Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Little Glam

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Coat: Club Monaco (recent, but not seeing online) | Sweater: Premonition | Denim: Citizens of Humanity | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Sunglasses: Ray Ban

I've always been a sucker for a dramatic collar and I always joke around that it must be the Russian in me, having grown up with a mother who would go to the grocery store, dressed to the nines. It's interesting to realize that some things are just embedded in your culture. 

On another note, today my phone alerted me that I'm 30 weeks pregnant! Definitely still carrying on the small side, but for the first time, I have strangers asking me when I'm due, rather than wondering "hmmm...is she or isn't she?" 

PS: Heading to Santa Fe tonight with a couple of girlfriends! If anyone has been or has any recommendations, please share!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Burgundy

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Coat: Tahari 'Marla | Sweater: Cambridge | Denim: Citizens | Shoes: Jimmy Choo (alternative option) | Bag: Gucci | Sunglasses: Celine

Wanted to give a quick hello! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

photos by Keith Hodne

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Layered

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Coat: Theory (similar) | Scarf: Topshop (on sale) | Boots: Mason Margiela (brogue version + ankle boot version) | Denim: Citizens of Humanity (maternity) | Sunglasses: Prada | Lipstick: Bobbi Brown Pink Nude + Pink Cloud | Cuff: Hermes | Clutch: Celine Box Bag 

I haven't mentioned this on here before, but one of the things that I'm so incredibly nervous about is how Pete, our Mini Schnauzer, is going to be when the baby comes. He's an incredible dog, which I'm sure everyone says about their own, but we've learned over the last few years, that he does not do well with little children. When he was a little puppy, he got surrounded by a group of overly excited little kids who were aggressively (but innocently) playing with him and I swear, it was that moment that traumatized him for life. Then again, it might be more than that, but I always wonder if that was the trigger.

I should also probably mention two things: recently, when my one year old baby cousin was over our house, I had to hold Pete the entire time because he kept aggressively growling at her. Quite honestly, if I let him down, I don't know what would have happened, but I couldn't take that chance. About a year prior to that, we had our friends and their one year old baby over the house. At one point, when I picked the baby up, he got incredibly jealous and tried to lunge for the babies leg. Luckily, nothing happened and he just grabbed a little material, but again, it could have been really bad. 

So yeaaaaa, I'm not 100% of what we're going to do, but working with a trainer and trying to figure out a game plan is going to be our first step. The thought of finding him a new home, pains me to no end (I cry just thinking about it), but of course we don't want to put our child in jeopardy. If that were ever to happen, worst case scenario, we would keep him close and in the family. Again, this is worst case scenario, but we're trying to be prepared on every single level.

Has anyone had any similar experiences? Any tips or words of advice? We've been told to practice holding a doll, while playing a soundtrack of a crying a baby, which we'll be sure to try.

We actually took these photos before meeting with the trainer, so that's what sparked this train of thought. 

On a different note, this blanket scarf that I'm wearing is back in stock after being sold out for a few weeks! Definitely one of my favorites.

xoxo,
Helena

photos by Keith Hodne

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Best Desserts in NYC

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One thing about me, I love desserts, baked goods and most things sweet. Being in the thick of winter, is there anything better than a cup of piping hot chocolate on a 18 degree winter day? Maybe a bowl of Ramen if you're in a savory mood, but otherwise, no.

New York is filled with so many incredible spots, but trust me when I tell you, I've done all of the legwork and narrowed it down to a few of my all-time favorite places.

Levain Bakery
Where: 167 W 74th St. New York, NY 10023

Best cookies ever. This place is home to not only my favorite cookie in New York, but maybe my favorite cookie in the world. Very bold statement, I know. Crispy on the outside, soft, warm and gooey on the inside and pretty much the size of your fist. My two favorites are the chocolate chip walnut and dark chocolate peanut butter. I should probably warn, there's always a line out the door, so be prepared to wait a bit, but trust me, it's well worth it.
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Two Little Red Hens
Where: 1652 Second Avenue @86th street.

