Tag Archive: New York

Feb 13 2015

Postcard From: New York – 7 Things I Love To Do

new-york-snowglobe-Another New York Fashion Week has begun and it’s another season where sadly I’m glued to the livestream and the social media commentary rather than being there in person. I’m lucky I get to experience London Fashion Week and I’ve even done Paris, although not as much as I would like, but NYFW always feels like the one that keeps getting away. I came close last February, but with the wedding planning it just wasn’t the right timing, I just keep hoping that the opportunity comes around again as it always seems so much bigger than LFW, not just in-scale, it has a lot more shows, but also the labels that present, and the characters that go just for the street-style. 

So to cheer myself up I thought I would revisit my snaps from November, when I got my married, which led me to this post sharing my love of New York and the 7 things I adore doing when I visit, which fingers crossed will happen next year during fashion week, well a girl can dream. 

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Of course, I enjoy doing a lot more than 7 things when I am in New York, to be honest the list is so long I decided for both my sanity in editing and yours in reading that I would just pick my fun things to do:

#1 Top of the Rock

I normally like to stay clear of tourist traps, they are generally expensive, and not normally worth the trip, however, Top of the Rock is one of my favourite things to do in New York. This city is like no other, the skyline is so memorable and the view from the Rockefeller Plaza is incredible. Don’t get me wrong, a trip up the Empire State Building is still an experience everyone should do, but Top of the Rock is less crowded as they do timed slots and it is bigger, and it gives you a new view of the Empire State building and Manhattan.

I suggest that you go on the cusp of the sun setting, then you get to see the cities lights go on, as well as get some incredible snaps of the city in the day, plus you might also be treated to a stunning sunset.  

Top of the Rock, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112new-york-top-of-the-rock new-york-empire-dinner

#2 Empire Diner 

Brunch is fast become my favourite meal to eat out, well after afternoon tea of course, and New York has some amazing spots, one of my favourites has to be the Empire Diner. They only do brunch at the weekends from 11am until 4pm so be prepared to queue, it is worth the wait but I would totally suggest getting there for when it opens as then you don’t need to worry. 

I love everything about this place from its Art Moderne exterior and monochrome decor to the food and service, and the brunch menu is delicious, especially the fluffy buttermilk pancakes, which taste even nicer washed down with a Pims cocktail.

Empire Diner, 210 10th Avenue, New York,  NY 10011

#3 Central Park

Granted not original, but if you go to New York without taking in the beauty of Central Park, you really have missed out. I go each time I visit, it is so big you can always pick out something new to see, as well as revisit memorable spots, and just sit back and take in the sights and watch New Yorkers going about their days. 

There are lot of spots I recommend from the Bethesda Fountain to the gorgeous Minton Tile Ceiling at the Bethesda Terrace, to a walk down The Mall and Literary Walk, which brings a Parisian vibe to NY, as well watching the model boats on Conservatory Water.

After a spot of lunch or drink, check out Tavern on the Green, which after a multi-million dollar renovation reopened last year and it is super. You can either relax in the gorgeous bar area with a cocktail or have a spot of lunch in the light and airy restaurant and in the summer you can even seat out on the garden terrace and look out into the park. The food here is amazing, I can’t wait to go back.  

Central Park, 59th and 110th Street between Central Park West and Fifth Avenue // Tavern on the Green, 76th Street and Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

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#4 Champagne Bar at The Plaza

If you are after someone to celebrate a special occasion, or to just toast an amazing trip in New York the Champagne Bar at The Plaza is a must. This place is pure luxury, I love the gorgeous chandeliers, the cosy seating, the vibrant atmosphere, and the views over Fifth Avenue. The menu is incredible from the various champagnes on offer to its signature cocktails, wines and if you want you can also get beer.

It’s the little touches that I adore at The Plaza from the impeccable service to the never-ending cheese, popcorn and pretzel nibbles, trust me these really add to the champagne flavour, and the fact that you never know who you might bump into, I ran into the lovely Serena Williams.  

The Plaza, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

#5 Sephora

When will Sephora make the jump to the UK? I love this beauty emporium, it basically stocks everything you can possible want, things you have never heard of that now you need, and most importantly things you didn’t think you needed. Its make-up counters are huge, plus I love that they give away samples a lot easier than here, but for me I always head straight to its perfume collection, especially its range of rollerballs, as I love handbag size versions of my favourite fragrances.

