CHIC PLACES: MY TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY

{ trench | jeans | heels similar | pearl handbag similar }

I think New York City is now my favorite place in America to visit, Miami comes in as a close second. I would love to have an extended stay at some point, perhaps a month to fully feel like I have lived a little life as a pseudo New Yorker. Hopefully at some point I will get the chance to do this and perhaps replicate it in a few other destinations too; most importantly in London/Surrey so I can basically repeat the plot of the beloved seasonal classic, The Holiday. But for my time here in NYC, it was about living out the opposite life I have in Los Angeles, the excitement of a more fast paced vibe and lots of people being around each other doing things nonstop. It's the best of the best, delivered quickly and sharply. To me, living in New York seems like living in the center of the world. So many decisions and important people are here, creating and managing things that effect our daily lives, all over the world. I guess to me, everything in New York just feels so important. Perhaps that's just the perceptive of someone who has never actually lived there before and who just sees it glamorously portrayed in movies, television and reality shows. But it's the reason I have always wanted to experience the weight of such a big city and the reason I can't wait to head back again soon. And here's how I spent my time! Enjoy!

Thursday | We hoped off a red eye and of course our hotel wasn't ready to check into yet given the fact it was 7am so I changed into my workout clothes and went for a run in Central Park while Arthur got some work done. Running in Central Park was great, fortunately the weather was a perfect temperature and the park is massive. My only true disappointment was how green all the leaves still were, I was really hoping for some beautiful fall foliage given that Los Angeles is completely lacking compared to the east coast! But I still had a great time and despite being really jet lagged after failing to sleep at all on the plane I was energized by the workout. I think this is probably my best tip for traveling and fighting jet lag, a workout to reset your body, especially if you're used to going to the gym in the AM like myself. After that I perused around the Upper East Side and met Arthur for lunch at my favorite Sant Ambroeus, where I happen to be obsessed with their pasta dishes. I always envision it as one of the perfect spots for the ladies who lunch, but maybe it's just the spot where I want to lunch? After that we headed back to the hotel for a quick nap before getting ready for drinks and dinner. We met my friend Mary at The Marlton Hotel, which was a great spot for grabbing a drink with a group. The lobby has lot's of great open seating at night with waiter service and a relaxed, cool ambiance. After catching up with my friend we headed to Il Mulino to meet some more friends for dinner. I can not say enough great things about Il Mulino! It's a small, old school Italian spot with the nicest staff and a really fun environment. I love restaurants where you feel like you're at one big dinner party and that is exactly what it was like. In addition to having delicious pasta, they also serve you tons of yummy things before you even place an order like various seasoned breads, cheese cut straight from the wheel at the table and other yummy appetizers. You truly feel loved with all the delicious food and excellent service. I would highly recommend! We went to the original location downtown but I heard there's another one in midtown Manhattan, the Hamptons, South Florida and Las Vegas. 

Friday | I started the day off with a fun photoshoot with a fabulous New York photographer, Wini Lao. We went to a bunch of my favorite spots to shoot on the Upper East Side and unfortunately didn't have enough time or enough fall colors to venture to Central Park. It was a really fun morning however and the pictures made me look like could potentially pass for a real city dweller. After that I hopped in cab back to the hotel, picked up Arthur and headed to Soho for brunch at La Mercerie. I can't say enough wonderful things about this adorable French cafe inside the Roman and Williams Guild store. First off, it was the most beautifully decorated restaurant I have seen in a long time, which says a lot considering how many amazing places I have been in Los Angeles. The colors were muted, grayish blues and I almost died. My favorite combination of monochromatic lacquer paint and velvet in a palish blue sent my heart through the roof. Then to top it all off with the most beautiful pink velvet drape and I AM DEAD! My poor fiancé probably re-considered his proposal several times after I couldn't stop taking pictures and drooling over how perfect the decor was. After a yummy brunch we headed into the beautiful store area to browse some of the goods. The style is not exactly my taste but everything appeared pristinely made and very unique. After that we strolled through the streets of Soho, popped into a few shops and admired the famous architecture that defines the neighborhood. We then decided to hop into a cab and venture around the Met before dinner. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of my favorite Museums ever, I wish we had more time to explore every exhibit but I was able to catch the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination presentation at the Anna Wintour Costume Center, which was set to close following our stay. The pieces were extremely ornate, I can't imagine the amount of work that must go into so many beautiful details. We checked out the American Wing and Egyptian Art before having to head back to our hotel and get ready for the evening. We had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Polo Bar which if you didn't already assume is a beautiful restaurant designed and run of course by the classic American lifestyle brand, Ralph Lauren. I love this place for so many reasons, but most of all because it's an experience. As someone who truly appreciates all the small details, I love to feel completely transported by my environment. As you might imagine, the vibe at the Polo Bar is that of a old school men's club or hunt lodge. In many ways it leans a bit more masculine but it's also classic American decor and I completely appreciate the entire ambiance of the place! I would highly recommend going in New York and if you are in Chicago they have the RL Restaurant at their Michigan Avenue Ralph Lauren store. After dinner we grabbed a drink at the champagne bar at The Plaza Hotel, which to be honest, is a fabulous hotel but I expected more from the actual bar. The Plaza is a New York staple and as a woman who grew up following Eloise's adventures, I think both the adult version of her and myself would expect greater things from the champagne bar! Afterwards we had a cocktail party to attend at the Gramercy Park Hotel, which I actually stayed at before and would recommend if your really into the gothic design! 

Saturday | I woke up excited for another run in Central Park and fortunately was given the gift of good weather again. Afterwards I grabbed a latte at the coffee bar at Sant Ambroeus and took a short walk around the Upper East Side, admiring all the spectacular townhomes and beautiful shops on Madison Avenue. I couldn't help but stop at the townhome that served as a the opening shot in The Nannya beloved show I watched as a child religiously. All the homes on the Upper East Side are so gorgeous and if I lived in NYC I imagine walking around the neighborhood with my coffee, post Central Park run, would be a solid routine for me. After getting back to the hotel we showered and headed out to meet some friends for lunch before the wedding. We went to this wonderful little spot in Greenwich Village called Claudette, which I will be honest, was sold on after seeing the adorable blue awning out front. But it was a yummy brunch spot and I'm eager to try the dinner menu out next time. Afterwards we grabbed a glass of champagne at yet another adorable little French place, Petite Boucherie. After that we headed back to the hotel to get ready for a spectacular wedding at the New York Public Library and it was truly a dream event! See what I wore here. Can't wait to get back to NYC again! 

For a more recommendations check out my New York City Guide!
















-MGN

GRAY MALIN AT THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL

What happens when two of your favorite things come together? Well obviously magic, like when the fabulous lifestyle photographer Gray Malin shoots at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel! This series got me quite excited and eager to splurge on some beautiful new art. Gray really channelled the timeless glamour of an era in which we all love to revisit upon stepping onto the Hollywood inspired red carpet when you pull up. Surely Gray caught all the most picture perfect moments the BHH offers, starting with the landmark sign on the facade of the building that fills everyone with joy at first site and has become a staple visit for tourists, and residents alike. And this series is incredibly spot on. I am so ready to hop into that baby blue convertible with this pristine vintage luggage and drive to the sock hop. Pulling up to the beautiful lobby with those classic green and white stripes above me is truly a top  Los Angeles experience. But by far the best scene captured is at my favorite place of all, the 50's style dinner in the basement of the hotel. It's the most wonderful place, serving up all the classic American favorites like a tuna melt, milkshake and fries. It's the best spot if you've never been and the cherry on top for Gray's lovely series at the pink palace! Here are my favorites from the collection, enjoy! 








