5 Things I’m Smitten With 58

 

Two weeks ago we had our inaugural live event- 5 Things I’m Smitten With- in the flesh!
For those of you who attended thank you, and for those who didn’t I’ve made a little video below to make you jealous! Mark your calendars- the next one’s happening in February!

5 Things In The Flesh

Last minute gifts abound this week here on 5 Things. Don’t stress, just let my smitten self save you from holiday gift giving stress. Below are 5 things I would be so happy to find under my tree, and I bet anyone on my list would too.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

StyleMint
This isn’t the first time I’ve sung the praises of this mail order t-shirt godsend. The difference is now I’m a member, a convert and, completely hooked. A clever idea, StyleMint is the brain child of fashion guru sisters Mary Kate and Ashley Olson. While I’m a big fan of their other line The Row (can you even take the beauty of their elegant alligator backpack?), this line is more in the category of investments, not an everyday purchase, and certainly not in my budget for a gift this season. With StyleMint you get expert styling advice from the creators of a high-end brand for a less than high-end price. Receive their exclusively designed t-shirts right in your mailbox every month for just $29.99 per tee. You can choose to purchase immediately or store your credits for later. They offer awesome email discounts and specials- I recently purchased two shirts and received a complimentary pair of leggings! Shipping is free, and they wrap their deliveries with a stylish leather cord that can be worn later on as an accessory to your new digs. So if you need a last minute cadeau for a lady in your life, grab one of their gift cards which can be purchased in 1, 2, 3, or 6 credits. Recipients can visit the site, get a personalized style profile with recommendations on which choices to make, and purchase now or wait for next month’s collection. Every one I’ve received has already been worn numerous times. Besides, who doesn’t constantly need t-shirts? The answer is EVERYONE!

 

 

Whole Living
I’m an admitted fashion and beauty magazine addict, so when a client brought in a copy of Whole Living Magazine to the studio to share- I figured I would glean a couple of good recipes out of it and send it on to the recycling bin. I was wrong. While their mouthwatering recipes are abound, there is so much more. Wellness advice comes in the form of alternative healing articles like how to fight depression naturally, or which foods to eat to promote longevity. A whole (no pun intended) section on how to balance (my #1 resolution for 2012), with info on career/money, relationships, and how to manage stress. Their fitness advice has thoughtfulness in mind with guidance on how to get your cardio in by bike riding or swimming, as well as articles on yoga and Pilates. Round it all off with natural beauty tips and guidelines on how to make your life greener, and you’ve got a fantastic mag! With an incredible deal of only $10 for a year, a click of your mouse can cross a stocking stuffer off your list. Get this incredible deal here.

 

 

Beer of the Month Club
I find that the men in my life are hard to shop for. I stopped buying clothing or accessories as gifts when I once found a $100 cashmere sweater on the closet floor! I love the idea of a gift that continues to give year round and this beer club does just the trick. Each month the recipient receives four bottles of different microbrews from award-winning breweries. Choose between 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions. Shipping is free and all you have to do is visit the site, make your order, and fill out a gift card. Those hard-to-buy-for men will be happy you got them just what they wanted- although you might have to be the one picking up the empty bottles off the floor.

 

 

Birchbox
Another previous mention is a perfect gift for the beauty maven in your life- Birchbox. For as little as $10 a month you can get four or five deluxe samples of hand-picked beauty products delivered right to your door! They have it all- skincare, makeup, hair, body, and fragrance. If you’re like me you like to test-drive something (from a car to a lipstick) before you make a full commitment. Getting small samples is perfect for the commitment phobe and the ones you’re not interested in make great re-gifts! Grab either a subscription for a 12, 6, or 3 month duration, or a gift card she can spend in any amount on the site. With products from Kerastase to Korres there’s bound to be something that will make your giftee smile inside and out.

