Thursday, March 29, 2007

Coming next week (hopefully)...
Just in time for the warm weather, I am hard at work on the Cheryl Shops Spring Shopping Guide! God willing, I'll start rolling it out next week, so please check back soon!
Hedi and seek
So, the fashion world is abuzz today with the fact that Hedi Slimane is leaving Dior Homme (Kris Van Assche has already been named the new designer). Hedi had been trying to renegotiate his contract for nearly a year; but unlike Tom Ford, who was in a similar situation with Gucci, I have a feeling Hedi will rebound with a new line rather quickly. Rumor has it he wanted to take over the women's Dior line as well, but LVMH was way too happy with John Galliano's turnaround of the famed fashion house to let him go (and risk another drastic rebranding). So, hopefully when Hedi finds new financial backing, he'll come out with a men's and a women's line--so we women can stop raiding the men's department. In the meantime, I have a feeling that, under Van Assche, Dior Homme might start moving away from the minimalist look and more toward Galliano's decadent styling. Just a hunch.
MasstigeWatch!
I'm a few days late on both of these items, so please bear with me...

First of all, good news for Kate Moss fans: The Daily reports that Barneys New York will be carrying her Topshop line exclusively in the U.S. starting May 8th. And if you think I'm going to ditch work to go buy it, then...well, you know me too well. The rumor is that this is yet another way for Topshop to test the U.S. waters; supposedly they're looking for space in NYC, and I'd like to point out that the Tower Records at 4th and Broadway is large, vacant, and conveniently down the street from my apartment. I'm just saying.

For those of you who are already over Proenza Schouler, Target has announced its next Go International collaboration. It's with edgy-cool indie label Libertine, and Fashionista has the scoop. I'd say it's a cross between the Luella Bartley and the Paul & Joe lines; I have my eye on the navy and green striped dress, pictured above. It bows in August; first comes Patrick Robinson's beachy collection, in May.

Also, I stopped by H&M yesterday to check out Madonna's collection, and all I have to say is...blah. Seriously, how did a woman who loves Gaultier and Olivier Theyskens--and who wore cone bras, for Chrissakes--design something so bland? I expect we'll see it on the sale racks within a month or two...well, unless all the drag queens snap it up first.
America's Next Top Model recap
When this week's episode of ANTM started out very Natasha-heavy, I got a little nervous. Natasha is by no means my favorite, but she's definitely the most...unique contestant to ever appear on the series. I mean, really, she's the first Russian mail-order bride, for one, and while she did actually show a little emotion this week, Natasha seems to have this incredible, Tyra-proof demeanor, turning even harsh criticism into compliments. Yeah, she's ripe for mockery, but you have to admit she's pretty awesome--especially after she made her own grill and went totally K-Fed during the photo shoot. Speaking of the photo shoot, I nearly wet my pants during Jael's hippie segment; as lovably kooky as she is, I think Jael's days on the show are numbered--she doesn't appear to be making much progress, and we all know how Tyra feels about that. And good thing Sarah "won" the competition, because her photo shoot really sucked. As Twiggy would say, I don't think she looks like a model, and I really hate her dopey faces. Oh, and she's obnoxious. I think at this point, Renee, Brittany, and Jaslene are sticking around for awhile; Whitney still sucks, but Tyra's going to keep her on the show to make a Statement. As for Diana, I again kept expecting something profound to come out of her mouth and it just never happened. Case in point: Mr. Jay asked her why she wanted to be a model and she said "Just 'cuz." Ah der. So in spite of the fact that Diana-in-drag bore a striking resemblance to CC, my former boss, I think she was, believe it or not, too dumb to be a model. Or, rather, America's Next Top Model. So now the pressure's on Whitney, you know, to win it for all the big girls out there. Hey, at least Whitney went to Dartmouth.

