Empire State of Mind in New York City

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There’s just something about New York. It’s the thing that urged artists like Frank Sinatra and Jay Z to write the songs that we end up quoting on our Instagram posts.

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that there’s always thousands of people around you, everyone on their own mission, or the sea of yellow taxi’s flooding the streets, or the chaos of the city being broken by the absolute tranquility of Central Park, or the promise of success in the names like ‘Broadway’ or ‘Wall Street’. I guess it’s different for everyone.

It is, however, a very overwhelming city. I tend to take a day or so to get used to the pace and intensity that New Yorkers seem to handle with great ease, but then suddenly feel like I have been living there my whole life (except for the parts where I get completely lost and where the lady at the coffee counter doesn’t understand my South African accent).

I am lucky enough to have an amazing cousin, Ilana (who happens to be one of my favourite people on this planet), who lives and works in this city, so instead of taking on the impossible task of trying to find a reasonably priced AirBnB in Manhattan, I get to live in an apartment in the Upper East Side. Ilana is also an exceptional tour guide.

It’s hard to do a day-by-day of what I did, where I ate and what I experienced while in New York, so I will tell you about the places that I feel you HAVE to visit when you find yourself in New York.

Where to eat:

 

1. Grand Central Oyster Bar

This is an institution in New York and the best place to have your oyster and champagne fix! Don’t sit at a table, turn right when you enter the restaurant and take a seat at the bar where right in front of two cheery guys chucking the very oysters you are about to indulge in

2. The Boathouse Lakeside Restaurant, Central Park

Even though The Boathouse is very well known among tourists and we see it in many a Hollywood movie as a chic wedding venue, it’s not touristy at all. Although you have to be well dressed to get a table at the restaurant on the water, they don’t take reservations which adds to the relaxed atmosphere of this gorgeous place.  Also, they offer good take away breakfasts and coffees if you would rather enjoy Central Park from one of their park benches.

3. Joe’s Shanghai, China Town – The home of Soup Dumplings

Don’t let the exterior of China Town stop you from having the best soup dumplings in Manhattan. I would recommend the Pork Soup Dumplings, with a very close second – the Pork and Crab.

Mexicocina, The Bronx

If you would happen to find yourself in the Bronx (I know, it’s not usually where you would end up when visiting New York), do yourself the favour. They made our guacamole fresh and they give you a whole bucket full, not like some places who give you just about enough for one taco. Have the grilled beef hard shell tacos. Yummy.

5. Seamstress, Upper East Side

Fried Cauliflower and Seared Sirloin to die for. Have a couple of plates to share.

Where to have a drink:

1. The Plaza Hotel

When you go through the main entrance, make your way left and then up the stairs on your right. Go sit right at the bar, the bar ladies are very friendly and you get a snack plate along with your drink. This is where you have the Manhattan in the heart of Manhattan.

2. Apotheke Bar

The ultimate Speakeasy. You won’t see a sign outside of the bar, just enter the darkest door you can find and you will be transported to a 1930’s chemistry, except instead of mixing medicine, they mix cocktails. This is also close to Joe’s Shanghai, so this is a good place to have a drink before or after stuffing yourself with Chinese Food.

3. Dear Irving, Gramercy Park

Another Speakeasy from another era. You might have to share a table with a couple of impeccably dressed New Yorkers (you won’t find a single tourist here), but you won’t ever have to flag down a waitress, just push the button next to your table and your waitress will be there in 5 seconds. Have a Dirty Martini.

4. Any Dive bar

New York has bars EVERYWHERE. You can’t go wrong.

What to do:

1. Watch a ball game

Whatever it is: American Football, Basketball, Baseball – they’re all good fun. I watched a basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics. Even though we don’t have good basketball in South Africa, it’s such a easy and entertaining game to follow. Especially when you have a foam finger and they shoot t-shirts from big t-shirt shooting guns 4 times in the game.

2. Go to a Comedy Club

There are a couple of comedy clubs around town, just Google one in your area and you are bound to find one close by. I loved it. They pour the wine glasses to the brim and some of the talent ain’t half bad. Just don’t order food, it’s not worth it.

