"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."

--Winston Churchill

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chic and the City Part 3: An Artist's Heaven

I am now home from my incredible and incredibly brief excursion to the Big Apple and I am finding it hard to narrow down my highlights to one. However, if I absolutely HAD to narrow it down, I would have to say that my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my dad would be the highlight. I was overwhelmed with the amount of famous works from artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Manet, and many many more. My dad and I were on a bit of a time schedule and were only planning on seeing The American Woman exhibit I had come there for, but we got a little sidetracked on the way as we wandered through room after room of breathtaking paintings. On our way out we checked out the Picasso exhibit that is currently there and got lost once more. My dad is an artist too, and I would credit him as the original influence behind my passion and deep appreciation for good art.

First off, The American Woman exhibit did NOT disappoint. The exhibit took us through room after room with an introduction to the woman of each time period and how her style reflected her lifestyle and the changes that were taking place for women at the time. Then we were lead into rooms full of mannequins displaying the fashions of the time. Everything was obviously carefully planned out, even down to the sparkling wigs the mannequins wore. My dad probably got tired about how much I was going off about it, but I couldn't help it. Each American woman represented was amazing and beautiful in her own way, and it made me wish we still dressed with such elegance everyday. My dad managed to sneak in a few photos with his iphone, but I highly recommend taking the virtual tour of the exhibit by clicking on this link.

The Art: Picasso

These pictures my dad took with his iphone of paintings in the Picasso exhibit ( with the exception of the one above) that struck his fancy. My dad loves color, as you will be able to tell from the paintings he stopped to take photos of...

This is one Picasso's of earlier works, which my dad and I both really liked. I wish he had stuck with this style.

Also one of his earlier works, this Picasso was our other favorite. I found it intriguing and wanted to know the story behind it.

This room of Picasso's works had a real tribal feel to me. I found it interesting how many stages he went through and his drastic changes in style.

My dad wanted a picture in front of this painting that looked to me like a child painted it. But of course, the color was interesting.

I have never been a big Picasso fan for paintings like this one above. However, I am very glad I saw this large collection of his work through the ages because I got more of an idea of his true talent from his earlier works and I appreciated his body of work because of it.

This drawing proves that Picasso knew the planes of the face very well. I really liked the geometrical aspect of this drawing, and how he made the face look architectural in a way.

I had to point this drawing out to my dad. I was so intrigued by it and couldn't stop staring. I am amazed by all the different things Picasso did with the human face.

I regret not taking any pictures of my real favorite paintings at the museum, but I am equally glad I saw these Picasso works because of the new perspective they gave me. If I lived in New York I would make a ritual of visiting the Met every week. I could easily spend an entire day there getting lost in room after room of masterpieces. If you're ever in the city, make a visit to this museum a priority!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chic in the City Part 2: Mad for Ruffles

If I lived in New York I would NEVER have money. Not only are basic living expenses so high, and eating out definitely adds up, but the SHOPPING! Oh the shopping. I makes sure to basically stick to H&M and Forever 21, the two stores you can get the most bang for your buck. But I did find myself wandering into Bloomingdales yesterday and the shiny newness of the store and everything in it brought out the materialist in me that is drawn to expensive, beautifully made things. On the floor with all the couture and designer clothes that I could barely afford to breath on let alone buy was an amazing display of Vera Wang wedding gowns. I took pictures of almost every one but this particular one above, adorned with layers upon layers of ruffles, sums up the theme of this post: my current fascination with ruffles. I didn't intend to revolve my entire shopping excursions here around ruffles...but it just sort of happened. After laying out every one of my purchases (all from H&M with the exception of a pair of shoes from Steve Madden), I realized they all involved ruffles of some sort). Clearly, I have a thing for ruffles this season. To me, the flowyness of them evokes the carefree, easy-breezy spirit of summer, which I hope to soon be feeling post graduation.

The cascading ruffles from the back view of the Vera Wang wedding gown.