Next week, I think it might be the public-relations episode; if not it's at least the party with 50 Cent episode.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Website of the week
A few weeks ago, armed with my 15%-off birthday coupon, I paid a visit to Loehmann's. When I lived in the West Village, I was a frequent Loehmann's shopper, and in fact it's still my NYC discount store of choice--Century 21 is too touristy and hit-or-miss; Gabay's is too small; and TJ Maxx, Daffy's and Filene's have sub-par merchandise. But Loehmann's, with its liberal coupons and good contemporary selections (as well as a lot of current-season stock), is always a winner in my book. So not only was I happy to find an ample selection of Clu, my current knitwear brand of choice, but I also discovered Park Vogel, a knit line that, as I learned on their site, has actually been around for nearly three years, but, hey, it's new to me. Started in 2004 by two girlfriends in search of the perfect T-shirt, the line now includes cashmere, jersey, and loungewear. And while I have been known to make fun of Los Angeles-based knitwear lines in the past, I will admit that perhaps they know what they're doing out on the West Coast--Park Vogel's tops are soft and lightweight, expertly cut, and finished with unique details, and the photos on the website are styled and shot beautifully, which makes me want to buy pretty much everything. Take this crewneck tee: It's ultralight modal, and I love the high, thin neckline with gathers below--it's a great layering piece, but with enough detail to keep things interesting.


The fine weight of everything makes it easy to layer, too--this super-flattering twist-front cami looks cute with the mini muscle tank underneath.


I'm also a big fan of the ruffle tank--this is the type of top that's wonderful camouflage for big-bellied girls such as myself.


Cashmere-wise, lots of the styles are on sale, so it's a good time to do some end-of-season stocking up, but there are many cotton/cashmere blends for spring, as well as short-sleeved styles like this chic striped polo.


Don't forget to check out the deals abounding in the sale section, like this work-friendly (and comfy-looking) kelly dress, at a reasonable $70.


Orders over $300 ship for free. It's way more than what I spent at Loehmann's, but as much as I love that discounter, the selection on Park Vogel's website is way better. If only they offered that additional 15% birthday discount...

Monday, March 26, 2007

The week in shopping
Treat yourself to a new spring bag (or shoes) at Rafe New York's sample sale (prices are up to 90% off). 3/28-3/30; 10-6; 85 5th Ave. (at 16th St.), 12th fl.

Visit Broadway Panhandler in their new 8th Street home and save up to 60% on cutlery, gadgets, and table linens from Wusthöf, Kaiser, and Oxo. 3/28-4/1; 11-7, 11-6 Sun.; 65 E. 8th St. (Broadway & Mercer St.).

Upper West Side store BOC (why have I never heard of this place before?) has Cacharel, Vivienne Westwood, and Nicole Farhi for 60%-80% off. 3/29-4/1; noon-8, noon-6 Sun.; 491 Columbus Ave. (at 83rd St.).

Yeohlee’s architectural designs are $50-$500 at this cash-only sale. 3/29; 8-6; 225 W. 35th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 16th fl.

Office-friendly Elie Tahari clothing for men and women is 70%-80% off. 3/28-3/31;8:30-7:30; 10-5 Sat.; 520 Fifth Ave. (at 43rd St.), 2nd fl.

Elizabeth Gillett's downtown-girl knits are up to 60% off (normally $59-$390). 3/28-3/30; 10-7; 242 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 9th fl.

Shvitz, a store worth shopping at for its name alone, now has cute lounge- and gym-wear for 40%-70% off. 3/31-4/1; noon-8; 415 W. Broadway (at Spring St.), 2nd fl.

Eyewear sale #1: Mini-chain Grueneyes has Gucci, Prada, and other designer frames for 40%-90% off. 3/28-4/1; 10-7, 10-5:30 Sat., noon-5 Sun.; 1076 3rd Ave. (at 64th St.), 1009 Broadway (at 69th St.).

Eyewear sale #2: James Leonard Opticians has Dior, Armani, and Lafont for up to 85% off. 4/1–4/30; see website for hours; 1010 2nd Ave. (at 53rd St.).

Eyewear sale #3: Fancy Felice Dee Eyewear has Christian Roth, Etnia, and François Pinton specs for $25-$300. 3/29-3/31; 10-6; 69 E. 71st St. (Madison & Park Aves.).

Treat yourself to a new coat for 50%-75% off at Cinzia Rocca; save it till next fall. Cash only. 3/28-3/30; 9-5; 525 7th Ave. (at 38th St.).

Fancy baby stuff (yeah, I don't know what that entails) from NettoCollection is up to 60% off (now $75-$900). 3/29-3/30; 11-6; 270 Lafayette St. (Houston & Prince Sts.), ste. 1204.

Jeans, tees, jeans, and more jeans for guys and girls can be had at the latest Denim Blitz. 3/29-4/1; 11-7, 11-5 Sun.; 76 Greene St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).

