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April 24, 2017

BRIDAL SHOWER BRAINSTORM


This past weekend I decided to spend my time searching for the ultimate Bridal shower look. I scoured midtown department stores, headed to high-street spots on Broadway and ducked into my favorite consignment stores searching for the perfect, ivory ensemble. After lots of deliberation and decision-making I ended up with...well I ended up with nothing.  I couldn't get past the lacy frocks, chiffon sheaths and silk slip dresses that made up most of the assortments. I initially assumed I would stumble upon the perfect look complete with white embroidery, tiered ruffles and a little bow. I naturally gravitate towards super feminine looks with delicate treatments including, but not limited to floral prints, soft layers and light fabrics. I was surprised I was having such a difficult time, but I figured I would narrow it down and provide some options that may or may not show up in pictures on the day of my Bridal shower.

This J.Crew number was just released and I felt it was perfect for the occasion. I loved the mini white silhouette with a jacquard floral print throughout. I was not sold on the overall fit of the dress, but it was certainly a contender. If I decide to move forward with this look I want to pair it was some fun pearl sandals, tasseled handbag and beaded bon-bon earrings in the look below. 


 Club Monaco has been  my go-to for occasion dressing lately. I rarely have problems finding the perfect look at Club, so I was super frustrated when I had difficulty in finding a dress for my shower. I only found a few choices that I felt were worth taking into the dressing room. This blue off-the-shoulder look was a personal favorite. I loved the ruffle tiers and blue stripe. Weather permitting, this would be perfect for a warm, sunny day. 

I also tried on two other looks, but neither struck my fancy for my big Bridal shower day. I love the white jumpsuit, but it didn't feel right for an occasion celebrating my upcoming nuptials.






This Fame and Partner two piece is amazing! I love the ruffles and hi-lo hem, but I might be showing a bit too much skin for a Bridal shower. I am undecided on this option, but I know it will be a keeper regardless of wearing it for my celebration or another celebratory event. 





While I haven't found my Bridal shower look, I'll keep my eyes peeled for all the new spring arrivals sure to hit stores in the next two weeks. In the meantime, there is no harm in shopping for other wardrobe additions in the process:)


April 16, 2017

ISLAND PACKING


I know festival dressing is on everyone's mind with Coachella filling up our social media accounts. While floral tiaras and crochet tops are perfect for music festivals, palm trees and bikinis are fresh on my mind. As my Spring break quickly approaches, island dreams and coconut drinks are what I have been looking to for several months. I always like to share packing tips via my blog or Instsatory, so I am especially excited to provide insight into packing for a Caribbean vacation. In the coming weeks I will be headed to the tropical islands of Turks and Caicos for some R&R, sunny skies and breezy palm trees.



As usual, I always pack one carry-on to fill all my packing needs. Warm weather packing is much easier than lugging cold weather heavy knits and coats. Bikinis, cover ups and cotton dresses take up little room and this can't be more true than when you are "packing with purpose" This is a round up of my must-haves when heading to the tropics.

CARRY ALL HANDBAG
Don't forget to pack a beach bag that also serves as a travel tote and a casual handbag. After your carry-on duffel, a roomy tote is just as important for storing magazines, books, makeup and skincare. Don't skimp on a durable handbag that works for all occasions and can easily be used for a casual day outside the resort. I personally love using my Deux Lux tote for toting around on the beach. I first traveled with it to Arizona and found it perfectly durable and versatile for all my traveling needs. Below are several options including this handbag- all of which are lightweight, reliable and on-trend.



EMBELLISHED FOOTWEAR
Don't skimp on footwear when heading to a tropical destination (or any destination for that matter). An experienced packer will agree with me here - trade your Havianas for a jeweled, tassel detailed, pom-pom beach sandal. Wear these with your breakfast dress, beach cover up and dressed up dinner look. Keep the party going all day while wearing fancy shmancy footwear all vacation long. I purchase most of my summer footwear at ASOS for their on-trend selection and moderate price points. The above were a Zara purchase from LY, but this year I am gravitating towards fun embellished slides and mules for a modern feel.


ALL PURPOSE COVER UP
I love a beautiful cover-up. A well made tunic, dress or caftan for the beach is the perfect item for a glamorous beach getaway. I especially love finding multiple purposes when buying a beach cover-up. Depending on its special details, I've worn tunics to dinner, dresses to breakfast and even caftans out and about outside the resort. I've worn my Eberjey cover up multiple times now and find it to be perfect for a swimsuit or a top overs shorts for dinner. I know this seems a bit odd, but I like finding versatility in items I pack and this specific tunic is just too pretty to only be worn to the beach.


