Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Velvet Is Posh Again

Betsey Johnson embellished velvet shoes 
Does soft, downy velvet ever go out of style? Of course not! I have 3 velvet jackets, 2 velvet dresses and 2 velvet suits in my closet, and none were purchased recently. Velvet looks rich, dressy and glamorous, which is why I love it. It doesn't wrinkle, and you can wear it nearly all year around. 

Although velvet is always fashionable, it is making a huge comeback on the clothing racks of retailers this fall. Everything is velvet, from jackets, trousers and leggings to capes, hats and shoes.

On a trip to Express and Macy's, I spotted these garments:
Macy's - 3rd floor
Macy's - 3rd floor - Calvin Klein section
Macy's - 2nd floor - shoes
A velvet burnout fabric top is paired with a solid velvet suit in the left bottom photo. In the right image, the black velvet trousers look chic with a faux fur vest. 

Over to Topshop for a hot pink velvet pinafore dress:
Velvet in living color
Next a stop at TJ Maxx where I found these black leather ballet flats embellished with cute black velvet bows, our lovely fall trend. For $29 bucks, they came home with me!
A touch of velvet
Finally, a reach into my closet for an Anna Sui jacket I got at one of Macy's big blowout sales several years ago. Each sleeve has the brass buttons you see on the front, and there are two buttons in the back also. It pays to hold on to the things you love since everything old becomes new again.
Vintage velvet
I'm on this velvet trend. How about you?

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Friday, November 10, 2017

A Trip To The Japanese Grocery

Photo: Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
As we move into the nippy months of the year, I crave warm soup for dinner. New Yorkers eat out alone in restaurants all the time. I mostly don't unless I'm out of town. With a companion, I think of eating out as entertainment. Alone, I don't mind cooking dinner at home.

Miso soup (a food I 1st tasted eating out) is easy/breezy to make at home ... and for a fraction of the restaurant cost. So I keep a tub of miso paste in my refrigerator, along with dried seaweed and dried Daikon radish (an ingredient in many Japanese dishes). 
Scores of supermarkets and health food stores carry miso paste. We have a convenient Japanese grocery in the neighborhood. 

Recently I bought:

Ryotei Aji Dashi Miso (paste)               $5.99
Sengirl Daikon (radish)                         $3.35
Tkon Cut wakame (seaweed)                $3.39
Akagi Joshu Akagi Soba noddles         $1.99
A tub of miso paste makes lots of soup (about 45 - 50 servings), and it lasts a long time in the refrigerator. The dried seaweed and radish keep in a cupboard. At restaurants, a small bowl of miso costs $3.00, which totals $135 - $150 for the amount that one tub of miso paste makes. Wow, what a saving!

Miso Soup 


For a serving of basic miso soup, combine about 2 tablespoons of miso paste to 2 cups of water. I taste the mixture for the right proportion. Increase the water or paste as needed.

Next, add any protein/vegetables/starchy ingredients you like:

Ingredients could include --

-- Tofu (cubed); leftover chicken or beef; seaweed; a handful of dried Daikon radish.
-- Other Vegetables: Often I toss in mixed frozen vegetables. You can also thinly slice and dice fresh carrots, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, snow peas or any root or leafy green vegetables you have on hand. Fresh vegetables you can saute in a pan first. Frozen vegetables I just microwave in a soup bowl with water first, then add the miso paste, dried seaweed, and dried radish during the last 2 minutes.
-- Sometimes I toss in cooked soba noodles (they are high in protein), sometimes I don't. Rice works too.
-- Season to taste: I like minced (or dried) garlic and fresh pepper. Ginger is another option.

As mentioned, I microwave one serving of miso (with ingredients) in a soup bowl. Large quantities can go into a saucepan on a stovetop.

From thought to bowl to table, preparation and simmering take about 10 minutes. !็ณ–่“ใฎappรฉtit

Have you ever been introduced to a dish in a restaurant that you now make at home? 

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Express Style: Classic With An Edge

Express (along with its sister company Limited) has a special place in my heart. They became my first go-to stores as a Manhattan resident. Between the two, I could dress in fashion-forward and quality clothing on my entry-level publishing salary. The clothes are classic with a cutting edge, making them versatile for work, parties and home. I still wear the jackets, tops and skirts I bought from Express years ago. Classic pieces never go out of style!
The retailer continues to offer the best (๐Ÿ”ทblue ribbon, 5-star⭐️ leggings and tights in town. You will easily spend 3-4 times more for the same quality elsewhere. Their basic leggings are mostly cotton with a touch of spandex. They are jet black, soft, classy yet sexy, cozy and opaque. Personally, I wear them all fall, winter and spring -- alone or under dresses and skirts to keep warm! So inexpensive, I buy many, many pairs to machine wash and wear during cold temperatures.
This autumn Express has truly stepped up its edgy-posh factor, bringing out a line of party dresses and glitter leggings, some of which could do double duty. Wear the outfits to the office during the day and later for a holiday party or night out on the town. Sparkle in holiday attire without breaking the bank!
I have always found Express to have a great selection of the latest style, and this year is no exception. The retailer offers an excellent inventory of evening bags, fashion jewelry, and needed accessories to complement your lovely evening dresses.
Men have a wide selection of classic, slim and extra-slim suits at Express. Both sexes have suits, sweaters, shirts, dress pants, jackets, coats, scarves, hats, and gloves galore. Plus, a few practical and cute odds and ends, like faux fur, belts, vests, and throws.