Getting hitched? Treat yourself to a couture-ish Paula Varsalona gown for up to 75% off. 3/29-3/31; 10-7 Thurs., 10-5 Fri., 10-3 Sat. (no appointment required); 1375 Broadway (at 37th St.), 5th fl.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

America's Next Top Model recap
Oh, poor Whitney. She owes her dad nine grand because she ditched Dartmouth to be on America's Next Top Model. Of course, being from West Palm Beach, Whitney is too classy to hock the $40k diamond bracelet (quite possibly the ugliest $40k bracelet I've ever seen) she won for winning the Entrapment-esque posing challenge--although if Renee had won, you know she would've had the Hummer limo pull over at the first pawn shop she saw. I thought it was funny how the girls claimed to have learned so much from the voguer guy, because it didn't really appear to me that he was teaching them anything (except how to be flamboyant), and, really, I question his judgment in choosing Whitney to be the winner of the challenge, but whatever. My favorite part of the episode was watching Jael do her vogueing/posing--sometimes I think she's doing the whole competition as a joke, and sometimes I think she's just wacky (well, she's wacky regardless). My other favorite part was watching the train wreck that is Renee: one minute, crafting a do-rag for Brittany's weave; the next, crying to her husband on the phone about how the girls are fake bitches (uh, look who's talking?) and she wants to go home. I feel like if she were smarter, she could be as manipulative as Melrose--which would be entertaining in and of itself--but the other girls can see right through her suppressed bitchiness. Still, I think she's pretty and interesting, although I'm not rooting for her--that honor goes to Jaslene, who I think kicks ass in spite of her drag queenie-ness. Even though she's a drama queen, I loved Brittany's photo, and as much as I hate Twiggy's canned commentary ("You look like a true model!"), I agree that her picture looked straight out of a fashion magazine. Felicia was really starting to grow on me too, so I was bummed that she got kicked off. Maybe Tyra felt threatened--Felicia really did look like a younger (and thinner!) Ms. Banks. But, hey, I feel like girlfriend can make a living as a backup dancer for Ciara or something.

Next week, the girls learn how to dress like models, so maybe the judges will lay off poor Dionne.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Website of the week
I often complain about shopping the sale racks for shoes, because I wear a size 8.5, and due to the lack of inventory that often greets me, I am convinced that this is the most popular size. I've heard the same complaint, however, from friends who wear anywhere from a size 7 to a size 9; on the other hand, friends who are at the extreme ends of the spectrum--size 5 or size 11--lament the fact that stores tend to stock only one pair of shoes in their size, so if someone else beat them to it, tough luck. With all of these availability issues, it makes sense that shoe websites are so popular, because with their huge warehouses, they can stock way more sizes and styles than the average bricks-and-mortar store. And then there's Barefoot Tess, a site dedicated to supplying shoes of all sizes...all the way up to a 14. What's more, many of the shoe descriptions have "fit tips" describing whether a shoe runs short, long, wide, or narrow, and, even better, when you click on size chart, they give you accurate conversions from European sizes (such as an American 8 is a European 39). Designer-wise, they carry everything from low-end (Dollhouse, Havianas) to mid-range (Delman, Kate Spade) and many cult lines (Loeffler Randall, Repetto). You can shop by designer, style, size, width, what's new, or you can check out the site's selection of jewelry and handbags (after all, who can stop at just shoes?). Considering I've been on a major shoe binge lately, I probably shouldn't even be browsing this site, but, well, I can't help myself.

This Chie Mihara Mary Jane has a '20s gun-moll look that will work perfectly with fall's upcoming Poiret cocoon coats, drop waists and Art Deco prints.


This nude cutout pump from Brazilian line Corso Como is perfect for wearing now--well, once all the snow melts, of course.


The Matt Berenson Love sandal is the perfect minimal summer shoe--and clearly lots of people agree with me, as it's currently not in stock for any size under 10.


And I kind of love this totally '80s Savoy heel from Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent. On sale, but, sadly, not available in my size.


Okay, so maybe when it comes to sale shoes, Barefoot Tess still doesn't have every size. But being able to find your size--whether it's a 6.5, an 8.5 or an 11.5--in cute, fashionable, full-price shoes? Priceless.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The week in shopping
Lulu Guinness's quirky handbags and accessories are on sale. Through 3/21; 10-7:30; 260 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 11th fl.