-MGN

COZY FALL NIGHT IN ESSENTIALS


A nice night in, is something to be cherished. The older I get, the wiser I become about my precious time at home. Anyone else prefer happy hour at home or brunch and dinner in your own kitchen? Don't get me wrong, I love to get social and frequent all the fun spots for food and cocktails, but my drive for running to all the new hotspots or going out for just the sake of it has deteriorated. Perhaps it's age or just a personal preference, but one thing is true for us all, we need a little rest and relaxation every now and again and it's worth enjoying the special time. The holidays are coming and so is the cold weather for most people. So considering this time of year, it's quite appropriate to spend more time indoors, under the covers, with a good book, a restorative face mask and some hot tea. Call me old but there is just no replacement for a comfortable night in. Here are some of my favorites for doing just that, enjoy! 

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-MGN

CHIC PLACES: THE NEW PALISADES VILLAGE

I love the Pacific Palisades for many reasons, most of them being the same reasons I love Brentwood. It's a beautiful neighborhood right at the upper edge of Los Angeles, on the water but not quite as much a beach town as Santa Monica, Venice or the Marina, mostly because it's perched up high into the Santa Monica mountains. The area is very quaint and reminiscent of any upscale suburb across the country. That is one of things I love most about Los Angeles, you can live in a relatively suburban area while also being in the center of a world class city. For most of my time in Los Angeles, the Palisades was relatively slow in having much to do beyond meeting your average needs. Of course they had a few good restaurants, shops and fitness classes, but for the most part there wasn't necessarily a reason to visit, which similar to Brentwood was why I found it such an appealing place to live. So when I first heard about the plan to build a large shopping area I was a bit surprised and even a tad worried it would change the beautiful mellow-ness of the area. But after having seen the Palisades Village fully executed I think they hit the mark perfectly. It's beautiful and new, yet also tasteful and small enough to feel like a truly neighborhood spot. The Palisades will never be West Hollywood or Venice in terms of attracting tourists and visitors but it will be a beautiful place to spend a relaxing afternoon and I think this new area really represents that!

Some of the spots at Palisades Village I am most excited about,  

1. The Draycott | If your were also a huge fan of the Bravo show Ladies of London than you probably remember Marissa Hermer, who along with her husband were successful restauranteurs, in addition to having exquisite taste. I loved Marissa's style and hostessing skills so much on the show and since she and her family moved to Los Angeles I had been wondering if and when they would open a chic new restaurant. And of course they did, right here in the Palisade Village, perfectly titled The Draycott with plenty of British inspired food and decor. The design alone is drool worthy and I can't wait to get myself a fancy drink at that bar! 

2. The Little Market | If you haven't already been following the amazing non-profit started by Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla you now have an even easier way to support their work. They have had a fair trade online shop for years that allows female artisans to sell their products from around the world and improve their economical stability. They now have a brick and mortar store and I am already a huge fan. I recently went to pick up a birthday gift for a friend and was extremely impressed at the quality and concept they have brought to life. I really want to encourage anyone to support this kind of commerce and I really hope we start to see more fair trade shops like it in the next couple years. 

3. Chanel Beauté | So I am not a huge beauty product connoisseur but I recently started using this wonderful concealer they make and was so impressed I am actually considering checking out their foundation. What can I say, I am a sucker for good marketing and so anything branded with Chanel will get my attention, but I also really loved their stuff. And of course the new store is perfectly setup to answer all your beauty dreams. 

4. Sweet Laurel Bakery | I had been really excited to try this completely gluten and dairy free bakery out for quite some time. I always saw it Erewhon Market and admired the beautiful goods on their instagram page but I had never actually tried any of their treats. Full disclosure, I didn't really like the snickerdoodle cookie, but I am eager to try another treat soon! I loved the pumpkin latte though and the store design was SPECTACULAR. All my pink dreams came true and can we talk about that velvet?? It makes me want a custom pink velvet sofa immediately but for now at least I have the perfect spot for an afternoon pick me up!

5. The Bay Theater | I will forever be a movie goer, will you? I love a small theater and I can't wait to find the perfect lazy afternoon to go see a movie by myself (yes, I love seeing movies solo). My only hope is they have almond milk so I can grab a vanilla latte with my popcorn (again, I am an interesting one right?). The five screening room theater is meant to have luxury services like on demand waiter service and a delicious full scope in theater menu. So hopefully that's a yes on the almond milk. 

6. Bonjour Fête | A beautiful party supply is coming and I can't wait to have another spot for finding chic party decor. As you know I love all the small details when entertaining and it can be hard on the westside to find unique items beyond the basics at most party stores. They also create beautiful balloon arrangements for events and can assist in planning events too. Anyone else live for cute party supplies? 

7. Towne by Elyse Walker | As most people in Los Angeles know, Elyse Walker is a luxury boutique with a well curated selection of all the best designer goods. It's been a staple in the Palisades since it's inception in 1999 and has grown into an online shop and additional retail store in Newport Beach. Now they have created a more relaxed version for this location for all the in between, more causal moments we tend to embrace in Los Angeles. Considering all the high end workout gear we see most people in, wearing well cut denim and a nice cashmere sweater is glamorous enough for me (and also how I love to dress)







-MGN

BEING A MENTOR/MENTEE, SOME THOUGHTS

{ outfit is vintage but similar: navy velvet blazer, striped sweater, jeans, cap toe pumps }

I have spent the last couple years formally mentoring graduate interns as they complete their Master degree in Social Work, the same degree I earned before my career as a mental health therapist. However, the older I get and the more I delve deeper into my practice of Social Work, psychotherapy and blogging, the more comfortable I become being in the position of learner. I used to think that with time and experience comes expertise, but now after much time and much experience I don't think I would ever identify myself as an expert. Even in the topics that interest me most, that I am most familiar with, I will always be in practice and thus, will continue to remain open, curious, humbled by the fact that no amount of experience will ever make me an expert. And it's with this mindset that I have truly evolved in my personal experience providing feedback and support to others. Here are a few thoughts from my experiences of being both mentor and mentee, hopefully they serve some relevance for you too. 

Openess to feedbackI think this is one of the most important things I have found in terms of both being a mentor and being mentored. We often think of leaders as having most of the answers, making most of the decisions and taking the primary role in giving constructive feedback. But I think encouraging these things to be a bit more of mutual process is extremely beneficial for everyone. Even when I feel very strongly about a particular decision, I always try my best to get an idea of how the person I am mentoring feels about it and why. Even if it's dealing with something of the upmost importance, a clear agency policy or straight risk averse, I still encourage those I mentor to walk me through the ideas or solutions they have because it's an opportunity to learn for us both. It's helpful for a mentee to actually think through a problem and demonstrate their reasoning skills to build confidence and show us what they are capable of. It's also helpful to understand what someone knows and how they can continue to grow. I often encourage feedback from those I mentor about my own decisions or comments to demonstrate this point. The key for both parties is learning how to best give and receive feedback and to get comfforbtale doing both respectfully. If you can learn this early on, it's one of the most beneficial skills for any position; intern or CEO. 

Acceptance of each others individualityWhat works for me won't always work for someone else. Of course there are certain elements of any profession where the answer is clear, for example in my profession, managing risk follows a more specific protocol. But in general I believe we can truly benefit from embracing our differences. Aside from basic elements of professionalism and company protocol, we all have varying perspectives on how to solve a problem. It's important to remember that everyone has lived different experiences and that can often be channeled into something positive.  And as a mentor we can support a mentee in navigating how they develop those skills. So encouraging each other to share ideas is always helpful and builds a broader range of opportunities for success. But before you can actually put this into practice, you must first acknowledge the value of listening to another person's opinion. 

Giving more than just answersI noticed this immediately when I started helping others at work complete complicated paperwork that was new to them. I would be very directive about what worked for me and tended to speak mostly from my own experiences. Of course it's helpful to provide feedback based on accumulated knowledge, but it's about more than just answering the question. What has helped me is being clear with others about what the end goal is and allowing a little room for us each to arrive there independently. One way of encouraging this is simply by asking good questions. Doing this has always lead to great conversations between myself and those who have mentored me and vice versa. It demonstrates a willingness to learn, which in any profession is what helps us evolve. 

