For A-List Living on D-List Dimes......

Monday, August 16, 2010

On Your Marks, Jet Set, Go....!!!

So if you’re a San Francisco sista like myself it’s probably fair to say that like me this weather is fairly pushing you over the edge! Now I myself grew up in the Emerald Isle and so one might think that I have a natural appreciation and empathy towards a cool climate but you would be sorely mistaken. I signed on to live in Cali-For-Ni-A and I for one expect some sunshine during the summer months! Is that truly too much to ask? So given the adverse affect this fog is having on my normal carefree persona you can only imagine my delight when one of my favorite girls suggested a weekend away in La La Land. IN!!! She had barely finished her sentence before I was mentally packing my bags, picking out my outfits and giving myself a virtual manicure. Yes, I am one who tends to get a little carried away with things before being brought back to the real world with a bang. It’s like when I go on a first date – I have the poor unfortunate sitting across the table from me married and divorced in my head before we’ve even had our first kiss! Needless to say, the image of me working my money-maker with a Mojito in hand at the Mondrian pool was quickly shattered into a million little pieces when that pesky credit card bill crept into my mind and the recollection of a few outstanding bills that have not been yet paid (at the same time, who needs really PG&E?? – candlelight is way more flattering anyway).

How the hell can one live like a jet-setting A-Lister on our D-List dimes?? Dismayed, I started offering excuses as to why I maybe wouldn’t be in a position to make it. I mumbled on about work….a possible date….the curtain rail I needed to hang before remembering an important fact - I am a resourceful little minx. Has this fog not only dulled up my mornings but now clouded my mind and better judgment? I am the type of girl that if I decide I want something in life I set my mind to achieving it and I am rarely deterred from accomplishing my ultimate goal. I couldn’t let a couple of air miles that I don’t have get in the way of what I knew would be a much needed good time. I had to make this work. Just as I’ve advised before regarding sartorial purchases – research is of paramount importance to us chickas living the champagne lifestyle on beer money. One of my favorite websites when it comes to travel is Kayak – it is truly awesome. You type in your destination and the dates you want to travel and it cross-references almost all of the different airline companies to give you the best available deals on your chosen dates. It literally does the work for you – almost. You should know that Kayak doesn’t actually include Southwest flights as an option in their search so you might want to check their website out separately (it’s always worth a look). Other favorites of mine include Priceline and Orbitz. If money was never an option I would ONLY fly with Virgin America. Seriously – their planes are so awesome, their lounge at SFO is so great (indeed, once I was having such a good time in the VA lounge myself and my partners in crime – you know who you are - contemplated just staying there and not getting on our flight back to Ireland for Xmas – don’t think the folks would have been too impressed) and what’s more you can flirt with fellow flyers through their in-flight instant messaging system. Who wouldn’t enjoy having a mile-high first date? Not literally people…..dirty minds…..shame on you…..!

Despite what Kim Kardashian’s hair extensions doth protest………sometimes less IS more. And this applies to your weekends away too. Yes, it would be truly fantastic to have two nights out on the tear but remember – double the fun also means double the dollars. What’s more, if you only fly to your destination first thing on a Saturday morning as opposed to after work on Friday not only will you save on an extravagant night out on the tiles but you’re also probably going to get a better deal on flights. Even better. And when it comes to hotels the same is also true. I have to say, I’ve learnt not to be a big spender when it comes to hotels (I say this as though I really have any other options – humor me, people). Yes, the Mondrian in LA is really cool but you can still hang at the Skye bar at night while actually staying down the street in accommodation that’s half the price. I always feel that spending money on hotels is completely wasteful – a hotel is where you should be resting your pretty little head and recharging with some beauty sleep before the following days antics. A nice hotel encourages you to stay there and is so inviting that you fail to venture beyond its compound walls and experience the real city or country vibes that are available to you. Better again, if you have a kindly friend who will take pity on your sorry ass and offer you their couch for the weekend – take it! There’s nothing better than experiencing a new city with a local. You get to cut out all the tourist trash and get to the real life and soul of the place. Love it.

Needless to say, being the industrious little maneuverer that I am, I have fanangled a way to make my weekend away work – and I’m SO excited. There are few feelings in the world that parallel to that overwhelming sense of satisfaction that you feel after settling in your sun lounger, taking that first sip of sangria and exhaling. Aaaah – you have arrived! Watch out LA……;)

PS: Virgin American has a fabuless sale going on at the moment! Check it out here!  You'll now have more money to spend on luggage like Mariah!!


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Friday, August 13, 2010

What Are You Doing This Weekend....???!

