A Chilly Weekend Guide

This happens to be the first weekend of the last many for which I have very minimal plans. Tonight I'll be hitting up my favorite happy hour and then spending the night catching up on Dexter, Survivor, & Fringe on DVR and True Blood On Demand. Since the rest of my weekend is fairly open, I'll be debating between lots of fun events in and outside of Manhattan to keep me busy on this chilly October weekend.

Ulysses' Folk House . 58 Stone Street/98 Pearl Street
I must admit, I had a difficult time finding any Oktoberfest celebrations, let alone a good one. Ulysses' Folk House seems pretty promising. Located on legendary Stone Street, stop by Saturday October 3rd for live oompah music (love), street fun (not sure what this means, but am hoping it involves Lederhosen) and traditional food (beers and brats!). If for nothing else, I highly recommend checking out Ulysses for the fabulous location on the "first paved street in Manhattan".

Chowderfest . Beach Haven . Long Beach Island, NJ
If you're just kind of over New York and longing for some serious Fall-ness, on Sunday October 4th head down the Jersey shore for some chowdah! An annual event officially closing out the Long Beach Island summer, Chowderfest features street vendors, beach store closeout sales, live music and a clam chowder cookoff unlike any other around. One side of the outdoor bayside setup features New England style (that's the white) while the other features Manhattan style (that's the red). Designated by color-coded tents, each chowder style generally boasts 10 local restaurant competitors. You can see the complete list of competitors here. For a general admission of $20 each, sample all the chowdah you can handle and end the day with a vote for your favorite red and white. Winners get bragging rights, so vote carefully.

Starbucks Freebies
Starbucks on: My corner . Your corner . Everyone's corner
Kick off both Saturday and Sunday mornings with free java this weekend.In case you haven't heard, obnoxiously globalized and overrated-for-their-basic-coffee Starbucks has launched a new instant coffee brand called VIA. From today through Monday, stop in your local Starbucks for a free tall VIA coffee. Though I'm more of a pumpkin spice latte/caramel apple cider/salted caramel hot chocolate kind of girl, a free coffee could be enough to get me into the store.

Fashion's Night Out Fun, Even For a Peon

On Thursday, Sept 10, I, along with fashionista extraordinaire and almost-sister Catherine, attended Fashion's Night Out - a one night event kicking off New York Fashion Week in which stores from Fifth Ave Flagships to SoHo boutiques stayed open late, had dj's spinning rockin' tunes, and offered free champagne. Be sure to check out Catherine's video coverage which is soon to be posted on her site!

Stores visited:
Juicy Couture
Henri Bendel
Elie Tahari

Budget Breakdown:
1 glass of seltzer (mistaken for real water) - FREE
2 glasses of champagne - FREE
1 bottle Baby Goth Girl MAC Style Black nail polish: $13
1 FNO T-shirt: $30
1 Tom Ford perfume sample: FREE
2 Subway Fares: $4.50
1 bathroom use at Chanel: FREE

Elie Tahari
Here, I got my fancy FNO t-shirt and listened to some music on a giant tuba.

Juicy Couture on 5th Avenue featured 1920's style flappers who frequently broke into dance. Oh, and they had a full pink bar serving champagne (2 free glasses for me).

MAC Style Black Collection

A new collection on preview for one night only, featuring, you guessed it, black. Gorgeous eye shadows and nail polishes lead the collection, however I do have some reservations about the black lipstick.

Kick Off Fall with Fashion, Food, and Freebies

Since Fall is my favorite season, and we're having unseasonably fabulous weather here in New York, I'm celebrating by attending some free yet fabulous events going on over the next couple of weeks. From fashion to food to fresh city air, you basically can't go wrong.

Fashion's Night Out
The first of its kind, Fashion's Night Out is a one night event kicking off Fashion Week tomorrow, Sept. 10. Designed to boost the industry and get shoppers (like you) into stores (like Saks & Bergdorf), this event will feature free cocktails and grub and discounted fashion pieces. Stores throughout the five boroughs will stay open until 11pm and word is that every notable designer will be out enjoying the festivities as well - even throwing in a performance here and there. Want the inside scoop? Check out New York magazine's Frugal Guide and Full Event Calendar. Ok, I do find it a little patronizing that suddenly the retail industry is hurting and therefore now the peons are invited to participate and spend their money, but the bottom line is that I really want to go. It seems fab and perhaps I'll score a super deal on some seasonal super trend. At the very least I hope to get some free wine and cupcakes out of it.

Hoboken Italian Festival
Moving on from chic to...not so chic, it's the Hoboken Italian Festival. Also kicking off tomorrow, Sept. 10, this 4 night festival will feature local cuisine (e.g. pizza, cannolis) and live music. Though I've never been, I'm not one to pass up NJ classic foods and will therefore be finding some time this weekend to attend. Check this site for a full schedule of events. My only reservation about this event is that it is unlikely to be as fantastic as...

The Feast of San Gennaro
A September staple in the calendar of Rachel. Each year husband and I attend and try lots of fried culinary delights, from skewered meat to fried corn cakes to fried calamari to tiramisu to...the list can go on and on. Like the Jersey shore boardwalk enlarged and displaced into Manhattan, carnival games, circus freaks, and live cheesy music permeate this Little Italy phenomenon. This is a festival that should not be missed. Running from September 10 - 20, it gets beyond crowded, so if you want to try food of any kind, I recommend a night after work and, I cannot stress this enough, get there early and on an empty stomach! Since my new office digs are in the downtown area, there is a high chance that I will be making multiple evenings of it.

Is that enough to get you started for September? I have a busy week ahead...check back for photos and honest reviews! Anyone else attending any of the above? Let me know if you want to meet up!