Whiskey In A Teacup

13 Mar

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn, KDB, shoe and handbag campaign
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn, KDB, shoe and handbag campaign
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn, KDB, shoe and handbag campaign
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn, KDB, shoe and handbag campaign
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn, KDB, shoe and handbag campaign

For the REAL ones.

Those friends you knew you’d connect with from day one…even if you met under circumstances so random as being recruited for the same blogger reality show that neither of you would have actually gone through with. << true story

Hats off, and flower crowns on, to the people you can laugh and cry and drink and not give two fucks about anything with…sometimes.

Here’s to the friends who keep you in check and serve as constant reminders – through tough love, encouragement and example - that you you can be simultaneously insane and successful. You can be fun, free-spirited, and stand on your own two feet. You can achieve whatever it is you want to out of life, so long as you are kind, honest, and hard-working.

These are the people I want to be around. 

I am grateful for ladies like Erica who remind me of the deep-rooted passion that fuels me, even if it gets buried from time to time. Thanks to all of the strong women who I watch overcome obstacles with courage and grace. To all of the badass, successful, hardworking gals out there who beat the odds and make life happen on their own. To those who have a powerful yet delicate spirit, and never lose sight of what’s truly important.

I raise my whiskey-filled teacup to you.

*Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn campaign shot by Jono Bernstein

Sole Traction

1 Mar

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots

It may look all bright and sunny in these photos, but I have never been so freezing cold in my entire life! I must commend myself on becoming a layering pro thanks to my three year stint in NYC, though. Fairly certain that looking “stylish” is nobody’s first priority during the months of January and February around these parts. It’s safe to say that I put on at least 15 pounds of clothing every time I leave the house these days, in fact. But, c’est la vie. Seasons are awesome and, for the most part, I embrace the weather fluctuations. However, I will be pretty damn excited when black ice is no longer a treacherous hazard in stepping foot outside my front door.

Lately my go-to uniform consists of a solid tee shirt, a sweater (or two or three), a vest, an enormous coat, some trusty jeans (often times with tights hidden beneath), and a GOOD pair of boots.

I have never been a flats kinda girl but I am practical (usually). Safety first! I was running around the Meatpacking District when Jono and I took these shots. When crossing a New York City street is more like stepping onto an iceskating rink, having some actual sole traction is key. These Alexandria boots have saved me from many a disastrous, painful and embarrassing spill. Sorry to neglect you, heels — you have not been forgotten and I am very much looking forward to our springtime reunion.

*head to toe: Urban Outfitters knit beanie, Spy Nautilus sunglasses, Cut25 patchwork fur jacket, Adrienne Landau vest, vintage tee, Coach Dakotah crossbody bag, A gold E high-rise jeans, Bogs Alexandria lace boots

Photos by Jono Bernstein

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Night Crawler

24 Feb

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town

“I don’t give a shit what the world thinks. I was born a bitch, I was born a painter, I was born fucked. But I was happy in my way. You did not understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic, I am tenacious. I am; simply I am…You are a shit.” -Frida Kahlo, from an unsent letter to Diego Rivera 

While I do not necessarily identify directly with every word written by the legendary artist quoted above, there is no denying the profound, heart-wrenching relatability that is present in its message.

I wasn’t born a bitch (though at times, I certainly can behave like one), I am not a painter, and being “fucked up” is sort of something what was an evolutionary process. I am tenacious, no doubt. I am passionate as all hell and sometimes I feel the anger, hurt and white-hot fire these words represent…almost as if they were pulled directly from my soul.

Note that this was taken from a portion of a letter written by Frida Kahlo to Diego Rivera that went unsent. I cannot tell you how many times I have done this. Putting my thoughts on paper has become an invaluable form of therapy, release and a channel to express emotions so powerful that, to be honest, I may be the only one who truly comprehends the weight and meaning my private words internally hold.