WHO??  Free Oysters On The Half Shell at El Rio
WHEN??  Every Friday night at 5.30pm
WHAT??  In a bid to attract the after-work crowd, El Rio offers free deelish oysters to all fellow drinkers who frequent their establishment at 5.30pm.  Hurry though - they go fast!
WHERE??  El Rio, 3158 Mission Street (at Cesar Chavez)
WHAT'LL IT COST??  For your oysters - nothin!  Wash it down with a $3 pint or Wells drink.
WEBSITE??  For more info, click here!!

WHO??  Fabulous Fashionista Sample Sale
WHEN??   Saturday, August 14 (10am-4pm - I would advise to get there early!)
WHAT??  A shopping extravaganza!!!  Up to 70% off fabuless dresses, tops, cashmere and bags from designers including BCBG, Ella Moss and James Perse.  Love it!
WHERE??  Fort Mason Center, Building D (click here for a map)
WHAT'LL IT COST??  Entrance is free!  70% off these designer labels - priceless!
WEBSITE??  For more info, click here!!

WHO??  Candlestick Antiques & Collectibles Faire
WHEN??  Sunday, August 15 6am-3pm
WHAT??  The Alameda Flea Market comes to San Francisco - yahoo!!  But on a smaller level, last month there were 150 vendors compared to the sometimes overwhelming 800 in Alameda!
WHERE??  Candlestick Park.  For directions, click here
WHAT'LL IT COST??  From $5-$15 depending on what time you go at.
WEBSITE??  Candlestick Antiques & Collectibles Faire

Have fun my Recessionistas!!  Don't forget to tell me if you know of any other fabuless events happening this weekend!
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Break-up or Bankrupt??

Can you ever forget the first time you truly had your heart broken? I will never forget that fateful day back in ’98 when a three minute phone conversation literally DEVESTATED my world. I was sixteen at the time and the focus of my affection and attention was a much older man (he had a solid three years on me). When he called me on that Sunday morning to tell me that he didn’t like me anymore (a sensitive soul he was not) I genuinely thought my world had ended. While I threw myself in a heap on the floor sobbing my father did what every man’s gut instinct is to stop a girl from crying – he threw money at the situation. ‘Are you ok, pet’, he said to me, ‘would you like to go shopping?’ Five hours later and with a “stylish” faux fur trimmed winter coat resting in my bag it seemed that life was once again worth living. Now one can obviously ascertain that my heart’s ability to mend itself in such a short space of time was clearly indicative of my age but have I ever really changed?

Let’s think about it, how did I get over my last break up?? Well, I got my hair cut and colored, hit up Ambience for a new cocktail dress and my two wonderful girlfriends came with me for an obnoxiously expensive dinner and cocktail extravaganza at Le Colonial. No joke. Last year, when I stopped dating whats-his-name all of a sudden my AMEX did the talking and a few days later parcels from Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s and BCBG magically started to appear on my office desk. How strange! And it would seem that I am not alone. No sooner have us girls uttered the words ‘so long, sucker’ we are busy getting to the task of washing that man right out of our hair. Literally. Back in 2006, after all-American sweetheart Reese Witherspoon bid adieu to her beau Ryan Philippe she was soon seen sporting a much sexier and edgier hairdo. Similarly, not long after Anne Hathaway left Raffaello Follieri she reemerged on to the Hollywood scene with a modern bob and a sophisticated new wardrobe to match. Indeed, break ups seem to be synonymous with major style makeovers which have everybody else saying ‘ooh la la’ but on our D-List dimes ends up being more ‘oh Christ, why did I not pay for that overdraft protection plan?!’. Nonetheless, clothes might be a safer option than cuts - before you go doing anything dramatic with your hair please spare a thought for poor old Felicity actress, Keri Russell, who dramatically cut her luscious locks after a traumatic break-up in 1999 (see below). Truly tragic.

But you know, it’s not just the break-upèe (made up word, yes, you now have permission to use this) who starts dolling out the dollar bills like it’s going out of fashion. When a good friend of mine broke up with her ex only a few months ago and she admitted to me how he always hated her wearing short skirts, well of course the only rational thing for her to do was to go out and buy twenty mini-dresses. Makes sense for her – she was trying to mend a broken heart. What did not necessarily make sense was the sympathy shopping that I myself partook in. Just how was it that my purchase of a pair of Badley Mischka pumps (duh, Nordstrom Rack ladies – I’d never pay full price obviously) somehow an act of sisterly loyalty? Why did my retail therapy in any way help her? I’ll never know the answer to this (anyway, from what I’m told us women are meant to be loved not understood) but ultimately I guess it did….and as she admitted to me that day, ‘I know I’ve spent a lot of money – but in the long run it’s probably cheaper than a psychiatrist’! Too true but, it doesn’t just end with sympathy ‘shopping’. There are also the sympathy drinks and the sympathy trips to the movie theater and the sympathy manicures and the sympathy pedicures…. Breaking-up has become a multi-million dollar business and all at our expense! Hasn’t the movie industry taught us that all we need is a big bucket of ice cream to get over him? And while we women start weeping into our wallets most men just need a beer and a shot to get back into the groove. How rude!

I’m a fervent believer that it is better to love and have lost than to never love at all but seriously girls, when it comes to your next break-up try not to end up bankrupt. It may seem like a good idea at the time but the high of indulging in that $200 pixie-cut hairdo and pair of Louboutain pumps will not last. Stick to cups of tea and chats with your girls.

This too shall pass……

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

What To Do This Weekend.....

WHO??   Off The Grid
WHEN??   Friday, August 6, 5-9pm
WHAT??   This is a roaming mobile food extravaganza which travels to different locations daily. Not only does it serve up delicious food but there's also music, craft and soul.
WHERE??   Fort Mason Center - click here for directions.
WHAT'LL IT COST??   Nothing - it's free!
WEBSITE??   Off The Grid

WHO??   San Francisco Aloha Festival
WHEN??   Saturday, August 7 (&August 8), 10am-5pm
WHAT??   A two day festival of arts & crafts, island cuisine, educational exhibits and Polynesian dance. Psst! It's alcohol-free so maybe hit it up after some bottomless mimosas at Dell'Uva!
WHERE??   SF Presidio Main Post/Parade Grounds. Click here for directions!
WHAT'LL IT COST??   Zero Dollars!!
WEBSITE??   San Francisco Aloha Festival

WHO??   San Francisco Theater Festival
WHEN??   Sunday, August 8,
WHAT??   This event is aimed at giving those with low incomes the opportunity to enjoy the theatrical talent of the Bay Area. The festival features a variety of theatrical performances from shows including 'Beach Blanket Babylon', 'The Big Lebowski' and 'Ray Of Light' Theater. Sounds amazing!
WHERE??   Yerba Buena Gardens arts complex as well as in the Metreon, The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SPUR and the California Historical Society
WHAT'LL IT COST??   Just like all best things in's free!
WEBSITE??   San Francisco Theater Festival
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One For The Boys......Kinda...!

Despite the fact that the girlie-ness of this site verges towards being almost vulgar at times it would appear that I do in fact have some male readers. I was asked by some to maybe consider writing a couple of guy-friendly articles. Fervent to please as I am, I immediately got to thinking about how I could impress the boys with a witty, charming article that would solve all their sartorial grievances. My mind works at a million miles an hour yet despite the multitude of ideas that popped into my head I ultimately could not get away from one undeniable fact – I just love my girls! I love my single and fabuless girls and I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to write for any other reader. Sorry boys!

Throughout my life I have surrounded myself by fiery females. When I was younger, I identified these girls as fun. Indeed, ten years ago, it was all about the boys and the booze – and not necessarily in that order. Our weeks were filled with desperately planning for the weekend, laboriously plotting outfits in minute detail and having the luxury to spend all day Saturday getting ready. The greatest irony in the latter, of course, was that we ultimately looked like we’d quickly wrapped a hair band around our waists, draped some chain mail across our chests and applied our make-up in the dark. The glory years. Indeed, these did not necessarily come across as high fashion, carefully crafted looks that say the likes of Rachel Zoe would put her name to (LOVED the premier of the new season of her show the other night by the way – I ‘literally’ died!) but you can’t argue with this – we tried. Since then the skirts have gotten a little longer but in truth not much has changed – these girls are still a hell of a lot of fun (although I think it’s fair to say that thankfully we no longer have a penchant to drink ten Jagerbombs on a random Tuesday night!).

Nonetheless, where would we be without a little male lovin’ every now and then. Yes, despite what those bra-burning b*tches would have you think - we all need a hero. No, no I’m not telling you to start hawking yourself out on Craigslist’s ‘casual encounters’ or take any saucy pictures for But seriously girls, what does a single lady do when things start getting a little less Dior and a little more DIY around the house? Just as I saw Kimora Lee Simmons say, I too like to think of myself as ‘every woman’ and I’m not afraid to get my hands a little dirty every now and again. I can cook (even my fire alarm cheers me on), I can clean and I am excellent at art directing where pictures should be hung. Having said that – you are high off your mind if you think that I am ever going to waste some of my hard earned dollar dollar bills on buying a drill when Piperlime has a sale on boots. The fact that there is a hammer in my home is shocking to me – it must have been left there by a past tenant. If I only own one eye shadow brush you cannot seriously expect me to own an iron. So what does a single sista do when Bob the Builder type operations start popping up around your house but without the obvious person to help you – Bob. Let me introduce you to your new crush – What Jesse Metcalfe was to Eva Longoria in Desperate Housewives this website will be to you (minus of course the hotness that was Jesse Metcalfe in Desperate Housewives – dammit). It’s such a simple concept. Sharing. You heard me – share. The idea is that as a community we pool our resources so we don’t all have to waste money on things we only use once or twice. Genius! So if I have a ladder (which I obviously don’t) I can post this online and show that it is available to a safe network of users and then when you’re hanging that chandelier that you just bought at a bargainous price from the Alameda Flea Market you can borrow it. Love it! Of course the area of this website that I would like to see develop further is indeed the ‘apparel’ section. As of yet, I can only find a couple of pairs of running shoes (boo) and a mink coat (random) but I have that tingling feeling of anticipation that this is going to be a good thing for us girls. Watch this space!