My towels of choice, Portico has linens and toiletries for 50%-75% off. 3/22-3/25; 10-7, noon-5 Sun.; 430 W. 14th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.).

Get a head start on spring at Joseph, where select spring items are on sale for men and women. Through 3/25; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 106 Greene St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Fine Italian linens by Bellino are $5-$300 at this sale. 3/25-3/28; 9-6:30, 9-5 Wed.; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Score a designer wedding gown by Alberta Ferretti, Angel Sanchez, or Monique Lhuillier for up to 75% at Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier. 3/21-3/22; 11-8 Wed., 11-7 Thurs. (call 212-319-6778 to make an appointment); 110 E. 55th St.(Lexington & 3rd Aves.).

Meet Proenza Schouler wunderkinds Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCullough at Bergdorf Goodman on Wednesday. Have them autograph your $9.99 Target tank top. 3/21; 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; 5th Ave. at 57th St.

Score free shipping at Cheryl Shops fave net-a-porter.com when you enter code FREESHIP at checkout through 3/28.

Have you been to Saks recently? Pushy cosmetics salespeople aside (seriously, they're giving Bendel's a run for their money), I was pretty impressed with what I saw on my last trip there. Also, I like their new shopping bags. Spend $150 at Saks.com and get free shipping when you enter code WANTIT at checkout through 3/25.

Save up to 75% on hot designers like Geren Ford, Karen Zambos, CC Skye, and more at Testimo Boutique.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

MasstigeWatch! MassbrityWatch!
I was going to do a MasstigeWatch! post about all the new celebrity lines, but then I realized none of them were really by prestige designers--it's more Mass-brity (Mass-celeb?) than masstige. Right.

First up, Sarah Jessica Parker has a new clothing line called Bitten, which will be available exclusively at Steve & Barry's, a Forever 21-esque retailer with a store in the Manhattan Mall (I can't say that I've ever been there). The 400-piece line hits stores June 7.

Next, Catwalk Queen has a preview of the Kate Moss for Topshop line, which hits stores May 1st; here are the scanned pictures from the sold-out-everywhere April British Vogue for a more in-depth look. I hope to god the collection hits online; if not, it's eBay (and mega-jacked prices all the way).

Finally, Madonna's collection for H&M hits stores March 22nd; the Times had a nice preview in today's all-around-excellent issue. The line appears to be a collection of Madonna's greatest wardrobe hits, which I'm not totally sure about, but I will definitely be checking it out next week. After all, if I could meet anyone in the world, my #1 choice would be Madonna--after all, she's been my idol since I was 5. Sad, but true.
America's Next Top Model recap
Oh, the makeover episode of America's Next Top Model, always an entertaining one. And while it tends to bring out the worst in certain contestants, Tyra & co. kind of jumped the shark by warning the girls too much about overreacting...because in spite of Jael crying over the addition and subsequent removal of her extensions (a totally valid reason to cry, in my book) and Brittany complaining about hers (which Tyra, trying to reassert her ghetto-ness, called "tracks"), there was little drama about the makeovers. But Brittany is clearly a drama queen (headaches! vomiting! crying!), and her only rival for that title at this point is Renee, who is an instigator of the worst kind, but is actually really, really pretty, so for her sake, I hope she pulls her shit together. As for Jael, the poor girl, her kookiness is reminiscent of Jade from several "cycles" ago, but she clearly has a lot more going on upstairs. I think. You have to admit, it was pretty priceless when she dedicated her photo to her deceased friend. As for the photo shoot, the nude shoot is always good TV, so why Tyra decided to slap a ton of makeup on the models and make them look like ice cream is beyond me. I still think Jaslene takes the best pictures, and as for showing her "personality" in judging, if I had been humiliated last cycle in the manner that Jaslene had, I think I'd be shy and meek too. Although I do wish she'd unleash the spice at some point. I want to like Diana--she's beautiful and a plus-size gal, and I feel like she should be smart, but when she opens her mouth, she just as clueless as the rest of them, which makes me sad (Whitney, on the other hand, is not the best poser, but at least she has an IQ). And while I agree that Cassandra wasn't really doing much for me, her hair looked really cute post-makeover, and it was clear that the other girls actually liked her. But, hey, just because you're well-liked doesn't mean you're going to be America's Next Top Model!

