Cougar in the City

Knock Knock! There's a Cougar in Town.

Okay, okay.. I'm not a cougar in the sense that I'm chasing 22-year-olds around town, but I'm an animal when it comes to my goals and aspirations in this rat race of a place. This month marks my 6th year living in New York City and I've never felt more motivated to keep pushing towards my goals.

For the last few months, I've been updating my wardrobe to make sure its directed to were I want to go and not necessarily where I'm comfortable at. You know the saying-- "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have."--it applies in the sense that I want to upgrade my wardrobe while still growing as the boss I am.

My way of dressing beyond myself, or at least beyond my normal black on black uniform, includes a new abundance of silk shift dresses that give a pop! Specifically, this ZARA leopard print shift literally screamed my name when I saw it in the store.

An updated wardrobe can do wonders to your self-confidence and your overall goals. I mean, I've published 2 blog posts in 2 weeks, so you knooooow I'm feeling good.

But, while this can be seen as just an outward expression of confidence, I can honestly say with everything that I've gone through so far in 2018, I've never felt more empowered and self-motivated in who I am and who I know I can be as a person.

While this beauty is sold out, I've found another leo printed dress that packs just as much punch.

Rosé All Day: Polo Classic Style

It's National Rosé Day!!  And who doesn't love a little bubbly? 

Rosé is obviously the new summer favorite for NYC living, so I've grown to love the sweet tasting libation on a hot day or two. 

Last week, I officially started my summer festivities at the 11th Annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic with one of my dearest friends. (Gotta love great friend's that surprise you with sold out tickets to most photographed event to start the summer). And while some came to take photos to prove that they were there and few actually came to watch a polo match, I came to do a little bit of both and of course drink great champagne.

While I loved sipping on champagne and looking at everyone's polo-esque wardrobe of church hats, midi-length sun dresses and seersucker suits, I chose a more casual yet chic approach to Saturday polo.

I paired my favorite ASOS Mom Fit Jeans with this intricately folded JOVANI crop top. Now, I know what you're thinking... "JOVANI makes separates?"--Actually yes, but I took one of my favorite two-piece gowns, that's actually almost sold out at Neiman Marcus, and definitely came through with the fashion without being too over the top! Who knew it would be a smart idea to make evening wear multi-purposeful? Pairing these 2 together with my new favorite Mallory mules from Steve Madden and these fan earrings from Zara made for the summer chic style I've been craving all year. 

This look will be perfect for any Saturday brunch for sure!

Back to the Rosé...

My favorite Rosé at the moment is First Press Ruby Red--a sweet sparkling Rosé with a hint of grapefruit that I can actually stand--it's one of those fruits I've never been a fan of until I found this tasty drink.

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Literally in the Gray

We're finally within arms reach of Spring, or what we hope will be warmer weather. So I've decided to amp up my wardrobe for the new year and focus on finding classic pieces that will be staples in my wardrobe for years to come.

If you know me, then you know I'm a sucker for anything monochrome. I've learned that by sticking to the same simple basics and adding a few statement pieces, I can amplify my style to the next level. And, that's exactly what I've done with this chic and sophisticated look. It's simple enough to take my everyday black staples and bring me to the chic side of things. 

THE BASE

For all of my everyday looks I usually stick to my uniform of black on black.--What can I say, it's the NYC PR go to-- My favorite  pieces this season are a ribbed bodysuit and a pair of the best leggings Zara has to offer-all in black of course. I love Naked Wardrobe's "The All Ribbed Bodysuit." It's not too thin, and features a slightly high neckline that makes it a sophisticated piece to pair with anything. Now I know you probably thought, BASIC when I said I wear leggings, but Zara's "Wide Waistband Leggings" are nowhere near basic. With the wide waistband and the center seam down the legs, these leggings are sophisticated and work with any outfit. I'm not kidding, they look better than my best pair of slacks, and are 10x more comfortable. I may be a little bit crazy, but I have about 4 pairs of these leggings and equally the same amount of the bodysuit in my closet. 

For my feet, I stick with my favorite black booties, which bring me to new heights both figuratively and literally. I've had major success with these Lillia Boots from White Fox Boutique. As the weather gets warmer, I'll switch out my booties for some mules like this chic but simple pair from H&M (click here).

THE AMPLIFIERS 

Since my base is pretty much a constant, I like to add a boost my look with overcoats to cover up this tush and a simple handbag. I've been obsessed with Zara lately and I found both this suede overcoat and this cute box bag on my last online excursion. Both pieces are simple enough on their own, but added to the base they bring up the sophistication level without breaking the bank. 

And to obviously look cooler than I really am, I finish off the look with some sunnies from Quay.

What are your go-to staples in your wardrobe?

Waking Up in La La Land

What do you do when you can't take the cold of New York anymore? You take a weekend trip to sunny LA :) Now of course, my quick trip was half work and half play, but it's just what I needed to kick off 2018.

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We stayed at the Jeremy Hotel in West Hollywood, and it was absolutely amazing. The room was beautiful and the pool view was gorgeous. It's the perfect boutique hotel with a lush feel. I'm so happy I found this place through Hotels.com.

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Every morning before heading out to work, I'd spend a couple of hours at the rooftop pool, and thankfully since it's always sunny in California, I was able to make a pit-stop at a Forever 21 and grab this sporty two piece. 

FOREVER 21: TOP ($19.90) & BOTTOMS ($15.90)

Safe to say, this was a great mini getaway and I can't wait to do it again.

A Taste of Spring in February

Alright, alright.. I know I'm jumping the gun on this one, but this 77° weather today is giving me hope for warmer weather and a more vibrant wardrobe. So I did something that I rarely do on a work day... I put on a dress!

