You may have heard me mention this before, but I don't wear pants. I only own 3 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of "pixie pants" (which are basically glorified leggings from J.Crew) and a pair of faux denim polka dotted jeans. It's a rare occasion I actually wear any of these because I just don't feel comfortable or like myself when I wear pants. People often ask me how I survive the NYC winters wearing skirts and dresses everyday. I've even had a guy yell at me to "put some clothes on" because I was wearing a skirt on a day it was snowing, but little did he know I was actually plenty warm. Here are some tips for keeping warm while still looking stylish.
start with your core:
I almost always wear a cami top underneath any dress or top during the winter months. I tuck the cami into my tights, so there's no bare skin anywhere exposed. I feel like if your core is covered, it will help keep your entire body warm.
add a collared top:
I love layering collared shirts under my dresses and sweaters. Not only does this elevate the look and make it more interesting, but it's another layer to keep you warm!
layer tights and socks:
Another trick I do is layer tights with thigh high or knee high socks. Again, having two layers helps keep you warm while also elevating your outfit!
If you'd like to shop these knee high tights, you can find them here:
find a vintage coat:
My favorite coat, which you've probably seen me wearing on Instagram, is a faux fur, leopard print coat. This coat is from the early 90's and I found it for $35 in Housing Works, a thrift store chain here in NYC. When I bought it, I had no idea how much use I would get out of it. Because it's (technically) vintage, it's super heavy duty and well made, so it keeps me so warm, but it was so inexpensive. Coats today just are not made with the same quality, even if they're expensive.
don't forget your hat, gloves and scarf:
Growing up in the suburbs, I rarely wore hats, gloves or scarves during the winter. We drove everywhere, so I was never outside for extended periods of time. Now I don't leave the house without gloves. Walking around outside so much, if I don't wear gloves, I often can't feel my hands. I also don't go anywhere without a hat (usually a beret) or my over the ear headphones to keep my ears covered.
Dress: c/o Tallulah’s Threads
if you'd like to also shop my dress, you can find it here:
Knee High Tights: c/o Vienne Millano
Polka dot tights: H&M; Shoes: Steve Madden; Bow: Claire's; Purse: Vintage; Locket: Vintage
Location: Hoboken, NJ
It's that week between Christmas and New Year's, when you don't know what day of the week it is or what exactly you should be doing. I've had off work this whole week, and it's been so nice to spend time with family, go to sleep without setting an alarm, and finally catch up on Season 2 of Mrs. Maisel. I'm also spending this week crossing things off my to do list, which includes boring things like going to the dentist and scheduling doctors appointments, to fun things like hemming some new vintage clothes and catching up on blog posts.
When it came time to write this post, I had a bit of writers block, even though I had several ideas for topics. I thought about writing about how to style quirky pieces, like this cat backpack I am wearing in these photos. I also thought about sharing my favorite Mexican restaurants in NYC (although this building says Corner Deli, this place is actually a Mexican restaurant and taco stand called La Esquina). Mexican food is one of my favorite cuisines, so I could totally write a whole blog post on my go to spots. I thought about writing about the behind the scenes of this shoot. It was an absolutely freezing and windy day and I hurried to shoot these photos during my lunch break at work. I also thought about writing a post of blogging tips for shooting in the cold or how to prioritize creating content while working full time.
I know blogs are sort of a dying art form and Instagram is where most people consume content nowadays. However, I want to maintain this platform since it is completely my own. We all remember Myspace, and I don't want to spend so much time and energy creating content for a platform (aka Instagram) that could easily become extinct someday. I want the photos I produce to be inspiring, and the words I write here to be insightful or informative. If you could give me feedback on what you'd like to see on my blog (or Instagram too), I would love to hear it! More posts about vintage clothes and shopping? Links to shop products from modern but retro inspired brands? Things to do in NYC? Personal posts? Style Tips? Blogging Tips? Or something I haven't even mentioned here? I'd love to hear from you!
If you'd like to shop my backpack, you can find it here:
You can customize your bag with different colors too!
Backpack: c/o Aris Bags
Coat: Vintage; Top: Motel Rocks; Skirt: Forever 21; Tights & Thigh Highs: H&M; Loafers: Eastland Shoe; Beret: Beau xoxo
Location: La Esquina (SoHo, Manhattan)
NYC during the holidays can be a magical time. There are lights everywhere, bars and restaurants are decorated, and there's fun parties and events almost any given night of the week. However, NYC during the holidays is also one of the most crowded times of the year. Tourists flock to the city, and locals, myself included, make sure to take advantage of being able to go out and about before the bitter cold and snow arrives. I love celebrating the holidays, but I hate being uncomfortable in crowds and waiting in lines. So I decided to compile a list of some of the most overrated places and events to skip and alternative, more under the radar things to check out instead.
Check Out: Boilermaker
Even if you don't live in NYC, you've probably seen photos of Rolf's, a German Bar and Restaurant with extravagant Christmas ornaments and lights hanging from the ceiling. I've never been here, but it only has 2.5 stars on Yelp, so I don't imagine the food or drinks are very good, and I've heard it's ALWAYS a ridiculous wait to get in. I actually saw a blogger I follow on Instagram post on her Stories that she went to line up outside Rolf's before they opened just to make sure she was able to get in and get pictures.
Instead, head to Boilermaker in East Village. At Christmas time, this place turns into "Sippin' Santas Surf Shack". They serve up tiki drinks, decorate the bar in kitschy holiday decor, and play 60's beach movies, like "Blue Hawaii" and "Beach Blanket Bingo" on a projector. Also, their burgers and fries are amazing too!
Skip: Bryant Park
Check Out: Union Square
Bryant Park is one of the biggest destinations during the holiday season. They have a holiday market with vendors, as well as the ice rink, which makes it a popular place for both tourists and locals. I love to shop the market for gifts from local businesses, but the crowds make it unbearable.
Instead, check out the Union Square Holiday market. They have similar unique, "shop small" vendors, and while this market can still get crowded, especially on weekends, I feel like its a bit more under the radar than Bryant Park.
Skip: The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular
Check Out: A screening of "It's A Wonderful Life"
Ok, ok, I love The Rockettes, and I've been lucky enough to see the show twice in my life, but it's a tourist trap and the tickets are super expensive!
Instead, check out a screening of "It's A Wonderful Life". A few theaters around the city show it, including IFC, which is one of my favorite indie theaters in West Village. Try checking out smaller scale productions of live theater or dance too. I was lucky enough to catch a live radio show of "It's A Wonderful Life" at the Mile Square Theater in Hoboken. It was a great performance and and lovely evening because the theater was cozy and intimate and not overly crowded. The show is still running until this Sunday, if you're interested in checking it out! You can find tickets here:
These photos were taken at the Vintage Holiday Train two weekends ago. Since it's in such a public place like the subway, this event can get pretty crowded with vintage lovers, photographers, and just the common New Yorker or tourist who just happens to find themselves in the subway and stumble upon the event. The event is happening again this Sunday (the 23rd) and next Sunday (the 30th). You can board the train starting at 10am at the 2nd Avenue subway station and ride it uptown to 125th street. I highly recommend catching the first train at 10 because it gets crowded later in the afternoon! The trains depart at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm from 2nd Avenue.
P.S. if you'd like to shop my dress, you can find it here:
Dress: c/o Smak Parlour
Tights: H&M; Shoes: Steve Madden; Purse: Vinage; Bow: Claire's; Bracelet: Kate Spade; Coat: Vintage
Location: 2nd Avenue Subway Station (East Village)
It's been a long road to 10k. I started growing my Instagram at the end of 2015 and started my blog in 2016. I know 10k isn't a big following at all, and many people have surpassed this number in a shorter amount of time. However, 10k was still a goal I was working towards, and I wanted to acknowledge it. And the fact that I hit 10k just a few days before my birthday made it even better! I wrote a little post with 10 things I learned about myself, social media and any creative endeavor on the way to this milestone.
stay true to your own style:
It can be tempting to alter your style just to conform with what's popular at the moment, whether that's the clothes you wear, the way you edit your photos, how you pose, or the language you use in your captions. During the last few years on Instagram, there's been several big trends I've noticed. First it was the white/minimalist look, then it was the super colorful trend, now it's the "Tezza look" (photos inspired by, or sometimes flat out copied from @tezza) as I like to call it: overly grainy photos with an orange colored filter and editorial style poses. However, all trends are fleeting, so it's best to just stay true to who you are because no trend, no matter how popular, is permanent. If you're jumping on a trend that's not true to who you really are, it will be really difficult to evolve with it.
