIA

    1. It gives medium coverage. You can build it, or so I was told, but I haven't tried to build it up to full coverage. I can tell you it looks really good on, even after hours of wearing it. I was pretty impressed.