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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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

Getting Glamorous With a Turban

There are several must-haves that every lady should own to both look and feel like a glamour goddess. A fresh tube of red lipstick, some fabulous fur (I prefer faux), pearls, a little black dress – you get the picture.

But one piece that’s seriously a must-have? The ever so stylish turban.

Fellow Dominicana Maria Montez.
Fellow Dominicana Maria Montez.

This chic piece has been a fashion staple for old Hollywood starlets since the era of silent cinema and it’s easy to see why. Turbans add an extra amount of oomph to any wardrobe, they’re super eye-catching (much like a perfect red pout), and they keep your mane in place. What’s not to love?

Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr
Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton
Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton
Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo
Lana Turner
Lana Turner

During the 1930s, the turban exemplified a well-traveled woman and as for today, people will certainly ask for the story behind your accessory.

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Gloria Swanson
Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren

And if that’s not convincing check out these grand dames rocking their turbans at one of my favorite blogs, Advanced Style. Need I say more?

For a date night with Jordan, I decided to rock my very first turban, which I purchased from Israel-based Craftasy on Etsy. All I can say is, All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

Craftasy sells several turbans, but you can get the exact same black one for less than $9. How sweet is that?

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

As for my dress, it also came from Etsy, via Midwest-based Fly Away Vintage Shop. It’s a late 1970s-early 1980s teal satiny secretary wrap dress by Liz Claiborne. The original dress was long in length with equally long sleeves. I had it tailor to better fit my figure, and then paired it with a thrifted wide leather corselet belt.

Dress Before Tailoring Photo by Fly Away Vintage Shop
Dress Before Tailoring
Photo by Fly Away Vintage Shop

For a similar look, here are my picks:

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

For our date night, Jordan and I went to Brasserie Les Halles on Park Avenue South. If you’re an Anthony Bourdain fan like me, then chances are you’ve already eaten at this spot. While Les Halles is known for their French dishes, Jordan and I were craving burgers. Perhaps we made a poor choice as the American staple was rather forgettable. However, the pommes frites was a mouthwatering pairing with cocktails.11709437_10100269604901757_100750542406942018_n

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And reader, I must say, there is nothing more glamorous than savoring a Friday night at a French restaurant in Park Avenue, while devouring a plate of French fries while rocking your turban.

Aloha, Blue Hawaii!

Confession: I’ve never been to Hawaii. It’s actually a place I’ve always wanted to visit. I dream of dipping my toes in a clear, sapphire blue sea while feasting on juicy, sun kissed pineapples, all while swaying my hips and yelling out, “Aloha!” to every one I encounter.

Gil Elvgren Pinup
Gil Elvgren Pinup

While this NYC gal hasn’t visited Hawaii yet, I decided to channel the tropics in my ensemble for a media event at The Asia Society.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

This dress ($163), from New Orleans-based vintage-inspired retailer Trashy Diva, is from their “Aloha Blue Hawaii” Spring/Summer 2014 collection.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

According to Trashy Diva: “Inspired by vintage Hawaiian fabric, Blue Hawaii makes it’s debut as our newest addition to our tropical prints. Blue Hawaii will surely become your new favorite tropical print!”

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

This piece definitely made me channel my inner pinup. Along with a white flower on my hair and matching orchid earrings, I was ready to attend the nearest luau. However, I was intrigued by The Asia Society’s exquisite offerings.

The remains of sushi and cocktails.
The remains of sushi and cocktails.
Our view at night.
Our view at night.
Late night snack at Cupcake ATM (780 Lexington Avenue in NYC)
Late night snack at Cupcake ATM (780 Lexington Avenue in NYC)

Sadly, this dress is no longer available, but Trashy Diva is one of the best vintage-inspired brands around, and their garments are made to last. I adore many of their dresses and even have several saved for a rainy shopping day!

But if you’re looking for something on the tiki side, Unique Vintage has a whole section dedicated to just that.

1950s Style Purple Tiki Floral Halter Hawaiiana Wiggle Dress & Bolero Set ($104), Unique-Vintage.com
1950s Style Purple Tiki Floral Halter Hawaiiana Wiggle Dress & Bolero Set ($104), Unique-Vintage.com

Hopefully, Trashy Diva will deliver some more sunshine in the upcoming winter months with similar prints. After all, who wouldn’t want to look like Loretta Young for a day?

Loretta Young Tiki Look #1
Loretta Young Tiki Look #1
Loretta Young Tiki Look #2
Loretta Young Tiki Look #2
Fin.
Fin.