1 A weekend of firsts

There is no better way to spend a long weekend in the Big City than with some fantastic friends from Melbourne, M. and R., taking in some new experiences...

First Broadway show
Oh, Mary Poppins… it was even more magical on stage than it was on the video I watched when I was young(er). The sets, the colours and the talented, talented people who could sing, dance and... fly. It was one of those shows that had me leaning forward in my seat with a big smile on my face waiting for what was coming next.

What's that word again?
A wonderful explosion of energy, colour and dancing

First long weekend
This weekend was Memorial Day weekend, when Americans recognise those who have sacrificed their lives for their country, like our Anzac Day in Australia. It typically also marks the first weekend of summer, and the real warm weather finally arrived… thirty degrees, blue skies and plenty of sunshine. We're planning our first trip away to the beach as I type.  

A nation stops...
... to remember those who have fallen
First celebrity sighting
I have been hanging out to see (or recognise) my first famous person here in New York. It finally happened on Friday, at the Spotted Pig in West Village, which incidentally, will become my local when lovely husband C. and I move in to our apartment later this week. It happened when I looked up – our eyes met across a crowded bar – I felt an instant jolt of recognition – an immediate thrill – and then a pang of disappointment. Does it count as a celebrity sighting if it's Matt Moran* from Masterchef Australia?

From New York, with love xox

* Matt Moran co-owns Aria restaurant in Sydney, which is divine. Not only does it have incredible Opera House and harbour views, but the truffle mash potatoes are to die for.


2 The sweetest accessory

Designer handbag. Tory Burch flats. Cute little dog. The three must-have fashion accessories here in New York. Everyone who is anyone goes everywhere with one. I've seen dogs on trains, in designer stores, in supermarkets, in the airport and on the subway. They are, without a doubt, the loveliest and sweetest accessory ever…

Can't you see I have an important job to do?
Single minded focus... watch out stick!
So lonely, so forlorn... so.... nobody loves me
Super excited! New person to play with!
Which one would you most like to take home?

From New York, with love xox

0 As the day unfolds...

Is there anything better than a (mostly) unplanned weekend?  I love waking up in the morning with a long and lazy day stretching out luxuriously in front of you. Nowhere to go, no-one to see and nothing to do… a day to spend in bed reading a book or getting a massage and a facial or slowly wandering through museums and galleries.

We woke up on Saturday with only one thing I'd committed us to. So we started with a late brunch – as all good New Yorkers do - at the kitsch and cozy Kitchenette in Tribeca. We decided from there to head to Chelsea to do some gallery gazing and spent an incredible couple of hours meandering in and out of galleries, in turn amazed, inspired, challenged and confronted.

Some outside art in Chelsea, New York
This actually looked really cool... guess you just had to be there!
Art... it's all subjective
Once we'd had our fill of art and artistes, it was onto drinks with new friend S. at the Frying Pan. A little misleading as there wasn't a frying pan in sight, however a couple of boats and a floating pontoon chained together certainly promised more potential for fun and frivolity.

The Floating... Frying Pan, Chelsea, New York
My favourite "person" at the Frying Pan, Chelsea, New York
We eventually left after making merry for a few hours and happened upon a fabulous restaurant – The Red Cat in Chelsea - where we sat at the bar and enjoyed a series of Mediterranean style tapas plates while sipping on lovely wine and contemplating our wonderful future together.

I've noticed New York days have a way of unfolding in front of you, piecing themselves together bit by bit and ending in a tapestry of amazing experiences. It's a city where it's almost better not to plan, so you're free to go where the day takes you and experience what the city plans for you.

From New York, with love xox

0 Summer dreaming

I love sun filled days. There's just something about them that lightens my step, brings out my smile and fills my world with possibility. I love the feel of (a little*) sun on my skin, gritty sand between my toes and the smell of sunscreen in the air. I can't wait until our first New York summer really starts so we can take trips to the Hamptons, hang out with the stars at Martha's Vineyard and hide ourselves away in Nantucket.

While I wait (impatiently!), I'm happy to see the city in full spring mode. There are flowers on every street, cherry blossoms in the parks and a hint of the summer to come in the warm spring air.

