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Adventures in Wining and Dining

Casa Mono
52 Irving Place

           It’s no secret how much I love food. I mean, I work part-time at an indie food magazine and my most visited websites after Fashionista and Tumblr are Eater NY and Joy the Baker…

           In some strange way I find trying new restaurants around Manhattan to be a productive activity. Granted, it makes no logical sense but at least it gets me out of the house. As such (mostly due to my obnoxious Instagram feed full of photos of me looking down at various plates of food) I’ve become the go-to among friends looking for recommendations. Here I'll share a few with you all:

The Butcher's Daughter
19 Kenmare Street

I've always been someone who's never felt truly satisfied after eating a salad. No matter how big or how many ingredients were added, I'm left wanting more. That changed after trying the spicy kale ceasar salad at The Butcher's Daughter. Something about the combination of avocado, almond parmesan and toasted nuts hit all my cravings. You also have to try the avocado toast and at least one of their special juices (for added annoyance, make sure to instagram it!) It's a favorite of supermodels like Chrissy Teigen, Karlie Kloss and even Taylor Swift. 

Edgar's Cafe
650 Amsterdam Avenue

For a brunch away from the 'ladies who brunch' crowd, Edgar's Cafe on the Upper West Side has a  load of great options (especially in the egg and cocktail fields). 

Cafe Colette
79 Berry Street

Cafe Colette in Williamsburg has a distinct neighborhood brasserie feel to it, which is a welcome respite from the overly-trendy/ironic beards capital of Williamsburg. Plus I made a ton of new four-footed friends being seated outdoors next to the doggie-biscuit bowl (like Bandit here)! 

1164 Broadway
413 Greenwich Street

My new favorite spot for a quick dinner in between classes? Sweetgreen, for one of their amazing (and mostly healthy) salads. It's nothing fancy, but oh so yummy. Clearly a great spot for binge-watching (like with 2 Broke Girls, above) outside before it gets to chilly. 

The Smith
1900 Broadway
55 3rd Ave

My absolute favorite place for brunch: The Smith. Mainly for their their special Vanilla Bean French Toast with Caramelized Bananas. I tried to make them at home once based on this recipe which was yummy, but nothing like the real thing. And I am still wishing I'd never found out what was actually included in it... (if you remain blissfully ignorant of the calories, they don't count, right?

My Work: Blonde Ambition, DuJour Magazine

Imagine the tough positions you might force your body into during a particularly challenging, early-AM Pilates class. Now try to envision holding those poses for upwards of an hour as the instructor yells highly specific commands like “move your elbow five degrees to the left” or “cock your head two millimeters more in my direction.”

            Although it’s already a somewhat clichéd, archaic notion that high-fashion modeling is a walk in the park, this editorial I worked on last winter for DuJour Magazine was enough to put that idea to rest for good. ‘Blonde Ambition: Maximizing Winter’s Accessories’ featured model Ariel V mastering a range of challenging postures for photographer Bela Borsodi. It was shot early one chilly Saturday (the morning after a Two Door Cinema Club concert, I might add) at Dune Studios in downtown Manhattan.

Keeping it classy BTS with my new favorite Charlotte Olympia 'Be Mine' clutch. 

We are always hard at work on set... right Al? 

Carolina Girl

             Normally my parents come up to Southampton for the summer and I go out to visit them on weekends etc. This summer was a bit different though as my mom has been undergoing various treatments at Duke Hospital for the stomach cancer they discovered in late spring. So far nothing has worked, but they’re still trying to figure out an effective plan. We talk a lot on the phone, but I decided to fly down to visit right before Fall semester started. 

            Although I was a city child from birth, my family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina when I was about fourteen. The reasoning behind our move has always felt a bit random and every family member seems to have a different memory of why we did/who actually made that final decision. Regardless, while I’d love my parents to still be on the other side of Central Park to indulge my frequent desire for home cooked meals or (a much more common inkling) for them to treat me to fancy dinners, it’s nice having somewhere to escape to escape to during the holidays.

