Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Signing off for Christmas...

Last night, C and I attended the aforementioned free reading of "A Christmas Carol" at All Souls Church in NYC. It was wonderful! They interspersed carols with the "chapters" of the novella, so it was overall a very entertaining, cozy, and seasonal evening.

Now I'm heading home for the holidays so I'll be off blogging for a few days, barring any unexpected freebie fun!

See you all next week...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Guest Post: Free Skating at Citi Rink

Cousin A was kind enough to report back on her free skating adventure with former colleagues at Citi Rink, the free ice skating rink in Bryant Park. They usually go on a Friday afternoon, when it's apparently not too bad!

Here is a pic Cousin A shot of the entrance area, with lockers. Her tip is to bring a lock if you have one, since they are not provided and you otherwise have to risk shoe theft! Also see cute snack bar here too...

After enjoying grits from the holiday market (Explique-moi, s'il vous plait!), Cousin A took this shot of Celcius Lounge, an appealing bar that overlooks the rink.

Cousin A reported that a great time was had by all in attendance, and took this cool pic on her iPhone surveying the scene. Tree, library, rink...

p.s. She also tried to get the aforementioned free hot cocoa from the Kate Spade pop-up shop but there was no hot cocoa to be had! What gives? She went on a Friday, which was one of the days that was allegedly earmarked for hot cocoa giveaways. Two thumbs down, Kate...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Shopping Freebies

Westcoaster C arrived in NYC for Christmas, and we hit the shops for some last minute shopping. Did you know the stores go into overdrive handing out sweet freebies the weekend before Christmas?

Free mini candy bars dished up at Bed Bath and Beyond:

Free candy cane sticks at J. Crew:
Free peppermint bark at Williams-Sonoma:

We enjoyed our shopping feeding frenzy! Ho ho ho!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Freebie: A Little Humbug

Bah Humbug!
Come support cousin M in a free reading of Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol!"
When: Monday, December 20th at 6pm
Where: All Souls Unitarian Church on 80th Street and Lexington Avenue
It should last about an hour, and has a bunch of actors playing the voices. Just the thing for the last few days of work before Christmas!

"I just stuck my pizza in my purse." - L

Congratulations to L, winner of the Brooks Brothers Holiday Party Quote Vote!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Freebie Concert

Sorry I've fallen off the planet. It's been a week of holiday parties! Seriously - one per night since Saturday, the 12th and it's not letting up til Sunday, the 19th. They're "free" but they are also private parties and not really the material for this blog.

I did hear of a free classical music concert that my alma mater is giving at Julliard, on Friday (12/17) night. Go if you have the time!

What: Violin and Piano recital by Alicia Choi and Erika Allen (Brahms, Bach, Debussy, and more)
When: Friday, Dec 17th at 8pm
Where: Paul Hall, Julliard School, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza (65th betw Bway and Amsterdam)

FREE and open to all! And a reception with "light fare" after the performance!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Yelp Needs Help

Cousin M and I made big plans to go to the Yelp Holiday Ball last night.

This event was super-trumpeted as the freebie event of the season to all Yelp.com members. There were going to be food and drink provided by local vendors, games to play, photo booths, etc...

Well, dear readers, it was a terrible party.

It was in the 26th St Regiment Armory, which gave the entire event a "middle school dance in the gym" feel. There was zero decoration, and all the vendors were set up in ways that caused a very cramped, hard to navigate sensation among the guests, which is a feat to accomplish in such a huge room!

But worst of all, once we got inside, there were insanely long lines to get small samples of any food or beverage. And many of the best foods were already completely gone (we arrived at 7:15pm, and the event began at 7pm).

Not OK. We made our quick getaway, and paid for a yummy dinner. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Buttoned-Up Freebie

Last night, lovely L and I attended the Brooks Brothers Holiday Party extravaganza in midtown NYC. As expected, it was a mob scene.

The entire men's store was decked from top to bottom. This is a shot of the first floor, where they had open bars, hors d'ouvres, giant urns full of candy canes and Brooks Brothers Hanukah gelt, employees dressed in four-plaid pants (yes, four plaids on one pair of pants!) and a stage for performers:

If you rode the escalators up to the children's floor, every surface was covered with gingerbread (check out these Brooks Brothers gingerbread people!):

Also upstairs, Marlo Thomas was reading from her new book, and they offered the kids an ornament decorating station.
After our initial egg nog (delicious - see beverage station pic below),

We headed around the corner to the Women's store, where we took a photo with Santa (a very classic, classy Santa too), witnessed four Edwardian carolers singing their hearts out, and encountered a cookie decorating station.
Then we dashed back to the Men's store in time for the cast of Billy Elliot to perform some holiday carol medleys:

