The Fitting Room Chronicles: In With the Old

Once upon a time, Francis took me to the lush Gallow Green, a quaint rooftop lounge where patrons are transported to a secret garden filled with beautiful company, tantalizing cocktails, and mouthwatering grub.

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For “just one of those nights,” I wore a juicy orange floral lace dress by Hollywood actress Eva Mendes from her New York & Company collection. It was paired with ivory lace oxfords, which i transitioned from day to night. I received loads of compliments and I was  all smiles.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez
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Photo by Francis Rodriguez
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Selfie

Sadly, summer is long gone and we’ve been dealing with a Snowpocalypse. While I normally wear my spring/summer attire all year by simply pairing it with a warm cardigan, this dress just won’t do to beat the chill.

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Fortunately, I got quite lucky at my recent thrifting adventure.

I found this 1950s ensemble, which features a very similar floral lace pattern, except it’s more black than orange. Not only does it highlight sleeves, but it’s more weather appropriate and pairs perfectly with one of my many cardigans.

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For the most part, I believe in wearing all of my outfits throughout the year. Whether it’s adding leggings, boots, a sweater, or a heavy scarf, there’s no need to pack away gorgeous pieces, only to rock them for a few months. However, I will admit that there are certain outfits designed specifically for certain seasons, and layering just won’t do. That’s why I try to find a similar piece that goes with the certain season. Not only will I get to wear something I know I will look and feel good in, but I will have more clothing options for the chill or heat.

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The weather should never prevent you from feeling fabulous. And you never know when a friend will invite you to spend the night at a rooftop.

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Hotel Crashing

Have you ever have one of those fabulous nights where you don’t remember how anything happened, except how much fun it actually was?

I happen to share a lot of those with one of my wonderful friends, Francis.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

I couldn’t honestly tell you how we somehow found ourselves at the ultra posh Mondrian SoHo hotel in Manhattan. All I can remember is how we had an evening filled with laugher and just good times.

Luckily, those memories were captured in these photos, which still bring a smile to my face.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

For this swanky affair, I wore a thrifted navy Diane Von Furstenberg body-hugging cocktail wrap dress, which I adore. Not only is it super comfortable, but it hugs my curves in all the right spots.

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Photo with a Coca Cola bottle. Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Unfortunately, this dress seems to no longer be offered by the couture designer, but Diane invented the wrap dress, so you can rest assure she has plenty of options! These are the ones I’m loving lately:

I’ll agree that DVF dresses tend to be on the pricey side, but this woman has been perfecting her art for 40 years now. Therefore, this is one investment you will treasure for years to come. You can also try thrifting and hopefully get lucky like I did. I believe this dress, in mint condition, was less than $30.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

I don’t remember all the details of this evening, but I can tell you it’s one that I enjoy remembering.

Therefore? Dress for your life. Make it a gorgeous, fun spectacle. Be the star of your own show. Even if you have nothing planned, add one thing to your ensemble that makes you feel absolutely fabulous. Whether it’s a dress that enhances your figure, your favorite pearls, a swipe of fiery hot red lipstick, or those shimmering sneakers, rock it for the occasion that is your everyday existence. You never know what you’ll encounter for the day (or night), as well as the unforgettable memories you’ll create.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

 

On Dealing with Monsters

Ever had a day where, no matter how hard you tried, everything seemed to just go wrong? No matter what you did, everything and everyone felt against you. Life is just one massive battle with monsters and you’re just a sore loser.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

You couldn’t tell by these photos, but on this particular day, I wasn’t exactly the happiest. A lot of stuff went down from beginning to end and I could have used a break (or a cocktail).

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Nothing is as comforting as hiding under the covers, never leaving the house, and calling it a day, but we’ve got to face those battles sometimes. One way I like to approach an obstacle in life is by dressing with confidence. If I feel good, then my mannerism will reflect that. I’ll feel confident and empowered enough to take on the day. And who knows, maybe it ultimately won’t be so bad.

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I survived this day after all and I moved on.

I approached my day in Manhattan’s Little Italy by wearing a modern H&M navy and orange dress I found while thrifting. It seems to no longer be available, but any navy dress of your choosing with orange or gold accessories should do the stylish trick.

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Here are some of my picks from the popular retailer as well:

It also helps to have great friends who’ve got your back and can rock an outfit like you.

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Broadway Baby

I love the theater. Any chance I get, I catch a show. It’s one of the luxuries of living in New York City. And I’m not even joking about that – Broadway ain’t cheap.

But it’s one of the best things to invest in for a good time in the city.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

I used to intern at a publicity firm that handled several shows, so it was a wonderful treat to visit the theater on a daily basis. And even these days, Francis and I love having a girl’s night out on Broadway.

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For this special evening, which involved an exquisite media tasting of delicious New Zealand-based Kim Crawford wines at Gabriel Kreuther, I wore a black and white 1940s tailored suit dress, which I found at a thrift store in the East Village. I paired my outfit with matching black and white  pumps, simple pearl earrings, and a gold chain featuring a panther’s head. Keeping it classy, y’all.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez
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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

From the office to Broadway, followed by cocktails or wine, this was the perfect outfit for the evening.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez
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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

For a similar suit dress that you can transition from day to night, here are some lovely options I found:

I haven’t had the opportunity to kick off the New Year with a show quite yet, but here’s some interesting trivia. A long time, I interviewed beloved playwright and fellow Latino Lin-Manuel Miranda. He was, at the time, writing a musical now known as “Hamilton.” You might have heard of it.