All the way on the Upper East Side, but worth the trek, especially when you're like me and coming from Brooklyn. This place is famous for a few things, but my personal favorites: the cupcakes (chocolate peanut butter being my pick), blueberry cheesecake and if you're a rich chocolate lover, the Brooklyn Blackout cake is to die for. Honestly though, you can't go wrong with anything you order. Another place with a line out the door, but it moves quickly, so don't get too discouraged. From the three items I mentioned, the cupcakes, cheesecake and blackout cake, I know many who claim that they're the best in the city, but I'll let you guys decide for yourselves. All I have to say, I'm happy it's on the UES, otherwise, I'd be in serious trouble and a few sizes larger.

*Tip: I love making a day out of going to this bakery and then heading to the Met (or vice versa!)
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Jacques Torres
Where: Various locations throughout the city.

As I mentioned above, on a really cold day, there's nothing I crave more than the Jacques Torres Wicked Spicy Hot Chocolate, flavored with ground ancho and chipotle chilie peppers. If that doesn't sound like your thing, their classic hot chocolate is equally decadent and delicious. While some say that City Bakery has the best hot chocolate in the city, personally, I prefer Jacques Torres. If you happen to be in the mood for a little chocolate on chocolate action, the chocolate chip cookies are out of this world.

Tip: The Dumbo location is my favorite!

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Breads Bakery
Where: 18 East 16th street in Union Square

Three words: chocolate nutella babka. Oh, man. I've had plenty of really great babkas, but the nutella in  this one, is what takes it to the next level. Aside from the babka, other musts: the almond croissant, the chocolate rugelach and for something a bit more savory, the spinach & feta bureka.
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Dough Doughnuts
Where: 448 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn & 14 West 19th @ 5th Avenue, Manhattan

Soft, fluffy, doughy with the most mouth-watering glazes. A friend of mine, who normally claims that donuts are not really her thing (what the hell?) says that Dough is the only exception. My favorites include the Hibiscus, the Dulce de Leche and the Cafe au Lait.

Tip: if cake-like donuts are more up your alley (versus a doughy one), I highly recommend Doughnut Plant. 
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Mazzola Bakery
Where: 192 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY.

I debated whether to put Mazzola Bakery, an old school Brooklyn institution, on this list because the thing they're most famous for is not a dessert, but their lard bread, but more on that in a minute. Quite honestly, everything at Mazzola's is out of this world. Their rainbow cookies, croissants and coffee, easily some of the best in New York. You really can't go wrong with anything here, but lets get back to the lard bread. The name might sound scary to some, but there are no words to describe this goodness. Come here, get some coffee, get a pastry or some rainbow cookies and then take a loaf to go. I promise, you'll thank me later.

Tip: Cash only & you'll have to take your treats to go. No place to sit or stand.
MilkBar
Momofuku Milk Bar
Where: Various locations throughout the city

Even with all the hype, Milk Bar continues to be a favorite. This is my husbands #1 favorite dessert place and considering there are several locations, including a few in Brooklyn, we frequent it more often than I care to admit. I've tried most things on the menu and my favorites include: the crack pie, the birthday cake truffles and the cereal milk soft serve. However, our ultimate favorite is the birthday cake milkshake, which unfortunately, is only sold at certain locations, depending on the week! If you happen to be in Brooklyn, the Carroll Gardens location always seems to have it.

So there you have some of my favorites! Have you guys been to any of these? Have you been to other places that knocked your socks off? If so, do tell!

Other posts that may interest you: 
Where to Eat: {Manhattan Edition}
Where to Eat: {Brooklyn Edition}

Follow along on instagram with #BKBlondeEatsNY.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Plush

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Sweater Dress: Hatch | Denim: Frame | Boots: Isabel Marant (other colors) | Hat: Club Monaco (also in black) | Lipstick: Bobbi Brown Pink Nude + Pink Cloud (obsessed - new favorites!)

In an attempt to want to wear one of my favorite pairs of non-maternity jeans (I just love the cut and color), I went ahead and used the good ol rubber band trick! It was my first time trying it and paired with an oversized sweater (which is actually a dress!), it worked out pretty well. Worn with a new pair of boots, that I finally the bit the bullet on, after stalking for a few weeks.

On a different note, thank you all for your suggestions regarding bangs and being a new mom. You guys are right! As much as I wanted something fresh and different, having a haircut that's a bit high maintenance is the last thing I'll need. So, I'll wait a little bit and possibly revisit the idea when the timing feels right. Thanks for the input!

photos by Keith Hodne




Monday, January 18, 2016

7 Month Pregnancy Update & Gender Reveal!

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Faux Fur: Old | Denim: James Jeans (maternity - ordered my pre pregnancy size) | Tee: Gap Pure Body | Bag: Givenchy 'Antigona' | Boots: Stuart Weitzman (more sizes here) | Sunglasses: Dior

Last week, I entered my 7th month, which means, according to google, that I officially start my third trimester this Thursday. Holy *$(@! Time sure has flown by! 