3. Go to a Jazz Bar in Harlem (Ginny’s Supper Club)

Harlem is one of the areas where jazz got it’s soul. This is the best place for a mix of Southern and Swedish food (weird, I know, but delicious). This is where the first waffles and fried chicken meal was ever eaten. Remember to book and ask for a table where you are guaranteed a view, we got lucky and could literally feel the talent and passion of these jazz musicians. This is a MUST do.

4. Take the ferry to Staten Island

Don’t do a trip to the Statue of Liberty. The view is better and it’s a hell of a lot cheeper just taking the ferry to Staten Island and back.

5. Take a walk up Madison Avenue

Although 5th avenue is great for shopping the brands like Prada, it’s hectic and busy. Window shopping in Madison Avenue from 59th street and up is much better.

6. Watch the sail boats in Central Park

Central Park must be one of my favourite places in the world. Combine that with cute kids playing with remote control sailboats and I’m hooked.

7. Times Square at 5:30 in the morning.

Throughout the day, you won’t find a single New Yorker in Times Square. It is most definitely the busiest place I have ever been in my entire life, lights and people everywhere! But, I walked though Times Square on my way to the subway station when I headed to Brooklyn for my half marathon. It was so peaceful. Although the lights on all the billboards were still flashing like crazy, there was not more than 10 people in sight. If you want to experience this iconic landmark in NYC, do it while everyone else is sleeping and you are about to run a half marathon in freezing temperatures.

These are a couple of the gems that I had come across in the time that I had spent in New York. I absolutely love this city for its mix of food, fashion, lifestyle and personalities.

I always feel like I am leaving a day or two too early, just as I start looking the right way for traffic before crossing the street and just as my pronunciation of ‘water’ is so that the waiters understand me, I have a flight back home.

I am however excited to see my dogs.

Until next time NYC!

A B xxx

(EDIT: if you happen to fly from Terminal 7 on JFK, have the Korean BBQ Chicken Wings from Blue Point Restaurant close to Gate 1. They are delish.)

 

 

bomber jackets 101

The ultimate cool item in your closet, The bomber jacket. Every celebrity and street-style stars have been wearing these jackets this season – and for good reason. This will become your go-to staple item for this awkward half-winter-half-spring time and also then especially in the summer, (although we all have trouble admitting that summer does not always consist of 32 degree beach days) where we sometimes need something light to take the chill out of a windy summer night.

I found myself a floral bomber for a bargain and decided to wear it in an athleisure style. I kept it sleek with all black everything and wore it with an amazing black top from River Island. The top is basically a crop, but then has chunky netting down to the waist with an open back (it gives you the idea of those 90’s athletics shirts with the mesh). I finished my look with tight black jeans and my Adidas RMDs.

Bomber jackets have a way of adding an edge to your outfit. This can be done either subtly, with a soft champagne coloured bomber, or full on with a bomber covered in patches or embroided flowers. I have put together a little collection of style-inspiration. See how these girls pair anything from a crisp white button up shirt and jeans to loose flannels to  denim skirts.

Here are some of my favourite looks:

If you are wondering where you may find one of these Gems, go have a look in

Factorie

Cotton On

Adidas Original

Witchery

Do yourself a favour and invest in a bomber jacket for the season. You will never find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to wear ever again! (that might be a bit of an overstatement – but you know what I mean)…

May your ambition be on fleek this week.

A B x

 

outfit of the day – 8 october

This past week has been one of the most exciting and important weeks of my life. I presented a whole marketing campaign to a major international company as part of my final assessment of the year. It went extremely well and I finally had a weekend that was more than one day long.

Although it has been spring for more than a month, today was a picture perfect Stellenbosch winter’s day.

I started my day with a 10km run in the Stellenbosch Mountain. I set out while it was beautifully sunny and ended my run with a 3km sprint in the rain! It was, however, amazing to be outside since I have spent most of the past month indoors, working on my project and working at Coco Safar (the luxury coffee shop where I waitress).

My boyfriend and I treated ourselves to lunch in town – something we haven’t done in ages. He took the opportunity to snap some shots of my outfit in the streets of Stellenbosch, with neon green oak tree leaves announcing spring time.

