FNO Part 2

After leaving Sak’s last night we were on a glamorous-fashion high. I was so excited to get to the next big event that I basically ran the 7 blocks up to Henri Bendel. Henri Bendel is another large department store on 5th Avenue. This store was scheduled to have Cirque Du Soleil performers entertaining throughout their store all night!

Before we even entered the doors we were greeted by a beautiful (and kind of creepy) lady in the store’s window. She had a microphone and could communicate with all the people passing by on the sidewalk as she gracefully moved side to side in the storefront. Once we entered the store, we were surround by Cirque performers dressed in outrageous costumes, handing out samples, walking from room to room, and some even performing on platforms 20 feet in the air.

We were able to pick up some free cocktails as we roamed from floor to floor, searching for more Cirque characters. Henri Bendel is always decked out with beautiful accessories, bright and colorful décor, and creative displays, so the Cirque demonstrations fit in perfectly.

After the mini-Cirque show we walked to the lovely Bergdorf Goodman’s. Bergdorf’s is celebrating its 111th Birthday. To celebrate they decked out the place in purple. There was a giant purple cake, purple party hats, purple shoes, purple banners, purple displays, and even purple light bulbs in their elegant chandeliers. There was also a new book being released on the third floor.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’ Goodmans is a companion book to an upcoming documentary, which goes by the same name and comes out in two weeks. The author, Sara James Mnookin, was selling copies and signing autographs on the third floor. I was intrigued by this book the second I heard the title, and the more I learned about it, the better it sounded. It’s a book full of humorous and fabulous anecdotes from famous shoppers, infamous customers, employees, and designers. The author interviewed hundreds of these “Bergdorf” people to put her story together.

While chatting with her I mentioned that this book is the first thing I have been able to afford at Bergdorfs. She signed my book For Hilarie, and all your BG memories! (The First of many purchases at BG!) …. I hope she’s right.

We left BG’s and walked a few blocks over to Bloomingdales. By the time we arrived the celebrities and singers that had been performing were already gone. We roamed around anyways and found a super cool video game type thingy that allows you to dress yourself in clothes and accessories found at Bloomingdale’s.

Zoey tried it, and it was unbelievable how well it worked! She was able to choose any type of clothing, accessories to match, and virtually try everything on as she walked around and modeled on the giant TV screen. It was such a fun way to try on clothes, without actually having to try on clothes.

When we left Bloomingdales, we decided to walk back down 5th to take in a few more sights before the night ended. By 10pm most of the stores were closing, the celebrities were already boarding their private jets to their next glamorous destination, and stunned shoppers were tipsily walking out of stores with arms full of bags.

For years my second favorite holiday has been Black Friday, (my Birthday is first) but FNO is quickly working it’s way up the list. It’s at least in the top 5 now. Can’t wait to see what retailers have in store for the 5th annual celebration, only 363 days to go!

Cheers!

FNO!!!!!!!

One year ago I experienced my first Fashion’s Night Out, and blogged about it the second I got home. (I’d link to the post here, but thanks to MobileMe no longer existing I cannot do that.) Anyhow, I had the BEST night shopping in all of Manhattan’s fanciest stores, watching a free Ne-Yo concert, and literally running into Niki Minaj. I’ve been looking forward to the next one ever since.

H&M provided a free bus that transported people to every H&M in the city.
Walking down 5th Avenue gazing at the elaborate storefronts is half the fun!

Last night marked the 4th annual FNO. I have been planning my itinerary for the last two weeks, but the experience I was mostly excited about was the meet-and-greet with Darren Criss (of Glee fame) at Saks 5th Avenue. The second I got off work, Husband, Zoey, and I hopped in a cab and headed to 5th Avenue. We arrived an hour and a half before he was set to appear… and the line was already closed off!

I couldn’t believe it! Completely defeated, I slumped and sulked back to the first floor; I figured if I couldn’t have Darren, I could at least score some free Magnolia cupcakes and a martini. No such luck. We covered all 8 floors of Saks and we got one measly glow-stick bracelet and a perfume sample.

I had the best luck last year! I got to meet anyone I wanted, went home with bags of free samples, a full belly, and feeling tipsy from all the free cocktails. This night was starting to look a little bleak.

Somewhere around the designer purse section, right behind Oscar De La Renta’s meet-and-greet, things began to look up.

I ran into a Blue Man. At first, I was so off guard I couldn’t really register the fact that I was all of a sudden in the middle of the Blue Man Group. (Not too different from my reaction to running into Niki.) Once I came to my senses, the three of us took out our cameras and began following the blue trio past the purse section and up the escalator to the next floor where we found a DJ.

The Blue Man Group began dancing around the DJ, putting on his headphones, and then spinning their own tracks. All of a sudden a random person started dancing in the middle of the floor, and then right. before. my very. eyes. A FLASH MOB BROKE OUT!!!!! I cannot even begin to tell you how long I have wanted to see a flash mob in person! (To be honest, my REAL dream is to be a part of a flash mob, but this is a close second.)

Saks turned out to have lots of other fun activities that didn’t involve hugging Darren Criss. We found an Instagram printer that allowed you to print anything you took on Instagram. Then, we took pictures in a BCBG photo booth. Next, I “graffiti-ed” on a Crayola wall with a marker airbrush machine. I even got to play a fencing game on the Wii with an Olympic hopeful fencer, AND I won! Twice! Yay me!

Instagram #1
and Instagram #2
BCBG Photo booth…not very flattering, but fun!

I won! I won!

Just walking around the enormous department store was pretty fun and entertaining. The DJ’s were playing jams throughout the store, famous designers were walking around scoping out the joint and signing autographs, and there were tons of fun interactive booths! You could get henna tattoos from Rihanna’s tattoo artist. You could even get your nails, makeup, or hair done from professional stylists.

The lines were all too long for us to waste our time, but we enjoyed watching everyone else get free makeovers.
So many pretty things to look at!
These crayons were carved by an artist, and they look unbelievable!

What’s even better is that this was just our first stop! I’ve already put way too many photos on this one blog, so I’ll save the rest for tomorrow! Happy Shopping!

Cheers!

Never Know What to do With Squash

I must be sick. Over the last month I have been cooking. Not like, toast and microwavable nuggets cooking, like real chop-up-the-veggies and use the oven cooking.  I don’t know what’s come over me, but I’ve come home from work a few times in one week and started slaving away in the kitchen like I’m Donna Reed.

I made a huge Mexican feast one night and I did not even use canned beans or instant Spanish rice! Do you know how long it takes to cook dried beans and real Spanish rice??? A long-ass time! It was delicious though, so I guess it was worth the time it consumed; I felt incredibly accomplished when I finished eating and Husband did the dishes.

We order most of our groceries online from Fresh Direct, and have them delivered to our door because we are real New Yorkers, and real New Yorkers get everything delivered. (Also, it’s actually a little cheaper to get them online, and it’s worth having someone else carry all your groceries up four flights of stairs!). The one problem with online grocery shopping is not being able to see the immense pile of groceries flowing over your virtual shopping cart.

It is too easy to just “click, click, click” away, and end up with items you will never actually eat. I try to avoid over shopping by keeping a list on the fridge that I update anytime I notice we are out of something, or need something specific. That way, when it’s time to order more, I have an exact list to follow. Although, somehow, those sneaky little “On Sale Summer Clearance Fresh Super Cheap Items” advertisements always overpower my list and I still end up with 36 bottles of seltzer water at my door the next day.

The most recent order I made, I “accidently” bought 2 pounds of squash. I like squash, but really, what the hell was I thinking buying 2 pounds of squash and nothing else to compliment it? It wasn’t like I had a squash recipe idea in mind.

Eventually, the dreaded end-of-edible-groceries-in-the-fridge-time came, and all that was left was the squash and a few random ingredients. I decided to google a recipe for squash casserole….hoping we’d have enough to make something work.

I ended up combining about 3 different recipes, picking and choosing the ingredients we had, and invented my own casserole recipe. Because casseroles (like soup, sandwiches, and salads) are the kind of dishes you can just add random ingredients too, and they will still turn out decent. I half followed each casserole recipe, threw in a few of my own ideas, and came up with a pretty yummy dish.

First, I sliced the all the squash and boiled the slices until they were tender.

 

Next, I drained the water and mashed all the squash slices with my potato masher.

 

Third, I added about a cup of milk, about a cup of vegetable broth, and a couple handfuls of shredded parmesan to the mashed squash.

 

After this, I beat one egg, and added it with some of my favorite seasonings to the mixture.

 

Then, I coated a casserole dish with olive oil and put the casserole mixture in the dish.

I’m such an olive oil snob, and this is amazing olive oil!!!!! You MUST try it.

 

I topped off the casserole with 3 different toppings because I couldn’t decide which would taste butter. On one third I used crushed croutons, another third I used crushed tortilla chips, and on the last third I used some left over crumbled cornbread.

I cooked the casserole on 375 degrees for about 35 minutes, and tada!

 

Just call me Hilarie Crocker.

I don’t know what’s come over me, but I hope this cooking phase doesn’t last too long…I’d hate for Husband to lose his touch.

Cheers!