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Preview: Caroline's Closet

Caroline's Closet

What started off as a blog about discount shopping has evolved into a commentary on trends, fashion, shopping, art, culture and life in general. I guess the "closet" is really my mind. I hope you enjoy looking through it.

Updated: 2018-03-23T01:30:51.920-05:00


Table for One: Back Forty West


As Louis CK said in his MSG show, if you're sitting next to a person at a restaurant who's alone, that person is listening to your conversation. I have sat next to countless first dates and other configurations of people making inane conversation. My bf KH said I should start a blog called "Table for One." Well since I already have a blog, I am instead going to start a series with said title. It will be like an OH Facebook post, only longer. Be careful what you say, people of NYC, because I'm listening and taking notes on my phone.

Back Forty West, at the bar, two female friends:

I've never been like this I'm always like oh I don't care about this guy. (They started dating two months ago but were friends in high school.)

I remember seeing you the day we met at penn and I had just gone out with him the night before. (Regarding her ex boyfriend who she mentioned three times, even though she's head-over-heels about new guy re: above quote.)

I love your hair, it's reverse ombré. Wait, what? I thought ombré was light at the top and dark on the bottom. Is it? Oh yeah, ok.

Stars on stars


Come on with this look--isn't it perfect. Stars for days. EG is rockin it.

Friendship barrette


Yes it's a friendship barrette and yes she made it herself and her friend has the other. This is once again a colleague of mine--so much workplace inspiration, I tell ya.

Fresh Kicks


For reallious, my dears. This is a pair of shoes. My colleague MB is the dopeness, amiright??

Totally Adorbs in Spite of the Weather


Feeling glum in this non-stop snowfest? Do like my colleague, AV, and rock a cute hat! And umbrella! She looks so sweet.

Business Shorts


Ok ladies, let's band together and stop the shorts-wearing madness shall we? Twice this week I've witnessed women with handbags that hang down farther on the leg than the length of the shorts. Also a tip for those of you who can't stop buying and wearing shorts: if you have to reach in between your legs to yank them down periodically, yeah, they don't fit you properly. And lastly, don't wear shorts to the office. 

Nordstrom Rack Attack: "Worn and Refinished"


My lovelies. I may be way older than I was when I first launched this blog, and I may have veered way off the retail shopping deals track upon which this masterpiece was originally launched. But, that does not at all mean that when I experience an injustice, triumph or just plain old cool thing in the world of shopping I won't share it with you. In fact, I'm probably even more motivated to do so now than ever.

And so it is that I warn you of the "worn and refinished" status of some of what seem like the hottest deals in shoes at Nordstrom Rack. Months ago, I was shocked and thrilled to find a pair of trendy black ankle boots at the NR in Union Square, Manhattan, that were priced so low it would have been stupid for me not to buy them--$35!! Granted, I spied the note on the price tag that these boots had been worn before...after I bought them, but they still had the tags so I could very well have returned them, of course I didn't...Well after just a couple of jaunts out in the boots, the zipper on one of them straight up broke. Ok, no big deal, I thought, I should have expected that.

So now I find myself once again in a predicament. I bought a hot hot pair of DVF flats at the NR in Danvers, MA. Only after (fool! Rookie mistake made again, no less) I bought them did I realize that they are worn and refinished, too.

Will I learn my lesson and simply return these beauties? Should I? I am on the fence. But I can rest assured that at least I informed my public. May you learn from me.

Hot Hair


Look at this amazing braid situation! JL is rocking it, big time. Once again, the colleagues FTW.



Could these two be any cooler? The answer, my friends, is a resounding 'no!' for they are the pinnacle, nay, epicenter of coolness.

When do I get to wear glasses, too?

More Nailz


These are CC's sparkly nails. Don't you love? I want this effect, pronto.



It's been months since I've posted anything, so here goes nothing. Look at this great color palette!

What's Hot, What's Not


This Marc Jacobs headband is hot, albeit pricey (over $100, on sale, on If I had straight, short hair, I'd snatch this thing up and rock it all over town for the next month before the Fall.

1) Painting the ring finger nail a different color than the other nails

As my new favorite, Emma, puts it: "yawnsies." Couldn't have said it better myself!

Photo credit: Emma's Thing

2) Photo booths

Put your oversized glasses, wooden moustaches and pirate hats away.

Photo credit:

Gaga Ain't Got Nothin on Hepburn


There are so many articles being published these days about how what's old is new again due to (a) the lack of creativity of our modern age or (b) the 40-year rule. I'm not sure if it's my reading of these articles that has me keen on the lack of creativity in fashion (my opinion, I know!), or if I'm finally at an age at which I realize being original is relative (how anthropological of me). Either way, I present you with this shot of an amazing outfit Audrey Hepburn is rocking in the movie How to Steal a Million. Look at the sparkly makeup! The earrings! And...the mask. Ahem, Lady Gaga. Ahem.

Hot nails, cool moustache


These nails are rad to the max. Apparently the moustache ring was $3 on eBay or etsy or some online store that starts with a 'e.'

Irish Expressionism


I promised Vin that I'd write a post about Ireland so here goes. I've always had a fascination with the country. In 1998 or 1999 (the 90s - so long ago I can't even remember which year!), I was lucky enough to be sent by my job to live in Dublin for a month. Oh how I wanted to stay and live there long-term.

Ireland and America are good friends. The U.S. ambassador's residence in Dublin is in the same park as the Irish president's house. So traveling around Dublin and the immediate area (Editor's Note: I've not been to Belfast or Northern Ireland) means you're going to be greeted by friendly, welcoming people. This, of course, contributes to the charm of the area—it's nice to not feel like a barbaric American.

But there's another element that, for me, contributes significantly to the charm of the area and that's the expressions used in everyday conversation. Since my trip was about two weeks ago, I couldn't remember all of the fun slang I wanted to share with you here. Enter Google. A search for the term "irish slang" has thankfully pulled up a number of websites where people more dedicated than I have created dictionaries to help jog my memory. Here are my favorite terms:
  • Grand - This one is really best of the best. It's just like saying "great" in response to anything someone says to you when you want to respond with a supportive, affirmative exclamation. But "grand" sounds just a little more regal, dontcha think?
  • Lovely - Again, this term puts just a little more of a refined emphasis on things. It's not a matter of translating this one, just a matter of it being used more often than we use it here in the states.
  • Crisps - Potato chips. They're sold in every pub*, which I think it brilliant*.
  • Pub* - Not a bar, but a pub. There's a difference and I'm not sure what it is, but I think a bar is a bar in a restaurant or hotel, whereas anything that's only a bar is a pub.
  • Brilliant* - When something is really great, meaning great with an exclamation point.
  • Chalk and cheese -  Used to refer to two things or people who couldn't be any more different.
Of course this anthropological report wouldn't be complete with some real, live footage from the field. Isn't this a lovely tune? I don't totally understand what they're saying, and I've watched this vid a number of times, but it's lovely, grand and brilliant.

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Hot Online Shopping Tip: Hampden Clothing


Attention my lovely fashionistas, a favorite store of mine in Charleston, SC, is having its winter sale with some seriously fabulous—and usually uber-expensive—items on sale. 75% off cannot be missed, so get yourselves over there now because it's about to end (tomorrow). Here's the URL>>

Some hot selections, for your perusal:

I call this one Pilgrimmage

And this one is Fire Ball

Finally, this one I want

2012: A Plea to the Young People


Arriving back to NYC from FL this week, I was struck by just how few people I noticed on the street looking hip and stylish. Usually when I'm away from this fine place for an extended period of time, I'm immediately struck by how hot, and cutting edge so many people look. Ok, we still have a ton of hotties here, but the outfits are, well, mainstream. Every woman in the East Village is wearing leggings and boots (myself included). Every woman in Brooklyn knots her hair on the top of her head and wears a chunky knit scarf. For a while I was blaming globalization for this, and according to this article I just read in Vanity Fair"You Say You Want a Devolution?"—that's part of the reason why style, culture, art, etc. hasn't really changed in the past decade (at least). But this is New York City, people, and that is why my first post of the new year is a plea to the young people.

My dear twenty-somethings:

I understand you're faced with a lot of tough elements these days. A college degree doesn't guarantee a job once you graduate, but it is likely to guarantee some serious debt. We're smack dab in the middle of a deep recession that's only getting deeper. Life, especially life in this city, can often feel like a treadmill you'd just like to take a break from. As someone who moved to South Carolina for three years believe me, I get it.

The thing is, we're counting on you. We in our middle-to-late thirties, and older, need you to shake things up. We need you to actually innovate and not fetishize the word innovate. We need you to occupy Wall Street, and if you can't afford to take off work to do so, get involved in some other way. It's great that you worked on Obama's campaign, but we need you to continue to volunteer, be passionate and contribute.

Let's move on from Steve Jobs. Yes, Apple products are amazeballs but the products of the future can and should make them obsolete. Let's move on right now&mash;we are counting on you to knock our socks off so that ten years from now we can say "that's so 2012" and have it actually mean something.

And on a fashion note, I am counting on you to wear the stuff I'm in awe of. I'm counting on you to rock the shoes I can't wear because I'll break my back if I do. I need you to get the new haircut I can't because I don't have straight hair. And most importantly, I need you to design the most killer pair of spectacles never before seen on any hipster for when my eyes go.

Your friend and mentor,


Pegged Jeans


This weekend I noted not one but five different young ladies sporting the banana clip in their hair*. That clip is a terrible element of the 80s to try to bring back into vogue (stop it, Urban Outfitters, I know it's you that is to blame for this...or maybe Forever 21). But here in this photo is a wonderful element of 80s style to bring back -- the pegged jean!

This is the fabulous ER, who I'm proud to say is a colleague of mine, rockin the pegged jean. Hot!

*Note: all these youngsters were spotted in Brooklyn



Life can be hard. I have now been sitting here in front of my laptop for more than ten minutes trying to come up with a follow-up sentence to that statement that gives it justice and also sends us into the point of this blog post, but I keep deleting the drafts. There's not really much more to follow up with after that simple statement: life can be hard.

A few years ago when my ex-husband and I were in the thick of our culture shock in South Carolina, life was hard. Soon after that we went to counseling and life got even harder because we unearthed the hard truth that I wanted kids from our marriage and he didn't. I was sad and I was angry, but what I didn't realize then that I see plainly now is that we had started on the path to clarity.

After spending a lot of time trying to first convince my ex- that we should have children and then convince myself that I didn't need children in the marriage, I came to a point of acceptance. Mind you, once I got to a point of acceptance, life wasn't rosy. There was and still is a process: I moved back to New York to restart my career, I reached a point of forgiveness of myself and my ex- and I am now currently (re)learning how to be (yep, I'll always be learning that; spoiler alert: we all will).

My ex- and I worked really hard to make our divorce as smooth a process as possible. We started the work of drafting an agreement last year with the goal of being officially divorced by June 2011. But the month came and went this year and the trial still wasn't on the calendar in the courts in South Carolina (you know, y'all, it was the summah and therefore beach season). I began to get really anxious. I was panicky. I had kept "the first week of June" in my head as this marker — a milestone that would soon be surpassed. After that hurdle was cleared, relief would be the reward. But once June morphed into July, I became a total wreck. The what ifs wormed their way out of my subconscious and into day-to-day thought.

Then like a gift a date was finally set for our divorce trial: August 23. I made sure to keep my cellphone close by me in case something funky happened at the trial, but thankfully it was smooth sailing. Sure enough, when my ex- texted me that it was official (so Gen Y of us, right?), the sense of relief struck deep. I wasn't surprised by the feeling. I had intellectualized the process enough so that I assumed relief would be the outcome. It's just that I didn't fully understand why relief was going to be the response. Now on the other side of August 23 I realize that I was relieved because I was no longer responsible to a relationship that wasn't working. Couple that with this amazing lift of the pressure of having children, a pressure that only I was putting on myself, and I present to you, my dearest darlings, the joy of life.

Are there trying times ahead? Yes of course there are and these times can probably be summarized under one general category: dating. Is joy fleeting? Yes, I believe it is. But there's this concept I learned from my therapist in South Carolina that was recently echoed by my sweet JK who got it from this TED talk by Brene Brown and it is that in order to have joy in your life, you must open yourself up to grief. As Brown says in the talk, "to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive" and I am thankful and relieved that I am alive.

A Day of Beauty, EV-Style


What's your personal maintenance regimen? Does it involve more than one place? One of the 5,892 reasons why I'm so glad to be back in NY is that all my beauty bars are within walking distance. Here's my list, for which I have the lovely ladies of the EVC to thank (except for my eyebrow place - I found that one all on my own!)

- EYEBROWS: Lulu's Nails on 1st Avenue between 8th and 7th Streets. This place has zero frills but the waxing woman knows the difference between "clean up" and" shape" and has never given me vampy eyebrows.

- BIKINI WAX: Maria Bonita on Prince Street. You're in, you're in pain, you're out. It's a nice, clean job every time.

-NAILS: Top A Nails on, you guessed it, Avenue A. This place is also very efficient. In the winter, they wrap your newly-done toes in plastic wrap, then put on your socks and shoes (smart).

-HAIR: Of course I go to Devachan, y'all. It's probably one of the top 20 reasons why I moved back here. Curly-heads of the world, UNITE!

What's your routine? Have any cool, affordable places in NYC to share? Comment!

Day 304ish


I woke up, went to work (subway), came home from work (subway), stopped by Filene's and bought some Vince jeans on sale for $39.99, happened upon a dance troupe of 10 people dancing in unison and not-so-in-unison in the square outside of the St. Mark's church which is now a cultural center, decided to stop and watch the troupe, decided then to sit (under my umbrella because it was raining! they were dancing in the rain), then a man also standing in the square who had been whistling at a bird who was chirping back tried to get my attention about how he was talking to a bird and I looked away and continued watching the dancers, then the man kept staring at me so I rolled my eyes and left the bench, I walked two more blocks home and peeled my wet clothes off, got into dry ones and thought it was a pretty nice end of March 31, 2011, my 304th(ish) day back in the city.

My Favorite NYC Restaurants as of March 2011


Hello lovers! That's right, I'm so back in action now I can OFFICIALLY share with you my updated list of favorite restaurants. I crafted this list back in my SC days for when friends over there were planning visits here and asking me for my recommendations. Since then, plenty has changed. But some solid favorites have stayed on the list. And so now I think it's only fitting that I celebrate coming to the close of my 10th month back in the city with this groovy wee list.


Northern Spy
Back Forty
The Redhead

Locanda Verde (Ricotta prepared differently for breakfast than for dinner = love)
Blue Hill


Boqueria on 19 Street or Spring Street
Bar Jamon on East 17th


La Palapa (Still the best margarita in all of Manhattan, IMHO.)
Hecho en Dumbo

Ciao for Now
Hundred Acres
Five Points

Monkey Centeno


I have a vivid memory of the day in 2001 that the World Trade Center was destroyed because it reeks of guilt for me. I slept late because I had a service person coming to my apartment to work on...what – a window, the radiator, the buzzer – something that was so instantly trivial, my mind squelches that detail of the memory. He was running late for a visit scheduled for 9:30 am. I commented on his tardiness and told him I had to get to my work at an office (figuring that was something he could never really understand) though the reality was I had only woken up about 20 minutes earlier. "I don't think you’re going to get to work today, lady," his flippant tone annoyed me, as if he knew my secret wake-up time."Oh I walk to work, so if it's a matter of the subways being off, that isn't an issue for me." This poor now-faceless guy was going to get it, whether he deserved it or not."Uh, have you opened your windows today?" he replied. "The twin towers are down. They've been hit. No one's going to work or anywhere else for a long time."I grabbed the string that pulled my window blinds up and gaped at the far-off scene unfolding. Only one tower? Smoke everywhere? What does this mean? Would my new friend/comrade be the last person I would see on earth?The seconds quickly evolved into hours as I turned on the television, learned about the attacks and began my personal story of where I was on September 11, 2001.In order to mentally calculate my dog's age whenever people asked me, my mind would shoot back to September 11, because Monkey Centeno, the fawn-with-black-mask colored French bulldog who was my dearest fur ball and sweetest companion to-date, was born on October 11, 2001, exactly one month after that historic date. Whenever I struggled to think of how old she was – whenever strangers asked me her age because she was so youthful, so playful – my baseline was that tragic day for New York and the world. It was a historic day with a date I'd never forget, so it worked as the subtle reminder for a proper calculation. What's more, in a matter of one month I went from someone who was considerably selfish, to someone who could be enthralled by another living creature other than myself.When I first got Monkey, my boyfriend at the time was a seasoned dog-owner and lover. He had enjoyed two Pitbull Terriers before his "overbearing" mother got rid of them behind his back when he left for college. I now realize she didn't want to take care of dogs that were simply not hers, but at the time I made sure to show support for the injustice of it all. We talked of revolution in the form of dog ownership, and six months later – after I completed numerous dog and human personality tests – we decided on a Frenchie.There's part of me that hates the fact that he was a part of Monkey's life. But I really can't hate someone who took such good care of Monkey in her puppy years. Being a dog owner has its territorial qualities not unlike the personality of dogs in general – is this a learned behavior born from spending so much time with them? You teach your dog, and she teaches you.After hearing about a stellar breeder in Ohio from a couple I met, I got the nerve up to give her a call and see if there were any dogs available. Her website indicated that she had a litter on its way, but maybe each pup was already claimed?I had wanted a brindle-colored French bulldog. They're the ones with the tiger-stripe-like coloring. But when I spoke to the bree[...]

Don't Give up on Century 21 Department Store


Yesterday, after recycling some electronics at TekServe with SH, I decided to cruise down to Century 21, my all-time favorite discount department store, to purchase some new jeans. Though I didn't get off the N in time and therefore took the scenic route downtown via Brooklyn (but who doesn't love a beautiful view of the city from the Manhattan Bridge?), I eventually ended up elbow-to-elbow with many European tourists sifting through the racks.

Many of you dear readers have recently lamented that Century "isn't what it used to be." I use this post to say to thee, you are correct. In fact, it's better and here's why:

1) There are now dressing room stalls
2) The women working in the dressing room are actually nice
3) I didn't overhear any sales people lamenting about their nare-do-well baby daddies
or some other type of gripe. In fact, I didn't overhear any employee conversations.

And on top of all this new-and-improved customer service, basically everything in the store is at least 1/3 if not 1/2 off. I got two pairs of J.Brand jeans for $40 each and I went there looking for jeans. True story.

My Fashion Forward Office


How cool are my colleagues? Answer: so cool! Today everyone is rockin the hot styles. So much so that I simply had to share their funky outfits on the blog. Check em out, yo. And by the way, Happy New Year!

Here's Karen in culottes and a tie-at-the-neck top:


And what about Simon's glasses? Awesome, right?


Check out Sara, our fearless leader, in these pink wool pants. That detail she's pointing to is PART OF THE PANTS!