Whether it be a journal entry or an unsent letter to a loved one, where furious feelings are revealed and, often times, vicious daggers are figuratively thrown, I’ve learned to try and pump the breaks, if possible. This is not because I am anti-communication (I am likely the biggest advocate for openness and conversation – often times to a fault), but because I have, through experience, been slapped with the cold, hard realization that anyone who can induce such resentment and exasperation, is either unworthy or incapable of truly absorbing the meaning behind my words.

So, here’s to us — the ones who have had our hearts broken, who have acted out, who have turned to self-hate, anger and substance abuse in an attempt to cope with the bullshit life throws our way. Hats off to those who have had the strength to stand up and hold their own — to speak out or write down what they feel (sent or unsent), and move forward with their lives.

I love these harsh, disturbing, beautiful words by Frida Kahlo — so much that I feel them in my bones.

So cheers to being a an idiot and an alcoholic. Cheers to being pleasure and essence. Cheers to being happy in your own way and not being afraid to call out any friend, boss, acquaintance, lover or enemy who hinders the free, wild spirt that drives an electric current through your soul.

Cheers is to writing a fucking letter that expresses the words you so desperately and painfully hold within — even if the only person you actually are writing it for is yourself.

*head to toe: backless chain jersey dress by Atelier Gabriella Daher, Satur-Date heels by Kate Spade Saturday (pretty legit sale going on right now, FYI)

Photographed by Lance Skundrich at the Clift Hotel

Throw Like A Girl

17 Feb

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties

“Yes, I kick like a girl and swim like a girl and I walk like a girl and I wake up in the morning like a girl because I am a girl. And that’s not something that I should be ashamed of.”

I might not be winning any snowball fights, but that isn’t because I am a girl. I just happen to suck at being in the snow and don’t enjoy when my fingers go numb. If I actually cared about winning a snowball fight, I would win that damn snowball fight.

Yes, the title of this post is a reference to the kick-ass tampon commercial that aired during the Super Bowl (definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it). It was refreshing to, for once, see an advertisement about, ya know, “that time of the month”, that isn’t cheesy as hell and completely irrelevant. Yoga, cartwheels, horseback riding, running on the beach, bla, bla, bla…

Last month a few of my favorite ladies and I fled the city and rented a cozy cabin in Connecticut, enjoying a weekend away from the bullshit. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time — an escape from those daily curveballs that sometimes knock me off base, allowing me to forget that I actually have all the power in the world and can do whatever I want with my life. No boys, no drama, no insecurities or inhibitions. Just real talk, silly behavior and plenty of unforgettable moments.

I laughed like a girl, cried like a girl, partied like a girl, ate pizza like a girl, ran around in my underwear like a girl, frolicked in the freezing cold like a girl, screamed like a girl, played with makeup and stayed up all night like a girl…

Well, guess what? At the end of that weekend I felt strong, confident and more powerful than ever.

I am no diehard super-feminist or anything….you know, the ones who are anti-men. In fact, I happen to be a huge fan of men. I like to get dolled up, be given flowers, and treated like a princess. I like that I can be vulnerable and have a soft, fragile side. I enjoy being taken care of sometimes, but know that I don’t need a man to take care of me.

I embrace my sexuality and am not ashamed of that. So I have the body of a pre-pubescent boy…I’ve finally become comfortable with it. I also wear “boyfriend jeans”, drink whisky, and curse like a sailor. At the same time, I am very proud of the fact that I am a girl who makes her own money, launched her own business and is capable of loving without holding back in fear. I stand up for myself like a girl, take risks like a girl, make brave decisions like a girl, and hustle like a freaking girl.

So here is to being a girl and owning it…let’s be real, we’re kind of the best.

