Spending the Day with Keith Haring

One of the things I adore about New York City? The art, of course.

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Spotted in Chelsea.
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Spotted in the Meatpacking.

Whether you’re on the Upper East Side, the Meatpacking District, SoHo, the Lower East Side, or in Chelsea, there are tons of galleries to be found here where you can enjoy art of various forms. I’ve had both positive and negative experiences at galleries, but this one is about a pleasant afternoon I had with Keith Haring.

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Sadly, I’ve never met the man, but I’m well versed in his fantastic contributions and impact on not just the art world, but New York City culture as a whole. I recently saw these awe-inspiring pieces by Keith Haring at a gallery in SoHo (sadly, I don’t remember the name).

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For the day, I wore a thrifted swan printed dress by Zara. It’s actually one of my favorite dresses to wear. It’s light, airy, looks lovely with simple black ballet flats or pumps, plus it has a casual 1950s vintage look that I love to pair with pearls and cat-eye sunglasses.

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Photo by Alexcia Foster

While I do own plenty of authentic 1950s pieces, there’s nothing wrong about paying tribute to a past era with a modern wardrobe. Personal style is what you make of it. There are no rules. Just have fun!

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Photo by Alexcia Foster
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Photo by Alexcia Foster

Zara no longer sells this swan dress, but I did find some (very few) cute picks:

These photos were snapped at a West Village garden that myself and BFF Alexcia encountered. Here in New York City, you’re bound to discover something new.

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Photo by Alexcia Foster

Sadly, Keith Haring is no longer with us. This genius of a man passed away in 1990 at age 31 in New York City of AIDS-related complications. However, his work will live on forever. And I can assure you that somewhere in New York City, there’s a Haring piece or two just waiting to be explored by you.

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Going for EKOCYCLE and Eva Mendes

I’ve stayed at the W hotel several times for business. It’s quite the posh place to stay and its usually surrounded by Manhattan’s many hot spots.

But when I went to the W Hotel on the upper east side one day, it was for a different reason.

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W Hotels and Grammy Award-winning artist will.i.am (Black Eyed Peas anyone?) launched a new initiative with the Ekocycle brand to launch new sheets made from recycled materials.

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According to their official release:

Rolling out into W Hotels in North America first with global properties to follow, each king size sheet set utilizes approximately 31 recycled 20 oz. plastic bottles – which equates to more than 268,000 plastic bottles across all W Hotel beds in North America. The result is bedding that is as luxurious as it is environmentally conscious, ensuring that guests continue to have the same incredibly comfortable sleep they have come to expect from a night in a W Hotel bed. 

What a stylish way to recycle!

For this event, I wore a body-hugging white dress with a vine pattern from Hollywood actress Eva Mendes and her New York & Company collection. As I’ve previously mentioned here, I adore Eva’s collectionsof old Hollywood-inspired fashion, which are price appropriate, as well as perfect for day or night. If you haven’t gotten anything from Eva Mendes, do yourself a favor and hop to it.

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Photo by Alexcia Foster

To finish my look, I wore a vine necklace with emeralds, which was originally my mother’s. I remember as a child going through her jewelry box and wearing this same necklace in front of the mirror, pretending I was an old Hollywood star.

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Myself and BFF Alexcia had another fun evening celebrating at the W Hotel on Lexington Avenue.

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Oh yeah, don’t forget to recycle. You want to take care of our environment, and Alexcia would insist I end this post with that note. =)

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Wearing a Turtleneck (Like Marilyn Monroe)

We still may be in the middle of crisp fall here in New York City, but occasionally, that sudden frost of winter gives an unwelcoming preview of what’s to come. Such is life here on the east coast.

Turtlenecks. They’re perfect for keeping warm and cozy. But they’re called turtlenecks for a reason.

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This is Lulu, my red-eared slider. He looks great in a turtleneck, of course. But this isn’t a look for everyone. Trust me on this.

I remember past winters where my neck disappeared in a too-chunky turtleneck my mother found in some shop somewhere, and all you saw was a floating head. Yeah…no.

