Archive for July, 2008

I’m HUGE in San Antonio!

July 31, 2008

Hola all!

So my mom called me this morning crying. “Mom? is that you?” I asked as I answered the phone to the sound of bawling. “I’m soo…. proud of youuuuu!” she cried between telenovela-worthy wails, she is a bit of a dramatic Latina, 🙂 “You’re in the FRONT page of the paper, and you look sooo puuurty….” sob, sob, sob…

Awww, to clarify today I am in the front page of the LIFESTYLE section of my hometown paper: The San Antonio Express News, and it is a lovely article. Also, it’s a bit of a redemption piece as the last time I was in the Express News was four years ago for my last book: Border-Line Personalities and the accompanying picture was SO bad, I cried (and not out of joy!) for days. For some reason, my publisher sent an author photo I had rejected, and my long-awaited homecoming showed me with (what looked like) receding gums. The pic was AWFUL to begin with, but with bad reproduction all of my mom’s friends called her to console her, “Robyn’s really much prettier in person.” No wonder my mom was delirious this time around!!

Here is a copy of the NICE pic (whew!) and great article, thanks Elaine Ayala for supporting an SA girl, ese!!!

xxxooo Robyn

Elaine Ayala – Express-News

If you’ve been digging out the last bit of color from your favorite lipstick or shopping in a Goodwill store, Robyn Moreno has more on how to get through a recession with style.

The San Antonio native turned author and television personality found out early how to stay glamorous on budget. Moving to New York 10 years ago, without a job, helped her learn even more about stretching her beauty dollar.

Her collected tips are now in a new book, “Practically Posh: The Smart Girls’ Guide to a Glam Life” (Collins, $18.95), published this month.

“My mom was practically posh before practically posh was cool,” Moreno says. She shopped at Solo Serve, La Feria and Goodwill, “and she’s a gorgeous Latina woman. Her joyfulness and enduring hope and Latina flair inspired the book.”

Written and designed like a fashion magazine with photos, tidbits and quotes, “Posh” looks a little like a fancy scrapbook in which Moreno stars, but she writes with budget- and fashion-conscious authority.

It’s her third book. Moreno co-authored “Suave: The Latin Male” and co-edited “Border-line Personalities: A New Generation of Latinas Dish on Sex, Sass and Cultural Shifting.”

She’s host of Plum TV’s flagship “Morning Noon & Night” show, which features interviews with notable Hamptonites, and is spokeswoman for Woman’s Day magazine. She graduated from Lee High School, attending Edison for a while, and studied public relations at the University of Texas at Austin.

She’s one of four sisters, one a designer in New York. When she visits San Antonio, she does a little shopping. Whether here or there, she’s always looking for a bargain that doesn’t look like one.

First things first

Before heading out to a sale, Moreno suggests you shop your own closet. Getting rid of clutter can unearth a treasure.

“I don’t know about you, but I tend to wear the same things,” she says. So, ask a stylish friend or sister to put outfits together for you. “They accessorize things you wouldn’t.”

Same rules apply to drawers, she says; organize those with scarves, belts and jewelry.

Swap clothes with friends who wear your size. “Sometime you have clothes, nice clothes, that you just don’t wear,” so host a clothing swap party.

Moreno shops thrift and vintage stores, but says they’re totally different experiences.

A thrift or discount store such as Goodwill requires patience. The cheap finds are there, but go alone, she says. A hesitant, grossed out or bored companion will distract you.

A vintage store is more expensive, but offers what Moreno calls occasion clothing.

“All designers go to vintage stores for inspiration,” she says. She still remembers the cocktail dress she bought for $100. “I wear the hell out of it, and I saw it knocked off in Anthropologie for $300.”

Vintage rules apply to consignment stores, where you get “more bang and quality for your buck.”

Moreno advises trying on clothes. Vintage means old, and U.S. sizing has changed considerably over the years.

Don’t invest much on trendy, seasonal fashions, she says. When she visits San Antonio, she stops at Forever 21, which “is great for of-the-moment buys. They do a lot of knockoffs,” and it’s not just for teens.

She also likes Stein Mart, jewelry from Banana Republic and a vintage store in Southtown (since closed). “I bought a great ’50s cocktail dress for $40, and it’s beautiful brocade.”