This top from H&M looks straight off the back from Carrie Bradshaw or Sarah Jessica Parker. I had to make it my own.

I didn't quite know what to think when I first held up this dress, but then I saw it on the mannequin with a waist belt and really liked the relaxed, sophisticated look so I decided to give it a try.

With a waist belt I looooved it on so I got it and this stacked, black studded waist belt to pair with it. I can picture wearing it with my nude platform pumps. I can't wait!

I loved the breezy, flowyness of this top and the summery floral pattern so much that I bought two...

I couldn't resist getting it in this pretty purply print too. Both are from the Garden Collection.

Also from the Garden Collection, I was so happy to find this dress in my size! I love the vibrant cobalt blue color and the romantic ruffles that go down the sides. Perfect for a hot day like today.

There was a layered, flowy graphic print skirt at H&M that I had my eye on so if I end up purchasing that I STILL wouldn't be straying too far away from my ruffles theme.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chic in the City Part 1

Today is my first day in the Big Apple and I am already high on the city life. I love everything about this place, from the museums and the theater, to the incredible shopping and the fact that everywhere you turn there is at least one well dressed person in plain view. Mostly, I just love the fact that there is always something to do and see and TASTE! I am dedicating my first New York post to a few of my favorite places to eat, or drink tea, or indulge on an incredible dessert. Eat it up!


My family ate here the night of my dad's birthday last time we visited and enjoyed every moment of it. I fell in love with their butternut squash soup (coincidental?) and enjoyed the cozy, enclosed atmosphere. I recognized the place from several episodes of Gossip Girl, and when I asked the waitress if she had seen them film there she said they film there all the time. Leighton Meester had in fact performed there a few nights before.

The fam at Butter.

Butter Restaurant
415 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 253-2828

Serendipity 3

How could I not mention this adorable little place that has been featured in several movies, most notably, Serendipity starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack? The restaurant is well worth its fame because of its kooky and somewhat chaotic decor and the incredible menu full of fattening treats including the specialty it is best known for, the frozen hot chocolate. The incredibly flamboyant and friendly waiter that served us the last time we were there told us the restaurant is a place of indulgence and that there is only one healthy thing on the menu. Of course, my dad found it and ordered it. Just next to Bloomingdales, this place is definitely worth a visit, but don't go with a plan to limit your calorie intake. You will fail miserably, but it is well worth it.

I couldn't resist taking multiple sips of my sister's frozen hot chocolate.

Serendipity 3
225 East 60th Street
New York, NY 10022-1498
(212) 838-3531


The way we ended up eating at this place is serendipitous for a few reasons: the first one being that we were supposed to leave New York the day after a huge snow storm hit and we ended up being snowed in several extra days. That's a whole different story but my point is, we wouldn't have even gone here if it weren't for our extended stay. The second reason being that the girls and I had visited this restaurant on a Sex and the City bus tour a few days before because it was featured in the rehearsal dinner scene of the movie. They let us inside and the second I stepped in I wished so badly we had a chance to eat there. The third being that as soon as I mentioned it to my dad he said that he was actually wanting to take us there because it was highly recommended by one of his friends. So of course, as soon as we knew we were going to stick around a bit longer, we made reservations. If you've seen the Sex and the City movie, you've gotten a taste of the immense space and the ornate and ancient decor with a modern and hip twist. But my descriptions hardly do it justice. You have to see it yourself to get the full effect. The gourmet Asian cuisine is equally impressive.

Carrie and Big in the rehearsal dinner (aka "last single girl kiss") scene at Buddakan.

75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011-7006
(212) 989-6699

Alice's Tea Cup

This adorable little tea shop is perfect for a afternoon get together with the girls, a shower or children's birthday, or just low a key tea date for two. The Alice in Wonderland theme is represented throughout the whimsical shop and the tea selection is vast and impressive. I tried the scones and some sort of chocolate bread or cake (which I can't quite remember now) and both were amazing. There are three locations so try to stop at one of them if you ever visit.

