So Hurricane Sandy is on her way, and for the first time in about two months, I’m spending the day in. I guess its times like this that provide a perfect opportunity to update one’s blog- especially when I haven’t REALLY done so in about two months (save my midnight musing on time last week). I’ll start by telling you that yes, I’m safe, prepared and comfortable. All of these things are the direct result of supplying myself with plenty of merlot, bagels, water , and literature.
I’m currently alone in my friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side with her cat Kilo as we await more rain and wind. I can see the neighbor’s rooftop garden from the window and already pots have started to fall over. I’d feel bad for her, but there is a reason she’s been dubbed Buddha Bitch by many.
Somehow, this is all too fitting. I’m supposed to move into my new apartment out in Astoria, Queens with my best friend Rachel this week, but of course, there’s a hurricane on it’s way. This will mark my first NY residence off the island of Manhattan, and I feel like in many ways, it marks my acceptance of adulthood. New York City makes it so easy for many of us to ignore the advancement of time and the responsibilities attached. There is always yet another Club Kid art show, a friend’s drag performance, and a million and one Groupons to entertain the inner dysfunctional child in you. I don’t know anywhere in the world where so many adults have turned cupcakes into a weekly necessity. My mother would shake her head if she knew the myriad of sweets I encounter on a daily basis… and by encounter, I mean devour.
So while I await the coming of the pseudo-apocolyptic Frankenstorm, I invite you to check back here for more narratives. That is.. until the power shuts off.
THOUGHTS: This location is conveniently close for me, a couple likable qualities hear and there, but beyond that, I can’t say that I recommend this location. With annoying array of adult men trying to openly engage in “adult activity” in the locker rooms and a general absence of etiquette among the maintenance employees and multiple members- my month at NYSC West 80th Street was something of an experience.
Equipment (* * * Three Stars) This desperately needs to be updated. While it is very cool that the facility offers TRX Suspension Training, the amount of rust on some of the gym’s equipment isn’t.
Staff ( * * Two Stars) While Desi, one of the gym’s membership consultants is a rock star employee- I didn’t appreciate the locker room attendant rapping explicative words loudly along with his head phones.
Cleanliness (* One Star) Besides the foul smell of molding body odor and urine, there was a cockroach in the sauna- need I say more?
Amenities (* One Star) What good is a sauna if it has cockroaches?
OVERALL RATING (1.75 Stars)
Who is NYSC at West 80th for? Anyone who has the time to go home to shower.
- GYM TIPS: Finding The Right Fit (whotv.com)
Hi all- So I was actually going to wait a while to post anything about this project, but after an interesting day on the Upper East Side of Manhattan- I figured. What the hell!? Here’s the deal. From Winter 2010- Winter 2012, I belonged to Equinox Fitness, and I loved every second of it. The gym gave me a unique drive to WANT to go to the gym, and in fact I’ll let you in on a little secret. When first came to NYC in 2008, I weighed 225 lbs- I now weigh a healthy 185 lbs at 6ft and have a whole new set of fitness goals before me. Since my new job doesn’t officially start until the beginning of September and since I’ve been back in Manhattan since June (following a 5 month hiatus), I decided to explore the various gyms in New York City and rate them based on various scales of excellence before I officially decide on a membership. Now- here we go, I hope you enjoy this little endeavor.
This past Friday, I had the exquisite experience of attending Paul Balmer’s artist reception for his new collection Cityscape to Landscape at the Campton Gallery at 451 West Broadway in New York City. Mr. Balmer hails from South Africa and his since been somewhat of an international citizen; with exhibitions over the past two decades in London, Chicago, Sydney Australia, Boston, and New York to name a few.
Mr. Balmer’s Cityscapes capture a unique essence of both New York City and the country in that he manages to express (in cityscapes) a viable and controlled chaos that is natural in the habitat of our concrete jungle. For this reason, I would beg to argue the collection’s metamodernistic influence simply by the adventure Mr. Balmer’s pieces take you on.
Then there are the Landscapes, a perfect juxtaposition to it’s Manhattan counterpart by way of serenity and the ability to transport you to any welcome and familiar place in the annals of your memory. I was both seventeen again in the Tuscan countryside and a child on a farm in central New Mexico. Paul Balmer possesses the gift of expressing to you, you’re own emotions through his art.
A special thank you to Miss Allison Harrell for the invitation.
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending an event for Macy’s private brand I.N.C. International Concepts and it’s 2012 line featuring British Actor Max Irons. Mr. Irons is known for playing Henry in Red Riding Hood opposite Amanda Seyfried and was recently cast as Jared Howe in the widely anticipated screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyers’ novel, The Host.
The event was at Thom Bar at Sixty Thompson in New York City and boasted an array of canapes and a specialty citrus vodka mojito that I’ll admit was all too easy to drink. What I found interesting about the event was the eclectic mix of people- I was told that one disheveled looking guest sporting wrinkled shorts, an ill-fitting t-shirt and blue hair was a fashion blogger. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine taking advice from someone who looks like they got dressed in the dark in a room full of Play-Doh.
Since my host for the evening, Allison Harrell and I had to make our way down the street to another event, we had to leave Thom Bar early, but not before catching a glimpse of this fall’s collection, which, to be honest, I found quite appealing. As we left the front of the hotel lobby, we spotted Max Irons standing outside speaking to someone who I could only was a publicist for the event.
I told Max that was actually pretty eager to see him as Antonio Vivaldi in the upcoming film to which he replied “Oh no, I’m so sorry to disappoint you, but it isn’t any more.”
“Oh?” He seemed a little sad to admit this to me, but I quickly replied that I would just as gladly see his upcoming film The Host.
“Well I hope you enjoy it,” he said. I had also explained my particular affinity towards classical music during introduction “…I know you were probably looking forward to the other one.” In the meantime, I asked for a picture to which he kindly agreed while his publicist motioned impatiently at us at the front door that we were waisting his time. Max said “oh, don’t worry about it- I always find these things to be rather intimidating- the break is welcome.”
And with that we said goodbye as he disappeared back into the crowded room of models, flashing lights, and journalists while Allison and I made our way blissfully down the street.
Hudson Sutler is a purveyor of fine Made in America weekend and commuter bags- you know, those nifty little duffels that crowd the Long Island Railroad every Friday and Sunday. It seems that having the perfect weekend bag is something of a necessity in the East Coast (remember- I hale from the Southwest) and even Goldman Sachs has a line of such bags for their employees to display on their weekend vacations.
As Mr. Hewitt put it, a sutler is a civilian merchant who sold provisions to an army in the field, in camp, or in quarters. Primarily in business during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, sutlers were a significant part of shaping the America we know today.
As I stated in my event post for the Harriman Cup’s Alton Lane event, this company’s products are definitely on my wish list for the coming year.
The above photo’s were taken from Hudson Sutler’s Facebook Fan Page. Click Here to become a fan.
A couple of weeks ago, I was given the kind invitation to attend not only The Harriman Cup, but a pre-fashion event for the polo match at Alton Lane NY. The Harriman Cup is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of polo and supporting the respective collegiate polo teams of Yale and the University of Virginia.
Alton Lane combines traditional bespoke techniques with modern technology in the form of a 3D body scanner to give a truly perfect fit with a truly classic look.
Other sponsors represented at the event were JP Crickets and Hudson Sutler. JP Crickets is a his and her’s shoe company that combines the craftsmanship of an Italian loafer with a classic velvet slipper, while Hudson Sutler produces fine American-made duffels and weekend bags with gingham lining. It is safe to say that all three companies at the Harriman Cup’s “dressing” will be heavy hitters on my 2012-2013 wish list.
