Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chatting Biz Travel with Boingo

Know what that is? That's an excerpt from a semi-interview I gave this week for Boingo's HotSpot blog. Boingo, for the uninitiated, is the world's largest network of WiFi hotspots. When I really need to get online, their WiFi has saved my tail in far too many airports and cafes to name. So even though you won't find me flashing my face all over the internet, when Baochi at Boingo asked me--in my role at Jaunted's editor--for some business travel tips, I was like "oh, totally."

The piece--check it out here--on my tips for making Biz Travel fun includes a couple pics of me and a little bio, and I stand by everything I've said there. I write what I know.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Week in Work: July 12-16, 2010

Where I worked this week: the room desk at the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia

I've had quite the busy last few weeks. This being summer and all, people are all over the world and I've been double-timing it with the stories. So, partially to back up my excuses for not writing here so much and partially to brag about how much work I did this week, I present: My week in work...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Difference Between Travel and Fashion People

Okay, internet. We need to talk. I am about to make severe generalizations, but this rant needs to happen. It keeps entering my head when I see particular examples of the below day in and day out.

  • Fashion people don't get Twitter. There's nothing sadder than hearing that so-and-so big fashion names, who are otherwise terribly interesting people, have joined Twitter and then seeing that their tweets are so uninteresting to the point of annoyance. It's even worse if they start using texting language ("lol," "ur"). Fashion PR people and some bloggers/journalists are the exemption; it just seems to be the fashion personalities who don't get it.
  • Travel people get Twitter too much. Sure, it's an excellent networking tool and a platform for getting your name out there and your travel stories read, but when your tweets contain hashtags up the wazoo, weeks of references to an obscure convention you attended along with maybe 12 of your 1,200 followers, and 30 rapid tweets that show one side of a conversation on travel tips, you suck. #unfollow.
  • Fashion people travel way more than travel people. I could probably scientifically prove this if I had to. Fashion people--those actually involved in the fashion machine--are all over the place, all the time, and jumping continents comes naturally quickly. Life is one beautiful trip from Paris to Milan to New York to Miami to Shanghai to Moscow to the wilds of Norway to Buenos Aires and beyond. Travel people, on the other hand, have their destinations. It's a trip and then home. Trip and then home. Unless you're doing an around-the-world, but even then you're still not traveling with the freedom of fashion people.
  • Travel people do the fashion thing with difficulty. A prime example is something I've been championing whenever possible--that travel shoes do not have to be ugly. I realize this is an uphill battle, that tourists will forever be wearing Kipling fanny packs and Teva sandals, but damnit at least try for some personal style? If you can plan a 3-week long Shinkansen tour of Japan, then surely you can put something better than Crocs and Nike on your feet. And buying an Alexander McQueen scarf in London or a Chanel bag in Paris is NOT what I mean; that doesn't count.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Last Six Months in: Shoes

Before it becomes almost six months since my last post, I will do some quick updating and then (hopefully) resume blogging here on a regular basis. Just so everyone is clear: I am a pro blogger at other sites, which takes up all my time and doesn't usually make me want to keep blogging in my free time. But alas.

My last six months in:
  • High Heels:

    I almost bought these Proenza Schoulers

    and these Givenchys,

    but ended up buying these Christian Sirianos

    and these Zaha Hadids.

  • Dress Flats

    My love for Y-3 continues with these gold Washibas

    Memories from Roma soccer games stream back with these Italy World Cup limited-edition Puma Tekkies

  • Boots:

    The Barneys sale comes through again as I score the Prada Runway F/W 09 black garter boots

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Let's Talk Fashion Week. Again.

Another fashion week down, who knows how many more to go. This season, we expanded Racked into Racked NY and Racked National, and with more on the team, I was able to cool it a bit with the dashing from show to show, a contrast to the frantic schedule of last September.

Here's the final rundown of NYFW F/W 2010 for me:
And then let's not forget the few hours I shadowed Kelly Cutrone. Liveblog here and full photo gallery and video of that here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Inner Turmoil of Blogging: Credibility vs. Marketability

It's Fashion Week in New York. Again. And I am getting PISSED OFF. Not only does this seem to be the year for
everyone to plagiarize my work, but it also looks to be the year that blogs play right into the hands of marketers, and stay there. This is mainly happening with "independent" fashion blogs, who accept a stream of free packages from brands, and then promote the company via social media streams as a "thanks."

It is a drug to them. Once they've accepted a free pair of Nike shoes in exchange for a tweet, why not take a pair of exotic-skinned Jimmy Choos for a little blog post? And you can imagine how this snowballs until we reach the point we're at now--where most fashion blogs are simply paid mouthpieces for brands. Even though they've lost the innocence and objectivity that came before the glut of free stuff, the readers are still there; they just don't have a clue that their favorite blogger is only recommending a shampoo because he/she's getting a kickback for doing so. There are very very very few fashion blogs--ones that have been around for more than two years--that aren't exactly as I describe above. Refuse to believe me? Fine. No one discloses the swag anyways, so for readers--ignorance is bliss.

Back to how Fashion Week comes into this. If you are on the MB Fashion Week official press list as I am, then you receive all sorts of offers. Salons want to give me a makeover "to build a relationship" = you talk us up on your blog, and we'll give you hundreds of dollars worth of salon treatments. Jewelry designers offer to send me free pieces, and wannabe fashion designers try to lure me to their showrooms with the promise of free champagne and "a gift." Apparently bloggers will be the celebrity billboards of this decade.