Next week, the girls recreate the vault-robbing scene in Entrapment. Because, you know, to be a model, you have to be able to circumvent complicated laser security systems.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Website of the week
For the most part, I buy nice clothes, and with nice clothes comes a certain level of care required; I am thus pretty OCD about washing my wardrobe as gently as possible. My first New York apartment had the luxury of a washer-dryer in the kitchen (yes, it was in Manhattan), and my last apartment had a well-appointed laundry room in the basement that was open 24/7 and, thankfully, was rarely crowded. However, my current apartment (which, god willing, I won't be living in for too much longer) leaves much to be desired when it comes to the laundry room--I almost always have to wait for a machine (there are six washers for roughly 100 apartments), and the room itself closes at 9:30 p.m. So, out of frustration, I began outsourcing my laundry, which, while very convenient, is unfortunately on the pricey side. I started to grow a little irritated with the wash-and-fold, however, when several pairs of my La Perla underwear returned with rather large holes. But the nail in the coffin came when I discovered that what I thought was winter-related eczema was actually an allergy to the industrial-strength laundry detergent being used on my undergarments. Yeah. So, I am back to doing my own laundry, which is dull and frustrating, but at least I've discovered a few accouterments to make the process a little less irritating (literally and figuratively). Started by two former fashion-industry insiders, the Laundress is a line of laundry supplies that are both luxe and environmentally friendly. The site itself is a wealth of information for your inner Heloise; there are tips, recipes for extra-tough stains, more quick tips, and if you can't find what you're looking for, you can Ask the Laundress for help.

Product-wise, they have an all-purpose signature detergent, yes, but they also have special formulas for whites, darks, delicates, swimwear, wool & cashmere (imagine machine-washing your sweaters!), denim, and more. All formulas are available in your choice of scent, too--classic, cedar, baby, and lady--this page explains what they are. For the Febreeze-averse, there's Fabric Fresh; Crease Release sounds like a great product to take along while traveling. But I'm definitely going to order the Starter Kit to sample which of the six best-selling formulas I'd like to buy in full size. Which leads me to the inevitable: This ain't Tide--a 32-ounce Signature Detergent is $19.50; the specialty detergents are nearly twice as expensive. But the washes are all sulfate-free, biodegradable, free of artificial colors, and more concentrated than the average grocery-store brand, so you actually use a lot less detergent (especially if you use a high-efficiency machine). Plus, there's something to be said for making a mundane task like doing laundry seem, well, less mundane. And having spent the last six months scratching myself in odd places such as the back of my ribcage, I can honestly say that quality laundry detergent might very well be worth the investment--for the sake of my skin and my clothes.

Maybe that explains his fall 2007 collection...
Marc Jacobs has checked into rehab after seven years of sobriety. For the sake of fashion (well, and your health), get well soon, Marc!

Monday, March 12, 2007

The week in shopping
Hit the awesome Girlshop warehouse sale, featuring (thankfully) a huge selection of clothes and accessories under $100. 3/15-3/18; 10-8 Thurs. & Fri., 11-6 Sat. & Sun.; 819 Washington St. (at Gansevoort St.).

Stock up on modern linens for up to 60% off at Dwell's awesome sale. 3/15-4/1; 11-7; 62 Greene St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).

Lauren Merkin's cute clutches, totes, and handbags are up to 50% off. 3/13-3/15; 11-7; 231 W. 29th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 201.

Celebrate Olive & Bette's new Madison Avenue location with a one-day-only sample sale. 3/16; 8-7; 1070 Madison Ave. (80th & 81st Sts.).

Johnson's quirky-cool coats, dresses, shirts, skirts, and pants are $25-$200 at this cash-only sale. 3/17-3/18; noon-6; 197 Orchard St. (Houston & Stanton Sts.).

Score semiprecious jewelry for up to 75% off (normally $150-$800) at Nancy's Cohen's sale. 3/14-3/15; 11-7; W New York, 541 Lexington Ave. (at 49th St.), 2nd fl., Waterfall Room.

Meet design-world darling Doo-Ri Chung Wednesday at Bergdorf's! 3/14; 4-6 p.m.; 5th Ave. at 58th St.

