End of Season Sales: Consignment Styles

Wool plaid skirt I was trying on that was significantly discounted.

Now is the best time to go consignment shopping.  Since the selling frenzy between Thanksgiving and Christmas is past, consignment stores are trying to get rid of their wintery items to make room for the spring season.  As you know, consignment stores already come with a discount compared to traditional retailers, but this time of year, you will be sure to find 30 to 50 percent sale signs.  Since many consignment stores are small boutiques, space is an issue.  Therefore, whole stores versus certain items typically are on sale at this time. 

Prada wool evening dress. Under $200.

While strolling my Brooklyn neighborhood this weekend, check out what I found.  First, I went to Consignment Brooklyn located at 371 Atlantic Avenue.  This is one of my favorites because the store is organized primarily by clothing item and color.  This is extremely helpful for quick browsing, and it is extremely easy on the eye.  While checking out a rack of black, the NYC color, evening dresses, I was stopped in my tracks by a wool Prada number.  Sweet!!!!!  I checked the size, yep that worked.  A consignment tip is to try things on because the sizing may be off.  This is especially true for vintage pieces.

While I loved, loved, loved, the piece, there was a gathering in the lining that threw off the dress layout.  This was a bummer because, with a 40 percent discount, I could have taken this dress home for under $200. 

I absolutely fell in love with this coat, and it was forty percent off.

Not to despair, I walked a little further down Atlantic Avenue to visit Foyer Vintage, an eclectic assortment of high and low- end pieces located at 80 Bond St.  Once again, this truly is the best time to vintage shop.  Bam!!! I see the same leather, camel coat with the mink collar that I saw at the beginning of the season.  The only difference was that the coat was 30 percent off.  I scored this amazing 1960s leather coat for under $200. 

There’s nothing like a clearance consignment rack. Great place for closet bargains.

So run, don’t walk to your favorite consignment shop to grab the end of the season deals.  Remember, you can shop your closet, and you can also shop a fellow fashionista’s closet through consignment shopping. 

What’s Your 2020 Vision?

Image of me, Jacqueline Jenkins, hard at work on my 2020 vision board.

At the start of the new year, I posted my thoughts on the past decade.  While much has occurred, there is one thing that remains consistent.  For the past ten years, maybe even fifteen, I have started my year by doing a vision board.  My vision boards have served as a source of motivation and direction.  So, I did the same for 2020.  I am pleased to say that one of my college classmates and fashionista, Carol Anthony, joined me in the process, and we kicked off our vision board session with a Texas-inspired brunch and tons of discussion about what the year would hold.  These are my top five tips on making a vision board.

  • Spend time reflecting.  What’s the saying, “In order to know where you are going, you must know where you have been.”  Usually, in mid-December, I start shifting my mindset from closing out the year to planning for the new one.  Because of my vision board, I am able to assess my progress.  I journal what happened, what didn’t happen, and why.  The reflection process is my time to hold me accountable for my successes and misses for the year.
  • Set goals that help maintain balance and peace in your life.  If all your effort goes towards one goal, there is a chance that other areas in your life might become neglected.  Please don’t get me wrong.  There are times, like when I was in grad school, where all our energy was focused on just one thing.  However, our lives are meant to be lived with a sense of balance and purpose.  For this reason, I divide my vision board into quadrants.  Each square is devoted to an area in my life that I would like to see change.  These are examples of what I’ve focused on in the past – finances, relationships, career, and spirituality.
Clippings from Vogue that capture my themes for the new year.
  • Make it colorful.  Because we want our futures to be bright, I tend to fill my board with imagery that is vibrant and channels the positive energy that I need to get me through the year.  For this reason, I start collecting magazines around October to be used for my board.  I also get creative by using paints, markers, and stencils to share my thoughts for the future artistically.
  • Think big.  Since only we can say where we plan on putting our efforts, put in your mind that you will use these next 365 to do BIG things.  Don’t cheat yourself out of your greatness by setting your goals too low.  Since its your vision, go BIG with it.  For example, instead of setting a goal of just losing weight, commit to living a healthy lifestyle that will enable you to achieve your weight loss goal while also creating habits that enhance your overall health and wellness. 
  • Keep it in front of you.  Now that you have a board that inspires and directs you for the year don’t hide it away.  Hang your vision board in a place that you will look at on a frequent basis.  A tip that I saw from a lifestyle blogger was to take a picture of your vision board, so you can carry the image with you. 
The time spent making the vision board truly pays off in the end.