When an accessory such as an “it” bag is what you want, rent it as did Louise, Carrie’s assistant in the movie “Sex and the City.” Moreno’s recommends Bag, Borrow or Steal, a Seattle-based company (www.bagborrowsteal.com).

Making fashions last

Here are some of her clothing, fabric tips from Moreno:

Maximize fashion by caring for clothes, Moreno says. Learn the basics of stain removal. Her No. 1 tip is to act quickly. “Don’t let them set,” she says.

Know the difference between “dry clean” and “dry clean only.” “When it says ‘dry clean,’ it’s only a recommendation.”

Save on cleaning by using hangers. “Half the reason I take things to the dry cleaners is to press them. So, hang your clothes up right away.” She’s a steaming fan. An old-school hot shower will do, or invest in a handheld steamer. She owns one that cost $40.

Put on clothes last to avoid sweat and perfume stains. Moreno lets perfume set first and then applies makeup, deodorant and lotion.

Find a good seamstress. A high-end suit on sale can be tailored. Learn the basics of sewing, she adds.

Beauty on a budget

Moreno isn’t a huge fan of makeup, but she spends the most on foundation, which can be matched to your skin color at a cosmetics counter.

“Invest in one that has SPF and the one that gets you the most coverage,” she says.

Everything else, she says, can be bought at a drugstore.

Moreno swears by her Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($12) and doesn’t use water to wash her face.

She also loves Rosebud Salve as a lip balm.

Makeup artist Carmondy of the hit show “What Not to Wear” “gave me the best tip. The cheapest way to exfoliate your skin is to use sugar. I use it with my Cetaphil. Two teaspoons of sugar with 2 teaspoons of your face wash,” she says. “It wakes up your skin.”

“Posh” also recommends that you find a dermatologist, limit sun exposure, drink in moderation, don’t smoke, get sleep, eat healthfully and exercise.

Extend your makeup by digging out what’s left in lipstick tubes and put in a pillbox. Mixing shades creates a new one. Ditto for eye shadows.

“Posh” lists Moreno’s favorite drugstore beauty staples, including Visine, Alberto VO5 Hot Oil Hair Treatment, baby powder (takes oil out of dirty hair, absorbs oil stains on clothes, sets makeup), Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, Vaseline (makeup remover, lip balm, cuticle moisturizer, body balm) and Crest Whitestrips.

Moreno says there’s little difference in shampoos, so an inexpensive one is as good as a designer brand. But once a month, rinse your hair with a cup of apple cider vinegar. It strips the buildup and leaves hair soft and shiny.

Thrift Store Furniture 101

July 25, 2008

Hello all, I recently did a segment with Jill Scott of NY1 all about Thrift Store Furniture 101 and it was SO good she made it into TWO parts, Check it out:

http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?&aid=83742&search_result=1&stid=20

Part two: http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?&aid=83782&search_result=1&stid=20

 

Here are the accompanying tips for your to print and SAVE!!! $$$$$$$$$$

Thrift and consignment stores can be a treasure trove for cool pieces, if you know what you’re looking for. Here are some tips for separating the chic from cheap.

What to look for in a couch.  Big pieces—like couches— are usually priced well at thrift and vintage stores because they take so much floor space, they want to move these items. But, when shopping for a couch, consider sturdiness, size, comfort, and pattern.
A sturdy frame is a sure sign it’s well made:
 Look for a frame made of “kiln-dried” hardwoods such as maple, birch and poplar. Wood that is dried in a kiln or oven has less moisture than wood that is dried by air, so it lasts longer.
To check the durability of the frame, don’t be shy about lifting to feel it’s weightiness, and wiggling arms to make sure they’re steady. If the frame is loose on an upholstered couch, you’ll have to disassemble the entire thing, which may not be worth the trouble.
Your couch is probably the most used piece of furniture in your house, and the piece that should be the most comfy. Comfy cushions are probably the most important factor in being happy with your couch. Foam cushions are the least expensive and are accordingly feel “spongey”, while goose feather are the softest and most worthy of your upholstery budget. Check springs, are they coming out from underneath or too loose? They should be firm for intense makeouts and portly visiting relatives. J
 Remember when you shop for a couch, forgo polka dots and crazy patterns for a classic, clean style you can always update. Also, be realistic about color and fabric choice. A white couch conveys class and elegance, but can get easily dirty after being carried up the stairs. And trust me: If you want to have a romp on the couch or enjoy a glass of red wine after a long day at work, a white couch is hazardous. Buy furniture for the way you live now, not the adult you think you’ll be in 20 years.
Consider the condition of the fabric: There an old saying in upholstered furniture which is “if you can smell it, you can’t sell it”, so don’t be shy. Stick your nose and see if it smells of animal urine or mold, which are hard to get out.
If your couch passes the smell test, but has spots, it might be a matter of what can you live with. You can try an upholstery cleaner, which might take out some stains. For the rest, consider whether you can you hide with a pillow? Or maybe camoflauging with fabric paint. If all else fails consider slipcovers, which is cheaper than upholstery as a chair can run you $400 for and a couch $800.

