Thursday, April 17, 2014

Are You Ready for Scandal's Third Season Finale?

Even after binge watching the first two seasons of ABC's mega-hit series, Scandal, we didn't join the gladiator nation. Blasphemy! While we found some of the characters compelling--namely Olivia's devious Dad, the conniving Cyrus, the fiery First Lady and that cute double-agent Jake (we've been fans of Scott Foley since his Felicity days)--we can't take much more of Olivia and Fitz's melodramatic, torrid love affair.


But we hate to be left out of a pop culture moment, and plan to catch the third season on demand. So we'll miss tonight's scandalous season finale, but millions of diehard gladiators will be hanging on every dramatic line that falls from Kerry Washington's ever-pouted quivering lips. As you watch, in true Olivia Pope fashion, we're sure there will be no shortage of red, red wine.  That's one thing that fascinates us about Ms. Pope--how can she drink a bottle of vino every night and still look flawless in the morning?

Camille wine glasses, Crate & Barrel.

Although we have mixed feelings about the show, we love the elegant, long stemmed wine glasses Olivia favors and tracked them down at Crate & Barrel.  They're called Camille Wine Glasses, and they retail for $14.95 each.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Music Festival Style from Coachella to Firefly for Under $50

You're headed to a music festival this spring or summer, so what should you pack? What we didn't see coming is that '90s style is trending in a big way. That means overalls are back. Take a moment to visualize that fashion flashback. So…maybe we should have salvaged the Calvin Klein denim overalls we practically lived in from like '96 to '98. On second thought, maybe not.

Polka Dot Shortalls  from Forever 21, ($28).

Thankfully, fast fashion retailers like Forever 21 have concocted cuter versions of the unflattering overalls revival.

Rock Refinery 'Welcome to the Jungle' muscle tee, ($38).

"You're gonna hear me roar!" Get festival-ready with rockin' apparel and accessories for under $50 from Rock Refinery.

Kardashian Kollection Tortoiseshell Cat Eye Sunglasses,  ($19).

Shield your eyes while you fist-pump to your fave artists in a pair of cool Kardashian Kollection cat-eye sunglasses, nicely priced under $20 at Sears.

'Shadowlands' sun hat ($34) & 'Tell Tell' pants ($38) from RVCA.

Go hippie-chic in a 100 percent paper straw, floppy Shadowlands hat and flared cotton/spandex Tell Tell pants, both from RVCA

Saturday, April 5, 2014

H&M and More: Downtown Brooklyn's Evolving Retail Landscape

Everything She Wants reported that Conway stores were closing in NYC, and they did. But as one of the cashiers at the downtown Brooklyn outpost informed us last month as we snatched up the remaining sale
Conway in downtown Brooklyn re-opens.
merchandise, the store would re-open under new management (Fallas).

While the other Conway stores in Manhattan remain shuttered, this weekend we perused the "new" Fulton Mall store...but what's inside leaves a lot to be desired. Pum-pum shorts, polyester maxi dresses and a sparse assortment of other gaudy clothing and accessories. If this is the "Grand Opening," as the sign outside proclaims, we'd hate to see what the store's next closing will look like.

Armani Exchange represents the new Fulton Mall./Photos by Tracy E. Hopkins

Downstairs--which used to be fully stocked with nicely priced housewares and home goods--most of the shelves are still empty.  And flimsy fashion shoes for women and girls are hung against a wall and strewn on shelves.  There are also some random men's shoes, and to be fair the black and tan Airwalk sneakers we spotted for $19.99 were the store's best offering.

Popular retailers like H&M and Nordstrom Rack have set up shop in downtown Brooklyn.
While Conway's prices were cheap, the merchandise was never this tacky. And we don't think this reincarnation of the beloved bargain department store will survive in the evolving
Fulton Mall/downtown Brooklyn landscape.

There's a Shake Shack.  Need we say more?

With the influx of popular retailers like H&M, Brooklyn Industries, Armani Exchange, Swarovski, Polo, and Gap, American Eagle Outfitters and Banana Republic outlet stores, the mall is clearly trying to deter Brooklynites from shopping in Manhattan and attract a more affluent customer.

This spring, T.J. Maxx and Nordstrom Rack will open next to H&M, and Last Call by Neiman Marcus will open in fall 2014 next to the new Sephora and It's Sugar stores at the corner of Joralemon and Court Street.

