Cheryl Shops California

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram might have been wondering where I was last week, I skipped town to tag along on MW's work trip to California. I am a huge fan of the Golden State—San Francisco is probably the only other city I could live in—from the landscape to the food to, yes, the shopping. So here's what I did on my late-summer vacation.

San Francisco
MW and I stayed at the W San Francisco, which is one of my two favorite hotels in the city (the other is The Clift, where my parents happened to be staying; they were upgraded to a suite that was literally larger than my Brooklyn apartment). I spent Saturday having a lovely girls' day with my dear friend JC; we brunched at Foreign Cinema (which has my favorite daytime cocktail in the world), got mani-pedis, then got drunk on Palomas (maybe new favorite nighttime cocktail!) while waiting for our table at Tacolicious. Sunday we had brunch in Hayes Valley, my favorite neighborhood to shop in (more on that later), then my parents & I went to the DeYoung museum to see the Paley collection special exhibit which, ironically, came from MoMA! With a little break before dinner, I finally made it to the storied Jeremy's, which reminded me of a smaller Daffy's in the days of yore. They were having a pretty good sale, with extra markdowns on clothing, but everything I saw that I liked was either stained or ripped. I am still, however, kicking myself over a pair of nude patent leather YSL Tribute sandals which were in my size and a veritable bargain at $325, and yet, for some reason, I did not buy. After catching up with another of my favorite San Franciscans over a bottle of wine, we ended the night with dinnner at the excellent Bluestem Brasserie. Get the steak. Monday, MW & I trekked out to one of his favorite bookstores, Green Apple Books, which is in the Inner Richmond (or East Jesus Nowhere), but worth the trip. For a city that loves its fleece and yoga pants, it has a pretty impressive selection of fashion books; I found a great one on Cheryl Shops fave Ralph Rucci, as well as an out-of-print collection of vintage YSL photographs. After a lunch break at Nopalito (I swear, I would eat Mexican food every day if I lived in SF), we hit the Haight, where MW loves Amoeba Records and I always head straight to Wasteland, whose vintage section sadly seems to be shrinking. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped in Hayes Valley, which houses two of my favorite stores in SF, Gimmie Shoes and Azalea. I left the former empty-handed, but I got an awesome draped-back sweater by Cheap Monday at the latter. We closed out our final night in SF with drinks at the famous Bourbon & Branch (its cucumber gimlet is also a strongcontender for my new favorite nighttime drink) and dinner at Plaj, a new, incredibly tasty Scandinavian restaurant.

Route 1
Having never done the coastal drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I somehow convinced MW that it would be more economical than flying. So off we drove, and I felt like I was in a video game. Fun! Our first stop was Swanton Berry Farm, where we spent $25 on jam (but it was totally worth it). We made it to Santa Cruz for lunch (we ate at Zachary's) and strolled around a bit; MW was pumped to find both a new and a used bookstore; at the latter, he bought me this Yoda 2013 calendar, which might as well as had my name on it. (Yes, I'm a dork; I quote Yoda frequently.) Back in the car, we stopped in Monterey, which was having a farmer's market on Tuesday afternoon; it was MW's first California farmer's market, and I think his mind was blown: the most perfect-looking organic strawberries for $2 a container, and everyone has free samples! MW bought a lot of nuts. After almost being blown off the cliff to get this photo, we stopped in Big Sur for dinner at Nepenthe, which came highly recommended by our acupuncturist. And then our troubles began. We had booked a hotel room in San Luis Obispo for the night, and I figured we could safely make it there in a day, however I did not factor in stopping-time in my calculations. This is why I work in fashion and not in finance. Regardless, poor MW drove for another two hours in pitch-black darkness to SLO, where we tumbled into our hotel room. We were bummed to miss the Hearst Castle, but, well, there's always next time. The next day, we stopped by the Madonna Inn, which pretty much needs to be seen to be believed (this is their steakhouse restaurant); I commemorated the experience with a hot-pink bathrobe, although I'd definitely recommend their chalice-like wine glasses too. After a mountaintop dip in the hot tub at Sycamore Mineral Springs, we headed to Santa Barbara, which is where I finally felt like we were in Southern California. State Street is the main drag where there are all manner of national chain stores, from Forever 21 to Nordstrom; I much preferred the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, where you can almost feel like you're in wine country...except you're not. I treated myself to a bottle of Pinot Gris, because when in Santa Barbara...