In full relax mode, Sheeps Meadow, Central Park
Some unexpected colour on Park Ave, New York
Too pretty in Battery Park City, New York
It's fun watching the New York locals relaxing after a long and cold winter, brunching at sidewalk cafes, baring their shoulders and showing their legs every time the sun peeps out from behind a cloud. I'm looking forward to seeing the summer fashions on the street, bright colours and loud prints replacing the muted winter palette, light fabrics and flowing skirts in place of jeans and heavy jackets.

I haven't started buying my summer wardrobe yet however gladly heed lovely husband C's advice that if I wait much longer, I'll miss summer entirely and will be shopping for winter before I know it!

From New York, with love xox

* Yes mum, I will wear sunscreen… SPF 50+!

0 Horsin' Around

This weekend I found myself on a train, heading west to Princeton again, sans lovely husband C. and with a delightful new friend S. I met S. through a work colleague who (thankfully!) put us in touch after I mentioned that I was missing horse riding every weekend as I did in Melbourne.

As we sped through the New Jersey countryside I wondered whether my riding would be up to scratch. S. explained the trainers had both won multiple Olympic medals and had successfully competed at elite levels for most of their lives. She talked through the horses, dogs and people at the farm and then told me of the love story between the two trainers, L. and N., who found in each other a second chance of happiness. It was evident in the way S. talked that the farm was like a second home and its people a second family.

Still, it was with some trepidation that I met L.  I was immediately put at ease as she welcomed me with a hug and kiss and then set about outfitting me. She put me on a horse and then put me through my paces, taking me through exercises I hadn't done in years (which I'll be feeling for days!).

The prettiest barn ever, Hayfever Farm, New Jersey
It's tiring work, this growing up stuff... Hayfever Farm, New Jersey
Which way's the barn?
As much as I love New York, the trip out to horse country has restored me somewhat. To be able to look out at a horizon where the sky meets the land, to breathe in the fresh air and to throw my hands wide and not touch people or walls has renewed me and re-instilled a sense of calm I didn't realize I was missing.

I look forward to my monthly trips out to the horses, and can't wait to show lovely husband C. a new side of our New York life.

From New York, with love xox

0 Shopping... A New York sport

My feet hurt, my back ached and my legs were like two pieces of solid lead. I felt like I'd spent a punishing hour at the gym working out with a personal trainer. I cast my mind back and realized I hadn't done that for a very long time… not since I'd moved to New York to be exact. No. These aches and pains were brought about by 8 hours of pounding the pavements, browsing through racks of clothing and then standing in waiting lines a mile long to try on and discard most of what I'd collected on my way around the shop floor. I think I've found my New York form of "exercise".

I spent last weekend with a fabulous friend from Melbourne, G., discovering the retail joys that New York City has to offer. Stores here are even more prolific than pubs and coffee shops in Melbourne. It's possible to spend almost two days walking around Soho and not visit even a quarter of the stores there. Although we certainly gave it our best shot…

Amongst the stores we stepped into, there's a handful that are definitely worth a visit when (visiting me!) in New York.

Century 21 is a discount designer department store in FiDi (Financial District). It's a bargain hunters paradise full of designer items at ridiculously low prices. G.'s bounty was impressive and I can vouch for the fact she saved more that she spent.

Michael Kors is full of aspiring models in the guise of sales assistants doing a lot of flirting (with each other) and not much selling. Visit for the shoes and handbags (and model watching). 

Zara is always fantastic, though seems to bring on bouts of Ikea stress in me. Love the clothes, love the prices, hate the queues and crowds.

My personal favourite was DKNY. It was full of clothes with clean, simple lines and bright splashes of colour. I picked up a sequined tank and a pair of relaxed fit charcoal silk pants... instant New York cool. 

Shopping the cobblestoned streets of Soho
(don't you just love lovely husband C.'s man bag?)
New suitcases... to take the bargains home, New York
As we worked our way around the stores, I seemed to add more items onto my wish list than I took off… an excuse for another "exercise" session!

From New York, with love xox

6 House hunted

… And a character reference. And your net income. And your bank statements. And your birth certificate. And your parents birth certificate. And a guarantor. And your guarantor's guarantor. And the number of your Swiss bank account. And so it went until my friend M. finished reeling off the long list of requirements for securing a rental property here in Manhattan.

