Wednesday, October 30, 2013

5 Coats to Brighten up Your Winter

Coat weather is upon us, at least here in NYC. My royal blue/cobalt coat has been keeping me warm for the past two weeks. It's my favorite coat - the cocoon shape is so classic yet so modern, and the bold, blue color just makes me happier during dull winter days. If somebody asked me what was one thing they should buy for this winter, undoubtedly, I would say: get a bright-colored coat! Find the color that flatters you the best and forget about neutrals. 
Below you can find some inspirational images of bright coats and different options available on the market. 
Go ahead - be colorful this winter ;)  
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BB Dakota in evergreen | Keneth Cole in hunter (on sale via Nordstrom!)

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Keneth Cole in mustard (on sale via Macy's!)

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Asos in red | Betsey Johnson in red (on sale via Macy's!)

cocoon coat, pink coat, cupcakes and cashmere, colorful winter coat

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Kristen Blake in royal (on sale via Nordstrom!) | Pim+Larkin in cobalt

Which color is your favorite?
For more inspirational images check out my "Colorful Coats" board on Pinterest

Images: green|yellow|red|pink | blue coat by Joe Villarin

Friday, October 25, 2013

Birthday Weekend: Food Discoveries

This past weekend I celebrated my 25th birthday, which was full of fun with friends and family - and also full of delicious food! I visited three new restaurants and one lounge (all in Greenwich Village), and I was so impressed with all of them that I decided to share these great places with you.nyc restaurants, new york city dining, greenwich village best restaurants, dove parlour, best lounge for birthday party, sevilla restaurant, malatesta, left bank, west village dining, nyc food recommendations
On Friday night, my boyfriend Joe and I decided to go on an adventure around the Village. What do I mean by an "adventure"? Well, just wandering around one of NYC's many distinctive neighborhoods with an eye out for new places to discover. It's always so fun - aimless, carefree, and romantic! That's exactly how we discovered our favorite local Italian restaurant, Saggio, in Hudson Heights, so we were hopeful to find some nice spots in the Village. We definitely made a couple of circles around the area, taking in all of our dining options, before we settled on Left Bank. This place is self-described as an American tavern inspired by its Greenwich Village surroundings and is committed to serving locally-grown and wholesome food. When we first arrived around 9pm on Friday night (without a reservation!), we were seated by a large bay window overlooking a quiet side-street and started to enjoy a bottle of wine. Less than a half-hour later, we were welcomed into their main dining space, which had simple but comfortable decor. Their menu is not huge, but, based on our experience, everything is extremely delicious. I can tell you that the first bite of my swordfish entree definitely made me stop and close my eyes for a second - so, so good! I had to savor the moment. The service was excellent, and I would highly recommend this place both for a romantic date and a group outing.

The next day, we started our evening off right with some Spanish food at Sevilla Restaurant. I immediately fell in love with this place: its old-school vibe, courteous staff, and special character. It was a perfect place for a group of close friends to enjoy dinner, complete with several choices of tasty paella and tons of fresh seafood. And sangria! Oh, let me not forget the dessert: guava with cream cheese, lemon sorbet served inside a real lemon, rice pudding, and so much more. Simply delicious. You really get treated like a family here; on the way out, we shared kisses on both cheeks (European-style!) with the host. It felt like we had just stopped by for a family dinner. I still can't get over the amazing atmosphere, which was delightfully retro, and I will definitely return. Tip: arrive before 7pm to get a table fast, as they don't take reservations.

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After our delicious dinner, The Dove Parlour was our next destination for lounging around and celebrating with friends. Spiced Peach Cobbler, Cherry Tart, or French Lavender cocktails anybody? Add to that an excellent selection of cheeses and boutique wines, decoration that exudes old-world elegance and luxury (while maintaining a laid back atmosphere), and there you have a chic lounge perfect for birthday parties and romantic dates. Did I mention there is a fireplace? This place was just perfect for my celebration.

And last but, of course, not least is a new brunch spot for you brunch-loving New Yorkers and visitors. It's called Malatesta - an Italian trattoria on the west side of the Village. A very cute place with big windows and rustic decor, the relaxing atmosphere of the brunch hour was matched by their delicious homemade pasta. Paying the bill is cash only, but it's extremely affordable and very tasty! Definitely worth venturing to this side of the Village.


I hope you get to visit some of these places! If you do, I would love to hear about your own experiences in the comments section.

Images from nymag.com, leftbanknewyork.com, thedoveparlour.com, sevillarestaurantandbar.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Runway show: Fashion, Ukrainian Style


At the end of September, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend "Fashion, Ukrainian Style," a runway show of contemporary wearable art at the Ukrainian Museum in New York City. This presentation showcased the collections of three designers: one based in the US, Elena Vasilevsky, as well as two from Ukraine, Oksana Karavanska and Katya Pshechenko. The event was organized as the capstone of a recent exhibition in the museum entitled "Out of Tradition: Contemporary Decorative and Applied Art," which showcased 150 works of decorative art (including pieces produced by the above-mentioned designers) all rooted in the rich culture of Ukraine.

