Friday, September 27, 2013

Gluten Free Friday ~ Prada and Paleo in NYC

This experience and post should definitely be filed under "things you never thought you would do," because spending three days in NYC for the purpose of going to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is most certainly a thing I never thought I would do.  Actually, I'm not sure I even knew the event existed, so it would have been impossible for me to even imagine such a thing, but I love NYC (not as much as Boston, but still...), and a friend from church was in need of a traveling companion, so I decided to go.

My friend, Nicolette, is enrolled as a student at the University of Art and pursuing a degree in fashion design.  Due to an essay she wrote on a clothing line she would like to design (a classy, modern one for plus sized teens), she was chosen to go to NYC for a class with a world-famous fashion illustrator AND given tickets for a runway show featuring top students from her school ~ the only school that has a runway show at the famous event.
When we arrived at our "boutique (and WAY too CHIC for my $19.99-outlet-store-Banana-Republic-sundress) hotel" ~ The Hudson, our room was not ready, so we HAD to go to the Terrace Bar for a cool drink and amazing city views.  It was gorgeous.

We realized pretty quickly, though, that Nicolette was actually a bit late for a book signing by the famous fashion illustrator (can't remember her name, but that's her in the sunglasses signing the book of the man with red dress pants!) who would be her instructor the following day, so we hopped in a cab and headed to Lincoln Center ~ me still in my magenta Banana Republic sundress and flat brown strappy GAP leather sandals.  Pretty sure my hair was in a pony tail, too. At least I wasn't in shorts, and I had some jewelry on, because as you can probably tell from the photos it was ANOTHER. WORLD.  They were handing out free samples of electronic cigarettes at the door.

Hudson Terrace Bar
High heels with lots of ankle straps or crazy high and clunky platform shoes, expensive handbags, and cigarettes seemed to be the fashion theme for women.  For men it was mostly skinny jeans, pointy leather shoes, scarves, and cigarettes.  Cigarettes were definitely a thing. (Looks cool and suppresses appetite, I learned.) Hair, too.  Everyone's hair was perfectly coiffed, spiked, curled, and pouffed.
To plan the trip, we met at Starbucks here in town a few days before, and over coffee decided to take in a Broadway show while we were there. Since Nicolette has seen "Wicked" many times ( I still haven't!), we opted for a new one called "Big Fish."  You may have seen the movie a few years back, but I never had.  It was GREAT, and I'm really glad I watched the movie the night before leaving for NYC, so I could follow the story better and appreciate how they managed the MANY flashbacks included in the movie.  But I'm always fairly mesmerized by live stage productions.  You may remember that I cried BOTH times I saw Mary Poppins on Broadway.  Happy tears.  Amazed tears.

Before the show, we ate in one of the hotel restaurants.  A very hip atmosphere, it was mostly fancy burgers and salads, which will work for the new paleo lifestyle, but then I saw that their french fries were made in-house, and could be served with a fried egg on top and a side of truffle aioli mayonnaise. Some people would say that potatoes don't really fall into the paleo category, but many do, and I really wanted to try these "Thrice Cooked Fries."  Fortunately, Nicolette also follows a high protein, low carb, no sugar diet, so searching for food was easier.  The fries, the egg, and mostly the mayo were incredible!
I had the following day mostly to myself, since Nicolette had class.  I got up early and went for a run around Central Park, stopping occasionally to take pictures with my phone. (Brand new iPhone user here!) Later, I met my oldest friend from elementary/middle/high school, Mike, for lunch.  He works on Park Ave, and had made reservations at a wonderful steak house ~ The Strip House.  Our families have met up in the city several times over the years, but this time it was just the two of us doing as much catching up as you can possibly do in two hours.  And the restaurant was perfect for eating paleo.  I had a filet mignon salad. It was basically small strips of extremely tender filet mignon served over thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes and arugula with a house balsamic dressing.  Perfect and delicious, too!
He headed back to the office for a conference call, and then I strolled down 5th Avenue drinking iced coffee, browsing through some of the famous shops, and just enjoying a sunny, 80 degree afternoon in the city.  I loved these banners at two different churches along the way.  I thought the "OMG" sermon series on the book of Psalms at First Presbyterian Church was especially clever.  I made my way all the way back to Columbus Circle and stopped in the Argo Tea Cafe for a Green Tea Ginger Twist which was sparkling water, green tea, lemon, and ginger with a bit of honey sweetener. So good!  Then I sat in the sunshine in Central Park and called Robert to tell him about my day, and hear about his trip to Texas.  We had missed each other coming and going that week!
After Nicolette's class, we walked to the Time Warner Center and grabbed dinner in a box from the Whole Foods downstairs.  I had grilled chicken thighs, sautéed green beans, and roasted plantains.  We got dressed for the big fashion show that evening and BARELY made it back to Lincoln Center in time.  What an experience!  I've seen bits of runway shows on TV, with their seemingly emaciated, bare-faced, models, and outrageous, impractical clothing and this was no different.  The models all wore wigs with matching cuts, and I'm pretty sure smiling is not allowed.  Evidently striking a pose is a thing of the past, too, because the models walk straight ahead at a quick pace, and make sharp angled turns at the end of the runway.  Almost militaristic and robotic, but somehow not.

 Nicolette looked beautiful and wore a cute Mod Cloth 1950's-style dress and carried a Kate Spade purse that looked like an old radio. I did my best in a lacy, grey, $29.99 TJ Maxx dress that I bought two summers ago for one of the ten weddings we attended in those three short months. I did get to wear my Nine West platform pumps, though, which I love but rarely have an opportunity to use in my day-to-day-middle-aged-homeschool-mom-and-pastor's-wife-life. ;-)
And as if that were not enough thrill to last us for several months at least, we spent Saturday at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Nicolette had been encouraged to take in one of the local museums, and make some sketches for future inspiration in her fashion designing, and I am certainly not one to say no to a trip to The Met ~ or really any art museum for that matter.  Nicolette had never been to The Met, and so it was fun to experience it through her eyes and with her excitement.

I enjoyed taking photos of artwork done by artists we are studying in the Western Cultural History seminar of my Challenge II class in order to show my students ~ Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Eyck, and Durer to name a few.  We ate lunch in the museum cafeteria ~ salads from the wonderful salad bar, mixed nuts, dried fruit, and water for both of us.

I am continually amazed at the adventures the Lord allows in my life, and for the most part, they are such precious and joyful gifts. (Some of His adventures are not quite as welcome as this one, but I suppose those are also gifts.) I am also continually amazed by the people the Lord has placed in my life.  It was wonderful to see an old friend and hear about his kids who are the same age as we were when we met, and spending time with Nicolette gleaning from her wisdom, people skills, perspective, and passions was a great blessing, too.

Who knew the whole church planting call to New England would involve such food and fashion adventures as these.  I know for sure that this is part of how the Lord extends the grace needed to continue the journey, and for that I am very thankful.


TCC said...

Very cool social safari, Mrs. Fashionista!

Also the 'geeky' son's new haircut totally suits him.

Hugs, Izzy

Melanie said...

Ha! Yes, very cool indeed. This is one crazy ride, and the Lord is continually helping me to embrace it.

I will pass on the compliment to Coop. He will love it.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Lots of love...