Summer and the City

I honestly don’t know how to start this one; a lot has happened in the nearly two months since I last posted. First and foremost, I moved back to New York for my second summer here, and I’ve started my internship at Vogue. I feel so fortunate to have the incredible opportunity to be at the heart of the fashion industry, if only for three months. That being said, I have made the conscious decision not to write about my job, or share information about the company or any of the people that work there. So you won’t hear much about Vogue itself; I hope thats not too disappointing.

I moved into an apartment in East Village-adjacent Stuytown on May 21st. I have four roommates (also college students), because otherwise none of us could afford to live in such a nice location. Living in Stuytown is like living in a park, its full of squirrels and trees and birds. From what I can tell, its mostly inhabited by middle-aged dog-owners and young couples with children. Its essentially a little suburban idyll in the middle of Manhattan, except I’ve never seen a suburb made out of high-rises.

This is the view from the window of the room that I share with my dear pal Charlotte. That is legitimately a fountain in my backyard, one thats surrounded by park benches. We have a freakin’ farmer’s market on Sundays! Its an NYC miracle.

This is my room from when I first moved in. None of my roommates had moved in yet, so it was pretty bare. But just look at those hardwood floors. However, beautiful as the apartment is, I’m rarely here. I’m either at work, or out with friends, or at my boyfriend’s place. As a result, after a few weeks living here, my area of the room had come to resemble a life-raft surrounded by flotsam.

This is how it looks on a good day. I even sort of made the bed, despite not having any sheets which fit this mattress. Also, you may have noticed that my bed appears to be kickin’ it footloose and bedframe-free. That is because what you are seeing is, in actuality, a memory foam pad from IKEA. Its my very own Swedish-made island in a sea of parquet and random crap that I shouldn’t have brought with me.

You can’t tell from looking at my space, but when I packed I really did make a concerted effort not to bring too much stuff. I’m flying straight from NYC to the UK at the end of the summer to visit my family, so I can’t really have anything here that can’t come on a plane with me. But despite intellectually knowing that I have to travel/pack light, I somehow keep accumulating more stuff. This is especially impressive considering that I’m flat broke, and didn’t think I would be able to afford anything more substantial than a MetroCard. However, as previously mentioned, I am in the process of dipping my toes in the fashion industry. This is a business renowned for its freebies, and access to it may prove to be my Achilles heel. I just can’t turn free stuff down, especially not when its such good stuff! Between hand-me-downs, re-gifted stuff from work, and prop left-overs, I’ve acquired at least one additional carry-on in swag.

About a week after I got to New York, my boyfriend’s stepmom very generously gave me a bunch of her designer hand-me-downs. She works in fashion, and wanted to bolster my confidence for the start of my internship with a few nice pieces that she doesn’t wear anymore. She also apparently has an uncanny ability to tell which labels I covet the most. This Allsaints leather jacket had been on my radar for a while, as something I might invest in one day down the road. Inheriting this was a total kismet moment for me; it even fits me perfectly.

I’m equally excited about this Prada jacket. Its a very lightweight, angular piece that looks particularly cute with floaty, girly summer dresses. It has the look of a motorcycle jacket, but its done in heavy linen, making it more weather appropriate.

She also gave me a variety of oversized cashmere sweaters. This teal one is from Ernest Sewn, and is long enough to wear as a dress in the winter. Or even on a chilly summer night, if this heat wave ever breaks.

This purple waffle-woven one is by White + Warren. Its very cute and comfy, more of tunic length than the green one.

This is possibly my favorite sweater of the bunch. Its a little tan cardie from Marni, and its both cozy and versatile. It works well for all seasons and goes equally well with a dress or with jeans. I’ve only had it a couple of weeks, and I’ve already gotten a lot fo use out of it.

She also gave me another Marni piece, a little sleeveless blouse in approximately the same color scheme as the cardigan. Its a bit too big for me, but it has an airy, ethereal look to it that only benefits from it being oversized. 