The runway show was definitely a highly anticipated event; tickets were sold out quickly six weeks beforehand, and organizers had to add a second-floor gallery in order to accommodate the waiting list. The eager audience was treated to four different collections: Oksana Karavanska pret-a-porte meets couture, Katya Pshechenko pret-a-porte, and two collections by Elena Vasilevsky - pret-a-porte and a jewelry show.
I've been eager to see Karavanska's collection, since I remember her as a prominent fashion designer from my teenage years. As the first model entered - I knew we were in for a special treat. The twenty pieces selected for this show were mostly white and black, with hints of mocha. Accessories - shoes and flower crowns - provided some of the color accents in green, red, pink and blue. Each piece was intricately embellished with delicate embroidery, openwork and exquisite details. I got the feeling that if I were to hold one of these items I would have to do so with extreme care for its dainty embellishments and luxurious fabrics. At the same time, the silhouettes were strong, modern and architectural. This juxtaposition of fragile feminine embroidery with a strong modern silhouette in neutral colors felt really timeless and eternal. It reminded me of traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirts or "vyshyvanky" - they can be really old and intricately-embroidered but remain strong against the flow of time and changes of fashion.  
I got to talk to Karavanska, who was very gracious and enthusiastic to explain more about her creations. I was curious to find out about the meaning behind the name of the collection - "The Garden of Unmelting Sculptures." Karavanska explained that this collection is dedicated to Lina Kostenko, a famous Ukrainian poetess who published a collection of poetry with the identical title. This name seemed very appropriate to Karavanska because it conveyed something that is beautiful and eternal - a collection of works of art resistant to time. And so Karavanka's aim was to produce wearable art, an exquisite collection of hand-made couture pieces with technically-difficult detailing and everlasting appeal. Above all, her desire was to leave these special pieces to the next generations with pride - her contribution to fashion, art and the timeless tradition of "vyshyvanka". 
We also chatted about Ukrainian fashion and its international reach. According to Karavanska, Ukrainian fashion is taking small steps abroad, and she was delighted to bring her collection to the US. This personal connection with her clients and people who are interested in her designs is very dear to her. For this reason, she stopped showing her collections at Ukrainian Fashion Week but instead started organizing private fashion shows for her dedicated clients in Lviv. She hopes to build similar relationships abroad, and I certainly hope that she'll come back to New York City with more collections to show.  
I didn't get the chance to speak to the other two designers, Pshechenko and Vasilevsky, but I'd like to make several observations about their collections. Katya Pshechenko is a young, talented designer from Kyiv, who not only designs clothes but also accessories such as hats and jewelery.  Her collection had a unique feel: feminine silhouettes executed in unexpected fabrics that added structure and dimension to the designs. Matching hats, necklaces, headpieces and handbags made the collection very cohesive. I was especially fond of her long coats paired with tall rectangular hats; they reminded me of Kyivska (Kievan) Rus', the predecessor of modern Ukraine, and its women, specifically its princesses or "knyahyni." NYC-based Elena Vasilevsky presented two collections: beautiful jewelery pieces and a ready-to wear collection that was very feminine and seductive, executed in lace, rich brocade, leather and fur.
The runway show was followed by a Viennese coffee reception, open access to the exhibition, a silent auction and interviews with the designers. Overall, it was very inspiring to see modern Ukrainian designers and other showcased artists drawing inspirations from Ukrainian tradition and culture, while creating something unique and modern. I'm looking forward to attending more fashion events in the future, and, in the meantime, if you're interested to find out more about current Ukrainian designers, please visit Ukrainian Fashion Week. And if you travel to NYC - make sure to stop by the Ukrainian Museum and check out their special exhibitions! Enjoy more photos from the event and exhibit below:
Jewelery and millinery. Masha Archer, Katya Pshechenko, Motria Jackevych Holowinsky.
Oksana Karavanska
Ianina Symonenko, unknown authors
Guest at the reception: stunning combination of traditional Ukrainian elements with modern style! (Can't get enough of the stylish lady above, especially the color coordination of her rings, nails polish, lip color and "vyshyvanka" colors!)

All photos were taken by me.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sky is the Limit

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I remember as a child learning about different types of clouds from my science book. But I don't remember ever being as fascinated with the sky and clouds as much as I am now. I used to be surrounded by nature when I was growing up, and now sky is the biggest part of nature as I spend most of my days on the fourteenth floor of a research building with huge windows. Sky fascinates me immensely... Blue sky with big puffy white clouds just brightens up my day in an instant, while fast moving storm clouds exert mesmerizing powers. My beautiful view of the sky is my refuge during a long day in the laboratory. Whenever I need a moment to clear my head I just have to look outside.  
Recently, there have been so many messages coming my way. The universe is reminding me that I have to be happy in this very moment, I have to seize the opportunities, work hard, and be a carrier of kindness in this brutal world. And I'm so happy and lucky to be doing what I love: science, even though it doesn't always give positive results, is such a fascinating and satisfying process for my mind. This little blog has also brought so much joy, and I'm so motivated to develop it even more. Our life is like sky: it can be blue and sunny, or it can be dark and stormy, or it can be sown in stars. It's ever changing, and we can only observe it, not always control it. What we have to do is to stay true to ourselves regardless of the weather.
I think we grow to appreciate the sky more as we get older. We get to realize its vastness, its eternity, its changing nature. And we have to look up to it more often, and understand how lucky we are to be alive and well, how we should chose to be happy this moment, how many kind acts we can do, and how many opportunities are out there for us to seize. 
Sky is the limit...