An Alice-decorated wall.

Alice's Tea Cup
Chapter I
102 West 73rd Street
New York, NY 10023-3047
(212) 799-3006

Chapter II
156 East 64th Street
New York, NY 10065-7411
(212) 486-9200

Chapter III
220 East 81st Street
New York, NY 10028-2726
(212) 734-4832

Friday, May 21, 2010

Carrie Bradshaw Style

My friends, the one week count down for Sex and the City 2 has officially begun and we all know that second to our excitement of seeing our girlfriends Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda again is seeing the clothes they will be wearing. The film will feature over 125 wardrobe changes and more than $10 million worth of couture and jewels, so based on those numbers, its audience is guaranteed not to be let down in the fashion department. But the best part about the fashions in the film? A lot of it is actually accessible to those of us who would have to choose between a pair of Christian Louboutins or food for several months. Yesterday's New York Times featured an article on the affordable and available fashion finds from the film.

Halston Heritage V-Neck Jersey dress (www.neimanmarcus.com)

H by Halston "Stella" shoe (www.bakersshoes.com)

Sarah Jessica Parker recently became the chief creative officer for Halston Heritage, so it is no wonder that a few Halston dresses, including this already iconic white dress worn by Carrie in the preview and many of the posters, are in the film. The dress is available on Neiman Marcus for $325. This seems steep, but compared to the designer clothes Carrie wears throughout the series and films, it is relatively affordable and widely available. What I was even more excited to discover was the H by Halston line for Bakers shoes (www.bakersshoes.com) which features the more affordable version of the glittery Halston pumps Carrie wears with the white dress. Look for the Stella shoe. Also, Steve Madden carries a pair of studded pumps that slightly resemble the studded lavender Brian Atwood pump that Carrie wears in the film (look for the Twilite shoe at www.stevemadden.com). They also have a glittery platform pump called the Caryssag that looks like something Carrie would sport down the streets of New York.

Both of these dresses featured in the film are Halston Heritage and are for sale at the likes of Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, and Neiman Marcus.

The Full (skirted) Effect

Who could forget the trademark tutu that Carrie wears in the opening credits of the series and then reappears in the Sex and the City movie? I realized that most of my favorite of Carrie's looks in the shows and the films involve some sort of full skirt. She pulls them off like few can. I was inspired by her tutu look and decided to create my own version below.

I found this tutu skirt at Wet Seal! I paired it leather accents with my shoes and jacket to give the girliness some edge. The outfit is a little bit Carrie and 100% me.

This might end up being my favorite look from the new film. I just love the fullness and drama of the skirt paired with the casualness of the t-shirt. Somehow, only Carrie can wear something as dramatic as this in the dessert and make it seem effortless and appropriate.

Once again, Carrie rocks a full skirt (in the first film) and had me drooling over the entire look. The white booties look amazing with the dramatic bubble skirt. Perfect for a day at New York Fashion Week with the girls.

Finally, as a nod to Samantha's statement ring from the first film, I wore my own flower ring to complete my Sex and the City look.

I got this ring at Fred Meyer a while back for something like 3 dollars. Ladies, you CAN achieve Sex and the City style looks without blowing your entire savings maxing out your credit card!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

H&M Fashion Against AIDS

Another reason I am VERY excited about going to New York is that I will be arriving just a few days after the launch of H&M's new Fashion Against AIDS line, which will donate 25% of sales to HIV/AIDS awareness projects. Not only is this line for a good cause but it is incredibly fierce and affordable! The cheetah print dress above is what I want to get my hands on first and it's only 25 dollars! I first spotted the dress in the recent issue of InStyle magazine and instantly grabbed my computer to look up the rest of the line. The collection has a very exotic tribal feel but is still urban chic. Here are some of the other pieces from the collection that caught my eye:

This is my second favorite. I love everything about this dress. It looks very fresh and modern and flattering. I love the animal print accents.

