Monday, July 8, 2019

15 Amazon Fashion Designer Dupes

As a fashion journalist and blogger, I'm always on the lookout for the latest trends. I could spend hours flipping through fashion magazines, watching videos and scrolling Instagram to find pieces I love. However, what's in style or on the runways is never affordable. I own a few luxury fashion pieces, but I'm usually only willing to splurge on items I absolutely love. Otherwise, I don't think it's worth it to spend hundreds of dollars unless you can easily afford it, which is not the case for the majority of us. As a replacement, I like to find designer duplicates that look the same but are much more affordable. I feel like I find the most duplicates for designer pieces during the summer when sandals, strappy heels, mini handbags, etc. come back in style. Now that I'm more aware of how common dupes are, I hardly ever buy an expensive item without first searching for a duplicate piece. I know this means I'm shopping from more fast-fashion retailers like Shein and Amazon, but I'm over the days of dropping $100 + on one item from brands like Lilly Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines to only wear the item a handful of times. If you want to get the most for your money and still be fashionable, check out this list of 15 Amazon fashion designer dupes! Shop all of these pieces down below by clicking on my links. And a huge thank you to everyone who shops from the pieces I link-it's a huge help to me at zero cost to you 😁

1. Hermès sandals dupe
2. Gucci belt dupe 
3. Yves Saint Laurent crossbody dupe 
4. Celine necklace dupe 
5. Shrimps Antonia beaded bag dupe 
6. Cult Gaia dupe 
7. Valentino heels dupe
8. David Yurman bracelet dupe 
9. Louis Vuitton wallet dupe 
10. Louis Vuitton crossbody dupe 
11. Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag dupe 
12. Gucci quilted bag dupe 
13. Cartier bracelet dupe
14. Hermès bracelet dupe
15. Hermès belt dupe 

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Things to Do in NYC: The Forgotten East Pop-Up

One of my favorite things about New York City is that I'm never bored. There's always something new to see or somewhere new to visit, no matter how many times I've been here. Ever since I started grad school in the city last August, I've become more aware of iconic photo spots or cool places to check out with friends. Recently, my friend Vanessa found The Forgotten East pop-up on Canal Street in Lower Manhattan. As soon as I looked up the website and social media, I knew I had to visit! There are pastels, gems, neon lights and more in a four-room art display that made me feel like I was on the set of a movie. Unfortunately, this pop-up event only went until June 25th but check out Event Brite and you are sure to find other fun events to attend. Definitely check out the different pop-up displays NYC has around Manhattan because they are extremely interesting and the photo opportunities are endless! You can shop my outfit by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you. 

What is The Forgotten East? 

The Forgotten East is an interactive art display complete with rock sculptures, a treasure chest, fog, jewelry, tin foil and more. It's supposed to represent ancient China and its markets. 

The Layout
The exhibit was actually much smaller than I originally thought. Upon entering, it's only four rooms and they are pretty small. When I walked in, I was greeted by two girls who took our tickets and offered a photo opp by The Forgotten East neon sign set up at the beginning of the display. Then, one of the girls gave us a personal tour and explained what each room represented, which I thought was really nice! Each room was ideal for photos and looked different from the previous one. Luckily, there weren't too many people there when my friend and I visited so we were able to spend as much time as we wanted to there and we got really good photos. Usually, the event is limited to an hour but it only cost $15 to attend. 

Room #1: The Mountain 
The first room was called The Mountain. There were sculptures shaped like little mountains and a fog machine that created a cool foggy effect when mixed with the lights in the room. Surprisingly, the photos Vanessa and I took in this room came out really cool! We were able to time the fog just right and snap a few quick shots before we had to re-start the machine over again. 

I didn't have any photos of me in this room, so here's Vanessa lol 
Room #2: The Desert
The next room is called the desert. This room had a wall of colorful mirrors pieced inside a sand dune. The colors were really pretty, and I loved how reflective the light was of the mirrors! The other side of the wall was covered in silver tin foil and had a few strands of string lights shaped like hearts and stars. There was also a little seat which was perfect for photos! 

Room #3: The Cave 
The third room was my favorite one of all. It was one of the bigger rooms and the artist packed a lot of different pieces in it! There were pearls and jewels dripped from the ceiling, a giant treasure chest filled with jewels and a display of neon lights, pink sand and faux plants. I had the most fun taking photos near the treasure chest and they came out amazing! Out of all the places I've ever taken photos, this was easily my favorite. 

Room #4: The Market 
Ah, the final room. This room had several different things going on. There were white stone steps and a stone pillar that reminded me of ancient Greece. Then, there were colorful streamers hanging down in front of a little market. In the way back I spotted a neon sign and I took a really cool photo standing near it. 

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed seeing photos from my latest NYC adventure. Check out this video if you want to see more!

Monday, June 17, 2019

20 Affordable Amazon Fashion Summer Pieces

My favorite Amazon dress and bag!
Amazon Fashion exploded on social media this year. Every time I logged into Instagram or went on Twitter someone seemed to be talking about their latest purchase from Amazon. Prior to about last year, I'd never ordered clothing from there. Growing up, I was obsessed with Amazon. I ordered phone cases, books, magazines, you name it. Clothes, however, are new to me. I ordered a high-waisted bathing suit from there last year, and I was impressed with the quality and how well it fit me. I think people like Amazon so much because the deals are amazing and if you have prime you can get it shipped to your house in two days. It's also good for trying out new trends that you don't want to spend a lot of money on because they carry clothing pieces similar to Forever 21 and Shein. I put together a few other Amazon shopping guides earlier in the year and they did really well, so I'm assuming that's what my readers are looking for. This week, I came up with 20 affordable Amazon Fashion summer pieces.

Now that it's summer, I'm in search of cute, affordable dresses, shorts, bathing suits and more. Amazon has been my go-to place for items like these and much more. Amazon has endless options to shop, and you can also find a variety of pieces from your favorite, well-known stores online here too! This is also the perfect place to buy accessories. The bamboo bag pictured above and the red neck scarf are both Amazon purchases and I use them all the time. And the best part is that most items are under $30 and you won't break the bank in the shopping process! You can shop everything down below by clicking on my links. 

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Second Semester of Grad School in NYC Recap

Dumbo, Brooklyn
My second semester of grad school officially wrapped up around May 20th. I can't believe I completed an entire year of my grad program, and I only have one semester left in the fall until I receive my master's in journalism! This was a loooong semester and I'm so grateful to finally be done with it. I thought my first semester was stressful, but boy was I wrong. I don't think I slept more than three hours per night for the duration of the semester. The classes and professors I took for the past few months challenged me in ways I didn't know possible but at the end of the day I'm thankful for everything I learned and all of the people I had the opportunity to work with.

I also recently started a YouTube channel and my first video is an NYC week in my life. I would love it if you check it out and subscribe! I plan to do a lot of fashion and NYC content because I work in the magazine industry as a fashion writer and spend all of my time in the city so if that interests you, do stick around!

My Courses 

West Village
I was enrolled in four courses during this past semester. I took a required Craft II writing and reporting class, which is a continuation of the Craft I course I took during my first semester. I'm in the writing concentration because my dream is to work for a fashion magazine full-time after graduating. My class worked on enterprise stories all semester which are longer-form pieces that relate to a broader audience and not just New York City. We also did a semester-long class project that was the pain of my existence if I'm being completely honest. We focused on alternative medicine, and it was interesting to learn about even if it's not my particular interest but it was very stressful trying to coordinate with other students in the class and to set up interviews with the organizations and professionals I needed to interview. I also took feature writing class because that's the style writing most magazines do. I wrote three long-form pieces of about 1,000 words or more per story. I did all fashion and beauty related stories because fashion is the beat I'm studying and what I'm the most passionate about. I wrote about how young fashion designers are making it in the city, what visual merchandisers do and how natural hair advocates in the black community are using YouTube to spread awareness. My third class was cultural issues, which is the first class in my arts and culture reporting concentration. We discussed different issues and topics in the entertainment, art and fashion industries. We also led weekly discussions based on the news relating to arts and culture that happened that week. I also wrote three stories in this class as well relating to fashion. I wrote about the NYC ban on hair discrimination, how much fashion students are paying to study fashion and a profile story on freelance writer/fashion blogger Austen Tosone (who you probably know if you read fashion publications or follow influencers on social media). My fourth class was photojournalism. I absolutely love taking photos, and this class made me realize that I needed to improve my skills. I got to rent a Canon 60D camera for the entire semester and use it for class and other news events I covered. All in all it was extremely stressful taking three writing courses that required long-form stories but I survived somehow.