Express is still going fashion-strong ... and for less! Sales are frequent with 40% off.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

SVA's Fashion Show On Madison Avenue

Fashion created from (left) pouches and (right) Polaroids.
Students from Manhattan's School Of Visual Arts fashioned attire that is on public view on the sidewalks in front of the famous fashion houses on Madison Avenue.

Fourteen exhibits enclosed in glass run from East 61th Street through East 76th Street. The layout is called One-Of-A-Kind Luxury, and the outfits are made of unusual materials for clothing, including house keys, packing peanuts, computer keys, forks and spoons, white paint, copper pennies and orange earplugs. 

Dresses designed using: 1) silverware (the bust is created from 2 ladles, the neckless is a spoon); 2) copper pennies; 3) Monopoly themes.
A cup of tea to go with a stylin' raincoat made of teabags anyone? Take a look.

Clothing created from: 1) paint; 2) Lipton teabags; 3) left - metal keys and right - packing peanuts; 4) earplugs.
Each reveal looks posh in my humble opinion. If designed out of cloth, people would want to wear them. The students are as talented and clever as the professionals whose couture shops face their creations.

Dresses made using 1) tree bark; 2) left - darts and right - computer keys; and 3) the slinky.
The art exhibit will run through November 15, and it's free! Walk down Madison Avenue for a close-up. Enlarge the photos I snapped by clicking on each one, or simply hold down your "command" and "+" keys at the same time. Here is a Print magazine link to see the 3 exhibits I do not have photographs of using: 1) tin cans, 2) wheat stalks and pencils and 3) a computer (program part). Between my blog and Print magazine (Ahh, with a better camera), you get an excellent view of the show!
Where the School of Visual School Arts sits in Manhattan

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cheap Wine ... And It's Devine!

Photo: wpid
By law, Whole Foods can only sell wine in New York City at one of its locations. So every 6 months when I go to the dentist nearby, I buy 2 bottles of delicious cheap Spanish red wine. As wine connoisseurs can tell you, the price of wine does not always reflect the quality.

Whole Foods has spectacular wine under $5. Once it sold for a low $2.99 but increased to $4.50 per bottle. I buy 2 varieties: Listed in order of how I like them, but it is a matter of individual taste. Both are fruity, low in tannins and balanced:

Don Simon Tempranillo - Made with 100% Tempranillo grapes, a grape variety only grown in Spain. Not sweet, this fruity, complex wine has hints of strawberries and cherries. A good drinking wine with pizza, burgers, chili or any meat and potatoes dinner. I especially enjoy drinking a glass paired with extra sharp cheddar cheese on dark Lithuanian rye bread (or just saltine crackers). 

Don Simon Shinaz - Although also fruity, it's a tad dry (or tart) with traces of red currant, raspberries and a dash of pepper. A great everyday drinking, dinner or party wine also.

Spain (and South America) makes tasty inexpensive wine overall. In a wine store, I tend to trust wines from these countries. What a bargain Whole Foods' Don Simon wine is! There is also a Chardonnay to try. The reds are the wines I bring home.

Unfortunately, they cannot be sold at my neighborhood Whole Foods, and I dislike making a special trip over to the Upper West Side just for wine. So I don't stock them as often as I'd like. I can only carry 2 bottles home! Blame it on city bureaucracy -- hopefully, there's a good fairness-to-compete reason behind the one store law.๐Ÿท

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween From NYC ... Boo!

Greetings from a house on East 72nd Street
Dear Readers, how I wish you could be in Manhattan on Halloween. There are enough homes and businesses with fiendish displays to make roving the neighborhood a thriller! And, I'd like to share just a few more of the spooky sights with you.๐ŸŽƒ
A demon child; spider with 8 legs, 2 beady eyes and an attitude; plus fire-breathing dragon.

Here are 3 videos from a brownstone located at 41 East 72nd Street ... with 5 stories of fright! On Halloween night the homeowners (a former hedge fund founder and his wife), dress up in eerie costumes to invite the public in for a walkthrough to see their diabolical decorations up-close.๐Ÿ‘€ They do so every year, and their festive spirit, generosity and efforts represent the best of New York City. If the family stumbles upon this blog ... a huge thanks from all your spine-chilled, delighted neighbors!๐Ÿ‘ป

 A closer look at the fire-breathing dragon.