 For wooden armoires and dressers, to make sure it’s a quality piece, check the frame (you can actually pick it up to feel the weight)  and check the edges, back or underneath to see if it’s solid wood or just veneer over plywood or particleboard.

Check quality and sturdiness of drawers by checking inside to see if they are nailed or stapled versus dovetailed.

 For end tables tables, you can also shake legs to see if it’s sturdy. And when it comes to condition: white beverage rings are ok, which means its only seeped into the finish, but beware of black circles, as that means the water damage has steeped into the wood.

When examining lamps, it’s easy to update with shades, but look at the wiring. Besides just plugging in, check for frays, or whether the wires are dried and brittle which means they require rewiring.

 For beds, when examining headboards, make sure rails are secure. And even it’s cool, consider the size: old beds were smaller in width and length (4ft versus the standard double size which is 4/12 feet), which is tough to get a mattress for.

 When selecting furniture for tiny NYC pads, it’s important to think of function, as well as aesthetics. Consoles and buffets are retro-cool, and can stash dishes inside while the top serves as a bar. An armoire can be placed in the hallway to hold winter clothes and sports equipment. Opt for a coffee table with built-in storage—perfect for corralling candles, magazines, and photo albums. An antique trunk placed at the foot of your bed can be both charming and practical when used to hold extra bedding.

Make sure it fits in your home and hallway! Many New Yorkers have bought furniture only to get it stuck in the second floor landing! Measuring first will save your frustration later.

 Shopping thrift for furniture is an affordable way to start experimenting with different styles. Don’t know the difference between mid-century and Shaker? Visit museums ,libraries, hotels, or read design magazines to get a better understanding of how design fits into your everyday life. And even if you’ve gone mad for one particular period or store, never buy everything from the same place or the same era—it’ll scream straight-out-of-the-catalogue. It’s like buying an entire outfit off a mannequin, too obvious. The key to well-executed home décor is to mix things up.

Practically Posh is the new black

July 18, 2008

So read last week that “frugal” is the new black, what brilliant
timing for Practically Posh! I’m living in the Hamptons this summer
hosting a show, and “coincidentally” friends and family are CRAWLING
out of the woodwork wanting to catch up with me this summer. I wonder
if I was living in Newark, New Jersey this summer, if I’d be as
missed?

Anyway, since I have an influx of guests and not too much money which
doesn’t quite couple well with the SUPER expensive Hamptons (I paid
$10 for a smoothie the other day!!!!) I have come up with “practically
posh” ways to save on entertaining and shop this summer.

Have any suggestions on how to host on the cheap, let me know!!

Robyn

xxxxooo

Host a Tasting Party- More posh than a cooking club, and more fun than
a book club, holding a tasting party is an affordable way to learn
about food and wine. From high-end tequilas to artisanal cheeses, have
guests pitch in and bring items, download info from the internet, and
learn to discern the nuances of a 100% Blue Agave tequila, or compare
the differences between English and Vermont Cheddar.

Make it a daytime affair. Hankering to try out the new hot spot, but
hesitant to drop a lot of cash? Trade in a Saturday night for a Sunday
afternoon and enjoy a brunch instead. Many brunch places offer a deal
that includes Bloody Marys or mimosas; so you can still have fun and
check out the cool environments, but at a fraction of the cost.

Game on. Beat the heat, and tame your budget by staying in this Friday
night with family and friends and let the games begin! Old school
games are always fun, so you can dust off your scrabble and monopoly
sets, make some popcorn, and indulge in some old-fashioned fun.
“Multi-player” games are also incredibly popular, so show off your
deft strumming skills and jam out with “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero
III.” And if you’re a big fan of American Idol and High School
Musical, belt out some tunes with karaoke games like “SingStar Pop” or
have dance off with “Dance Dance Revolution”.

