Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Gilt Group Jetsetter Website - Everywhere

Image from Jetsetter

If you have yet to discover the joy that is Gilt, a website devoted to online sample sales at amazing prices, you are really missing out. You can attend their cyber sales from the comfort of your sofa, but still might find yourself in a battle over the top you want in the perfect color and size. Like all good sample sales, sizes are limited, you've got to get there early, and be really decisive (or in this case have really fast internet), but boy are the deals good. 

To add to the mix, they have just recently launched a travel sight called Jetsetter. The prices are incredible. Most sales last only three days, and have limited dates available, but if you're already planning a trip to one of their sale locations, or like to fly by the seat of your pants, it's perfect. Last week they had rooms at the urban chic City Club Hotel in New York for $115. A  hotel of that caliber in NYC will normally cost you at least $200 and upwards. 

Most of their hotels appear to be in the luxury category, with rates slashed over fifty percent. 

Image of Capella Telluride Hotel from Jetsetter

On sale now is the Capella Telluride hotel with rates also starting at $115. 

Image of Maroma Resort & Spa from Jetsetter

The next sale up will be the five star Maroma Resort and Spa on the Riviera Maya. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tea on the Thames - London

(Image from Silver Fleet Website)

(Image from House & Garden Magazine)

No trip to London is complete without having high tea at one of the many swanky establishments. Now you can have your tea and sight see too! The Silver Fleet Cruises offer a high tea on board their Art Deco yacht the Silver Barracuda. Refurbished with luxury Osborne and Little fabrics and other glamorous touches, the two hour cruise also includes a live commentary of historical sights and details. The boat departs from the Waterloo Pier at the base of the London Eye every Thursday through Sunday, and tickets can be purchased at the London Eye website for 18 pounds. It all sounds so perfect for those of us who prefer to sight see in style on a limited budget!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labour and Wait - London

I often dream about having an all white kitchen, with marble counter tops, white subway tiles, shiny silver hardware, and of course beautiful white accessories...

Labour and Wait, a little store off London's Brick Lane has beautifully simplistic utilitarian items for your home. Many hark from an older era, such as their selection of enamelware. I am of course smitten with the white colander with it's flowery holes, the measuring jug, and the porcelain measuring spoons.

Other items that piqued my interest are the masculine folio bag, which is large enough to fit a laptop, and the Austrian enamel dust pan set. It definitely is more handsome then my hideous plastic one and would hopefully make me reach for it more often. I figure you have to buy these items anyway, so why not buy pretty ones?

Labour and Wait
18 Cheshire Street

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Frugal in France - Paris

Before embarking on my trip to Paris this Spring, I fantasized about all of the wonderful French products I would buy for a fraction of what they cost here. Things made in France should be cheaper there right? Apparently, only in my dreams. There are; however, a few exceptions. Several companies have outlets or surplus stores in Paris where you can buy clothing for half the price of what they cost here. I thought I would plan a day in Paris with products, attractions and eats on the cheap.

(Image from A.P.C.)

Start your day off in scenic Montmartre with a delectable almond croissant from the charming Coquelicot bakery at 24, Rue Des Abbesses. Pop in the upscale beauty store a few doors down and stock up on French skin care products. Three products I love that I found cheaper in Paris are: La Roche Posay Hydraphase, Avene Sunscreen, and Nuxe Reve De Miele Lip Balm. After checking out Van Gogh, Picasso, and Lautrec's former studios, make your way over to Sacre Coeur. After you've had enough site seeing and are ready for some shopping, head down the hill and check out the A.P.C Surplus Store at 20 Rue Andre Del Sarte. Of the three outlet stores I hit in Paris I found this to be the best.  The store is small but well organized  with men's and women's selections from about 6 months prior at 50% off.

(image from Zadig & Voltaire)

If you are done exploring Montmartre, you can make your way over to the Marais. There are three free Museums in this area, The Musee Cognacq-Jay, the Maison de Victor Hugo, and the Musee Carnavalet. All are in beautiful mansions and are great places to stop if you need a bathroom break. A cheap place to pick up lunch in this area is L'as du Falafel. It really is the best falafel I have ever had for around 5 euros. There is not much room to eat in, but you can take it to nearby Place de Vosges and sit in the park. There are two other outlets close by, the Zadig and Voltaire at 22 Rue de Bourg Tibourg, and the slightly further a field Et Vous at 17 Rue de Turbigo. The Zadig and Voltaire is the most outletlike experience with boxes and shelves stacked with items to dig through. It is a good place to hit for basics, or to find that item you passed up here months earlier because it was just too expensive. Before visiting their surplus store, I was not familiar with Et Vous clothing, but of the 3 outlets they have the best prices. I found a navy trench coat previously 400 euros for 50, and cashmere sweaters for 40 euros.

(Image from Le Vaissellerie)

If you have the inkling to check out the left bank, head over to La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marche at 38 Rue Sevres. Packed with food, you can pick up a baguette with ham and cheese for about 6 euros and a reasonable bottle of wine. As you make your way over to the Luxembourg Gardens to eat your dinner, stop by Le Vaissellerie on 85 Rue Rennes. Although this is not an outlet, it is packed with white French porcelain for as little as 3 euros a plate, and other thrifty tabletop goodies.

Click below to view my google map with all of the places listed. Happy Shopping!

View Flitterin Frugal in France Map in a larger map

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Big Cheese in Town - Dublin

(Photo From Sheridans Cheesemongers )

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a bit cheese obsessed and firmly believe that any store with the word cheesemonger in the title really knows their stuff. One such store is Sheridans Cheesemonger in Dublin. The counters are stacked with cheeses from all over the world in a chilled store that it is essentially one big refrigerator. It's a perfect place to go on a hot summer day! The staff are very knowledgeable and friendly, and gave me insight into the local cheeses.

(photo from Sheridans Cheesemongers)

The three cows milk cheeses I tried were:

Gubbeen: This cheese is made in County Cork by Giana Ferguson and is pasteurized. The color is butter yellow with a white washed rind. Nutty in flavor, it is closest in taste to a monchego, but softer in texture and not as salty. Of the three cheeses I sampled this one was my favorite. Since it is pasteurized, it might be possible to find it at gourmet cheese shops here in the states.

Ardrahan: A cheese that also hails from County Cork, but is produced from raw milk from Mary Byrnes' own cows. It has a washed orange rind and a soft texture like fontina, but the taste is moderately pungent, with a tangy flavor similar buttermilk.

Mount Callan: Another raw milk cheese produced by an Australian woman named Lucy Hayes in County Clare. Mount Callan is a very hard dry cheddar also made from raw cow's milk and aged two months. The color is very dark yellow with a dark ashy rind. It is a mild cheddar with a slightly earthy flavor.

I think it's hilarious that Sheridans Cheesemongers also make tiered cheese wedding cakes, and would have loved to of ordered one for my wedding. I have the feeling my guests would have been less enthusiastic!

Sheridans Cheesemongers
11 South Anne Street (off of Grafton)
Dublin, Ireland
tel: 016793143

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Magical Maui Shopping - Hawaii

Where to Shop:

Most of my guide books claim that Wailea has the best shopping on Maui, but if you want hip boutiques with local goods, Paia is a must. Labled a sleepy bohemian town, Paia is the Robertson Boulevard of Maui. Stores open around 10 a.m. and close around 6:00 p.m. so if you take the infamous road to Hana early in the morning, you might be able to do a little shopping on your way back. If you feel like you need some rest and relaxation after the treacherous driving, spend the night at the chic Paia Inn.

1. Kimo's Tikki Glass 2. Tori Richards Hawaiian Print Dress 3. Maui Girl aqua "Sunshine Makes Me High" tee 4. Pacifica Hawaii Black Lava Sea Salt 5. Letarte Swimsuit 6. Sophie Grace Designs Necklace 7. Julia's Banana Bread 8. Big Island Bees Organic Hawaiian Honey 9. Hawaiian Botanical Lotion in Creamy Coconut
(Artwork compiled from various sources by Flitterin)

Maui Shopping highlights:

Best Gourmet Gifts:

In the Honua Kai Resort and Spa
130 Kai Malina Parkway
Lahaina, HI 96761
Tel: 808.667.4341
Owned by the team behind Pacifico and I'O, this is a great spot to pick up sandwiches and the best culinary products Maui has to offer. They have a great selection of Maui coffees, Hawaiian Sea Salts (4.), honeys (8.), rums, cheeses and much more.
Note: On Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 to 1:00 p.m. you can tour the owner's farm and hand pick fresh herbs and fruits. Then, sit down for a gourmet lunch prepared from foods sourced from the farm. The cost is $50.00.

Photo from

Julia's Banana Bread Stand
Follow the Kahekili Highway (340) to the Fishing village of Kahakuloa. Once you reach about 1/4 of a mile into the village you will see Julia's bright green stand by the side of the road.

Okay I'm recommending this, but it comes with a disclaimer because if you decide to go, be warned that to get there you will have to go on one of the most perilous roads on the island. Many car rental agreements will not cover you if you drive this road, as it is basically a one lane road with falling rocks on one side, cliffs over the ocean on the other, and blind curves. I think it is worse then the road to Hana, but with that said, Julia's banana bread (7.) is worth it, and is one of the most moist delicious recipes I have tasted as is her coconut "crack" candy. Make sure you stock up, because you won't want to do that drive again. If you think you don't have the stomach to go there yourself, she does ship. I will say that the scenery on this road, and the little village around Julia's little green stand is in my opinion some of the most beautiful on the island.

Best Hawaiian Clothing:

The Shops At Wailea
3750 Wailea Alanui
Wailea, HI 96753
Tori Richards has been in business since the fifties and has beautiful silk Hawaiian patterned dresses (2.) and tops with clean lines you won't find anywhere outside of Hawaii. Her only store on Maui is in Wailea in the Shops At Wailea mall.

24 Baldwin Avenue
Paia, HI 96779
One of Paia's best boutiques filled with beautifully embellished cover ups and swimsuits in exotic patterns (5.).

12 Baldwin Avenue
Paia, HI 96779
Another great Paia find stocked with Maui Girl swimsuits, coverups, and bohemian tees(3).

Best Jewelry Store:

790 Front Street Bldg. 2
Lahaina, HI 96761
A small boutique in the town of Lahaina with a small selection of clothing and a jewelry "bar" where you can customize earrings, necklaces (6.), and bracelets with pearls, crytals, stones, and shells.

Best place to buy locally made skin products:

Lahaina Longs Drugs
Lahaina Cannery Mall
1221 Honoapillani Hwy. #237
Lahaina, HI
This Lahaina Longs carries many of hawaiian made sunscreens and lotions at prices below ABC Store's and other Maui retailers. My favorite products they carry are: the Island Soap Hawaiian Botanical Lotion in Creamy Coconut (9.), Maui Babe Browning Lotion, and Maui Island Skin Sunscreens.

Best Tikki Glasses:

845 Front Street
Lahaina, HI

Kimo's Restaurant in Lahaina serves their mai tais in festive tikki head glasses (1.) that are available for purchase from $12. They are perfect for a fruity cocktail or hot toddy and give off an old school Trader Vics vibe.

View Flitterin Maui Shopping Map in a larger map

Friday, May 15, 2009

Books to Put You In the Mood - Paris

Before I jetted off to Paris a few months ago, I stopped into the Traveler's Bookcase, a lovely little travel bookstore on Third Street in Los Angeles, to pick up some guide books, maps, and a travel dictionary. As I've mentioned before, whenever I am traveling I like to try and pack books to read that are set in that location, and the Traveler's Bookcase has a great selection of fiction and non fiction reading materials for just about anywhere you want to go. When I asked the store's owner what she would recommend for Paris, she said "How about a mystery?" I'm a complete mystery junkie, so I promptly replied "Yes please." She handed me Cara Black's: Murder in the Bastille, and said if "You like this, there is a whole series to read."

I read the entire book on the plane, which is the reason I got no sleep, and finished it just as we were pulling into our gate at Charles de Gaulle. Needless to say, I was hooked.

The series features the adventures of the stylish private detective Aimee Leduc who is kind of like a French Carrie Bradshaw. Each book has a murder committed in a different area of Paris, and really highlights the neighborhood's ambiance. Oddly enough, it seems like the people getting murdered have nothing to do with any case she's working on, but the mysteries are compelling enough for a fun read.

While in Paris, I stopped by a great little English language book store in the Marais, called the Red Wheelbarrow. They carry Cara Black; as well, as many other fiction and non fiction books set in Paris. It's worth a stop to pick out something for the flight home. I bought Murder in Rue de Paradis and read it while eating a croissant on my train ride to London. The experience made me feel like I was lingering in Paris just a little while longer.

Traveler's Bookcase
8375 West Third Street
Los Angeles, Ca 90048
tel: 323.655.0575

The Red Wheelbarrow
22, Rue St Paul
75004 Paris
tel: 0148047508

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What to Pack - Matthew Williamson for H & M

(photo by Solve Sundsbo)

Matthew Williamson's summer line for H & M launched today and there are definitely some items I would like to pack in my suitcase for my summer trip to Hawaii. Number one on my list is the silk tunic pictured above. It is the ultimate glamour cover-up for lounging on the beach. It kind of reminds me of the sexy version of something Mrs. Roper would have worn on Threes Company, but flamboyantly perfect for a tropical local. At $50 I'm thinking it will probably fly off the shelves!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

London - Harvie & Hudson

While in London this spring, I was shocked to see so many sale signs in store windows. Obviously, the recession is hitting the U.K. equally hard and there are great shopping deals to be found. It looks like banker types in particular have tightened their belts because the best deals were on Jermyn Street. This is where all of the great British shirt makers have resided for decades, including Turnbull and Asser, Emma Willis, Thomas Pink, and Harvie & Hudson. Turnbull and Asser and Emma Willis are a bit out of my price range, so I decided to order my husband a few shirts from Harvie and Hudson. Their shirts are beautifully constructed from exquisite cottons with mother of pearl buttons and turn back cuffs. And, unlike many of the current companies on Jermyn Street, they still design and make all of their shirts on the premises. They also offer a slim fit line that is less blousy for a younger look that comes in several classic colors and patterns. Right now, they are offering three or more shirts for 33 pounds, with shipping and the exchange rate, that came to about $50 dollars a shirt. You can check them out online here: .