Luckily, there is still a way to stay warm this winter with a turtleneck and not look like, well, a turtle. A prime example? Marilyn Monroe.

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Alright, I know the woman could make a potato sack look tres chic, but this blonde bombshell (and my absolute favorite old Hollywood star) made turtlenecks look seductive. According to lomography.com:

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On the Spring of 1953, Alfred Eisenstaedt paid Marilyn Monroe a visit in her Beverly Hills home to do a portrait shoot for a LIFE Magazine assignment. “Eisie,” as he was known by his friends and colleagues, photographed the 26-year-old Hollywood star in her patio; she was stunning even in her simple black turtleneck top and white pants (checkered pants in some photographs). It was certainly not a glamor-filled photoshoot yet the intimately casual portraits Eisenstaedt took — both in color and black and white — became some of his best known work, as well as Monroe’s most sought after photographs to this day. 

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Inspired by Marilyn Monroe, I found this turtleneck sweater dress in H&M and I felt both warm and fabulous. No floating head to be found here!

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How can Marilyn Monroe inspire you to wear a turtleneck? Here are some of my tips:

  • Marilyn was a fan of wearing tight-fitting clothes to enhance her figure. Based on the photos above, we can tell that her black turtleneck was also body-hugging. Try to stay true to your size and avoid anything too over-sized. Those can be comfortable yes, but they can also add unwanted weight and fluff.
  • You can honestly never go wrong with black. It’s a slimming shade, works for day or night, and you can easily jazz up this color with the right accessories. I went for gray to spice up my wardrobe, which works just as well.
  • Red lipstick. This is the easiest way to add glamour to your wardrobe and honey, there are hundreds of red shades to choose from. Have fun and try on some different reds. Believe me, there’s a red for everyone, including you. Marilyn reportedly used a mixture of different red lipsticks to create a color she liked best. She also was a fan of coral shades. And if you really want to go super glam, cat eyes do wonders. Remember, the turtleneck is drawing all eyes to your face.
  • Again, think about your curves. Marilyn opted for hip-hugging pants to further accentuate her shape – nothing baggy to be found here. Since I’m not big on pants, I made sure my sweater dress wasn’t bulky and was true to my size. You don’t want to look like you’re wearing a massive sock.
  • Seriously, go to the fitting room. When I first saw this turtleneck dress, I was very hesitant. But when I tried it on, I felt great. Don’t be afraid to try on different looks, especially those that you normally wouldn’t go for. You might just surprise yourself. Even Marilyn experimented with different types of turtlenecks:
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By John Vachon filming “River of No Return.”

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How will you be rocking a turtleneck this season?

The Fitting Room Chronicles: My Little Pinup Girl

I’ve always had a great love affair with pinup art. So when the Louis K. Meisel Gallery in New York City’s SoHo was hosting an exhibit titled, “The Great American Pinup,” you know I was attending.

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“Waisted Effort” by Gil Elvgren, 1950
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“Reclining Red Head in Green Dress with Chocolates” by Peter Driben

What an awe-inspiring view!

According to the gallery:

The AK Collection features nearly every major pin-up artist including an outstanding selection of oils by Gil Elvgren, watercolors by Alberto Vargas, and pastels by Rolf Armstrong. The 49-piece collection contains many rare oversized pin-ups that include compositions of the ‘girl next door’ to scenes that verge on fantasy. An avid car collector, AK acquired many artworks that feature cars prominently. With this unique collection available to the public once again, Louis K. Meisel Gallery intends to redistribute the works to new collectors interested in the history and nostalgia associated with The Great American Pin-Up.

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“No More Runs” by Harry Edman, 1950
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“I’ve Been Spotted” by Gil Elvgren, 1949
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“Bow Spirit” by Gil Elvgren, 1960

I managed to photograph some of my favorites while I was there. You may even recognize some of these iconic pieces.

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“Out You Go (Me and My Shadow)” by Joyce Ballantyne, 1955
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“Red Head with Black Negligee” by Edward Runci, 1947

Inspired, I was lucky enough to find this dress during a thrifting adventure, reminding me of what a 1950s dame would wear for a casual day.

