Sunday, 29 January 2012

Central Park Style

I know, it's been a while. But my parents were in NYC this weekend and I was busy playing tour guide. Which is pretty funny because I've only been here two weeks and hardly know my way around yet. But surely my subway skills impressed them when I took them on it for the first time. My Mom looked not so sure, thought I stood way too close to the edge of the platform and insisted I travel by taxi if I was going home after 10pm. Can't say I turned down that offer. We did some touristy things, such as, walking through Central Park in the unseasonably warm winter weather (thank-you Mother Nature). Central Park is honestly like a little oasis in the middle of Manhattan. It's quite peaceful despite the roller-skate dance party we stumbled upon. You can see actual expanses of land, trees and greenery. Who says NYC doesn't have nature! Not going to lie, it was beyond amazing to have my personal photographer back on the scene!


We checked out the John Lennon memorial and his former residence which is right across from the park. Even saw the first little sign of Spring. Spring! In January. Here's hoping!

teal crocheted sweater, white blouse & bangles {Ann Taylor Loft} - black denim skinnies {Old Navy} -
tan riding-inspired boots {The Bay}

 
It was so great to see my parents and show them around my new home. It was also nice to be fed from really great restaurants for a little while. Back to the starving student meal plan I know all too well.

This week, classes will really start to get going. And since pretty much every one of my professors has warned us of sleepless nights to come (Ms. Poshy Poshy Poo Poo herself said the Dean has given them permission to try and give us all a nervous breakdown - how nice!), I know this translates to lots and lots of work. My posting may be a little infrequent I'm afraid, but I will do my best to keep you all up to date with the latest in my world. Because I know you were all getting a bit worried there.

j.




Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Non-New Yorker's Guide to: Thrifting the East Village


I was inspired to write this post after having brunch with my one and only friend who I knew before moving to NYC. She is somewhat of a marketing/PR/social media guru so I really value her insight, opinions and guidance. She told me that I should focus some of my posts on being new to the City because this is something that is unique to my blog, a fledgling little fashion blog swimming in the sea among many, many more experienced and polished fashion blogs. She told me it was cool to hear my first impressions of places and experiences in NYC because I was seeing or experiencing them for the first time. With a brand new, un-jaded set of eyes. So, I had plans after our brunch to explore the East Village as I made my way from thrift shop to thrift shop. Which I did, keeping her wise words in mind.

Coming from the Upper West Side, I grilled my friend for step-by-step directions and manically and compulsively consulted my iPhone for the best route to take. I took the red line (this is how New Yorker's refer to the subway) to 14th Street, walked the underground tunnel (best not to really think about it when you're down there) and transferred like a pro to the L line towards Brooklyn. I hopped off at 1st Ave., before crossing the East River into Brooklyn. I had previously mapped out my thrift adventure (thank-you Yelp) and could easily walk to all four stores from this subway station. I am cordially inviting you to come thrift the East Village with me, with the disclaimer that this is going to get long (sorry in advance).

Thrift Stop #1: East Village Thrift Shop


The first store I entered was fairly large, had a decent selection of women's apparel, a plethora of leather jackets and did not prompt me to hold my nose the way Value Village does (sorry VV Boutique). A quick scan of the racks showed me far too many "mall brands" for my liking (ie. H&M, Target, Forever 21). The price tags were on the moderate to high end for thrifted items, not high enough to send me running but not low enough to make me buy everything I tried on without a second thought. I persevered, perusing through the mall brands that I will not try on merely for principal's sake. I ended up with about five items to try on, a really nice Kenneth Cole striped sweater that I had high hopes for and several wool skirts. 


For various reasons - an ill fit, the unreasonable price tag, the anticipation of better (and cheaper) things to come - I left empty handed, much to the shop keeper's dismay. On to store two!

Thrift Stop #2: No Relation Vintage


The second stop on my thrifting tour brought me to this gem of a store. It was huge, by thrift standards, and boasted an impressive shoe section and array of 70's garb. I was happy to find out the price tags were lower than the first store, although still not low enough to make me exclaim, "Shut Up! $2 for a silk shirt, that's basically free!". But we were moving in the right direction. I only tried on two items and ended up buying one. At first glance I thought the below was a skirt. Once in the change room, I decided that no it was probably a poncho so I tried it as such first. That looked right. I took it off and feeling somewhat devishly I thought, why not try it as a skirt. After skillfully shimmying my booty through the neck hole trying not to stretch it out, opening the door of the change room and peeking out to make sure that no one would notice this possibly horrendous fashion faux paus, I checked myself out in the mirror. It worked as a skirt! And a poncho! And was only $5. Now, that's what I'm talking about.



Moments before paying, I was distracted by shiny objects in the display case at the register. Damn you impulse buys - you get me every time! A woven rattan clutch and bronze necklace were mine.

Thrift Stop 3: AuH2O


By far the smallest thrift store I've ever been into, AuH2O is as charming as a high-end boutique. A very minimal selection makes this store hit or miss, I'd say. I tried on a pair of patterned palazzo pants, which I liked, but the price tag (only $12 but still...) and the current season stopped me from purchasing them. They did have a decent selection of really cute vintage jewelry. And I'm a sucker for jewelry. I bought a long necklace with a scissors pendant on it for entirely too much money but I HAD to have it. Also found a bracelet with jewel-toned stones around it for a reasonable price. The clasp was loose at first but the girl working there fixed it up for me with a pair of pliers.



Thrift Stop #4: Village Style


Arguably my favorite stop of the day - I saved the best for last, unbeknownst to me! A similar size to shop number two, Village Style was full of vintage outerwear and a hat selection that would make even the most seasoned chapeau lover weak at the knees. Even with all the beautiful vintage gems around me I had eyes only for one. It was love at first sight. I saw the cream colored wool and stripes of teal, purple and blue from a mile away and knew - just knew - that I had to own whatever it was. It was a love affair fit for a made-for-TV movie. It was indeed the wool coat that I donned in my last post. I picked it off the rack and tried it on immediately. I was in love. Deep, soul-churning love. The price tag told me $40 and I was okay with this considering my feelings. But then I saw it. When I turned a certain way. There was a slight water mark down the right-hand side of the coat. It was hardly noticeable but still, it was there. So I did something that I never do. I took the coat up to the register and told the man I loved it but there was this large stain on the front. He asked me how much it was (my insides starting doing somersaults - my plan was working!). I told him $40. He inspected the coat and told me $35. I countered immediately with $30. He inspected it some more. He told me it was a nice coat. I silently agreed but stood there waiting. He said $35 again. I told him I would have to pay this much in dry cleaning (which I don't know is true and in all likelihood I will probably not have it dry cleaned). He was firm at $35. I told him I would look around the store and think about it. Which I did, half-heartedly, thinking of my one true love the whole time, making sure no one else was about to try her on. I went back to look at her again. The man walked past me so I gathered my courage one last time and told him to look at it in this light where the stain was (slightly) more visible. He inspected it again. Told me it was a nice coat, again. I had nothing to lose so I played my ace. I looked at him with what I hoped were pleading (not crazy) eyes and told him I was a poor student (which is true). He was silent, probably trying to figure out how to get rid of me, then he sighed and said Okay! I looked at him and repeated, just to be sure, $30. He nodded. I refrained myself from running to the register and knocking down people in my way. I had just had my first successful bartering experience. I paid and quickly left before he could change his mind, being sure to thank him profusely and leave him with the biggest smile ever (which wasn't hard considering I had a big, goofy grin on my face for hours afterwards). Thank you Village Style, I love my wool coat and will be back, along with all the other thrift lovers who I will send your way.


I hope you enjoyed this little thrift adventure with me (I warned you it was going to be lengthy). This was only a fraction of the thrift shops in the East Village so I can't wait to go back. Definitely a different vibe in this district compared to the rest of Manhattan. Described to me as the Brooklyn of the City, I knew I was going to like it here. Definitely a bit rough around the edges. Grungy but in a trendy sort of way - but not too trendy. You see more punks than princesses. Chains and mohawks versus Gucci and Prada. And after shopping in SOHO for a couple days running, I was happy to be away from the stiletto-clad bean poles for just a few hours.

Until next time,

j.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Poshy Poshy Poo Poo

I braved the camera swiping thieves and crazy oglers to bring you these photos today. As soon as I donned my brand new thrifted wool coat (more on this thrift adventure later), I just had to grab my tripod and schlep around the Financial District to find a suitable location for a solo shoot. The fact that this square was swarming with security guards and less than a block away from the NYPD made me feel confident that I would at least be safe from a steal and run. After it was all said and done, I realized much to my ego's dismay that New Yorkers could not give two hoots about the crazy girl posing in front of her tripod.


striped wool coat {thrifted @ Village Style} - blue scarf {Palm Desert street market} - scissors necklace {thrifted @ AuH2O} -
black & grey striped dress {Joe Fresh} - black belt {Winners} - grey finger-less gloves {Wooden Ships via ABC} - teal tights {Hue} -
black knee-high socks {Jacob} - tan riding-inspired boots {The Bay} 

So, you may be wondering about the really random and slighly inappropriate sounding title to this post. No? Well, humour me will you? I had my first class at Parsons today. Fashion Textile Studies. Basically we are going learn about fabric and the raw materials that make up fabric. My professor could not be more entertaining. She is a true Georgian peach who, although has lived in the City for over 10 years, has still maintained her Southern drawl. Ya'll understand me? (This, by the way, is a direct quote from her, usually ending most of her sentences). In her introduction to the class, she made it clear that she comes from the B&T side of fashion (that's business and technology) and NOT the poshy poshy poo poo side of things. Awesome. We went over the syllabus, the first assignment, her expectations of us and the outcomes of the class. Pretty basic. She did dive in to chapter one a wee bit, covering the most basic textiles that most of us know and love. Again, I quote, we talked about sisters Poly and Ester and how they are kin to cotton. She enlightened us about other natural fibers, such as, wool, silk, rabbit and alligator. At this point she stopped, laughed and said, "If it walks and we can shoot it, it's a textile". While hearing these words come out of anyone else's mouth would have been slightly traumatic, her spunky Southern delivery somehow made them sound charmingly comical.

In keeping with today's lesson, I learned that wool and rain do not get along particularly well. Especially thrifted wool. The result is a scent somewhere between wet dog and your great Aunt Edie's neglected basement. Not pleasant. But so totally worth it.

j.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Cider in the Square

Orientation came to a close yesterday. Before I went to the last session I spent some time in Union Square. On Fridays they have a farmers' market so I took advantage of the local produce and warmed up with a cup of hot apple cider. There is just so much to see in NYC!

This store is just off of Union Square and is probably the most visually stimulating store I have ever been into. They sell mostly home decor and furniture but also have beautiful jewlery and a small selection of unique clothing. For the most part, it's out of my price range but it is so aesthetically intoxicating I could literally spend hours in there.


So, I'm finding it a bit difficult to take outfit photos so far. I'm not comfortable with the idea of setting up my tripod on a busy New York street. Part of me worries that I'll get heckled or cursed for being in the way. The other part worries that someone will run by and swipe my camera and I'll be left posing like a fool in front of no camera, spluttering weak protests to the thief who has long since vanished with my prized possession. Bear with me as I work out the kinks of becoming a city dweller. I hope to make some friends in the coming week who I can harrass ask politely to take outfit photos for me.

I'm off to explore Williamsburg today with some new friends. Wish me luck as I venture over the bridge for the first time!

j.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Senses of the City

Inspired by a post from one of my fave bloggers, I decided to focus on the senses as I navigated my way around the city today. The two senses that I found most stimulated today were hearing and feeling so I am going to focus solely on them.


 
navajo sweater {Forever 21} - white blouse {Ann Taylor Loft} - faux fur snood {Calvin Klein via Locale} -
black denim skinnies {Old Navy} - red tribal necklace {Laila Rowe}

Today, I heard:

  • the painfully loud screeching of cement being drilled;
  • honking;
  • accents and foreign languages being spoken;
  • more honking;
  • the click clack clickity clack of heels on pavement;
  • awkward introductions among new students;
  • the glorious whirring of Starbucks' espresso machines;
  • rain drops dropping on my new faux fur snood (not cool);
  • the intense roar of the subway as it hurtled into the station;
  • even more honking and;
  • the friendly voice of the director of international student services as she welcomed us all to The New School and New York City.

Today, I felt:
  • lonely when I first woke up (mornings are the hardest for me);
  • slightly panicked when realizing I was lost, had only 15 minutes until orientation began and still hadn't made it to the subway station (I fought temptation to hail a cab, turned around, found the subway station and was only a mere 10 minutes late);
  • excited about all of the amazing opportunities that lie ahead;
  • grateful that I made a friend in the first session (a fellow canuck!);
  • the rain slowly seeping through my boots;
  • ridiculously ravenous because being on sensory overload makes me forget to eat;
  • other people's bodies pushed up against me on the jam-packed subway and;
  • hopeful after meeting the first of three roomies and discovering that she is quite pleasant and a fashion design major.
  •  
     
I really did mean to snap some photos while I was out and about but I'm too focused on not getting lost and then trying not to look completely and utterly lost when I end up lost. This results in my iPhone being used solely as my personal GPS and not so much as a camera.

j.
 

Monday, 16 January 2012

360 Degrees

The following photos were taken in one spot. Just past the foot of my bed. Welcome to my new abode. In NYC!


Top left we've got the looong front hallway. Plastic bowling set anyone? Moving to the right we see my bedroom (I'm the left side). Bottom left we see the edge of my desk which is against the foot of my bed, my closet and dresser (kudos on the closet space New School), the second bedroom straight ahead and my bathroom (shared with only my one roomie) on the left. Last but not least, to complete this 360 degree tour, I give you the kitchen which directly faces my bedroom (top right photo). There you have it. For only 300 and some odd square feet, it actually feels pretty spacious. Wow. Look at me go with all this positive thinking.


Today is a holiday in America so that means no orientation until tomorrow. Which really means time for me to explore and inevitably get lost. Thank you in advance new iPhone for helping me find my way back to the blue line you so nicely set out for me.

j.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Diagonals

Just a quick little hello because I am now only two sleeps and one day away from NYC. Gulp. I am pretty nervous, not going to lie. Also very excited. It's been a theory for so long that I can't believe it's actually here. I'm definitely ready for it though. I have been busy getting the final details in order this week for my Saturday departure. Given that I've barely started packing, I'm not sure if I'll have time to post again before I leave so the next time I blab will most likely be from NYC. New York City!

diagonal top {cable & gauge via Macys} - best tank ever {Costco!} - red denim skinnies {Forever 21} - black riding boots {Macys} - 
bronze & silver necklace {The Bay} - tea {Twinings Lady Grey}


On a much more important note. I thought you should know I am a BIG tea snob fan. And I drink a whole lot of it. I mean A LOT. Usually only Earl Grey or Lady Grey. Both Twinings. Both pure bliss. With the milk added first, of course. I'm such a fan that I thought it would be cool to include my tea in some photos. I think that right there proves just how uncool I really am. No shame, people!

See you in NYC,

j.




Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Bicycles, Clutches & Cliffs...

...Oh My!

This is the third and final part of M and I's mega Hawaiian photoshoot. You should really check out part one and part two now that you're here. Might as well. Usually I photograph the outfit that I am wearing for that given day. But when you're in Hawaii and have jammed your suitcase full of clothes, you have to take advantage of the scenery and make your excessive packing worthwhile.

          
bicycle tee {Ricki's} - blue shorts {Gap} - yellow belt {Old Navy} - silver gladiators {Aldo} - aviator sunnies {Windsor} -
white watch & clutch {Palm Desert street market}

I got home from Hawaii on Sunday. Calgary welcomed me home with a seasonal chinook. Sadly the mild temperatures did not last long. This morning welcomed a few inches of snow. Hard to believe I was wearing shorts and t-shirts a few days ago.

j.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Open Double

This is the dress I was wearing when I opened my email to find that Parsons had finally emailed me my housing assignment. A quick scan of the email was all that was needed to see those two words sitting beside one another. Standing alone, those two words are quite ordinary. But together in this email they were glaringly conspicuous. I have been assigned to an open double room. Not only do I have to share a room with another person, I have to share it with the kitchen and living area. I think I preferred not knowing. At least I had this view and time for frollicking in this pretty dress to take the sting off.

orange striped dress {Winners} - black cut-out sandals {Nine West via DSW} - gold cuff {thrifted}

Before I left Vancouver Island, I visited a tea leaf reader in Nanaimo. She told me something that didn't make much sense at the time. Something I brushed off as random. She told me that I wasn't going to sleep very much in New York. I laughed and chalked it up to late night study sessions and perhaps a party or two. Looks like I may have thought wrong. Oh well. I am determined not to dwell on things I can't change. In keeping my new year's resolutions and thinking of mantra number five, all I can do now is embrace what is. So, here's to meeting new friends and being closest to the fridge. May my roomie please be pleasant. Pretty please.

j.



Friday, 6 January 2012

Crazy Boat Lady

Welcome to part two of M and I's mega photoshoot. You can check out part one here. One quick outfit change in the parking lot (class act right here) in the little town of Koloa and we were off to find new backdrops. Enter decrepid boat on stilts. Complete with a crazy boat lady. Well, to be fair, she was more confrontational than crazy. She definitely thought that we were crazy. Okay, so here's the story. We saw this boat and felt it would be perfect as a backdrop. There was a lady working in the adjoining yard, so being the respectful young ladies that we are, we decided to ask her permission for me to pose in front of the boat (OK, fine. M was the respectful one who asked). Turns out she worked for an ocean tour company and this was one of their out-of-commission boats. What we thought was simply a courtesy question turned out to be a completely foreign concept to this skeptic. In a not-so-friendly manner, the boat lady interrogated us about what we were going to do with the photos. Here we go, I thought. Try explaining a fashion blog to someone who wears wool socks with their birkenstocks on the regular. I gave it a go, being sure to emphasize that I only wanted to stand in front of the boat, not get in it or anything crazy like that. Her feathers continued to be ruffled at the thought of the boat's name (and hence the company's name) appearing in the photos. What she thought we were going to do with the photos remains a mystery. I quickly assured her that the name would not appear in the photos as I would only stand on the one side of the old boat. I was about to tell her to forget it when she reluctantly agreed, probably only because she was tired of talking to the crazy girl wearing wedges. We seized our opportunity and M snapped a few pics of me posing in front of the old brute. Moments later a truck pulled up and a man got out. I thought, oh great here we go again. With a smile on his face he asked if we were making fun of his boat. Quite the opposite, I told him. M relayed that we had just asked "his wife" permission. He swiftly and determinedly corrected her mistake. Ha! Don't blame ya, buddy! He chatted a minute longer with us, telling us what he planned to do to refurbish his baby. His parting words to us were, "I better see those pics on Facebook!". Now that's the response I was looking for.






fuschia lace blouse {Urban Outfitters} - best tank ever {Costco!} - dark denim skirt & yellow belt {Old Navy} - aviator sunnies {Windsor} - green wedges {The Bay} - flower hair clip {ABC Store, Kaua'i}

Since we decided not to loiter for too long by the boat, we moved along and found this old white garage for me to pose in front of. Turns out it was covered with a weird chalky substance that came off on my hands. Why I decided to smell my hands is beyond me, but I did. And they did not smell pleasant. So being the classy lady that I am, I rolled my skirt up and wiped my hands on the inside of it. What? I wasn't about to wipe them on the outside of my skirt!

Between the crazy boat lady and the gross chalky garage, we managed to get some good shots and have lots of laughs. Stay tuned for the third and final part of our mega Hawaiian photoshoot.

j.