Monday, September 1, 2014

Old Friends in New Cities

Watch: Daniel Wellington (use the code 'jesslovesfred' for 15% off), Dress: ZaraHat: Lack of ColourBoots: Senso

I consider Zara the stoic bookend of my wardrobe. I can always count on them to have sleek separates, reasonably priced basics, and the rare statement piece/well designed and comfortable shoe - like this crazy abstract face dress. It's now what I wear when I go to thoughtfully ponder with one hand on the chin and one hand on the lower back at art galleries.

Yes, Zara it's fast fashion. Yes, almost every other girl probably owns anything I buy from Zara, and yes it's not Phillip Lim and it's not an obscure Farfetch label - but it fits my lifestyle and my budget. Zara is one of the things that I've "carried" with me to New York  - something that is like an anchor I had in Sydney as well, albeit better stock.

Seeing old friends in new cities is something else that I still haven't gotten used to completely. My old friend Oscar (see below) is someone who has accompanied throughout my wee and doomed career in retail. He knew me back when I worked at Le Coq Sportif (fun fact: Yan Yan Chan from Parfasseux and I met each other while working at Le Coq Sportif sales assistants), and he knew me as a surly and unprofessional sales assistant at a high end menswear and suiting store. To see Oscar, someone who has been with me for such a long time (relative to my tiny bonsai life so far), in a city that is unfamiliar and new to both of us (and now as an actor, no less!), was really special. There's something in the water - all the Australians are slowly picking up their feet and placing roots in NY - Ashka from XSSAT Street Fashion recently moved here. Familiar faces in an unfamiliar place creates this weird surreal dream-like state for me - I half expect to call Ashka up and meet her at a Surry Hills cafe. Until I step out into the blinding heat of the subway and hear a homeless man playing nursery rhymes on a saxophone before yelling 'Heil Hitler!' at nobody in particular. We're not in Surry Hills anymore, Toto.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Two-Jacket

Denim jacket: Bettina Liano; Crop: The Fifth Label; Shorts: Cameo the Label; Necklace: The Scarlet Room; Shoes: Topshop; Kimono: Cameo the Label

Trends come and go, but kimonos are forever.* There's nothing comparable to wearing what is essentially a fancy dressing gown in disguise out on the street - I wore my PJ shorts to university once upon a time and felt like I was the toughest rogue warrior ever. Sitting in my lecture thinking to myself, "you don't even know I wore these to SLEEP LAST NIGHT." I totally pulled a fast one on you, classmates.

I'm a believer in the PJs trend in that I believe in wearing appropriate, non-body drowning shapes, like cut PJ shorts and silk dressing gowns/camisoles. Flannel pants covered in Hello Kitty pictures (who is apparently not a cat?) that have seen better days do not count. That's just throwing an Anchorman, which is only ever acceptable if you drink milk from the bottle on the street in PJs. 

I used to have an obsession with vintage silk kimonos - the satin type, the velvet burn-out type - all of the types. This Cameo kimono is a little on the thicker side and feels a bit like a doona transformed into a jacket. Considering New York is an oven right now, donna-jackets aren't in my best interests, but if the fifty people I've asked are anything to go by, I'm going to need all the doona jackets I can physically wear come Winter time. Me and my cats wearing booties-like coordination in sub-zero temperates is going to be interesting for everyone involved.

*This is at least one of my life mantras.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sunny Day Savings

Dress: Vintage, Belt: Sass & Bide from Balmain markets, Sandals: Very very old from Zara, Cap: Urban Outfitters

This is one of the first outfits I've worn in recent memory that mostly came from the dusty back pockets of my closet, or from the musty depths of thrift stores and markets. Living in New York and facing the high cost of stepping out on the street and living day to day life has opened up a whole world of cheap thrills. Meals are (relatively) cheap, but tips are high. Sneakers are cheap, but gyms are costly etc. etc. Living on an entry level salary in a place where talented buskers make you lose a few dollars every three seconds, and Trader Joes sells $3 wine and bunches of flowers, it all adds up. A few of the ways I've been living cheap in the big city:
  • Free comedy/cheap entertainment via The Skint - My boyfriend and I usually check this website on a weekday or Friday night - it's a daily listings blog that collates all the cheap/free things to do in the city - from festivals, to free movie screenings, to awkward nights of free comedy at the back of empty bars. The last free night we went to was actually at The Stand, and it was a Monday night at 10pm. The general quality of free comedy performances varies from politely and tolerably awkward, to aggressive and angry. This one was cruising along at snail's pace, saved by the tater tots that were served with my cheap $10 burger and whiskey shot combo. My next mouthful of tater tots came with the sudden and supremely delightful blow-in of Louis C.K. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing an incredibly talented and probably incredibly expensive comedian. FOR FREE.
  • Thrifting. Lots of it. - I mentioned in a previous blog post that NYC has invigorated the second-hand clothing bug within me, literally lighting it on fire, taking hostile control of my body and throwing my lifeless self like a honing missile into every consignment store that exists. Buffalo Exchange, Beacon's Closet, Tokio 7 and Tokyo Joe have been my favourites so far - I walk down to the Buffalo Exchange in Brooklyn every weekend and always seem to walk away with an amazing piece bought with spare change. This dress in particular cost $8. Yes, I do still take glee in yelling the price of my clothes at people when I receive compliments. It's like my version of 'thank you'. #humblebrag
  • P90x and cheap yoga - I'm avoiding having to make the decision of finding a gym for as long as possible by doing home workouts, lots of HIIT and tabata, and cheap $8 bikram at Yoga to the People. The gyms are a mess here, they're either $200 a month with built in protein shake smoothie bars and mechanical surfing classes, or they're $20 a month with a single treadmill in a corner and a line stretching around the block to use it. I'm also considering trying Class Pass, which gives you access to lots of different studios around NYC for $10 a pop.
  • HelloWallet and Level - Easy money management app - you enter your bills, your monthly income, and the amount of money you want to save and it does some crazy techno app magic and does the rest for you.
Cutting corners hasn't been as hard as I thought it be - between the lack of gym membership and the free comedy nights, I probably have enough money to make it rain on some cashew milk ice cream (it isn't cheap).


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Relearning exercise with Lenovo

I previously posted with Lenovo about my move to New York, and this time around, I'm finally going to get around to answering a few other questions you guys seem to love asking - about fitness and health.

Do you have any tips for staying healthy inside and out?
I have always been a weights and yoga girl. Getting into a regular and steady weights routine changed my body, it changed the way I perceived exercise and it changed the way I ate. I started lifting two years ago, and over time, I've been able to make pretty big gains in terms of strength (and also size). It has altered my perception of what I want to look like. 

I usually do a three day split - so one days chest, shoulders and triceps/legs/back, and then one day of yoga and one day of HIIT/tabata training. I stick to around 5-8 reps depending on how I feel and adjust how heavy or light I'm doing.

For the next two-three months, I pretty much just bring my Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro downstairs and do random yoga or p90x every day (which is making me die).

What’s your favourite healthy meal or snack?(can you share a photo or the recipe?)

A regular day would be eggs and whole wheat toast, lunch will be a meat-heavy salad or sandwich and dinner will be meat and veggies. I wasn't very strict with my diet - it involved a lot of flavoured yoghurt, dried fruit and whole entire blocks of dark chocolate after thinking I have enough self control to limit myself to a block.

Now I'm trying to cut out sugars just to see if I can do it. True story - the other day I walked around the supermarket and just stared longingly at the fruit section, slowly falling apart inside.

What are the biggest changes you have experienced moving from Sydney to NYC? How has that impacted your health and fitness routine?
Keeping an exercise routine up in New York was especially important, considering the mass amounts of incredible treats available at arm's length. I can literally walk down the road and just walk into mountains of donuts and cute gelato scoops on waffle cones (at least that's how it happens in my head). My gym trial ended, and in a bid to save money and to uproot my exercise habits that have probably plateaued my progress by now, my boyfriend challenged me to start P90X.

I'm not a huge believer in DVD workouts, especially ones that involve a dude yelling things at you like "FEEL THE PAIN. I HATE IT...BUT I LOVE IT!!!!!", but so far it's been unbelievably tough (one hour daily - first day involved just a full hour of pushups and pull ups). I've been trying to curb my sugar intake to see if I can look JUUUUST like Tony by the end of these three months. 

The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro has been super helpful with home workouts - the laptop has an inbuilt yoga instruction program, and my boyfriend and I usually prop it up on 'tent' mode at our home gym and jump around angrily as Tony Horton instructs us. The other way I've been using it is with help cooking - the 'tent', 'tablet' and 'stand' mode makes it easy to refer to recipes without greasy keyboard finger marks.