Monday, October 20, 2014

Chicago Trip

Happy Monday! I got back last night from a fun trip to Chicago to visit one of my best friends from high school, J. She's currently in grad school there, so M and I decided it would be the perfect time to check out the city. Neither of us had ever been before, and we were so excited to see J and experience Chicago.

After getting off a late flight Thursday night, we woke up refreshed and ready to explore on Friday. Since J had class, M and I were on our own! We found the Chicago transit system (CTA) to be very easy to navigate. Our first stop was the Art Institute of Chicago.

It's a gorgeous museum, and I really loved the impressionist wing. We also highly suggest the miniatures room on the lower level. A former Chicago socialite constructed miniature replicas of famous rooms all over the world, and it is incredible. Our minds were blown!

After our museum jaunt, some refueling was in order, and we followed J's suggestion to get deep dish at Lou Malnati.Yum.

We then walked off our pizza through the gorgeous park up to the bean. We never understood why people always took so many pictures in front of it but let me tell you, it's addictive! Selfies galore!

We headed back to meet J and then went to a restaurant in Old Town, Adobo, for dinner. It was gourmet Mexican and incredible! I went with their quinoa and veggie tacos and was very impressed. Our waiter was also super enthusiastic and kept bringing us margarita after margarita.

It was a good thing we were in a giggly state because up next was a comedy show at Second City Comedy Club. Many famous comedians like Tina Fey once trained and performed there. Needless to say, the show was hysterical.
On Saturday we headed to Eataly for coffee before our late brunch. If you're not familiar with Eataly, it's an enormous Italian grocery store and restaurant created by Mario Batali. There's one in NYC as well but the NYC store is smaller, more crowded, and has much lower ceilings. As a result, I usually feel like I'm about to meet certain death by the gelato stand. The original Chicago store is much more spacious and has a larger selection.

We then stopped at Glazed and Infused. Holy doughnut.

We then headed to lunch at the RL Cafe. As soon as we decided we were making this trip, brunch at the cafe been my one request. It totally fulfilled all my navy & gold, dark paneled, equestrian portraits, and preppy dreams. J had the lobster bisque and a caesar salad while M and I both went with the grilled cheese and tomato soup. Chic American comfort food? Yes please.

We also popped into the store itself, and it is beautiful. I was forming a Christmas list in my head from all the cashmere, tartan, and leopard!

Our next destination was the John Hancock center, the second largest building in Chicago. We waited in line for a spot at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor. The views of the city were incredible! One of my freshman roommates from UVA had recently moved to Chicago and joined us for drinks as well. It was so much fun getting to catch up with her and hear about her exciting move.

Image courtesy of J

It was such a fun and food-filled trip! Thank you J for hosting us and showing us a great time!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Upper West Side Sunday

The Museum of Natural History has long been one of my favorites because I love animals. The Hall of Mammals gets me as excited as a first grader. I would also like to note that while we were there this weekend, a wedding was being set up. A wedding! Under the big giant whale. My dreams come true. I can feel my mom shaking her head at me right now.

Once we got off the subway by the museum, we popped into a diner for some grilled cheese. Grilled cheese, greek salads, and chocolate chip pancakes are my favorite diner foods.

After chowing down, we headed into the museum and straight up to the 4th floor- the dinosaurs! I don't know what it is about dinosaurs, but I can't be around fossils without repeatedly making my own Jurassic park like sounds. It's a miracle my boyfriend still dates me considering I growl like a T-Rexx and ask to have my picture taken with every one of these guys.

Then we headed straight down to the second best floor, the lower level. This is where the hall of mammals and hall of biodiversity with the famous giant whale are located.

Currently, on this floor there is also a Spiders Alive exhibit. Please note my face regarding this matter.

Following our adventure, we strolled down towards the Columbus Circle mall. It's an urban shopping center at the Times Warner Center located near Lincoln Center. The mall features C. Wonder, J.Crew, Hugo Boss, Williams Sonoma, and several more shops. For some reason, I had never entered the Williams Sonoma there and holy moly it is amazing. I've always had an obsession with Williams Sonoma catalogs and can't wait to register there for a wedding one day.  This Williams Sonoma features an upper level with home decor. I was dying.

And how cute are these?

We finished off our evening with some white wine, garlic shrimp, Anthony Bourdain, and a Giant's Game.

How was your Sunday?

Friday, October 10, 2014

This Week's Round Up

Let's start with last weekend. A's parents were visiting us, and we headed to Connecticut to break the fast on Yom Kippur at his Aunt's house. I was pretty excited to wear my favorite pair of leopard heels (DVF old, but similar here). It has been really great spending time with his family over the Jewish holidays. And now we still have Thanksgiving to look forward to and Christmas with my family!

Speaking of family, A has been out of town this week so my Mom and dog Sophie, came to stay with me for some company. I worked from home on Wednesday and have really enjoyed getting lots of quality time with them this week. It's so nice having my Mama around!

I ordered a new pair of Caroline's from the Tory Burch sale. I find them to be the most comfortable of her flats for travel and everyday wear. 

As I mentioned yesterday, I also received my copy of Elements of Style! I loved reading Erin Gates's personal essays in it. She is absolutely hysterical and definitely reminds me of myself in some ways. I was even inspired to redecorate my nightstand again. It's the most feminine corner of our apartment, and I love it that way! Unfortunately, living with a boy can result in some arguments around things like pink, lucite, and prints of shoes on the wall. I try to restrain myself to a few corners. 

American Horror Story Freakshow premiered this week! To be honest, I didn't feel scared enough and am not sold on this season quite yet. It's certainly less campy than Coven but not has terrifying as Murder House and Asylum. This girly girl loves to be terrified!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

My Favorite Coffee Table Books

I was super excited to finally receive my pre-ordered copy of Elements of Style this week! I've been reading the author's (Erin Gates) blog Elements of Style for about a year now. I was late to the game in finding it, but quickly fell in love with her charm and humor while discussing style and her interior design business. Ps: My Mom and Sophie are staying with me for a few days this week. Hence why Sophie has been making an appearance on Instagram.

My other favorite coffee table books both old and recent include,

The French Dog
If you're a dog lover, you will be AWWWing constantly at these gorgeous photos of French pups in their natural habitat. You'll find them lounging in coffee shops, chateaus, and countryside cottages. It's very charming, and I keep it right on my coffee table front and center.

Beauty at Home
Aerin Lauder's book has been a big hit over the past year. One thing I love about this book (besides the gorgeous images), is learning more about Aerin, her family, and what she finds inspiring. For me, a good coffee table book needs to contain more than just pretty images and this one does just that.

At Home with Carolyne Roehm
If you're not familiar with this Connecticut based designer, you are missing out.  Carolyn is a designer and event planner who makes Martha Stewart look like a slob. Prepare to be intimated.

An Affair with a House- Bunny Williams
O Bunny. Bunny is one of the most famous interior designers of our time. She creates beautiful, traditional, and creative spaces. Her book, An Affair with a House, features her own country estate and is extremely intimate in nature. You feel as though she is walking you through the grounds herself describing her garden, home, and pets with pride.

The Welcome House: The Art of Living Graciously
This book only came out about a year ago so many of the style are still very current.  If you're a traditionalist like me, you will die over  the beautiful interiors that are formal yet inviting. Southern hospitality just radiates through.

My Portugal 
George Mendes is the head chief and owner of a popular Portuguese restaurant in NYC, Aldea. My Mom recently picked up his book and passed it on to me. We were both happily surprised to see it filled with very traditional Portuguese recipes and anecdotes about his family that remind us so much of our own.

Natural Histories
The American Museum of Natural Histories in New York puts together gorgeous books for the nerd in all of us. Although their covers are beautiful, the inside features pages and pages of never before seen rare books and original sketches.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Favorite Fall Coats

Living in a climate with four full seasons has its pros and cons. You really need four entirely different wardrobes and appropriate outerwear for each season. So what kind of outerwear do you need for Fall in NYC?

Let's start with the most lightweight September and early October option, the quilted Burberry jacket. I've had mine for years now, and it holds up incredibly well. It's extremely lightweight and can carry you from casual settings to evening quite easily. My jacket is baby blue so I tend to wear it more in the Spring than Fall. If you're looking for a Fall shade, I would suggest classic black, navy, olive, or even a fun red!

Other lightweight Burberry options include a classic trench or raincoat.


Looking for a less expensive option? The J.Crew field jacket is also very chic and does well in the rain.
Now let's move on to Barbour. Even though Barbour is famous for their rugged outdoor looks, don't ignore their quilted options and cavalry jackets as well. I wore my Bedale to death through college and still love it. It's a great pick towards the end of October as it's a bit heavier. In Virginia, I could wear it through the whole winter with a liner inserted but that does not happen here!


We even match!

Last year, I received the Cavalry jacket as a gift and love it for city wear. It's warm but not heavy and a little less casual.
Now what happens by November? It's time to bring out the big guns. Last year, I purchased a long J.Crew toggle coat that keeps me warm up until about 30 degrees. I wore it my entire trip to London and loved that it kept me comfortable but still looked nice in pictures. J.Crew factory is actually selling a less expensive version this year! Snag it!

I also really love this Burberry camel toggle coat. However, I can see it quickly getting destroyed on my daily subway rides and not worth the investment. One day. Sigh.

Now once it hits January/February, it's time to bring out the big Michelin man puffers. However, I refuse to even post anything about those beasts until later. Too many bad, freezing memories!