Celebrating Marilyn Monroe at Pop!

Blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe would have been 89 on June 1st. Although she passed away at age 36 in 1962, her legacy has lived on, capturing the hearts of millions throughout the world, including mine. So when Pop International Galleries in SoHo was debuting a new exhibition dedicated to Ms. Monroe, you know I was going to be there. The exhibition is called “Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe!” and it features the works of seven renowned photographers who’ve captured the many iconic and even little-seen looks of the Hollywood star. Here are the photographers you can expect to see:

Lazlo Willinger
Lazlo Willinger
Milton Greene
Milton Greene
Kashio Aoki
Kashio Loki
William Carroll
William Carroll
George Barris
George Barris
Bert Stern
Bert Stern
Andre de Dienes
Andre de Dienes

For the exhibition opening, I gave my usual corselet belt a break *gasp* and decided to go for a golden vintage-inspired dress by……drumroll……H&M.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

H&M always offers great deals, but I usually prefer waiting for a sale, where you can easily get nice pieces for half the price, which is exactly what I did with this floral cotton dress.

Photo by Alexcia Foster.
Photo by Alexcia Foster.

It seems to no longer be available, but I’m really into this one ($34.95), this one ($30), and this one ($24.99).

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The lipstick I’m wearing is Revlon’s creamy Certainly Red. It’s less than 10 bucks and lasts beyond glasses of wine and savoring French cheeses at a gallery.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

This photo was taken when I was nearly photobombed by Mike Myers. You might know him from films, like “Wayne’s World,” “Austin Powers,” and even “Shrek” for you youngins out there. Of course, I didn’t say anything. I’m a New Yawker. We don’t do that. It’s all about the quick glances, WTF stares, and quiet smiles of acknowledgement.

Yeah, I know.
Yeah, I know.

The evening ended with a quiet stroll through Washington Square Park in the Village.

Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park

The “Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe” exhibition ends on July 1st, so go check it out pronto!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Becoming So Hot (and Not)

When it comes to clothes, I know what works for me: chic black ensembles, bold blues, and flower power.

But I also like to shake things up.

At one of my usual thrifting adventures in the West Village, I spotted this vintage dress with a label stating that it comes from India. It’s a sheer grey gown highlighting a low-cut v-neck, as well as loads of sparkles.

Shine bright like a diamond. Kinda.
Shine bright like a diamond. Kinda.

Some people like to reserve their jewels for a special night out. Personally, I believe every day is an occasion to dress up. Life is a grand ball and you’re the star. So why have your jewels collect dust at home? Would a grand dame do that? Exactly.

Rocking three dollar pearls from a church flea market. Tres chic!
Rocking three dollar pearls from a church flea market. Tres chic!

You’re speaking to someone who used to wear shoulder sweeping rhinestone earrings that look as if they came from Blanche Deveraux’s bosom. In high school.

Thank you for being a friend.
Thank you for being a friend.

While I love how I can easily rock this look for either running errands on Saturday mornings or enjoying cocktails past 5PM in the Meatpacking, its look is pretty deceiving. On a sizzling 85 degree day, this outfit overheated, causing me to melt five pounds worth of sweat. At least I’ll be more ready for bikini season.

Do you feel that heat?
Do you feel that heat?

Still, for $21, I took it. Hey, it will keep me warm during the cooler fall.

I’m also a not-so-secret fan of green garments. Except whenever I wear one, I feel like a walking M&M.

I may look tasty, but I feel stupid.
I may look tasty, but I feel stupid.

I really did like this jungle-inspired dress, but something about it made me go no. I don’t know if it was the fit, style, or even color, but it just didn’t feel right. So I let it go. It wasn’t true love because I have zero regrets.

No.
No.

When shopping, if you aren’t absolutely in love with what you find, don’t get it. The outfit may look like a great deal, but if it’s just taking up real estate space in your closet, you’re pretty much just making a retail donation. Save your precious greens for something you’ll really love and actually wear.

Still no.
Still no.

That’s all there was to this adventure. Wait, you’re complaining? Hello, I merely spent 21 bucks and am ready to rock something that will make me so hot…literally.

But I don’t care…I love it. Good luck getting this song out of your head.

So take that and go shopping, lovelies.

Becoming Beyonce (for a Night)

Beyonce Knowles and I have a lot in common. We’re both occasional vegans. We’re so over Destiny’s Child. We’re also mega pop stars dressed by Thierry Mugler.

Fierce.
Fierce.

Alright, that last part just applies to Beyonce. But there’s one other thing we do have in common. We’re all about the finer things in life.

That Carbone cheesecake is looking mighty fine right about now.
That Carbone cheesecake is looking mighty fine right about now.

Beyonce and her husband, rap mogul Jay Z, are one of many reportedly spotted at Manhattan’s hottest restaurant: Carbone. Anyone who’s anyone dines at this old (but fairly new) school joint. Upon entering, you’ll feel as if you’re transported back to the 1940s and Frank Sinatra is serenading to you while Ava Gardner is caressing her champagne flute nearby.