She also gave me this beautiful black Vera Wang dress. This is another item that is a tad roomy on me, but I’m planning on having it altered to fit me better in the near future.

This particular freebie actually came from work. My bosses get gifts from brands every now and then, way too many for them to ever use. These extras are either donated to charity, or occasionally given to an intern. This Isaac Mizrahi scarf was one such item, and I happened to be the lucky beneficiary. Its a lovely color, and a perfect weight for a summer scarf.

Last but not least are a couple of extra props from a shoot that I was on. We had tons of leftover flowers, so I claimed a big bunch of orange and red daisies, which looked gorgeous and summery for about a week. I also got this pseudo-retro phone that plugs into your iPhone. This is great, because I never would have gone to Urban Outfitters and bought one for fear of looking like a tool, but I would have always secretly wanted it.

All in all, I’ve been good about resisting the temptation to buy everything in this ridiculously expensive city. However, I haven’t been perfect, I have slipped up a couple of times and actually purchased some things. Including:

This cashmere Armani sweater, picked up at Newbury Street consignment store The Closet before I left Boston. The store specializes in second-hand designer goods, but most of the stock is still well out of my price range. I found this at the back of the store, semi-buried and priced at $33 thanks to a small hole in the shoulder. I haven’t had a real chance to wear it yet, but come winter its likely to be my go-to garment.

These exceedingly awesome yellow suede shorts. I got them at a nearby thrift store for twenty bucks, and they were worth every penny, despite being two sizes too big and their tendency to shed yellow dust everywhere. I’m making them sound heinous, but they’re actually perfect.

Here we have another twenty-dollar item, purchased at that poor girl’s paradise, Forever 21. Consider this visual evidence of me jumping on the maxi-dress trend and the red-orange trend simultaneously. Actually, I was already a pretty big fan of this particular color, as indicated by my love affair with my YSL Le Orange lipstick. But I’ve always been wary of maxi-dresses. Wear it wrong and you look pregnant or chubby or like you’re wearing a muumuu. This is particularly true if you’re short like me. But I think that this one has enough shape and natural airiness to be a safe option.

These were my most expensive and my most practical purchase of the summer. My job involves a lot of running around, and I quickly gave up on heels in favor of something more comfortable. I bought these granny shoes (meaning arch support, cushioned instep, etc) at the Memorial Day sale at DSW, for fifty bucks. In my broke world, this constitutes a real financial investment, but they were well worth it. I wear these shoes literally every day, to the point that they are starting to fall apart. But I wouldn’t trust any other shoes to bring me to a far-flung design house and back again in one piece. Prada, I’m looking at you.

I think that might be it, as far as new goodies are concerned. I’ve had a lot of other adventures over the course of the summer so far, but I’ve never been very good at the photo-journalism side of socializing. I shopped at the Greenpoint Smorgasbord flea market, saw jellyfish at the Museum of Natural History, and celebrated a west-side Fourth of July without documenting any of it. I just don’t have that many pictures of my escapades. However, I went through my phone, and tracked down a few snapshots of the summer so far.

These two shots are the view from the balcony at my boyfriend’s dad’s apartment. Top is the surprisingly pretty panorama of Jersey City across the Hudson, while the bottom photo shows the harbor, and the Statue of Liberty in the distance

This is a similar shot of Jersey City, but taken from Luke’s mom’s place, since both of his parents live in Battery Park City. From her apartment, you also get a view of the exceptionally lovely Riverside Park that stretches along the Hudson.

A couple of photos from my almost-nightly walk back to the R train. The top shot shows the  Freedom Tower in progress from the West Side highway, while the bottom photo shows City Hall from across the park in Tribeca. I’m glad that when I walk around NYC after dark, its almost exclusively in this neighborhood.

During the day however, I tend to be in a million different neighborhoods, going on errands for work. This is a photo I took on the West Side, slightly north of Chelsea, while heading to a PR firm by the river. I’m a little bit in love with the gorgeous, greenery-covered townhouses that populate this area of the city.