HAT ATTACK
Face coverage is obviously super important at all times, but uber important when you are graced with blazing sun all day in a tropical locale.  I love a large, straw hat with colorful details and embroidery. The larger the better, both in fashion and function. These days it is much easier to find stylish options ranging in various price points. Any straw hat will do, but I am especially loving anything with sequins and pom poms. Similar to footwear, I like embellished head wear that adds a punch to the overall beachy look.



Shop My Look:

April 13, 2017

SHOPPING GUIDE: UPPER WEST SIDE


In all honesty, I am not sure what the preconceived notions are of the Upper West Side. Before moving to New York, I just assumed all the ladies who lunched lived on the Upper East Side, along with Gossip Girl cast-like characters and Voguettes. It wasn't until I moved to Manhattan that I realized how wrong I was and the Upper West Side is meant for well-off families, modern contemporary couples and life-long Manhattanites. Whether you are taking in the Opera at Lincoln Center or heading to the sold-out Seinfeld show at the Beacon Theater, the Upper West Side offers more than enough options to keep anyone fully engaged for a lifetime. Being that I consider myself quite a shopping expert, and I love sharing my shopping finds, the Upper West Side boasts some excellent options that are a bit more accessible and realistic than the Upper East Side's Madison Avenue high-end boutiques.

Let me start off by providing some insight into the UWS. Unlike it's neighboring Upper East Side, it offers many more commercial options and store fronts found in suburbia. Zara, Ann Taylor, Club Monaco, and Century 21 line the streets of the West Side, making shopping a bit easier on the wallet than Bergdorfs, Barneys (which is also on the UWS), and Saks Fifth Avenue. I sometimes prefer the UWS to the UES for the modesty of its inhabitants. Women dress a bit more downtown chic than uptown funk and embrace high-end with high-street, similar to the Tribeca moms and West Village couples of lower Manhattan.

Overview:
Shoppers: Fancy Families, recently married well-off 30-something couples and mid-forty year olds still holding onto to their downtown cool
Price: $$-$$$$
Highlighted Stores
Not so much one store, but a compliation of sorts that pulls in even the neighborhood regular. I personally like the Time Warner Center for a number of reasons; easy access to the 1-2-3 train line, proximity to the park, and the view from high above. It isn't to say you can't find a H&M, J.Crewor Stuart Weitzman elsewhere, but I find mall shopping a novelty in the city. For the average tourist, this is a go-to for the Columbus Circle attraction, not necessarily the shopping. However, no matter where I am heading near the area, I am always bound to duck into the shops and discover something to buy. Plus, if you really hate commercial shopping, just step inside the Mandarin Oriental next door for some light fare and take in the incredible views from above.
I know, I know, why would I highlight the off-price stop with stores throughout the nation. The Upper West Side TJ Maxx locations are much more special than the average neighborhood shop. TJ Maxx products are allocated by neighborhood and since New York has one of the highest income averages in the nation- the assortment has a direct correlation. Find Valentino, Gucci, Tory Burch, Vince, Theory, the list goes on and on. I have scored some of my best finds at these locations and boast to all my friends about my found treasures. I know, it seems so unoriginal to list TJ Maxx as a place to go in one of the shopping meccas in the world. However, if you remain price conscious, but still are looking for a one-of-a-kind item, take a quick peak at this TJ's and please share with me your new, awesome find!

Yes, the furniture stored owned by the former mentioned. I need to make note here, why I include Homegoods as a must-see. This is the only individually operated Homegoods in the city. This might be one of the few times where I have suburbia envy. There is nowhere else in the city where you can truly shop off-price furniture and home supplies. I sometimes wish I could just register at Homegoods for all their wonderful bedroom bureaus, nightstand tables, and lighting options. It is definitely worth the hike up to 100th street to scour the shelves for new bath products and wall decor.



CONTEMPO CASUAL BOUTIQUES
The Upper West Side is filled with small boutiques filled with highly edited and curated collections. There is no dearth of spending options in this family neighborhood. The great thing about the UWS is the blend of commercial stores and independently owned boutiques. However, in all honesty, the department stores of the UES rival the boutiques of the UWS both in assortment and sometimes service. I could go on and on about these specialized shops with luxury brands, but I personally would skip the confused commotion here and stick with the above mentioned or just head to the UES for the serious dough-dropping spender.