Here’s to an awesome 2020 to kick-off the decade.  Happy vision boarding!!!! 

It’s My Favorite Time of Year…

Me taking a refreshing break from my holiday shopping at Tiffany & Co.

Fashionistas, Merry Christmas!!!  While I love NYC all days of the year, I am unable to describe the magic that happens between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.  With so much to see, I still consider myself the ultimate tourist even though I’ve been living here for the past seven years.  Since that time, I can honestly say that the Rockefeller Center tree, the always-on beat Salvation Army bell ringers, the packed streets of Herald Square, and the enchanted view of Central Park from the second floor of Columbus Circle never get old.  With or without snow, NYC at Christmas is always wonderful. 

The classic table setting.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to visit the Tiffany & Co. flagship located at 727 5th Avenue.   This seven-story store, a.k.a. the set of Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, is always buzzing with tourists and, of course, the nervous fiances-to-be purchasing the iconic Tiffany engagement ring.  While the main floor’s bling was quite captivating, I was on the hunt for stemless champagne flutes (they are the best gift), so I continued onto the fourth floor.  The neat thing about Tiffany’s home accessories is the creative way that their artisans transform basic objects into the most divine pieces of art.  Thanks to my visit, I am now obsessed with what Tiffany is calling, “The Everyday Objects – Bone China Paper Cups.”  What!!!!

The everyday cup transformed into a piece of art. They are a mere $110.

While on the fourth floor, you must take a peep at the Blue Box Café, a charming dining concept of American cuisine served within a room of Tiffany blue marble.  For a mere $29, you can luxuriate at one of 5th Avenue’s new jewels.  However, let’s be clear.  The Blue Box Café should be renamed to the always packed, can never get a Resy time café.  If I sound frustrated, I truly am.  Since its opening in 2017, I have yet to be able to score a table.  Because I believe persistence is key, I decided to chat up the tuxedo-wearing host who politely told me that the only way to obtain one of the coveted reservations is through the online booking service.  Oh well, I tried. 

Blue Box Cafe seating with a view.

This concludes my lovely holiday afternoon at Tiffany’s.  Merry Christmas!!!

The Purge – A Time to Release and Renew

In my closet thinking about what to keep, and the items I need to remove from my closet.

For as long as I can remember, December has always served as a time to hurry up and complete, where possible, my current year goals while starting to transition to the upcoming year mentally.  One way that I do this is a physical purging of my closet.  A time when I take stock of my wardrobe, remove items from my past that don’t need to be a part of my future, and start to envision what new energy, items, and ideas that I should be welcoming into my life.  These are my top three tips on how to do a closet purge that will set you up for an awesome new year. 

  • Make some money.  Since you paid good money, as my momma would say, for what’s in your closet, sell your old items.  This week, for my high-end designer wear, I am trying TheRealReal . This online designer consignment site allows you to shop and sell.  To make the process easy, they offer three means to collect your items for consignment:
    • Schedule a free home pickup.  Available in 20 metro areas.
    • Ship your items directly to them with a free, prepaid label.
    • Visit a Luxury Consignment office for a free evaluation and consignment drop-off.

Note, The Real Real’s consignment process is selective with what they will take.  Be sure to read their List of The Real Real Accepted Designers .

I am a big fan of ThredUP, the world’s largest online secondhand store where you can buy and sell your items for either site credit or cash.  I love them because they send a lawn leaf size bag that you use to ship your items.  I believe that the nominal charge for the shipping is reduced from the sale of your items.  Regardless, I like it because you don’t have to carry your items anywhere.  The bag can be picked up by the regular delivery services.  I also like that they give you an online accounting of how your items are selling.  The brands that tend to sell well on the site are Nike, Banana Republic, and Loft.

The items I packed up to go to storage. It is all about removing clutter.
  • Do good.  With the holiday season and the cold weather upon us, charity is always a great option. I have a rule, although I’ve not been good at enforcing it lately –  If I buy a coat, I must give a coat. For that reason, I am a faithful Goodwill donor.  Of course, don’t forget to get your tax deduction slip for your donation.  I also try to send my gently used work items to places like women shelters that often need work attire.  If I enjoyed an item, it makes my heart smile to think about someone else enjoying it too.
  • Clear your space and mind.  In addition to purging my closet, I also take the time to bring organization to my space.  As I am a visual person, the aesthetics of space impact my mood.  I find it very hard to think in a cluttered area.  Additionally, my NYC lifestyle has forced me to be a minimalist. For these reasons, I place a special emphasis on eliminating clutter to welcome new energy, ideas, and precious items into my life. 

