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.

Going for an Ava Gardner Look

Did you know there’s something called “National Vodka Day?”

Neither did I.

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This alleged marketing holiday is technically on October 4th, but truthfully, who wouldn’t mind kicking back with a cool vodka cocktail after a long day at the office?

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I was invited to attend an event in honor of this day with Wyborowa Wódka, a premier Polish vodka. U.S. President of the Polish Vodka Association Andrzej Szumowski was in attendance to share the pride of Poland with us at Schapiro’s Eatery and & Cocktail Bar on the Lower East Side.

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There were tons of pierogis to eat and drinks to savor.

For the evening, I wore this thrifted 1980s label-less electric blue silk dress and paired it with a corselet belt.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Looking back, it reminded me of 1940s glamour goddess Ava Gardner, a sultry Hollywood dame who enjoyed cocktails and was also the love of Frank Sinatra’s wife.

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It’s been described that her swears were like hearing a truck driver and a sailor have an argument. Now that’s my kind of lady.

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For a similar look:

  • 1980s Electric Blue Beaded Silk Dress (size 2) $75, Etsy.com
  • Vintage 1980s Electric Blue Wiggle Dress (size medium) $50, Etsy.com
  • 1980s Cocktail Electric Blue Dress (size medium) $75, Etsy.com
  • 1980s Old Hollywood Glam Beaded Electric Blue Dress (size medium) $112, Etsy.com

Another personal pick you should check out? The super popular Ava dress collection by vintage-inspired retailer Pinup Girl Clothing. Not only are they drop dead gorgeous and super comfortable, but they also come in an array of sizes, ensuring that their brand offers style “for every body.” And who doesn’t love that? I would like to believe Ava would approve.

Pinup Couture Ava Dress in Sky Blue
Pinup Couture Ava Dress in Sky Blue

On sale for $57(!) at PinupGirlClothing.com.

Ava Dress in Teal
Ava Dress in Teal

$114, PinupGirlClothing.com.

I really enjoyed my personal take on this classic look!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Also, if you’re ever in North Carolina, make sure you check out the Ava Gardner Museum. It’s on my bucket list!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

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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Get Shorty

A bar named after me? Sign me up!

Shorty in New York City's Nolita.
Shorty in New York City’s Nolita.

Alright, so Shorty isn’t exactly named after me, but as someone who’s 5’2″, the name definitely catches my attention. So when I was invited for its exclusive grand opening party, you know I was going to check it out.

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Shorty, a sexy cocktail den in Nolita (that’s north of Little Italy), can easily be overlooked in a city where lounges, speakeasies, and restaurants are found practically on every block. But if you look carefully for the sign, and head down some stairs, you’ll find a 1970s Parisian bordello-inspired haven where the drinks are cool and the music is sizzling hot like the weather.

Cocktails at Shorty.
Cocktails at Shorty.

My favorite libation from Shorty is the Paloma, a classic cocktail highlighting thirst-quenching silver tequila (a must-have for the sweltering summer season), as well as fresh lime juice, tangy grapefruit juice, and Sprite for some citrusy bubbly.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

For the party, I wore a vintage 1970s black and white pinstriped dress, which takes a lot of inspiration from the 1940s. Seriously, I felt like I could have picked up a gangster named Johnny Knucklebreaker with this thing. Its slinky fabric and pleated skirt hugged all of my curves, yet it was super comfortable.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The dress was purchased from Portland-based Etsy vendor Jumblelaya. If it were up to me, I would buy everything she’s selling. If you’re a vintage fan, her dresses are nothing short of enchanting.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The original designer is by Jen-Jen New York, which was apparently pretty popular during the 1970s for its nightlife-friendly gowns. Sadly, there isn’t much information in existence now. However, you could still find some Jen-Jen New York dresses on Etsy.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

For a similar look, here are my picks: There’s this handmade 1950s-1960s dress on Etsy for $52, a maxi gown ensemble from ModCloth for $32.99, a 1950s-inspired swing dress from Unique Vintage for $138, and another swing style dress in color block form by Pinup Girl Clothing for $142. You can even get similar black and white pumps from Pinup Girl Clothing for $52. They’re way too cute to pass up.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

As for jewels, I stuck with pearls. These are from H&M. It seems to no longer be available, but here’s a similar one for $5.95.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

So yes, you don’t need to be a shorty to visit Shorty. It’s a cozy bar that’s perfect for date nights or when you feel like unwinding on a weekday and prefer being a bit hidden in New York City. Because sometimes, you just need a sweet escape for the night and that may involve heading to a bar that’s secretly the home of a French madam.

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.

Just Another Rooftop

I may be afraid of heights, but this New Yorker prefers wining and dining up in the clouds surrounded by skyscrapers. Really, why would anyone want to break a sweat in 90something degree weather in a stuffy room when you can catch a cool breeze up above everyone else?

Having Cocktails in the Sky.
Having Cocktails in the Sky.

Francis and I make it our mission to visit every rooftop spot in town, so when we were invited to culinary extraordinaire David Burke’s SPYGLASS above the Archer Hotel in midtown, needless to say we were going.

Our View.
Our View.

SPYGLASS is fantastic because it’s walking distance from many offices in the area. So whether you had a rough day at work or simply just want to kick back, this is a swanky rooftop that requires zero subway or taxi transportation, depending where you are. Just a simple stroll will do. Your nostrils will thank you if sticking your nose into someone’s armpit in a too-tight train or being glued to the chair of a cab on a sweltering day isn’t your thing.

Enjoying Ourselves.
Enjoying Ourselves.

SPYGLASS also gives you a direct view of the Empire State Building while you’re enjoying lobster dumplings, oysters, and thirst-quenching cocktails. Don’t get me wrong, the Village will always be my home away from home no matter where I am, but this local deal isn’t too shabby.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

Now for the dress. I absolutely fell in love when I saw this piece in a West Village thrift store. It features the brightest orange flowers I’ve ever seen. Seriously, you can light up any room with this thing.

Photo By Francis Rodriguez.
Photo By Francis Rodriguez.

Unfortunately, I don’t have too many details about the dress. No label was found, but it came in excellent condition and was around 25 bucks. It reminds me of a 1950s (or even 60s) cocktail dress. Since the dress zips from the back and not the side, it comes from a later period (not the 50s). That’s one trick to tell if your ensemble is possibly more modern or much older. Also, this outfit highlights a full skirt, so no petticoat is require to add some dramatic flair. Just be prepared to slap people around with your hips.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

I paired the dress with matching navy patent pumps to keep the look more uniformed. The focus remains on the dress, as opposed to dizzying anyone with too much going on.

Original Fire & Ice Ad.
Original Fire & Ice Ad.

As for the lipstick? That’s Revlon’s Fire & Ice, which was first introduced in 1952. It was reportedly one of the many shades of red Marilyn Monroe wore. You can still find it in nearly any drugstore for less than 10 bucks.

Marilyn Monroe, 1952.
Marilyn Monroe, 1952.

The lipstick is a very bold, fiery red shade, so I blotted it just a bit to tone it down. Again, I wanted the dress to be the focal point. I finished my look with champagne.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

This was our view for the evening.

Our Evening View.
Our Evening View.

So seriously, what are you doing down there? Start rooftopping it!