Month: February 2016

The Monthly Edit

Sunset

As we prepare to say goodbye to February (seriously, where did this month go?), I thought I would share a quick recap.

Favorite thing about February: Duh, Valentine’s Day! I definitely (over)indulged in those cute heart-shaped donuts from Dunkin’ this month.

Highlight of the month: My time at New York Fashion Week, for sure. I loved every minute of getting to preview the latest designer collections.

Lesson learned this month: Sometimes you have to go with the flow. It’s good to be open to new experiences, and step outside of your comfort zone.

Most exciting thing this month: My blog turned two! I love celebrating milestones, and reflecting on how far this site has come.

Most challenging thing this month: After the hustle and bustle of New York City, getting back to my normal routine has been difficult.

Worst thing this month: Does getting more snow count?

Best part of the month: Longer days. How great is it that it’s still light out after 5 pm?

Happy Leap Day!

What was the best part of February for you?

Snaps, Suburbs, and Spring

The slower pace of life this week back in the suburbs has definitely thrown me off. Did anyone else feel like it was Friday on about Wednesday? The dark, dreary, and rainy weather we had for two days this week didn’t help matters. I am eagerly counting down the days until spring, and was thrilled when I saw that it hit 50 degrees yesterday.

Here’s a recap of the week:

Hotel Living - Millenium Hilton

{Missing hotel living}

Retail Therapy

{Retail therapy at H&M}

Dunkin Donuts

{Lovin’ the donuts from Dunkin’}

A rainy day

{Rain, rain, go away!}

Spring is in the air

{Spring is in the air}

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Floral Finds

Floral Finds

With spring on the horizon, what better way to welcome a new season (and warmer temps) than with a bold print? Florals have been making the rounds for some time, from peplums to pencil skirts, and come in handy when you want to infuse color into your style…with little effort on your part. Throw on a floral print dress, flats, or just a top paired with a solid color to instantly transition your look from winter to spring. And should a tropical destination be in your future (Spring Break, perhaps?), this Ted Baker floral swirl swimsuit would be the perfect companion.

What’s on your radar for spring?

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

Like all good things, New York Fashion Week has come to an end. I enjoyed previewing the latest collections and being introduced to some new-to-me designers (you can catch up with my NYFW recaps here and here).

Last Wednesday, I previewed the fall/winter 2016 collection from Jasmine Chong. The collection marries femininity and functionality, while embracing earth tones. It was a traditional runway show composed of flowy dresses, and velvet pieces in navy, neutral, and olive shades. A certain silk velvet runway gown in slate was a show-stopper for me. I loved the texture and the way it moved on the runway.

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

If gowns aren’t quite your thing (I hear ya. I would have no place to wear one, either), Jasmine Chong’s line included a number of separate pieces that I could see adding to my closet. The archer jacket in midnight, the silk velvet Catherine pant in bark, and the Land & Sea winged shirt with washed silk and silk organza are pieces that would be on major repeat for me.

I appreciated the neutral tones and mix of textures that are evident throughout this collection. Here are a few of my favorite looks:

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

New York Fashion Week: Jasmine Chong

Which is your favorite look from the collection?

The New York City Recap

The New York City Recap

As promised, I’m back today sharing more about my New York City adventure over the weekend.

I will preface this post by saying that despite living on Long Island for most of my life, I know little about getting around in New York City. My favorite questions to ask when I have to go in are always 1. Can I walk there from Penn? 2. Where is that in relation to Penn? 3. How long will the cab ride take me from Penn? Prior to the last couple of weeks, my trips there were few and far between — and just making my way out of Penn Station was an accomplishment. But something strange happened during this trip. The City that I once loathed for being crowded, noisy, and dirty became one that I now viewed as exciting, entertaining, and too much fun to leave.

And while I don’t have plans to move to the N.Y.C anytime soon, I developed an affinity for the City. So I thought I would share more about where I stayed and what I did while I was pretending to blend in with a sea of Manhattanites.

The Millenium Hilton - New York, New York

I was fortunate enough to stay at The Millenium Hilton (at 55 Church Street), in Manhattan’s Financial District. And almost immediately, I fell in love with the hotel. What’s not to love? The location is ideal (close to the Fulton subway stop); the hotel has views of the Hudson River; and you are in the heart of the Financial District (where there is a Shake Shack conveniently located!). The sleek black exterior, and modern interior was a place where I could instantly feel at home.

One World Trade Center

If the facade alone didn’t do it, heading up to my room on the 36th floor and seeing that One World Trade Center was going to be my roommate definitely sealed the deal. I apologize for the lack of interior hotel photos, but how could anything compare to that view? Architecturally, One World Trade Center is a breathtaking beauty. But looking just a few feet away and seeing one of the reflecting pools in the footprint of the original World Trade Center tower will take your breath away.

On the first night of my stay I did some sightseeing. From my window, I noticed what looked like a shopping plaza across the street. It seemed like an ideal place to visit. And boy, was it. The plaza was Brookfield Place (on Vesey Street), and it was home to stores like Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo, Diane von Furstenberg, Theory, and Tory Burch, to name just a few. It’s also a good place to eat with establishments including, Chop’t, Black Seed Bagel, Financier Patisserie, Umami Burger, and my personal favorite — Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Sprinkles Cupcakes - Brookfield Place

Sprinkles Cupcakes - Brookfield Place

Yes, I finally tried my very first cupcake from Sprinkles — and I may never be able to eat a regular one again. I opted for a red velvet cupcake, and what it lacked in size it certainly made up for in taste. The frosting was some of the richest I have ever had and this little number was decadent and moist. Whom should I speak to about getting a Sprinkles on Long Island?

Luminaries Installation - Brookfield Place

Luminaries Installation - Brookfield Place

As impressive as the venue was, the pièce-de-résistance was a lighting display of 650 color changing lanterns in the glass enclosed Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. This open space was filled with Palm trees and lanterns for the Luminaries exhibit, which was designed by The LAB at Rockwell Group. It was an incredible exhibition to stumble upon and the tropical feel made me completely forget that I was in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world. If you plan on visiting Brookfield Place, definitely check out this installation. It is being shown until Monday, February 29th.

The Rink at Brookfield Place

Once outside of Brookfield Place, make your way to the outdoor ice rink for some amazing views of the Hudson River. If it weren’t so cold and windy out the night I was there, I would have loved to hit the ice.

Colgate Clock

Statue of Liberty

View from New York City

One thing I appreciate about the Financial District is how much more space there is than in the rest of New York City. I enjoyed taking a stroll along the Hudson River, stopping to watch the Colgate Clock on the other side in New Jersey, and viewing the sunset over the Statue of Liberty. And the best part was that all of these things were so close to my hotel!

Washington Square Park

The next day I had a meeting at The City Bakery (on 18th Street between 5th and 6th). I love stopping at bakeries in the City, and this one did not disappoint. Their hot chocolate was out of this world. It was thick and creamy — the perfect combination. I ordered a chocolate croissant, too, and may have overdone it with the sweets. On the way back I decided to walk from the bakery to my hotel. I had no idea how far it was, but I could see One World Trade Center in the distance, and figured it couldn’t be that long of a walk. Note to self: skyscrapers in Manhattan are never as close as they appear. So I walked….and walked…and walked some more. Seeing signs along the way for the FDR Drive and Brooklyn Bridge. Finally, I made it back to my hotel, with achy feet and a cold and tired body.

That evening I decided to visit the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. I didn’t feel right having the site of a horrific attack so close to me and not paying my respects to the victims. I highly recommend visiting the memorial museum should you find yourself in New York City. My words could never do justice to the impact that the museum had on me, or the many emotions I was flooded with as I moved through the rooms. The tragic loss of life that occurred on that day is present and brings you back to that moment when you first learned of the news. If you are planning to visit, I would suggest allowing yourself plenty of time to view the exhibits, and to watch the films at your own pace (suggested time: around four hours). There is a lot to see and each piece is too precious to miss.

9/11 Reflecting Pool

My last night in New York City was a somber one after viewing the museum, but as I walked back to my hotel I glanced up at One World Trade Center and paid my final respects at the Reflecting Pool.

One World Trade Center

In stark contrast to my usual “I can’t wait to get home” attitude, I found myself sad to say goodbye to New York City when the time came to leave. The past two weeks taught me to embrace the hustle and bustle of City life, and to always look forward to the adventure that is New York City.

Back to Reality

New York City

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of excitement. From New York Fashion Week to New York City living, I have enjoyed taking it all in. And while I will miss looking out my window and seeing One World Trade Center, viewing the beautiful Statue of Liberty, and having a Sprinkles cupcake at Brookfield Place across the street from my hotel, I am happy to go back to my quiet suburban life.

I have finally caught up on the blog and feel ready to tackle what should be an uneventful week by comparison. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing more photos from my New York City adventure, including my stay at The Millenium Hilton, and a recap of the final fashion show I attended.

New York City

New York City

How was your weekend?

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I’ve been enjoying my time at New York Fashion Week (for a behind-the-scenes look, check out my Snapchat. Username: livinginsteil). I’m currently staying in New York City, and One World Trade Center is practically my roommate — as in, it’s right outside my window. I have to say, it’s an incredible view to have.

Last Friday, I attended the Irina Shabayeva show at the Monarch Hotel. The rooftop bar was converted into a swanky club for the evening, and made you completely forget that the temps were in the single digits outside. The crowded venue was blasting with top hits and bustling with people as we waited for designs from this former Project Runway contestant.

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

A makeshift runway emerged through a sea of people, and models clad in bold red capes, long white lace dresses, and fur numbers brushed past us. If you’re a regular reader, you know I have an affinity for capes, and the first look of the night — a red hooded cape — stole my heart.

Irina’s couture gowns show impeccable attention to detail and design (which is the reason celebs have worn them!), and were stunning as they floated by us on the runway. Her outerwear collection was equally impressive, with its rich hues and texture.

Aside from the beautiful collection being shown, the evening was also about supporting the Carol Galvin Foundation, which helps women with cancer. As a cancer survivor myself, I appreciate Irina’s commitment to working with numerous charities.

Here are a few of my favorite looks from the show:

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

New York Fashion Week: Irina Shabayeva

Which is your favorite look from the collection?

B&W at NYFW

NYFW Outfit of the Day

{Top: Nordstrom Rack||Skirt: Peter Pilotto for Target (2014 collection)||Necklace: H&M||Boots: DSW}

What’s more fashionable than a black and white outfit? With New York Fashion Week in full swing, I decided that my Peter Pilotto skirt needed to make a debut. Because A, it’s fashion week, and B, it’s New York City (the land where everyone wears black…all-the-time).

NYFW Outfit of the Day

So here’s my #ootd that I wore to the Jasmine Chong show last night. A simple black top from Nordstrom Rack (which was a steal) and my Diba OTK boots complete this ensemble. Could getting dressed and looking classy be any easier?

NYFW Outfit of the Day

NYFW Outfit of the Day

NYFW Outfit of the Day

P.S. My apologies for not responding to comments at my usual speed this week. I have been reading every single one of them (thank you!), and I hope to get caught up soon!

How to Keep Your Inbox at Zero

How to Keep Your Inbox at Zero

We all have those busy weeks where we’re running here and there and barely have time to remember to eat breakfast, let alone go through emails. By Friday, when I finally get around to scrolling through my inbox, it resembles a sea of blue dots — comprising of lots of unopened emails. And with things flagged and saved for later it’s easy to lose track of important emails that require your attention.

So what’s a busy girl to do? If having a personal assistant to declutter your inbox isn’t in your budget (yea, it’s not in mine, either), here are a few easy tips that can save you time…and help you avoid the dreaded tyranny of the inbox.

Hit unsubscribe: Inbox filling up with emails about deals, steals, and sales? Don’t kid yourself. Deleting those unnecessary emails takes precious time. If it’s a store you no longer shop at, remove yourself from their mail list. You’ll be amazed at how many fewer emails bombard you each week. Hint: Using a tool like Unroll.Me can help show you where you are subscribed and make removing yourself a breeze!

Set aside a few minutes each day to go through recent emails: It’s easy to flag important emails on the go, but then forget to come back to them later. Try to set aside five or ten minutes each day to check what’s come in during the last 24-hours. It will help you manage your inbox without feeling overwhelmed when you see the little icon telling you that you have 200 unread emails (or 141, in my case).

Mark important senders as VIP: You know those people that you need to answer ASAP, like your boss? Having them marked as VIP will help create a sense of urgency when an email from one of them appears in your inbox. Hint: Try to limit the amount of people labeled VIP to five or fewer.

Aim to start the new week off with zero emails: I try to go through my emails as they come in. But it rarely happens that I get through all of them. The tips above have helped me stay on top of my email game, but I still get stressed when there are too many unopened emails at the start of a new week. Recently, I set a goal that come Monday morning I will have zero emails in my inbox, which means that I spend the weekend going through whatever is leftover from the week. It’s a great feeling when you can start each week off fresh and ready to tackle what’s ahead.

What helps you keep your inbox organized? I’d love to hear your tips!

Stylish Musings from NYC

NYFW - Irina Shabayeva

{Photos from the Irina Shabayeva show coming to the blog soon!}

I’ve spent more time in New York City these last two weeks than I have in the entirety of some years. And you know what? I’ve actually enjoyed my time there. Okay, maybe having to exit the Long Island Rail Road unexpectedly at Jamaica due to a derailed train ahead might not seem like a highlight (commuters, you have my deepest sympathy!). But despite all that, and the record cold snap, being part of New York Fashion Week has been spectacular.

Here are some highlights from the past week:

Think Coffee NYC

{Coffee with Kate}

Soapology NYC

{The cutest soap store}

Snapchat

{I’m on Snapchat! Username: livinginsteil}

Valentine's Day Treats

{Valentine’s Day treats}

Goodnight, New York City

{Goodnight, New York City}