I'm back!

Author: Ali

There's no other way to say this but... I'm tremendously sorry for being M.I.A. for so long. I could sit here and list the numerous reasons why I haven't been posting, but that would take up a good majority of this post, and let's face it - if you're reading this, you don't really care. With that being said, I'll cut to the chase here: I got a job (yay!) and at a company that is not only relative to my field, but it's also continuing to grow - great time to jump aboard. However, I'm still not writing - I'm working in the HR department.

I am a writer - it’s what I do. I’ll admit my skills are a bit rusty at the moment, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. Anyway, I’m working for an awesome company that has provided me with the opportunity to join their wonderful HR team. I am a loyal, tell-it-like-it-is, sassy, friendly, all-or-nothing, type of woman who will do her best to make sure that the outcome of whatever situation is thrown at her, produces results that are good for everyone in the end.

With that being said, the same rules apply to this site. I’m back and fully recharged. I will try to post as much as possible, but bare with me and don’t give up on me just yet! I’ve got a lot of good articles drafted for you guys this year, and I can’t wait to see what 2016 holds for From NY, with Love.

Stay tuned...


Must-Haves: Summer Edition

Author: Ali

 

Ah summer. The time of year when you can wake up to find the sun shining, birds chirping, and officially say “sayonara” to all of those pesky layers!

Depending on where you live, your summer attire could range from classic sundresses and sunhats, to bikinis, cover-ups and flip-flops. For many of us, we’re rarely given the opportunity to wear our swimwear from nine to five during the summer season. However, when it comes to summer vacation, there are a few items that I think are vital for anyone traveling to warm-weather climates.

I’ve compiled a short list of items that I always bring with me on vacation – and have on hand during the hot summer months – and why I believe you should consider investing in these products too. Without further ado, here are my must-haves for the summer season:

1.   Breathable sun hats: Eric Javits' Sun Hats. More than just a fun fashion statement, sun hats are also one of the best ways to protect your scalp, face, and ears from the sun. Many people tend to forget that your ears, scalp and nose are the most susceptible to sunburn. What better way to protect all three while looking cute, right? With that being said, sun hats designed by people like Eric Javitis and San Diego Hat like to incorporate UPF 50+ protection into a lot of their hats to protect your pretty face from the sun.

2.   Leave-in conditioner or Smoothing Cream: Liss Unlimited Thermo Blow-Dry Cream. I don’t know when I started using this Liss Unlimited Thermo Blow-Dry Cream, but I can thank my hairstylist a thousand times over for introducing this product to me when I first started seeing her. Technically meant to be used prior to blow-drying your hair, I consider it my life-saver during the dog days of summer. It protects your hair from heat damage and smoothes hair as it’s drying. I typically let my hair air-dry when I’m on vacation in Florida, but I find the product still leaves my hair with a nice finish afterwards.

3.   BB Primer-Cream: Bare Minerals daily defense SPF 30. My mother uses this prior to applying her makeup. Typically, I use the original, but during the summer, it’s best to go with something that has SPF in it. You can wear it out before a run, or before hitting the pool or beach, providing you with SPF and minimal coverage. Also worth noting is its formula, which is designed to reduce the look of “discoloration, uneven skin tone and imperfections.”

4.   Bug Repellent: Wipes that have bug repellent in them. Everyone knows how irritating bug bites can be, sometimes even painful. Thanks to brands like Off! and La Fresh, you can now plan on a worry-free night on the town, or evening by the campfire with these easy bug repellent wipes. These towelettes are made so that you can throw them in your backpack or purse to use whenever you need them, especially if you’re dining outside. Both items are formulated with a repellent that offers protection from mosquitos.

5.   Sunscreen: Coppertone SPORT SPF 30. I’m very fond of spray sunscreens. However, when applying sunscreen, you should always apply it somewhere that isn't windy or if you’re already sweating. I made that mistake on vacation recently, and I decided it would be best to go back to non-spray prior to hitting the beach the second time around. I used my favorite non-spray, Coppertone SPORT SPF 30, which I love because it stays on even after I sweat or swim. I only have to apply it once, so I don’t have to worry about reapplying as much as I would with a spray.

Believe me when I say that bug bites, sunburn, frizzy hair and an unprotected scalp during vacation are some of the worst-case scenarios one could go through. So instead of risking these unwelcome consequences during what is supposed to be one of the highlights of your summer, why not take my advice and play it safe?

 

Favorite Spot of the Month: The Met

Author: Ali

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is easily my favorite spot of the month on any given day of the year, however with their new exhibit, China Through the Looking Glass, the Met became my favorite spot for an entirely different reason.

With a big PR event in the form of the Met Gala to kick-start its release, China Through the Looking Glass is something many New Yorkers, especially those with a fondness for fashion and history, jumped at the chance to go see as soon as it was open to the public. Not only was I one of those people, but after viewing the exhibit I can honestly say that it’s definitely worth visiting.

I can recall a former professor of mine, Dr. Choi, guiding our Fashion History class through the Chinese fashion trends from the beginning of time, and how the intricate designs and use of silk fabrics influenced some major designers to model some of their designs after traditional Chinese robes and other fashions.

As stated at the beginning of the exhibit, “through the looking glass of fashion, designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions.” Nothing is made more clear when you see the endless lines of mannequins donning some of the most intricate haute couture and prêt-à-porter pieces I’ve seen since visiting the Gucci Museo back in 2013. Also, the use of cinematic depictions of China and how our concepts of Chinese culture and style is formed through pop-culture.

                           Pieces from Valentino's 2013 Manifesto collection.

                          Pieces from Valentino's 2013 Manifesto collection.