Leading by example In my practice I do this many ways, mostly by having strong boundaries for even the simplest of things, setting clear expectations and being consistent. Boundaries are extremely important because they essentially dictate the relationship you have with that person from the beginning. For example, if you choose to share about your personal life, that is fine but it's also demonstrating to the other party that it's an okay topic converse about not only with you, but also amongst other professionals. Same goes for expectations you have about deadlines, how to submit work, requesting feedback, and communicating with others. These are important things that need to be clear and consistent for everyone and how we do this ourselves is essentially modeling for others around us. So it's important that if you make a mistake, that you acknowledge it, no matter which position you are in, so that the expectation remains clear. 

General professionalism | This might seem obvious and I truly WISH it was. However, given much of the generational differences and more relaxed nature I suppose of communication in year 2018, we have seriously lost some of our good sense. I hate saying this but I myself have also failed some of these extremely basic rules, so here goes. Spellcheck and proofread your work! I can't believe some of the emails, text messages and documentation I have seen and also written myself. For some reason people think it's okay  to be more causal or just not care enough to review your work. This has got to stop, especially when in a professional setting. Nowadays many people, including myself, use text messaging to communicate with other staff, but even though texting is often informal, it's important to formalize them for professional use. I wish I could say this hasn't happened with the people I have mentored but it has and often leaves me wondering, are you taking this seriously? That is how it comes off when you accidentally text a random sentence, quickly followed by a "sorry, wrong text" (and typically there is no comma, just saying). You might as well send a "you up" text if that doesn't completely freak you out to make a mistake like that. And of course, we all make mistakes but you should really, really be making a conscious effort to not make such mistakes, and if you do, make sure it doesn't happen again! Back to the basics everyone! 

-MGN

Photography by Wini Lao

PINK SATIN TASSEL POM POM SLIDES


These are the details I live for... I was recently in New York and we quickly stopped for a glass of champagne at the cutest little French spot, Petite Boucherie. When we sat down at the bar and the waiter handed us a few menus I noticed the most adorable yellow tassel dangling from the menu. For most people, including the ones I was with, this is an easily overlooked and even seemingly unnecessary decorative detail. But for me, it's just another beautiful reminder of how the small things make all the difference. And the same goes for these adorable little pink tassel/pom pom satin slides I found recently! The pom pom detail just makes me melt it's so pretty and as much as I wasn't on board with the slide trend before, I have definitely come around over the last year. I remember how popular the pom pom and tassel trend was a few years back, but it's become one of my staples. I will always live for a small feminine detail, be that a bow, tassel, ribbon,  pearl, brooch or pom pom! Get them while they last, enjoy!



-MGN

THE NANNY NAMED FRAN: SOME THOUGHTS


MISTAH SHEFFIELD! If you instantly recognize this phrase or the townhome pictured above, then you too also must have spent some time loving the hit 90's series, The Nanny. I can still distinctly remember how exciting this show was in my household. We would all gather around and watch, and my sister and I were allowed those nights to stay up past 9pm. Of course we were both so young and so the majority of the jokes went right over our heads but the gist of Fran's character was more than just funny stereotypes of a Jewish woman from Queens, but really a study in what it was to hold true to yourself, your values, and where you come from. For us, Fran was more than just a Jewish female role model, who lived for a good deal on a two piece sweater set and a Jewish husband whose parents already lived full time in Boca. She was a confident, humble, bold woman who stood by her convictions, but could also laugh at herself. She uplifted others and brought a certain warmth that could only come from the most genuine place. She was willing to put herself out there and not settle for less because deep down she knew she had a good heart, in addition to being fabulous. She dressed boldly not for attention, but because it was an authentic expression of who she was and she wasn't scared to be herself. She was a fish out of water being thrust into the lives of a family from a completely different culture and history. And so for a young girl like me who didn’t exactly understand the punch lines, the amount of chutzpah she possessed was clear, and I too wanted to be my genuine self and let my confidence shine beyond any amount of hairspray. Fortunately I had the chance of meeting her a few years back and she continues to amaze me with her non-profit organization Cancer Schmancer which focuses on tackling the major health crisis with resources aimed at early detection, prevention and policy change. She has been at the fore front of fighting for other people after having experienced her own battle with cancer, another demonstration of how this woman's spirit continues to stay strong in the mist of adversity. 