Los Angeles

I've been to LA multiple times before, but this time, it felt a bit...different. I'm starting to understand that whole LA-versus-NYC thing, and I think you can figure out where I stand. Our hotel, the Sunset Tower, was lovely, with Kiehl's products in the bathroom, a Nespresso machine (!!) in the room, and a pretty amazing view. Also, the continental breakfast is fabulous. My big recommendation if you stay there: Don't get the "standard" room. It is "standard" size only if you are a minitaure dog traveling by yourself. That said, they have a great spa, the Argyle, where I had a much-needed facial with Arcona products, and my skin still looks amazing a week later. Also, my aesthetitcian talked about how she lives in Venice because she needs to "absorb positive ions from the ocean" while she sleeps, so that was...informative. MW had to work on Thursday, so after dropping him off, I hit Robertson Boulevard, which I remembered to be a cool place to shop. I bought a crazy studded minaudiere at Kitson, but otherwise, it was a bit sleepy. Then again, that might have been because it was 90 DEGREES outside. What was that about the beautiful LA weather again? We later grabbed a snack at Joan's on Third, and watched everyone check each other out, trying to figure out if they were famous and/or important.  Then we had dinner with MW's agent at Dominick's, and I really started to feel like we were in Entourage. We held on to that feeling the next day with lunch at Urth Caffé, where I had some amazing iced tea and more people stared at us and then figured out we weren't famous or important. Then we did some Melrose shopping, with a stop at Fred Segal, where I treated myself to some awesome-smelling Kai body butter (I also recommend the tuberose-heavy IF perfume) at Apothia. Once again, no one was shopping; maybe everyone was sitting at cafés, hoping to get noticed. We ended the day with a trip to Griffith Observatory (amazing views!) and dinner at Cliff's Edge with two of our favorite former New Yorkers and then a chance meeting with another friend of ours who was randomly in town to write a magazine story. It's a small world after all. On the way to LAX the next day, I stopped in Venice Beach with my friend MT for brunch at Gjelina, which was awesome and all of a sudden made me very homesick for Brooklyn. Venice Beach kind of reminds me of Brooklyn, if you scrubbed it clean and dumped it by the ocean. (Hey, better to absorb those positive ions!) I wish I had spent more time there, but my aesthetician recommended Princepessa as an ion-friendly place to shop. When in Los Angeles, right?

New York Fashion Week Things I saw that I liked

Hey, remember Fashion Week? It seems like forever ago, so I'm forgoing my usual three-part Fashion Week recap in favor of a new post that pretty much sums up my favorite things that I saw during the week. some are trends, some are little tidbits, some are just pure awesomeness. so here they are.

Stripes of all kind, but especially vertical stripes (shown here at Kaelen) photograph by Mina Kim

The headphones on the models at W118 by Walter Baker  photograph by Mina Kim

Lauren Conrad's body language net to Ryan Lochte at Rebecca Minkoff

Chloe Norgaard, the model with the groovy rainbow hair at Nicole Miller (also seen at Marimekko)

Pretty much everything at Charlotte Ronson, but especially the fresh-looking hair and makeup  photograph by Mina Kim

Underwear as outerwear at Ruffian (and bonus points for Converse All-stars) photograph by Mina Kim

I'm finally coming around to peplums. (This one is from Sun Jung Wan.)

The ballet theme at Christian Siriano, and the fact that I could see the shoes for once

The elegant silver chain detail at the neckline of this dress by Lela Rose

A random Sunday-afternoon surprise appearance by Paris and Nicky Hilton in the tents (yes, I was that close)

 Major color at Chado Ralph Rucci (these are outtakes, but I kind of love them)

The dramatic opening at Carlos Miele

This model who had a Dumb-Donald-from-Fat-Albert situation happening with her hat, yet still managed to smile, at Marimekko

This entire look, but particularly the necklace, at Brandon Sun.

The fact that I had Mina taking photos of so many shows this season. seriously, how amazing is she? (This is Badgley Mischka.) photograph by Mina Kim

5 Marvelous TheFind Guest Post: Minaudieres To Complete Your Evening Ensembles!

I've never been much of a clutch girl. There's something about having to grip onto something all night while you're also trying to sip a cocktail and mingle with fellow party-goers – I'd almost always rather haul a clunkier purse that I can just throw over my shoulder hands-free, even if it's not the most evening-appropriate look. But the fashion world's recent resurfaced obsession with minaudieres have me tempted to switch over to the mini side! Minaudieres just exude effortless chicness – they're cute, compact, and clean with their structured silhouettes, not to mention crisis-free with their spill-proof closures, and add an instant air of sophistication to even the most simplistic LBD. From ultra-glam sparkly pieces from Clutch Queen Judith Leiber to edgy skull-embellished treasures from Alexander McQueen, a minaudiere can totally make or break a night-out ensemble! Check out my favorites in the links below! Pictured above: Kotur Renna Snakeskin Minaudiere, Bottega Veneta Oval Minaudiere, Alexander McQueen Knuckle Box Long Clutch, Judith Leiber Slide Lock Minaudiere, and Diane von Furstenberg Sphere Lace Clutch. - Alexandra Gambardella  

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

New York Fashion Week Day 7: Nanette Lepore & Juicy Couture

Stick a fork in us; we're done! We both made it to one show this morning, skipped everything this afternoon (sorry, Milly and Whitney Eve), and only I managed to stumble back up to Lincoln Center one last time. Tomorrow, I'm wearing flats.

Nanette Lepore

Whether it was the Brazlian Girls performing live or just advance buzz on Nanette Lepore's  spring collection, it seemed everyone wanted to get into her show—including Aida Turturro, Edie Falco, Abigail Breslin, Stanley Tucci, Soledad O'Brien, Carol Kane (!), and Jennifer Westfeldt, all of whom sat front row. I barely got in myself, but thankfully Mina was on the media riser to take these awesome photos. As for the clothes, they were very on trend, with lots of vertical stripes in green, white, and black. Lepore added some texture with groovy crocheted swim cover-ups and slick patent-leather jackets and shorts. A lovely series of blue and coral printed dresses that grew more sheer toward the hem closed the show with a pretty effect. Can't decide which was your favorite look? Lepore had a more pressing vote in her mind—she left Obama-Biden 2012 buttons on everyone's seat. photos by Mina Kim

Juicy Couture
I was excited to be invited to Juicy Couture's presentation; mock the brand all you want, but its clothes (and especially its jewelry) are fun. The brand had fenced off part of Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center, right in front of the tents, and as I walked in, I was served a glass of pink champagne by a cute bartender. So far, so good. However, the "presentation" turned out to be a video projected on a huge screen; it featured Candice Swanepoel modeling the spring collection to "Crazy For You" by Best Coast (excellent song choice, btw) as directed by Zoe Cassavetes. In other words, there were no actual clothes on actual models, wah-wah, although Juicy was kind enough to send me photos of the collection after the event.  (My favorite look is at left.) And thus my Fashion Week came to somewhat of a lame end, albeit a happy one: I was slightly buzzed, and I had Thai food and MW waiting for me at home.

New York Fashion Week Day 6: Brandon Sun & Badgley Mischka

You might have noticed our Fashion Week schedule was a bit front-loaded. This is usually the case, although this season has had the added factor of my own fatigue threatening to end the party early. Kids, I am no spring chicken anymore. But speaking of spring, Mina & I saw two totally strong shows on Tuesday (see what I did there?), proving that when it comes to Fashion Week, quality wins out over quantity.

Brandon Sun 
With this being only his second ready-to-wear collection, Brandon Sun uses a lot of fur in his designs, which poses a unique problem for spring. His solution: lightweight, airy knitted fur vests and scarves, perfect for layering during transitional weather (or great all summer long if you live in, say, San Francisco). He also worked with leather, creating, among other things, the most delicious peplum skirt I've seen after three seasons straight of peplum proliferation. The palette was mostly shades of gray (but not fifty!), which was rather refreshing after so much color on the runways. I found myself shopping this collection, which is always a promising sign; I can't wait to see Sun in his true element—fur—next season.

Badgley Mischka
Mina is now wary of saying anything about the shows via text message, lest I quote her here, but she did say that Badgley Mischka was gorgeous, and I wholeheartedly agree. As usual, they mixed all three lines—regular, couture, and contemporary—in a show inspired by the 1935 film A Midsummer Night's Dream, resulting in airy, gossamer-like gowns that floated down the runway like fairies. It was totally in line with spring's lighter mood, and it certainly lifted my spirits.

Cheryl Shops New York City: 5 Top Stores

As a New York City resident, I have a distinct advantage in covering Fashion Week, in that every night, no matter how where I've been or what I've seen, I get to come home and go to sleep in my own bed. It's funny, though, how many people you meet who've come here from L.A. or Seattle or Kansas or wherever to cover the shows, and they're just so excited to be in NYC, it reminds me of why I love this city so much. And one of those reasons is that New York City is still one of the best places in the world to shop. So, I interrupt my Fashion Week coverage to bring you my top five shopping destinations in New York City, for tourists and locals alike.

