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March 24, 2017

SHOPPING GUIDE: UPPER EAST SIDE

Shopping in the city can be overwhelming, stressful and sometimes too much to bear. With a multitude of stores housed in the one city, it is almost impossible to know where to shop and how to navigate each neighborhood. I wanted to break down the barriers for the shopping New York novice and assist in better understanding the strengths of each neighborhood when it comes to shopping. Whether you are looking for high-designer duds, off-price goodies or vintage pieces, this guide will assist even the most experienced shopper. 

In this week's shopping edition, I wanted to start with the top of the top: the Upper East Side. Home to some of the world's wealthiest spenders, this is the real deal of shopping. I rounded up some of the top spots that I think are special and offer shopping experiences and assortments you may not find elsewhere. 

Upper East Side
Are you ready to drop big dough on only the best of the best and walk the streets of the UES for the ultimate in luxury? You name it, they have it and don't even think to look for a promotion or sale. Here "sale" is a dirty word reserved for only the downtown set. Check out these favorites for some fun shopping filled with aspirations and inspiration.

Overview:
Shoppers: Fancy Shmancy Ladies, Rich Kids of Instagram, Gucci Loafer wearing Dads
Price: Too many $$ to write out

HIGHLIGHTED STORES:

FIVESTORY: Shop this famed townhouse owned by famous New Yorker Claire Distenfeld for a luxurious setting, luxurious shopping and an experience few shoppers can even dream about. If it sounds familiar, it is because you have heard it from Leandra Medine of Manrepller and designer Rosie Assoulin, as they are the true girl gang of cool in New York. The well-curated assortment is perfect for the shopper looking for unique pieces from designers all over the world. 

MODA OPERANDI Townhouse: For the super refined, this townhouse is a one stop destination to discover high-end brands, high-end trends and high-end help. I shopped the Bridal assortment here and I was taken away by the beauty of the store. Plush, pink velvet couches, chandeliers, and hand-painted wallpaper surround the ready-to-wear and accessory goods.

BERGDORF GOODMAN: The mecca of department decadence, I love walking through the racks at this New York shopping staple. There is no other store where you immediately feel more New York than BG. It is almost like shopping at a wealthy Grandmother's apartment: surrounded by sparkly chandeliers, crown molding and her lovely, lady friends.

BARNEYS NEW YORK: No introduction needed here, and certainly Barneys has more locations than the New York city hub. However, being situated on Madison Ave as opposed to Fifth makes all the difference here. Fighting crowds in front of Saks takes away from the overall experience, so walking into Barneys feels like a little secret, and reprieve from the unknowing tourist. Sleek and sophisticated, this is shopping for the minimalist looking for edgy and contemporary finds.

INTERMIX UPPER EAST SIDE: I find this location the most luxurious and largest of all the Intermix NYC stores. Yes you can find Intermix throughout the city, but I love the size and assortment at this location. Intermix assortments are catered to each neighborhood, so you know you are in for the real-deal for all your UES shopping needs here 

J.CREW MADISON AVENUE: J.Crew may seem like an odd choice given there is a J.Crew in every mall in America, but I always find this one to be especially unique. Filled with the items you can't find in every store, this store has a certain quality that feels just as fancy as the stores on Madison Avenue. I love shopping the J.Crew Collection too and I feel just as fancy here as I would elsewhere on the Upper East Side. 

MICHAEL'S CONSIGNMENT: Otherwise known just as Michael's, this high-end consignment store is a well-known UES establishment. The store first opened in 1954 and has been the go-to for second hand consignment for all the ladies who lunch east of Broadway. Here you score all the goodies from the above stores in like-new condition. You can now shop through their online store, avoiding midtown traffic to make your way to 79th and Madison. 



Not sure what to wear to walk around these streets? Take a cue and try to stay relaxed-chic with an on-trend spin. I would certainly consider this one-shoulder, wide-legjeweled mule look perfect when window shopping turns into buying. I provided some similar and more affordable looks because hey, "fake it till you make it".



March 22, 2017

SPRING IN THE WEST VILLAGE?

