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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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!

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

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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

Getting Carried Away

I’m a huge fan of “Sex and the City.” I still watch my DVDs (many of them worn after being on serious heavy rotation). I’ve interviewed Candace Bushnell, the woman behind the popular series. I’ve even met the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker during the early stages of the show back in the ’90s.

My signed photo from Sarah Jessica Parker.
My signed photo from Sarah Jessica Parker.

But look, I get it. I’m a native New Yorker and I know you’ll have a better chance of finding a live unicorn on Canal Street than discovering a rent controlled apartment on the Upper East Side and spending $400 on shoes while just earning an income from a weekly newspaper column. And let’s be real, Carrie Bradshaw’s questionable relationship with Mr. Big is, well, questionable. So yes, “Sex and the City” is an NYC fairy tale.

Carrie Bradshaw and The Dress.
Carrie Bradshaw and The Dress.

But I still enjoy it. Proudly.

During one of our usual rooftop outings, Francis and I checked out the Mondrian SoHo Penthouse to attend an event for Brazilian spirit Leblon Cachaca.

Cachaca cocktails.
Cachaca cocktails.

For this event, I decided to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw by wearing my own spin of the infamous ballerina dress from the show.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

I love a big tulle dress that would make me feel like I’m enjoying a night out with Misty Copeland, but I don’t normally get an opportunity to wear a ballet-esque gown. But I adore them.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

This dress is from one of my favorite online retailers ModCloth.com. They sell tons of vintage-inspired dresses and, if I had Carrie’s budget, I would buy practically everything they offer.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

This dress has since been discontinued, but I have some suggestions. If you’re thinking pink, there’s this glamorous ensemble for $99.99, this casual ballerina look for $29.99, or even this sweeping piece for $69.99. If you want something on the noir side, like what I did, here are my recommendations: there’s this one for $64.99, another with plenty of lace for $109.99, or this peachy number for $64.99.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

There were plenty of drinks to be found.

Leblon Cachaca drinks.
Leblon Cachaca drinks.

And the party was an overall success.

A happy weekend indeed.
A happy weekend indeed.

Here was our view for the day:

Downtown Manhattan stretching to Midtown and beyond.
Downtown Manhattan stretching to Midtown and beyond.

And that’s how I got Carried away.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Celebrating Marilyn Monroe at Pop!

Blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe would have been 89 on June 1st. Although she passed away at age 36 in 1962, her legacy has lived on, capturing the hearts of millions throughout the world, including mine. So when Pop International Galleries in SoHo was debuting a new exhibition dedicated to Ms. Monroe, you know I was going to be there. The exhibition is called “Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe!” and it features the works of seven renowned photographers who’ve captured the many iconic and even little-seen looks of the Hollywood star. Here are the photographers you can expect to see:

Lazlo Willinger
Lazlo Willinger
Milton Greene
Milton Greene
Kashio Aoki
Kashio Loki
William Carroll
William Carroll
George Barris
George Barris
Bert Stern
Bert Stern
Andre de Dienes
Andre de Dienes

For the exhibition opening, I gave my usual corselet belt a break *gasp* and decided to go for a golden vintage-inspired dress by……drumroll……H&M.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

H&M always offers great deals, but I usually prefer waiting for a sale, where you can easily get nice pieces for half the price, which is exactly what I did with this floral cotton dress.

Photo by Alexcia Foster.
Photo by Alexcia Foster.

It seems to no longer be available, but I’m really into this one ($34.95), this one ($30), and this one ($24.99).

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The lipstick I’m wearing is Revlon’s creamy Certainly Red. It’s less than 10 bucks and lasts beyond glasses of wine and savoring French cheeses at a gallery.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

This photo was taken when I was nearly photobombed by Mike Myers. You might know him from films, like “Wayne’s World,” “Austin Powers,” and even “Shrek” for you youngins out there. Of course, I didn’t say anything. I’m a New Yawker. We don’t do that. It’s all about the quick glances, WTF stares, and quiet smiles of acknowledgement.

Yeah, I know.
Yeah, I know.

The evening ended with a quiet stroll through Washington Square Park in the Village.

Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park

The “Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe” exhibition ends on July 1st, so go check it out pronto!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster