The Things She Carries

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For me, one of the marks of a great interview is when I think about it long afterward. The most recent one to do it for me was a Vogue video Q&A with New York’s ultimate sweetheart: Sarah Jessica Parker. The interviewer fired off 73 questions while SJP gave a mini-tour of her West Village brownstone. The decorating voyeur in me loved every bit of it; from the footage, SJP’s home felt homey and eclectic. It got me thinking: Our homes can tell our stories even more than our outfits–and sometimes, even ourselves. If someone stopped by my apartment with a video camera, how would I want them to feel? I’d hope bright and cozy, surrounded by books and bits from my travels.

My favorite question was when the interviewer asked SJP what the coolest thing was in her living room. She said her (agreeably, very cool) light-up globes. Of course, that inspired me to look around to decide what the coolest thing is in my living room. It was a hard decision—after all (most likely to the dismay of my clutter-free mother…sorry, Mom!) I don’t think of keepsakes as kitsch; instead, I see them as relics, reminders of the moments in our lives that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle. In my living room, I’ve got everything from a Beyonce concert photo book (“Heeyyy, Ms. Carter!”) to a flag from my first adult trip to Puerto Rico—not to mention shelves and tables full of books. But in the end, I realized my answer to the “coolest thing” question would be the vintage rotary phone I found at an antique shop in Hoboken. It sits atop a stack of books on my desk, and I often look at it while I’m writing and wonder who might’ve used it almost a century ago. It reminds me that beautiful things are timeless, and will last long after we’re gone.

It might be time for spring-cleaning, but I, for one, am holding on to all my mementos. If someone wandered into your apartment or house, how would you want them to feel? What would you tell them is the coolest thing?

 

 

A Spot of Tea

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I recently realized that the older we get, the more most of us wish we had paid a little more attention in school. For some, they wish they could remember more of their math lessons; for others, it’s literature, and for me, it’s history. When textbooks popped open to learn about wars and presidents, my head always went into the clouds. But as an adult, when I pass by major landmarks, I find myself constantly Googling. It makes me wish I could remember some of the trivia that was probably right there in those textbooks.

One of my biggest history fascinations in NYC has been The Plaza Hotel (which, for the record, was built in 1907, took two years and $12 million to build—unprecedented at the time.) So when one of my best friends invited me to a birthday tea party there hosted by her lovely mother, I was excited for weeks, imagining all of us dolled up, soaking in the grandeur like it was the 1920s. And it was grand, indeed. We had a three-hour, Eloise-themed sit-down in the Palm Court, an ode to the six-year-old star of the children’s book series. Of course, there was tea, plus mini-peanut butter and jellies, scones, and tiny cupcakes on three-tiered servers.

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Staring up at the vaulted glass ceilings and looming palm trees, I felt like I could’ve been Zelda Fitzgerald on a tea date with Scott—before tea turned into orange blossoms spiked with gin. But I was glad to be me, in a pretty dress surrounded by other women (in pretty dresses themselves) who uplift and inspire me. (And crack me up. Seriously, we need a reality show.)

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I think tea is now officially, well…my cup of tea. And not just because of the magic of the Plaza and the comforting drink (which had me briefly considering making the switch from coffee before I asked myself Who are you kidding?), but because of the idea of taking a break from your day to sit down with friends to eat, drink, and enjoy one another’s company—no cell phones included. Why can’t we all sit for tea with our girlfriends more often? Frolic in the fountain outside like the Fitzgeralds once (allegedly) did? Wander the hotel’s hallways like the mischievous Eloise?

True to my inner nerd, when I got home (well, after a champagne after-party at my apartment, because what’s tea at the Plaza without a Gatsby-like moment?) I did some research, and discovered the hotel offers a free 45-minute tour of the Renaissance-style chateau. Who’s down to go with me? If you come, I promise we can sit down for tea afterward.

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The Aisle

image courtesy of HuffPost

If you know me, you know I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with all things bridal. Everything from window shopping for wedding gowns to WE channel marathons filled with My Fair Wedding and Bridezillas — I love it all. So when I learned of this website, I beamed with happiness for brides-to-be everywhere (and hopefully one day, myself!)