It may officially be Spring, but the temperatures these days tell us otherwise. I don't know about you, but I was so psyched for the imminent idea of Spring, that all logic went out the window when shopping these past few weeks. It never came across that it might be weeks, if not months until I can wear my new lace-up sandals or light, knit jacket. I know I am not alone here, and I am making major styling efforts to incorporate these warm weather pieces into the cold weather reality. I was fortunate last week when a 60 degree day blessed New York City and I was given the opportunity to bust out some Spring pieces when heading out to dinner at Hudson Clearwater.

How excited I was when this whole dress-over-jeans trend started happening. A perfect transitional look to take silky slips of the 90s and pair them with my Winona-like jeans with frayed hems. The West Village is great place to test new trends, as it is less edgy than Soho, but more happening than Tribeca. Here is to new trends and wishing and hoping the weather turns for the better soon!







March 15, 2017

SERENA VAN DER WOODSEN IN 2017

Where would Serena Van Der Woodsen be in 2017? For many of us, Gossip Girl remains a top ten favorite television show of all time. Before Instagram, Netflix and Snapchat, the show's only version of social media was manned by "lonely boy" a.k.a Dan Humphery. Could you imagine Gossip Girl in today's world of endless information? Anyways, Serena always seemed to be above it somehow. She never gave in to the catty gossip of New York's, private school, teenage elite. At this point Serena would be well into her twenties and still owning the New York game.... or would she??? These are three predictions as to what could have happened to our lovely swan, Serena Van Der Woodsen.


1. The Ultimate Socialte
The most probable prediction of all- Ms. Van Der Wooden owns the socialite pages of Vogue, The New York Times and WWD. She is employed by the PR department at Vogue to attend parties, social functions and events. Serena does not do entry-level work but obviously completes a task deemed impossible by Ms. Wintour and is awarded a position at Vogue that involves glamorous galas and showroom appointments. She and Dan live in the West Village, where she regularly chats with Andy Cohen on the street while walking their dogs together.

Serena's Manhattan Looks:




2. A Brooklyn Babe
Serena grew tired of city life and chose to shack up with Dan in a renovated loft somewhere in DUMBO. While Dan works on his second "great American novel", Serena opens her own gallery filled with contemporary work found while interning at the Gasgosian Gallery so many years ago. Every one of her art shows sells out...obviously. After several years she decides to begin painting and finds she is a very talented artist. Her work is displayed on gallery at the Whitney and she is considered a rising star in the art world.
Serena's Brooklyn Ensembles:




3. West Coat Diva
Dare I say it... does Serena move to L.A? Serena and Dan choose to separate to "find themselves" and each go their own ways. Dan moves to Paris looking for inspiration while Serena heads to California searching for warm weather and laid back vibes. She takes up yoga, becomes gluten-free and becomes the talk of the town when she starts dating Leonardo DiCaprio (wait... she did that in real life). She decides to start a blog aptly named The New York Blonde (wink, wink) and posts on her daily adventures and recommends throughout her life travels. Her blog is read by Tinseltown's finest and her stories are bought only to be turned into a hit Netflix television show. Dan and Serena rekindle their romance after her quick-ended Leo stint and they become bi-coastal sharing a house in the Hollywood Hills and an apartment in Tribeca.
Serena's Bi-Coastal Uniform:









March 8, 2017

TOP NEW YORK GRAMMIES TO HAVE



Grandmothers are the best. They always make you feel you the most special.  You will always be a child in their eyes. Whether you have a Mom-Mom, Bubby, Mamaw, Ma-ma or Grammie, all Grandmothers are wonderful to be around. With that being said, I always wondered what it would be like to have an especially special Grandmother. Not to say all Grandmothers aren't special, but what would life be like if Betty White was your Grandma, or Lucille Ball, or one of the Missoni women? Would you get behind the scene tours on movie sets, or backstage passes to MGM or cool, new clothes? This isn't something I sit and think about, but it came to me several years ago when I discovered Iris Apfel and just thought she would be the chicest Grandmother. This is a list of women that I think would be really cool to call Grand-mom, and the gifts they would bring for those random trips to your home:


1. Iris Apfel
The chicest of all women, regardless of age – this lady is the tops. She doesn't need much of an introduction; an owner of a textile company, jewelry designer and a consummate high-society glamazon. So highly respected for her style, the Met did an exhibit on her style alone. Can you just imagine the amazing style advice she would bestow to a granddaughter?