My outfit today consisted the midi skirt that my mom sent me all the way from Pretoria. I wanted to wear it with a simple crop, but because of the weather, I paired it with a grey Zara jersey, which I think worked really well. My white platform Supergas made another appearance (I know, I am one of those people who gets something new and then wears it constantly for the next month).

I loved wearing a long skirt for a change, you will definitely see me wearing this skirt more often.

I hope you have an amazing week! Again, thanks for your support on my blog.

love love love

A B x

outfit of the day. 14 august

Cape Town is known for the fact that you can experience all 4 seasons in one day. Today this has been absolutely true! This makes it basically impossible to wear something that will be perfect all day long.

Since I wanted to blog about the top I made last weekend, I decided to push my luck. I faced this morning’s icy wind and the afternoon’s downpour in my new crop top. It was all worth it, though,  when we spent an hour at the Waterfront while the sun broke through the clouds. There is nothing quite like a crisp winter’s day on the harbour..

Pierre (my boyfriend and designated photographer) and I had a quick hour to grab a cappuccino and get some sun before we had to head back to home to do some university work. We made use of this time to play around with his camera and get some shots that I can share here.

My outfit today revolved around the crisp white over-the-shoulder long sleeved shirt that I made myself. I wanted to showcase the detail of the bows that I used to replace the traditional buttons of a long sleeved shirt.

I paired my design with neat navy pants from Zara, a pair of white Nike Air Max Thea’s and a navy jacket with gold detail from Forever New.

Please let me know what you think of the design of the shirt, it would mean the world to me.

love

A B x

outfit of the day. 31 july

The sun is shining for the first time in about two weeks (I am such a heliophilia)… so spent the entire day outside. I had my morning workout on the university sports fields overlooking the most beautiful mountain range around Stellenbosch, spent the rest of the morning sipping on a refreshing glass of gin&soda at an outdoor market and went long boarding in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve with my boyfriend in the last moments of the sun.

My outfit today was a bit of old-school-meet-new-age. My new Adidas NMD’s made another appearance today, as well as my favourite pair of black Country Road jeans. I added a bit of vintage with an old paisley scarf that seriously needs some patching and my boyfriend’s vintage denim jacket that he bought in Israel earlier this year – although he looks much better in it than I do.

That wraps up my weekend as well as my first week of blogging!

A B x

outfit of the day. 27 july

Today I had the perfect excuse to wear my Timberland boots. It was freezing outside and snow had fallen around the small town of Ceres, and since we rarely ever see snow in South Africa, we decided the 2 hour drive from Cape Town would be worth it..

Although the snow had melted in the areas that we would have been able to reach (the tips of the mountains were still a brilliant white), we still had a great day.

Today I wore my over sized blue Country Road jacket, Timberland boots, H&M scarf and jersey and a pair of jeans that I stole from my mom – I would love to share where they are from, but my mom cuts out all the labels from her clothes, she is such a hippie.

and check out the view…

A B x

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Bain’s Pass. Wellington. South Africa

outfit of the day. 25 july

Mondays call for your favourite, most trusted and usually oldest pair of jeans. Mine is from Country Road’s 2009 winter season. I have patched it where time took it’s toll and ripped it to create a whole new feel to the jean.

Today I wore my black Country Road jeans with my leather jacket from Mango, scarf from H&M and my new black/peach/pink Adidas NMD runners.

A B x

my first step into the fashion blogging world

Today, 24 July 2016, is the day that I take my first (shaky) stem into the world of fashion blogging. It is, in fact, a very scary thing to do. I have wanted to do this for such a long time, but with school and growing up and all that, I have never gotten around to  it. Until now.

So welcome! Welcome to the place where I will be sharing my outfits, inspiration, tips and someday some of my own designs.

So, to get started I had my wonderfully talented and stylish photographer-boyfriend to help me.We took on the rainy weather in Cape Town and went on a mission around the city to find the best coffee. I was dressed in my TopShop camel coat, a grey scarf and knee high socks from H&M, a new green skirt which I bought from a street vendor in Hanoi, Vietnam and my favourite ankle boots.

I will be posting on my blog as well as on Instagram and Pinterest, so make sure you check me out and give me a follow.

Welcome to my world.

A B x