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2015: My 12 Favorite Dresses

When I started this blog, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. My friends have been telling me for quite a long time that I should write about my love for vintage and all things old Hollywood. I decided to try it out and  it’s actually been great.

Sure, like any other writer, I’ve had my share of writer’s block and feeling a lack of inspiration. But really, I’ve had a wonderful time sharing my experiences with you (yeah, you!).

Here are my favorite 12 dresses of the year, in no specific order:

Dress #1: Just Another Rooftop

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Dress #2: Celebrating Marilyn Monroe at Pop!

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Photo by Alexcia Foster

Dress #3: Cheating Death in Central Park

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Photo by Jordan Race

Dress #4: Get Shorty

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Photo by Alexcia Foster

Dress #5: Getting Carried Away

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Dress #6: “It Really Was Raining”

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Photo by Jordan Race

Dress #7: Fire Island’s Cherry Grove (Alright, a Swimsuit)

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Photo by Jordan Race

Dress #8: Azul Rooftop at Hotel Hugo

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Dress #9: Finding Glamour in Maine (Part 1)

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Photo by Jordan Race

Dress #10: Spending the Day with Keith Haring

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Photo by Alexcia Foster

Dress #11: Christmas in July

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Photo by Jordan Race

Dress #12: “A Grown-Up Dorothy”

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Thank you all for checking out La Vintage Vida! Your support keeps me going. Here’s to a fabulous 2016.

I also want to thank Alexcia Foster, Jordan Race, and Francis Rodriguez. I love you all dearly.

Whisky and The Plaza

I’m not a whisky drinker. I prefer a glass to unwind after a busy day, a gin cocktail for a casual night out, or tequila when, in the words of Prince, “it was Saturday night, I guess that makes it all right.”

But most of the time, a bottle of sparkling Perrier will do.

Cheers
Cheers

So when I was invited to the The Macallan Rare Cask event at The Academy Mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I figured why not? How many chances will I really attempt to try some Scotch at a proper tasting in a ultra posh venue? Perhaps it might inspire me to write a story. Writers can never get enough inspiration.

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One of my besties Francis isn’t much a whisky drinker either, so it was wonderfully refreshing to embark on this tasting journey with someone who was as curious as I.

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The Academy Mansion was a glorious castle made fit for a Park Avenue princess, the guests were immaculately dressed in their finest evening couture, and the Macallan whisky was smooth-as-silk, but with a powerful punch. In short, it was another fabulous night.

It was time to continue.

We then decided to spend some time at The Plaza, one of my favorite places in the world. Just telling you about this hotel’s rich history could easily transform this blog into a book, but if you’re a fan of all things vintage, you must make your way to The Plaza pronto. Expect to hear more of this place soon.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

For the evening, I wore this glorious butterfly dress by vintage-inspired online clothing retailer ModCloth.com. It’s one of my most favorite places to shop, and it should be yours, too!

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Sadly, this dress is no longer available on ModCloth.com, but I did find some similar, equally amazing picks, just for you:

See you soon at The Plaza!

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Being an ’80s Baby at Culture Club

I’m not really a big fan of the ’80s. The fashion was, well, loud. The makeup was, well, loud. And aerobics was very, very loud.

Jane Fonda and her leg warmers.
Jane Fonda and her leg warmers.

But I don’t loathe the ’80s completely. It gave me a lot of things I adore. Like the music. All of it.

Madonna's "Dress You Up" single was my first record.
Madonna’s “Dress You Up” single was my first record.

Blast some Duran Duran, Boy George, Poison, Quiet Riot, Queen, A-Ha, or anything from that decade and I’m hitting the dance floor. I’m going to sing my lungs out. I’m going to be a hot sweaty mess.

But I adore it.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Therefore, it made perfect sense for bestie Francis and I to hit up Culture Club, Manhattan’s former official dance club to all things 1980s. Sadly, Culture Club has since closed and no place of its kind seems to exist. Such is life in NYC.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

For the occasion, I wore a vintage Rebecca Minkoff bejeweled red dress that made me feel like a groupie on the Sunset Strip.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

You’ll have to go easy on me because finding this exact same dress online was near impossible. Besides, do you really want to hurt me?

Pre-party selfie.
Pre-party selfie.

I found this piece at a West Village thrift store and I couldn’t find too much info on it. However, discovering pieces from the 1980s is pretty easy online as it’s a relatively recent decade, in comparison to older eras, like the 1960s and anything before that. That’s why I have some other ideas that I would totally rock…and you should, too.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

For a sizzling look from the ’80s, try these: channel your inner Pretty Woman with this extravagant ball gown for $69.95, be a glamour goddess with this cut-out number for $20, flaunt your big…hair with this curvaceous dress for $59, or get physical in plenty of lace for $125. Or, you can have fun on Etsy or even eBay finding lots of other fiery ensembles.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Hasta la vista, Culture Club! You were a blast to party with on a star-studded night.

RIP Culture Club.
RIP Culture Club.