Spending the Afternoon with Frank Sinatra

Nothing puts me in the right mood quite like ol’ blue eyes.

Frank Sinatra: The One and Only
Frank Sinatra: The One and Only

Night and day, summer or winter, I’m all about feeling like a glamour goddess while New Jersey’s finest Frank Sinatra croons of his greatest love, and one of my favorite old Hollywood stars, Ava Gardner.

Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner
Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner

So when the New York Public Library in Lincoln Center was hosting a special exhibition dedicated to the beloved singer and star, appropriately titled “Sinatra: An American Icon,” you know I was attending.

1551460_10100206685562617_5582955429932359677_n

11059449_10100206685692357_8753049328736518115_n

11026273_10100206685632477_4887820653981039129_n

It was truly a celebration of Sinatra’s life, featuring his wardrobe, awards, and even personal artwork he created for his grandchildren. It was an exquisite feast for fans and I was incredibly honored to be a part of it.

13517_10100206685657427_1516023064212999613_n

11069872_10100206685767207_1925792927730710104_n

1002533_10100206685827087_4861772995532662472_n

There were even other treats on display, like Billie Holiday’s furl shawl and Ella Fitzgerald’s gorgeous emerald dress.

1509708_10100206685592557_6121380870120099787_n

18084_10100206685742257_1288273288440188383_n

Artwork created by Frank Sinatra for his grandchildren.
Artwork created by Frank Sinatra for his grandchildren.

For the festivities, I wore a vintage Joni Blair of California red plaid swing dress that I purchased from Etsy vendor TempleKatVintage of Pennsylvania. She’s one of my favorite Etsy vendors and I was excited to receive such a beautiful, seasonal piece for the fall and winter months.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

And while the look and style scream 1950s, would you believe it’s actually from the 1980s? But that’s my little secret.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

For a similar dress I have some recommendations. Vintage-inspired retailer Lindy Bop has a near replica for $46, except it’s so popular that most sizes are sold out. However, you can request for the vendor to notify you when the piece is back in stock, giving you some time to save your coins. Unique Vintage has a 1950s style red tartan swing dress designed by pinup star Bernie Dexter for $154 that’s downright breathtaking. If you’re looking to add some wiggle to your step, Unique Vintage also has this green tartan dress by Stop Staring! for $178 that will hug every single curve you’ve got, making the fellas break a sweat. And finally, Etsy vendor maybel57 has a wiggle red tartan dress from the 1950s available for $115.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

Missed the Frank Sinatra exhibition? You’ll definitely want to try the Interactive Sinatra Walking Tour where you can visit some of his favorite hot spots and performance venues throughout the city he famously sung about. Or, you can even go on a short trip to Hoboken, New Jersey and learn all about Sinatra’s childhood home.

11000711_10100206685862017_5074681366512038173_n

Advertisements

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).

10868131_10100181563352727_6740354002546789848_n

10610580_10100181563377677_826558357618546056_n

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

Azul Rooftop Bar at Hotel Hugo

If you’re new to my blog, here’s one thing you should know: one of my besties (Francis) and I are big rooftop fans. We’ve made it our duty to visit every single one in NYC.

On top of Hotel Hugo.
On top of Hotel Hugo.

So when we learned about the new Cuban-inspired Azul at Hotel Hugo between SoHo and the Hudson, we just had to check it out.

Photo by me.
Photo by me.

In typical fashion, we met up after 5PM for cocktails and decided to first explore the tranquil Hudson Square neighborhood. I love it because it’s quiet and picturesque, yet just blocks away from bustling, supermodel-loaded SoHo.

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

Remember when I was channeling my inner Golden Girl in the fitting room? Well, this is the dress.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

The piece is a v-neck ensemble from H&M featuring a soft rayon fabric and a gorgeous jungle print. It’s currently on sale for $20.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

I completed the look with gold jewelry, like this panther necklace, also from H&M. It’s no longer available, but I would have also worn this decadent chunky gold chain, also from the popular retailer. Of course, vintage cat-eye sunglasses, black pumps, and one of my signature reds, Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain in Always Red, also made an appearance.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

When we finally made our way to Hotel Hugo, we first explored Bar Hugo, the rooftop bar below the rooftop. With cocktails like Giggle Juice and Lavender Daisy, it was quite the crowd. We briefly stopped by to enjoy the view, but soon quickly went upstairs to see Azul.

Francis channeling her inner Marilyn at Bar Hugo.
Francis channeling her inner Marilyn at Bar Hugo.

Imagine escaping to a breezy, sun-soaked island where the beats of hip-swiveling salsa greet you at the door.

Azul Rooftop Bar at Hotel Hugo
Azul Rooftop Bar at Hotel Hugo

FullSizeRender-3

You’re then welcomed with slushy passionfruit mojitos to quench your thirst.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

It’s a brain-freezer, but its sweetness is well worth the pain and packs a major punch for a tantalizing, downright delicious drink. Don’t just get one, trust me.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

You can relax with a laid-back crowd and savor all of downtown Manhattan from sunset and beyond.

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

We soon decided to hang out by the pier to watch boats and yachts float by.

View from above at Azul.
View from above at Azul. Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

Bagel, anyone? This is NYC after all.

Bagel art in NYC.
Bagel art in NYC.

Hope you’ll join us at the next rooftop outing!

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

The Fitting Room Chronicles: The ’90s Are Back (Kinda)

The 1990s were all about collecting Trolls (the dolls, people!), attempting to wear baggy jeans a la Kriss Kross that were so huge, Jimmy Hoffa was probably hiding in them, Puka shells, and those jelly sandals that melted under the sun, along with your feet.

Thank the lord the 1990s are over.
Thank God the 1990s are over.

But not all of the ’90s were bad! We had the Spice Girls (Ginger will always be my girl), those pacifier necklaces that I apparently had in every color, all the babydoll dresses graced by Courtney Love, and plenty of Black Cherry or Toast of New York lipstick.

This is more like it.
This is more like it.

Perhaps I feel somewhat grossed out that the ’90s are considered vintage to some. I mean, I was alive in that era! I remember it well! That was like, 20 years ago! As if! Whatever!

Yup.
Yup.

Anyway…

On a recent trip to one of my favorite thrift stores in The Village, I found this blast from the past.

IMG_4233
TGI…S (it was Saturday).

Normally, I don’t go for cartoony prints or super body-hugging ensembles, but this was somewhat perfect. Back when I was a wee child of the ’90s, I remember bootleggers on the block selling these awesome Looney Tunes t-shirts that would go perfectly with Kriss Kross jeans. This reminded me of those and I was feeling rather nostalgic. Also, as super body-hugging as this outfit was, I felt like I was wearing one big t-shirt. Win.

Just me.
Just me.

Do I still think the ’90s are technically vintage? Not really. But I’m also pretty biased. Personally, anything between the ’30s-’60s is considered vintage to me, and then we’re entering retro territory (hello ’80s and ’90s). Maybe because these eras are nowhere near my lifetime and finding such pieces in near-excellent condition for a swell price is like discovering gold, they hold a greater status for me and such, can be members of the true Vintage club. Honestly, pieces from ’70s-’90s are super accessible at stores, and hello, I was alive during the ’90s! I remember grunge bands when they were still touring in Seattle!

But enough of all that. I’m just going to kick back with one of my favorite throwbacks right here:

Frasier fans, represent!
Frasier fans, represent!

Who knows, I might bring these back, too:

You're my butterfly, sugar baby.
You’re my butterfly, sugar baby.

Are you kidding me? No I won’t.

South Street Seaport

The last time I’ve been to South Street Seaport was when I was 16. I still remember the sickly sweet stench of Abercrombie & Fitch cologne, a sea of “I Love New York” t-shirts being sold by vendors looking for a quick buck, abandoned centuries-old buildings displaying loads of graffiti tags, and broken-down streets leading to cluttered highways.

It wasn’t a pretty sight.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

So you can only imagine my surprise when I recently went down, all the way downtown, to South Street Seaport, only to see a brand-spanking new neighborhood. The historic harbor highlights cobble stone streets (great if you’re not wearing heels), quaint coffee shops overlooking towering ships, and a massive beer garden leading to streets of seaside restaurants. There’s also the Smorgasburg, a foodie paradise where ramen burgers and massive grilled cheese sandwiches overflowing with oozing fromage are readily available to one’s mouthwatering delight.