2. Betty Halbreich
In case you didn't know, Betty Halbreich is the famed personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, responsible for dressing high-profile actresses, political swans and top-notch socialites. The star of Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorfs, writer of I'll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist and the go-to for the final say for style advice in New York, this lady has done and seen it all. Where would a granddaughter start on her tour of her endless 12-closet apartment? Yes, 12 closets!






3. Rue Mcclanahan
The raciest of the Golden Girls clan, I never felt Rue Mcclanahan got the attention she deserved. Betty White was certainly the silliest of the group, but Rue was the sexy vixen always looking to have a good time. I obviously don't know much about her personal life, but any lady that can play a confident and sexy lady into her retirement years must be one fun woman. The Golden Girls might be considered the Sex and the City for the retirement group, where it is OK to live with roommates into their mid sixties, date a plethora of men and party until their heart is content, even if it is in the senior citizen center. I would like to think this woman would bestow ions of advice to her Granddaughter not only about men and dating, but also how to present the best version of yourself and always feel confident no matter the setting. Rue has sinced pass, but it always nice to imagine the lucky lady that got to call her Grandma.








March 1, 2017

WHAT TO WEAR TO THE WALDORF

The Waldorf Astoria, the famed New York hotel, will officially close its doors this week for a two-to-three year overhaul renovation. I remember the first time I walked into the Waldorf.  I was in my early twenties, and as with most first time New York experiences, I had no idea what to expect. I always want to look my best in order to feel my best, but I was dumbfounded as what to wear to the hotel that has been graced by old-school celebrities and titans of industry. I probably assumed everyone walked around in their Sunday best and gemstone jewelry while taking in the beauty and grandeur of the hotel. These are the types of NYC experiences we dream about…but when they actually come to fruition, we are so confused as to what to wear we forgo all logic and end up wearing our most luxurious items from head to toe.  I think it is best to retain a sense of sophistication when heading uptown, but remaining casually chic. I was pouring over photos for inspiration for Waldorf-perfect pieces, when I realized this season's one shoulder trend with a high waist pant is a perfect pairing for my signature look of whimsical sophistication. I wore this look on a recent shoot, and absolutely love everything about it; the one shoulder, large ruffle, ditsy print, two tone look.  It is just perfect. Obviously you can wear this to many uptown jaunts, but this outfit is special and special outfits deserve to be worn at special places like the Waldorf. 




For this look: Zara.com


February 27, 2017

HOT-SPOT: AUGUSTINE

Dining out these days can feel overwhelming. When multiple eateries open every month, it is hard to keep track of what to do and where to go in the city. Throughout the past few months I have been venturing out of my comfort zone, traveling outside my restaurant routine and visiting new spots to add to my restaurant roster. A few weeks ago I headed to the Financial District for some fine French dining at Keith McNally’s Augustine inside the Beekman hotel. The newly opened hotel has caused quite a stir among the New York scene, with questions arising whether uptown locals would actually venture to the most southern part of Manhattan just to visit the new crown jewel on the downtown scene. Without disappointment, even the most loyal fans of their uptown eateries will be impressed by the decadent food options sure to make any Francophile feel at home with Parisian decor to match. I loved the atmosphere of Augustine, with drink and food options equally as wonderful as the interior decor. I was most impressed, however by the very upscale, downtown crowd. Saturday nights at hot-spot restaurants generally tend to attract a bridge and tunnel scene, when couples leave their suburban towns to enjoy a night at the newest restaurant. Augustine's however, has yet to be infiltrated by tourists, non-New Yorkers and young college kids looking to impress first dates.  It was definitely one of the most genuine New York restaurants, so much so that even Robert Dinero was only a few seats down from me enjoying his meal. Go to Augustine's for the lively scene, get a glass of wine, enjoy the meal and leave feeling just a bit more New York than when you arrived.


photo from EaterNY

Overview:
Price: $$$
Crowd: Expect to see young real estate tycoons and their beautifully dressed wives; entertainment types and finance MDs with their stunning, but equally smart girlfriends; also be ready for Broadway actors and the occasional movie star who keeps an apartment near by.
What to Wear: Dust off your hidden jewels for this one; wear your finest, but in your most casual way. Beware of anything too over-the-top and flashy, you are still downtown. Retain glamour in a ruffled blouse and beautiful shoes, but keep your speedy LV at home. Dress to impress without being overdone.



