Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dressing warm in the big city with Lyst

There is only one thing that I like more than sales. It's making lists of things that are on sale. I discovered Lyst on my own a few months ago, and it was introduced to me sort of as a magical sales assistant - you make note of everything you like, and it tells you when it goes on sale. Sort of like filling your shopping basket up preemptively before patiently waiting for prices to be slashed.  

In recent memory, my shopping habits are erratic - an often-asked question is "Where do you get your clothes"? The honest answer is, some are gifted by companies, some are found in thrift stores, some online and a lot on random Asian e-commerce stores. The only time I've had to organize my shopping efforts is when faced with the roaring beast of cold and fury that is New York's winter. I'll spare you from any lamentation around the topic, as I'm sure I've mentioned enough to fill the next decade of winters, but I found myself with a double-edged conundrum - I had to basically build my Winter wardrobe from the ground up. 

Websites like Lyst make this task super easy - I tend to make lists of what I need such as these bags, black boots, big puffer coats, a down vest, jeans, etc, and fill them up with ideas on where I can find these items. Lyst also helped me organize outfits - I'm the biggest noobie when it comes to dressing for the cold, and I'm slowly building up my skill in avoiding looking like a giant puffy hamburger.

So what's my method behind a good winter outfit? Mixing it up. It's so easy to fall into a mindless repetitive trap of always going for dark clothing, and I'm definitely not one to wear all black. Mixing in pastels and neutrals is an easy way to ensure variety - I find it's as simple as buying 4-5 different scarves, beanies and boots to mix and match with everything. Accessories become the new basics in Winter for me. It's also helpful to play around with textures and patterns to offset the same basic warm coat you wear all the time.

Lyst is completely free to use, and they're partly fortune tellers - you specify which brands you like when you sign up and they keep showing you the good stuff as you use it.

**This post was made in collaboration with Lyst

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NYC Photo Diary - December

If you didn't know any better, you would assume that I hated New York. I've been so focused on the bad weather and the bad subways in recent posts that I've completely bypassed exactly why this is the most magical city, and how it's encased me in its garbage-filled arms in a tender embrace. New York is home for now, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Here's why, alongside a giant photo dump of what's been happening over the past few months.

The Dogs of New York - New Yorkers are obsessed with dogs. The ultimate culmination of the obsession with dogs is the annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog parade, which was singlehandedly the most amount of cute (and bizarre) I've had thrown at me in a single day. I've always wondered where people are keeping these dogs, because it almost certainly isn't in the tiny apartments people are renting for a million dollars a month. I've also encountered the phenomenon that every time I see a dog, they're either mid-defecation or urination.

Their obsession with fitness, and with burgers -  This is the city of Classpass - a service that, in exchange for a one-off fee monthly, you get access to unlimited classes at hundreds of studios, from trampoline fitness, to underwear spinning. There is a class and a niche for any exercise interest, and being an avid anti-runner, even I can admit that running through Central Park makes up for the wheezing and feeling like you're about to pass out. On the flip side, everyone has an obsession with food here - I have been through my $1 dumpling phase, my authentic Asian beef jerky phase and now I'm anticipating phumplings (pho in Shanghai-style soup dumplings). New Yorkers do food like nobody else - walking down a single street can yield anything from McDonalds to gourmet burgers to artisanal shaved ice. Shake Shack is amazing, and so is Five Guys. Umami Burger and Ruby's have been the two hands-down best burgers of my life thus far.

The nature just on the outskirts - It is SO accessible. Taking a one hour train out of the city exposes you to the most amazing landscapes that are in such a stark contrast to the garbage-filled streets of Chinatown. I've only done one hike so far but am planning to do many more when it gets a little warmer next year, it's just way too easy to be surrounded by nature, even when you live in such a bustling metropolitan city. It really helps to get out on the weekend, breathe a little fresh air in and remember that trees still do exist.

The Australians - We're everywhere. Recently went to a Flight Facilities gig, and the entire audience was Australian - evident when an "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" chant erupted to the sounds of Client Liaison playing a song with both koalas AND didgeridoos in it.

Understanding pop culture - There's nothing like watching a movie and quietly poking your boyfriend in the ribs to let him know that you live in that city, that you've walked past that trash can. We recently watched Birdman, which is set primarily in the Theatre District, and I recently watched Manhattan. It's incredible, and surreal, and is definitely one of those New York moments that strike at any given moment, at any given time. I can now watch Sex and the City and fully understand what a joke it is that Carrie lives in the Upper West Side on a freelance journalist's income, and what Duane Reade is (it's not a person).

Thanksgiving - Stuffing. Apple pie. Pumpkin pie. That's all I need to say. It's also helpful to have a national holiday that's a reminder to be thankful (even though in truth, this should happen every day). This year, I'm thankful for New York.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Racing Attire in Non-Racy Bushwick

All from Forever New. Maisie Metallic Lace Co-ord Skirt and Bralet; Belle Clutch; Nina Heel; Hollie Floral Crown, Vest: Lantern Sense via Asoni Haus

Let me admit something: I've never actually been to the races before. I know it's such a quintessentially Australian thing to do, that the fact I'm dressing up for it for no race in particular (besides maybe a drag race on the street), in the middle of stark (but beautiful) Bushwick, where a stiletto and a bared midriff is not welcome (unless you're happy to deal with 120% more cat calls than when you're wearing sweatpants, which is still an inordinately high number)...the irony isn't lost on me. 

As a kid, I always saw women who wore fascinators and pretty cocktail dresses to go watch a bunch of horses race was enormously confusing. What were they celebrating? How do you walk on the grass in heels? How does that half a hat stay on their head? At the age of 21, I've yet to attend my first race, but I'm totally happy to wear a pretty lace set and deck myself out in blue as three older men ask what kind of model I am as I awkwardly side-step piles of trash on the streets of Bushwick.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Seasonal dilemmas

Pants: Derek Lam via Tokio 7, Top: Zara, Heels: Nasty Gal 

This is my balcony, the one that I look out of in the mornings - all these plants are now withered and dead, and in replacement there are pots of ice. Today marked the first time I've ever seen snow in my life, and it still wigs me out that the city was this green, this kind of pot-plant end-of-Summer green, only a few weeks ago. The transition between seasons here is almost as if someone has jammed the 'fast forward' button - Autumn is nothing but a flash of foliage in Central Park, and then gone. I have been told that Summer is a hot minute, and Winter drags on for months and months. The term 'polar vortex' is being thrown around, as well as the phrase "You're going to die" in response to my "I've never seen snow".

I've yet to purchase a real coat that will protect me against anything below zero degrees, but I do have my snow boots ready (and have been putting them on my feet for the past two weeks in anticipation of being able to use them).

There is a thrill to not being able to navigate my phone for a few minutes before hastily clamping my hands in my armpits, of feeling like fifteen pairs of pants worn simultaneously wouldn't be enough. I'm so psyched for snow. I'm sure my next post will be about how much I'm over it.