This is probably my favorite photo of all. It shows the harbor near the World Financial Center, in the BPC area once again. I was hanging out with my boyfriend, eating ice cream from Shake Shack and enjoying the sunny day. I think I like the photo so much because a) its a happy, relaxing memory, and b) it almost makes it look like I have some kind of skill as a photographer, rather an iPhone camera and a lucky shot.

I think that might be all for now, but I’ll try to keep my camera more at-the-ready over the next few weeks so that I have some substance for whatever I end up writing at the end of the summer, once this is all over. However, I have a feeling that whatever I write then will have a lot more to do with my upcoming trip to England than with my apparently never-ending NYC stories.

I’m An Unreliable Poster, But Everybody Be Cool

I lied last week two weeks ago when I said I was going to post immediately after my collars post. But, you see, a) I didn’t realize it was a lie AND b) some very exciting sartorial shit went down in my life, so I was a little bit distracted. First order of business is that fashion internships exist, and I hope to have one this summer. And that vague statement is all I’m going to say about that, cause I don’t want to jinx everything by plastering it all over the internet. But it rhymes with Schmonde Schnast.

Secondly, I have been on spring break for the past two weeks, which gave me plenty of time to partake in my favorite wallet-draining pastime: shopping. I spent most of my break at home in MA, and dragged my mother (bless her willing-to-let-me mooch heart) to the really fancy mall for a couple of chic-but-professional necessities. These items are as follows:

This outrageously neon-y silk blouse from J. Crew. I’m always in the market for a vibrant blouse that I can button all the way up, preferably sheer. This blouse is indeed sheer, and exceeded all of my expectations with the glory of its acid yellow color. I still haven’t worn it, I’m saving it for the perfect moment in which to contrast it in a mind-boggling manner with my pasty, pasty skin.

I also got this darling drop-waist dress from Anthropologie, which is all adorable with its polka-dots and puffy sleeves, but refreshingly done in orange and grey. Its on the border of being too saccharine, but the color combo just about rescues it. Plus, I own several pairs of ruffly, lace socks, so I’m really in no position to make that judgment.

Because I love a good bargain, I also made a stop at Marshalls. Though Marshalls can be hit or miss, I’ve found some great stuff over the years, particularly in the shoes, accessories and home wares sections. This mission was a definite hit, especially on the shoe front.

I love super-high heels, but only when they’re stable enough to support my weight. I tried on some gorgeous Vince Camuto pumps once, and I couldn’t even stand still in them without feeling like I was about to topple over. These patent pumps are around the 4″ mark, but plenty stable thanks to the chunky heel. Plus I needed a new pair of basic black pumps, and these were only $15.

These blue patent Enzo Angiolini peep-toes have an even higher heel, coming in at 4.5″, counting the platform. Though these definitely qualify as stilettos, they’re surprisingly comfortable for their height. Meaning that I can wear them for three hour (mostly seated) stretches without needing to take them off; comfort is definitely a relative concept.

I also managed to score this Cynthia Rowley trench coat. Though arguably my most utilitarian purchase, this is one chic piece of outerwear. The silhouette is gorgeous, and I love the neutral color-blocking. And it will help me in my constant struggle against NYC’s frequent flash rain-storms.

So, conclusion: I bought plenty of clothes while I was home. And then came a five-day interlude in the middle of break during which I went first to Vermont and then to NYC with my boyfriend. I know what you’re wondering. Yes, I definitely bought more stuff. I dragged him to Urban Outfitters, because I needed a couple of last minute things for Scmonde Schmast, and he came with me because he is a kind and tolerant soul. He even willingly bought himself some new clothes, despite being generally indifferent to fashion beyond his basic everyday wardrobe. While he was checking out menswear, I hunted down a couple of simple pieces with nice high-waisted silhouettes.

These blue, silky paper-bag trousers were exactly the kind of thing I wanted to add to my wardrobe. They’re cropped at the ankle, and high-waisted for optimal crop-top integration. These are THE hipster pants of the spring, and I plan to enjoy the heck out of them before they fall apart thanks to Urban Outfitter’s classic shoddy craftsmanship. More to the point, they’ll look badass with my yellow shirt, though the combo may be a little bit seizure-inducing.

In other high-waisted news, these black flat-front shorts were a staple that I badly needed to add to my collection. They go with virtually everything, and I’ve been meaning to buy something like this for at least a year and a half. What my plain black skinnies are to winter, these are to spring/summer (henceforth known as sprimmer). Ideally, I would have like three pairs of these, so that I could just rotate them out, and never have to go without on laundry day. Though I think wearing the same thing every day might ruin any style cred that I have.

Once I finished with my NYC shopping, I got to actually wear my new duds out and about in the city. In addition to my shopping trip to Soho and my adventures in Midtown, I went with my boyfriend for sushi and weird juice with celery and St. John’s wort in it. We also went to the North End Grille for dinner one night, and to Craft for the dinner the night after. My entree at the North End Grille was tasty but unremarkable, though the pot de creme caramel dessert I had was arguably the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. And Craft was generally amazing. I had pasta stuffed with beans, brussel sprouts with bacon, and passion fruit/jalapeno sorbet. All weird-sounding combinations that were insanely yummy in execution.

Sadly, the tasty and fashion-forward adventure that was spring break eventually had to end, and now I’m back at school. But luckily for me, today was Market Monday, and the vintage/consignment vendors were back in the College Center. And it was almost 80 degrees, so I had an excuse to buy some warm-weather gear!

I found this 90’s-cute floral sheath at one stall, for just $15. I’ll probably get a lot of use out of it if the weather stays like it is right now, and its definitely a versatile garment that I can wear into the winter as well. I also nabbed a sterling and carnelian ring, and the red belt featured below in my outfit for today.

This is what I had to change into after realizing that the long-sleeved-but-otherwise-identical dress that I was wearing before was way too warm for this bizarrely summery March. Conveniently, the belt went well with the rest of the look. And between the color combination and the pose, it makes me feel like the lady version of Superman. Not Wonderwoman, mind you, but specifically like a female Superman.

Happy New Year! Or A Working Holiday in New York City

Once again, I am back from a fab jaunt to New York City. My first two days were excellent but busy. I worked in a very menial, all-hands-on-deck sort of way as an assistant-to-the-assistant-to-the-assistant on a project for a pop star. I was told to stem my gossipy nature and not give any details, but suffice to say that this is an extremely well-known individual. I was insanely thrilled to be there and stared like a fool the entire time. And the best part was that, once my top-secret adventures concluded, I still had New Year’s Eve to look forward to!

This was my first New Year’s with my boyfriend, in the sense that we were both in the same physical location. Last year, I was in Vancouver, which could have been cool, except  that I was by myself, and watching the ball drop three hours early doesn’t have quite the same effect. So again, this was a super exciting event for me. This year, my boyfriend and I went to a couple of parties, watched the ball drop, and got all dressed up. Actually, that last part may have just been me… I went for a Roaring Twenties vibe, in a lace-and-nude shift, black patent Oxford heels, and a red lip. It would have been deeply classy evening if we hadn’t spent most of the night engaged in a flip cup tournament, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun.

Other highlights of my NYC adventures include a dinner at Les Halles Downtown (which is a more laid-back offshoot of Anthony Bourdain’s Brasserie Les Halles) at which I sampled mussels and a celery root coleslaw that blew my mind. I was also treated to dinner at Tamarind Tribeca, which is a delicious Indian restaurant, and also serves as a downtown alternative to a larger flagship restaurant. Here I ate Kachori (lentil patties), Kashmiri Tikki (beetroot patties), Punjabi Tikhe Kabab (chicken with jalapenos and yogurt) and Pastooni Murgh (chicken with chilis, pistachios, and saffron), all of which were insanely tasty. When I include the homemade chicken curry salad provided by my boyfriend’s stepmother, this adds up to serious culinary success.