The event itself was gloriously “prep-tastic” as one guest/ UVA alum put it, and was heavily supplied with cocktails as unique and colorful as the multi-colored lapels that adorned the room. It should should be noted that an appointment at Alton Lane means a glass of scotch while shopping in a comfortable and masculine environment.
As my friends Allison, Millen and I were chatting, a familiar figure seemed to pop out of nowhere like a glitter-bomb. I turned around to see Richie Rich; Club Kid and co-founder of the now defunct fashion label, Heatherette. It was one of those interesting moments of juxtaposition that I absolutely live for, but entirely possible due to the mere influence of New York City. He introduced himself to each of us, looked at Allison and said “You’re fabulous! Are you a model?” The two became engrossed in conversation while she explained to Richie that she was actually a photographer, but was very flattered by his complement.
The evening ended all too quickly, but not before a few words from Harriman Cup chair-member and MTV producer, Matt Paco. Mr. Paco thanked the various sponsors and people who make the yearly event possible. This year’s Harriman Cup will take place on September 8 at The Meadowbrook Polo Club in Old Westbury, Long Island, NY.
If you’re interested in buying a ticket for the event, CLICK HERE.
A special thank you to MTV Producer Matt Paco for the evening’s festivities.
Last week, I met up with photographer Allison Harrell at the cafe Little Brown on 85th and Madison Avenue in New York City. I’m a fairly recent fan of Miss Harrell’s work, and wanted to learn more about her and her inspiration behind the camera.
Allison seems to have experienced what one might call an artistic awakening during her time as a Pre-Med student in Tennessee; making the kind of swift life-changing decision that eventually landed her in the heart of New York City.
We sat for a while discussing the manic weather pattern of the day when I asked her about her semester abroad in Perugia, Italy. You can always tell the joy someone has taken from an experience when the mere mention sparks a light from within. The self-proclaimed coffee-fiend and cannoli lover quickly divulged one of her favorite memories.
“…it was on an excursion to Venice.” she said smiling. “My friend and I went to this wonderful vintage costume shop where one of the owners invited us to celebrate the Festa del Rendentore on his boat!” Allison informed me that the festival is an annual event held in July to celebrate the end of of the plague of 1576 that claimed the lives of 50,000 Venetians. “We were able to watch the firework display between St. Mark’s Square and Il Rendentore on the water… watching the sun come up on Lido in the morning- that was one of those truly amazing life moments!”
Allison possesses the kind of positive energy that can change the mood of a room instantly. The bright-spirited photographer draws inspiration from life’s surprises, or as she put it- flavors that you wouldn’t have thought to taste on your own. “Some of the best things in life find me!” She exclaimed while taking a sip of her iced-coffee a la Nancy Botwin. “… hopefully its because I’m receptive to them.”
She continued on as we played a game of musical chairs with other Little Brown patrons trying to avoid the rain. “I feel that there’s an incredibly human quality that happens through the camera. A lot of people see the lens as a filter. For me, its more like a bridge.”
Allison also admits to being inspired by art history and favors the Fauvist movement for it’s colorful display of emotion. “I just love this era for art! I feel like every shape and stroke comes from an emotional place. It’s truly for everyone. Regardless of your educational level in art, the emotional quality behind Fauvism is so obvious anyone can be moved it.”
Perhaps it is her daily outlook on life that lends itself to her art. “Every day I wake up and hope to be inspired. That’s my MO! If I’m really lucky, I have the opportunity to influence a brightened, positive perception in the people with whom I work and those who see it.” And this is entirely true, because when we finished, the rain suddenly stopped and I stepped out onto the pavement of a suddenly sunny Madison Avenue.
Visit www.amhphoto.com to view more of Allison’s work.
- Diana Warner New York Anniversary & Mustache Party? (jacoboheme.com)
If you’re wondering just what Yellow Lounge is… never fear, because I’m going to tell you all about it. Established seven years ago in Berlin, Yellow Lounge took the classic idea of classical music performances, and reinvented it for the modern audience amidst a popping urban club scene. The idea is that you take an urban setting, such as the 82 Mercer Street warehouse-turned SoHo event space, toss in formidable classical artists, and make their performances, of all things… accessible. The event has garnered success in Berlin, Paris, London, and Amsterdam before finally crossing the Pacific to New York City.
The excitement builds like such- guests are invited to an undisclosed location for a DG event featuring unnamed performers, thus causing the sort of quick and quiet gossip found saturated in Act 2 of L’Elisir D’amore.
The chic setting and open bar allowed guests to mingle freely while enjoying Magic Hat beer and cocktails made with Karlsson’s Gold Vodka, my personal favorite being the smartly named “Mandolin Martini.”
While most guests seemed to ogle at Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo and violinist Joshua Bell, I was more keen to chill with my guest Ashly Priest and mingle amongst an array of familiar faces.
I quickly found Deutsche Grammophon’s Head of Marketing Intern Kendall Zini-Jones snapping photos while dressed in an appropriately themed yellow dress and coordinating nails just before bumping into my old school friend, soprano, Nikoleta Rallis.
The music started around 8 pm with selections performed by Avi Avital. It seemed as if Avi fed off the unique energy of the space, and didn’t allow the excess noise of some of the event’s less-informed guests to bother him. Rather he engaged all who were in an immediate radius to share what he knew how to do best.
After about thirty minutes, violinist Nicola Benedetti came to the stage. The beautiful performer possesses movie star looks that belie her virtuosic talent. After her first piece, she shook her head and asked “can you even hear me?” and then seemed bewildered at the chatter and said “… I mean, people are talking!” This only made the immediate audience of classical die-hards love her more and shout in agreement. She took a second to think about her next move; like a general determined to defeat the enemy, she just had to overcome the talkers. After a quick discussion with the skilled theorboist, Thomas Dunford, Nicola surprised the audience with a gorgeously lilting performance of the Gershwin classic, Summertime.
When Nicola finished her set, she returned to the stage for a surprise duet with Russian- American violinist, Phillipe Quint. If you didn’t know already, Nicola plays the 1717 Gariel Stradivarius, while Phillipe plays the 1708 Ruby Strad. It seemed only fitting that three centuries after the birth of these respective treasures, they should meet again to tango to a delicious arrangement of Carlos Gardel‘s sumptuous “Por Una Cabeza.” You know- the piece that a blind Al Pacino teaches Gabrielle Anwar to tango to in The Scent of a Woman. It was one of those perfect moments in life that if you weren’t completely prepared and informed for, you might have missed completely. Here I was, in the heart of the greatest city in the world, front row at a concert while two internationally renowned violinists played music made famous from one of cinema’s greatest moments, all the while on instruments whose own inception inspired a new term for excellence.
Before the evening ended, Nicola returned once more to the stage with Avi Avital for an enthused encore performance of a Balkan folk song. As one of my friends put it “I think he’s REALLY into her!”
When the event ended, I took to the cobblestone streets of SoHo and walked through a still-busy Manhattan to relish in the evening’s gifts. I made it all the way to 85th Street and Broadway for a Cappuccino night cap at French Roast, just so I could allow the sounds of the evening to play just a little longer.
Last night, I went down to “the happiest little boutique in New York City” to celebrate Diana Warner New York‘s 1 year anniversary in it’s Gramercy location. As usual, Diana Warner and COO Gibson Purdom displayed copious amounts of sparkle, food, and lively libations for all.
I was thrilled to catch up with lawyer and food blogger extraordinaire Mary Ellen Stefanou. If you haven’t already teased your taste buds on Mary Ellen’s blog Pâte à Chew, you are in for a treat! I noshed with my friend as we acknowledged the woes of the New York City summer heat, all the while trying to tastefully congregate with strangers around the circulation fans.
I should probably mention that the DWNY event was a mustache party, and though I was keen to dawn the facial hair accessory, the humidity-induced sweat caused my ‘stache to fall off within five minutes of application, so I adorned my martini with a quaint handle bar look.
After some time, I was also joined by fellow classical music compadre and Assistant Project Manager at Iced Media, Kendall Zini-Jones before running into the wonderful photographer Allison Harrell. You can view some of Allison’s breathtaking photographs by clicking HERE.
As I have previously stated before, Diana Warner’s store is both a place for amazing fashion and a wonderful charitable hub in the heart of Gramercy. Also in attendance at the event was Gossip Girl minion (you know her as Jessica) and Ford Model Alice Callahan. Alice’s current involvement with Kenya-based charity Many Hopes is helping to shed light on extreme poverty in Kenya, and provide ways to raise a generation of children who will be given the education and ultimately the tools to eradicate the causes of this social injustice. If you’re into fashion, and also want to help, you can purchase the Many Hopes Bracelet at, where else, but at Diana Warner New York. For only $50, this bracelet helps to find, rescue, house, and educate orphaned and abandoned girls in Mtwapa, Kenya.
All in all it was a great night; I was able to catch up with some old friends, make some new ones, and make some accidentally priceless moments with Gibson Purdom… at least the girl is still laughing! By now, “Gibby” should be well aware why she is my favorite NYC bartender .
Last weekend, I had the delightful chance of scoring passes to the 2012 Vimeo Awards Party. I was excited to find out that the event was going to be held in the Frank Gehry-designed IAC Building on West 18th Street. Mostly because I always wanted an excuse to go inside.
Below is a list (AND LINKS) of this year’s winners, and a couple pictures from the after party event.
2012 Vimeo Awards: category winners
- Action Sports: Dark Side of the Lens by Astray Films
- Advertising: K-Swiss Kenny Powers – MFCEO by Caviar
- Animation: Umbra by Malcolm Sutherland
- Captured: Sweatshoppe Video Painting Europe by Sweatshoppe
- Documentary: Amar (All Great Achievements Require Time) by Pilgrim Films
- Experimental: Prie Dieu by Cokau
- Fashion: Skirt by Academy Plus (A+)
- Lyrical: Symmetry by Everynone
- Motion Graphics: A History of the Title Sequence by Jurjen Versteeg
- Music Video: Manchester Orchestra: Simple Math by Daniels
- Narrative: BLINKY™ by Ruairi Robinson
- Series: Often Awesome The Series by All Aces Media
- Remix: Rear Window Timelapse by Jeff Desom
2012 Vimeo Honorary Awards
- The Honorary Award for New Creators went to directing duo Daniel Scheinhart and Daniel Kwan, collectively known as DANIELS, for their outstanding work over the last 18 months.
- The Honorary Award for Social Change was awarded to worldwide collaborative project One Day On Earth.
- The Honorary Award for Digital Maverick was awarded to openFrameworks, an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding.
My first Saturday back in New York City proved to be a very busy one. I woke up early on June 2nd to visit my friend, designer Smith Sinrod of bySMITH Collection as she prepped for a photo shoot of her upcoming fall line. Like I said, I had a very busy Saturday and had an engagement lunch to attend, so I was unable to stay for the actual photo shoot, so instead I decided to share some behind the scenes photos of Smith and her team.
VISIT THE FOLLOWING pages!
Earlier today, I called up my former coworker Hayley to catch up. When sales started to decline at Beer Parc, Hayley and I were let go from our midtown bartender positions, and subsequently both moved back to our respective states for the spring to try and save up for a bit before returning to the Big Apple. Oh life…
Last week, Hayley sent me an article stating that both Food Parc and Bar Basque were leaving the Eventi Hotel to make way for Jimmy Harber’s ESquared Hospitality group. You know- they’re the guys whose BLT Steak boasts the 99% and 1% Burgers. Interestingly enough, when she sent the article to our former managers and the few people still working at Food Parc, it was the first time they were hearing of their impending unemployment. Way to go China Grill. And I thought I had it bad when I had to train the delivery girl to do my job before I left. I mean, I guess I didn’t have to make her think she had a speech impediment before making her recite various lines from Pygmalion to unsuspecting customers… oops.
Hayley and I talked for nearly hour about our various experiences being home and our plans for returning to NYC. Fortunately, I do have foreseeable employment options when I return, and boy do I plan on doing things a lot differently.
I guess here is the part where I tell you that I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past year. I have, for the most part, enjoyed being home. I was able to attend my dear friend Samantha’s wedding a few weeks ago and catch up with some old friends who I had, until a few gin and tonics at the wedding bar, thought had all but forgotten me. I learned that sometimes, people really do grow up, and that its really empowering when that kid who was a jerk to you in the high school cafeteria now thinks you’re awesome for some reason- I attribute this to current differences in height and muscle mass.
After a recent conversation with my very first (and current) employer Loretta, I realized that even when you don’t want it to, the world keeps on going, and you just have to figure out a way to keep moving with it. There is no other option. I learned something else about myself after she told me this, and that is, without my own goals and the desire to keep pushing forward to the great unknown, I am drastically cheapened. This is my inherent truth because for some reason, it is my nature to endure frequent serendipity, and I feel it absolutely necessary to patch all those fantastic little pieces together until I have something truly wonderful to show for it.
With all that being said, I hope you can forgive yet another hiatus and check back for more random thoughts, interviews and video clips of songs from failed eighties musicals.
While she spends her 9-5 at Victoria’s Secret, Ashly Priest dedicates the rest of her time to meaningful PR projects, charitable organizations and publications, and is also the author of the hip and budget friendly newsletter “The A-List.” Though insanely busy saving the world, Ashly ( also a savagely witty writer) took the time to craft some of her own responses to some deep, burning (okay some of them were superficial) questions I had for her.
Jacob Paul: What is your FAVORITE NYC Hotspot and why?
Ashly Priest : That one is actually a difficult one, I have a couple preferred venues, but mainly for the events they hold, not the ambiance of the place. What makes a great party isn’t just the space, its also the people attending and the atmosphere that they create. Haha, but that is the event planner in me talking! I really love The Bell House in Park Slope Brooklyn because they host such fantastic events, lots of theme dances, food contests and move screenings, but they’re also a great local bar with a chill vibe. And then seasonally speaking, the parks in NYC are just beautiful. A blanket picnic at sunset in any green space of the city is a magical evening with your friends around.
JP:Where are you from originally?
AP: I grew up in a small town in Ohio. I went to the same elementary, middle and high school as my Mother and all of her siblings. But I totally broke out of the mold by moving to NYC for college.
JP: Where did you go to college?
JP: Who do you regard as a significant mentor in your educational career?
AP: The reason I even knew Parsons existed was due to my amazing Senior Thesis teacher in the high school art department, Mrs. McComb. She polled all of the art teachers and they made a Top 10 list of the best art/design universities in the country. She really pushed me to develop my portfolio to apply to Parsons. I owe a lot to her drive to make us better artists and designers and always push the boundaries of what we knew.
JP: Who do you look up to in the fashion industry?
AP: Can’t go wrong with Karl Lagerfeld! He is so creative, he works on so many lines and he has countless collections every year and each one is stunning and original, simply breathtaking. I look forward to couture season every year because it always reminds me of the power of vision and presence, all in the cut of your dress. I do also admire some of the “new breed” of fashion designers doing things with a minimalist bent, take for example Olivier Theyskens. His Spring 2006 collection for Rochas; simple, chic, classic and modern all at once. He cuts pants like a dream! I still have a newspaper clipping from that collection, beautiful simplicity in a pantsuit. I would do horrible things to a person to obtain it!
JP: In your private life?