Hit Henri Bendel for a Wendy Culpepper jewelry trunk show. 3/16; 10-8; 712 5th Ave. (55th & 56th Sts.).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

America's Next Top Model recap
When this week's episode of America's Next Top Model started out by featuring Samantha prominently, as first I thought, "Who?" and then I thought, "Oh yeah, the girl with the eyebrows." She's obviously shy, and while I feel like on any other "cycle" of ANTM she would've been the wallflower to blossom into a kickass model, on this season, she was getting lost amidst all the strong personalities, so it was obvious that she had to be the one to go. This episode was, of course, all about the walk, and while Miss J offered his always-useful critiques, I was actually surprised at how well the girls walked to begin with; there were certainly no Shandys or twins. I could've done without the high school theme of the episode, however--I guess they're pandering to the audience, since the winner now receives a spread in Seventeen instead of Elle. (How far the mighty have fallen.) I will admit, I kind of love Jaslene, and I think she can totally take Renee (come on, you know they're totally going to bust out in a catfight within the next few episodes). I like Brittany too (she reminds me of my friend CK). And I hate to say it, but I am not very impressed with the plus-size girls so far. Of course, next week is the makeover episode, so until then, all bets are off.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Buy it: Dahl by Alison Kelly
Alison Kelly was by far my favorite contestant on season 3 of Project Runway; I, like many others, felt she was kicked off too early--and rather abruptly--after designing an unflattering dress. So I am happy to report that Alison has bounced back with an adorable line called Dahl, being carried exclusively this spring at Cheryl Shops fave shopbop.com. The capsule collection is mostly dresses with a Victorian-meets-mod look, and I want pretty much every one of them. (Which is probably not going to be a reality for me, but at least the prices are somewhat reasonable.)

The Meg is a streamlined jumper in luxe eggplant-colored silk (sadly, the tank underneath is not included).


The Mable, also in silk, is girly and feminine, but for those of us who work in creative fields, can be worn to work in a pinch.


The mod Brigitte Minidress is probably my favorite, because it looks so soft and easygoing. I think leggings are in order underneath, however!


I love the Marchesa dress too--this is one of those versatile styles that can be worn day or night--on the weekends, of course.


Now, if only Uli would come out with a new line...
Website of the week
Once upon a time, in the 1990s, I was a salegirl at Contempo Casuals. I actually really loved working there--my love of shopping translates pretty well into helping others shop--and, as you could imagine, my coworkers were a rather colorful bunch of characters. Everyone really looked up to our store manager, who was tall, thin, beautiful, and pretty smart as far as Contempo employees go, and when she returned from a trip to Milwaukee to visit relatives, we all gathered around to hear her stories about visiting Mecca, a.k.a. the Contempo superstore in the Mall of America. Now, I've never been to the Mall of America (shocking, I know), and I think it would be okay if I never went, but I will admit to be somewhat fascinated by the place. Roller coasters! Hotels! 400 stores! So I was intrigued to read about artist Rosemary Williams who, in an effort to combat her shopping anxiety, decided to create an installation with a shopping bag from every store in the mall. However, she found that stores wouldn't just give her a bag; she had to buy something at each store. And hence began a long cycle of buying and returning (and keeping the shopping bags), which she has documented at her website Rosemary Goes to the Mall. The interesting thing is that her whole process kind of became the art (there is, in fact, a shopping bag installation; it's been exhibited in a gallery in Dumbo as well as in London), so every other week, Rosemary releases a new podcast detailing a particular shopping trip--and the cultural mores and personal hangups that accompany it. The podcasts are on the long side (typically 40 minutes to an hour) but are both entertaining and thought-provoking. I recommend listening to at least a few--you'll probably find yourself laughing, cringing, and maybe even pondering why you shop.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The week in shopping
Cheryl Shops fave Built by Wendy has past-season spring merchandise and current-season samples for 40%-70% off. 3/9-3/11; 11-8 Fri. & Sat., noon-6 Sun.; 7 Centre Market Pl. (Grand & Broome Sts.), 46 N. 6th St. (Wythe & Kent Aves.).

Ying Li's lovely, delicate, luxe lingerie is up to 90% off. Through 3/23; 10-5; 270 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 14th fl.

If you're a princess-and-the-pea type, outfit your bed with Pratesi linens at up to 75% off. 3/11-3/13; 9-6:30; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9thhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif Aves.).

Shelly Steffee's work-friendly current collection is 65%-85% off. 3/9-3/11; 4-8 Fri., noon-6 Sat. & Sun.; 34 Gansevoort St. (9th Ave. & Hudson St.).