Now that you’ve purged your closet burn a candle to cleanse the space, and take a deep breath to welcome in the new year. 

A clear space enables me to think clearly.

Time to Brag About My Family – Sonya Jenkins

The original over to Shayla’s Catch. The newly released Amazon book-to-film movie.

I have two wonderful sisters, but I’ve also been blessed with amazing cousins that I’ve had the pleasure of bonding with, admiring their success, and bragging about them.  This blog post is a shoutout to my fashionista filmmaking cousin, Sonya Jenkins.  She is an Atlanta born and raised actress, entertainment journalist, and author.  Sonya just released on Amazon Shayla’s Catch, her debut book-to-film project.  Congrats cousin!!!!!   Movie Link

Sonya is a talented screenwriter and director who shares the drama of a modern-day love story of Shayla (Shakari Gault), an ambitious fashion exec that falls in love with a charming, but definitely a lady’s man, pro football player Calvin “CK” Moore (Malachi Mutakabbir).  Much like real love, there are moments of passion, interrupted by the realities that often arise when two dynamic individuals come together.  As written by the Tennessee Tribune, Shayla’s Catch is a valid and timely depiction of the competitive nature of American sports mixed with drama, romance, money, intimacy, broken hearts, and hope.  The film also addresses issues around self-esteem and understanding the boundaries of a healthy relationship.

Sonya Jenkins, author, actress, and director. Way to go cousin.

The release of Shayla’s Catch has been a goal of Sonya’s since she first presented the screenplay in 2003 at the Jamerican Film Festival.  The following year, Sonya pitched the project to Robert Townsend. As we Jenkins are persistent, Sonya continued to develop Shayla’s Catch while pursuing her acting and journalism work on the red carpet for her celebrity web magazine, Sonya’s Spotlight.  By keeping her eye on the prize, her efforts paid off when Ava DuVernay approached Sonya to direct a small scene for Selma.  While the piece was eventually cut, Sonya was bitten by the directing bug.  Sonya’s passion for directing was further cultivated while she worked as a background artist for several of Tyler Perry TV and film productions.  Through these roles, Sonya honed her skills as a director. 

I am so proud of my cousin for making her dream a reality.  Sonya, may you continue to shine on the big screen and in life. 

Camera-Ready – Fashion Tips for Your TV Debut

As we browse to find that perfect look. Bloomingdale’s 59th St. NYC.

When your BFF Dr. Kimberly Williams, a leading NYC neuropsychologist, is invited to share her words of wisdom on TV, it’s a great reason to spend a Saturday afternoon shopping closets and finding the perfect outfit for the occasion.  While today’s selfie culture makes it seem like everyone wakes up camera-ready, there is an art and a little science to picking the right on-air outfit.  These are my five fashion tips on prepping for a TV debut.

