Mar
20

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How To Be Parisian In NYC

caroline-de-maigret-how-to-be-parisianIf I wasn’t such a die hard New York girl, I’m certain I’d live in Paris.  Never mind I don’t know a lick of French and as a vegetarian can’t eat 90% of the food–let’s not get caught up in the details.  But I’ve long had a fascination with French girl attitude and style, and own every single book ever written on the subject.  When my French girl woman idol (the one and only Caroline de Maigret, swoon!) recently came to the French Institute in NYC to discuss her book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits, you bet I was right there, taking vigorous notes.

Here’s my takeaways on how to embrace your inner French girl, in NYC–or wherever you may be.

1. Don’t be afraid of aging, ever.

“Enjoy the face you have today. It’s the one you’ll wish you have 10 years from now.”

2. Savor every moment–even the routine ones.

“Have a Saturday night on a Wednesday.”

3. Style > Labels

“You don’t have to spend a decade’s worth of salary on your wardrobe, or flaunt designer brands the whole time.  All you need is one signature item: the one you wear when you need to feel strong.  The signature item is a gift that a woman gives herself depending on her age, her taste, and the size of her purse.  It is a symbol of independence and freedom, which states, ‘I bought this for myself.  I earned it and it makes me happy.'”

4. Makeup < Culture

“Go to the theater, to museums, and to concerts as often as possible: it gives you a healthy glow.”

5. Black will always be the new black.

“Black is the color of celebration, the color of nights that never end, of women who pull the blinds to shut out the dawn.  A long, dark silhouette, slender and elegant, walking through a crowd of long, dark silhouettes, slender and elegant.  That is the definition of a party here.”

6. Talking about diets and flaws is a no-no.

“Be aware of your qualities and your faults.  Cultivate them in private but don’t obsess.”

7. French faux pas that we Americans can learn a thing or two from.  Never, ever:

“Ask someone at a party what they do for a living. // Be ‘friends’ with your children. // Fish for compliments. // Use ‘I’ve had one too many’ as an excuse for inappropriate behavior. // Take yourself too seriously.”

8. Don’t overdo the accessories.

“The smarter the outfit, the less jewelry you need.”

9. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore.

“Agree to (at least a little) exercise but only in ‘beautiful’ surroundings: a run in a picturesque public park or a swim in a historically listed pool.”

10. Take time for you.

“Call your grandmother on her birthday and rinse your hair with cold water just like she taught you, listen to your children, breathe deeply, take the time to make fresh-squeezed orange juice for breakfast, to go to a museum, to go for a stroll in the woods and to listen to the sounds of tiny creatures in the grass.  In summer, take the time to compile a scrapbook of pressed flowers with a child, to read him a story.  Take the time to take time because nobody else will do it for you.

Her book is playful, honest, with the exact amount of dry humor/sarcasm you can expect from a French self-help book.  And anything that can justify my croissant + butter in the morning and red wine with lunch…well.  I’m all in!

Do you have any French tips you swear by?  Share below!

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Mar
19

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Not A Fan Of “No Reservations”–But This Place Is Worth It

unnamed-7I’m not a huge fan of restaurants that don’t take reservations, and I’m even less of a fan when there’s a 1.5 hour wait.

Outside.

In the cold.

unnamed-5But Tea & Sympathy has been on my afternoon tea radar for sometime, and seeing as how we blocked off the entire Saturday afternoon for the small pleasures of scones and British accents, we wo-manned up and stuck out the wait (this was a few weeks ago, on one of those 17 degree days…pity party, table of 3 please!)

Not only does the cafe not take rezzies, they also don’t have a proper list where they write your name down in order of appearance…it’s all done on the honor system of who-got-here-first, which can be a bit confusing when there’s a large crowd of people milling outside the cafe.  And every time someone would ask how long the wait was the standard response was “30-45 minutes” (even after we had been standing there over an hour.)

Oh! And your entire party MUST be present when they finally do get around to calling your name, or else they skip right on over to the next group. Important to know that you can’t just leave one person there to hold the spot while the rest of the group window shops the West Village, as was my original idea;-)

unnamed-6With all these rules that go directly against my Type-A personality, I was prepared to dislike Tea & Sympathy, I really was.  Once we finally were called in, fingers full of frostbite, tummies a’ grumbling, I was muttering “this better be the best scone I’ve ever put in my mouth after that nonsense”–(what can I say?  NYC has robbed me of my patience.)

Now–I can’t say for sure if I was so cold and ravished by the time we sat down that anything would have tasted like the best scone ever, or if it really was the best scone + clotted cream + jam ever, but it was a really enjoyable tea.  (Tea turned dinner at this point–and the veggie pie was really hearty and delicious, too!)

unnamed-2 unnamed-4 unnamed-3I will for sure be returning to Tea & Sympathy…only from here on out I’ll make it a “70+ degree day when I have nothing but time” stop.