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Yes, I've officially gone mad! The girl who will literally avoid a dress for work at all costs, willingly jumped at the chance to wear this flowing frock on the first warm day of 2018. This stripped caftan style dress is totally up my ally. When I spotted it at Zara a couple of weeks back, the first thing that popped into my head was- 'Sophisticated Chic,' which is the exact mood I want my wardrobe to exude this year. 

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I paired this burgundy and navy stripped dress with my go-to crossbody from YSL. Being the girl that usually carries her whole life to work everyday, you'd be surprised that I've made this my go to every day bag. It's light- it's chic- and it literally works with everything. I paired this with a pair of booties that have been hiding under my desk for a bout a year, which keeps this "seasonally appropriate."

Overall, I feel really "adult" in this look and can't wait for you all to see some of my wardrobe upgrades for 2018.

Feeling Peachy On A Monday

Why have the Monday Blues when I can feel Peachy :)  

 

I know, I know I'm cheesy hehe, but I'm completely and utterly obsessed with my Sunday Funday outfit! If y'all only knew how long I've been waiting to wear this peach and white duo, you'd congratulate me on my patience. 

 

Chic with a classic flair was the inspiration for this look. I was able to pair something old with something new to freshen up my summer style without getting too far away from myself. I found this Lace croptop at Zara in early June and wanted to pair it with something that wasn't too casual but also not too over the top. My white wide leg trousers that I've had sitting in my closet since I wore them last August-(because really who am I kidding-I get white dirty even before I walk out of my house)-was the perfect option. Paired together, I looked like a cool glass of rosé on a summer day.

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For shoes, instead of going for my usual platforms that get me at least to 5'8, I decided to go a little on the wild side and have a peekaboo effect with my favorite fringe-tiered stilettos from Steve Madden. They were a fun and flirty touch to a streamlined look and I probably will continue to add some shoe pizzazz to my simple silouhettes.

So Close but yet so Far: The In's and Out's of Traveling to Cuba

I don't think there's a place more intriguing to an American than Cuba. While there's only 90 miles of water that separates us, we couldn't be anymore further away. So when I received an email from Delta Airlines in September saying that commercial flights would be available starting December, I just knew I would have to go. 
Here's a breakdown of my trip and what you can expect from traveling to our closest Caribbean neighbor.

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THE FLIGHT:

After convincing my girlfriends that we couldn't pass up this opportunity (better yet instagram convinced them), we booked our flights and started planning our trip. I originally planned to go in January and found a ticket for $204 round trip--ROUND TRIP PEOPLE. But, with schedules and timing we decided to travel at the end of February. While my girlfriends took SouthWest, I decided to stick with a direct flight through Delta. My round trip flight for a 6 day trip was $272, still an amazing deal for a country that has seen an influx of US travel. The great thing about these commercial flights opening up travel to Cuba is the ease of travel. With the price of your ticket, included is the required health insurance and you buy your Visa directly at the terminal for $50 before departure.


THE VISA:

Because there's still restrictions on flying to Cuba, you have to review the OFAC guidelines and state your reasoning for traveling to Cuba--aka this is not a trip that you can just go and lay on the beach for a few days-- you must have a legitimate reason for coming. As I've always been intrigued with Caribbean and Afro-Latino culture, I used the People to People reasoning. With People to People, you're basically stating that your coming to Cuba to interact and create a dialogue with the people of the island. 


WHERE TO STAY:

With any trip, it's important to look for a safe and secure place to stay, so when planning for Cuba we weighed both of our options for Hotel and Airbnb. As pricing for hotels are astronomical (+$350 per night) I definitely didn't feel it was economical to go that route. Airbnb, if you can find a good one, is a great option if your looking for a more affordable and interactive option. Just remember to READ THE REVIEWS. You never know what you're truly going to get with Airbnb or host.com, so reading other travelers experiences will definitely help when choosing the right ones. For the 4 nights my girlfriends where with me in Cuba, our total Airbnb cost per person was $34. Comparing that to almost to over $300 per night, there is no comparison.


ITENERAY:

There's soooooo much to do in Cuba, so having a detailed itinerary will save you so much time. From the museums, preserved towns, and monuments to iconic restaurants and bars, there's literally something for you to see every moment of the day. It's better to make a lists of must-sees and backburners so you can plan out your time and budget efficiently. Havana specifically is a pretty large town but is definitely walkable, but if you're going to another town like Trinidad that's 4-6 hours away, remember to take into consideration that travel time.
Airbnb also launched an excursion section on their website where you can pay for different experiences with locals (definitely fits into the People to People Visa requirement). From going on a literature tour to working out with a Cuban Olympian, there's so much that you can do.


FUNDS:

If you thought Cuba was just another Third World Country where you'd get stuff for pennies, you're definitely about to experience a reality check. Not only is the CUC a 1:1 conversion with USD, but Cuba imposes a 10% tax due to the Embargo plus a 3% exchange tax. So you're actually loosing a load of money. Although you can get a decent meal with at least 2 mojitos for under $30 and Airbnb hosts most likely offer a $5 hearty breakfast or have it included in the price, it's better to bring more money than less. For my 6 day trip I brought $500 and converted $460. With my conversion I ended up with $401 in CUC. Although my last day was pretty tight, (I only had about $65-even after converting my last $40 USD-- left to spend on food, drinks, a cigar, my last museum visit, and my taxi ride to the airport the next morning) I had a decent amount of money to enjoy for the full week. Also factor in the $25 CUC from the airport and back--you don't want that to be the reason you can't get home to the US. To be more safe than sorry, I suggest at least $125 per day. Convert about 2/3 of the full amount so you don't get hit with the double conversion on the way back when you try change CUC to USD.

ALSO REMEMBER: Credit and debit cards aren't recommended to use and probably aren't even taken. So you'll need as much cash as possible to last your whole trip.