There’s so much more I could say about the exhibit itself, but I want to focus on the the costumes that drew me in the most. A couple of my favorites included designs by Ralph Lauren, House of Dior, and the one and only– Valentino. All of which, reflect on Chinese culture and its history in one way or another. For instance, the Dries Van Noten ensemble for the Autumn/Winter of 2012-2013, had a fur coat that was modeled after the Chinese coat for the Qianlong Emperor of 1736-95.

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I strongly encourage you to visit the Met’s China Through the Looking Glass exhibit while you can (you have until August 16th). The richness of Chinese history told through fashion is remarkable, and quite frankly it was everything I was hoping it would be. Make sure you set aside a good amount of time to view this exhibit, because even I didn’t make it to all of the galleries, and rumor has it that Chinese designer Guo Pei’s featured dress is breathtaking. The designer most recently made headlines for creating Rihanna's showstopping yellow cape at this year's Met Gala. So if that cape is anything to go off of, then I'll obviously be making another trip to China Through the Looking Glass in the near future.

How to: Spring Cleaning

Author: Ali

If you're anything like me, you have a copious amount of shoes, sweaters, jackets, handbags and other accessories that flood your closet. Of course, none of this usually matters to you until the nice weather hits and you find yourself rummaging through an overwhelming about of said clothes and accessories just to find a pair of sandals. It doesn't help that I live out of three closets and each of them are equally disorganized.  Obviously, it was time for me to begin spring cleaning. As mundane as this task can be, the outcome is extremely rewarding.

Since I know I'm not alone in my feelings towards spring cleaning, I've created a how-to guide on how to effectively clean out your closet. I must warn you, it really is the least exciting thing you can do - but I found things in my closet that, after moving four times in the last year, I couldn't believe I still had! 

Step 1: Take everything in. Be aware of the fact that you cannot rush through this or else it will end up much like the image below in a few short weeks. It's best to plan out how you want to tackle the mess before doing so. I knew I would need to invest in a few more containers from the Container Store for shoes, and locating all of my cloth bags for my handbags was a must.

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Step 2: Start by removing everything from your closet and then, if necessary, clean the floors of your closet as well. The last thing you want to do is put your shoes and other clothing items back in a closet that is littered with dust and God knows what else.

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Step 3: After clearing out your closet, start small and work from top to bottom or side to side (depending on your closet setup). I started from the top with shoes and hats. Investing in a couple of shoe boxes from the Container Store is also a good idea. Since I do have a lot, and I mean a lot of shoes, I'd recommend purchasing a hanging shoe rack as well. Hat boxes might seem unnecessary, but I would suggest that you spend a few bucks on one or two if you have a closet like me, or wish to store them under the bed.

Step 4: Once you've started refilling your closet, make sure that you do it in an order that makes it easy for you to find the items you use the most. For instance, I knew my sweaters wouldn't be worn anytime in the near future, so I placed them in the back, or far side of my closet. From there, I worked my way from long sleeves, to quarter length, and then to short sleeves and tanks. I also organized my shirts in order of texture and style.

Step 5: The last and most important step, is to just be patient. I'm probably one of the most impatient people you will ever meet - but if I can do it, then you most certainly can do it. This step is the most important, because I've attempted cleaning all three of these closets before, and I end up just throwing the clothes that were hanging back on the rack and it never goes anywhere. Also, my experience working in retail has me finger spacing the hell out of my closets.

Favorite Spot of the Month: Jack's Wife Freda

Author: Ali

Upon first moving to New York, I knew I was walking into a foodie’s paradise. When living in a city that specializes in a variety of dishes due to its blend of cultures and diversity, it’s inevitable. With that being said, a lot of the food you try here will be authentic, unique and downright delicious. 

Be warned though, just because it says “original” in front of the name doesn’t actually mean it’s original. Also, if you’re anywhere near Times Square and you think the pizza or bagels around there are what New Yorkers are talking about when they say they have the best pizza and bagels around – you’ve been duped.

In fact, the best restaurants aren’t near the core of Manhattan, but in nooks and crannies, neighborhoods like the West Village, Hell’s Kitchen, Meatpacking, and the Lower East Side to name a few. I could literally sit here writing a guide on how to find the best food in NY. Instead of doing that, I decided to share my current favorite restaurant, Jack’s Wife Freda, and what makes it worth writing about.

With two locations, one at 224 Lafayette St. and another on 50 Carmine St, Jack's Wife Freda encompasses the perfect scene for a weeknight dinner or a weekend brunch. It's simply for those who enjoy a small setting where they can sit back, relax, and chat with friends while dining on unique dishes that make Jack's Wife Freda all its own. Make no mistake, the fact that they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner does not mean they specialize in just those three things. No, they also present excellent customer service and an affable environment. When I went there with a friend recently, we split their fried zucchini chips and a pot of their Bloody Mary Mussels with a Chicken Prego sandwich. We topped off these delectable dishes with quite possibly the best drink I've ever had during my twenty-two years of existence: Pimm's Cup No. 1. I don't know where I've been, but I have clearly been missing out on this lemonade, mint and ginger treat.

This Mediterranean establishment is known for their breakfast dishes just as much as their dinner selections. Since I'm a brunch kind of gal, I'd personally go with their Mediterranean breakfast with two eggs any style, chopped salad, labne, avocado and pita bread. For dinner I'd recommend their roasted cauliflower and either that Chicken Prego sandwich I mentioned or their Vegetable Curry bowl that I've heard great things about. So if you ever want to sit back, relax and have a good catch-up with friends after a long day at work or over a cantaloupe mimosa at Sunday brunch, Jack's Wife Freda is the place for you.