Do you frequent places that don’t take reservations, and if so, what’s the longest you’re willing to wait?  Let’s chat in the comments below!
Mar
18

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UsedYorkCity Inspiration #22

unnamed^^The coolest wall art at Bar Catalonia.^^

1. The 18 best bakeries in NYC. (via Business Insider)

2. Macaroon day is this Friday (free macaroons, people!)  This bakery is turning out a new flavor every hour for 24 hours! (via Racked)

3. Household hacks to make life easier. (via Mashable)

4. Sometimes it’s easy to forget…but there’s more to New York than NYC! Add these to your NY Bucket List–I, for one, can’t wait to experience Boldt Castle and Walkway over the Hudson! (via ILoveNY)

5. Super proud of NYC’s Pajama Program for being one of the 10 awesome book charities that help kids all over the world! p.s. we’re hosting a spin class fundraiser on April 11th, and I would LOVE to meet you guys there! Get your tickets here–it really doesn’t cost too much more than a normal Soul Cycle class, and all the proceeds go to getting books and pj’s for our kiddos!

What’s been inspiring you this week?  Share below!

xo,

Jess

Mar
17

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4 Cliché NYC Dates You Should Try

GelatodiVitaly3

I’ll be the first to admit that I can be pretty oblivious to the perks of living in my own city. The novelty of living in the city that never sleeps can be remarkably easy to replace with House of Cards (I can’t even tell you how much this show completes me) and a bottle (or two…) of wine. However, when we had friends visit us earlier this year (they were NYC virgins), I was forced to objectively open my eyes and look around me (read: find shit for us to do).  I mean, I can’t really expect other people to love (or even truly appreciate) the comfort of my couch as much as we do. Here are some of the things we did—feel free to be proud of my activities-that-don’t-involve-staying-in efforts.

1. Pin it to win it

Am I referring to Pinterest? Usually, yes. Always. However in lieu of being anti-couch (which is where I do my best Pinteresting), I’m instead referring to one of my favorite, long-lost pastimes—bowling! That’s right; we took it to the lanes and threw down. We went to Frames with a group of 6 (so cost wasn’t terrible) and the atmosphere was uh-mazing! Because food is the center of maybe everything I do, we also split a party platter (I don’t like to brag, but my cost-splitting skills are basically ninja-level). Drinks were a little steep, so we only had a couple (we weren’t there too long anyway). All in all, it was time and money well spent—we all said we’d do it again!

2. Hello gelato!

I am one of those people that truly loathe paying full price for anything (my exception: the hair salon—if you skimp here, you regret it instantly…) so it surprised nobody when I told them that this date-night item was the direct result of Groupon. I thought it’d be fun if we took a cooking class of some sort (because, food) but was struggling to find something that wasn’t $100+ per person. Cue: the best day of my life. When I was browsing through Groupon, I found a deal for a two-hour gelato class (ermahgerd gelato!! Ice cream’s sexy, older sister). The whole experience was legitimately a blast from beginning to end—AND you get to take gelato home with you!! Pro-tip: bring a cooler (with ice) and wear comfy shoes.

3. All That Jazz

Admittedly, we splurged a bit for this one—but you can’t visit NYC for the first time and not see a Broadway show. If it’s possible to be in love with an entire cast of people, I’m positive I’m head-over heels for the cast of Chicago. The Cell Block Tango might be one of the best numbers ever, and I have to say—our friends agreed! Going to a show is actually something that my husband and I do on a fairly consistent basis (we’re not completely lethargic…yet…) but it was fun to share the experience with a group. There are endless genres of shows to choose from, so pick one that strikes your fancy and give it a shot!

4. Wo Hop this way

Inspired by my devotion to food (I feel like this needs no explanation) I decided it was basically my job to take our visiting compadres to Chinatown, and introduce them to what could possibly be the best Chinese food in the city. Even though Wo Hop is perpetually busy, it will always and forever be worth the wait. We made sure to sit upstairs (even though the basement is just as badass) because for some reason, I prefer the taste of the food upstairs (this doesn’t need a logical reason, just know that was my thought process). The food is beyond affordable, and the atmosphere is second to none. We were all huge fans of the fried dumplings and the crabs in black bean sauce *drools on keyboard…*.

Please share below…what are your favorite cliche dates?

By: Gwendy Taylor

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Mar
16

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4 Comments

Hey NYC, This Towel Is A Game Changer

timthumbWhen I discover a product that makes life ten thousand times more pleasurable, simpler, warmer, or just BETTER, I feel the need to share it with the world.  Like when my friend told me about the brand Canada Goose and I converted (just like every other New Yorker this winter), I suddenly stopped hating the months November through March–and actually ((almost)) enjoy walks from the subway in 2 degree weather!

In that spirit, I recently discovered a towel that has changed my life.  Okay, not life changing, I exaggerate, BUT–it’s at least changed how often I need to do laundry, and that’s pretty great, right?!

I don’t need to go into a rant about doing laundry in NYC (another blog post, another day), and while I can clearly get by washing clothes just once a week, I’ve always hated having damp towels throughout the week.  It seemed that no matter which way you’d hang them, those fluffy, pretty Crate & Barrel towels would never completely dry between showers, and it’s been driving me a little nuts for, oh, the past decade.

Enter the wonder product: linen towels!  GoodLinens says it best:

100% linen towels will enhance your daily rituals.  They feel luxurious.  Absorbent, wonderfully textured and lightly exfoliating, they improve with use.  Linen towels are well-behaved, air-drying quickly, maximizing storage space, soiling less readily and spending less time in the dryer than cotton terry.

It’s true.  These suckers are fast drying and I’ve yet to encounter a damp towel by my next shower.  My only complaint is they are a bit rough on the skin at first (I guess this is the exfoliating part?), but this improves with use and age.  Investment piece for the win!

Do you have a life-changing product you’ve been loving as of late?  Share below!

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