To our immense relief, we've had a relatively easy time of it. So easy in fact, that we looked at a total of two apartments and went with the first one we saw. Our application was approved late last week and we are now the very proud renters of a tiny one bedroom apartment.  It's our 3.5m x 15m piece of Manhattan air, in the middle of the very fabulous West Village. Think brownstones, walk ups, tree lined streets, cosy little restaurants, Magnolia Bakery, Sex and the City… and now, me!

In addition to its wonderful location (or perhaps because of) the apartment has many other advantages... I won't need to join a gym as it's at the top of four flights of steep stairs. I won't need to cook as there's a restaurant every few steps that we need to try. Cleaning will take a matter of minutes given the small space. Laundry is definitely out as there's nowhere to hang wet clothes, so much easier to replace them instead.

My new, leafy street in the West Village, New York
Ahhh.... home sweet home, West Village, New York
Models walking the (my) streets of New York
We move in at the start of June and I'm already looking forward to balmy nights out on our fire escape enjoying a glass of wine.

I've worked out where our art will hang, chosen my colour palette and have started checking out clever storage solutions for small spaces… Let the decorating begin!

From New York, with love xox  

0 Poster Perfect

I have discovered that there are certain things that I need around me to make a house feel like a home. I thought I could live happily anywhere with just four walls, a roof over my head and lovely husband C. But no… turns out I need pretty things. They make me happy. Luckily, New York has been only too willing to oblige me in my search for all things pretty…

On one of our exploratory trips to Tribeca, we happened across the very fabulous Philip Williams Gallery. On walking in, I knew there was something there waiting for me to choose it, wanting to come home with me to brighten up our (temporary) apartment with its loveliness. There were thousands of posters hung all around the walls and piled high throughout the store, just screaming to be looked at. I could have spent hours there, listening to the jazz music playing softly, flipping through the stacks of posters while the world rushed by outside…

Posters anyone? Philip Williams Gallery, Tribeca New York

… Until I looked up, and stopped dead in my tracks, having found exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for. A Bally poster. A very clever, very contemporary, very lovely Bally poster. My credit card had left my wallet and we were discussing framing options before I knew what was happening.

Such a soothing combination...
It's a perfect combination of my favourite things… shoes and art. It also matches our new cherry red Nespresso, which is hands down the most critical item we needed to feel at home here. It suits my new Diptyque candle, which I bought because the Mimosa scent reminds me of a warm, summer's day by the water in Australia. And it's a lovely splash of colour against the flowers I buy to remind me that it is in fact, spring here.

It's funny how small things can make such a big difference. I feel more settled here somehow as a result of a poster, coffee machine, candle and some flowers… knowing our wonderful friends are visiting over the next few months helps too!

From New York, with love xox

0 An impromptu trip to Princeton

At 6pm on Friday night, lovely husband C. received a phone call from yours truly, inviting him to pack a bag and jump on a train. So he did, and met me three hours later at the Peacock Inn in Princeton. As we were toasting our spontaneity, I had to pinch myself… only four weeks ago we were having dinner on Chapel St, Melbourne and now here we were doing the same thing in Princeton, New Jersey!

We hit the town on Saturday and it just happened to be the day of the annual town fair. It was all blue skies, sunshine, cheer leaders and hip hop dancers, served up with a healthy dose of frat boys. We immersed ourselves in all things American, wandering from stall to stall, stopping at interesting exhibits of talented people doing skilful things, weaving through the slow moving families and enjoying the sensory overload that goes hand in hand with fair days.
  
The whole town turned out for the fair, Princeton, NJ

The pie throwing contest was a massive splat... I mean hit, Princeton, NJ

The more serious side to the festivities... messages of hope to Japan

When we’d had our fill of the town, we strolled through the grounds of the university… and almost wished we could relive our carefree, student days at Princeton. It was stunning. Big, stone buildings covered in moss, wooden doors polished to a satin-y golden sheen, wrought iron gates and ancient trees providing shade for relaxing students. I soaked in the beauty and also felt smarter as we were walking around - surely 250 years of learning in one place has to rub off somehow! 
 
The hallowed halls... grounds of learning, Princeton, NJ
Some lucky students actually live here, Patton Hall Princeton, NJ
 
This is serious business, Princeton, NJ
Naturally on our way home I spent quite a bit of time thinking through which degree I could sign myself up for at Princeton... before I remembered my penniless student days and realised it would mean giving up my dream of my Chanel 2.55!

From Princeton, with love xox