I also went to both high-and-low-brow movies, and visited the Museum of Natural History and the World Financial Center. I saw A Dangerous Method at the arty Sunshine Cinema, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol at Loews. I enjoyed both equally, but neither shook my world. Unlike the frogs exhibit at the Museum of Natural History, which totally kicked ass! My boyfriend and I may have been the only adults there not accompanied by a million screaming kids, but it was so worth the child-like regression. Conclusion: frogs are freaking awesome. As for the World Financial Center, simply gorgeous.

ALSO: it is important to note that there were some serious fashion highlights to my vacation as well, highlights which take the form of one hat, one purse, and one jacket.

This glorious creation is my brand-new Kangol hat. It was a freebie somebody received, and was unclaimed. Until I claimed it. And this ear-flapped fandango with its Russian vibe and faux fur was exactly what the doctor ordered for braving winter in NYC, and basically for looking fancy all of the time.

I have really begun to amass quite the collection of handbags, and this piece is shaping up to be a gem in my collection. I still love my Fossil bag best, but this suede Prada hand-me-down is a close second, and I love the boho chic, understated look of it.

Last but not least, this leather jacket is a much-needed addition to my closet. This actually predates my trip to New York, but I didn’t have time to post about it before I left. I found this at a consignment shop downtown, at a ridiculously huge discount thanks to the unseasonably warm autumn. Its Marc New York, the leather is butter-soft, and I bought it for $42. This is a garment which should retail for between $400 and $500. Its the tiniest bit too big in the shoulders, but even if I get it tailored, its still cheaper than any other leather jacket I’ve seen on the market. Besides, I’ve been looking for this kind of a piece, and a coat of this caliber–and at this price–doesn’t come around everyday.

In conclusion, this has been a rocking holiday season, and a bargain-hunter’s dream week. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did!

An Irresponsible Vacation

So, remember how I said I was going to post everyday? Turns out that real life sort of intervenes…  I went on a weekend jaunt to New York City with my boyfriend, and then had academic work to catch up on.  But I’m back, and hopefully I’ll have a little bit more time in the next few weeks.

Now, I know it isn’t strictly fashion-related, but I thought I’d share a few of my NYC experiences here as well. As a truly fabulous city (on its good days), New York is at least fashion-adjacent.

On Friday night, I went to see the new Pedro Almodovar movie at the Sunshine Cinema in the Lower East Side. If you were planning on seeing it, I won’t ruin anything, but let me just say that it was really fucking weird. This is a film in which about twenty different levels of perversion exist simultaneously. Also, Antonio Banderas is the protagonist, so you can forget about ever enjoying Shrek again.

After that, I went to a Japanese place called Omen with my boyfriend, and his dad, stepmom, and sister. It was all delicious, I tried tuna tartare (a major step, as I’m not a big raw fish person), and generally had a blast.

Saturday was just really chill and nerdy. Suffice to say that I played my first videogame, it was Skyrim, and after an hour, my muscles were really sore from constantly flinching when I got attacked.

Sunday was gorgeous. New York seriously shook its tail feather on Sunday. It was so crisp and clear and perfect that it almost made up for how disgusting it was this summer when I was working there.* I went out to breakfast at Izzy and Nat’s with the bf, and his mom and her boyfriend. I tried pastrami, which was yet another new culinary experience for me. I then went uptown to the Met for a couple of hours and got my art history on. Then it was back to college and the real world.

Now, you may ask, where was the fashion in this weekend away?

Right here! In this little Vivienne Westwood clutch! It was a gift from my boyfriend’s stepmom, who just got back from a business trip. It is completely darling, but somehow also retains Westwood’s badass 1980’s British punker vibe. I love it.

On that high-falutin’ note, I bid you adieu! And promise that I will actually post over Thanksgiving break.

*I will almost certainly devote an entire post to the pros and cons of living in NYC in the summer.