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Let colorful eye shadow be banished to the 80’s no longer!

Musings & Trends

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Though bare is beautiful when it comes to makeup, it’s a pleasant surprise to see a makeup artist take a “more is more” approach sometimes. In this editorial, Kristi Matamoros neutralizes the face nicely to set off the dramatic pop of eye makeup. And those lips.. they have the exactly same deep ginger hue as the model’s hair.

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The extreme cat eye is both sexy and playful, and the colors mirror those in the jewelry featured.  Here’s wishing Kristi’s on call to assist us with our cat eye for the next night out!  For the full spread, click here.

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The Cloisters

The Cloisters beckoned Simon and I on a warm and gorgeous afternoon in late May.  This being my first time above 150th street, I was pleasantly surprised to find beautiful old apartment buildings and fun restaurants on route to Fort Tyron, the gorgeous park in which the Cloisters is located.  Once inside Fort Tyron, you have  truly left the city behind–  all of a sudden you become surrounded by lush greenery and as you near the cloisters, a breathtaking view of Hudson river comes into focus!  As Simon said, we were now, “in the nature.”

Once inside the Cloisters, you have essentially stepped into to a gold mine of art and architecture from medieval Europe.  The building itself is not an actual historical monastery, but rather incorporates parts from five French cloistered abbeys.  The triptychs, paintings, tapestries, and the treasury contained in the building mostly center around religious imagery, as religion was the prime focus of medieval life.

The Cloisters is most famous for it’s  seven Unicorn Tapestries,  which depict the hunting and resurrection of the mythical animal.  These tapestries were not believed to have been part of the same set- The Met suggests that they came originally from several sets.  The Unicorn Tapestries represented both the lifecycle of Christ, and also suggest themes in courtly love.  Whatever your take on the story, they are absolutely magical, evoking a real sense of mystery and storytelling through art.  I would say the Unicorn Tapestries are worth the trip alone.  On your way out, be sure to check out the medieval style gardens complete with period plants and flowers.  xx Helen Anne

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Shopping in the West Village

Pretty much everyone I’ve met in New York has a favorite neighborhood.. that is most likely not their own.  The American dream inspires us to dream big (and want more-eek!) and we sustain these desires by lingering around the places we want to create a future in.  

I like to linger in the West Village.  It’s no secret that the village is one of the most sought after places to reside in the city, with tree-lined Europeanesque streets, cozy bistros, red buildings, and chicer than chic boutiques.  The West Village is one of those rare nooks in New York City that remains traditional, charming, and always welcoming.  

When I imagine the older and more successful version of myself, I image myself here- devouring cupcakes at Magnolias, shopping bags overflowing, and notebook full of inspiration (on weekends, of course).

Part of the beauty of this neighborhood comes from the shops, delicately placed between apartments and flowering trees.  And you can shop till you drop.  Here are my recommendations on the stretch of Bleeker St. between Grove and Bank Street:

Reiss (For the princess in every girl).

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Sandro (For the Frenchy-french).

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Burberry Britt (For the investment trench coat).

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James Perse (For the muted-color-minimalist). 

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Zadig and Voltaire (For the earthy and alternative).

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Jack Spade (For the boyfriend).

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Meet you at The Metropolitan.

One of the most magical, crowded, and awe inspiring places in New York City definitely has to be The Met.

This museum is a very special place for a lot of people because of it’s architecture, history, and diverse art collections.

I have loved coming here since I was an 18 year old freshman at Wagner College, fresh off the Staten Island ferry.  Then, the Met was an escape from mundane student living, and in the museum I could imagine I was in Egypt among the Pyramids, at mass in Renaissance Europe, or lounging with a Greek god in Athens.

When you enter the museum on the ground floor there is sort of a hush that comes over you.  On your right stands the remains of ancient Egypt, and on the left are native masks and totem poles from The Americas and Africa.  The Greek and Roman statues are close by in a sun filled gallery, and classical Asian and European paintings are just up the main staircase.  Deciding where to explore first can be difficult, especially when one is presented with such enticing special exhibitions as “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” “Art and Love in Renaissance Italy,” and “Tutankhamun’s Funeral.”

The place I like most to visit in The Met, is one that gives me peace, quiet, sun and space and [most importantly] away from the tourists.  The gallery is called the Robert Lehman Collection, and it holds a small collection of impressionist paintings that are simply dreamy.  The mysteries of how Renoir and Monet mixed their pastels to such perfection, captured the essence of the boudoir or the seaside, and the women who inspired such works of art, well, they really get me every time.  I enjoy the entire museum and all the genres, history and different mediums on display, but- it is in front of  the impressionists, that I  become truly inspired.

The paintings below are pure romance- dream away!

See the exhibitions for this month here.

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Facelift.

To quote my boyfriend Simon  at our friends’ Mad Men Premiere Party yesterday:

“Have you guys seen Helen’s blog yet?  We took it to the plastic surgeon.”

