Fall is by far my favorite season and it’s truly a magical time in New York City. I love the changing of the leaves in Central Park, crisp air and going out to watch football. This fall we looked into some great seasonal activities that don’t require having a car.
We spent this past weekend in Westchester picking apples, pumpkins and taking hayrides. We were looking for a farm with a real country feel but not crazy far away. So, we settled on Outhouse Orchards in North Salem, New York. It takes about an hour and ten minutes by train from Grand Central to get there. Once you get to the train station there, call and Uber and it’s about another ten minutes by car. (There is also another orchard just down the block from it called Harvest Moon if you want to hit up two orchards in one day).
Outhouse was sprawling and had so many different activities to do. We settled on a hayride, a walk through a corn maze (this was a must since neither of us had ever done it) and apple picking. There were still a ton of apples on the trees, so the timing was perfect.
We liked that Outhouse was really lax about allowing us to bring food and alcohol. Before we headed out in the morning we visited our local market and picked up sandwiches, snacks and a bottle of wine. If you prefer to eat there, they have pizza, barbecue and other food for purchase. It was a seriously perfect day and we were back in the city by 6:30pm. Pro tip: arrange in advance for an Uber to pick you up to take you to the train station because that was the one hiccup.
After, I used my favorite apple crumble recipe here to cook the fruits of our labor.
Want to have a fall experience without leaving the city? Head to the Standard Hotel in the East Village. I adore the Standard East Village for fully embracing every holiday and season, and Halloween does not disappoint. They have decorated their beautiful outdoor courtyard with a pumpkin patch and hay and other amazing touches that makes it a delight to sit out back amid the green and orange hues while sipping on fall cocktails such as cider, apple schnapps and hot toddies. We stopped in this past weekend for a drink and stayed longer than we anticipated because the ambiance was so spot on. Added bonus: it’s just a quick subway ride away and their food is spot on if you’re hungry.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and while I’m pretty much afraid of my own shadow, I also love being scared. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. So, on Friday night we went to Blood Manor haunted house.
It was super fun and each room in this warehouse has a different theme, like a scary meat market, a 3D maze, a doctor’s office etc. It clowns abound as do men with chainsaws and other characters that pop out at each and every turn.
We spend a lot of time traversing back and forth to the West Coast, and one of our favorite cities is San Francisco. Between the weather, views, history and buzz around the tech industry, it’s high on our list of favorite U.S. cities. I’ve compiled a list of our must-dos overtime I’m in the area:
Food & Drink:
Leo’s Oyster Bar in the Financial District is toward the tippy top of my dining list. The decor to Leo’s is truly spectacular. Think palm-tree printed wallpaper with dripping chandeliers and gold touches throughout. It’s guaranteed to produce the most perfect Instagram post because each place you turn is super cute and harkens back to a different decade.
We recently had dinner at Leo’s and the oysters are the shining stars on the menu, but the crab and lobster cake with bacon was one of our favorite items, and the shrimp cocktail and tea leaf salad was awesome, too. For drinks — trying the “lunch” martini with picked vegetables. Reservations are a must.
Flores: This Marina District Mexican restaurant is equal parts buzzy and delicious. It is also a stark reminder that California Mexican food is infinitely better than New York Mexican. We ate guacamole, halibut ceviche, carne aside and carnitas, all family style, while sipping on spicy skinny margaritas. Would totally recommend it to readers, as the food is packed with flavor and they have lot of options that are low-carb, high-protein. The decor is also really fun and we liked the lively vibe.
Foreign Cinema: This hotspot in the Mission is a great place for dinner or brunch. It’s indoor-outdoor and features a giant movie screen that plays old films nightly while you eat. The menu has a great raw bar selection and lot of shareable, as well as local California favorites and touches, so the produce that goes alongside the main entrees are really on point.
Locanda: This Mission spot is low-key and unassuming, but the food is anything but. We went here for brunch last Sunday and had a great meal of a breakfast panino, scrambled eggs with the most amazing spicy tomato sauce, hash browns and bacon. We also had pizza bianca with jam. Just typing this is making me want to diet. The Mission area is up and coming, so if you want an excuse to walk around the Mission, Locanda is definitely worthy of that.
We spent a night at a new immersive theater experience called “A Night At The Palace,” which was such a fun time. This experience is a mix of theater, lounge, cabaret and gambling, all set in a 1920s speakeasy. I loved that you must dress up in accordance with the time period to attend, so my friends and I set out to find feather headbands, satin gloves, pearls, suspenders and other gear to fit in with the theme. Given the prohibition-era vibe, you check in to the show by meeting on a street corner where a man in a trend coat gives you your “prescription” before being guided to a speakeasy. Everyone stays in character and the decor of the theater looks really authentic and the costumes are so creative.
We stayed at the Palace for around four hours because there was so much to take in. There is a fabulous burlesque and comedy show that is a must-see (make sure to make a reservation) and there is also a casino set up with chips to play roulette, black jack and other games. The experience is very well-executed and you do feel like you’ve been transported back to the 1920s.
Presidio Park Hike: For a great hike with views of the city and Golden Gate Bridge, Presidio Park has some great trails. We did a two-hour walk that brought us by gilded homes in Pacific Heights, giant redwood trees and a park overlooking the iconic bridge.
Golden Gate Bridge: The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is the ultimate workout (and free to boot). Whether you walk it, run it or bike it, and it is the ideal workout experience because you are surrounded by gorgeous views, meaning your workout will fly by. The trail is 1.7 miles each way, and it is steep at parts. I did stop a few times to take photos (it’s too beautiful not to).
Mission Delores Park:While there’s no true equivalent to Manhattan’s Central Park in San Francisco, Mission Delores Park has been described to me as being in its peer group. This 16-acre park is set on a hill offering great views of the city. It attracts a diverse and young crown, equipped with beers, picnics, music and books. It’s a great way to spend a late morning or afternoon like a local.
Clarion Alley: Down an unassuming side street in The Mission is Clarion Alley, an alley dedicated to vibrant street art that is definitely worth a gander. Many of the murals are politically charged (I loved one that read: “Men, Put Down Your Guns) and many are just colorful and beautiful. It’s the perfect spot to find a fun backdrop to stand against for your Instagram.
Napa: Venture an hour outside of San Francisco to Napa Valley or Sonoma to sample some amazing wines. There are literally hundreds of vineyards to choose from (and some great restaurants). To see our complete guide to a day in Napa Valley, click here.
Primp & Prime: Cinta: For blowouts, look no further than Cinta’s Blow Dry Bar. I recently had the opportunity to be pampered at Cinta at their Grant Street salon and luckily I had a few meetings and a dinner that evening to show off my shiny locks.
After washing my hair, the stylist applied an amazing Kersastase treatment that is meant to add shine to your hair and cut down on frizz. It lasts two months or so and costs $35 at Cinta. After, I got the most amazing swingy blowout with big waves and lots of volume. Benjamin, my stylist, gave me the most amazing brush curls and lots of height at my roots — something I really struggle to do on my own. They have a great menu where you can pick beach waves, a sleek straight style, or other looks for $45.
I love that the Kerastase treatment has lasted weeks later. My hair is shiny and hasn’t frizzed, which says a lot given the humidity in New York City in the summer. I would totally recommend Cinta to friends or visitors in the area. It’s a great spot to go before a meeting (takes less than one hour) and is super chic. Or, you can have a day of pampering with friends before a big night out.
Rosewood Sand Hill Sense Spa: For massages, the Rosewood on Sand Hill in Menlo Park is the most amazing and decadent experience. The spa is uber luxe, and the entire grounds at Rosewood are also beautiful. I’ve had countless meals in their restaurant, Madera, and drinks out back on the patio or by their pool.
Their massages are a bit pricey ($165 for 60 minutes), but it’s one of the best massages I’ve ever gotten. After the massage, there is a whirlpool to relax in or you can chill in the garden. They also have a great gym you can access before or after your workout.
Exercise: Pop Physique: This barre class in San Francisco’s Russian Hill and Mission neighborhoods delivers on every level. The location is ideal, surrounded by amazing restaurants and bars and shopping, meaning you can make your workout social. The studio is flawless and fun, with hot pink barre balls, bamboo floors and fun gear (we love the “Barre so Hard” grippy socks) and most importantly, the class is kick ass. I recently took a class with Maddie and came out sweating. We did a mix of weight work, barre work and core, and your legs will shake throughout, which means your muscles are really engaged. I liked the pace of the class as well because the instructors communicate how long you have left for each move and guide you through the exercises.
Core40: I had no idea what to expect before I went to Core40 for a full-body reformer workout. I left pleasantly surprised (and a bit sore). Located in the adorable Nob Hill neighborhood (but there are a number of locations in SF) is Core40, a light-filled studio filled with 12 megaformer machines that will give you a killer workout. I loved that the class was small in size, and that the instructor went into detail on how to do each move correctly. Even as a newbie, I found myself picking up the moves relatively quickly. We went through a series of exercises on the reformer that worked our core, thighs and arms, doing lunges, resistance work and other exercises. Plus, the music is high energy, which is an added bonus. They also offer a class that is half spin, half pilates which sounded great for those who want to get some cardio.
For our complete guide to boutique fitness classes in San Francisco, click here. For our guides to Napa Valley vineyards, and restaurants, click the pink links.
In another sign of completely conspicuous consumption, Christian Louboutin is pairing up with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop to create a line of baby Louboutins. And yes, they will even have teeny, tiny red soles.
While I personally think it is extravagant to drop $250 on a pair of shoes that your baby will outgrow in like 2 months, people are losing their shit over the forthcoming line.
The line, called Loubibaby, will launch on November 16th and will look like Mary Janes with a bow to the side. They will be available at Goop.com
Here’s a crossover collaboration we can completely get behind. French fashion house Balmain is coming up with a limited-time capsule collection for Victoria’s Secret. And talk about a debut — the new collection will premier at the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai.
We think this premier makes all the sense in the world. Balmain wunderkind Olivier Rousting knows a woman’s body and creates some of the sexiest cuts and designs right now. He’s dressed the entire Kardashian clan, most of the VS angels and half of Hollywood’s beauties. Stay tuned — the fashion show is November 28th.
The winter season is great for those of us who like to dress up. Usually, you get invited to at least one Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s party. They are a great chance to spend a little extra and dress in a really glamorous way. Fortunately, there are some fantastic party dresses available in the shops, which are suitable for all shapes and sizes. Some tips:
It is best not to wait too long before buying your party dress. The latest you want to leave it is the Black Friday sales. Pretty much everyone goes shopping then, so the best dresses tend to sell out over that weekend. For me, the Black Friday sales are all about getting some nice Christmas gifts for bargain prices rather than buying wardrobe staples. Sometimes you are lucky and pick something nice up, but the clothes that are on offer in these sales tend to be from last season.
The little black dress
As usual, there are plenty of little black dresses on sale. You really cannot go wrong with this style of dress. All cuts are available, all you have to do is to choose the one that suits you the best and use the way you accessorise it to bring your look up to date.
There are some especially nice velvet LBDs around, this year. This stunning fabric is stiff enough to sculpt your body and skim over any little bumps you are not keen on showing to the world. Velvet is perfect for a special party. It very much falls into the luxury fabric category, so you will blend in perfectly if you wear a dress made from this fabric.
If black is not for you, do not worry, because there are some really lovely wine coloured and light red velvet dresses available. For a slightly less classic look, opt for patterned or crushed velvet instead of the traditional kind.
A lot of fashion designers have opted to use metallic fabrics for their party dresses this year. Silver lamé is the main trend, but there are some quite nice gold ones around too. However, you need to bear in mind that this look is not likely to last long. Every time this fabric has come back into vogue in the past, it has typically only remained popular for a few months. Therefore, you may not want to spend all of your money on a shiny dress. A better approach would to buy a relatively cheap one for the office Christmas party and spend the cash you have left on a LBD, which you can wear early next year.
It is nice to see that embellished dresses are still very much on trend. The added weight that the beads and embroidery thread adds means that these dresses tend to hang well. However, you do need to think before you buy one because it may require special care when it is time to wash it. This article explains how to clean an embellished dress properly. As you will see it can be quite time-consuming. So if you are not the kind of person who is prepared to do this you are probably better off going with one of my other party dress suggestions.
This week I managed to do the near-impossible. I secured a dinner reservation to what is one of the hardest restaurants in the world to get a seat at — Sukiyabashi Jiro.
My boyfriend and I are spending a week in Japan next month, and my one, big bucket list item of the trip is to eat at the restaurant made famous by the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” (If you haven’t watched this, pull it up on Netflix asap because it is super interesting and gave me such an appreciation for the art of sushi).
Ever since I watched this documentary two years ago, eating at Jiro has been very high on my overall bucket list, but I was skeptical the day would ever come. I did a ton of research on how to snag a reservation and this Business Insider article “Every Single Insane Thing I’ve Done to Score a Reservation in Tokyo” made me really down on my chances.
So, I set out to try and get a seat at the famed restaurant, which only has 10 seats per reservation time, to willingly shell out the $230/head which does not include drinks and taxes. I was so deadset on eating here that I even told my boyfriend that I would take dinner at Jiro over exchanging gifts at Christmas this year, and I love Christmas.
Here’s how getting a reservation works. The restaurant only takes reservations once a month on the first of the month for the entire month after. So, if you want to eat in November, you must call on October 1st. Now, I don’t speak Japanese and the timezone issue is a tough one. I had also heard that they don’t readily grant reservations to people with American accents, unless you are an Obama.
Instead of risking it myself (I mean, I’ve never even placed a call to Japan let alone spoken to someone by phone there), I enlisted the help of my hotel. (Note: Japanese hotels that are four or five stars have the best concierges that will book loads of things for you, so remember to take advantage of this service). We are staying at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo and already their service has been amazing, as will be evidenced below.
I emailed my concierge on September 27th and explained that I would literally do anything to get a dinner reservation at Sushi Jiro. To increase your odds of getting a reservation do the following:
*Make sure to brief your concierge days ahead of the first of the month deadline so they are armed with everything they need to get a reservation.
*Be flexible on which Sushi Jiro location you will eat at. There are two — one run by Jiro, one by his son.
*Be flexible on time and date of your dinner. We said we could eat dinner at any time and on any night we were in Tokyo.
Now, the results. On October 1st, we were made aware by our concierge that we had gotten two seats for dinner service at Sushi Jiro Roppongi at 5:30 pm (!!!). And yes, the reservation is on the early side, and my first choice was to eat at the Father’s restaurant, but still I can’t describe how elated I am. I promise to report back after the meal in a blog post about it (And subsequent blog posts on ALL the food we eat in Japan along with Travel Guides)
Have any suggestions on what we should do, see or eat while in Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m obsessed with eyelashes. The longer and thicker, the better for me. And while I luckily have really long natural eyelashes, there was nothing I loved more than my eyelash extensions before I developed an allergic reaction to the glue they use to adhere it. So, alas, fakes aren’t an option.
That’s why I was so glad when friends turned me on to Rodan & Fields’ Lash Boost. I was pretty skeptical of this product at first because I never buy anything I see in my Facebook feed out of principle and because I couldn’t understand how a serum could trigger lash growth. But, after a few months of using it I can wholeheartedly call it a miracle worker.
The process is pretty simple. Before bed after you’ve washed your face, you apply a line of Lash Boost across your lash line and then sleep. Admittedly, I’m not the best about doing this every night, and I still have great results. Within a few weeks, my lashes began looking thicker and the outer edges saw a definite growth in terms of length. I haven’t had any adverse side effects at all. I’ve been getting tons of compliments on my lashes since using it.
As summer transitions into fall, many trends come and go but the gingham print seems here to stay. We saw gingham everywhere this past season from dresses to bathing suits. What started as a summer favorite is quickly becoming a year-round staple in our closets, and something we can easily see wearing apple picking or visiting vineyards this fall for wine and cider. To take this print from summer to fall try a darker color scheme and layering with cozy sweaters. Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate the look, across an array of price ranges.
A great take on gingham is this deconstructed midi skirt, paired with a cashmere sweater and killer booties, available from ASOS for $51!
Last weekend, my boyfriend and I did something we’d never done before. We ditched our Manhattan apartments and got a hotel room in Downtown New York at the Andaz Wall Street.
We decided to fully embrace a different part of New York we’ve never lived or stayed in while also checking out a luxury hotel and doing some pampering. It sounded a little extravagant given the fact that we both have our own places, but from the second we checked into the hotel, any doubts quickly subsided and we fully were into the idea.
The Andaz is super luxe and modern. Our room was ginormous, with towering high ceilings, a beautiful layout and just a really sexy vibe to it. We were provided with high-end C.O. Bigelow toiletries, a free minibar stocked with snacks and soft drinks, a deep bathtub and separate waterfall shower that made for a giant bathroom suite.
I really fell for the design aesthetic and unique touches throughout. Behind the television, for instance, is a bench in front of a vanity with a giant mirror that is perfect for doing your hair and makeup in. We used the entire set up as a salon, workspace and kitchen.
There were other unique touches, too. There is a giant bureau that rotates in four different directions, with an armoir, full length mirror, etc. The lighting options in the room were awesome. One button brought down black-out shades to block out the sun. There is also a “relaxed” setting and other options for mood lighting. The hotel hosts a wine happy hour in the lobby daily from six to seven that is complementary. There is also free coffee, tea, cookies, croissants and muffins in the morning, which is such a nice touch.
One of the best parts about the staycation was being able to wander around a different neighborhood for an extended period of time, and checking off restaurants/bars and other sights off of my local bucket list, but also happening upon cute spots.
Case in point, on Saturday while we were walking to the subway to go to the music festival, we walked down Stone Street, a charming cobblestone street closed off to traffic in the middle of the financial district. The street is lined with charming bars and restaurants with large, wooden picnic tables outside of each to eat and drink al fresco. It happened to be the street’s annual Octoberfest celebration, so in addition to all of the normal fanfare, they had sausage booths and giant mugs of beer set up. So, we grabbed some sausages, beer and took in the scene, eating and drinking in the sun.
If you stay in the area, we came across a local institution that you must visit for amazing, New York style bagels. Just a short walk from the Andaz, is a breakfast spot called Leo’s Bagels. Don’t be frightened by the line, it’s for good reason, because the bagels and their toppings are great. My boyfriend had a really difficult time choosing between the now fewer than 9 times of salmon and lox they had on offer to go on his salt bagel with cream cheese. Oh, for the more carb conscious, they also have flagels and tofu cream cheese spreads.
One of the most decadent things we did was order room service at 11 pm after a long day out at the concert. And as expected at a hotel such as Andaz, it was amazing. After dancing all day in the sun, we ordered two dirty martinis, a chicken sandwich, seared tuna and buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes. It truly made me feel like Eloise at The Plaza, and something I think we will be repeating at least once every time we explore other staycations.
Cocktails: one of the best cocktail bars in New York City is the Dead Rabbit. And, it just happens to be walking distance to the Andaz. Now, be prepared to wait for a seat at the bar, so put your name down and be patient. The ambiance at this bar is super eclectic and charming (it looks more like a British countryside pub than a bar in the middle of Manhattan), and their cocktails are so creative.
There is a giant luxury shopping center nearby called Brookfield, that has great shopping, but also great food. France’s answer to Eataly is there, called Le District, that is a French Market, food hall, cheese monger and wine bar. It also happens to be a great date spot.
I know we’re starting to think ripped jeans and chunky sweaters, but trust me on this one — there is no better time to stock up on design bathing suits you’ve been eyeing all summer for less than half the price. I just went on a serious buying binge and had some really good finds that have me itching for a winter vacation on the beach. Here are some of my best finds:
I’ve wanted Marysia bathing suits for a while, and love the design aesthetic of their signature scalloped edges, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay between $400 and $500 for a bathing suit. But, right now, the designer is heavily discounted. See below.
I just bought this entire Marysia Antibes bathing suit for less than $200! It usually retails for $172 for the top, and $165 for the bottoms. It is laser cut and I love the color. It also comes in black.
This one-piece halter neck is one of the brand’s more recognizable looks, and right now it is marked down to $175 from $319!
If you want something a little edgier, I love their metallic prints. This metallic one-piece is on sale for $199, down from $363.