As the Huffington Post puts it, the Aisle is the brainchild of a Women’s Wear Daily Editor and an New York lawyer. It offers members the opportunity to find discounted designer wedding gowns, a la Gilt Groupe. Can you imagine finding the perfect wedding dress for you, at a much more affordable price?? And the best part? A percentage of each purchase goes to a charity of the designer’s choice. How did no one think of this genius idea earlier?!

If you’re a bride-to-be (or, like me, just a lover of all things bridal) visit http://www.theaislenewyork.com to learn more or request a membership.

A Sad Story

Ever since I saw her face on the front page of the Daily News that was on my desk last Friday, I haven’t been able to get the tragic story of Sylvie Cachay’s death out of my head. The case of the nearly-34-year-old swimsuit designer who was found dead in a bathtub in a room at the Soho House, partially clothed with marks on her neck and wrists, has been all over the news since.

image courtesy of NYDN

I’m not sure why this particular story strikes me so…she was young, beautiful, loved life and had a stellar designing career for the likes of Marc Jacobs and Victoria’s Secret, as well as her own swimsuit line. Perhaps what has drawn me in to this story is the especially eerie fact that she was a member of the SoHo house and frequented the exclusive club often, along with the other enviable fashionistas that I imagine spend their days there poolside and carefree. She was one of them, but then she ended up murdered there. It makes you think: maybe the glamorous life isn’t always so glamorous after all?

From one of my favorite Sex and the City episodes: when the girls sneak into the Soho house
image courtesy of the Gothamist

What makes the end of Cachay’s beautiful, fashion-filled life seem even more tragic is the fact that the number 1 suspect is her stoner, unemployed, 24-year-old boyfriend, Nicholas Brooks — the son of Joseph Brooks, a composer who was apparently charged in many rape cases years ago and who is commonly described as “sleazy” by both the Daily News and NY Post. It definitely seems like a mismatched relationship that ended in the worst way possible.

I hadn’t heard of her before this case, but after seeing her website and designs, it’s clear she was really talented and gone before her time. Such a tragedy…I hope they bring justice to this case.

source: New York Daily News

NYC Fashion Night Out

Bright lights, champagne, fashion and beauty. These are the makings of Fashion’s Night Out, a New York fashion week event that is the brainchild of Anna Wintour and Conde Nast. After the success of its first year in 2009, the city has been anticipating round two. The stores stay open later and have sales, presentations, drinks and music. NYC’ers come out in droves for the mixing and mingling, so I was excited when my ultimate fashionista friend told me she wanted to come to town for Friday night’s festivities, especially since I missed it last year.

The evening didn’t disappoint. Wintour is a genius for dreaming up the perfect mixture of a night out with fashion and fun, and there are so many options all over the city and even in the boroughs that it’s overwhelming. We stuck around 5th Avenue, and while we hit up everything from YSL to Sak’s Fifth Avenue, my favorite store was definitely the Tiffany’s flagship. We were greeted by two Holly Golightlys (if you aren’t familiar, Holly is the character Audrey Hepburn plays in Breakfast at Tiffany’s) who were taking photos with guests at the entrance. A plush yellow carpet leading into the store and a candy bar stocked with yellow candies were all in celebration of the store’s debut of its new yellow diamond collection.

While Tiffany’s had the best presentation in my opinion, the highlight of our night happened at the Chanel flagship. My friend and I wanted to head upstairs to check out the customizable Chanel flats that were available for order, but when we tried to head upstairs we were told there was a 10-minute wait. As the minutes ticked by, the crowd got bigger and bigger, and all of a sudden, the seas parted and in walked Karl Lagerfeld himself, with a rockstar-tinted halo around him:

photo courtesy of Channing In The City

Thank goodness my friend was able to snap this photo – the one I tried to rush and get ended up being just of his bodyguard! The hairs on my arms literally stood up when he walked in – he definitely has an energy about him, and for anyone who cares even the slightest about fashion, this was a pretty awesome moment. After that sighting, it didn’t matter what else happened – Fashion Night Out was definitely a hit for me.