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February 23, 2017

DRESSING FOR MIAMI


How I love Miami. Not only is the weather just perfect, but the culture harks back to the days where dinner jackets were required and ladies always dressed to the nines. New York might be the city that never sleeps, but Miami is the city that never stops partying. I sometimes forget the elegance that makes up Miami. Wearing your favorite normcore looks in New York is considered nonchalantly chic, but toting fitness wear on Collins Ave. is just not acceptable. For folks who haven't yet traveled to the high-flying city of heat, always remember you can never be too dressed. With that being said, I created a comprehensive wardrobe for every Miami occasion. Brunch, lunch and supper- I guarantee these looks will have you appropriately dressed at all times.

Brunch: Omelettes and lattes never looked so glamorous. After your morning workout session, Miami ladies do not walk around in their sweaty Lulu ensembles. They head home and slip into brightly colored dresses and fun sandals for a day of shopping at the Bal Harbor shops. Even if you don't plan on dropping major dough at Saks, you will still want to dress the part. Look casually chic in a flowing dress and jeweled sandals.


Lounge: Sunny days might be relaxed by the pool or the beach, however your outfit is anything but. I personally favor a high waisted look, both for a bit more coverage and for the retro look. Don't forget a good cover up here! You never know when the beach days could go into beach nights, so bring along accessories just in case the music turns up and the cocktails start flowing!



Dinner: This is when the party really starts. Don't even think about wearing denim. When the humidity is high and the temps are even higher, you will want to wear the evening dress from the back of your closet. The most opportune time to break out the LBD you have been waiting months to wear. Find your most glamorous look for the night that will most likely go into the early morning.


February 16, 2017

PACKING WITH THE NEW YORK BLONDE


I am an expert when it comes to packing. There are not many areas in life that I can confidently claim expertise, but this is one of the few. My fiancé and I have been traveling together for several years and not once have I checked a bag. Even at our farthest and longest vacation to Hawaii this past winter did I check a bag. My Tumi duffle has been taking me around the world for the past five years and continues to be just fine. I have posted on packing before, but chose to post these 3 rules will be coming into play before I take off this weekend for a warm weather weekend.

1. KNOW YOUR ITINERAY
Before traveling anywhere, I write down a full schedule of activities. It is imperative to know how many dinners, breakfasts, lounge days and gym outfits you will need. WRITE IT DOWN! Do not pack on a whim thinking you know your whereabouts for the trip. In order to effectively style your vacation wardrobe, you must know the various locations you will be heading.


2. PACK WITH PURPOSE
I think I may have mentioned this before- pack items that share multiple purposes. Pack items that can be worn to dinner than night and breakfast for the morning after. Many of the items I pack can be worn to dinner, lunch and even used as a beach cover up. This is the time to get creative and style accordingly. You will find a reason to where that awesome multi-layer maxi. For packing purposes, leave it home and save space for essentials.


3. TRAVEL AT YOUR MOST BEAUTIFUL
Before boarding a plane, I always ensure my nails are perfectly manicured. If I have the time, I will give myself a fresh blowout before flying and I always place a touch of perfume on my wrists. Why do I do this? Airplanes are full of germs and never have I exited a plane feeling "refreshed". If I can prevent any feeling of griminess at any point, I will take action. I guarantee these three beauty rules will at least make you feel a bit better after landing at your destination.