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And its rich, deep sky blue would surely put artists to work, don’t you think?

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What makes you feel like a pinup girl?

And just in case you’re interested, I actually wrote an article a while back on female pinup artists you should know about!

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Falling for Carmen Miranda

When it comes to fall in New York City, girls think about rocking their finest black, oxblood, and burgundy styles – you know, everything dark and heavy. And trust me, I’m all for that. With all the holidays coming up (candy, pie, and champagne, oh my!), I need to go to the dark side with clothes to camouflage that pooch waving hello.

But sometimes? I just want to throw myself on a pile of palm leaves, not fall foliage.

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When I found this transparent tropical ensemble for less than 20 bucks, two words came to mind: Carmen Miranda.

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Anyone who’s into old Hollywood, thrifting, or just pop culture in general knows a thing or two about “the lady in the tutti frutti hat.”

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Carmen MIranda in THE GANG'S ALL HERE (1943), directed by Busby Berkeley.

The woman made an entire career out of wearing crop tops in banana-hue, headdresses overflowing with plastic fruit, and frilly skirts designed for the samba. And let’s be real here, Carmen made the look completely hers for technicolor films.

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Carmen even reportedly said this: I have never followed what people say it is ‘fashionable’. I think that a woman must wear what fits her. That is why I created a style appropriated to my type and my artistical genre.

Now that’s my kind of girl.

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So for this fall, yes, I’m going to flaunt my black, oxblood, and burgundy. However, I’m also going to show off some flower power, towering palm trees, and even a parrot or two straight from the tropics (print-wise of course). It will be fun way to stand out among a sea of autumnal uniforms and reminisce about past sizzling summers.

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The only thing that should brighten up those dreary days that quickly transition into night? You. And personally, I would heat things up even more by carrying a pumpkin spice latte on one hand. Sure, this dress is pretty, but baby, it’s cold outside.

The Art of Patrón

In New York City, the fall season is all about cozy gatherings to warm up the chilly season. And nothing cranks up the heat quite like being surrounded with the city’s finest mixologists, chefs, artists, and musicians – at least what felt like several hundred of them, in celebration of everyone’s favorite tequila.

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Patrón was hosting a special event at Manhattan’s Art Beam to showcase the finest art, dishes, and drinks inspired by the smooth Mexican spirit. Of course, any party is going to be an amazing one when  Patrón is hosting it.

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At this fiesta, I even had the chance to make my own cocktail spice rim. My mouthwatering spice highlights vanilla powder, salted caramel, cloves, and nutmeg. I was inspired by the crisp season and holiday pie. Yum.

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For the occasion, I wore the floral parker green Sabrina Dress from Eva Mendes’ New York & Company collection. I previously mentioned how much I love the Hollywood Latina’s chic couture as its fabrics and prints are old Hollywood-inspired, all while showcasing modern fits and sizes. It’s a winning combination and needless to say, I’m a fan.

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The Sabrina dress is still available at New York & Company for $41.97(!).

Eva Mendes for New York & Company
Eva Mendes for New York & Company

While Eva models them without a belt, I wore my usual corselet belt, as I need something to enhance my curves. They were meant to shine, not hide!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Myself and gal pal Alexcia had a grand time savoring refreshing tropical mango cocktails, succulent veggie burgers that easily tasted like Angus beef, and of course, being silly.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Some New Yorkers prefer apple picking in the fall. However, this city girl doesn’t mind enjoying just another Tuesday with fine company and tantalizing cocktails.

Finding Glamour in Maine: Part 4

Note: I was offered free products to try from Naked Chick Organics to be reviewed. However, the opinions listed here, including those of the products, are completely my own.

Also, this is the final installment of “Finding Glamour in Maine!” Don’t forget to check out parts 1, 2, and 3.

I spent a week devouring every lobster roll Maine had to offer, attempting to fight unruly frizz (and losing), and well, trying to adjust to a quieter life that was far away from the ever bustling, constant taxi-honking NYC.