Got a spring break trip coming up? Swimwear, cover-ups, and beach-related items from Vix, Lisa Curran, Havaianas, and others are $10-$95 at this cash-only sale. Through 3/16; 9-8 (closed Sat. & Sun.); 250 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 510.

Pricey furniture at Design Within Reach is a bit more actually within reach, now that the entire website (or store, if you prefer) is 10% off. Through 3/12.

Take 30% off already-reduced items at Bloomingdales.com when you enter code MAR30 at checkout through 3/7.

Get free shipping on Marie Marie's new spring line this week at Ravinstyle.com when you enter promo code MARIE at checkout.

Take 20% off your order at ShopIntuition.com when you enter code SHINE at checkout through 3/31.

It's battle of the gift-with-purchases this week at Neiman Marcus and Saks; the former features a seven-piece offer with tote when you spend $85, the latter, pretty much the same thing, but you have to spend $100. Enter promo code BEAUTY at Neiman's or ROMANTIC at Saks.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Buy it: The Kings of New York
I rarely cover books or other media here at Cheryl Shops because, well, I like to focus on clothes and shoes and stuff. But every once in awhile, well, it's good to expand your horizons. So, for those of you who don't know me personally, I often mention MW on the blog; MW is my boyfriend and co-habitant, and he happens to write books. His new one is out today, and it's called The Kings of New York, and it's very, very good (I'm not just saying that--Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, the New York Times Book Review, and a bunch of other publications agree). It's about high-school chess geniuses in Brooklyn, and having played about two games of chess in my life before I read it, I can vouch that it's more about the people than the game, so you don't have to be a supernerd yourself to enjoy it. So, anyway, you should buy it. (While you're at it, you can read more about MW here.) Shameless plug? Yes. But worth it.
America's Next Top Model is back!
Yes, I totally cringed through the first hour of the show (I think Tyra hit a new low when she "stomped the yard"), and, yes, it's clear that no winner of this show is actually going to become America's next top model--especially since a lot of the girls this season are pretty toe-up. So I am vowing this season to 1) not pick a favorite, 2) not get emotionally involved, and 3) just sit back and enjoy the spectacle that is the show. Considering the total wack jobs this season, those objectives should be pretty easy to achieve. There's ka-ray-zy Jael, who makes Jade (remember her?) seem totally reasonable; Natasha, the Russian mail-order bride; Renee, the girl who won't shut up about her kid; Sarah, the full-of-herself "photographer" (I'm wondering if she actually gets paid for her photographs); Jaslene, whom I'm still not 100% convinced is a woman; and, hey, there are two plus-size models (one of whom, Whitney, went to Dartmouth, and is probably one of the smartest girls ever to grace the show, aside from Kim). And I was shocked that the first contestant to go was Brooklyn's own Kathleen, who was so hilariously out of it (fur coats aren't made from animals that die naturally?), I spent half the show doubled over with laughter. What's wrong with the ANTM producers? In past seasons, they would've kept her around for at least a few episodes, just for laughs. Nonetheless, I'm sure we'll see her strutting through the Fulton Mall, so keep your eyes peeled for a big red weave.
Website of the week
When you're looking for something specific, all you need is a good search engine. 99% of the time, I use Google, which usually does the trick. (If you want an earful, ask me about how much I love Google Maps!) However, when it comes to shopping, I tend to find Google's product search engine, Froogle, a bit lacking; I feel like it doesn't truly search every e-commerce website out there, and half the time, you just get stuff on eBay. Enter theFind.com. It is, bar none, the best shopping search engine out there. I don't know how it works, so let's just call it magic for the time being. You can search for anything from iPods to perfume, and it will give you results with pictures (and you can roll over the picture to get a nice Flash description too), and it even notes when the item is on sale. (The results, by the way, are unbiased, and if there's any kind of sponsorship or advertising involved, the search results state so.) You can narrow down your search by color or by subcategory, or if you find what you like, you can either click "shop" and buy it directly, or you can save it to your wish list (called "My Finds") for later. It even helps you score a bargain here and there--for example, I was going to treat myself to some Millesime Imperial at Bergdorf's for my birthday, but, hey, I found it here for $62.98! So while I'll probably continue to use Google multiple times a day (gotta love those maps!), there's a new shopping sheriff in town. I love theFind so much, I'm going to have to think up new things to shop for! Perhaps I'll have to start reading their blog for ideas...