Lady Love Song

Every lady deserves to have a dress in her closet that accentuates her curves and is guaranteed to make jaws drop everywhere. Who wouldn’t want to have a silky smooth fabric hug your shape like a lover who knows exactly what to do with his/her hands?

May I introduce you to the Lady Love Song Dress?

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

This piece, from vintage-inspired online retailer ModCloth, features a velvety smooth fabric that will make you feel like a seductive pinup. My beau couldn’t get enough of it and well, I felt like the greatest animated seductress of all: Jessica Rabbit.

Jessica Rabbit from the 1988 film, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
Jessica Rabbit from the 1988 film, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
Jessica Rabbit
Jessica Rabbit

Even ModCloth said it best: Who wouldn’t want to croon a ballad when they see you in this sultry frock? In a melodic, shimmering maroon velvet material that caresses your curves, this dress complete with a crossover sweetheart neckline and gentle pleats at the bust, is made to impress. Step into your favorite jazz club for a martini and dulcet serenade!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Another woman who would appreciate this piece? Rita Hayworth, 1940s “love goddess” of Hollywood, who also served as one of the inspirations behind Mrs. Rabbit.

Rita Hayworth (in black and white)
Rita Hayworth (in black and white)
Rita Hayworth (in color)
Rita Hayworth (in color)

I wore my merlot-hued dress for an evening with loved ones at Hotel Indigo, a posh hotel in Chelsea where you can easily spot a model or three making her way to the Meatpacking District for a stylish Saturday night out.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

No martinis were involved (I’m more of a gin girl), but you could savor tantalizing cocktails at equally posh Mexican hot spot Tijuana Picnic on the Lower East Side. It’s a fitting tribute considering Rita Hayworth, whose real name was Margarita Carmen Cansino, rose to fame in Tijuana clubs in Mexico as a dancer.

Tijuana Picnic in New York City
Tijuana Picnic in New York City
Sizzling Chicken Wings at Tijuana Picnic
Sizzling Chicken Wings at Tijuana Picnic
Delectable Churros at Tijuana Picnic
Delectable Churros at Tijuana Picnic

Expect luscious libations, such as the Grapefruit Gringo (poblano infused-vodka, grapefruit, Thai basil, and sugarcane), Mi Casa Margarita (featuring loads of tequila and mezcal), or the Mayan Michelada (a spicier take on the Bloody Mary).

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Love the Lady Love Song dress as much as I do? Make it a forever dress in your closet in Merlot for the wine lovers out there, along with Olive, Black, or Ruby for $89.99. I would just recommend going up a size for a comfy fit without losing the hip-hugging effect.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Feeling Lauren Bacall Vibes

My friends know me best for rocking  florals, but one print I’ve always loved? Polka dots, of course.

There’s something about this classic design that purrs old Hollywood. Think of any leading lady from the past and I guarantee you she rocked polka dots. However, no one made adorable circles look so fierce quite like Lauren Bacall.

ba107c542e97a3326b7b24205dbc49db e96c9eb80cdd05ef957e78e8e298c505 1372894886101008687yZP0nuNcYes reader, I’m aware this screen siren owned The Look and no one else can go near that, but I was feeling some serious Lauren Bacall vibes on a recent thrifting trip.

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I found this label-less sheer navy dress with white polka dots and I was in love. I just felt like me…The pearls I wore to my shopping outing definitely enhance the overall appearance of the dress, but I was loving its casual, yet put-together retro style that works for brunch, a casual night out…or just because.

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The shoulder pads needed to be popped. For the record I always take off shoulder pads from any piece. I’m just not into the linebacker look. Yet, this dress was coming home with mama.

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But lately, I was feeling inspired by this fellow New Yorker. Earlier this year, FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) featured an exhibition titled “Lauren Bacall: The Look,” which was dedicated to her legacy in the fashion world, as well as her relationships with the many designers lucky enough to dress her.

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It was a real treat to stand just inches away from garments that once hugged the star.

Check out that pink French creation, a gift from 1968.
Check out that pink French creation, a gift from 1968.

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I may not be BFFs with Yves Saint Laurent, but I’m all about channeling My Look, with the help of Ms. Bacall.

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Fourth of July (Also Known as the First Time I Wore an Apron)

Fourth of July is the American holiday made for honoring one’s pride by watching fireworks, having Lana Del Rey on heavy rotation, and filling your belly with BBQ while enjoying golden rays of sunshine on the beach.

Tell me I'm your national anthem...with the perfect Instagram filter.
Tell me I’m your national anthem…with the perfect Instagram filter.

I’m all about that life, but for one particular Fourth of July weekend, I celebrated with cocktails.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Not too long ago, I was invited to a special celebration hosted by Pinnacle Vodka where we learned how to pair seasonal summer dishes with playful libations. It was held at My Cooking Party in Chelsea and the special guest was the lovely Claire Robinson from the Food Network. This woman knows how to throw a fun party and maybe someday, I can host just like her.

Chef Claire Robinson
Claire Claire Robinson

Robinson shared some of her go-to party recipes, which you can easily recreate at home. My personal favorite was her creamy icebox cake, which you can top with your favorite berries. And what’s more patriotic than strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream?