So of course I couldn't help but check out the upper east side townhome they used for the show after my run and walk around the neighborhood. Even though they shot the entire show in Los Angeles, it was still pretty cool to get to see it in person! If you're interested in checking it out yourself, the address is 7 E 75th Street, New York, New York 10021. The townhome is divided up into several units now but still maintains quite the regal facade it always had. I definitely recommend talking a walk nearby in the neighborhood. Thank you Fran for being one of many great role models, your laugh will forever inspire me, just as much as it makes me smile.  

-MGN

WINTER PINK WEDDING GUEST DRESS


It was a truly magical evening last weekend, attending a beautiful wedding at the esteemed New York Public Library. The venue alone had me quite excited, as like many people who grew up on the Sex and the City idea of New York couldn't forget the place Carrie had intended on marrying Mr. Big, who looking back I see major issues with, but that deserves another post in itself. That dream obviously didn't pan out for shoe loving Carrie but I can assure you it did for this lovely couple, and my fashion dreams that just came true. Since the library is so historic, my goal was to wear something elegant and timeless. This was quite a search and for a longtime I was going back and forth between this one pretty pink number from Rent the Runway. Ultimately, I couldn't find anything better and like I do most of the time, I ended up falling deeper in love with my original choice. Fortunately, it was still available and ready to ship to my hotel a couple days before in case of any fashion emergencies! And as you may already know, Rent the Runway ships two sizes complimentary so you have a much better chance of getting a good fit. Since it was October in New York City I figured I'd wear a cute fur stole, despite the fact that the weather was pretty warm (and unfortunately the leaves hadn't yet changed). So I found this beautiful blush faux fur on Etsy and it complimented the pink dress perfectly. I finished the rest of the look with some pretty statement earrings, a small vintage pearl bag (similar  version here) and blush pointy toe stilettos. Threw my hair back from my face and was ready to dance the night away! Enjoy! 






FALL OUTFITS I'M OBSESSED WITH

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Finally, my favorite season for dressing is here. As much as summer truly is my favorite season, I can't help but get excited for autumn weather.  It's more fun when there's more you can do with so many layers and accessories. But for the most part I just always want to wear a sweater. So from my last few weeks of searching for all the goods of the new season, I've rounded up all my favorites for you. Enjoy!

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-MGN

THE M LIST OCTOBER


1. My trip to NYC. Arthur and I are headed to New York soon for a wedding and I can't be more excited. I can't wait to see the changing leaves, run through central park and hopefully experience some legitimate Fall weather. I of course have a list of places to eat and things to do but I think I am just most excited to experience the energy of New York City. It's such a different lifestyle and pace than Los Angeles and reminds me of a much bigger and quicker Chicago. 

2. So many good movies to see. After watching Crazy Rich Asians three times (yes, I am obsessed) and doing a Harry Potter marathon this past weekend, I am ready to see some of the new films out there. This is now the season for all the best movies so they can qualify for the Oscars, so here we go! Some on my list are A Simple Favor, Colette, The Children Act, A Boy. A Girl. A Dream., and the upcoming films On the Basis of Sex and Widows. I also just saw Madame, loved it and now would like to get back to France as soon as possible. 

3. Obsessed with my new staple nail polish find, a nude, slightly brown tinted color by Essie called pass-port to sail. It's classic and understated but also gives just enough color to add something a little glamorous. Also, it's light enough to not show a little chip at the end so it lasts me about a two weeks with a natural manicure. 

4. The Fall spirit is back. At least in theory in Los Angeles, and I can't be more excited to get into the seasons and all the fun they bring each year. I have already found a few pretty squash pumpkins to decorate our home, made amazing cinnamon rolls and watched a Harry Potter marathon with my fiancé. Still excited to watch Hocus Pocus and paint some pumpkins with friends and still searching for a good Halloween costume. Any recommendations greatly welcomed! 

-MGN