Sunday Stories: "BBC Mum," Ina Garten's Apartment, and Oxford Commas

Ina Garten's Upper East Side pied-a-terre is for sale. Not surprisingly, the kitchen looks amazing.

Any of my Nashville friends scored fabulous designer deals at this store? Maybe I will check it out on my next visit. 

Sure, you can dress like her. But do you really want to tell people she is your fashion inspiration?

I have totally jumped on the cauliflower rice trend - even Scott loved this recipe and described it as tasting like couscous. 

Looks like a dreamy vacation to me.

Time to starting using the Oxford comma again.

I can't even. The writer of this heartbreakingly beautiful essay passed away this week.

Still laughing at the "BBC Dad" interview? This "BBC Mum" spoof is even funnier. 

Have a lovely week!

Recycling Secrets of Socialites

Socialites and fashionistas on the Upper East Side don't just recycle their bottles and newspapers.

They also recycle their pricey designer threads.  After all, you just cannot be photographed in the same Chanel twice (insert eye roll here).   

To clean out their closets to make room for new stuff, they often take clothes to nearby consignment shops.  

That means the rest of us can find (relative) bargains on these high-end pieces.  We're not talking "cheap" here - just much less expensive than the original high three- and four-figure price tags.

If you know me, you know that my definition of "shopping" for designer clothes is generally browsing - not buying - so it's been fun to get the inside scoop from the owners and managers of these shops.

Designer resale differs from the charity thrift stores that also populate the neighborhood.  There, you might find a designer needle in the haystack - but it's a very large haystack of a lot of other stuff.  The shops described here pretty much exclusively carry higher-end designer and contemporary pieces.  

This is the second in a series (see last week's post) highlighting these resale shops.  Follow us and stay tuned for more in the weeks to come!

Matiell, 163 East 87th Street

This little gem is tucked away between a dry cleaner and old firehouse between Lexington and Third Avenues. Matiell is a much smaller shop than Michael's Consignment, which I wrote about last week, but the caliber of labels is on par with any other designer resale shop in the neighborhood. 

In fact, I saw lots of Chanel, Armani, Reed Krakoff and other pieces - with the original tags and prices still attached. 

I also combed through a rack of gorgeous dresses in which Prabal Gurung, Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham and other hot designers were well-represented.

I was especially drawn to the colorful array of Hermès scarves (sorry - no Birkin bags!) - several of which are also shown on their web site at www.matiellconsignment.com.  They ranged from $250 to $350 - not cheap - but if these are your thing, that's a fraction of the typical price.  If you're looking for specific patterns, Michael's Consignment has an amazing Hermès scarf selection as well.

I would have loved to walk out in these metallic Missoni platforms - but sadly, they were about two sizes too small.

Happy shopping!

Designer at a Discount

If you watch a lot of Bravo (think "Real Housewives") or follow the fashion world, you know there is a not-so-small population of women who spend huge amounts of money on designer clothes every season.

Of course, many of them cannot possibly be seen in an outfit more than once.  To make room in their overstuffed closets, they get rid of not-even-gently-used clothing - and often take it to consignment stores.  Since many of these women live on the Upper East Side, the neighborhood is prime hunting ground for designer deals.

Though Scott and I live on the Upper East Side, our apartment is "east of Third."  In Manhattan-speak, that means we live light years away from the socialites and hedge-fund folks along Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue.  

If you peek inside my closet, you will find very few designer pieces - all of them bought at a major discount. However, I walk by designer resale shops every week, and regularly pop in to see what's new. 

This is the first of a series of posts about high-end consignment shops in the neighborhood.  While these offer great deals, they are still not cheap.  That $575 DvF dress might be $125 - not peanuts, but an amazing bargain for the dress.  But we're not talking fake handbags on Canal Street here.  These are the real deals.

Michael's Consignment, 1041 Madison Avenue @79th Street

Michael's has been around for more than 60 years and according to the manager, regularly receives consignments from their Upper East Side neighbors as well as women in Dallas, Boston, Italy, Tokyo and other places.

She explained that March/April (as in right now!) and September/October are great times to score deals, as women are cleaning out their closets and making room for the new season.

Their shoe selection is especially easy to shop.  They group popular designers together, so you don't have to dig through hundreds of shoes in search of Choos.  Note this entire wall of Manolo Blahniks, or a section of the Christian Louboutin display shown above.  

I discovered Michael's when shopping for a wedding dress nine years ago, since at the time they sold designer wedding dresses on consignment.  They no longer do bridal, but whatever else you're looking for, you'll probably find it among their two floors of designer shoes, cocktail dresses, jackets, gowns, accessories and more.  I saw lots of Hermès, Chanel and Prada, and you can browse their web site to see other designers that are represented here.

They are open daily, and offer some of their selection online.  So, even if you're not in NYC, you can still drop by at www.michaelsconsignment.com.