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

 

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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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Christmas in July

The holiday season is officially here, and with that comes the blistering winter temperatures one could except in December.

Oh, joy.

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Winter is coming.

Now before you call me a Grinch, hear me out. I may have been born and raised in New York City, but I am a woman of the tropics, someone who is at peace with rising temperatures and is truly myself at the beach.

So when we suddenly had some 70-degree weather, I was like a kid waking  up to Christmas morning. For the occasion, I decided to look back at one steamy day from this summer.

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Photo by Jordan Race

For a stroll down the Village, I wore this thrifted one-piece with a paisley print by Madewell. Normally, I’m not a fan of the print, which was en vogue during the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s, but I do appreciate this subtle earthy tone.

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Photo by Jordan Race

I paired my mini dress with a gold chain featuring Roman coins, which I also thrifted, along with simple sandals and my navy Longchamp purse. I adore Longchamp and I would score a bag in every single color if I could. They’re perfectly versatile and wonderfully chic for any outfit.

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Photo by Jordan Race

As expected, my outfit is thrifted, but I do have some recommendations if you’re looking to capture some of that retro bohemian spirit:

No sizzling hot day would be complete without cocktails, right? Well, there was La Isla Escondida, a Mexican speakeasy in Little Italy that’s part of The Mulberry Project. They may be closed for the winter, but I highly recommend it for some refreshing libations.

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As for the rest of winter? Sadly, I might be hidden in coats for a while, but who knows…we might get an unexpected heat wave one of these days. Here’s to hoping.

Happy holidays!

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Photo by Jordan Race

Oxblood Obsession

Most people associate me with wearing bold floral prints. It makes perfect sense as, after all, I am a big advocator of adding color to my life.

But sometimes, I like to go to the dark side. And that doesn’t instantly mean grabbing the nearest little black dress (actually, that can be pretty complicated in my closet).

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Photo by Jordan Race

For quite some time now, I’ve been a big fan of moody oxblood, a rich, wine-infused shade that’s dark, luscious, and wonderfully chic for the crisp fall season.

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Photo by Jordan Race

For a weekend at the Henry Norman Hotel in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I wore a Victorian-meets-1920s oxblood dress that I’ve had for years. Most people think it’s vintage, but would you believe I actually found this back in college at Forever 21? I was young and broke, so the retailer helped me at the time feel fashionable. These days, I prefer thrifting, but I still to my modern classics, like this dress.

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Photo by Jordan Race

As expected, this dress is no longer available at Forever 21, but here are some authentic vintage picks I really like:

If black is your go-to color, shake things up this autumn by falling for oxblood (see what I did there)? It’s a runway-ready hue that flatters everyone and it’s a great way to brighten up your wardrobe just a tad bit.

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Photo by Jordan Race

As for the Henry Norman Hotel? It was delightful? Imagine having an entire apartment all to yourself. That’s what one of the rooms felt like.

Tell me, what do you think of oxblood?

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: 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!