Turn Your Home into a Cozy, Cat Condo

Gracie on her Catty Stacks./Tracy E. Hopkins
I love cats.  There, I said it.  My cat, Gracie, is my baby. She has the run of our Brooklyn condo. She can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. But luckily, she's a good girl and rarely gets into too much mischief (it was a different story when we first brought his precious tabby home).

Fellow cat lovers can check out an article I wrote for SheKnows.com that spotlights four cool cat ladies who transformed their homes to suit their frisky felines.

One of the proud cat mamas I interviewed, Kate Benjamin, is a cat style expert whose been featured in The New York Times. You can find inspiration on how to make your home a haven for you and your kitties on Kate's website, Hauspanther.

To the right, there's a shot of Gracie chillin' on her Catty Stacks, stackable modular cat boxes made from durable cardboard and recycled vegetable-based ink.

How would you make over your home to cater to your kitty?



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring 2014 Trends for Work and Play from NYDJ

From contemporary business casual to weekend-ready chic, NYDJ has all the spring wardrobe staples a girl on the go needs.  As always, NYDJ focuses on comfort and a flattering fit just as much as it does on trends and style. We love the Kadyn Fitted Ankle boyfriend jeans and Zip Front Top we were gifted at a recent preview. And here are a few more of the blossoming brand's fashion-forward spring 2014 picks, available now on NYDJ.com.

Striped Tape Sweater in Tangerine & Kadyn Fitted Ankle.

Zip Front Top in Havana Blue.

Gina Moto Detail Super Skinny

Striped Pointe Jacket.

Karmin Patched Skinny.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

9 Easy Spring Cleaning Tips for Busy Moms and Working Women

This is gonna sound strange, so watch the YouTube video for proof, but ever since I met Mr. Clean (yes, Mr. Clean is real) at The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Jacqueline Laurita's spotless home a few years ago, I started to enjoy cleaning my condo. And while we're waiting for the lingering winter chill to end, it's that time of year again, for a little spring cleaning.


To help take the chore out of cleaning, here are some helpful tips from Home & Parenting expert and Kinsights' co-founder, Jennifer Chung.


1. Don't procrastinate. Get in the habit of doing things right away. For instance, don’t let dishes sit in the sink; rinse them and get them in the dishwasher right after eating. Or make the bed right when you get up. If you wait until you have time, you will never have time and things start piling up.

2. Make it bright and cheery: Keep blinds open and flowers (fresh are best, but fake will do) on the table or mantel. The lighter the room, the cleaner and more open it will feel. Add a dash of bright color to distract from the stacks of clutter. 

3. Become a basket case: Baskets make for great storage units, are easy to “throw” stuff in and can be tucked away in a closet or under a table at a moment’s notice. Even young children can learn to throw their toys in a basket or bin. Keep extra baskets handy for last minute visitors and quick clean-ups. 

4. Do one “deep cleaning” project a day: Rotate your time consuming tasks (go ahead, create a chart, you know you want to!!) so that you only do one a day. This will keep your house clean on a rotating basis. Deep cleaning projects include vacuuming, mopping, window cleaning, laundry, a good bathroom scrubbing, and other tasks that are extra time consuming. 

5. Dryer sheet tricks: Use a dryer sheet to clean the inside of your glass shower doors and tiles to prevent soap scum build up.  It only takes a few minutes and the results will last a couple of weeks.  The scent of the dryer sheet will leave a pleasant aroma in the bathroom. Used dryer sheets are also great for loosening caked on food from baking.  Instead of spending 15 minutes scrubbing a pan, simply fill with warm water and place the dryer sheet inside, let it stand overnight and it will be an easy cleaning the next morning.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Grace the April Cover of Vogue

We haven't confessed this to you before, but we are fans of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  As mind-numbingly vapid as it is, we find the Kardashian clan pretty darn entertaining.  Like the Braxton sisters, we're amused by the playful banter between Kim, Kourtney and Khloe.


With Kimye's impending nuptials and the persistence of the fashionable Mr. West, we can't say this Vogue cover comes as a complete surprise. But we still can't help but wonder how Anna Wintour really feels about the reality TV starlet being the face of the April issue?  Either way, if Lena Dunham is good enough to grace the cover, then sex tape aside why not Kim? They're both powerful, young-ish celebs in their own right, and Kim obviously loves fashion (not all of her looks have been winning, but there's no denying her dedication to materialism). And whether you love her or hate her, Kim is arguably one of the most beautiful girls in the world.

So kudos on your Vogue cover, Kim. Check out the behind-the-scenes video of the shoot below, featuring the couple's adorable baby girl, North West.