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Photos are taken with iPhone 4S and Nikon D5200

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stylish Scientists: Junko

'Stylish Scientists' is a weekly series that brings you an exclusive peek at women in science and their style.  
The motto of the 'Stylish Scientist' is: "Always look chic while making a discovery!"
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At what stage of science education are you?
I am starting the third year of my PhD.

Tell us about your research and your inspiration and motivation in science
I study the endocrine functions of bone. Specifically, our lab study bone, which is the latest appeared organ in vertebrates, to investigate its influence on the whole-body physiology such as glucose metabolism and male fertility. My motivation in science is that, as a geneticist, I would like to show scientifically that life consists of interdependent mechanisms written by simple codes and no organ works by itself.  I feel like old biology gave us a lot of significant basic knowledge of life, but at the same time, it’s like missing the forest for the trees. So, taking advantage of the current advanced knowledge of genetics, my motivation is to do biology by seeing the trees and find a new forest! My inspiration comes from many great scientists here at Columbia!

Your earliest fashion memory
When I was small, I started to learn baton twirling. When I performed, my instructors always did make up for me. I remember that I was excited and happy to wear makeup like adults do! Also, many costumes for performance were girly and shining, decorated with many sparkles. I always felt special when I wore a new design of the costume and was very happy to wear something I usually do not wear!

Who influenced your style?
I am not the type of person who loves to go shopping often… But fortunately, many of my friends are very fashionable and they influenced my style :). My friends know where to go shopping and I always ask them about the latest trends before I go shopping :). I’m trying to look nice like my friends!

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How did the places where you lived influence your style choices?
I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. Like in NYC, there are many people with various styles in Tokyo. Also, there are many shops and department stores so it was easy to catch up on the latest trends. Since there is no typical style in Tokyo, I loved to wear very different styles depending on the feeling of the day :). Also, since there are clear four seasons in Tokyo, I changed the color choices of my clothes depending on the season!

How different is way of dressing in Tokyo and NYC?
I think the biggest difference between Tokyo and NYC fashion is the color. When I go to shopping in NYC, I find many clothes, bags and even cosmetics with vivid, bright and primary colors. However, I think Japanese tend not to wear clothes with primary colors.

Sometimes I can tell if people are from Japan or not based on the color of clothes. Also, heels sold here are very high compared to heels sold in Tokyo. I think that is because people often use car to go out in the states and people in Japan often walk to go out. So I recommend to buy heels in Japan if people have a chance to go because they are much more comfortable :).

Your favorite brands and places to shop
My favorite brands and places to shop are Zara, Aritzia, Jill Stuart, J.Crew, UNIQLO, Free people…etc.

Your everyday science uniform
I usually wear jeans or skirt with blouse and cardigan.  I change what I am wearing depending on the experiments of the day. If I have to spend a lot of time in mouse room, I usually tie my hair and wear flat shoes and jeans. If I have a lot of bench work, I wear skirt and heels (of course with a lab coat) :).


What do you think about dressing nicely while doing experiments?
I think it is very good to dress nicely while doing experiments. Considering safety in the lab, we do not need to be extremely fashionable. But we can look clean and neat every day. Also, I spend most of my time in the lab so that I want to wear something I like!

Any thoughts about how the general public perceives scientists and their appearance?
I think general public may still think that scientists are men and are indifferent to fashion. Indeed, when I meet with new people, some say that I do not look like a scientist because I am a girl and wear nice clothes… :(! In reality, I know that most of scientists are stylish and well-dressed. So, I am not concerned about how general public thinks about how scientists look because what scientists should be known of by society is by their findings. On the other hand, in terms of education, it is important that scientists interact with public and tell people, especially young people, that we can look nice and do cool experiments! I was one of the kids who decided to become a scientist after I met with stylish and talented women scientists :).

What are your favorite things to do/see in NYC?
I like walking around Bryant park area when I have time because my favorite pastry shop is there :). Also I love reading novels and I love to go to book stores and read books at my favorite cafe. I sometimes enjoy attending events held by Japanese student group at main campus to meet with new people! :) I used to enjoy teaching Japanese so if I can find time, I want to teach Japanese again in NYC! 

What are your recommendations to see in Japan?
Since I am from Tokyo, I recommend to go see Tokyo! J If you like fashion, there are so many shops so you will never get bored in Tokyo! Also, please try real Japanese food and sweets! :)


All photos are taken and edited by me.