All in all, I'll continue to say that I feel like I've had a really easy pregnancy. With the exception of a rocky first trimester, it's all been pretty smooth. Oddly enough, I feel like my hormones have never been more even and overall, I feel calmer, more patient and just very chill about everything. I'm not sure if it has to do with the sex of the baby, which I'll reveal below, or if it's just an individual thing, but I certainly hope that it carries over into motherhood. 

Of course there have been the really annoying things, like getting up to pee about 3x a night, at least. Everyone is like "make sure you stay hydrated…" which I certainly try, but that also means that I'm looking for bathrooms wherever I go. ALL THE DAMN TIME. Sometimes, it's five minutes after the last time. 

Physically, I've gained a total of 16-18 lbs. As I mentioned in one of my last updates, I didn't work out at all during my first trimester, ate whatever my body craved (carbs, carbs and more carbs) and basically did anything that got me through it. I felt so incredibly nauseous and tired that trying to be healthy was the last thing on my mind. It was more about getting through it, whatever that took. If you're reading this and a first time mother in your first trimester, trust me, IT GETS BETTER. Don't feel guilty for wanting to eat naughty, greasy foods and for skipping any sort of physical activity because it's totally normal. Do what you need to do! Eat that bagel, take an extra nap, etc.

 The main thing that helped me more than anything, never having an empty stomach! Even now, as soon as I wake up, I need to put something in my belly. The other day, I made that mistake of going to walk the dogs on an empty stomach and next thing I knew, I was dry heaving on the side of the street. I always carry snacks and a few lollipops in my handbag. If I feel myself getting hungry or my blood sugar dropping, I can easily reach for something. Also, sparkling water has been my best friend! Keith got me this SodaStream for Christmas and I swear, I've never gotten more use out of a gift. 

Once I started my second trimester, I got 90% of my energy back and wanted to make sure I pushed myself to get some some of physical activity in at least 3-4x a week. There are days when I have to make myself to go to the gym, but as always, once I'm there and done with my workout, I feel so much better and my pregnant body thanks me. If I'm not at the gym, I make sure I walk or do some yoga. I just know myself, if I don't stay active, I feel crappy and in turn, that crappy feeling turns into crankiness. Even with working out and trying to eat well, I've noticed that there are still parts of my body, aside from my belly and chest, that have gotten bigger. I feel like my back, legs, calves and arms have all expanded. I know that once the baby is born and with some work on my part, I'll get back into  pre-baby shape, but just sharing my observations. Facially, nothing YET, but I know there's still some time for that. My friend said her nose got significantly larger during the last month, so I'm a little nervous to see if that will happen to me. Stretch marks: nothing yet!

Getting dressed has been a bit more challenging than I thought. I miss being able to wear certain favorite "uniforms" of mine, like a sleek white button down, leather pants and even certain skirts! I've searched for a maternity version of leather (or even leather like) pants, but haven't been able to find anything I love. More than anything, the one thing I can't wait for is being able to feel like myself in my clothes and not feeling so limited. I think I've ordered almost every single stylish maternity item out there and returned about 80% of my purchases. However, the outfit I'm wearing today, especially the jeans and the tee, have been two major staples!! I've purchased this Gap Tee in every single cut and color that it comes in (I ordered a small) and they've been the best ones I've found! As far as these jeans, I love that they're a dark grey versus black.

And of course, lastly, THE SEX! We're having a boy!! AHHH!! The other day, I was at the nail salon getting a pedicure and the nail lady says to me "oooh! you're so small! you're having a boy, right?" Does having a boy equal a smaller belly? less hormones? I don't know! But that's what everyone keeps telling me. Either way, so excited! We still haven't agreed on a name, but have a few top contenders. Every single name that I love, Keith turns down saying "it doesn't feel right…"  So, we shall see.

Thank you for following along on this exciting chapter and as always, if you have any tips or tricks for me, I welcome them with open arms!

xoxoxo,
Helena