Sugar & Spicebox Cake
Sugar & Spicebox Cake

Here’s how to make it:

Chef Claire Robinson’s Sugar & Spicebox Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 9 to 12 chocolate graham crackers, broken into squares
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Strawberries and blueberries (optional)

Preparation

  1. Beat 2 cups cream with 6 tablespoons sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds soft peaks. Reduce speed to low, then add cream cheese and mix until combined.
  2. Spread 1 1/4 cups cream cheese mixture evenly in bottom of springform pan and cover with graham crackers. Spread with another 1 1/4 cups cream cheese mixture, followed by graham crackers in the same manner. Spread remaining cream cheese mixture on top. Smooth top, then cover pan with foil and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer from freezer to refrigerator and chill, covered, until a sharp knife inserted into center cuts through softened graham crackers easily, about 8 hours.
  3. Pulse remaining graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground.
  4. Beat remaining cup cream with cinnamon and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar using electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds stiff peaks, about 3 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and side of pan and frost cake with cinnamon cream. Serve cold.
  6. Decorate with whipped cream, strawberries, and blueberries on top.

Renowned mixologist Niccole Trzaska was also present to show us how to whip up celebratory cocktails.

Mixologist Niccole Trzaska
Mixologist Niccole Trzaska

She taught me how to make this festive drink. While I was pretty impressed with my mixing skills, I should probably stick to my day job.

My Red, White, and Blue cocktail.
My Red, White, and Blue cocktail.

Because there was some cooking, erm, mixing involved, I wore an apron. You guys, this was my first time ever!

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Here’s another look because who knows when this will happen again:

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

For the event, I wore a grey Calvin Klein sheath dress, which means that it’s designed to be fitted for your body shape. A sheath dress shouldn’t fall no where below the knee, making it great for the summer season. I’m also a fan of Calvin Klein couture because he’s very forgiving in the sizing department. You don’t have to be a model to fit into any of his clothes.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

I purchased this dress at a thrift store in the West Village, but there seems to be a ton of similar looks on eBay, all by Calvin Klein. For other Calvin Klein picks, here are my favorites: There’s the belted sheath dress in charcoal offered by Macy’s for $89.98, an A-line variation with faux leather by Lord & Taylor for $66.55, another cotton-printed sheath by Macy’s for $88.99, as well as an all-while moto ensemble from Calvin Klein’s actual online shop for $108.

And if you missed the ’90s, rocking some Calvin Klein is the perfect way to rekindle some of those memories from the era without appearing dated.

So tell me, how did you celebrate the Fourth?

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Hello world!

Hello dear reader. My name is Steph and I’m a New York City girl who spends half of my time in a fitting room. No, seriously.

Photo by Michelle Wild, Dress by Stop Staring! Clothing, Coat is Vintage
Photo by Michelle Wild, Dress by Stop Staring! Clothing, Coat is Vintage

After years of having my friends pester me to blog about my thrifting adventures, I finally decided to give in. Some days it will be about finding ensembles from past eras for my growing dress collection. Others will be about giving birth to myself while trying to get out of a too-tight piece made for a Kate Moss wasp.

This was me, hanging out with Minnie Mouse. I don't think I was allowed to wear makeup yet.
This was me, hanging out with Minnie Mouse. I don’t think I was allowed to wear makeup yet.

Thrifting, you ask? Why yes, I would describe myself as a vintage girl, one who adores the styles of eras long gone before I was ever born. And after decades of trying to fit in and look like every jean-wearing broad from the block, I have finally embraced being the woman I was meant to be, wearing dresses, red lipstick, and heels. I haven’t looked back, and frankly, I feel quite liberated not trying to squeeze every single bit of me in skinny jeans. It’s actually pretty fabulous. I’ve always been passionate about old Hollywood and that affair first came to life when I discovered Marilyn Monroe giggling as her skirt went flying up in The Seven Year Itch at age five. I was in absolute awe over this woman’s flawless features and wanted to know everything I could about her. Sure, I could barely pronounce her name thanks to my thick Spanish accent, but I wanted to discover all there was to know about Mary-Leen Mouse.

You might know this lady.
You might know this lady.

Growing up, I tried so hard to fit in, splurging on every trend that came and went by the hour just to be accepted. However, one Halloween completely changed my life, when I decided to dress up as a 1940s dame. Once I slipped into that black wiggle dress, pursed my red hot pout, and applied that blooming rose against my natural curls, something awakened in me. This was the person I was meant to be.

The simple Halloween costume that did it for me. Dress was vintage and probably cost me 10 dollars. Stockings I purchased from Christopher Street in the Village.
The simple Halloween costume that did it for me. Dress was vintage and probably cost me 10 dollars. Stockings I purchased from Christopher Street in the Village.

Now, everyday is Halloween. Except it’s not. You get the picture. I’m also a Type O Negative fan. Oh yeah, back to the blog. Since I spend many afternoons hunting for throwback pieces, I figure this would be a good place for me to share my discoveries and how I rock them. Maybe two people will read this, or I will give up eventually. For now, I’m trying it out.

Me today at Hotel Indigo. Vintage dress from TempleKatVintage on Easy. Photo by Jordan Race.
Me today at Hotel Indigo. Vintage dress from TempleKatVintage on Etsy. Photo by Jordan Race.

I’m looking forward to sharing what works for me. Hopefully they will work for you, too.