This top looks like something Kate Moss would wear. It's very glam and touch without being too much. I would pair it with some skinnies and stilettos.

These shoes intrigue me because of their uniqueness and African feel. I don't know if my short legs could pull them off but I appreciate them just the same.

I've been wanting slouchy trousers this season and love these cropped ones. They look chic and tailored and can be dressed up or down. I'd pair them with a loose fitting top tucked in and a boyfriend blazer and platform pumps.

I have never ever so much as dipped my toes in the maxi dress trend (mostly because I think my petite body would look swallowed up in one and because a lot of the time they just look frumpy to me) but this dress is making me consider giving in at last. I love the sophistication of the cut and the print is stunning. Finally, a maxi dress with polish!

I'm loving this fresh and tribal twist on the studded belt!

And finally, a cute bag with a powerful slogan to put it all in.

via http://www.FashionAgainstAIDS.com/collection.html

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The American Woman

I am incredibly elated to announce that in one week from today I will be jetting off to New York city for a 5-day trip with my dad. This plan was made less than two weeks ago and ever since then I have been counting down the days till we leave. The main reason I am going is to see an exhibit that is currently showing from the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called "American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity." Ever since I started reading about this I have been aching to see it, so the the fact that I actually get to feels like a dream! The exhibit reveals the American female archetypes from the 1890's through the 1940's, such as the Heiress, the Gibson Girl, the Patriot, the Flapper, and the Screen Siren which, "Together," says curator Andrew Bolton, "they constitute what we now see as American style."

So, this exhibition lead me to ask myself and to pose the question to all of you, what is the American woman? What about her style defines her? What is your personal idea of what makes up her identity? Are there specific women you can come up with that fit this description? To me, the true American woman is confident and true to herself and her style. She breaks down barriers and changes negative stereotypes for women and dresses for her individual personality. To narrow down my definition of this national identity, I will bring up a few woman who I consider iconic examples of who the American woman is and why I think they deserve the title.

I cannot believe that I just saw Funny Girl for the first time in my life. In my opinion, this classic is a MUST SEE! From the very beginning, I fell in love with Barbra Streisand's character Fanny Brice, a girl from the Jewish slums in New York with dreams of becoming a "Zigfield girl," a star of the stage. The combination of her slapstick humor and quick wit leaves you wanting more at the end of the movie. I loved the extravagant (and quite often over-the-top) costuming and even liked many of the musical numbers. Fanny Brice, to me, is an example of the all American woman with her witty and gregarious personality and amazing confidence. As these costume tests show, her style is bold and full of surprises while being polished and glamorous. In a way, her fearless and eccentric style reflects her personal character and strength to withstand almost anything, even heartbreak.

Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha, the fabulous foursom from Sex and the City in many ways changed how we view the modern day American woman. Though their dialogue and lifestyle in my opinion, quite often crosses the line from uninhibited and liberated to just plain vulgar, I have to say that thanks to Carrie Bradshaw and friends, the idea of a single woman in her 30's 40's and even 50's no longer has to hold a negative "old maid" stereotype, but can be seen as an independent, successful, stylish and incredibly fashion-forward woman who enjoys life with her love of the city and of course her amazing girlfriends. The show has defined New York City for millions of women and made a true star out of Sarah Jessica Parker, who, being a true New Yorker herself, I also consider to be an American Icon in both her fiercely chic and original style and her New Yorker pride.

How could I write about the American woman and a national identity without mentioning Oprah? This woman has become an international figure and the picture of female confidence and strength. Even if you're not an Oprah fan, you have to admire her dedication to her work and the huge success she has gained from it. Her biggest accomplishment in my opinion was in creating her incredible school for girls in Johannesburg, South Africa.

These are just a handful of women who, to me define the true and ever evolving American woman. What is your idea of the American woman? What is her style? I'd love feedback so please leave your comments!