Sunday, May 23, 2010

Safari Style #1: Training Wheels

Do fashion training wheels really exist?

I can't tell you how many times I've wished for these - especially after moving to Boston. And while it's true that you'll see many sports jerseys and flip flops, there are an equal number of well-dressed people walking around too. Dressing the part can be very difficult if (a) you don't know what you're doing (shamefully raising my hand) and (b) would rather not spend all of your extra money on clothes. Here are some ideas to help you make training wheels of your own.

There's plenty to look at in Boston. People watching will always yield ideas, so the next time you're grabbing a latte, sit back and just watch. I can't tell you how many ideas I've gotten just by taking a look around me. Just be sure you're wearing a dark pair of sunglasses to remain inconspicuous.

Read and flip through publications that can help you identify styles and trends. Don't buy or subscribe to any of these. Just hit your favorite bookstore one afternoon, grab a latte, and peruse the following:
--The Improper Bostonian ( - Get information on the latest fashion trends around town (and local places to shop).
--Real Simple ( - RS always has a fashion section displaying complete outfits (from head to toe) with details of where to buy. Most often, the items listed are pricey, so I use them as the foundation for ideas to buy something similar and cheaper at a different location.
--Elle ( or Allure ( Magazine - both contain incredible styles guides with options for all budgets.

Ultimately, this is up to you. Some of my favorites:

Second Time Around (
Upon hearing the words "vintage" or "consignment", those of us with little or no experience are reminded of thrift stores where you can buy a pound of mothball scented clothes for $1. Here, I'm referring to the "gently" used clothing market, where clothes are selected for sale. Many clothes are name brand, in excellent condition, and sold for a mere fraction of the original cost. Visit the 3 locations on Newbury Street or the one in Harvard Square.

I'd never thought I'd say this, but I love H&M. I shop here specifically for evening wear and accessories. Staples like jeans, t-shirts and the like are generally better bought somewhere else. Plus this is an inexpensive way to embrace trends or look for styles based off of something you saw in a magazine.

Ann Taylor Loft
When you need to look polished during the day, you can't beat Ann Taylor Loft ( The clothes have more structure and refinement than ever, especially since they've redesigned their line. If you see something you like and don't want to pay full price, wait three weeks. Your item will be on sale before you know it.

If you like bold colors and interesting patterns for dresses and tops, visit Boden ( Considering that this online and catalog retailer is located in the UK, you're not likely to bump into someone wearing the same outfit. Buy once from them, and you'll start receiving emails about discounts, which can add up over time.

That's enough for now. More on Accessories in an upcoming post.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Safari Tip#1: A Free Pee

You're out on safari and all of a sudden a warm, tingly sensation comes over you. Are you reminiscing over time recently spent with your significant other? Eh, no not exactly. It's actually your bladder signaling you that it's time for a pit stop.

Enter the question dreaded by all safari-travelers, "Where can I pee?" aka "Where can I pee - for free?"

Here's a list of places where you can comfortably use the restroom without feeling obligated to spend a dime:
-Faneuil Hall - enter the middle of the three Quincy Markets. Pass through the food court and look for the restroom signs.
-Copley Place or the Prudential Center. Both contain public restrooms.
-The Boston Public Library - lower level. If asked, you're looking for a book! ;)
-The Charles River Esplanade (near the sailing school)
-Back Bay Subway station (Orange Line) - you'll want to squat at this station. Seriously, I'm not kidding.
-South Sation (Red Line) - located just off of the main food court.

Problem solved.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Safari #2: Get Green and Relax

When asked which season is the best, most Bostonians will tell you without hesitation that it's Spring. With the return of warm temperatures, low humidity and baseball, everyone has a slight "spring" in their step. And while some of us may sniffle and sneeze with all of the loveliness that the new season brings, it still won't keep us away from all the greenery that Boston has to offer.

For your next safari, put a picnic together (bought or made) and head out to enjoy a green spot. While there are an endless number of more public green spaces (like the Boston Common and Public Garden), try shooting for something a little less off the beaten path. Depending on where you are in the city, try any of these locations (and bring Fido along too):

--Commonwealth Avenue Mall (Commonwealth Avenue in Back Bay - just walk down the tree lined middle and check out all of the statues/monuments)
--Arnold Arboretum (Forest Hills Stop on the Orange Line)
--Jamaica Pond (Stony Brook Stop on the Orange Line or the #39 bus from Copley)
--Beaconsfield Park (Beaconsfield T stop off of the Green Line D Outbound)
--Outlook Park (at the top of Summit Ave between Brighton and Brookline)
--Chestnut Hill Reservoir (one lap around is 1.6 miles - get some exercise while you're at it!)