*head to toe: Madewell knit beanie, vintage fur jacket, basic white tank (similar style here), Rialto Jean Project painted pants, Vagabond booties from Urban Outfitters

photos shot by Serena Goh

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Un Nouveau Chapitre

11 Feb

New York City Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: Clift hotel, Grecian dress, Gabriella Daher silk dress,
New York City Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: Clift hotel, Grecian dress, Gabriella Daher silk dress,
New York City Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: Clift hotel, Grecian dress, Gabriella Daher silk dress,
New York City Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: Clift hotel, Grecian dress, Gabriella Daher silk dress,
New York City Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: Clift hotel, Grecian dress, Gabriella Daher silk dress,

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” -Bob Moawad

So, I have decided to move to Paris.

Last week marked my three year anniversary with New York City. It has been a tumultuous love affair…potentially more dramatic than any human relationship I have ever had. Well, maybe – I suppose that one’s debatable. When I give my heart and soul to someone or something it does tend to consume me, to an extent. For this I am not sorry, nor do I have regrets.

That said, I realized that it is time for me to do something big on my own, based solely on my personal needs and desires.

I am grateful beyond words for the time I spent here in New York, the incredible people I’ve met, and even all of the challenges that were thrown in my face along the way. I am proud of the person I have become, and excited for the person I see myself one day becoming as a result of the lessons I’ve learned here and the many ways in which this city has transformed me.

I used to be a creature of routine. A girl who would wake up on a Monday and know what the entire week would entail. My life was comfortable. Until it wasn’t…

When I moved here in February of 2012, I came with a boyfriend I had devoted six years of my life to, and a little puppy dog who was basically my everything. I lost them both. I worked full-time in the fashion industry and got battered, broken and bruised. I was thrown into a world of solitude that I was completely unequipped for. A weak little girl, across the country from friends and family, trying to navigate my way through what then seemed like the scariest place on earth.  I was alone for the first time in my life…ever. I cried and felt sorry for myself for months.

And then, one day, I opened my eyes to the fact that I am so fucking lucky. I finally saw things for what they actually were, and made a choice to wake up from my self-induced nightmare. I wasn’t alone, I was free. Work was intimidating and strenuous, but I had a job. Sure the city was scary, but I was living in New York — something I had always wanted!  What I was experiencing at the time is just a part of growing up and, compared to many, I actually had very little to complain about.

Sure, it took time, tears, breakdowns, self-medication through alcohol, meaningless flings aplenty and coming pretty close to hitting rock bottom before I was able to see things differently. But I didn’t hit rock bottom. I dug my nails into the wall and started to climb my way back up. I do remain a big fan of crying (I find it to be a lovely release), but feeling sorry for myself was no longer an option.

I learned that I am not, at my core, a creature of routine. I need to be light and free. I need excitement and adventure, and I had every tool necessary to make a change right there at my fingertips.

I learned to embrace the unexpected, and roll with the punches. I learned to stand back up after being beat the fuck down. These are qualities I only could have acquired through living in this harsh, beautiful city. A city that many of my loved ones begged me to give up on. But I am not a quitter. Thank you for that too, New York.

But, so it goes…an irresistible opportunity came knocking and, well, why not try out Paris for a while? I have no full-time job that I’m obsessed with, no husband, no children. I am finally light and free.

In two months I will be saying “goodbye, for now” to this special place, and embarking on another adventure. And I can finally do so knowing just how much I have actually grown and accomplished in the past three years, with too many great memories to count and an extraordinary “friend family” that I am beyond grateful to have found.

So here’s to taking risks, and living life on your own terms! Here’s to new beginnings…or, as the French would say, a mon nouveau départ.

*wearing the Balsa Caped Gown by Atelier Gabriella Daher

Photographed by Lance Skundrich at the Clift Hotel

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

30 Jan

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Snow day, brimmed hat, vintage fur coat, oversized knit sweater, grey biker jeans,  leather boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Snow day, brimmed hat, vintage fur coat, oversized knit sweater, grey biker jeans,  leather boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Snow day, brimmed hat, vintage fur coat, oversized knit sweater, grey biker jeans,  leather boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Snow day, brimmed hat, vintage fur coat, oversized knit sweater, grey biker jeans,  leather boots

On our mission to prep for what we thought would be several days snowed in (i.e. hitting the corner wine shop to stock up on “essentials”), Stacey, Erica and I were able to capture a few moments spent frolicking around Brooklyn-turned-winter wonderland earlier this week.