One way I would find some salvation? At the beach, of course.

My morning coffee.
My morning coffee.

Despite being a city girl, I adore the beach. I love the feeling of warm sun rays caressing my skin. I crave to hear soft ocean waves as seagulls float into clouds, appearing only to nibble on juicy, succulent crab (or your sandwich). So one thing I was looking forward to was dipping my toes into Long Sands Beach.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

While this beach can get mighty foggy in the morning, and the crowds can quickly multiply, it was indeed one of my favorite parts about my trip to Maine. Naturally, I relied on pinup-inspired swimwear to look and feel confident.

Long Sands Beach, Maine
Long Sands Beach, Maine

The high waisted bikini bottoms are from Unique Vintage and the bikini top is from Linda’s Bras in New York, my go-to boutique for finding lingerie in an array of sizes.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

And if you really want to have an endless summer? Consider bringing some of the beach to your skincare.

Naked Chick Organics
Naked Chick Organics

Naked Chick Organics is a serious must-have for smelling oh so delicious and feeling amazing. Not only are these products made from scratch, but they’re small batched and prepared with quality vegan and USDA Certified organic ingredients prepared by hand. As someone who has very sensitive skin, this was an amazing treat for me.

Naked Chick Organics Body Scrub
Naked Chick Organics Body Scrub

To get beach ready daily, I used Peppy Chick Body Scrub in the shower, which features sweet-meets-salty coconut and juicy, zesty orange. Not only did it awaken my skin, but it was soft and smooth for a day at the beach. Oh, and it smells like a creamy tropical milkshake, which I ADORED!

Sunny Chick Body Oil
Sunny Chick Body Oil

To maintain that silky smoothness, I also used Sunny Chick Body Oil, highlighting sweet almond and jojoba oils. It quench my skin’s thirst without leaving a greasy residue, which is extremely important when wearing delicate thrifted pieces. It also left behind a nice clean, airy aroma.

Sunny Chick Sea Grass Body Oil on actual sea grass from Maine.
Sunny Chick Sea Grass Body Oil on actual sea grass from Maine.

Maine does have some pretty picturesque beaches. And underneath all that salty water are plump, luscious lobsters. Yum.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

The trip was completed with a tangy Lime Ricky at The Goldenrod, where you can buy fudge and saltwater taffy by the pound. I did both. In multiples. Don’t judge me.

Lime Ricky at The Goldenrod in Maine.
Lime Ricky at The Goldenrod in Maine.

So I did it. I survived Maine. Now I’m back in the city on my usual grind. Here are my parting words.

When visiting York Beach, Maine for the first time:

Do

  • Eat as much lobster as possible. It’s some of the best in the country, if not the world.
  • Bring layers. It gets very, very chilly at night, especially if you’re right next to the beach.
  • Visit The Goldenrod. It’s a national attraction for sweet lovers. And hello, saltwater taffy and fudge?! You can also eat at the restaurant there.
  • Go out early. Unlike NYC, many of these shops close early. Like 9PM early.
  • Become familiar with the terminology here. When ordering coffee, ask for “dairy” instead of milk or cream. Also, sprinkles here are “jimmies.”
  • Consider heading to Portland if you want more “adult” time. York Beach is a very familial town, which I wasn’t expecting.

Don’t

  • Head to the beach late. It gets more crowded than a Black Friday on Macy’s in midtown. Grab a coffee and enjoy your morning at the beach. You’ll get first dibs on a nice spot.
  • Assume The Lighthouse is huge. At least for me, it wasn’t. But you should go anyway because again, it’s a major attraction.
  • Leave behind bottles of tap water from NYC. At least for my hair, I found Maine water to be hard, which left it dry and frizzy. Myself and my curls were not happy. I should have brought some water bottles just to wash my hair. I’m serious about this.
  • Arrive without a car. Unless you’re in the city, a car is everything to get by around here.
  • Attempt to find Stephen King in Maine. He likes his alone time writing (hello) and I hear he heads down south to Florida during the winters. I would do the same.
Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race