Needless to say, I was a fan.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

I re-discovered the South Street Seaport as a native New Yorker wearing a piece from one of my favorite Etsy vendors, The Braided Bandit. It’s a super comfy 1970s black maxi dress by American brand Choon California.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

Finding a vintage black v-neck dress on Etsy is pretty easy, but here are my picks: There’s this 1970s/1980s gown that’s super similar for $60, a gorgeous cocktail variation available in plus sizes for $39.90, a 1970s sheer variation for $50, and, if you’re willing to splurge, a 1970s Givenchy creation for $498. Just don’t forget to keep your size and measurements in mind before ordering.

All you need is a wide leather waist belt to cinch the waist, creating instant Morticia Addams vibes.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

To jazz up a plain black dress, I added a giant vintage butterfly brooch, but any brooch of your choosing will do. A lot of beautiful pieces can also be found on Etsy.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

So excuse me while I enjoy a local espresso and shop for stuff.

Bettie Page at Madison Square Park

Unlike my first encounter with Marilyn Monroe, I didn’t discover Bettie Page until I was much older, age 9 to be exact. I clearly remember her never-ending curves, those signature raven waves with a perfect fringe, and her red hot pout. There was also that barely-there leopard swimsuit.

The first image I've ever saw of Bettie Page on a postcard.
The first image I’ve ever saw of Bettie Page on a postcard.

I was previously told growing up that Bettie Page had died and was probably killed off by the mob. However, she was alive and living quietly in Florida at the time. She died in the year 2008 at age 85.

Warning: Some boobage below (for those catching up with me in an office setting).

My autographed photo of Bettie Page, also signed by photographer Bunny Yeager.
My autographed photo of Bettie Page, also signed by photographer Bunny Yeager.

My dear friend, renowned filmmaker and Academy Award nominee Mark Mori, made an amazing film on the life and legacy of Bettie Page. He actually spoke with her candidly and she herself narrates the film. You can score a copy of the documentary, along with some other goodies here.

For a Sunday morning stroll in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park, I decided to pay tribute to Bettie Page with a goth-meets-bohemian twist.

I actually used to be goth, but that’s a story for another day.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

I wore a slinky, loose-fitting, label-less black dress, which I purchased from a thrift store in the West Village. For a similar look: A Liz Claiborne sleeveless sheath dress for $30 at JC Penny, a crisp cotton sleeveless black dress by UNIQLO for $19.90, a linen sleeveless black dress for $50 at L.L. Bean, or the more body-revealing wrap maxi for $34 at ASOS.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

The black floral shawl is also a label-less one that I purchased at a West Village thrift store. For a similar look: A long black lace cardigan for $16.99 at Forever 21, a romantic purple floral kimono for $54.37 at ASOS, a metallic mesh floral kimono for $39 at Forever 21, or the super similar reclaimed vintage maxi kimono dress for $99.67 at ASOS.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

The earrings are long golden chandeliers from H&M. They’re no longer available, but I’m really into these long ones for $7 or these gorgeous Art Deco ones for $9.95, both from H&M.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

The lipstick is Milani’s Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in Confident, also known as a bold brick red. Milani has it for $6, but I found mine at CVS.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

The sunglasses are vintage, but you can easily find a pair for a variety of colors and prices on Etsy.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

As for the Bettie Page tribute I spoke of? I wore my Bettie Page cameo necklace, which I purchased from California-based Etsy vendor Gretha of NeverGrowUpTreasures. She specializes in rockabilly and steampunk pieces, but she also offers these amazing cameo necklaces of old Hollywood stars and pinups that I adore. She can also custom-make a Bettie Page necklace just for you, so hop to it!

Kahve's Iced Vanilla Mint Latte in Hell's Kitchen.
Kahve’s Iced Vanilla Mint Latte in Hell’s Kitchen.

To cool off on a sizzling Sunday morning like this one, I highly recommend heading up to Hell’s Kitchen – no, seriously. You’ll find this adorable small coffee shop called Kahve where they offer this thirst-quenching iced vanilla mint latte highlighting real mint leaves to cool off. It’s my absolute favorite treat from this shop and I tend to pick one up after a long day at the office. It’s divine.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

That’s all for now!

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?

DSC_39572