WHAT TO WEAR
And in case you were curious as what to wear for the Upper West Side, this ensemble is perfect for heading uptown! A classic denim jumper with a fashionable tote and pop accent accessories makes for a great ensemble when blending in with the chic women of the UWS neighborhood. I love this look for its modern vibes, but overall conservative feel. 


April 11, 2017

DOWNTOWN SPRING SIGNS

Weather aside, New York has a certain way of greeting Spring. It isn't through blooming flowers or consistent 70 degree weather. There are signs  throughout the city that signify the change and the looming weather that is bound to happen.

OUTDOOR BARS
When bars start opening their windows for fresh air and begin placing chairs outside for business, you know the seasons are 'achanging. Us New Yorkers get tired of being trapped indoors for the past 7 months, so even a gust of 55 degree weather has us aching for an outdoor experiene. Don't let the outdoor heaters fool you, it really is a nice night for sipping cocktails on the sidewalk. As long as we are not freezing, an outdoor bar is evident of warm things to come:)

HIGHLIGHT:

GRAND BANKS


GUCCI LOAFERS
This might sounds a bit silly, but when the loafers come out, the weather is turning for the better. Gucci loafers made a huge comeback a couple years ago when bloggers everywhere turned up in their Instagrams wearing the famous Princetown mule. Now New York gals about town are wearing them for strolls from West Broadway to the West Side Highway. When you start to feel an influx of the loafers, start thinking warmer days.



MENU CHANGES
In New York City chefs like to take advantage of local fare and farm to table options for their next special dish. So it is no surprise that resturants throughout the city begin to flip their menus from cold weather specials to warm weather ingrideint rich platters. One of the many splendors of living in New York is the endless choice of food options, and I especially love knowing that when the weather changes, so does our palettes along with the menu.

HIGHLIGHT:

PARK AVE SPRING





April 8, 2017

MY FITNESS TOP SPOTS

If you live in New York, you already know this little secret: everyone is in killer shape. It's true I am not lying. In case you haven't been to a Soul Cycle or victimized yourself with a crushing workout at a Tone House class, a six pack hides behind your random subway neighbor. I remember the first time I went to a Soul Cycle and was amazed that everyone in the class was effortlessly keeping up with the instructor. It was then I realized I needed to get in shape and figure out how to prioritize exercise. Not just for trend purposes, but to keep fit for my spring crop top wearing and slip dress toting outfits. These are my favorite workout spots and while some may debate over what workout is best, this works for me. Oh, and I also provided the "what to wear" portion, because, lets face it, in New York we still care about our outfits even if we are sweating it out:)

How many times do you need to hear about this spin obsessed craze going on throughout the nation and now the world. Soul Cycle loyalists are a bit of a cult with all their rhythmic, synchronized spinning. So I will say I am a bit biased because there is a Soul Cycle literally across the street from my apartment, so the ease of the commute is also part of the reason I hit the bike a few times a week. I won't ignore the fact however, I always work up a healthy sweat and burn a copious amount of calories while cycling to Jay, Bey and Justin (both Timberlake and Bieber). 



Ahhh, the famed gym that gets publicity left and right. T and I have been coming to this gym before it became "the gym" to be seen. Yes, Victoria Secret angels walk in throughout the day and top models and actresses work out there, but you will quickly get distracted by the aggressive workouts and boxing sessions. This spot only opened a year ago and it has become the go-to for a good downtown workout for the trendy, in-the-know crowd. Best of all, the hype is not a facade. I guarantee you will get you butt kicked and may or may not be able to walk correctly for a few days with so many different workouts that "smash" your body.  And the family vibes developed from a staff that really gets to know you is the cherry on top and another differentiating factor for this “it” gym that I love.



Never heard of BoCo? It is kind of an insider known class for the aerobic, strength-training type of woman. This class is perfect for that ex-Cheerleader or college dance team participant who misses the arm waving, leg jumping and booty shaking of years past. It is a perfect full body workout that hits all the issues we are desperately trying to tighten and tone. I especially love that BoCo can be streamed to your device for a workout in the home. The workouts are segmented by a targeted body part which works perfectly when Soul Cycle doesn't exactly hit your abs, no matter how much you "engage your core", and a training sesh didn't work the booty as much as you wanted. I've used BoCo on vacays, when heading home for a parent visit and in my apartment on rainy days. 
April 5, 2017

NYBLONDE X THE GIRLS DID NEXT

It is always exciting when someone enjoys your work whether in the creative field or any other genre. So I was super pumped when last month, the newly launched blog, The Girls Did Next from the UK, asked me to provide some insight into my blog, my style and the inspiration behind The New York Blonde. I wanted to provide some highlights and a sneak peak to the full interview with the link at the bottom. 