Harvie & Hudson
77 Jermyn Street
St James

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Guide Books For Foodies - Italy, Paris

When we were traveling around Italy on our honeymoon, Fred Plotkin's: Italy for the Gourmet Traveler was our bible. Encompassing all of Italy, it covers bakeries, markets, wine bars, restaurants of all price ranges, local cheese shops, regional culinary specialties, and so much more. If you are traveling to Italy and want to eat your way through, I seriously recommend you buy this book. It's hefty, but you'll be so happy you packed it. 

I have been searching for a similar guide for Paris and was not having any luck until I came upon Clotilde Dusoulier's new guide: Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris. If you are not familiar with Clotilde, she is the author of one of my favorite blogs, Chocolate & Zucchini

 And if there is one thing this girl knows, it's food. The new book is organized by arrondissements cataloguing  her favorite bakeries, restaurants, ice cream shops, chocolate stores, cheese shops, cafes, bars, and markets. She even gives tips for French etiquette and ordering. The best part is that you are getting advice from a true Parisian who loves food. C'est bon!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ikram Boutique - Chicago

Like most of America, I spent a large portion of today glued to the inaugural festivities admiring Michelle Obama's wardrobe. By now, we all know her golden shift dress and jacket were designed by Isabel Toledo and her dreamy cream chiffon embellished gown by up and coming designer Jason Wu.

Michelle Obama has a real talent for mixing high and low end items, which is a skill we could all use in these hard economic times. She also has a knack for using belts, jewelry, and other bold accessories to add a modern edge to classic silhouettes.

Apparently, just like the rest of us, she gets a little help coordinating from Ikram Goldman owner of a boutique in Chicago where Mrs. Obama frequently shops.

Ikram is definitely where she gets the high end. If your looking for the low end check out J. Crew.

873 North Rush Street
Chicago, Illinois
Tel: 312.587.1000
Open 10am to 6am Monday through Saturday

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Godard's "Made in USA" - L.A. & N.Y.

For all you Godard fans out there, "Made in USA" is being screened for the first time since 1967 in American theaters. This is Godard's take on the film noir, so don't expect serious suspense (the movie described itself as "Walt Disney with blood"), or the disjointed narrative to make much sense.  Anna Karina, donning a glamorous trench coat, takes on the roles of both femme fatale and Humphrey Bogart, while Truffaut's favorite Jean-Pierre Leaud makes an appearance as a bumbling detective wearing a pin that reads "Kiss me I'm Italian."  

See "Made in USA" for the fabulous fashions, the vibrant pop art colored visuals, and of course the lovely Anna Karina.

Playing in Los Angeles at the Landmark Nuart Theatre January 18th - January 22nd and also at the Film Forum in New York through January 22nd.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Charlotte Moss Travel Accessories

Pagoda ZipLoc Travel Bags (25) - $25.00 & " Mine" Luggage Tag - $25.00

Set of Three Mini books - $85.00 & Lucite Tote - $220

Even though the Charlotte Moss townhouse has closed its doors, I am pleased to report the website is still in full swing and selling new goodies. You can count on Ms. Moss to have stylish travel accessories. After all, there is no reason why even the most mundane items can't be pretty!

Breeze through security with your toiletries secure in her pagoda patterned pouches, or spot your luggage on the carousel with her faux croc. "mine" luggage tag. If you're like me and want to keep track of all the cool new haunts you discover on your adventures, these mini notebooks could come in handy.

Last but not least, it would be a cinch to spot your passport in this see through lucite tote. Although, then you might have to splurge on a fancy passport cover because everyone else will be seeing it too!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Love Paris in the Spring Time...

Happy New Year! I already know 2009 will be a better year than 2008 because I am going to Paris in March! My lovely husband has given me a Christmas gift of a week in Paris and of course I am already planning our itinerary and brushing up on my very remedial French.

After searching endlessly for a non flea ridden reasonably priced hotel, I have settled on the Hotel Sainte Beuve, a boutique hotel situated on a quiet street on the left bank just a few blocks from the Luxembourg gardens.

The hotel lobby was designed by the late legendary designer David Hicks with rooms that look minimally stylish. As an added bonus, they have a real fireplace, which given the Paris weather, might be in operation in March. I came to my final decision to book the hotel based on the fact that they are recommended by Chic Retreats. Having stayed in other hotels listed on their website, I feel I can trust their judgement.

Also in the final running was the Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais, a boutique hotel located in the Marais district with a very reasonable price (140 euros a night). The decor is definitely on the feminine side and may be better suited to a girls' getaway, but Caron de Beaumarchais is the place to stay if you are looking for your Marie Antoinette fix. I figure I'll just get that at Laduree and Versaille instead.