  • Dress for the Occasion.  The first thing to do when preparing for a TV appearance is to gain an understanding of the show format.  What does the set look like?  Will you be sitting or standing?  Does the show have a formal or more casual vibe?  What is your role in the show?  By answering these questions, you will be able to match your look with the show. 
Yes, there might be a ton of color selections, but you want the color that works best with your complexion.
  • Create a wow moment.  TV cameos are great because they position you as an expert in your craft.  They also create a means to connect you with the viewership in a personal manner by your engagement on the screen.  For these reasons, COLOR is key.  There are some basic rules like don’t wear white on the set because it often drowns a person out on camera.  While black is slimming, it can be a little blah on TV.  Look for colors that work with your skin tone.  To find the perfect color, I suggest you take pics of yourself to check colors against your complexion.  Remember, TV works with bright lights.   For that reason, you want a color that works well under the lights.  For my BFF, we went with a warm and vibrant color of burnt orange.  It truly popped and created a high-energy feel that tied in with the image that Dr. Williams was looking to create on camera. 
  • Don’t be a walking billboard or distract the eye.  Unless you are doing an advertisement promotion, my recommendation is to avoid logos on your outfit.  They could date the piece and also may limit where the footage could be shown.  Stripes and plaids may be a challenge on the eye.  While I typically suggest fashions with visual variety, for TV, stay away from busy patterns that cause the eye to work too hard to focus on you. 
Try on your pieces to ensure you like the look and the feel of the outfit. Because camera lights can be hot, think about this when selecting a material.
  • Think about the total image.  Because TV is all about the visual, you want to ensure that your total look is correct.  While your outfit is key, you also want your hair, makeup, and nails on point.  Just as I would take my car to the mechanic for a tune-up vs. me trying to do it at home, I say the same thing for hair, makeup, and nails.  Call a professional!!!  On camera, you want a flawless look.  Most people have a beautician, but a makeup artist might be a stretch.  However, everyone has access to a mall where you can stop by a Mac counter.  By spending $65 or more, you are able to have your face done.  If you share with your makeup person that this is for a TV shoot, they can adjust your foundation and coloring to ensure that you have a natural, polished look on camera. 
  • Enjoy the experience.  While it might seem that there are a ton of things that you must do to get ready for a TV appearance, it can also be a great excuse to pamper yourself.  Treat yourself to a facial and makeover.  Maybe this is a chance to add a coveted piece to your wardrobe.  Whatever you do, make this moment special for you.

While I can’t show Dr. Williams’s final selection because she plans to do a formal launch, I will share that her look was professional but with a pop of color.  We selected a dress with a timeless silhouette that added to my BFF’s charm.  She looked amazing.  I will be sure to post an update once the show airs.  See you on TV land. 

New Nordstrom NYC Store – Amazing

I am a bag lover. This is me enjoying the lovely bags at Nordstrom.

In a time when stores are shuddering their doors, Nordstrom makes a big splash in the New York market with the much-anticipated opening of its east coast flagship on 57th (235 W 57th St.) a mere two minutes from Columbus Circle.  Actually, they opened two stores, Nordstrom Men’s Store and a seven-story masterpiece fully dedicated to styling, dining, and shopping for the savvy fashionista.  I spent about three hours on Saturday taking it all in from the two floors of cosmetics (yes, beauty for days) and their jaw-dropping shoe floors.  Not to mention the seven restaurants.  These are my top five reasons why I think Nordstrom on 57th street is absolutely amazing.

Generously sized waiting/fitting room area.
  •  Store Design – In NY you typically experience two types of store architecture – new space that is tightly built because of trying to maximize sales per square feet or renovated older spaces with charm but weird structural challenges like poor lighting or abnormally high ceilings that make the space feel more like a cave (this was one of the problems with the Lord & Taylor on 5th Ave).  Not the case with the new Nordstrom design.  The best word to describe the store is AIRY.  While filled with merchandise, the aisles are adequately spaced, and there are several displays that stand alone to create an open environment that feels more like a loft versus a downtown department store.
  • Exclusives for Days – Nordstrom’s merchandising team must be exhausted from all the negotiations they pulled to acquire the number of exclusive items in the store.  I mean from the Valentino metallic shoe collection to the countess handbags designed solely for the Nordstrom shopper.  FABULOUS.
A wonderful team sharing insight about the store. I loved the style of the team. Peep this outfit.
  • Superior Service – While this isn’t new for Nordstrom, I feel that they have stepped up the service element to create a vibe like the one you get when you visit that special relative that goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable at their home.  No seriously, the sales/brand ambassadors are charming, knowledgeable, and appear to be genuine fashion lovers.  This is very nice and welcomed in the midst of busy and sometimes rude NYC.  Oh yes, the Nordstrom team members wear headsets so they can discretely stay in touch with their team while servicing clients.  The store is also adequately staffed, so you don’t have to work hard to find assistance.  I hate it when that happens. 
  • Cocktails Everywhere – Because the store’s vibe is all about making you feel comfortable, there are these charming individuals that casually walk around asking whether you would like a cocktail while shopping.  Love it!!!!  Hence me being at the store for three hours. 
If you get hungry while shopping, no problem. There are seven restaurants.
  • Yumminess – About two hours into my store shenanigans, I decided it was time to try one of the many dining experiences.  Since I was anxious to keep exploring, I sat at the counter of Bistro Verde (fifth floor).  I also went with the counter seat because it was an amazing people-watching spot.  To keep it light, I ordered the burrata, apples, and walnuts served on a baguette.  Absolutely delicious.  The apple, a tart but ripe green, was meticulously sliced into chunks accompanied by toasted walnuts. There was a slight drizzling of aged balsamic to create a bitter but sweet taste.  Placed on top with the utmost care was a generous portion of burrata on a plate lined with slices of a grilled baguette.  Of course, this feast deserved some bubbly, so I enjoyed a chilled glass of Veuve.  Lovely, lovely, lovely. 