I also love that they do nearly everything in miniature, another addiction of mine – I love mini versions of everything, and it comes in handy when you want to test out a new product or looking for travel size versions of your favourites. There are lots of stores dotted around New York and I find myself popping into any I go by.

Sephora all over the city – check out the store listings on its website

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#6 The High Line

After some peace away from the bustle off the city then the High Line is a great place to recharge and see the concrete jungle from a new perspective. The elevated freight rail line has been transformed into a beautiful walkway, running from the Meatpacking District to the northern edge of Chelsea, and I love that it is sandwiched between buildings, sometimes so close you can spy into people’s apartments, and that it has gorgeous pieces of public art installations dotted about from sculptures to giant graffiti street-art and bleacher-like seating to view traffic, buildings and pedestrians.

I would recommend grabbing a hot drink before you go up on the High Line in winter as it can be a little nippy, also keep you eyes peeled near the Chelsea Market for a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty in the distance, I don’t know why but I get giddy each and every time I see it. 

The High Line, Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues

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 #7 Jack’s Wife Freda

 

A photo posted by jackswifefreda (@jackswifefreda) on


Coffee is huge in New York there are tons of places to go but one of my picks has to be Jack’s Wife Freda purely because it is an instagramers dream, which can also mean that it is very busy and you might have to wait to get a table. If you go here and don’t snap your coffee, your pastry and the cute slogan sugar I don’t think we can be friends anymore!!!

As well as coffee, this place also does a great breakfast, the waffles are a favourite of mine, it also has a lovely dinner menu, I really wanted to try the vegetable curry bowl last time I visited New York but I didn’t have time. 

Jack’s Wife Freda, 224 Lafayette Street, SoHo, and 50 Carmine Street, West Village, New York

What are some of your favourite things to do when visiting New York?

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Dec 09 2014

My Wedding: My Purely Diamonds Wedding Ring

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I didn’t know how important my wedding ring would mean to me until the love of my life placed it on my finger during out vows, it was at that moment I was so pleased that I didn’t go with a plain band and added some sparkle as it really represents what a beautiful moment we both shared.

I love jewellery especially bracelets and necklaces but rings I find hard to choose, I am not sure why, but the wedding band worried me a lot. My worries tripled after visiting numerous high street jewellers and trying on lots of bling rings that I just felt weren’t right for me and didn’t complement my engagement ring. I was so please when Purely Diamonds got in touch about their bespoke design service as it really did make the wedding ring search so easy.

My-wedding-IHNY-26What I loved most about Purely Diamonds was that they really understood that I was looking for a ring that didn’t overpower engagement ring, they took my concerns, my dreams and wishes, and truly designed a gorgeous ring that thankfully didn’t have any round or square diamonds, which was a big thing for me as I wanted emerald cut just like my engagement ring.

During the process I don’t think I was much help, all I knew was the shape of diamond, the colour – it had to be platinum, and it had to be a similar band size to my engagement ring. I think they would have loved for me to say what carat weight and clarity but I have no clue on that sort of thing, but lucky for me the team really know there stuff and were super patient with me and I loved that they even photoshopped the ring design next to my engagement ring so I could really see that it complemented it impeccably.

I love that it adds to the beauty of my engagement ring that Paulie designed with a subtle-yet-beautiful line of diamonds, which really do twinkle perfectly when the light catches them. Separately my rings are beautiful, together though they really are divine and Purely Diamonds really did capture our love perfectly.

Using an online jeweller might worry some people, but once you scroll through their rings, be warned there are a lot, you will see the quality and beauty of their designs, and don’t worry if you don’t see something that isn’t quite right, trust me they will be able to design it for you.

Did you struggle to find your perfect wedding ring?

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Want to see more from my New York wedding? Well check out my becoming a Mrs post, a close up look at my gorgeous vintage wedding gown, and the Priv team behind my stunning hair and make-up.

[Pics: IHNY Photos]

 

 

Dec 08 2014

My Wedding: A Priv Makeover

My-wedding-IHNY-12One of the main stresses about getting married in New York, after figuring out how I was going to pack my amazing wedding dress into a tiny carry-on case, had to be who was going to do my hair and make-up. Unlike my search here in the UK, I didn’t have friends in New York who do hair and make-up, I didn’t have anyone to recommend wedding make-up artists, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a trial, so it would have to be do-or-die on my actual wedding day.

I was freaking about it until at least a week before I flew out until I got an invite to the launch of PRIV, an incredible beauty and wellness service at the top of an app, which was launching in London but was already huge in New York. PRIV literally offers everything from haircuts, blow drys, make-up, manicures, massages and even personal trainer sessions. Oh and did I mention it isn’t crazy expensive, we are talking £38 for a blow dry and style or a manicure with nail art, and their stylists will come to you. Super easy and I really don’t know what I would have done without them.

I was lucky, the PR pulled a few strings and got me the full monty nails, make-up and an up-do, basically a wedding makeover, and I was treated to the best that PRIV has to offer, and I was truly looked after – thank god they launched in London and came on my radar.

I had my nails done the night before, the lovely India came to my hotel suite, dealt with the moody Soho Grand lighting like a pro, and worked my vision of having blush, pink nails with a glittery silver tip with ease. I wanted something fun that would compliment my vintage wedding gown and its heavy beading, while still being girlie and romantic. I was so pleased with the result, the colour was perfect and the silver had just enough sparkle.

My-Wedding-PRIV-nailsMy-Wedding-PRIV-hairWhen it came to my hair, I had a vision, I knew I wanted my fringe down, apparently this isn’t a popular wedding option, I wanted a braid, I am a little obsessed – see my Pinterest, and I wanted a chic ponytail, but I have to be honest I was worried that my look wouldn’t be bridal enough for my gown, and if I had anyone other than Michael I am not sure it would have turned out as gorgeous as it did.

I loved the contrast between the drama in the side braid, which worked perfectly with the pearl pins I picked up on eBay, and the modern-chic vibe of the ponytail. I just felt it was perfect for a fun, elopement in New York City. My worry when looking at wedding hair inspiration was that I would look old, stuffy and not myself, and I was so pleased that Michael worked his magic with my very untraditional bridal vision and produced a truly unique look.

What also made this look perfect was the fact it lasted all day, honestly there wasn’t a hair out of place when we got back after a great day, and it lasted through hours of shooting our wedding photos, most of which were outside and it lasted for champagne shenanigans and dinner. I was seriously impressed.

My-Wedding-PRIV-makeup-For my make-up the only thing I had shared with Mariana before she arrived was that I wanted bold eyes, as when you wear glasses you need to go bolder for it to stand-out and be noticed. Mariana did a wonderful job, she didn’t make my foundation too heavy, while still making me feel gorgeous and covered, she didn’t go crazy with the blusher, one of my biggest worries when getting my make-up done, and she made my eyes really pop.

I love that she came prepared with options, not that she needed them that she thought about adding individual lashes to work with my glasses, and that she prepped my skin to perfection so that my wedding look stayed put all-day long.

My transformation didn’t take long, the PRIV glamsquad are masters of their trade and I was super impressed with their skill, their personalities, we really did have a giggle, as well as everyone understanding what a big day it was for me, I felt like they went above and beyond what they needed to do and they certainly made me feel and look fantastic, as well as create looks that matched my vintage wedding gown.

PRIV has just launched in London, in selected areas for now but I am sure it will grow in the coming months, so why not download the app on Apple and Android, it is free, and treat yourself – why not just before a big date for a work event, or just because – trust me you will feel a million dollars afterwards.

I am really pleased with my wedding looks – do you think my vision worked with my New York wedding?

My-wedding-IHNY-23 My-wedding-IHNY-22[Pics: IHNY, Fashionista Barbie, @nycbraun@marianabull74]

Dec 05 2014

My Wedding: A Closer Look At My Vintage Wedding Gown

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I don’t know any bride, who doesn’t want an incredible wedding gown, but it is hard to get something unique, dramatic-yet-still elegant, with an Old Hollywood feel that is within some reasonable budget. Add on top the rest of my very long wishlist, not too white, a wow skirt, beading or embroidery and with romantic floaty sleeves – I thought it was more fantasy than reality.

I wasn’t against a modern, boutique gown, I would have loved the money to treat myself to a designer number like Vera Wang or Elie Saab, but I was realistic with my finances and I just felt that a vintage beauty would be more fitting to our elopement wedding in New York, and would possible give me that couture, red carpet feeling without the price tag.

I know vintage doesn’t mean cheap, but I was willing to hunt around for the one. Thankfully I didn’t search long for my gorgeous gown, to be honest I didn’t search at all. My gown came to me by chance, we had only been engaged less than a month when our friends who were with us in New York came to stay and we took them to Bury St Edmonds, we kind of took a wrong turn exploring the town and we found vintage store, House Of Huxster. I thought it was a long shot, but as soon as I saw it I loved it, I didn’t think it would fit me, but I loved it and thank god for stretch!