And there you have it- I’ve gone in for the big one, adding collagen, a new title, and burst of yellow.

While I hope I won’t personally be having a face lift for the next 20 years (just looking at the Real Housewives is enough to make me feel like I’ve had a face lift), it’s time my online presence received an injection of creativity and optimism.

What do you think of the change?  Let me know your thoughts as I continue to tweak my “online face!” xx Helen Anne

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NYC, in black- and in white.

Photographed in black and white, these images bring the city and it’s splendor/grittiness/excitement to life.   It’s fascinating to me, that while New York is a center of education, wealth, and thriving arts, it is also very much a decaying city.  The state of the subway stations is atrocious; dust bunnies thrive, rats run rampant, paint peels, and trash prevails.  The homeless, defeated, make their rounds through the cars, begging for money, food, something- they’ll take anything.

As New Yorkers we constantly flit between the dark under world that is the New York MTA, to the city above, that is generally clean and full of inspiration, hope, and the “American Dream”.  In many ways this black/white, good/evil theory extends itself to city living and it’s philosophy.  Darkness, can thrive anywhere in a city, and you don’t have to try hard to fine it.  Just look at the greed and corruption in the financial markets and politicians, or (more personally damaging) get literally shoved out of the way as someone passes you on the sidewalk.

But don’t fret, because you’ll be sure to find “the light” at your closest Duane Read.  Ok just kidding, but seriously now, most people stay living in this crazy city because of the beauty, energy and opportunities that surround them.  Not to mention that deli worker who smiled and gave you a free cookie with your sandwich.. which leads me to NYC “in white”.  An important lesson I had to learn as a New Yorker: there are good Samaritans here, you just have to smile back, and you’ll find them.

However, the bad days, the “darkness,” can and will get you down.  In my own past city living, I’ve found that there will always be some negative thing surrounding you- whether it’s an awful coworker, getting lost in a neighborhood you thought you knew, or that huge puddle you accidently stepped into while dodging a taxi.  Thankfully, the silver lining is simple; there is almost always something sunny  in the city to conquer it’s (or your) negatives.  Even though the Fulton Street subway stop looks like a scene out of a horror movie- hey, construction workers are hard at work building up ground zero, and Magnolia’s cupcakes have never tasted so fresh.  People often say that the constant motion and change is what they like most about New York.. it’s the feeling that something is actually happening and things are getting accomplished.

Even on your darkest days, you can trust that the pedestrian crowd will pick you up, forcing you to walk at a quick pace, and you’ll see or experience something that will make you want to stay in the city, continuing to discover each positive detail it has to offer.

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Eggs, toast, mimosa, perfection.

London has the infamous full english, Rome has espresso and a brioche, but New York has the ultimate, the king of all breakfasts: the brunch.

My travels have taken me far and wide, but never have I encountered a better brunch than in New York.  Many New Yorkers have “brunch pride,” and there’s a good reason for it, hence:

1. Brunch typically starts around 11am, and can go until 4:30pm!

2. Brunch is one meal that can take the place of three meals

3. Cocktails at brunch are not uncommon- mimosa’s and bloody mary’s are most popular

4. Brunch consists of the best food groups (eggs, toast, pastry, fruit, home fries, and sometimes whipped cream)

5. There’s nothing better to cure a hangover

Recently, I have brunched at three restaurants in Brooklyn; Roberta’s (Bushwick),  Fabiane’s (Williamsburg) and Chez Oskar (Fort Greene).  I loved the laid-back-french-bohemian atmosphere at Chez Oscar, thought the eggs were perfect at Roberta’s, but was a little disappointed with the lack of creativity at Fabiane’s.

Roberta’s is a haven in my neighborhood, as we have a severe lack of restaurants in general.  This Bushwick brunch spot is immensely popular, as the menu is tasty, organic, and inventive.  I enjoyed my meal complete with mimosa, and my only regret was that I didn’t take a box of their sticky buns home.

Chez Oskar is sunny, funny, and French.  Their eggs benedict did not disappoint- neither did the coffee.  My girlfriends and I had a fantastic time and would go back again soon (though a bit earlier, as it took awhile to be seated).

Fabiane’s had European style cappuccino, but their brunch menu was bland.  I had the baked eggs with feta cheese and tomato, which tasted ok, but lacked presentation.   Note to self: next time ditch the eggs, and go for the divine looking desserts in the gleaming case!

All in all, I always have a great time at brunch, and am happy to spend my dollars on delicious food, and a relaxing sunday afternoon experience.  After all, it’s much harder to go to work on Monday, if you haven’t had a proper brunch on Sunday 🙂

My roommates (foodies) have generously shared more places for a Sunday bite below:

Balthazar Restaurant

Walter Foods 

Spoon

Clinton Street Baking Company

Frankie’s

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