So remember ladies, I’m all about Kimora’s concept of being ‘every woman’ but sometimes we still need a man around the house…….boys, I may have failed in my quest to write an article for you but hopefully your girl will come home a little more appreciative of you this evening…..And of course – let me know what you think of!

                                   The Rachel Zoe Project (just because!)

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Monday, August 2, 2010

The Best Things In Life Are Flea...

So here we are on the dawn of a new week, your text messages for the next few days will be more about conference calls than cocktails and at 6am you will now be saying ‘get up!’ not ‘good night’. Aaah, you’ve gotta love the weekends and I do hope that you did not let your Sunday ruin your Monday. I most certainly didn’t.

I gots to be telling you, there are fewer places I love more in the world than the Alameda Flea Market. So I was delighted when my two soul sistas agreed to indulge my penchant for a good deal and drive my car-less ass out there. It’s not just that I love a good bargain – which as you all know I do, in fact, I did have a friend of mine recently compare me to William Shatner as the Priceline ‘Negotiator’ – “yes”, as SJP in Sex & The City 2 would say, “but with cocktails…!”. I digress. Indeed, I do love the notion of buying treasures for tricks but the thing that struck me most while perusing through this amazing market yesterday was, in fact, the people. Yes, the people at the Alameda Flea Market are a truly wonderful group. They are, dare I say, kind. They are considerate. Random other shoppers have a genuine interest in knowing which bargains you’ve discovered and if you wouldn’t mind pointing them in the right direction. Sellers truly take pity on sob stories like myself and gladly knock a couple of zeros off their original asking price. We had one very kind gentleman take pity on us three princesses – after spending all our money and indulging on way too many wares we were trundling back towards the car park with trolleys piled high, laden down with goods and carrying a new kitchen table between two of us - had they seen us coming towards the Mexican border, they would never have let us through – yes, this kind soul stopped us to ask how we were planning on transporting all of this stuff home? Hmm, we hadn’t really thought about this. We were so high off our bargain buys we had neglected to think too far into the future and were completely avoiding the fact that we ultimately knew this was never all going to fit into the car. Now not only did this lovely man offer to take the table off our hands and deliver it safely to my apartment later in the day, as he wasn’t finished shopping yet he also told us where the key was hidden to his truck and gave us directions so we could rid ourselves of this cumbersome burden straight away. What a star. Delighted with ourselves we set off to drop off the table but oh boy, was that a big car park. While the lovely Mike was indeed helping us a bunch by letting us deposit this in his truck, we still had a long way to go before actually getting there. But why were we so concerned? No sooner had we come to this realization ourselves did a knight in shining armor come to our rescue. Literally. And what’s more, this guy was H-O-T HOT - he offered to drive us in his truck to wherever it was we were going. “Your place”, is what I wanted to say but I settled for car park zone ‘BB’. Now let me ask you this – do you think we’d have seen such benevolence at Barney’s?? Have you ever born witness to such kindness of spirit at Saks?? Me thinks not.

I believe this friendly atmosphere is indicative of a number of kindred spirits coming together in a common place with a common goal in mind – to get a good deal. It doesn’t matter whether you spend a hundred dollars or a thousand there are simply only two types of people that spend their Sunday afternoon at a flea market – those who can’t afford anything else and those who can but still love a bargain! From the moment you walk into a store in the city you are being judged. The sales assistant is trying to figure out if it’s going to be worth her while waiting on you and the other shoppers are assessing whether you look like you can afford more or less than them. I do it. I size up other people and if I like what they are wearing I am similarly interested in which items they are looking at (I also have NO problem elbowing them out of the way in order to find my size). For most women, shopping is a kind of sport – like football. We enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death and the bliss of the buy. When you combine this with the added element of getting to negotiate your price (come on, you know how much we love to argue) the result is pure, unadultered ecstasy.

Good things come to those who wait and yes, every month I am waiting and anticipating the Alameda Flea Market which takes place only on the first Sunday of every month. However, I am VERY excited to hear that the folks who bring us this flea fantasy have just taken a year-long lease at Candlestick Park and so every third Sunday the Alameda Flea Market will be taking place in our city! I’m telling you sisters, the best things in life are flea……;)

WHERE TO GO?? Alameda Flea Market

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