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Frank and Ava.

It’s a culinary palace where girls are  giddy as their lovers order rum-fueled mai tais, your servers or “captains” wear Zac Posen tuxedos, and a sea of plump lobster ravioli fills your tummy.

My mai tai and I are getting along quite nicely.
My mai tai and I are getting along quite nicely.

It’s no wonder Bey and her posse come here to eat. For my night out with Jordan at Carbone, I wore this red hot chiffon dress by Walter Baker, a New York City-based designer whose pieces can be found in retailers, like Bloomingdale’s and Saks. He hasn’t dressed Beyonce, but it’s because Rihanna took that spot.

Photo by Jordan Race.
Photo by Jordan Race.

But just like Queen Bee, I paired my ensemble with a bottle of Armand de Brignac, also known as Ace of Spades. You could get a bottle of the coveted champagne for around $300, but if you have over two grand, consider their more extravagant 30-liter bottle of rosé. I hear it’s quite fabulous.

Photo by Jordan Race.
Photo by Jordan Race.

Beyonce was spotted pouring the pricey bubbly in a hot tub for a music video (come on guys, that’s just water, right…right?!), but I donated mine to the beau instead. He apparently felt head over heels for its crisp, golden apple notes.

Baller.
Baller.

Unfortunately for me, I only discovered excess notes of creamy butter, which was a bit too rich for my taste (no pun intended). Perhaps I’m just a Dom girl like Marilyn Monroe, but I’m not opposed to exploring Armand’s take on rosé for another night.

Sometimes you need something more than diamonds.
Sometimes you need something more than diamonds.

So Beyonce if you’re reading this, hit a girl up. We can toss some bubbly, go shopping, and argue over who runs the world. I’m going with girls. Just saying.

Photo by Jordan Race.
Photo by Jordan Race.

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Going Wild for a Toga and Stuff

You know what I hate? Gladiator sandals. Actually, scratch that. It’s more of a dislike. Perhaps I’m being overdramatic, but I don’t need to look like I’m heading off for the last supper.

Yup.
Yup.

You know what I do like, though? Toga dresses.

Now hear me out. We’re not talking about a usual frat fest where your neighbor Johnny Hearts PBR rocks a soiled bedsheet. I’m thinking channeling my inner Grecian goddess, whether it be seductive Aphrodite or headstrong Athena (literally – ask Zeus).

I told you she was a hard-headed woman.
I told you she was a hard-headed woman.

So when I found this silk dress by Calypso St. Barth at my usual vintage shop, I had to get it. It made me feel confident enough to strut down the streets of New York City, as if I conquered a tiger in the arena.

Seriously, are you not entertained?

I believe Maximus would have approved, iPhone and all.
I believe Maximus would have approved, iPhone and all.

I couldn’t find this piece as part of the resort brand’s latest line, so I believe it’s from a earlier collection. Their dresses go for nearly $200 and up, but I found this piece for $30 in excellent condition. Not too shabby.

As for the next ensemble I found? Apparently, I wanted to channel a kaleidoscope.

No, really.

So. Many. Colors. And. Shapes. And. Sizes.
So. Many. Colors. And. Shapes. And. Sizes.

I found this Japanese shift dress for less than $20. Normally I’m not a fan of shift dresses because they’re designed to lay flat without creating a specific shape on the body. They can be super comfy, but on a curvy figure, it can be like wearing a potato sack.  But if Marilyn Monroe can make a shapeless dress look fab, so can I!

Actually she was really wearing a potato sack.
Actually she was really wearing a potato sack.

I decided to solve the problem by adding one of my usual corselet belts to enhance my waist. I felt better. But on bloated days? You best believe that belt’s coming off!

I feel better.
I feel better.

Don’t be afraid to try on things you normally wouldn’t wear because hey, you never know. And if it’s not working out, just make it your own. Whether it’s adding towering heels, Converse sneakers, a massive top knot, whatever – have fun with your wardrobe and stay true to what makes you feel amazing.

The Jazz Age Lawn Party Part Une

Vintage enthusiasts all over New York City look forward to one of the most important  events of the year: The Jazz Age Lawn Party.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

Recognized as the city’s “original prohibition era inspired gathering,” it was first conceived by bandleader Michael Arenella of the Dreamland Orchestra 10 years ago(!). What was once just a modest get-together of around 50 people at Governor’s Island looking to channel their inner flappers and gents of the 1920s, has transformed into a massive soiree of the retro nouveau movement in the city. And thanks to the 2013 film The Great Gatsby, everyone wants to party like Jay.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

While it has been a long tradition of mine to go every year, I’m gearing up for a weekend getaway outside of the city so sadly, it was not meant to be in June 2015. However, I’m happy to share last year’s festivities with you.

Governor's Island.
Governor’s Island.

For the previous event, I wore a silk dress that I bought at a thrift store in the East Village for I believe less than 20 dollars, Forever 21 mini leggings with a lace trim, and black pumps. I also wore a matching ivory fascinator. My lipstick was Bobbi Brown’s Red, which features a soft-matte finish. In other words, the color would last beyond plenty of giggle water.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

Check out Francis’ ensemble. Isn’t she the bee’s knees?

The Bee's Knees.
The Bee’s Knees.

I’m not big on fascinators, but it certainly added a nice touch to the overall ensemble. While most people think of flapper gowns for an event like this, I wanted to give my outfit a unique throwback twist.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

Like any swanky soiree, there were plenty of jewels to be found.

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As well as thirst-quenching St. Germain cocktails.

Yum.
Yum.

And yes, pie.

Yum (again).
Yum (again).

I love the fact that everyone, including children, dressed up for this affair!

Cutie patooties.
Cutie patooties.

Seriously, whether you’re obsessed with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, want to explore the local vintage scene, or just want something ah-mazing to do on a weekend, I highly recommend The Jazz Age Lawn Party a million times over. While the Jazz Party is happening again today (Sunday), you can also snag tickets for August. In that month, I’ll also debut part two just for you.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

The Fitting Room Chronicles: So I’m Going to Need a New Bra for This

Summer is not quite here yet in New York City, but at a smoldering 85 degrees, we’re getting a taste of it.

Despite the sweat-inducing temperatures, I continued on with my weekly ritual of visiting my beloved thrift store. Unlike a typical clothing boutique, you just never know what surprises await you.

Normally I find so much treasure, I struggle to carry pounds of clothes on top of my 5’2″ frame as I tip-toe to the fitting room. This weekend, my finds were quite minimal, but that’s okay. My wallet is thankful.

Find #1

According to the tag on this silk black dress, it comes all the way from Paris. While it hugged my curves in all of the right places – and I can’t ever resist a black outfit – the side zipper was completely broken. I would consider a piece like this a “project,” which means that, if I were to purchase it, I would collaborate with my tailor on tweaking it to create a more custom fit, including replacing the zipper. While I’m not against a project, the efforts would have been costly in this case. The dress alone was 40 dollars, and with any additional changes, we’re looking at a price tag worth over 50 bucks. In this case, I didn’t think it was worth the splurge, so I let it go.

Posing with an open (and broken) zipper.
Posing with an open (and broken) zipper.

Find #2

Ever fell madly in love at first sight? I did. This hip-hugging floral Tracy Reese dress looked like a dream on the hanger. Her dresses are worth over 300 dollars, but I could have taken this home for a mere 23 dollars. Sadly, my Dominican butt was like nope. Sure, I was able to zip it all the way up, but I also had to take multiple quick breaths just to let oxygen past through my body. And sitting? Ha! That’s just for amateurs.

Not breathing can look quite glamorous for five secondsdeargodwhenwillthisend?!
Not breathing can look quite glamorous for five secondsdeargodwhenwillthisend?!

Lucy can relate.

When a piece runs large you can easily work around it, but too small? Ugh is the answer.

Find #3

Normally I’m very against all things strapless. Being well endowed on top, I need support or my back will punish me with unforgiving aches. And let’s be real, when was the last time you looked forward to wearing a strapless bra? But sometimes, sacrifices should be made. Especially with a discovery like this.

We have a winner!
We have a winner!

While I was feeling down about the previous dress that wouldn’t fit, this one was two sizes smaller and works great. Okay sure, it’s a vintage size, but work with me people! The tag says it’s by Beginnings, which is/was based in New York. I tried researching it, but nothing seems to be available. The price tag? A lovely 14.

I can’t wait to rock this gown sooner than later. Unfortunately, I will need to buy a strapless bra.

Daphne gets it.
Daphne gets it.

I will say this dress made me get over the Tracy Reese outfit. It’s like that moment when you’re about to get back with an ex, only to find out there’s someone way better waiting for you and ready to take you out. Don’t ask me how I know this.

In short? Today was a good day: for myself and my wallet.

The Fitting Room Chronicles

What is this?

Just Me. In a fitting room.
Just Me. In a fitting room.
Before I had a blog, or even Instagram for that matter, I used to photograph myself in fitting rooms.

Just Me. In a fitting room.
Just Me. In a fitting room.

I tend to shop alone, not because I don’t adore the company of friends, but when it comes to thrifting, I like to leisurely hunt and even arrive early to stores so I can get first dibs on fresh batches.

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And with no one around to tell me whether I look good in something or not, I would photograph myself so I can get a better view of what an outfit really looks like on me. Sometimes I would eventually send it to friends for a second or third opinion.

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Once I joined Instagram, I began showcasing these images to share my ]experiences on thrifting, informing people how I know what really works for me, as well as any tidbits on buying vintage. I received such wonderful feedback from people that it ultimately inspired me to launch La Vintage Vida.

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Now I’m going to you show on this platform those recent discoveries. Sometimes it will be comical when a zipper gets stuck or even tragic when a beautiful gown is just five sizes too small (ugh), but most of the time, these stories all end on a happy note.

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Look out for more adventures soon!