Diaz + NYC Bazaar Shoot = Love

Two obvious statements: I adore magazines. I adore New York. Pair those adorations with a girl crush on Cameron Diaz, and you can see why Harper’s Bazaar’s August spread with Diaz = love.

She looks stunning, and the NYC backdrop is the icing on the cake. I literally hugged the issue to my chest in excitement when I saw this image on the cover (for Subscriber Copies):

Here are my other two favorites:

You can check out the rest here.

Sex and the City 2: Missing the City

Photo courtesy of The Washington Post

*Spoiler Alert* If you haven’t seen Sex and the City 2 and don’t want the details revealed, do not read on!

Of course a blog being about the city has to talk about Sex and the City 2. But before I begin to give my thoughts on Sex and the City 2 and you wonder “who cares this much about a movie?” I should explain that I have an intricate history with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. Just like thousands of other girls, SATC played an important role in my life. I watched reruns of the show while in high school (when it began, I was too young to be allowed to watch it, and even when I was older, we didn’t have HBO) and knew the basic storyline, but it wasn’t until I moved to New York that the real connection happened. When I first moved here after I graduated from college and was working at a newspaper as an intern, I was living in a Columbia U dorm for the summer with no television. I decided then was as good a time as any to try to catch every single SATC episode in order, so as slowly as I could afford them, I bought every season and watched every episode throughout the summer and literally fell in love.

I’ve also seen the first movie so many times I can almost recite every line and strongly felt like it was a great way to keep the series going. So all of this, paired with the promising previews for the second movie–funny lines, beautiful clothing, the reappearance of Aiden, not to mention Jay’z Empire State of Mind playing in the background (this song came out right when I moved into my first New York apartment–you can imagine why it has a special place in my heart) all made me unbelievably excited to see the movie.

Little did I know that it would disappoint me. Big time. There were so many elements that went wrong. First of all, with the amount of drama (affairs, babies being born, an almost-marriage with a huge bird feather and then a court marriage) in the first movie, I’d come to expect just as much from the second movie. Unfortunately, the only drama in this movie was a 2-second kiss between married-Carrie and Aiden (although I’ll admit, I did gasp when it happened), but otherwise, it was shock-free. Second, the characters just seemed like weird versions of themselves. Samantha’s sexual, menopausal self was over-the-top; Miranda wasn’t even like her usual cynical self and was too happy and go-lucky (not to mention Steve only made a 2 second appearance in the film), Charlotte was too anxious and worried, and while Carrie is always over the top fashion-wise, she traipsed through her NYC apartment in gowns and stilettos. I mean, come on! Lastly, well…it was just cheesy. Like, roll your eyes and groan cheesy. The girls sing “I Am Woman” in karaoke while in Abu Dhabi; Samantha makes some terrible jokes (“King of Arabia? King of my labia!” – groooannn!) and the ending with Big giving Carrie a big rock to wear on her ring finger as a way to punish her for cheating? Yea, RIGHT!

But I think the biggest disappointment of the movie was that the fifth main character was missing. The charming, funny, sophisticated fifth character: New York City. New York is the backbone of the series, of the girls’ experiences, of their hopes, fears and relationships, and in the film, they were only in New York for about 2.5 seconds. The rest of it either took place at a Connecticut wedding or in Abu Dhabi. And I think the lack of New York’s presence really showed (yes, in the first movie they traveled to Mexico, but that was for a relatively small part of the movie; in the sequel, you only saw New York a few times when Carrie and Big were in their apartment).

Despite the disappointments, there were definitely some highlights–I was glad to see a reappearance of Aiden, and the fashion was, of course, amazing/out of this world–I was drooling over everything from Samantha’s rhinestoned, chrome manicures to Carrie walking poolside in Abu Dhabi in a gorgeous harem pantsuit. I also really appreciated the points addressed by Carrie and Big as they fell into a rut in their marriage after only two years and when Miranda and Charlotte admitted their struggles with motherhood–both topics that aren’t addressed too often in films but should be, and who else better to do it than the Sex and the City girls?

Overall, at this point, I think the storyline needs to end–I really hope they don’t do a third movie, because the story is really just getting dragged out.

But don’t get me wrong–if there is a third movie, you know who will be there opening weekend, once again, to check it out : )