449 W 14th St.
The store that pretty much made the Meatpacking District a hotspot, it has the most mouth-watering shoe selection in NYC. Look for their twice-yearly sales, usually in January and June. 

9 Christopher St.
This jewel box of a store in the West Village stocks hard-to-find scents by niche perfumers, and gives out generous samples if, like me, you have a hard time making up your mind. 

888 Broadway
This NYC institution boasts ten floors of otherworldly furniture to fill your dream apartment. Make a pit stop at the Jean-Georges Vongerichten-helmed ABC Kitchen restaurant inside.

35 Howard St.
Now celebrating its 10 year, Opening Ceremony remains, hands down, the coolest place to shop in NYC. It has the hottest, most cutting-edge designers, including ones you've never heard of but who are likely to become household names one day.

399 Lafayette St.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I post pictures of my drinks almost as frequently as my shoes. What can I say? I like to drink. The best place to stock up is this warehouse-like store, with an incredibly friendly, knowledgable staff and great bargain picks too.

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Full disclosure: Compensation was provided by Capital One via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Capital One.

New York Fashion Week Day 5: Carlos Miele, Marimekko, Reem Acra & Libertine

Sunday was the halfway point of Fashion Week, and while the first four days were awesome, there's always a point soon thereafter where I start to lose it. I am a person who relishes her sleep (and her lazy weekends), so after running around all day on about 5 hours of sleep per night, by Monday I was Super Grumpy. I know, you're playing the world's smallest violin for me. I do love every minute of Fashion Week—I joke that I could watch fashion shows all day, every day—but I am human. And so I'd like to apologize to the PR girl I called "unprofessional and elitist" within earshot on Monday afternoon. Well, I still think that, but I shouldn't have said it out loud.

Carlos Miele
My day started out on a bright note—literally and figuratively—at Carlos Miele, whose pre-show was a sleepy affair until Vanessa Williams, Daisy Fuentes, and Paula Abdul (yes, Straight Up Paula Abdul) breezed in and were promptly mobbed by paparazzi. As for the action on the runway, Miele's notes cited a hallucinatory jungle, and that's a fairly accurate way to describe his lively collection. Giraffe, zebra, and leopard prints mixed and mingled, sometimes all in one dress, and Miele achieved the remarkable feat of making the color green look sexy. Then again, Miele makes pretty much everything look sexy, particularly his asymmetrically ruched dresses that create the most flattering effect across the hips and derriere. And Miele knows exactly what to do with that area—he is Brazilian, after all.

Its Brattle Street store in Cambridge was the hotspot for Radcliffe students in the '60s and '70s, but in recent years, the Finnish label Marimekko has been more widely known in this country for its home textiles (which are available in Crate & Barrel, for one). But for spring, fashion is a big focus for the company, with adorable shift dresses in relaxed shapes and bold, colorful prints. Fun clothes aside, this show was notable for two reasons: One, all the models were smiling. Two, it featured three "vintage" supermodels: Carol Alt, Pat Cleveland, and Carmen Dell'Orefice, all of whom were featured in the excellent recent HBO documentary about models, About Face, which I would highly recommend watching if you haven't already. The smiles and the models were a bit on the gimmicky side, but both made me smile, and, like I said earlier, by the fifth day of Fashion Week, a little happiness goes a long way.

Reem Acra

Continuing on the sexy streak she started last season (complete with a similar glossy black runway on which guests were not allowed to tread), Reem Acra showed a sleek collection of mostly midnight blue, white, red, and gold inspired by artist Aaron Young's motorcycle-inspired works. There were no biker jackets or otherwise obvious references; instead, Acra showed dangerously sexy sleek sheaths with sheer side cutouts, perforated leather day dresses, and lots of fluid pants and jumpsuits. But with all of Reem Acra shows, the gowns that closed the show were the main attraction, utilizing sheer fabrics, some as cutouts, some whipped into frothy ball gowns and embroidered with metallic thread or beads. They glittered, and any star would be smart to snap them up for the red carpet.

I managed to miss or intentionally skip five shows in the afternoon, so I figured I'd end the day by stopping by the Libertine show at Pier 57, as it tends to be a fun one. (Note to self: Anything at Pier 57, at 11th Avenue and 15th Street, does not involve "stopping by" due to the considerable three-block crosstown walk from the subway.) And while I got there 25 minutes before the scheduled end date, I managed to see only the last two looks. So, here's one of 'em. Looks like I missed a pretty good party.