 

 

Fitness and Wellness Gift Certificates
It’s true that this is my business, but what better gift than the gift of feeling and looking better? None. That’s why I’m recommending some awesome gifts you can get the actives (and those who could stand to be a little more active) in your life. First up, my good friends Caroline Levy and Neda Funk have launched an amazing site, Fitist. Their experts create workout plans, partnering with NYC’s (and now LA!) premiere classes, programs, and studios. PLUS- get exclusive last-minute deals on classes, treatments, and even private Pilates sessions (with awesome studios like mine!). Packages start at as little as $115, and some of their holiday specials even include a massage with all that sweat! If Pilates is more your thing my studio, FORM Pilates Union Square is offering some great holiday deals. For every $100 you purchase as a gift, get $50 for yourself to spend on products or services. We’re also teaming up with our massage guru neighbor, The Urban Healer. Get a 60min massage and a Private Pilates session for just $120! Get either special for some premier Pilates and massage in the city here. If you’re in LA and far away from our health and wellness sanctuary in NYC, try out a killer massage with my good friend and healer Nessa Renee. Her Balanced Harmony offers services as a doula, certified massage, AND Pilates instructor. She’s offering a FREE 1/2 hour massage, a discounted hour ($40), or hour and and a half ($60). She only offers this once a year so grab it while you can. GIve someone the gift of health and this person on your list will be in bliss this holiday season!

5 Things I’m Smitten With 55

Web Therapy
Friends started the year before I was scheduled to graduate from High School. It was the coolest new show of it’s time. These six companions made up one of the first true ‘ensemble’ shows on television, and while Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey, and Chandler are all great- it was Phoebe Buffay (aka Lisa Kudrow) that I tuned in for every week. Life after Friends, led to various movie rolls, and eventually the sitcom- The Comeback. Lisa’s D-grade actress character- Valerie Cherish, was hopelessly tragic and almost sickening to watch at times, but genius all the same. While I found it difficult to endure watching Valerie in her pathetic pursuit for stardom, let’s face it- Lisa Kudrow is laugh-out-loud funny. She comes from improvisation rootstock, so it’s no surprise her newest brainchild, Web Therapy takes her back to the source. Initially a webisode, Web Therapy centers around Fiona Wallice. Fiona, a restless therapist, discovers a way to make a 50 minute face-to-face session into a three minute video chat. Mostly improvised by Kudrow and her star-studded cast, the show will leave you in stitches. This is not to be missed.

 

Bed Intruder Tribute
I know you remember this. Huntsville, Alabama- Antoine Dodson was interviewed on a local T.V. station about the attempted rape of his sister. The interview, entertaining in it’s own right, blew up on YouTube, and captured the attention of the music group The Gregory Brothers. They tweeked the interview and used auto tune to amp it up into a catchy viral song and music video. The video was viewed over 84 million times and was the most popular video of 2010. Now the song has been taken to another level with a Tribute Album featuring thirteen different versions of the sought-after mix. There’s the original version (of course), along with a rock, jazz, a cappella, piano, and even ukulele rendition. Not only is this great entertainment, it’s great music, and the money is split 50/50 with the Dobson family. No harm, no foul. Just some good fun.

 

Style Mint
Who wouldn’t want to be styled by a professional designer? Pretty much everyone I know, but not many in mind could afford it. Now with StyleMint you can personalize t-shirts and styling options for peanuts. The dynamic fashion duo, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen design some of the coolest t-shirts, with the perfect fit, and match you with your ideal one. Visit the site, create a profile based on your style preferences, retail-therapy choices, and voila- see what the twins have for you. Each tee is only $29.99 with free shipping. Little cost for lots of great looks.

 

My New Desk
I have been obsessed with having a mirrored desk ever since I first laid eyes on a Horchow. Completely out of my price range, I set to work to locate the knock-off. One of my favorite home design blogs- Copy Cat Chic featured one from Pier 1. I rushed to find it, and sadly it was sold out- everywhere!!! I didn’t give up, oh no, and located a replacement on Amazon. This was it! I promptly ordered the affordable version, only to discover that it was on back-order. For THREE months! I was patient and it’s paid off. Last week my mirrored fantasy arrived, and I couldn’t be happier.

Alignyo Contest
A few months ago, I featured Alignyo. This week they’re back with another chance to win 3 months of some of the best yoga in NYC for you and a kindred spirit. All you have to do is visit their site, sign up for the “in the know” guide, and cross your pinkies and toes. You won’t be disappointed with getting alignyo in your inbox every week. It has expert reviews of yoga classes all over the city, and the opportunity to meet some of those most inspiring teachers. Enter this win-win contest here.

5 Things I’m Smitten With 13

 

Nars – The Multiple
Francois Nars, world-known makeup artist slash cosmetic guru, has worked with renowned photographers such as Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel, and Patrick Demarchalier. He’s painted the famous faces of Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Madonna. Makeup is his life and he knows makeup. There are so many things that I love about his brand of glamorous cosmetics, I almost don’t know where to start, almost. My day is filled with Pilates and sweat, lots of it. I am constantly trying to make myself look presentable with whatever’s in my bag. During a photo shoot in 1996, Nars used a single lipstick to color model Carolyn Murphy’s face. When eager customers started using lipstick in place of blush and eyeshadow, Nars invented the perfect all-over face product, The Multiple. It’s a multi-purpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips, anywhere. It’s velvety texture blends wherever your heart desires and is blissfully oil-free. All the colors are to die for, but my favorite is Orgasm. It’s the perfect peachy pink pleasure with just a hint of shimmer, almost better than you know what.

http://www.narscosmetics.com/The-Multiple-C61_makeup_7.aspx

 

 

Pearl River Imports
Over 30 years ago a group of Chinese Immigrants decided to start a retail store in NYC’s Chinatown. Pearl River, the first Chinese American department store was a grand introduction of quality Chinese goods to hungry Americans. Today, Pearl’s products are featured in In Style, People, and Real Simple magazines. They have, well, everything really. Chinese teas, snacks, kitchenware, dishes, clothing, home furnishings, bedding, dolls, window treatments, shoes, beauty products, and even music and instruments! It’s a two-story mega-store. Come prepared to spend some time exploring this kingdom of Chinese imports. My favorite products to score at Pearl River are their beautiful Asian ceramic dishes and plates, Morning Star Incense, and their paper lanterns. Everything is priced to move and you won’t believe what you can get for 40 bucks. It’s a great place to take your tourist friends and seasoned New Yorkers alike.


http://www.pearlriver.com/v2/index.htmll

 

 

My Abuelita’s Spaghetti Sauce
Growing up, I was taken care of mostly by my Mexican Grandmother. She was the typical latin woman. In the kitchen cooking up a storm. It was from her that I learned about infusing love into food and I still make all of her recipes when I need to warm my soul. The change in the NY weather has prompted heavier dishes and my Grandma’s Spaghetti sauce is the best. Here I share it with you:

Recipe:

1 cup chopped onion
1 lb on ground meat (you can use beef, veal, turkey, or veggie)
3 cloves garlic minced
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano and thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt

In a dutch oven, combine onion, meat, and garlic. Cook until meat is browned and onion is tender. Skim off excess fat. Add remaining ingredients and 2 cups of water. Simmer uncovered for 2-3hrs or until sauce is thick. Stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves and serve over hot pasta of your choice.
Serves 6

 

 

Lonny Magazine
It’ll be 3 years this November since I’ve moved into my boyfriend’s pad. It’s taken almost all that time for me to get decorating and making it my own space. I know what I like esthetically, but have never been confident in my inner interior designer. I’m a HUGE fan of Lucky magazine, and one day while reading through, I found an advertisement for Lonny magazine. Like Lucky, Lonny creates the looks you like and tells you how to recreate them on your own. After devouring my first issue, I subscribed tout de suite. Then, due to some undisclosed reason, Lonny shuttered it’s pages. I was crestfallen. Suddenly like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Lonny came back to life. The new Lonny, reminiscent of it’s black and white self, is virtual and includes cool features like being able to click on the lamp or rug, or couch you’re interested in and be taken directly to the site where you can purchase said item. Plus, this virtual edition is FREE! Now if you so desire, you can purchase an actual edition made with sustainably manufactured paper, and if you visit their site daily now until October 10th, they’re giving away some of their editors favorite gifts in celebration of being a year old. I’ll be entering daily to win prizes to make my house beautiful and my own.

http://lonnymag.com/issues/1-aug-sept-2010/pages/1

 

 

Pandora
Since I moved to NYC 4 years ago, I rarely listen to the radio. I’m walking the streets, riding the subway, all while listening to my ipod, not the live radio. Without my free radio fix I’ve racked up quite an itunes bill. Luckily, Pandora has the answer. Pandora is an internet radio station where you can design your listening experience. Type in the name of an artist and their Music Genome Project, Pandora created technology that analyzes your song choice using up to 400 distinct musical characteristics by a trained music analyst, creates a radio station for your listening pleasure. You can also vote on each song to help the people at Pandora streamline your playlist, the result is stations that play music you’ll love- and nothing else. Listen on your computer or download the iphone app to listen on the go.

http://www.pandora.com/