Friday, August 31, 2012

You've really got a hold on me: Amanda's Fashion Spot Guide of New York City!

I recently came back from a 5-day trip in the Big Apple, a city that I feel I have developed a close relationship with. While walking up Madison Avenue and taking a stroll through Greenwich Village, I couldn't help but be reminded of the very first time in the Big City.

I remember being so excited and inspired by the bright lights of Times Square, the busy, fast-paced nature of the pedesterians and let's not forget the endless shopping options. If there is one thing that New York has, it is an abundance of fashionable boutiques selling everything from luxury and contemporary designers to fast-fashion galore.

I first visited New York City at a time when I needed inspiration, a break from my ordinary routine and some fabulous additions to the old wardrobe. After my first experience, in the great big city I felt that I had received a jolt of energy that inspired me to go after my dreams, seize the day and live the life I have always dreamed of. A year or two later, I was fortunate enough to spend my summer in the Big Apple while having an internship with Seventeen Magazine (insert link) and enjoy a little bit more of NYC.

When I was in New York most recently, walking around the city I was reminded of how much I had experienced and how much I have changed since my first time in New York. I can now proudly say that I consider myself an honourary New Yorker and no matter where my life takes me, that city will always be a part of me and my life's journey.

New York is a city that is continuously evolving and ever changing with new buildings, developments, restaurants and boutiques popping up left, right and centre! (In fact, an Aritizia boutique is opening up on Fifth Avenue in late fall!) Every time I go and I find a new place to love. Here are some of the places that I enjoyed during my recent stay:

1. C Wonder

Walk into this store and you will swear that you are in a boutique that is a hybrid between J. Crew, Tory Burch and Kate Spade. But alas you are not and instead you have entered the new super cute and classic store, C Wonder. With brightly coloured stripes and gold accents decorating the walls, you are in a classic meets luxurious fashionistas wonderland! C Wonder carries everything from monogrammed tote bags, leather belts and necklaces to multi-coloured chevron print cardigans to printed dish sets, tribal print pillows and costume jewelry. Everything you need to add a dash of colourful fun to every part of your life. C Wonder is currently expanding across the States but fingers crossed this adorable store comes to Canada sooner than later.

2. Marc Jacobs Stores

Whenever you are in NYC make sure to head to Greenwich Village and take a stroll down Bleecker Street to check out the four Marc Jacobs stores. They are not his Marc Jacobs collection stores but rather Marc by Marc Jacobs Women's, BookMarc, Marc Jacobs Collection Accessories and Marc by Marc Jacobs Men's boutique, that each have their own fun party atmosphere and friendly sales associates. Aside from the contemporary yet fun clothing and accessories you will find at the stores, you can also find quirky and unique merchandise such as a Marc Jacobs doll, heart-shaped compacts and playing cards available at BookMarc and Marc by Marc Jacobs Women's. If you are looking for a way to add some MJ into life, be sure to head to Bleeker Street and in between shopping stop by Magnolia Bakery for a delicious cupcake ala Carrie and Miranda from Sex and the City.    

3. Bloomingdales

Whenever I go to New York, one of my favourite stores to shop is Bloomingdale's or as I like to refer it as, Bloomies! Carrying designers and labels anywhere from Aqua (a personal favourite) to Rebecca Minkoff to Mackage (a Canadian designed brand, woohoo!) to Tory Burch, Bloomingdale's has impeccable merchandising, a clean layout and all around fun atmosphere. During this visit, I was delighted to have my shopping trip accompanied by an awesome DJ who spinned some wicked tunes such as, "One by One" by Mavado featuring Laza Morgan and "Why You Wanna" by T.I. I couldn't help dancing my way through the racks as I picked out some new pieces to add to my fall wardrobe! It was as if I was attending a hip dance party and shopping at the same time, what more could a girl ask for?

If you ever make your way to Bloomies and you are not from the New York area, be sure to stop by the visitor's centre, so you can get additional 10% off your purchases! Check out their website for more details.   

4. Brooklyn Flea Market

Right now, Brooklyn is one of the trendiest boroughs in New York City. Home to hipsters, the Brooklyn Bowl and Coney Island, it is one hip place to be, so once I heard about the Brooklyn Flea Market, I just had to check it out! There are several flea markets that are held on either Saturday or Sunday until mid-November, including Smorgasburg (DUMBO), Fort Greene Flea, Williamsburg Flea and Smorgasburg (Williamsburg). I had the joy of checking out the Williamsburg Flea, which had an great variety of hand-crafted and vintage jewelry by designers and brands such as Mamazoo by Maria Ana Moura, FSYMNYC Jewelry and Cam ci Cam ca. If you are looking for a fun thing to do on a lazy weekend in New York City, make sure the Brooklyn Flea Market is one of your first stops!