February 13, 2017

FASHIONISTA SUCCESS AT 26


If you live in New York, especially Manhattan, you are well aware of sky-high rent prices. When an average 1 bedroom runs you around $3200 a month, living on your own may feel like a very distant reality. This is why many of us live with a roommate (or two, or three) to cover the cost of our crazy rent and live in what we consider the city of dreams. Now, if you happen to work in an industry that easily covers the cost of high rent and all its amenities, this seems like a moot point. For us fashionistas, living on your own is something that may not come to fruition until your early to mid thirties when managerial positions are finally in our view, along with the salaries to go with it. However, when you do work in fashion and you reach the point where you live on your own, celebration is in order. My closest friend in the city, at a mere 26 years old moved into her own studio apartment in Greenwich village, sans help from the parental unit. She quickly climbed the corporate ladder as a buyer, achieving fashionista success before most even move to the city to follow their fashion dreams. This is what success looks like to a twenty-something fashion girl:

This fifth floor studio walk-up is anything but small. Charming, quaint and Martha Stewart chic, this fashion focused buyer adorned her apartment with shabby-chic accessories to brighten the 500 square foot space.



The bedroom area acts as both a sleeping and living space, with a plush, ivory couch and wooden coffee table for function and flair.




Mirrors always help spaces appear larger, case in point with this beautiful, free standing mirror to the right. It is also a great accent piece to the ivory couch and fluffy pillows. 


The arch details create a barrier between the kitchen and the bedroom. In order to have an eating area, she placed a West Elm island in the middle of the space. The wooden island is perfect for hosting dinner parties and extra table space when cooking. 

Due to the lack of cabinets, shelving space is utilized for both dish storing, cookbook organizing and putting away cooking supplies. 





The bathroom is perfect for the space. Situated directly across from the living/bedroom, it becomes a very private area, as opposed to other apartments where the bathroom is in close proximity to the bedroom or living space.


These bathroom towels are a reminder that no matter how small your home, it is a place to relax and rewind from the bustling city. Home Sweet Home:)





February 10, 2017

QUICK COOL GIRL GUIDE TO NYC

Man Repeller recently wrote an article on being "cool". Leandra questions its very meaning and how she battled with achieving "cool" status in her early twenties. I think we can all agree this is something most of us have dealt with throughout our life. I am going to be honest here -- do we not all aspire to be "cool" in some way?  Living in New York there is plenty of cool to aspire to and find. Fashion, music, art, food -- all lend to the status of "cool". Let's be cool together! Here are some of my top picks for being cool in the city and will 100% up your coolness factor outside of the Big Apple.

Cool Girl Restaurant- Lalo

Chinatown used to be a section off Little Italy that was for dim-sum and late night drinks. Now, restaurateurs are opening a whole slew of hot-spots that are the farthest thing from Chinese food. Lalo, this Mexican jaunt by Chef Gerardo Gonzalez (El Rey) combines Cali influences with a focus on all the veggies your heart desires. Don't be fooled by its laid-back vibes, the scene is super sceney and attracts the crafty crowd of artists, editors and stylists. The food is on point too, because we know how much New Yorkers love a good meal AND a good crowd.

What To Wear:



Cool Girl Bar- Up & Up

Up & Up opened a little less than a year ago and has been a go-to for the cool crowd for a while now. Make your way past the stubborn, no-nonsense doorman to discover a bumpin' basement with tasty cocktails and cool vibes. Situated on Macdougal Street, this spot attracts the group aching for something beside the beer bar that makes up most of Greenwich Village. 

What To Wear:



Cool Girl Dance Party Club- Paul's Casablanca

Paul Sevigny, consummate club opener, party-goer and brother of Chloe, opened Paul's Casablanca late last year in what was once the renowned New York club Sway. Unlike other dance parties in NYC, this place is not somewhere to go and find KISS FM'S hot 100. Dance the night away to 90's classics and songs you forgot you loved from the aughts. Play it cool if you happen to bump into a celeb though, you are cool... remember :)

What To Wear:




Shop Inspirational Look From Above:


February 9, 2017

GOSSIP GIRLS VIBES WITH LOVE SAM

I was channeling some major Gossip Girl vibes in this stunning black, burnout dress by Love Sam. While I always considered myself more of a Blair than a Serena, the black, leather shearling paired with the flocked flowers read more Van der Woodsen than Waldorf. This dress is just asking for a Chuck or Nate to come and sweep me off my feet from this balcony in Battery Park City.









Shop Here for Inspirational Looks: