New York

High Costs of Womanhood

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Being a woman is, like, super expensive. This thought occurred to me as I was tallying my living expenses in an effort to budget for a potential move to the East Coast. $50 for mineral powder here, $25 for face cream there (by the way, that’s a significant compromise in and of itself)…all of a sudden, shampoo and the innocent planned frozen yogurt haul accumulate to a cost of living of over $20,000 (not including the most important and most expensive factor: rent). Obviously some concessions must be made when one considers a move to the Big Apple. But where do you draw the line? When does living and working in the fashion capital of the world become less of an exciting, compromise-laden adventure and more of a quality-of-life draining burden?

Working in the fashion industry is a double-edged sword. You’ve got to look good to survive. Self-presentation is essential to making a good impression in an aesthetics-driven industry, and one must make it clear that she has a sense of style and taste that is on par with the company she desires to be associated with. In layman’s terms, you’ve got to dress for the job you want. Unfortunately, maintaining a quality wardrobe on the salary of an entry-level employee is extremely difficult. Hence, my hesitation in shaving off a couple thousand big ones from my yearly allotted clothing budget. Where can I skimp and where must I uphold high (albeit, higher than average) standards for the products and merchandise that I bathe in and live in everyday?

Democratically, acclaimed brands have been trickling their designs down to suit the price points of affordable retailers (think: upcoming collections like Phillip Lim for Target and Isabel Marant for H&M). Yes, it’s a cool concept and it has seen its fair share of success (case in point: the wildly popular Missoni for Target line), but it’s getting old. Firstly, I am convinced, no matter what anyone says, that the designers have no hand in designing the final product. Yes, the cut of that Jason Wu for Target dress might have a silhouette with an ever-so-slight likeness to one from Wu’s RTW collection. Yes, those gigantic overstuffed Margiela for H&M coats might bear a small similarity to the avant-garde features of Maison Martin Margiela’s collections. Simply Vera by Vera Wang? Don’t even get me started. Secondly (and in any of these instances), the lower price points are achieved with distinctly lowered quality. And when the fabric isn’t right, the garment isn’t right. Cheap textiles = a cheap look. There is no compromising there. Zara is a glimmer of hope in my jaded view of the fast fashion sector. I am often impressed with the offerings and pleasantly surprised by the flattering cuts and decent fabrics Zara markets. However, even Zara has its share of missteps; and slinky, poorly finished garments are all too common.

Another conundrum: sulfate-riddled shampoos are bad for your health and bad for your hair. At the moment, upping the price tag seems to be the only defense against these harmful chemicals (sulfate-free shampoos can cost you upwards of $20 a pop). What’s a girl to do? My extra-full brows need cleaning up at least once every two months (and that’s pushing it). When you can’t tackle the task yourself, $450 per year is the price to pay. Beauty is pain, in more ways than one.

I love ‘things,’ as evidenced by many of my previous posts. I accept, with pride, the positive benefits that these indulgences have on my appearance; my home’s appearance; and, most importantly, my self-confidence. Continuing to consume is consistent with my ideal self and lifestyle (after all, this blog was created out of a love of beautiful things); but even considering my overwhelming passion for shopping and collecting and using, I am giving the concept a second look. What can I eliminate to make my life more manageable? How can I knock down my cost of living? I’ve been lucky enough to never be without – all through my formative years until now. I know that I’m fortunate and that these issues are small in the grand scheme of the world. But real talk: How do you make concessions? Where do you do without? I want to hear your story! Give me the magic answer!

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New York

A new adventure on the horizon

I want to be a blogger. I confess. But as of yet, I have been unable to pinpoint a cohesive idea or point of view from which to write – an essential feature in any successful blog. Glancing below, you will note my feeble attempts to jump start this vision. It has been 7 months since my last post – a post inspired by the concrete jungle, New York City. Fittingly, the post that I am currently writing is motivated by an opportunity in that same big city. In May I will embark on a relatively short, two month stay in New York to complete an internship at the fashion publication, Harper’s Bazaar. I am excited and nervous to begin, but am sure that it will be an invaluable learning experience. In the next few months, I hope to journal about my summer experience in the city, and perhaps even piece in a few unrelated posts. Stay tuned!

– Molly

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New York, Restaurants, Shops

Neighborhood Report – West Village, NYC

A recent three-day stint in New York has left me feeling inspired to share some of my favorite spots in the famously admired neighborhood of Manhattan – the West Village.

Extra Virgin

http://www.extravirginrestaurant.com/#/home

This neighborhood spot attracts diners from around the city. It boasts a cozy atmosphere, delicious plates, and great people watching. Gisele Bundchen, Anderson Cooper, and Robert Downey Jr. are among the celebrities that frequent this joint, commonly for brunch.

The Place

http://theplaceny.com/

The perfect place for a romantic evening. Nestled on a quaint, residential street, The Place offers exquisite cuisine and an intimate atmosphere. The menu changes with the seasons to bring only the freshest selections to diner’s tables. Options tend to be on the pricey side, but ten percent of each bill is donated to one of 30 diverse charities. Great food and atmosphere coupled with social responsibility – now that’s the type of dining that you can get behind!

Bookmarc

A one of a kind shop presented by the retail king of the West Village, Marc Jacobs. Bookmarc offers an incredible selection of coffee table tomes. From the bizarre, to the beautiful, to the educational, you won’t be able to leave the store without purchasing a book (or at least lusting after one). In addition to reading materials, the shop touts affordable, branded supplies. Pencils, Sharpies, bags, journals, and post cards (all adorned with the “Marc” name) are just some of the trinkets available for purchase.

Mercadito Grove

http://www.mercaditorestaurants.com/grove/

Authentic Mexican with a creative twist. This restaurant has multiple locations – three in New York, one in Chicago, and one in Miami. Though it is not exclusive to the neighborhood, it’s still worth a visit. Their not-to-be-missed guacamole and unique tacos are my favorite menu items.

Lovely Bride 

www.lovelybride.com

This quaint bridal boutique lives up to its name – “lovely”. The shop specializes in on-trend, stylish gowns that don’t break the bank. The atmosphere, owner, and employees are sure to make your shopping experience feel special and individualized – just what any bride would want in preparation for their special day.

Wilfie and Nell

http://wilfieandnell.com/

Though I’ll admit that I’ve never actually patroned this bar, I’ve walked by many times with longing. The paned windows of the enchanting tavern cast a glow onto the street and expose the rustic yet elegant interior. Delicious cocktails, imported beers, and surprisingly scrumptious bar food are just a few reasons to take a step into Wilfie and Nell.

Diptyque

http://www.diptyqueparis.com/

The legendary French perfumer boasts a prime retail spot on the most desired block of Bleecker Street. The gorgeous scents wafting subtly from its doors are enough to draw in any casual passerby.

Your Neighborhood Office

http://www.ynonyc.com/

Your Neighborhood Office (YNO) is one of those businesses that you see in movies and read in books, but don’t encounter in real life…until now.  As a locally and independently owned business center, YNO employees will do just about anything to help you out. Offering numerous services such as a 24 hour mail box, passport photos, personal shopping, printing, bookkeeping, shipping, computer repair, and even messenger services, no problem is left unsolved. If the service is not listed, just ask – you might be surprised!

John’s of Bleeker Street

http://www.johnsbrickovenpizza.com/

This pizza joint makes a common appearance in the transition scenes of the hit sitcom, Friends. Voted as the best pizza in NYC, it’s endorsed by many a celebrity. Though the fame of this restaurant adds to its intrigue, the goodness doesn’t stop there. John’s dishes out classic, tasty pizza. If you decide on John’s, you will certainly leave with a satisfied stomach and no regrets.

Pasticceria Rocco

http://pasticceriarocco.com/

This family owned, Italian bakery has been in business since 1974. Rocco’s invites you to “indulge in sweet tradition” and sample their pastries, cookies, cakes, and seasonal items. My two favorite treats are the “Large Chocolate Chip Dipped Cookie” and the ever-so-yummy “Banana Cream Pie”.

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