First of all, the Shop Tart is back. So call her. Lunch? Drinks? Spa day? She’s in. Because her brain is still on vacation, which is why you can expect a few more posts about New York. First, let’s talk about her hotel, the Thompson LES. It was great, even more so in retrospect.
She and her friend M had planned to stay three nights there followed by two with a friend in Brooklyn. On Wednesday night – their last night – they had second thoughts. Technically, these second thoughts occurred on Thursday morning, as the ladies realized at 2 am after enjoying sushi and Sancerre on the hotel terrace that they couldn’t possibly leave in the morning. The Shop Tart volunteered to call the front desk and see if they could stay. M wanted to wait until morning, but the Shop Tart needed to know if she could sleep in or not. The nice man at the front desk didn’t seem at all surprised by an early morning phone call from a tipsy southern housewife. She explained her plight and he informed her – in a very sympathetic voice – that the hotel was completely booked. She kept slurring rambling talking.
“Dude! Be cool! There’s, like, no WAY we can get up in time for check-out…yes, I know it’s at noon…pleeaaaaase…”
He checked the computer again. Lo and behold, someone had canceled minutes before and the ladies had their room. The Shop Tart had enough presence of mind to ask for the rate for Thursday night. Guess what. It was way more expensive. So the annoying yet oddly charming slurring aimless yet adorable rambling drunken yet less than horrifying begging discussion began anew.
“Is there any way we could stick with the rate we already have? Dude! Be cool! Pleeeaaaaase? I’m from the south and I’m a housewife. We have to tell our husbands what we spend*. Come on…be cool…can I get a cheeseburger or some fries or something? We’re huuuuungry…dude.”
Miraculously, he agreed to the rate and had a porter bring up a bunch of takeout menus. Heaven! Speaking of the staff at the Thompson, they were fabulous. To a person, they were happy to answer any questions or provide any necessary service. They hailed cabs and explained everything to the drivers. They recommended off-menu breakfast items for picky eaters. The room was cleaned every day, no matter what time its occupants wandered in and out. And they really cleaned, including hanging up clothes from the floor and tidying toiletries and randomly-placed accessories. The concierge was full of useful information, including an answer to the question, “If my friend only has an hour before her flight and she wants to go to the department store with the biggest shoe selection, where should she go?” (Answer: Saks. Just so you know.) Although the hotel seemed to host plenty of hip, young party-goers, the staff honored the old ladies’ request to be on a quiet hall. In fact, the old ladies were the loudest things on the hall.
The Shop Tart had breakfast on the terrace every morning and it was lovely – quiet enough for work but with enough street noise and chatter that she didn’t feel self-conscious. The late-night menu consisting of sushi and other small plates saved the ladies from a wicked hangover more than once. Speaking of hangover, the wine list was just fine. They enjoyed Cava and Sancerre by the glass and the bottle. According to M, the lox and bagel plate at breakfast was beyond compare. (The Shop Tart never got to try it, which means she needs to go back soon, n’est-ce pas?) One day, arriving too late for breakfast – this may or may not have happened the morning after the drunken charming phone call to the front desk begging for more time – the ladies enjoyed lunch. The Shop Tart had Asian salad. Amazing. The lotus chips on the side were just what the doctor ordered (and the Shop Tart ordered more of them after she ate her vegetables).
By the way, the New York Post arrived every day at their door. Fun! After that lunch, M and the Shop Tart wandered the streets of New York, enjoying their bonus day. While stopping here and there, not accomplishing much of anything, the Shop Tart spotted a take-out window, sandwiched in between two shops on Spring Street in SoHo. The window was no wider than six feet. There was a girl in the window, sitting right above a picture of different kinds of cupcakes. The cupcakes, slightly larger in diameter than a quarter and only an inch or two tall, were one dollar each. They were also exactly as much dessert as the Shop Tart wanted. She tried peanut butter cup while M enjoyed cookie dough. They were both intrigued by the S’more cupcake, which was sold out already. Yum! Baked by Melissa would be a daily stop for the Shop Tart if it was in her neighborhood. Maybe Cupcake would like to open a branch?
The wandering continued and they ran into quite a few fun places, like Legacy – which will be reserved for an entire post all its own – and Clio, a fab home shop. The Shop Tart would like this vase for her birthday, very much. Maybe you and a few friends would like to go in on it? She is also considering registering there for all new dinnerware, just to see what happens. At the end of their long walk, the ladies hit a raw bar before checking out the Lucky Magazine Boutique Crawl (also its own post).
Happy Shopping – wherever you are – and don’t forget to tell them you read it on the Shop Tart!
P.S. You are probably wondering what the Shop Tart can do for you, right? After all, this blog is supposed to be about local shopping, right here in Columbia, South Carolina. And there’s plenty of that. While she was out of town, the Shop Tart heard the Gamecocks won. In fact, she received plenty of texts informing her of that fact, just in case she didn’t know. Ladies, we need to help the Gamecocks keep winning. You know how? By going to Unforgettable Fine Jewelry and scoring some of this fab vintage-style garnet and black jewelry. Show your spirit by wearing jewelry you could wear anywhere. The pieces start at $19 and very few are more than $50. The non-Gamecock pieces are equally awesome and the Shop Tart thinks you should have them for non-game days. They are only $29. Unforgettable loves you! And remember that you get an additional 10% off when you mention the Shop Tart!
P.P.S. If you are still reading, you are one lucky girl (or guy). VanJean is pleased to announce the arrival of celebrated New York designer Jodi Arnold of MINT Jodi Arnold. An intimate cocktail reception will be held at VanJean owner Melissa Blanchard’s home, The Heslep House, on Wednesday, September 30th at 6:30pm. Funds raised from the event will benefit Winston’s Wish Foundation. There will be an informal modeling presentation where Arnold will discuss her meticulous design process from creating patterns, designing prints and manufacturing pieces by hand – and showcase her winter and holiday looks fresh from the runway. In lieu of tickets, a $25 donation will be collected at the door for Winston’s Wish. If you are one of the first one-hundred guests to respond, not only will you prove your mama raised you right, you will be rewarded for your good manners with a custom co-branded VanJean & MINT Jodi Arnold tote at the event.
The following day, Thursday, October 1st, join Jodi Arnold and VanJean for a trunk show featuring her Winter & Holiday 2009 collections. Jodi Arnold is a Birmingham, Alabama native. She created her label, Mint, in 1999 because she wanted a collection that would reflect the refreshing characteristics of its namesake. As she puts it, “The mint leaf is strong, refreshing, pure and vibrant.”
* A little white lie. The Shop Tart and her husband have a loose agreement not to comment on each other’s spending unless it gets really ugly.