Discover our own back yard. Instead of hopping in car for a weekend
away, strap on your walking shoes or hop on your bike and discover
neighborhoods in your own city. From architecture tours to scenic bike
routes, many cities offer free excursions that allow to affordably
explore your town and get some exercise in the meantime. If you prefer
to stay away from groups, you can also download maps, and forge your
own trail.

Clothing Swap Parties
Before you log on to e-Bay to sell that skirt you meant to return but
didn’t or that sample sale score you have yet to wear, try swapping
out your booty with your girlfriend. Every girl has a bag of unwanted
clothes sitting in her closet, so invite your stylish lady friends and
their pile of goods over, open up a bottle of wine, and let the
auction begin!

Shop your closet
I once house sat for a co-worker, and decided one of the perks of the
job was to raid her closet. I chose a BCBG leopard print dress paired
with a turquoise Juicy Couture cardigan: sexy yet sweet. My outfit was
a hit at work, and when my friend returned I ‘fessed up to what I had
borrowed. “Interesting”,  she said. “I haven’t won that dress in ages,
and I never would have put those two together.” She began to
reappraise that outfit, and her own wardrobe altogether, and our game
of “Shop your closet” was born. Have a friend whose style you admire
come over one night and help pick out outfits from your closets.
You’ll discover with some updated accessories–you can get a great
second life out of your wardrobe.

Practically Posh in the Post!

July 9, 2008

Practically Posh was on the cover of the entertainment section in the Post, check it out:

new-york-post-7-8-08

Practically Posh on Plum!

July 8, 2008

I got interviewed by fashion guru Lauren Ezersky about my book, Check it out!!

http://hamptons.plumtv.com/videos/robyn_moreno_practically_posh

Poshify!!

July 4, 2008

Hello all!

I was on the Today Show today spreading the good posh word to all of America! The segment was on last minute fourth of July entertaining and the ideas were pretty frigging cute

The best part was I think I invented a new word: poshify! Let’s see if it catches on!

Check it out:

http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-us&brand=&vid=56b72992-4c66-4d73-bdd5

-2190dfb527b7&f=34&fg=rss>

Practically Posh at work!

July 3, 2008

Hello all,

So my book Practically Posh was just released and is already sweeping the nation, or at least my office, literally

Yesterday, Marissa, a co-producer on the station, was buzzing around her desk happily organizing away, when she sang out to me “Robyn, I’m cleaning my desk!” “Great!” I replied, barely looking up from my own embarassingly messy area

“Not just CLEANING,” she said, “Like SPRITUALLY CLEANING, and getting all the bad energy out,”

“Good idea” I muttered, ’til I realized “Hey! That’s from my book!” Yay! the first time someone used one of my ideas from the book, and a brilliant one at that!

In my “nesting” or “home” chapter I write about period a couple of years ago,when I went through a particularly rough patch in my life where I lost a boyfriend and a job within two months. After lying around my home in sweats for a month, buried under a mountain of self-help books, a good friend suggested I give my house a “cleansing.” I responded with an indignant, “Hey, lady, all I’ve been doing is cleaning my house.” She explained what she meant was a spiritual cleansing of my house: Kick out bad energy and invite happiness in. Happiness, eh? That was enough incentive to tear me away from the pages of Stand Up For Your Life! for a couple of hours. I looked up home cleansing rituals on the Internet and found most of them involved sage, cedar, or frankincense. I walked to a local botanica (a Latino herbal store) and picked up some sage tablets, cedar incense sticks, and a candle for Santa Clara, the patron saint of clarity. I then opened all my windows, dropped the sage tablets in glasses of water and placed them in the corners of each room. Then, beginning at the front door, I lit a cedar stick and began walking room to room waving the stick like a sparkler and shouting, “Out, damned bad energy, out!” I finished by saying a prayer in front of old St. Clara.
This was my interpretation of a cleansing ritual, but you could choose to ask a pastor, priest, rabbi, or even your friends to bless your house. Your spiritual tidying may be as simple as throwing away negative items from your past (like photos of evil ex-boyfriends or betraying best friends), trashing old work files, or cutting up your work I.D. and dancing around in your underwear to “I Will Survive.” Sometimes you need a busload of faith to get by, as Lou Reed once sang, so ladies, whatever it takes for you to feel good, go for it.