What made you want to start blogging?
I originally wanted to move into a styling/merchandising job and felt a blog would help promote my style and creative vision. I was working in buying and knew I needed a platform to showcase my styling efforts. Blogging was the outlet used to create a portfolio of my work.

Has living in New York effected the way your fashion sense? How has it evolved?
Absolutely! Many New Yorkers will tell you they live in the color black, and at one point that was definitely true for my wardrobe. Over time, I embraced color and print and started dressing with a more unique flair. I was tired of wearing a uniform and wanted to break free from classic New York minimalism.

Has living in New York effected the way your fashion sense? How has it evolved?
Absolutely! Many New Yorkers will tell you they live in the color black, and at one point that was definitely true for my wardrobe. Over time, I embraced color and print and started dressing with a more unique flair. I was tired of wearing a uniform and wanted to break free from classic New York minimalism.

Name your style icon?
Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and Lauren Santo Domingo. Two very different styles, but both true New York blondes.

Favourite designer and why?
Michael Kors remains my favorite designer of all time. I think people are surprised when I say that, but there is not one collection that has not been absolutely stunning. I could live in Michael Kors collection season over season. His designs are a perfect marriage of classic and contemporary style.

Heels or flats?
I should say heels, but I love a good flat. I think a good flat can be more chic than a high heel.



 For the full interview

http://thegirlsdidnext.blogspot.com

April 3, 2017

CASUAL TRIBECA WEEKENDS

In case you haven't been following my Instagram account, my favorite types of clothing generally involve sequins, feathers and the color pink. However, there are only so many occasions where details like those are deemed appropriate. When I am not hitting the town for a night out, you can find me walking the streets of Tribeca in more casual looks involving a legging, leather jacket and a white trainer. Because I generally blog on dinner dates and hot-spot venues with ensembles to match, I wanted to offer a more casual take on The New York Blonde style while out and about in the neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon while wearing the casual and contemporary brand Anatomie.


My Saturdays always start with a stop at Laughing Man for a soy latte in Tribeca. This tiny coffee shop is visited by locals and tourists alike, not only for their wonderful fair trade work in Africa, but also because it is owned by Aussie New Yorker Hugh Jackman. Try to avoid the late morning rush when Tribeca moms wait in line for their flat whites and almond lattes before heading home from their morning workouts. This two-tone legging with a worn-in leather jacket was the perfect ensemble for a quick trip to grab coffee, and certainly rivaled the other outfits by Tribeca locals in line.


A Saturday is not complete without a stop to The Odeon on West Broadway. A New York staple, this has been a go-to spot for years for entertainment meetings, deal making appointments and now my regular brunch spot. I somehow managed a warm day which was perfect because I really wanted to wear my denim mini. Pairing the white illusion tee with a zip vest made for an easy throw on in case it cooled down on my walk home.


An afternoon isn't finished until I walk off my pancake brunch. I love to stroll through the historic district of Tribeca. Living downtown, you need to be prepared for a cool wind from the waterfront, which is why I pulled this leather jacket for extra warmth coupled with a camo pant. I can't resist a pop print, especially when it comes to casual wear!


I couldn't possibly forget to head to the water to take in Battery Park City. Crossing the West Side Highway to Pier 26, you almost forget you are in Manhattan. There are so many activities going on, you could easily spend the day walking up and down the piers. I most likely head to City Vineyard for a glass of wine before heading home to plan out my nightly events. Again, a mini leather jacket is a must-have for fashion and function when the sun goes down on the water.


Plus, my weekends are never complete without a shopping trip. This go-around the shopping trip I took to pull these looks did not involve a store, but led me to the Anatomie showroom in the Garment District in Midtown. Though you can purchase Anatomie online and at specialty boutiques, the brand also offers a unique shopping experience in their showroom. I worked with Melina, a senior manager, to help pull items from the collection and put together different looks for an upcoming vacation. This service is offered to the public just by making an appointment. It is a once-in-a lifetime experience and for busy New Yorkers or New York tourists, it is a great option for personal service.
For more information on Anatmoie and to make an appointment:

260 West 39th Street, Suite 701
Between 7th and 8th Avenues



March 30, 2017

NYC LIFE LESSONS


Living stylishly in NYC does not required $$$$$. You can eat well on a budget, dress well under $100 and experience the best of NYC with just a metro card. When I first moved to the city I just assumed a Chanel bag and a reservation at Per Se represented wealth and status among the city's elite. Well, how I was mistaken. Since moving to the city there are several lessons I learned along the way and many misconceptions made when I initially moved from Philadelphia to NYC. This is just an example of those many mistakes.          