In a time when we often feel like brick and mortar is dead, give online shopping a break.  Visit the Nordstrom on 57th street.  I am sure you will have many more thoughts to add to my top five reasons why the store is amazing.  Enjoy!!!

The store also has amazing visuals.

Let’s Shop Like We Care

This is me in the greenroom at the Fashion Innovation conference during NYC Fashion Week. I was on a panel about sustainable fashion.

In my day job, I focus on fashion and innovation.  When we think about innovation, it often leads to the question of how to make fashion more sustainable.  My concept of SHOPPING YOUR CLOSET not only speaks to my philosophy on spending, but it also meets my desire to support a better environment.  Globally, 80 percent of discarded textiles end up in landfills or are burned.  An alarming 20 percent of textiles are recycled or reused.  Yes, I said 20 percent.  Help the planet!!!  In an effort to promote the benefits of conscious fashion, these are my top five ways to be a sustainable fashion consumer.

  1. Avoid over shopping.  When I shop, I often ask myself these questions – does this look better than what I already have in my closet, and how many times will I wear it?  Very early in my career, I was a true shopaholic.  Since I went out every weekend, I shopped for a new outfit every weekend.  Over the years, I have come to appreciate the benefits of building a timeless wardrobe that is adaptable to the many social and professional demands of my life.
  2. Spread the love.  Since NYC is cold a fair amount of time, I often try to support those unable to dress adequately for the weather.  Thus, I have a rule.  If I buy a coat, I must give a coat.  This helps me to avoid wasteful buying while also ensuring that I am thinking about others.
Vintage shopping in Brooklyn at Harold and Maude Vintage (592 Lafayette Ave, Bed Stuy),
  1. Shop other peoples’ closets.  If you love designer looks, take the time to find a great vintage store that is known for its high-end scores.  Just like when you buy a car, the value of the item depreciates the moment it leaves the store.  I also make sure that my girls, who are also fashionistas, think of me when they purge their closet. 
  2. Buy trans-seasonal pieces.  I found this ingenious tip in a Harper’s Bazaar article.  Look for materials and styles that can be worn across seasons.  This will increase the number of wears, and you will also be improving the versatility of what’s in your closet.  Some trans-seasonal pieces are lightweight dresses that can be worn alone in the warmer months and paired with a sweater or jacket when it is chilly.  Blazers that can double for an overcoat in the spring are great for a jacket that can be worn with a coat in the winter.  This trick also works well if your travel schedule takes you to locations with varying temperatures. 
  3. Repair before you replace.  My sisters call me cheap, but I like to think of myself as thrifty.  My two favorite peeps are my tailor and my shoe guy.  Since I shop a ton of vintage, my tailor does an amazing job of getting me to have a custom look from thrift finds.  The photo at the beginning of the article is a $10 dress that I found in a thrift store ben.  For a mere $40 dollars, I had the dress re-cut, hemmed, and cleaned.  I got so many compliments on the outfit that I was truly amazed.  I do a similar strategy with shoes.  At the start of each season, I re-heel my heels, and I reinforce the soles of my boots.  For less than $20 a pair, I am able to get another season out of my precious shoes and boots. 

Do yourself and the environment a favor, be a conscious fashion consumer. 

My $10 vintage find from the Foyer Vintage located at 80 Bond St. (Downtown Brooklyn)

Fashion Inspiration – The Curated NYC

When a dress just makes you pause. Christian Siriano tulle gown.