seek inspiration elsewhere:
Instagram has become so formulaic, especially when it comes to influencers. Everyone's photos, language and style has started to blend together because we're all in this bubble. It's so easy to be influenced by what we see on Instagram (even if it's subconscious) when we spend so much time on it every day. I try to get outside of the bubble and seek inspiration elsewhere. Whether that's Pinterest or Tumblr, movies or music, or visiting a museum.
stay in your own lane:
It's so easy to look at what others are doing and feel like you need to do the exact same things to be successful, especially when what everyone is doing is on display for all to see on social media. I've been tempted to do things like participate in loop giveaways or start monetizing my blog through affiliate sales because it seemed like that's what I was SUPPOSED to be doing to be a successful blogger. But everyone has their own path for success, especially when it comes to blogs and social media.
slow and steady wins the race:
I've definitely felt envious of girls whose follower counts grow in leaps and bounds. However, most of the tactics they use are not beneficial in the long run. It can be tempting to participate in a loop giveaway to see your follower count grow by thousands overnight, but that's not a good solution because these people don't engage with your posts, which throws off your numbers and looks fishy to brands. Trust yourself and the process and know that hard work pays off in the end and if it's too good to be true, it probably is.
create your own opportunities:
As with anything else in life, there are always going to be people who seemingly have things handed to them. But that doesn't mean that they're the only ones who can be successful. I got a "late" start to the influencer game. The girls who have been doing it longer than me of course have an easier time getting collaborations and get approached by brands more frequently or have managers to secure deals for them because they have a bigger following. But that doesn't mean there's not room for me too, it just means I have to work a little harder to get noticed. I pitch myself to brands all the time. Sometimes they say no or don't respond, but sometimes they say yes too! Which brings me to my next point...
don't be afraid to hear the word no:
Don't be afraid to initiate contact between a brand or person. The worst that someone can say is no or not respond. And just because someone says no or doesn't respond, doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you. It could be something as simple as your email getting overlooked or the brand not having a budget at the moment. Don't take it personally!
don't be afraid to say the word no:
When you're first getting started it can be tempting to agree to every brand collaboration or RSVP yes to every event. But it's important to be selective with these offers so your personal brand doesn't get diluted and to not burn yourself out. There will always be more events or more collaborations coming your way. When approached by a brand and given a campaign brief, if I can't think of a good idea for content after I sleep on it that night, I usually pass on the opportunity. If you have to think about it too much, it's probably not a good fit.
numbers aren't everything:
I often hear other influencers or bloggers say they're afraid to reach out to brands and companies because of their follower count or engagement rate. But numbers aren't everything. Brands will want to work with you if you create amazing content or are professional and pleasant to work with. Just like the film industry, you could be the most popular actress, but if you're difficult to work with, have a bad reputation in the industry, or don't deliver results, they won't want to work with you. Being extra creative and having good communication skills can make up for a lack of followers or engagement.
experiment with things:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Social media is constantly evolving, so something that worked for you in the past may not work for you now. If something's not working anymore, try something completely different because you have nothing to loose. Social media, like many creative endeavors, is basically throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.
don't worry about everything being perfect:
I can be a perfectionist, so a lot of times I'm not completely satisfied with my work, but I still force myself to post it and move on. My boss always references this Maya Angelou quote, and I think it can be applied to anyone who has a side hustle.The quote goes, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We're always growing and evolving and if you wait until everything is perfect, you'll never get anywhere.
Photos by Madeleine
Dress: c/o Unique Vintage
Tights: H&M; Bracelet: Kate Spade; Shoes: Steve Madden; Beret: Beau xoxo
Location: Washington Square Park (West Village, Manhattan)
Last week I announced a giveaway with Hadron Epoch to give one of my followers these cute products from their line, which includes adorable macaron magnets, a set of ice cream notebooks and a 2019 planner. Getting this new planner in the mail got me thinking about what I've accomplished in 2018 and what I'm hoping to achieve in 2019.
2018 was definitely an...interesting year. I was unemployed for six months, which lead me to transition out of working in fashion and into a completely new industry. I like to believe everything happens for a reason. My new job has definitely taken some getting used to, and I still feel like I'm trying to get the hang of it, but overall I feel like maybe I had to get laid off in order to make this transition into a new industry that is a better fit for me.
And although having a break from working was nice, being unemployed pretty much overshadowed my entire year and finding a new job became my biggest focus. Although I had to put some bigger goals on hold, like traveling as much as I originally wanted to or opening up a 401k, I accomplished a lot of personal goals, like hitting 10k on Instagram, being an extra on a tv show, and going back to dance classes. I think it's important to remember to view these little personal goals as accomplishments too.
Now I'm starting to think about what I want to accomplish for 2019. I definitely want to continue to expand my Darling in Dots brand, whether that's growing my following, creating my own products, or publishing some how to guides. What would you like to see from me in the new year? I also definitely want to plan some trips that I had to put on hold last year, some places on my list are Palm Springs and Texas (Dallas & Austin). I also want to continue to grow and improve at work.
What are your goals or resolutions for the new year?
PS if you'd like to shop Hadron Epoch, you can use my code darling15 for 15% off your order!
Dress: vintage; Beret: Beau xoxo; Tights: Target; Shoes: Eastland Shoe
Location: Woops Bakeshop (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
Last Friday I had an absolutely marvelous afternoon visiting The Marvelous Mrs Maisel Carnegie Deli Pop Up here in NYC. I first heard about the pop up about three weeks ago via Instagram. The pop up was only open for 7 days, so reservations went quickly, but luckily I was able to secure one for my partners in crime, Desirae and Adam, and I. Our reservation was for 11:30 am, right when they opened for the day. Luckily since we had a reservation, we were able to go right inside. But even that early in the afternoon, there was already a line wrapped around the block. There were booths where you could sit and eat if you had a reservation, but if not, you could line up to grab a sandwich to go at the counter.
Once we were inside, we were seated at a booth. The decor was great, complete with a wall of vintage photos mixed with shots from the show, a juke box and vintage phone hanging on the wall. They were playing the Mrs Maisel soundtrack over the speakers. Even the waitresses were in character and spoke in old school, New York accents. When it was time to order, Desirae and Adam both got the Maisel sandwich (pastrami) and I got the Susie (turkey). We got a knish for the table to share. The sandwiches also came with dessert too. Desirae and Adam both went for the cheesecake, but I opted for the black and white cookie. Since we're all big fans of the show and the 1950's in general, we all went more for the experience, not so much the food, so we didn't have very high expectations. So we were all pleasantly surprised with how delicious the food was! I'm still dreaming about the black and white cookie I had. The menu listed the food as 1950's prices, so we were all expecting to pay about $3 for our meals. But while we were eating, they made an announcement that lunch was on Mrs Maisel and instead asked us to consider making a donation to a charity they were raising money for.
Before we headed out, we took some photos at the counter and in the photo booth. Everyone loved that we were dressed up and one of the guys working behind the counter asked to take photos with us. He also gave us some extra black and white cookies for the road. My only regret of the day is that we didn't get any photos with the vintage cab parked out front. When we came out to leave to try and take photos with it, the driver had to leave for some reason and drove off. Other than that it was truly a marvelous experience!
Sadly, this pop up was only around for a week. But if you're in NYC and want your own Mrs Maisel experience, here are four permanent places to check out:
28 Eight Avenue (West Village)
If you watch the show, you'll recognize this old school eatery from the flashback scene in season 1 where Joel and Midge are eating breakfast the morning after their wedding. I love the exterior of this place especially because they have an Coca Cola sign with the name of the restaurant on it.
Kettle of Fish
59 Christopher Street (West Village)
While The Gaslight was a real coffeehouse back in 1958, it closed down in the 1970's, so sadly you can't go visit it. Even though it looks like an authentic coffeehouse on screen, the Gaslight in the show is just a set at the studio where they film in Brooklyn, which I was a little surprised to discover that when I was an extra on the show. Instead, check out Kettle of Fish. This bar also opened in the 50's and is still around today. You'll also recognize this from the show, as Susie and Midge come here in season 1.
169 West 4th Street (West Village)
You'll also recognize this record store from season 1. Susie and Midge come to visit. This is also where Joel overhears the recording of Midge from the first night she does stand up at the Gaslight. They sell musical instruments as well as records here, just as they do on the show.
New York Transit Museum
99 Schermerhorn Street (Brooklyn)
There are several scenes throughout the show where Midge is seen riding the subway. These subway cars are located at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn. At the museum, you're able to go into each of the cars (they have other decades besides just the 50's). I've been before and it's a super fun experience!
Dress: Dolly & Dotty; Beret: Beau xoxo; Shoes: Steve Madden; Watch: MVMT
Location: Carnige Deli Pop Up (NoHo, Manhattan)