NO THANK YOU. All this business gives me the creeps. And I am extremely fortunate to write for a fashion blog (2 years and counting) that has a contract that forbids me from accepting these offers, just in case I am ever tempted. If we receive advance copies of books to review, we review them without bias and then do a giveaway of the book for our readers. We fight the good fight to retain credibility and build authority. And it's working.

And about the bloggers that accept everything that lands on their doorstep--we get the same pitch emails you do, and when you tweet or blog about your hot new kicks or that trip you just took, or when you wear the ill-gotten goods to the same events and we see you bragging...we know that you are a sucker for it. Minus one point credibility. You are compromised. It's only too bad your readers can't see it from this angle.

Dear Suzy Menkes, please put all this into better, Brit-accented words for me...

On Fashionblogs from Mary Scherpe on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

No Longer a Virgin Atlantic Virgin

So above we have what is a very rare photo of me. I am only posting it because it's one of those rare occasions where the story behind the image is just so damn good, you can't simply throw onto Flickr and make it "private." Here I am in the restrooms of the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Clubhouse at JFK Airport, where there is a full wall of mirrors. It's about one hour before my departure on Flight 046 to London-Heathrow, and I am in heaven already.

You see, I enjoy midcentury modern design and the style of the jet age. I have been known to pick up Atomic Ranch magazine and even Airways magazine. Virgin Atlantic happens to have a similar aesthetic and thanks to the crack PR folk, I was able to punctuate my trip with visits to three of the slickest airport lounges, ever: New York-JFK, London-Gatwick and--the flagship--London-Heathrow.

I'll spare you the details, since I've already expounded at great length on them over at Jaunted, but let it suffice to say that now, I don't see how I can fly economy on Virgin Atlantic, knowing what there is on the flip side in Upper Class. I've been in first class lounges before and flown business in the past, but damn. I really can't find the words. So let's have the pictures! *Remember, you can click any of the pictures on this blog to see the larger size, hopefully.

VIRGIN ATLANTIC CLUBHOUSE - JFK (full gallery of pics here)

VIRGIN ATLANTIC CLUBHOUSE - LGW (full gallery of pics here)
VIRGIN ATLANTIC CLUBHOUSE - LHR (full gallery of pics here)
And, in case you're curious about the flight experience, here's the account (and yes, more pics) of VS Flight 046 from JFK to LHR. Thanks for putting up with my sporadic blogging, but you know--a girl about town has got girl about town stuff to do these days.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Somewhere Between Edinburgh and Newcastle

...is where I am. You see, this train I'm on to London-King's Cross (the 10:30am
East Coast out of Waverley) has free WiFi, and it's a freaking dream. Zipping by fields
of sheep, green hills with leftover snow drifts, the occasional peek of coastline (such
as in the video above), and I've got a table and outlet to boot. It's times like this that
drive me closer, bit-by-bit, to assuming the expat life in a country that has its
transportation shit together.

Friday, January 22, 2010

...And Now I'm in the Clouds Above Edinburgh

Climbed a mountain this morning...or really, a dormant volcano in the center of
Edinburgh. "Arthur's Seat" is what it's called, and thanks to our choice of a less than
ideal descent route, I landed on my own seat quite a few times as well. Ha--bad joke.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Oh Yea, I'm In London Right Now

Yes, that's the Tate Modern museum as seen from the Millennium Bridge. I'm in London and other European parts for the next week, for work and for fun, because travel to me is the essence of fun.

London hates free WiFi, I love blackcurrant food items, and the weather loves me. The snow that dumped on the country in the last weeks has melted away completely and now we walk miles and miles each day, holding our Oyster cards for emergencies like "oh crap, I need to be on the Gatwick Express from Victoria Station in 30 minutes and I just woke up!" Everything is awesome except for the exchange rate from USD to GBP; that is the opposite of awesome.

Channel Tunnel tomorrow!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Worlds Are Colliding!

Look what advertisement occasionally pops up on Jaunted! If you're on the site as much as I am (because umm I'm the editor), then you'll even be privy to seeing the full range of Louboutin ads. How did they know...?

I remember the day that Bergdorf Goodman started advertising on Racked; it was a confirmation that if you mention Linda Fargo enough and continuously shoot their amazing windows, that eventually she starts noticing. No discounts or special treatment though; blog advertising has nothing to do with us writers (at any of my blogs, at least).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

In Which I Prove Materialistic

Is this not the most awesome watch you have ever seen? Well, that's how I feel about it at least, and when I first spotted it a couple years ago on some website or another, it was wrist lust at first site.

I printed out its picture and specs, and taped it within easy view in my office at the time. At $500, I wasn't about to run out, buy it and slap it on my wrist; no, it was a dream of ultimate multi-timezone design perfection. More an inspirational image than anything else.

And then I got this boyfriend. And this guy (I'm thinking) understands or at least flatters my infatuation with international travel, and for Christmas this landed on my wrist. Granted it's been a few years, so the price has come down as the deadstock hit online auctions and such, but I doubt I still would have made the jump to buying it on my own; that's how elevated this product had become in my psyche.

The good news is that it's everything I ever dreamed it would be; it blends so well with my style and is shockingly more understated than my other watches, a Turin Olympics-edition Swatch and a concrete grey Alessi piece with a dead battery. And the even better news is that now I have a little connection to New York City, London, Dubai, Hong Kong and Los Angeles--the cities I chose to occupy the five faces--on my wrist, instead of declaring allegiance to just one. It's the best aspirational product ever.