While it is probably one of the busiest, crowded, and most expensive ($$$$) places in the world, I truly am grateful to live in NYC – the home of my fashion inspiration.  As I was preparing for an upcoming gala, I visited The Curated NYC this weekend.  The flagship boutique of the body affirming designer, Christian Siriano, who has rightfully earned recognition for his commitment to dressing the diverse sizes of the modern woman.  Yesssss!!!!  A point of trivia, this 1920s property was once the office of Cary Grant – totally explains the cinematic vibe of the space. The moment you enter, you are immediately transformed into a world of glamour by the visual stimulation of ornate floral arrangements and walls discretely covered in precious hues of pink, purple, and ivory.  FABULOUS.  Each room is a showcase of red-carpet beads, baubles, and jewels displayed alongside Siriano’s latest collection of body-universal styles.  Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the uber insightful Siriano team members who wait on your every request – at your ready are a library of look books from all of Siriano’s collections – while gently reminding you that each item can be customized to your size and style direction.  Imagine that; you get to do a remake of a Siriano look.  Love it!!!

The second floor is the gown and red carpet jewelry show area .

Siriano personally selects the featured designers while also meticulously creating the perfect presentation by filling each room with plush carpets and cozy seating arrangements.  I felt like I was in my dressing room at home – then I was reminded that my whole apartment was the size of the fitting room (such an NYC reality).  Tastefully, throughout this multi-brand boutique, you can find luxury womenswear, ready-to-wear, accessories, fragrances, vintage home décor, and gifts.  When the weather is cooperating, you can even sip on a spiced latte at the quaint outdoor café. 

While I was an economics major in college, I always wondered what would have happened had I studied interior design.  I have a real passion for details like original crown molding, winding staircases, polished doorknobs and hardware, and jaw-dropping chandeliers.  Well, Curated NYC has that and more.  It is a visual wonderland of all things grand with a twist of fashion whimsy. 

Portrait of Laverne Cox that hangs in the gown section.

Oh, I can’t forget the original artwork.  As one of the Siriano fashion ambassadors so politely reminded me, the portraits of Lady Gaga and Laverne Cox were the same images shown on the runway during a Siriano Fashion Week show.  Who knew?  I’m still trying to get an invite to a Siriano show.  Oh well, there is always next season. 

If you are looking for fashion inspiration, spend an afternoon in the Siriano paradise.  You will not be disappointed. 

The Curated, Christian Siriano’s flagship boutique located at 5 W 54th St., New York, NY 10019.

My Top Six Martha’s Vineyard Things To Do

Beach life…

As a true east coast girl, born in Boston and raised in Philly, Martha’s Vineyard was my Jersey shore as a kid.  Each summer my parents packed my two sisters and me up and ferried us away to the magical Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island kind of south of Cape Cod.  These trips continued in my 20s and 30s when I rented or forced myself upon my friends to stay in shore houses on the Vineyard.  After about a break from the Vineyard for a decade, I went back this past week.  Absolutely amazing.  While many of the restaurants on Circuit Ave. (the main strip in Oak Bluffs) have changed, the island still is the charming, friendly sanctuary looking to welcome its summer visitors. 

During the summer months, especially August, the Vineyard is quite the buzz.  It is the vacation destination for the Obamas, the host venue for the MV African-American Film Festival, and the choice gathering spot for many girlfriend trips, Greek organizations, and those just looking to have fun. 

The thing that I love about the island is that you can do as much or as little as you like during your stay.  This year’s trip was all about relaxation and connecting with friends.  From house hopping to long walks on the beach, I enjoyed my stay and came up with this list of top six Vineyard favorites.

The Martha’s Vineyard Airport works just fine. Treat yourself; fly to the Vineyard.

6.  Unless you just feel compelled to have your car on the island (Note:  all the shared ride services are available and biking on the island is quite en vogue), do yourself a favor – FLY.  While there is a quaint charm of being on the ferry line, that lasts 5 minutes, fly.  Martha’s Vineyard airport is convenient and quick.  If you book early, you can get a reasonable rate.  Delta and Jet Blue are the main carriers.  Trust me; it is worth it.  No ferry lines for me.   

Black Dog shop in Edgartown, MA

5.  Visit the local towns of Tisbury, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs.  As a fashionista, the towns are great to see the craftwork of local artists and grab some of the tourist gear like the island uniform (just joking) Black Dog sweatshirt. 

The only thing missing is my Smartfood white cheddar popcorn.

4.  Drink some Prosecco on the beach.  Not much more I can say about this, but many hours were spent pondering life sipping, chatting, and listening to the waves.  Thanks, Cathy and Sharon for indulging me. 