Walking the streets that night was sort of surreal, especially since the Mayor declared a ban on all automobiles after 11pm. Almost like being in a ghost town, right in the middle of the Big City. Quiet, peaceful, and beyond beautiful…not words I would typically use to describe New York (at least the first two).

The storm passed quickly, so now it’s just frigid and muddy. I’m very much looking forward to fleeing to Florida for a few days and enjoying some family time and warmer temps.

Have a good weekend!!

*head to toe: Rag & Bone floppy fedora (ShopBop is having a BIG sale right now that includes this hat, by the way!), vintage fur jacket, vintage knit sweater from Edith Machinist (similar style here), Citizens of Humanity distressed black skinny jeans, vintage booties 

Photos by Stacey Belko

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Stronger Than Blood

26 Jan

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Cabin in the woods, messy hair, pale lips, sheer fringe dress, edgy spike necklace
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Cabin in the woods, messy hair, pale lips, sheer fringe dress, edgy spike necklace
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Cabin in the woods, messy hair, pale lips, sheer fringe dress, edgy spike necklace
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Cabin in the woods, messy hair, pale lips, sheer fringe dress, edgy spike necklace
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Cabin in the woods, messy hair, pale lips, sheer fringe dress, edgy spike necklace

I like messy people; people who don’t fit in a box or stay between the lines, but whose integrity is greater than any rule book and whose loyalty is stronger than blood. — Jim Wern

This month marks 3 years for me in New York City. And oh, what a long, short, incredibly bizarre journey it has been! I can genuinely say that I treasure the life I’ve built for myself here. It hasn’t always been pleasant, but I learn important lessons daily, and good times have been plentiful. 

Not only have I managed to grow into a semi-independent woman (at least for the most part), but I’ve also had many eye-opening experiences that taught me about the person I was, the person I am now, and the person I hope and know I have the power to become…

I write this feeling more confident than I’ve been in a while, having just spent a magical weekend in Connecticut with three of my dearest girlfriends. We rented a precious cabin in the woods that I’m pretty sure was designed for fairy princesses.

While I am proud of the numerous strides I’ve made since uprooting from my comfortable life in California (for a much more exciting one, granted), I also recently had my eyes opened to the fact that I’ve adopted a tendency to shut myself out from the people I love most – usually during times of turmoil.

Strange thing (and perhaps the reason it went unnoticed) is this is a very new tendency for me. The city can be blinding in certain ways, and if you aren’t extremely aware, you run the risk of acquiring certain traits that I, personally, find to be less than desirable.

Let’s be real…nobody here has it easy. But the strong ones keep on moving. Fortunately, if you are good you don’t have to do it all by yourself all of the time.

This “awakening”, so to speak, was accompanied by feelings of sadness, embarrassment, but, ultimately, gratitude. I am incredibly lucky to have made real friends during the relatively short time I’ve been here. You know, the kind of friends you can laugh with, cry hysterically in front of, reveal secrets to, and who will also call you out on the bullshit.

It is easy to become buried by burden, and at times feel like you have nothing…we are human. But so far, in my experience, having friends cool enough to give you a smack in the fucking face when you need it is far more powerful than any struggle. Just like all relationships (romantic, platonic, whatever), friendship is a two-way street and you get what you give. You should be able to lean on one-another…you should also be willing to provide and receive tough love!

So this one goes out to my East Coast family. Thank you CC, Bonnie and Serena for reminding me what actually matters, and to the rest of my tried-and-true…you know who you are. LOVE YOU to the moon and back. <3

*head to toe: Topshop statement necklace, Isabel Marant embroidered tunic