 I loved our apartment on the Upper East Side, but there’s nothing like having a big cozy house to come home to in the middle of the polar vortex winter. Not to mention a place to dump all the crap that accumulates in my own apartment – stuff I don’t want to throw out but am not ready to to part with just yet. Hey- you never know when I’ll need to reference a copy of Vogue or Elle from 2006… right?

When it's 105+ degrees outside, there isn't much to do besides stay in doors or under water. Thanks to the new issues of Love and Industrie, I managed to stay entertained. Every issue of Industrie is a must read, but this one might just be my favorite due to the hilarious and adorable spread on Derek Blasberg's (my lovely boss) high school years in St. Louis. 

You know that scene in Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland were the Queen of Hearts orders her playing card minions to "Paint the Roses Red"? Well I'm convinced our landscapers have been painting our front yard green. My (chubby) little puppy Lucy came back like this after running around right after they'd left...

More caffeine and good reads courtesy of the new CR Fashion Book and Dazed Magazine. 

I couldn't wait until Fall to get my absolute favorite: sweet potato pancakes covered in chocolate chips from Elmo's Diner- right off of the Duke University campus. Since my Dad went to Duke undergrad (albeit a hundred years ago, hehe) it's become one of our favorite Father/Daugher traditions. 

NYFW, Part 3

The view from Calvin Klein at the new Freedom Tower. 

I’ve never felt more like a socialite party-hopping her way around town than I did on the evening of Day 4 of NYFW. Breaking a personal record and managing to attend an event in essentially every neighborhood of Manhattan, it was quite a night.

Conveniently Ralph Lauren's Polo in the Park/Polo 4D took place a whooping two blocks from my apartment.  Less convenient: coming instead from the Tod’s opening of their re-vamped store on Madison Avenue in midtown.

Having finally arrived at the park’s 72nd Street entrance (Guests were told to enter from the west side, odd considering Ralph’s mansions take up a large portion of 72nd on the East Side), my partner in crime (ella@lpa) and I were greeted by fleets of upper-echelon-type, polo-wearing men. Hopping onto Polo-branded golf carts we (along with the hilarious Camille@Camille Over The Rainbow) were whisked off towards the Cherry Hill section in the middle of the park.

The peerlessly elegant Nicole Kidman at the revamped Tod's Madison Avenue store opening. 

            The invitation to the event gave no hints as to what would actually take place. One of the women behind ShowStudio and I began speculating while in (the endless) line at Thom Browne earlier that day. “I heard that there was going to be a lot of food,” she told me. Another woman, having overheard our conversation, told us that she knew for a fact that is was “going to be a festival-type situation.” My curiosity was definitely piqued.   

            Finally arriving at the space (it was so dark I can only guess where we were in proximity to the entrance) we were met by a beautiful vision: bars staffed by men who looked like they had just stepped out of a Ralph Lauren advertisement themselves. An even more beautiful sight? The champagne and lobster rolls in their hands! Oh, Ralph- you just get me.

It’s hard to come up with new concepts in fashion, but Ralph was able to wow his guests by putting on an altogether next-level production: a 4-D, holographic fashion show to display his first-ever Polo Ralph Lauren women’s collection. Holographic models strut down a range of New York landmarks, ranging from the Highline to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was truly an exploration of how fashion companies can use technology to advance their own brands.

The act billed as the 'surprise performance' on the Calvin Klein invite turned out to be Iggy Azalea and special guest Rita Ora. Watching Iggy belt out the lyrics to Fancy against the entirety of the Manhattan skyline was a magical way to end one amazing summer. 

            From there we cabbed all the way down to 4WTC (as in the new Freedom Tower) for the launch of Calvin Klein’s newest fragrance, Reveal. Ralph Lauren had set the standards pretty high for the night, but Calvin Klein was up to the challenge. From one classic New York scene to a new, much-discussed part of NYC’s skyline, it was easily one of the most clichéd Manhattan evenings- full of glamour and stars.

The back a golf cart: a perfect excuse for a selfie session. 


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Caroline Mason: 21. Native New Yorker (and one time North Carolinian). Assistant to Derek Blasberg. Just a girl who is OCD about all things fashion, drinks way too much coffee, and has an affinity for late night talk shows and travel books. FIT class of 2016. Previously with Karla Otto PR, Lori Goldstein and Lester Garcia.

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