These smiles say it all. House hopping on the Vineyard.

3. House hop.  One of the things I love about the Vineyard, unlike NYC living, it is a house friendly place.  Most people expect that there will be visitors, so it’s a great time to connect with friends and family without having to wait for Thanksgiving.  The Vineyard, especially Oak Bluffs, is also a great sitting on the porch and people watching place.  Shout out to Rhonda on Narragansett for hipping me to this Vineyard pastime.

46 Narragansett House. Best MV BNB.

2.  Stay at an amazing b&b.  This is me with Kahina Van Dyke, the fabulous owner of the Narragansett House.  A real island treasure with quaint rooms, lovely morning pastries, and the most precious staff.  Not to mention, the wonderful programming that Kahina has arranged to ensure that the inn is always filled with authors, artists, and fun guests.  Must do!

Pure joy. I’m a polar bear.

1.  Be a polar bear.  Yes, I did it.  Each morning at 7:30 AM, myself and about 115 other guests, took a plunge into the Ink Well waters to partake in a precious ceremony of water aerobics.  A genuinely freeing and communal experience.  As I am not a swimmer, I was pleased that I tried but thrilled that I felt the love and support of the community.  Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

See you on the Vineyard next year!

I Totally Understand Why the Wades Love Miami – My Weekend Trip

There’s nothing like a day on Nikki Beach.

On a somewhat last-minute whim, I pulled together an extended weekend stay in the magical city of Miami, FL.  My initial plans were the Dominical Republic (DR) but changed my mind due to the rise of DR travel issues.  Well, I was glad that we picked Miami.  Arriving on a late Thursday afternoon, our first stop was to grab a bite and check out some of the local sites.  As fashionistas tend to do, we ended up at an outdoor mall, Bayside, that featured several Miami boutiques mixed in with a few larger chain stores like a Zara.  However, the outside location created a street fair vibe that made the shopping experience more like strolling through a corridor of community shops versus your standard strip mall.  They also had some yummy treats like Dylan’s Candy.

No one does nightlife like Miami. Rooftop fun!!!

Since when in Miami, you must do what the Miamians do, we checked out the nightlife by hitting the 1 Hotel South Beach, Watr at the 1 Rooftop.  The property is an upscale chain with a modern twist.  They also have one in DUMBO, Brooklyn that features that same ambiance of a scented lobby, the curated seating areas, sculptures featuring local artists, and of course, the lively rooftop lounge. 

I love a good beach day.

I must say, much, if not most of my Miami time, was spent beach or poolside.  We stayed at the InterContinental in downtown Miami.  You should note that Miami is essentially a series of islands connected by bridges.  My recommendation would be to decide what you want to do in Miami and pick your hotel in that central area.  Although Miami is somewhat small, so the typical Uber ride was quite reasonable.  Mind you; I’m from NYC, so everything outside of New York feels cheap to me.

When I travel, I enjoy taking in the art scene.  Because it was such beautiful weather, I couldn’t bring myself to be in a closed-in museum.  Although I will say, I understand that Miami is the home to some fabulous museums like the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and ICA located in the incredible Design District.  Note, ICA is a free museum.  Love it! 

The Miami street art scene is unbelievable.

To get my fill of Miami art, I took it to the streets and went to the Wynwood Walls.  As a proud Miami resident explained Wynwood to me, it was an idea to bring back what once was a blighted Miami neighborhood.  Through the expressive style of murals and street art, Wynwood is a public art space that is filled with pop culture, political, and worldly images.  It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Miami.  Best of all, the Wynwood Walls are a free tourist attraction that only seeks donations.  There is even a few cafes in the area, so you can grab a refreshing beverage while you enjoy Miami’s art scene.

The Design District is a unique blend of art, fashion, and architecture.

As one that loves fashion, the Design District blew me away.  This area located about 2.5 miles from Downtown Miami is a convergence of top designers, unique architecture, and amazing public spaces organized with a Miami flavor – tons of color and energy.  Coming from a city where zoning code limits signage and façade changes, it was refreshing to see how each retailer was encouraged to show off their brand’s style by creating a storefront that reflected their brand.  Very neat!  I also appreciated that the tallest building was three floors.  This made the area feel more like a local neighborhood versus a commercial shopping district.  Fun, fun, fun.  If you are a lover of fashion, architecture, and art, you must visit the Design District. 