AP: My Mother. She is amazing, she is such a strong person. She had my brother and I very young, and then she divorced, she raised us as basically a single mother. Education was always a priority for her, she worked nights and put herself through nursing college. I get all of my determination, drive and sassy attitude from her. She seems like a tough cookie, but honestly she is the most caring person and would give you the shirt off her back without even knowing you. I don’t know where I would be without her and all of my wonderful family.
JP: Why did you start the A-List Newsletter?
AP: When The A-List first started it was just an activities email that I sent out to my close friends. The ethos of The A-List is comprised of three virtues; 1.Things that are awesomely fun, 2.Things that are FREE and wallet friendly, 3.Activities and events that I want to do and you should too! It began in August 2010 as a way to connect with my close circle of friends, about 20ppl, so we could go to the NYC free concert and film series together. I sent it out every week, usually Sunday evening, and it covered events from Monday through the following Sunday. My friends and I would meet up in a big group for whatever was going on, and sometimes they would invite other friends. It turned into, “Well I forward your A-List to So-n-So all the time any way, why don’t you just add them to the email chain?” That group of 20 people grew to 138! Haha, and yes, I do know each and every one of them, either through close friends, business or acquaintances. I attend at least 80% of the events each week, I may have developed the reputation of quite the party animal!
JP: Tell me about your job; what goes into your day to day experience?
AP: I bring sexy back! LOL No really, I work in the category called “Fashion and Glamour,” meaning I design pieces that are for “special occasions.” Think wedding, Valentine’s Day and Christmas. Its a constantly changing dynamic because of the brands under Victoria’s Secret. Each brand, i.e. Very Sexy, Pink, Angels, etc. has a different target customer, a different kind of sexy. With Angels its a softer more feminine/romantic kind of sexy, and well Very Sexy pretty much speaks for itself! We start with an overall concept for the company as a whole and then tailor that to the look of the brand. I am so lucky to literally sit down at my desk, draw out an idea and then work directly with our sampling team in China to finalize the fit, fabric, trims and color. This is all done with over sight from the Design Director and my bosses of course, but I can actually walk into any VS store and buy something I have designed! If the novelty of that feeling ever wears off it’ll be time to find a new job, but I don’t see that happening any time soon!
JP: What is the aesthetic you strive to uphold?
AP: Classy, never trashy. Sometimes being sexy is as much about what you’re not showing as what you are. I do this in design and in my daily life. Confidence is the best accessory a woman can have, and like I always say, its not where you bought it, its how you wear it.
JP: What is your favorite A-List Moment?
AP: I was attending an event for Digital DUMBO, it was on the schedule for The A-List that week and I happened to be alone during the party for while due to several people running late. As I was waiting in line for a drink I felt the eyes of the man next to me, he was staring at me hard. To be honest, I was getting a bit freaked out and was debating whether or not to leave the line or look over. Well, I hazarded a glance at him and there was a glimmer of recognition, suddenly he shouts out, “You’re A-List Ashly!” Can I just tell you, that was one of the most elated moments of my life!!! This fellow was a friend twice removed, only through acquaintances did we know each other. Someone I didn’t even know recognized me from the live Twitter feed at the event that he only attended because it was in my newsletter and he was a loyal subscriber! It validated everything I was doing with The A-List for me.
JP: Please share your biggest disaster to date.
AP: The website launch party I planned for jewelry designer Pearl Naidoo was going off without a hitch, until we had to dress the models. Naidoo had a specific vision in mind for the “look” of the models and insisted on buying the dresses for them. I had given her all the model sizes/measurements, but the dresses she bought were HUGE! I was literally safety pinning the models into these dresses in the bathroom, taking out about 5 inches of fabric! I never travel any where without safety pins any way, but now especially I always have them in abundance. A little ingenuity and a safety pin can fix your worst dress disaster!
JP: Favorite Vacation spot.
AP: Any where warm with a beach and a view! I haven’t been on a real vacation in years. I usually use time off to visit my family in the U.S. because I don’t get to see them that often. I’ve been to Puerto Rico and I lived in Florida when I was younger, but I think I would like to try the Bahamas or really any where in the Caribbean. Give me sunshine!
JP: Where are you from?
AP: I grew up in a small town in Ohio that you (and everyone else) has probably never heard of. Grove City, OH is just a little bit country, but only about 15min south of the capital city Columbus. My entire family is from that town. I am not knocking it in the slightest, I love the community and small-town proud we have, but its not somewhere you would stay for a fashion career. Everyone I care about is still there and I visit often, it will always be my home.
JP: What male celebrities do you find surprisingly sexy?
AP: Hrmm, this is kind of a hard one. I do love me some beefcake, haha. Channing Tatum and Josh Hartnett are just gorgeous men and they’ve both had long and loving relationships with their WAGs. I think that is what makes them sexy, they’re committed men and true to their significant others. And, Hartnett is a vegetarian too!
JP: What male celebrity do you find surprisingly smart?
AP: Smart, I would definitely say George Clooney. That man definitely knows what he’s doing on screen, in business, in philanthropy, and presumably, in the bedroom!
JP: You have a gift for connecting people, whether it be through friendships or business… how do you have such a keen sense of how well others will work together or mesh? It seems you can spot a potential friendship or meaningful partnership from a mile away.
AP: Thank you! That is so flattering! I think I get that ability from my Mother, she can really read people well. There is opportunity everywhere, if only you are willing to look for it, the other component of that is also realizing that sometimes that opportunity might take some time to come to fruition. Making connections is only important if you actually use them, having a good memory of where you met whom and when, can lead to so many possibilities. It seems that the longer I am in NYC as my social circle grows, it becomes even more interconnected and everyone has a link to someone else. It is utilizing and recognizing these links that makes the connections possible. All of these elements are also what make a good party, and we all know, I love a good party!
JP: Where have you not yet gone in the world that you are dying to visit?
AP: Am I allowed to say everywhere?! I have been fortunate enough to visit Paris and London for work, but not yet had the time to do major site seeing. I would love to revisit those places on a true vacation. There are just so many beautiful and interesting places in the World, I mean, I don’t know how to pick. I have close friends with either family or homes in other countries so I might start with those places; Finland, New Zealand, Australia, Italy and South Korea.
JP: What are your favorite foods?
AP: Oh geez, everything! Well, within a vegetarian realm. I love things that are cheesy, carb-laden and most likely bad for me.
AP: I love a dry, white wine, like a Sancerre or a Gerwürztraminer. If we’re talking about spirits then definitely a fine whisky or gin, either on the rocks or a gin sour. And tequila if its going to be “that kind of evening.” As for dessert, anything with chocolate!
JP: What is your favorite book?
AP: Can I say “books” if we’re talking about a series? Definitely, although too young for me now, The Chronicles of Narnia because my Grandfather use to read them to me every Summer when I was a child.
AP: The Princess Bride! I have it on DVD and VHS! And the book, haha! Its just so fantastic, the humor, the wit, André the Giant! I’ve probably seen it at least 200 times, it never gets old. I also watched it every Summer while visiting relatives in Colorado, just another fond childhood memory.
- LC MAG Party Featuring Designer Lauren Gabrielson (jacoboheme.com)
- Fab Flash: Gisele and Victoria’s Secret Part Ways (fabsugar.com)
- PHOTOS: Victoria’s Secret Launches Designer Collection (huffingtonpost.com)
- Come Fab Finding With Me: Looking Fab at the Victoria’s Secret Runway Show! (fabsugar.com)
Sometimes, life presents it’s simple, but often hard to reach dreams. Such is my wish to take that trip to Paris on a whim, still in my 20′s without a plan, and a desire to do, well, nothing. In my mind, Paris seems like the perfect place to do nothing at all, but beautifully.
Knowing my love for all things amazing, my good friend Vanessa Angeles called me immediately upon her arrival from Paris to let me know she had a very perishable treat for me to try, and that I just HAD to get myself to her Wall Street apartment the next day for brunch.
To my surprise, I found Vanessa in her apartment grinding a batch of espresso from the famed Caffè Sant’Eustachio in Rome. “Oh my goodness, I hope I get this right!” exclaimed Vanessa excitedly. “I’ve been dying for you to try this!”
Though modest in her barista skills, I do credit Vanessa’s kitchen as being one of my favorite cafes in New York City. “Oh, and I have something else, but you have to wait until everyone gets here!” Sitting on the kitchen counter was the famous Pierre Herme Initiation Chat box filled with 20 macarons made by the man French Vogue dubbed “The Picasso of Pastry.”
I turned to Vanessa “You’ve got to be kidding!”
“Oh come on, I know how much you appreciate things like this and… why can’t I bring Paris back to you?” Vanessa sipped her espresso “This will have to do, but I attest, no one can can make these like the Romans.” She may have that part right. Its rumored that part of the reason espresso in Rome is unmatched is due the purity of the city’s water .
After Sakura Myers and Vanessa’s friend Elena arrived with guests, we shared a small brunch of crepes and Speculoos spread accompanied by our espresso from Caffè Sant’Eustachio, the time came for us to try our ration of the famed dessert.
Amazingly, the salted caramel confections were everything I had hoped for… and more. I simply can’t recall the last time I ate only a few grams of something so delicious, yet was compelled to complete satisfaction. My two salted caramel Pierre Herme macarons were surprisingly more than enough to not only finish off a wonderful brunch, but also forced me to abstain from eating anything else for the rest of day. This wasn’t because I was trying to keep the wonderful taste of an imported Parisian treasure in my mouth, but I was simply full with delight.
- Candy-Colored Confections – The Pierre Hermé Pastries Will Leave You Hungry for More (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Paris Patisseries (leggotunglei808.wordpress.com)
- Paris Sweets: A Photo Catch-Up (doriegreenspan.com)
- A short, sweet revelation (theage.com.au)
See – One of my favorite pastimes is going to the Museums. Living in NYC, you are surrounded by great Museums. With the suggested entrance fees being raised every year it can get to be a bit expensive, so I have found it helpful to know when each Museum has “free” days. I enjoy going to Museums to do research for roles I am learning, the restored historical rooms at the Metropolitan Museum of Art are very inspiring. I also have certain paintings I just must visit, such as Madame X. Brooklyn Museum of Art has free Saturdays, which include curator talks and live music. I would also suggest checking out the wine bar on the roof at the Met. Museum of Art. It has one of the most beautiful views on Central Park. http://gonyc.about.com/cs/museums/a/museumdeals.htm
Break the fast – Food in NYC can be expensive. Brunch is one of my favorite activities to do with friends. It can easily run you $30 if you to places like Alice’s Teacup (a favorite). For those weekends you want to splurge that is perfect, but if you are worried about your wallet (who isn’t these days) Whole foods is a great alternative. Last time I had breakfast there I had oatmeal from the bar which has tons of add-in options for free and hot tea for $3.00! I love to get breakfast (or any meal really) at the Wholefoods at Columbus Circle and then take it to Central Park.
Spa – Spa days are some of the best days! NYC has a lot of options when it comes to pampering. One of NYC best features if that you can be in any neighborhood and find a $20 mani/pedi place! If you are looking for more the internet is your bestfriend. Groupon tends to offer a lot of discounts, but one of the best sites is http://www.spaweek.com/deals/#Manhattan. You can always find great deals on this site. There are also twice annual (on in the fall and on in the spring) spa weeks where you can get just about anything for $50.
Shop – Macy’s… how I love thee! I always find what I need here. A lot of the time you can find the same clothes Saks, or some of the other more expensive dept. stores, carry for less here. Macy’s has crazy sales often. Last time I went to Macy’s I needed a lot of clothes because I was leaving for the summer and needed a lot of new things. I bought $975 worth of clothes for $400. I have found that Calvin Klein looks good on everyone. Also if you have a out of state drivers liscense you can go to the customer service desk and receive a 15% discount coupon for your entire purchase.
Tourist – When friends come to town it is fun to see the city, but friends are always coming to NYC and to go out and pay for tourist locations becomes too expensive. One of my favorite things to do with friends from out of town is pack a snack and take the Staten Island Ferry at sunset. The ferry is FREE and your friends can get great photos of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
Enjoy – The Metropolitan Opera has a free outdoor festival of HD broadcasts. Enjoy the past Hd videos free from Lincoln Center! This is made possible by the Metropolitan Opera Guild. http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/broadcast/hd_events_template.aspx?id=16260&hpgraphic
If you prefer live opera the Met offers $20 rush tickets to some shows.
The very best and cheapest thing in New York are the friendships you make. Those are truly priceless!
- Do You Have A Friend That Embarrasses You? (fresh1027.radio.com)
- New York City: Metropolitan Museum of Art (alainsojourner.com)
- New York City Mothers Day City Guide (proflowers.com)
- Metropolitan Museum of Art renames Islamic exhibit, returns Mohammed images (creepingsharia.wordpress.com)
- ‘Heroic Africans’ at Metropolitan Museum of Art (africaunchained.blogspot.com)
A couple of weeks ago, operatic soprano Raquel Suarez and I had the privilege to attend one of Lifestyle and Charity Magazine’s socialite parties. The chosen venue for their September 22nd event was none other than rising designer Lauren Gabrielson‘s new SOHO boutique. Guests were able to sip, shop and learn about the evening’s chosen charity spotlight, City Harvest. The magazine, which highlights and supports many fantastic philanthropic foundations, frequently has events like their MAG Socialite parties to raise awareness and give exposure to both up and coming designers and awesome organizations you should know about.
For those of you who may not know, City Harvest is a wonderful charity that distributes food to people in need in all 5 boroughs of New York City, and has done so for the past 25 years. This year, thanks to the efforts of countless New Yorkers, City Harvest will be able to collect and distribute over 30 million pounds of excess food from all areas of NYC’s food industry. This is by no means an easy feat, but thanks to continued exposure and selfless acts of kindness, City Harvest can continue it’s mission, “to end hunger in communities throughout NYC by food rescue and distribution, education and other practical, innovative solutions.”
After about 15 minutes of browsing the designer’s swanky boutique and meeting some of Lifestyle and Charity Magazine’s contributors, Raquel and I were able to interview the evening’s hostess, Lauren Gabrielson.
The young, fresh-faced designer has been turning heads since graduating from Michigan State’s Department of Art and Art History. The school (as Lauren explained) has ties with FIT, and allows students the opportunity to study with their visiting student program. Promptly after finishing school, Lauren starting working as an assistant designer for Ginny Hilfiger and her line Ginny H. “It was really a great experienced,” said the designer “…it was during my time at Ginny H that I gained a lot of initial support and was just told to run with my it!”
“It” being her own line of made to measure, accessibly priced women’s clothing. While most other designers might cringe at the thought of constantly tailoring their designs to fit perfectly, to Lauren Gabrielson, it’s all part of what brought her success. “Women would come to me in the Hamptons looking for a dress for something like a White or Pink Party for instance, and they all had trouble finding a simple, classic silhouette, in a simple, attractive color that just fit them well! I was surprised, but it was really something difficult to come by… and I feel, if you’re going to spend a few hundred dollars on a dress, it should be something you can wear next season too.” A novel thought from a 23 year old midwesterner turned New York City fashion designer and entrepreneur.
Even Bethenny Frankel has taken notice of her flattering dresses. The famed Real Housewife, Skinny Girl and recent E True Hollywood Story subject recently wore Lauren’s “Duchess Juliet Dress” on “Bethenny Ever After”… in red of course, that is in true Skinny Girl fashion. And what does this designer think about the reality TV star, best selling author, health food guru and business icon wearing her dress? Literally- Lauren was wearing the same “Duchess Juliet Dress” (albeit in Champagne) when we spoke. “It was really exciting! I got the call from her assistant that she would be wearing my dress and…” Lauren giggled “my poor boyfriend… I definitely screamed out loud a little when I saw it.”
Even with the success, Lauren Gabrielson seems to be more than a little modest, and even a bit unaware of just the kind of splash she’s making. When I brought up the recent comparisons between Diane von Furstenburg’s famous wrap dress and Lauren’s own layered chiffon number to potentially gain similar iconic status, she seemed surprised “Ha! Really!?” It seems you can move the girl out of the Midwest, but you can’t move the Midwest out of the girl.
Just when I thought I was done with interviews for the evening, and just as I was finishing another gratuitous glass of Chardonnay, The evening’s press coordinator, Ashly Priest informed me that their VIP guest, Jen Abrams agreed to meet with me as well. Jen Abrams is one of those people that does just about everything in fashion. From celebrity stylist, to designer to being QVC’s Fashion Production Supervisor, Jen not just well connected in the fashion world, she embodies it. I immediately had one of those “had I known” moments where I maybe kind of wished I had cooled it on the free wine.
Raquel and I both went outside again to meet with our next interview. “Did you tweet me last night!?” asked Jen Abrams upon joining us. I responded with a “no” and admitted that I was a poor tweeter. Recently, however, thanks to publicity I’ve achieved through Twitter because of the awesome tweeting capabilities of Smith Sinrod, Dexter Phillip and Ashly Priest (This girl literally does everything… she already deserves her own chapter in my future best-selling tell all;-) I definitely have more reason to use the social media site and app.
Immediately the sweet, fiery blonde had put me at ease and within seconds, we discovered we both adored the same restaurant in her current hometown of Philadelphia. “I love Parc!” said Jen enthusiastically, “That’s right on Locust and 18th… so good!”
Jen had already given her speech about her appreciation for Lifestyle and Charity Magazine and the evening’s charity spotlight, so I decided to ask her thoughts on Rachel Zoe‘s new line which is currently available at Neiman Marcus. Jen has done commercial styling for numerous celebrities including Kim Kardashian (K-Dash) and Rachel Zoe. “You know, I actually love it,” said Jen with a smile. “Rachel Zoe IS a designer and I applaud what she’s done. There are so many celebrities who start a clothing line just because they can, and they aren’t necessarily one who’s designing.” Jen admitted to working with certain personalities in the fashion industry who simply attach their name onto a brand because they can. “And that’s what’s great about Rachel Zoe, she knows fashion, she’s the creative mind behind it, and these are HER designs.” What was apparent to me, is that Jen thoroughly respects and supports her colleague’s recent leap and hopefully successful business venture. And as for herself? Jen seems comfortable being an ever-progressive fashion savant who can apparently do anything… including Twitter.
Located on 32 East 21st Street off Park Avenue, Gravy is a Southern style restaurant with a metropolitan flair. Featuring the “best grits in New York City”, you can have them three ways- Honey, Cheesy and Porky. Be sure to try Gravy’s delicious Louisiana Crawfish Gumbo Fritters and Corn Flake Crusted Chicken for a truly decadent treat that will keep you coming back for more. Also, ask the bartender to make you a Debutante, the establishment’s alcoholic and fruity spin on the Arnold Palmer. Gravy’s lounge is open at 5pm weekdays for dinner with brunch being served from 11:30-2:30pm on weekends, but feel free to stop in for libation’s in their chic lounge at 4pm daily.
For reservations, call (212) 600-2105
- Fashion’s Night Out @ Diana Warner New York (jacoboheme.com)
- Smoked ham and shrimp gravy with buttermilk biscuits (charlotte.news14.com)
Last Thursday for Fashion’s Night Out, I joined Diana Warner, soprano Jeanine de Bique, jazz trumpeter Mike Cottone, bySMITH Collection, Blue Print Industrial Fashion’s Drew Fabrikant, and the fashionABLE crew to celebrate the grand opening of Diana Warner Studio down in Gramercy. When I arrived, Diana had been bombarded with a last minute delivery… several large pieces of art she had ordered to display in her studio.
Although she was already clad in a little black dress and daringly high heels, Diana quickly grabbed a ladder and hammer to arrange the paintings just how she wanted them.
Within minutes, Mike Cottone was wearing one of Blue Print’s signature t-shirts, and guests were stopping by for shopping, drinks, treats and music.
Aside from jewelry, Diana launched her new tie collection with the help of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 10 winner, Whitney Thompson. The effervescent model helped Diana greet customers and even lent her expertise to some male customers who were having difficulties… that is trouble picking out ties of their own.
Cake Balls and Cookies were provided by Pâte à Chew’s amazing Mary Ellen Stefanou as well as some tasty appetizers by Gramercy favorite GRAVY. While Gravy’s corn flake fried chicken was a winner, the fashionABLE, by SMITH team and I all had extreme difficulty keeping away from Mary Ellen’s confetti cake balls.
As the evening progressed, I kept meeting person after person from Tennessee and realized that although a person may leave the South, Southern Hospitality never leaves a person. Aside from Diana’s wonderful parents and scattered celebs, were over a dozen of the designer’s childhood friends and mentors, all who have supported her long before she took over Gramercy.
To quote bySMITH Collection‘s Business Coordinator Stephanie Cercone “Why go to a bar when you could go to one of Diana Warner’s in store happy hours? It’s the best bar in town!” True story… by my fourth visit to the store (and second event) I realized this was a place where everybody really does know your name.
- Gwyneth, Rachel, LC, Kim, and More – See All the Hot Photos From Fashion’s Night Out! (popsugar.com)
- Urban Palate: Diana Warner (jacoboheme.com)
- Rachel Zoe Makes the Fashion’s Night Out Rounds With Rodger! (popsugar.com)
When my good friend Vanessa realized that her apartment was in evacuation zone A in lower Manhattan for a rare hurricane, she quickly procured a weekend rental in Woodstock along with gallery owner James Hendershot. The two were kind enough to invite me along to escape the storm and I was quick to accept. So with my trusty duffle, my computer bag and yoga mat, I hailed a taxi at 6 in the morning and made my way to Grand Central so I could catch one of the last trains to Poughkeepsie.
When James, Vanessa and London (Vanessa’s schnauzer) picked me up, we quickly drove up to Woodstock to stock up. The streets of the famously liberal town were flooded with paranoid New Yorkers who all decided to make a weekend vacation out of the storm. Like every other misplaced short-term refugee, we stuck out like sore thumbs. If the obvious misplacement wasn’t enough, the locals started laughing at our various purchases of firewood, organic local meats and cheeses, marshmallows, graham crackers, and of course- Hershey’s chocolate.
After garnering more stares and laughs from locals we tried to locate our weekend home with little success and varied directions. Upon arriving at our destination, I was surprised to see so much glass in our supposed “shelter” from the looming storm.
“Aren’t there an awful lot of windows here for a hurricane shelter?” asked Vanessa out loud. “I guess we’ll huddle in the doorways if something happens… isn’t that the type of thing you do in these situations?”
“Unclear” I replied.
In anticipation of the natural disaster, we did what any self-respecting adult would do and hopped in the hot tub with a bottle of Prosecco. With James napping, I caught up with Vanessa in the house’s sun room.
“I just want to make my mark on the world in a meaningful way” said the young financier. “I want to do something really special.”
“You will” I replied, “and you are.” Vanessa is currently working on an amazing project with artists and charity organizations that will come fruition in the coming months.
Already warm and verging on over heating from the alcohol and oversized bubble bath combo, we both looked out at the calm, steady shower, and- as if we were fighting for the last drop of water in a desert oasis- ran outside onto a grassy hill and let the water cool our bodies and overstimulated minds.
Hours later, we lit a fire for the purpose of a cozy winter reminder and of course, to make smores (indoors;-).
“SMORES INDOORS!” exclaimed James as he observed me and Vanessa trying to make the perfect toasted marshmallows. “I can’t believe we’re doing this!” We listened to some music a while before dosing off to the sound of rain gently tapping at the window.
The next morning I woke up to the gentle tapping of Vanessa’s hand. “The power’s out and I have no reception.” I could tell this unsettled her. With several major deals about to close, and all of her main contacts in other cities, this was not the time for a disconnect.
Although calming down and forgetting about work isn’t necessarily Vanessa’s forte, James was able to convince her that a makeshift brunch was not only possible, but would definitely cheer her up. So with the aid of a naturally ventilated sunroom, and a grill, we were able to produce a meal worthy of Sarabeth’s Sunday menu… that is, if Sarabeth’s served cowboy coffee.
The rain settled down for a while and we made our way to a local gas station to see if anyone had heard of anything from Manhattan. It was in the middle of the checkout line that Vanessa discovered phone service and decided to orchestrate a deal between LA, New York, and London.
With the confused locals making their way around the stressed out-of-towner, James checked in with his gallery manager and discovered that the storm didn’t hit Manhattan with half the severity anticipated. “What!?” yelled Vanessa “we need to get back then!” We packed the powerless home up quicker than Barbara Eden could blink horny astronauts in and out of compromising situations.
As we made our way through town, we witnessed the damage caused by flooding and even had to move a tree out of the road to get by. By the time we made it to the highway, we were met by a crazed toll worker who could only scream “GO BAAAACK!” loudly without explanation. Hungry, we were forced to stop at “Johnny G’s Diner” connected to a Howard Johnson.
“Excuse me” said Vanessa to the waitress “we have these steaks in our car that will go bad if we don’t cook them do you think you could…” with a hefty tip in hand, our server quickly rushed to the kitchen and okayed Vanessa’s culinary request. While waiting for our food, we discovered that the Howard Johnson was not pet friendly. With James securing our table in a restaurant that was quickly spiking in volume due to the highway closure, Vanessa and I took our belongings (and the Zip Car) to check in at the Comfort Inn down the street.
“Why isn’t this STARTING!? ” yelled Vanessa when we hopped in the car to go back to James and our quickly cooling steaks. The car refused to start and left us with only the option of walking through a deceptively even field. As our feet sank in the muddy grass, we quickly regretted not walking a few more meters towards the PAVED road.
We walked back into a packed and smoky restaurant staffed by two waitresses who had probably only known a flow of customers as slow and regular as Jamie Lee Curtis’s bowel movements. After waiting about 45 minutes for a banana split, we effectively worked out a way to use the Howard Johnson swimming pool since our motel came unequipped with one.
Although it took over seven hours to get home the next day, we were thankful for the interesting (and blog-worthy) experience. When I returned to my neighborhood, I was bombarded with stories of the amazing Manhattan Hurricane parties that lasted all weekend long and a “you should have been here” from nearly every familiar face that I encountered, but I knew that I had a weekend that, although filled with folly, was much more exciting than I could have hoped for.
- Hello Irene! (ecollage.wordpress.com)
- Come on Irene! (kikiandlalaland.wordpress.com)
- Recent heavy rainfall adds insult to injury to towns ravaged by Hurricane Irene (nj.com)
Located at 307 East 53rd Street in Manhattan, Copia serves up a deliciously wide range of food, drink and entertainment. Why go out to dinner before hitting the club when you can enjoy your favorite foods right at your favorite hot spot?
Copia’s food menuserves up a familiar array of all your favorite standards… and the scene? Copia boasts some of the best people watching I’ve ever experienced in the city.
Besides serving up some great food, cocktails (be sure to try the club’s specialty cocktail Love Lychee), the service was impeccable. Upon discovering we were celebrating my dear friend Rachel Hall’s last evening in New York City before leaving to Shreveport Opera, the club’s owner, Junior Santiago graciously ushered us to a private VIP section and treated us to a round of Patron and cocktails- truly a gracious host.
So the next time you’re looking for a place where you can eat, drink, dance, play beer pong, or even guest bar tend… check out East 53rd St’s Copia, you’ll be glad you did.
It is no secret that I love food and wine, and it is perhaps the fault of my next guest for expanding my own palate exponentially. I asked Patrick Siegel to share in his own words, his favorite wine and food pairings and ways that you can create a substantial experience in your own kitchen- without spending an arm and a leg for a vintage bottle of Dom Perignon. You can find this lovable man at the Meatpacking District’s Gansevoort Hotel acting as rooftop manager for the popular NYC hotspot PLUNGE.
Memorable wine and food pairings:
I have been very blessed to have had many stunning food and wine pairings in my life so far, mostly due to other people being generous enough to let me try them. Some highlights: A 1990 Chateau Latour with baby lamb chops, various vintages of Chateau d’Yquem with foie gras in various preparations, but the most recent one that stands out, was at Fux Bar + Restaurant + Kultur in Lech, Austria, a place I worked at as Sommelier for 2 winter seasons. I had a 1996 Dom Perignon with a selection of Maki & Nigiri Sushi. The delicate sweetness in the champagne and the delicate, slightly oily texture of the fish were a heavenly combination. The acidity in this very fresh and youthful champagne was the ultimate pairing with the raw fish.
In general I must say, I think that people over think when pairing food & wine at home. My opinion: whatever you like works. If you love cabernet, and you love trout, drink cabernet with your trout! There are certainly better wines to complement your dinner, but at the end all that matters is that YOU enjoy it. So don’t let anybody tell you any different. Some things you can hardly ever go wrong with are chianti with hearty pasta dishes (think meat sauce) or Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand with light salad dishes. my favorite wine pairing in the summer is a bottle of German riesling, paired with a glass and an afternoon off on some porch outside.
When shopping for those wines, stay away from anything under $6 and over $15. in that range you will find surprising deals (especially at Trader Joes, best cheap wine selection I have encountered). If you go under $6 just remember: this wine is cheap for a reason. No need to save 2 dollars on wine and then spend an extra 10 on aspirin the next day.
- Wine and Food Take Center Stage at Flavor! Napa Valley™ (prnewswire.com)
- Wine Tasting & Food Pairing: Comments Keep Rolling In (wineindustryinsight.com)
- New iPhone App Based on Popular Wine Software Uncorks Program Includes Unique Wine/Food Pairing and Drink-By Dates Technology (prweb.com)
- IntoWine.com Launches Food and Wine Pairing Tool (prweb.com)
- New Events New Stars for 2011 Osoyoos Celebrity Wine Festival (prweb.com)
Shortly after writing about Diana Warner’s “Fight Like the Gladiator” t-shirts, I caught up with the jewelry and accessory designer at her new Gramercy boutique to see first hand just what makes Diana Warner Studio “the happiest little boutique in New York City.”
As I entered Diana Warner’s unique boutique, I was immediately greeted by both a welcoming staff and warm interior. Not surprising since Diana’s younger brother, an architect helped her design the store. “When I first moved to the city, my brother and I would walk around to look at different buildings and he’d give me lessons on the architecture.” Diana reminisced about her college days when her and her brother lived right across from each other “it’s hysterical that a lot of our work actually coincides… we are definitely on the same page mentally and aesthetically.”
As Diana showed me around, it became evident to me that Miss Warner really puts herself wholly into everything she does. “We still have some work to do with the place” said Diana as she showed me all of the handcrafted pieces made from reclaimed wood, a Romanian hutch from the 1930′s, and even a Mexican bar. With the boutique’s occasional cocktail evenings, you can be sure the bar is still getting plenty of use.
While looking around at the wonderful assortment of clothing and jewelry in the store, its difficult not to notice the occasional Gossip Girl still photos scattered about. Diana’s jewelry is starting to become more of a frequent guest star on the hit series than Taylor Momsen. Diana’s pieces have been featured on the show since that famous Thanksgiving flashback scene during season one between Blake Lively and Penn Badgely. Other celebrities who have updated their look with the Diana Warner touch include Kelly McRae, Rachel Ray, Natasha Bedingfield and America’s Next Top Model Whitney Thompson. In fact, Natasha Bedingfield can be seen wearing Diana’s Disco Ball Earrings in her new collaborative video with Rascal Flatts for the song “Easy.”
“She was actually the very first celebrity who wore my stuff” recalls Diana “when she wore one of my necklaces to a red carpet event. Initially I had no idea what she looked like since I had only heard her on the radio.” Diana laughed “she has such a powerful voice I really thought she was going to be a bigger woman!”
A delighted customer shared her enthusiasm for Diana’s celebrity clientele when the designer greeted her and welcomed the women into our conversation. Thats right, Diana is personally at her store every day (or at least it seems) meeting and greeting her varied customers. This is partially because she and her creative team work skillfully in the back of the boutique assembling the company’s jewelry to sell both in the store, and ship out to wholesale buyers all around the country.
Next, I was ushered over to a wall covered with vibrant scarves by my enthusiastic hostess “and here are the fashionABLE scarves we carry.” Diana explained that profits made from sales of the scarves directly affect and support women in Ethiopia who were formerly forced into prostitution. And thanks to people like Barrett Ward, the founder of The Mocha Club( a charitable organization that provides basic necessities to the people of Africa), fashionable people like you can help create sustainable business for people in a country where half of it’s population is currently living in extreme poverty. The numbers in Ethiopia’s capital city alone are overwhelming; in Addis Ababa, over 150,000 women are involved in prostitution. The scarves in Diana Warner’s boutique are hand made by women in the capital city who have been given a chance at rehabilitating both their lives and pride. It was easy to see Diana’s passion for this project as she went on “… another neat thing is that each scarf comes tagged with a handwritten note saying because of you, I am able to able to send my son to school, to feel dignity in my work… it’s really a wonderful organization.” And the price? “…the great thing is they are so affordable” said Diana “the scarves are $22 $28 $32 and $38, so they also make a great gift!” And Diana’s pick? “Amethyst- the color of my soul!” You can watch the fashionABLE women’s stories online by clicking HERE.
“Then we have our tie collection!” exclaimed Diana. “The cool thing about my upcoming tie collection is they’re Italian silk, they’re made in Manhattan and bagged in fashionABLE bags made out of organic cotton from Ethiopia so they’ll also be giving back.” She went on to explain the that the boxes for the ties will say “Italian silk, made in America, affecting Africa.”
In addition to the amazing fashionABLE items in her store, Diana’s Obligato Collection (necklaces and earrings between the cost of $50 and $62) provides 10 Africans with clean water for an entire year. I quickly realized that an hour with Diana Warner was just as uplifting and inspiring as a Don Miguel Ruiz book. As we meandered about, she showed me more of her amazing jewelry and pointed out the jacoboheme.com favorite bySMITH Collection pieces she carries in her store. In the back, where her associates busily work to assemble jewelry and ship out many of the store’s items, its easy to pick out Diana’s desk. Why? The creative clutter may have given it away, but what I most liked about her work space, was the sign hanging above her desk in bright red party letters that spelled “joie de vivre.” It is this “joy of life” that is not only apparent when you walk in the store, it’s contagious.
Diana Warner New York is located at 42 East 21st Street New York NY, 10010. Be sure to stop by and see for yourself why this is truly the “happiest little boutique in New York City!”
- Fight Like The Gladiator (jacoboheme.wordpress.com)
Trinidad & Tobago born Dexter Phillip has been making his beauty mark on New York City since the tender age of five. Using the unique and vibrant city of New York as his inspiration, Dexter Phillip has created a unique urban palate all his own with DEX New York Cosmetics.
For this interview I decided what better way to learn about an artist’s craft than by watching him work? I asked soprano Courtney Mills to act as a human canvas for the interview as DEX demonstrated his craft.
I was interested to know how a boy from the British West Indies came to be a purveyor of high quality, high definition mineral makeup. “When I was a makeup artist, I always felt so bad for the models at runway shows who had this stuff caked on their faces that was awful for their skin.” He explained that the models would often have problems like acne and rashes on their skin caused by cosmetics.
Regular makeup can contain numerous harmful parabens that don’t just clog your pores, but have recently been linked to health defects such as cancer. Unlike regular mineral makeup that may contain shiny Mica or Bismuth Oxychloride (so dehydrating) as a base, DEX’s makeup contains a unique peptide complex at it’s core, blended with 24k colloidal gold to allow for efficient penetration to deliver long-lasting coverage.
I watched as he smoothed Courtney’s face with his Mineral Tinted Hydrator “and this is wonderful because not only does it give excellent coverage, but it also has an SPF of 20.”
I quickly realized that DEX was a master of multi-tasking as he added “I wanted a product that would not only be beneficial for the skin, but could also be used on the runway and photo shoots… and now I’m using High Line Metallic Blue as your eye shadow base.” I found it interesting that DEX, while a mineral makeup company, offered such a wide range of vibrant colors whose pigments showed up so vibrantly on the skin. I guess that’s why it’s “DEX Modern Minerals!”
“I always say that healthy doesn’t have to be boring” explained DEX “it’s sort of like going on a diet; you want your food to taste good. You shouldn’t feel boring after you’ve put on your makeup… and what I’m doing now” said DEX as he turned my attention to his careful application of Courtney’s eye makeup, “I’m applying Wall Street Onyx to her outer lid, this will also act as the eyeliner.” After Courtney gently closed her eyes, DEX’s Wall Street Onyx transferred perfectly to line her lower lids.
“I didn’t want to compromise glamour in my line” said DEX while he blended the apples of Courtney’s cheeks with a Mineral Pressed Blush: Nolita Roman Mauve. After working so long in the fashion industry, it was important for DEX to not only have a mineral makeup that was beneficial, but was also fun. I quipped that his makeup was made out of the stuff you wish MAC was made out of, yet did everything that you wish Bare Minerals did. I continued to watch as he completed Courtney’s look with his Mineral Pressed Bronzer: Jones Beach Ultra, and Christopher Street Orchid lip gloss.
And what is DEX excited about next? “Mineral Re-Touch!” he exclaimed “it’s a new customized concealer and foundation.” Soon to be available, this product is the perfect finishing touch for your look “… it’s the perfect skin corrector and photographs really well!”
All of DEX’s foundations are SPF 15, and as I mentioned above, the Tinted Hydrator is SPF20. Along with procuring a set of nice makeup brushes, DEX highly recommends the Beauty Blender. Available at Sephora, this handy tool can help you achieve the best look possible.
In addition to a wonderful array of vibrant eyeshadows, soothing hydrators and dazzling lip glosses, DEX New York Cosmetics also offers a wonderful sunless tanner. Body Glow sunless tanner is a DHA- based mist that goes on evenly by spraying your face body at arms length- no need to rub. The main ingredient, dihydroxyacetone can be found in sugar beets and sugar cane. DEX Body Glow is a rumored favorite of Carrie Underwood who’s 2009 Grammy Award-Winning look was made complete with DEX’s own City Center Brass eyeshadow.