All in all, this event was just huge. There was so much going on, but it was very crowded. Here's my breakdown:
Food: A-minus. The high-point were the mini latkes, but they also served sliders, pigs in blankets, mini pizzas, doughnuts, sugar cookies, blondies, brownies. There was simply just a mad rush to any person with food that made getting the food tremendously unpleasant.
Drink: A-plus. A host of options: warm cider, egg nog, apple martinis, white wine (no red, because, as one server pointed out to a man "This is a clothing store." (???)), and pellegrino.
Entertainment: A-plus. We couldn't even stick around for Winton Marsalis and the Harlem boys/girls choirs because we had dinner to eat. The Billy Elliot kids were adorable, there was an awesome jazz band at the women's store playing in front of Santa, and the Edwardian Christmas Carolers were a neat diversion too. For the kids, the cookie and ornament decorating stations looked really fun. And though we didn't get close enough to SEE Marlo Thomas, we could hear her and that's pretty cool she was there!
Swag: A. No gift bag or anything, but we were able to walk out with some specialty Brooks Brothers gelt, as well as a really cute/odd pic of L and me sitting on Santa's lap.
Don't forget to vote for our Quote Vote at the top right of the blog!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wholesome Little Freebie

Occasionally, one must wander to the Whole Foods at Union Square on one's lunch hour...

Today I did just that, and wowie zowie were they doing a good freebie giveaway! Usually it's small samples of prepared food or worst - organic beauty products -but today it was...

Free Lara Bars!

I actually really like these health fruit/nut bars. I got two! One Carrot Cake, seen here, and one Chocolate Chip Brownie. :) Thanks Whole Foods!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Corner of 86th and Orange

Today, en route to an audition, I passed a freebie favorite: a cooler on the street with people handing out samples of a tasty beverage.

Of late, these are usually yucky energy drinks, but I stopped and grabbed one because it was actually a pretty large bottle of SIMPLY ORANGE orange juice! I also was handed a $1 off coupon for a future purchase of Simply Orange juice.

Thanks freezing orange juice distributors, for making my Saturday extra fun!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Party at the Hilfigers

Is there anything better than an unexpectedly awesome in-store event?!?

Last night, talented showstopper pal S and I met on 5th Avenue in midtown to admire gorgeous holiday windows (see the 57th St star fully illuminated here):

Our other objective? Attend a mysterious "Holiday Party at the Hilfigers" at the Tommy Hilfiger flagship store on 54th St. This was one of those in-store events where all we knew was the date, time, and location.

Could it have been a bust? Absolutely.

Was it? Absolutely not! It was fantastic.

When S and I entered, they checked our names off the list and indicated that there was a photo booth downstairs on the "hipster clothing floor." We whisked down there and took a cool old school photo booth set of pics before the booth got infested with bedbugs from a zillion people sitting inside (Yes, I am that neurotic New Yorker!).

The party was in full swing by the time we grabbed our beverage of choice, a few yummy appetizers, and started to wander.

The event was co-hosted by InStyle magazine, which I will say ALWAYS seems to do a good job with in-store events. Here are my grades:

Food: A-minus. While it was very highbrow (veggie stacks of root vegetables, carrots topped with mushrooms, proscuitto wrapped pear) it was all lukewarm and very veggie-heavy.

Drink: A. They had sparkling water, sparkling cava, and a signature cocktail the "Pear Fizz" which was pear nectar, ginger ale, and Bombay Sapphire gin.

Activities: A. Between the photo booth, "day to night" dressing demo, and ample room to browse the wares, there was lots to do.

Swag: A. Getting a free photo booth strip is awesome - and they were thoughtful enough to print out two (one for each of us). While not explicitly swag, everyone was welcome to take a December 2010 issue of InStyle as they left the party, and that's a nice thing to have for the gym! Oh, and there was a really cute gift wrapping station that I snapped a pic of, which kind of counts as swag if you purchased something:

S and I both scored substantially discounted necklaces, purchased from a Swedish tour guide who was inexplicably ringing people up.
Don't forget to vote on the Quote Vote in the top right corner of the blog!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Museum Freebies

Last night was a delightful evening of NYC museum freebies!

At 6pm, I attended a free lecture at the Frick Collection: The lecture was called, "The Other Versailles: Where the Decorative Arts Became Modern" by Joan DeJean, a UPenn French professor. It was really interesting - all about the early palais at Versailles and the nascent years of the first "decorateurs interieux" (probably butchering that spelling). Thanks, L, for letting me return to my college days of Art History for an hour inside the blissfully decked out Frick Mansion!

But the best was yet to come.

UVA pal K had invited me to take her spare ticket to hear the Chanticleer Christmas concert at the Met Museum!

Chanticleer is an all-male a cappella group that sings rather classic/medieval songs in 4 part harmony.
The concert was in the medieval hall with the giant Met Museum Christmas tree, and it was fantastic! The group was really tight musically, and they sang some wonderful stuff.
And FAMOUS PERSON SPOTTING: Chelsea Clinton was there with her new husband, Marc Mezvinsky. I guess she's a fellow a cappella Christmas carol lover!
Here is a pic I took of K and me after the concert in front of the Christmas tree in all our blurry holiday joy:

And here's a better one of just the tree - gorgeous!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brooks Brothers Holiday Extravaganza

OK, this Madison Ave Brooks Brothers event just looks insanely awesome. RSVP NOW.