5. The Plaza Food Hall

If you happen to be anywhere near Midtown East Manhattan and want a nice place to enjoy a quick bite to eat after some shopping along Fifth Avenue, then you need to stop by The Plaza Food Hall ! "The European-inspired specialty Food Hall" offers a wide selection of foods including a Sushi Bar, Wine Bar, Cheese & Charcuterie Station and Brick Oven Pizza. I tried a meal reminiscent of Cape Cod, which included a lobster wrap served with salt and vinegar chips, a pickle and ginger beer soda.  As someone who has not eaten white starch in awhile, it was a nice treat! For desert, I had a decadent and delish green tea gingersnap cheesecake. Not your typical cheesecake flavours but it was every bit satisfying! The Plaza Food Hall is by far one of the most glamorous and sophisticated food courts in town, so be sure to check it out next time you travel to Manhattan! 

What are you favourite places in New York City? Do you plan on visiting the Big Apple anytime soon or have you been there recently? What are experiences in your life that have inspired your life's journey and career path?

Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to check out Amanda's Fashion Spot on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram! 

Twitter: @AFSpot
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Luxury at Home: DIY Beauty Treatments!

As wonderful as it is to take the day off and enjoy a spa day treating yourself to a facial, mani/pedi and a massage of sorts, sometimes you may not have the opportunity to have to take advantage of that luxury. For those of you that prefer to stay at home and DIY your beauty treatments, here are five simple recipes that will take your face, hair and skin from dull to dazzling!

1. The Lemony Fresh Facial

Is your skin looking a little dull? Do you suffer from acne scars or possible age spots? Then you should try the Lemony Fresh Facial! The lemon juice works as a natural skin brightener and lightens dark spots on your skin. This facial mixture requires 1 tablespoon of yogurt and 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix it in a bowl until you get a nice consistency and then simply apply it to your face. Leave it on for about 15 minutes or until it is completely dry and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. The result is bright, glowing, fresh looking skin!  

2. The Strawberry Shortcake Yogurt Facial

If you suffer from evil blackheads or dry skin, a Strawberry Shortcake Yogurt Facial is the skin treatment for you!  The little seeds on the strawberries work as a natural exfoliator and the lactic acid in the yogurt work as a skin smoother. Mix together 1 tablespoon of yogurt and 2 strawberries. Mash the ingredients together until you have a nice creamy texture and then put it on your face. Leave the mask on for approximately 15 minutes or until it is completely dry and the rinse it off with warm water. Ta-da! Now you have soft, supple skin!

3. Avocado Protein Hair Mask

If the summer heat, chlorine and one too many heat styling tools leave your hair, dry, parched, frizzy or a mix of all three, an Avocado Protein Hair Mask is sure to turn your hair into a shiny, lustrous luxurious mane. Blake Lively, step aside! Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat and vitamins C and E, which help add shine to your hair and protect it from the harmful effects of pollution making it a super fabulous thing to put in your hair.

For this hair miracle worker, you will need an avocado, olive oil, mayonnaise and an egg. Whip the ingredients together in a bowl and then divide your hair into medium sections and apply the mask onto each section. When you apply the conditioner to separate sections, it ensures that your hair gets maximum conditioning which will leave every inch of your mane silky and shiny.

Once the conditioner is in your hair, put your hair into a bun and then put a plastic bag or shower cap over your head. Depending on the texture of your hair, leave the mask on from anywhere from 15mins to an hour. If your hair is on the thin side, leave the mask on for 15mins and if your hair is on the thick, coarse side, leave the mask on for an hour. Putting a covering on your hair while the mask is on helps penetrate the mask deeper into your hair. When ready, shampoo your hair to make sure all the mask comes out and then style as usual!

4. Argan Oil Nail Moisturizer

It seems that nails, decorated nails rather, are the hottest accessory in town! With the popularity of nail art, nail stickers and nail pens, our nails are left inundated with stars, stripes, polka dots and prints! If you have given the trend a shot, chances are your nails may be left brittle, broken and dull. Want to bring your nails back to their former glory? Then try applying and massaging, a drop of argan oil onto clean nails. Argan oil has mono- and poly-saturated fatty acids which helps moisturize your nails, giving them a natural looking, shiny finish. Try using model Josie Maran's 100% Pure Argan Oil available at Sephora!

5.  Salty Olive Oil Body Scrub

Isn't soft, moisturized skin what we all aspire to have? Not only does exfoliating your skin help remove dead, flaky skin cells but it also helps prevent and treat ingrown hairs, that you may get from shaving or waxing your unwanted hair. To create the Salt Olive Oil Body Scrub, take 1/4 cup of olive oil, 4 tbsps. of coarse salt and mix it into a bowl. Then, massage the scrub into your skin and rinse it off in the shower! Voila! You will now have skin as smooth as a baby's tushie.

There you go! Some rainy day beauty recipes for you to try at home. What are some DIY beauty treatments that you like try?

Don't forget to check out Amanda's Fashion Spot on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!


Twitter: @AFSpot
Pinterest: AFSpot
Instagram: AFSpot

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