An evil green goblin with his brain exposed.

Not every business or building can be as creepy-elaborate, but every sinister display adds to the bewitching ambiance of the Upper East Side, electrifying children and adults alive (um alike) ... and otherwise!๐Ÿ‘บ

I hope you can join us for the SPELL one year. Halloween is becoming like Christmas, but less serious and without the fuss of gift buying. All you need is an appetite for candy ... and a bit of heavy makeup.๐Ÿ’€

When did you last eat a delicious caramel apple or candy corn? I like both on this ghostly holiday, but a little candy corn goes a long way! You?๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘„

A black door watched over by spirits and ravens.
There is something in human nature that is drawn to a scary theme. When I was 7 years old, I went with my 10-year-old (boy) neighbor to see a horror flick about a severed hand that crawled back to a dead man's town, relentlessly murdering people. (My mother let me go without checking to see what was playing! For all she knew we could have gone to see Deep Throat!!) 

The Hand attacked its first victim as the man was driving his automobile. After a struggle and nearly wrecking his fast-moving car, the victim was able to grab and fling The Hand out the car window. But it wasn't hurt. Later The Hand showed up, knocking at the front door of the victim's home! Unfortunately, when the prey opened the door, he saw nobody ... giving The Hand the opportunity to enter his house.๐Ÿ˜ฑ Hours later and undetected, The Hand crawled up on the back of the victim's couch chair, finally choking him to death!! The Handtraumatized me for decades afterward, yet it didn't stop me from seeing other horror shows in the future.๐Ÿ•ธ️

Have fun tonight, dear vampires, Frankensteins, eyeballs๐Ÿ‘€, and mummies. But you, Severed Hand, stay FAR away forever!

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gotham Gets Halloween Ready

So I took a stroll in my neighborhood today. All Hallows' Eve is a mere 5 days away, and Gotham is almost ready!
The Village has its annual parade, but as you can see, the Upper East Side is no slouch in the haunting, shrieking, undead department either.  
Rats, bats, ghouls, and skulls. What a scream! Will you wear a costume to keep the demons away?
A gargoyle dangles from its post while skeletons and severed heads wait to rise on Fright Night.
Spiders, lacerated faces, and mummies take their positions. Don't blink ... danger!!
New York Natives who have seen better days, take in the fresh air above a familiar row of tombstones.
An Old Enchantress, dressed in black, enjoys some leisure by sitting on the porch ahead of the big night.
Spirits hang around killing, um time before the howling begins.
Live-ins envisioning the knock of visitors at the front door.

Putting one's best face, hand, claw, eyeball, and fangs forward to greet all passersby.
Happy Halloween!

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Jewelry & Beautiful Things

Photo: Brilliant Earth. Won't you jump off the page onto my arm? 

In my 20s I thought I'd buy myself a sheared mink coat sometime in the future to celebrate a pivotal birthday: turning 40, turning 50. I wasn't sure when exactly, yet that was the plan. But after I bought a goose down coat and discovered how warm it was, I no longer wanted to spend such a sum on a mink coat. My wish evaporated. 

In a way, it is the value of allowing ourselves to want things, instead of falling prey to instant gratification. We make fewer purchasing mistakes if we take our time before pulling the trigger. By nature, I am an under buyer. It has served me well.

Photo: Blue Nile. I'm waiting ...

Here are some pretties I'm eying with the vague notion of treating myself on my next biggg birthday. I have long desired a tennis bracelet. Diamonds or sapphires? Depends on how much I can spend and the deal available at the time. Both stones are lovely!
As long as jewelry is real, well made and substantial enough (as I won't squint to see the stones!), they don't need to be Harry Winston quality because I don't intend to resale them. Years ago, I got some lovely pieces at Macy's.
Photo: Brilliant Earth. A shimmering ring is looking for a new home. ๐Ÿ’…๐Ÿ–‘
I would not be unhappy with a pretty sapphire and diamond ring. Do you see a pattern here? Diamonds, sapphires (or rubies), oh my! Although there's no need to go overboard, I think every woman deserves a few pieces of fine jewelry, something durable that sparkles and makes her happy. Very happy! Perhaps the equivalent for a man is a good watch.

Below are earrings I do have. They look fancy, but not so much that I can't wear them for every day. Bling should not stay in a box. They would look spectacular with a new tennis bracelet, wouldn't they? Fortunately, as an under buyer, I take my time and won't go broke! Tick, tock, tick, tock ... until a  pivotal birthday.

Photo: Macy's. Hello, beauties!
What is your favorite? Perhaps it is one of the four or something you already own or want to own.

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