BRUNCH
Brunch is the real scene here in NYC. Dining at dinner is great and all, but the lights are dimly lit and the bar becomes too crowded to wait on your moscow mule. Skip the late night meal and save your dough for your Sunday brunch. When chatty Kathy's start to inquire about your weekend at the water-cooler impress them with the latest in greatest in brunch food and you will be a go-to source for the weekend "it" spots.        

UPTOWN GIRL
Who doesn't want to be an uptown girl? Billy Joel crafted a top hit off the desire to live luxuriously above a midtown address. However, when you recently graduated college you most likely head downtown for a night out making uptown a big ole' pain. It is going to take some mad manipulation to get friends to travel below 14th from Dorrians on 84th, but just know once your Uptown, you don't bop around town until it is time to go home missing a downtown hot-spot.
 



MIX IT UP
Every glossy magazine tells your to mix you high end with your high street. The redundancy of this content is constant and often, but how true this rings in this city. Adidas trainers pair well with your new Chanel, while a vintage blouse coupled with new Altuzzara flats is perfect for a lunch date. It is never chic when luxury designer is head-to-toe, so don't overplay your designer duds. Keep cool with relaxed denim and Chanel flats. Your laid-back and chic vibes will be the talk of all your friends.

AMBITION IS KEY
Lots of people move to the city and most assume for a job, but that is not always the case. Some move for their partners, because their friends did it or to experience New York firsthand. The ones that truly make their mark are the ambitious and everyone else gets left behind. Find your passion and drive towards it with all your might. The city can truly become your playground if you focus on the right path and not just because your friends are doing it. Find your tribe within your given field, work towards your goals and everything will fall into place.



March 27, 2017

NYC DINNER DATES: WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO WEAR



It has honestly been a very long time since I was dating in the city, but I fondly remember and not-so fondly remember dinner dates revolving around either the food or my outfit. The first date T and I went on I vividly recall my outfit dilemma and look back with remorse on the ensemble I wore. It was a wonderful date  don't get me wrong  but I wish someone had told me what to wear to our dinner date at La Esquina before choosing a DVF red wrap dress that, unbeknownst to me, had a large stain on the back :(

Five years later and one proposal with T, the red dress is now a distant memory…but I do know my choice was more Midtown, corporate appropriate and less SoHo, Downtown-vibing sophisticated. With that being said, as in most of my posts, this is a mini-helpful guide to get you by your first date jitters in style. And if by any chance you are asked to a dinner date in NYC at any one of my favorite dinner spots, order wisely and wear fashionably. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

COSME
This Mexican jaunt in Flatiron remains a top pick on my list for Mexican cuisine. It is always crowded and rightfully so as the food is top-notch. Reservations fill up quick for top weeknight times around the 8 p.m. time slot, so you know your date means business if you are taken here. Not to mention, this is the same spot that Adele, Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence chose when dining together in the Big Apple.

Price: $$$
Drink: Margarita
Appetizer: Half Lobster
Dinner: Duck Carnitas to Share
Desert: Husk Meringue

What to Wear: On-Trend Fashionista


What a treat to eat at this Sunday night only pop-up restaurant in The Nomad Hotel. The chicken parm alone is worth the trip. Perfectly breaded to perfection and layered with béchamel and mozzarella cheese with light marinara, this is a no-joke meal. The red and white checkered tablecloths and blaring Dean Martin help set the mood for your Sunday night evening date. If you are lucky enough to dine at this establishment you know your date is not only in the know, but knows someone who helped lock in the time slot.

Price: $$$$
Drink: Grab a drink at The Library hotel before the dinner
Appetizer: Prix-Fixe Options
Dinner: Chicken Parmesan
Desert: Ice Cream

What to Wear: Sunday Night Contempo-Casual




MARC FORGIONE
This iron chef is celebrated by the food industry time and time again. One of the most sought after of the city celebrity chefs- the menu deserves all the attention. Decadent options from drinks to deserts will satisfy even the most difficult of foodies. Be impressed not only by the scene, but the fact the guy pulled major strings to get a resie. Enjoy the buzzy and bustling crowd including financier types to super fashionistas shuffling in from nearby company headquarters.

Price: $$
Drink: Take advantage of the superb wine list
Appetizer: Kampachi
Dinner: Chicken for 2
Desert: Chocolate Cookie

What to Wear: Sophisticated Downtown