For our office “cleansing” Marissa, our editor Ashley (AKA Swatch-She’s Swiss) and I held hands and read a blessing Marissa wrote about removing blocked energy, disorganization, insecurity, and office gossip and bickery, and inviting in harmony, creativity, teamwork, and focus

We then grabbed a broom and swept all the bad energy out the door!

I think its worked well so far, we’ve had some great shows, and everyone seems to be getting on well

I vote you give it a try!

Love, xxoooo

Robyn

Martha and Me

July 1, 2008

Pondering my book release today, I found it ironic (and maybe somewhat serendipitous) that I recently met up with the Queen of DIY: Martha Stewart.

When I was first imagining the content, style, and tone of my book Practically Posh, Martha was my inspiration: in the sense of what and WHAT NOT to do. To clarify: I have much admiration for Martha, in terms of her creativity and imagination, and also as a woman and a brand. But, as busy gal with lots of ideas and taste, but not so much time (or money) for the execution of decoupaging a chest of drawers or decorating gourds, how was my how-to book going to be different?

First of all, it was going to be PRACTICAL. One of the main tenets of Practically Posh, is that we aren’t going to re-invent the wheel. If you don’t know how to SPELL decoupage, much less have the time to try it, I’m not going to inundate you with time-consuming projects that require lots of instruction, confusion, and expensive trips to the craft store. (For decoupage fans, I do offer ONE super easy and super COOL project, so relax, J). Most of my recipes, suggestions, and tips are about utilizing things, ingredients, and knowledge that you ALREADY own and faking the rest. Have a “Foodie “ friend over for dinner? Don’t even try to compete on her level: she has years of practice, and an actual interest in cooking behind her. The Practically Posh response: Pull out the race card. What’s your background? Italian, Puerto Rican, Swedish, Bulgarian? It’s time to use what you got, ladies and whip up grandma’s meatballs, curry, or moussaka. Even if you got the recipe from epicurious.com, and not a handed down recipe book, who’s going to know? Just make up a story to serve along with it: “Babushka used to make this for us every Sunday.” Your guests will duly impressed, who’s going to try and front Nana?

You see, Practically Posh is all about working with what you have, then WORKING what you have. It’s about tapping your resourcefulness, from re-inventing your own wardrobe, to making a slamming dinner with items in the fridge, to showing off your best assets. Got great gams, but a Mac and Cheese belly? Guess who’s going to be rocking the hell out that baby doll dress.J

I do hope readers learn some new stuff, and accordingly share tons o’ of clever tips, tricks, and shortcuts. But more than anything, I want people to realize that they for the most part possess all they need to live the life they want, whether its to how to dress in runway looks on your real person salary (edressme.com and bluefly.com are KILLER saving sites), to how to serve up a wow-inspiring meal, or how to take that dream vacation NOW. Hint: discover destinations in your own back yard like GORGEOUS wineries in Long Island, Virginia, Oregon, and Texas. (Don’t smirk, snobby pants! Texas is the 2nd most visited winery after Napa Valley.)

Also, the book had to exude POSHNESS. While I do fancy Victoria “Posh” Beckham’s smarts and style—bravo, love!— when I think of posh, I think of it’s origin as an acronym for a sailing term: port out(ward), starboard home, which is where the first class accommodations were located on English cruise ships. See, a Practically Posh girl is one who steers her own first class ship. Someone who gets that life is much more than just about finding deals, it’s about finding pleasure in your present life. Whether your dream includes fame and riches–or maybe just a smartly decorated apartment and a bank account not in the red–the road to success doesn’t have to be shabby. Practically Posh is your bible for living as a bon vivant on a budget.

So armed with those two premises, I created Practically Posh and I hope you guys enjoy. You know I’m all for slowing things down, appreciating the technique of things, and taking time to learn how to do things well, but for the rest of the 300-plus days a year, get the most out of your life by living the Practically Posh way. Which is really the way most women live nowadays anyway.

In fact, What’s your favorite easy recipe, place to bargain shop, or tip/trick that saves you time and money while you still look like a rock star? Let me know and maybe it’ll be in my next book.!

BTW- For great tips on last minute 4th of July entertaining tips, check me out on July 4 on NBC’s Today Show in the 9am hour!! Talk to you soon!

Besos! Xxxooo… Robyn