To help you plan your trip to Miami, these are my Miami dos and don’ts.

Dos

-If you are staying in the Downtown area, take the Metromover, the Miami version of mass transit (so funny compared to NYC) to the airport.  The tram is free, but you pay a mere $2.50 to ride a few stops to the airport. You avoid traffic, and it is also a wonderful way to see another side of Miami.

-While South Beach is great, visit some of the other fabulous beach concepts like the celebrity and destination hangout spot, Nikki Beach.  Or, do a day pass and hit one of the private, hotel beaches.  This is a link to find passes.

https://daycationapp.com/

While we were there, we did the St. Regis.  Absolutely, amazing.  For about $100, we got a beachside setup of a lounge chair, umbrella, and charming servers always willing to keep the strawberry daiquiris flowing.  The best part is that with the day pass, you also gain access to the St. Regis spa.  This means you are able to use the steam, sauna, and relaxation rooms- St. Regis style. FABULOUS What a wonderful time!!!!

Don’ts

-Because it is so hot, it can rain and clear up within minutes.  With this in mind, I would say don’t get caught up in the weather forecast.  Channel sunny days while in Miami.

-While I am such the worst offender of this, don’t overpack.  With the exception of the nightlife scene, this can be kind of FANCY, Miami is a resort-like atmosphere.  The vibe is one of mellow and casual, so I say bring a few cover-ups (wore my cover-ups 90 percent of the time), a cute hat, some shades, and a few swimsuits.  You will be all set. 

My parting thoughts on Miami are that I had a blast.  I can’t wait until the next trip back to this oasis of fun under the sun.  Fashionistas, I hope to see you in Miami. 

Kentucky Derby Weekend

Kentucky Derby style with friends.

A couple of weeks ago, I checked off one of my fashion, bucket list experiences.  Yep, I was smelling roses, sipping mint juleps, and of course, showing off my style at the 145th Kentucky Derby.  At the invite of my fashionista cousin, Sonya Jenkins, Publisher and Editor at Sonya’s Spotlight Web Magazine, I had a behind the scenes access to all the Derby had to offer.  As a newbie, this is what I found out.  Essentially, the day of the Derby there is 12 races with a big race that occurs around 6 PM.  While the track has tons of action, the infield, stands, and private suites are where you can see all the fashions. 

All styles are a go at the Kentucky Derby. I saw divas in elegant gowns with cowboy boots underneath, and handsome dudes sporting floral three-piece suits and cigars.  Of course, the show stopper of the day were the HATS.  A guide for picking a hit – the bigger, the better.  The Kentucky Derby is not a time to be shy. 

A tip that I got was just as there is Rent the Runway for evening wear; there is a Rent the Races (https://rent-the-races.myshopify.com) for rim hats and fascinators. I also was impressed by the number of individuals that got creative with fake flowers, feathers, and boas.  Tip:  the Dollar General is a great spot to grab these items.  While you are there, pick up a glue gun to give your design a professional look.  However, my Derby veterans all knew about Dee’s Hats (5045 Shelbyville Rd., Louisville, KY) for the most elaborate, head-turning hats.  Just in case you were wondering, Dee does a massive sale the day after the Kentucky Derby.  

Coming up roses at the Derby…

These are my tips on how to max your style on Derby Day.

  1.  Since the majority of the day is spent outside, I recommend that you wear an outfit that is comfortable like a flowy sundress or even a jumpsuit.  There were quite a few fashionistas with jumpsuits in vibrant colors like fuchsia.  While I am a red fan, Pink was the dominant color of the day.   
  2. Accessories are welcomed.  To add pop to your look, try a long string of pearls or go fancy with a pair of dress gloves.  Remember, you want people to stop and say WOW.
  3. Footwear is key.  Whether you are in the stands, strolling the perimeter or enjoying the Turf Club, wear shoes that will allow you to be comfortable and stylish.  It also doesn’t hurt to keep a pair of flip flops in your bag.
  4. Security will not allow you to bring in umbrellas, so PONCHOS are a must.  In talking with my Louisville peeps, rain tends to fall during the Derby.  Be prepared.
  5. Lastly, have fun with your look.  Everyone at the Derby is very complimentary, so make the most of it.  Go big or go home

Fashionistas, see you at the Kentucky Derby next year.