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It needed a little work, it originally had spaghetti straps, which I felt didn’t really do the dress justice, and it didn’t have enough drama on the bottom, but I was introduced the incredible Irene, an amazing seamstress and she really did work her magic. She added floaty sleeves to add a touch of romance, more layers of pouf under the skirt, re-shaped the skirt, added a belt, and made more tulle ruffles that were so close to the original that you can’t even tell which ones are new. Irene basically brought my vision to life, held my hand through those wobbles of thinking I was too fat, the worry that it was too formal for what we were doing, and my last-minute panic that Paul wouldn’t like it, I should have known that he would love it.

The gown to me just felt like it was made for New York. I love everything about the gown and how it combined everything I wanted – the beading, the tulle, the sleeves and the unusual skirt, which is my favourite thing about the dress – it looks great in photos, but more than that it made me feel like I was floating when I walked. It was the most perfect gown and I am so pleased the professional pictures from I Heart New York have come out so well, the dress really shines.

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As the dress makes such a statement I didn’t want to go too crazy with my jewellery so I went for pieces that I felt complimented it. The highlight being my great grandmother’s pearls, they are so gorgeous, I love the off-white colour and the fact that they are 80 years old I just felt that they belong with my vintage number, and when else can you get away with wearing the most exquisite pearl necklace.

I then went for Tiffany infinity bow bracelet that was a present from Paul a couple of years ago, which looked great with my silver heart bracelet from my friend Sarah, I just loved that she made Paul give it to me on the plane over to New York as she received one before her wedding, and the final piece of arm candy was my pearl and silver cuff from the Jenny Packham for Debenhams collection that I found in my jewellery box just before we flew out, I love how it has similar beads to my dress. The final touch were my Kenneth Jay Lane sparkly earrings, something simple that catches the light.

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The last thing to mention about my New York wedding look are my shoes. My plan was to have navy blue, to match Paul’s tux jacket, the only problem was that my vintage gown didn’t have the height to take anything higher than 2 inch heels, which I am so pleased about now, and I just couldn’t find anything I liked. I wanted designer shoes without the price tag so I went on the sample sale hunt and that’s when I spotted these white Jimmy Choo with a tiny heel, they are super comfortable and I love the pointy toe on them.

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The surprise addition, which looks like it was made just for me, was my Mr And Mrs clutch from Kate Spade. Paul actually ordered this beauty and picked up on our wedding day, it was such a lovely surprise and it seems I am not the only one loving it as it has been a bit of a hit on Instagram. Well if you can’t find statement heels you have to do a clutch!

It feels like an end of chapter finally showing off my amazing wedding gown, especially as I kept it a secret not just from Paul but nearly everyone as I wanted it to make a statement, which I hope it did. I know everyone has an opinion on wedding gowns and I would love to hear what you think of my choice, as I really couldn’t be happier with it.

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[Pics: IHNY Photos]

Nov 26 2014

I’m Married: Returning As A MRS!!!

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For years I didn’t think marriage really meant that much, well not to us, we love each other, we have a house, we have a car, we have the pets, and I didn’t need a ring to signify how committed we were to each other, we’ve been together for 11 years, that is pretty committed. It has been strange over the past year, while planning our wedding, how important this ultimate commitment has become to me and I have to be honest I didn’t realise how much becoming a Mrs would change me, how I feel towards my now husband and just how happy it would make me, which if you haven’t guessed – very!!!

I was such a cynic, I loved going to weddings and see my friends say their vows, but a year ago I would have said I would be happy without, how wrong I was. When we said our vows to one another, in front of our lovely friends who made the trip to New York with us, I had never felt such joy before, here was the love of my life telling me I was the one, and it really did make me glow with love and happiness, truly one of the best days ever.

For some, a ceremony not performed in front of god doesn’t mean as much, and I have to totally disagree – no matter how or where you say your vows the commitment is between just the two of you. I am not saying a religious service isn’t a good idea or needed, I am just saying that it wasn’t for us. I only really bring it up as someone commented that it wasn’t as deep a connection. To those who feel that way I have to tell them no matter what the words are, I felt the love of my husband and even though it was only a couple of minutes, I took it seriously and enjoyed every second of it, and I even shed a few happy tears.

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Enough of the heavy stuff, back to the fun and romance of getting married in New York, which I have to tell you, is the best. I have never been to a city where they wholeheartedly embrace a bride and groom and it made us both feel so special and blessed. Everywhere we went people congratulated us, told me how pretty I looked, how much they loved my dress, including tennis champ Serena Williams, and even took our picture. It was so lovely, it has made me wonder whether we would have got the same response in London’s Hyde Park or Trafalgar Square.

The professional pictures aren’t quite ready but I didn’t want to wait to share some snapshots from our special day, you might have already seen some of these before as I have shared on Instagram, but I promise the real deal very soon.

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We basically took snaps in all of our favourite places in New York to have the most amazing wedding pictures, in front of the Brooklyn Bridge and New York skyline, in Grand Central Station and Central Park, and we even made a stop at the Sprinkles ATM for a slice, or should I say wedding cupcake, as you have to eat cake on your wedding day. Afterwards we headed to the Plaza for champagne to celebrate, before dining the night away at Tavern on the Green, which I promise to share all about in a separate post, as if you are planning to go to New York you need to eat here.

I will talk more about my amazing wedding dress and accessories in its own special blog, as let’s be honest this vintage beauty needs to be shared, and how cool is my Mr And Mrs clutch from Kate Spade, it was the perfect wedding day present from my wonderful husband. They will also be dedicated posts about my hair and make-up, huge thanks to Priv, my custom wedding band from Purely Diamonds, which I adore, and all those little things that just made it such a special day, plus if you are thinking of eloping in New York I will bring you all the top tips!!!

I really can’t express how amazing these past few weeks have been, and I hope that I don’t bore you to death with wedding pictures, because as well as our New York celebration we then had a party in the UK, so I have a totally different look to share with you guys as well.

So would you consider eloping in New York City or did you? I would love to hear all your lovely wedding day stories and plans, leave me a comment below.

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Jun 30 2014

Wedding Inspiration: Olivia Palermo Weds In Carolina Herrera

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Ever since Olivia Palermo and her long-term model boyfriend Johannes Huebl announced their engagement with the most beautiful Instagram video from a tropical location it was kind of a given that their actual wedding day would just be as perfect.

One of my favourite fashionistas gave a few hints in her Brides cover story that she would be wearing something a little different for her big day, but I don’t think many would have predicted that she would wear shorts, but then again I think only Olivia could get away with wearing shorts on her wedding day.

The gorgeous bride look incredible in a custom Carolina Herrera ensemble – a simple cream cashmere jumper teamed with white shorts and a full tulle skirt overlay that featured a high slit in the front and beautiful floral detailing along the hem.

Olivia shared details of her bridal look on her website, along with the low-down on the actual wedding itself, described as “intimate” and shared with only a handful of the bride and grooms close friends and family surrounded by “ivy and blossoming flowers” in a quiet park in Bedford, New York. It sounds heavenly.

Back to the wedding dress, or should I say wedding ensemble, I really love it and it is perfect for an intimate, elopement-style wedding and I am sure many people will be saying to themselves that it is very Carrie Bradshaw, especially with her something blue being a pair of Manolo Blahniks, which really does complete the look.

I just hope that my wedding in New York in November looks just as perfect. Huge congratulations to Olivia and Johannes it really did look like the most stylist wedding ever.

What do you think of Olivia’s unique wedding look?

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[Pics: Johannes Huebl via OliviaPalermo.com]

Jun 28 2014

Begin Again Promo: Keira Knightley In Prada

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Who: Keira Knightley

Where: On the New York streets heading into a press conference for her new film, Begin Again

Wearing: Head-to-toe Prada in a pleated light-blue silk dress, teamed with a stone-encrusted light-blue satin clutch and silver calf shoes. Finishing off her look with very cool sunglasses and chic chignon up-do.

Verdict: There is always a grace about Keira that I love and this look is so her – everything from the icy blue colour to the pleated skirt and the bedazzled clutch. This is a great daytime look and I can imagine a lot of people using this as inspiration for wedding outfits this summer.

I love everything about this love, the pleated detailing, the collar, the T-shirt style sleeves and the colour, I even love her choice of clutch and sunglasses, both are just so much fun, I am just not sure about the heels. I don’t mind them being silver, I actually like that, I just think a strappy shoe would have worked a little better.

Do you rate Keira’s head-to-toe Prada look?

[Pic: via Prada]
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