Places I Went/Things I Did

At Ann Taylor
New York Fashion Week 
NYFW plays a huge role in my personal life and in my career. I've always loved keeping up with fashion weeks and reading/watching all the different media coverage that comes out about each show. Last year I had the pleasure of attending my first NYFW event and I attended two more this past semester. First, I attended a blogger event held at Ann Taylor with my blogger friends Kayla and Hayleigh. I'll be honest with you. The event wasn't that great but it was a lot of fun to meet up with my friends and hang out in the city. I also attended another event for one of the Asian clothing brands at Chelsea Piers NYFW, but I don't have any photos from the event to include, unfortunately.

Dumbo, Brooklyn
My friend Vanessa and I were in the same photojournalism class this semester, and we really enjoyed taking photos together for class. We went all over Manhattan, and I got to visit a bunch of new spots like the Flat Iron Building, Pietro Nolita, Washington Square Park, Tribeca and more! We also went to Dumbo in Brooklyn one day because I haven't been there since my freshman year of college.

Quinoa bowl at Citizens of Chelsea
I also tried a bunch of new restaurants this semester that I really enjoyed. My favorite spot is Mexicue because they have the best burritos! My friends and I went there pretty much every week after class and it was so much fun. We also went to Bourbon BBQ and Chopt, a salad place that I'm obsessed with. You can build your own salad similar to a Chipotle. And I went to Citizens of Chelsea for the first time. I got a quinoa bowl with avocado, and it was delicious. It's a cute restaurant located in Chelsea that I definitely recommend checking out.

The Vessel
The Vessel
By now I'm sure you've seen all the photos of the Vessel located at Hudson Yards, but it's so cool. I visited right when it opened and I was amazed at its size and all the stores located in the shopping mall. It's such a fun place to visit if you're coming to the city for a trip one day and a great photo opportunity!

Elizabeth Street Garden
Elizabeth Street Garden
I wrote my second article on this cute sculpture garden located on Prince and Elizabeth streets. If you're unfamiliar with this garden, it's at risk of being demolished for an affordable apartment complex. I covered the SoHo/Little Italy neighborhood last semester for one of my classes so I focused a lot of my stories from this past semester in this area too.

Botanical Gardens
Bronx Botanical Gardens
I visited the Botanical Gardens in April for the first time since I was a little girl. My family has taken day trips here before and I always enjoyed coming. My friends and I took a lot of photos inside the greenhouse and by the cherry blossoms when they were at their height during spring. This is one of the best spots to visit if you want a little escape from Manhattan's craziness because it doesn't really feel like the city and you can relax with nature.

Long Island City
Long Island City
I also went to Queens for the first time this semester. As I mentioned up above, I profiled Austen Tosone for an article I wrote for my Cultural Issues class because I covered the fashion beat. I visited her at a cute coffee shop in Long Island City near where she lives. It's such a cute little area! I loved walking down by the waterfront, and I plan on doing a photo shoot here in the near future.

The Highline
Summer Plans
This is going to be my craziest summer ever. I'm working for a fashion magazine in the city and I'm loving it so far. I work on the editorial team and right now we're prepping our summer issue for release. It's been a dream of mine to work for a magazine in the city since I was in high school so it's incredible to see my dream become a reality. Most of my time is going to be spent working at the magazine but I still have other things to do this summer too. I will be talking about my new job very soon and give you a rundown of what I do as soon as I do the coordinating photo shoot to make my announcement. I have something very extra planned in typical Nicolette fashion. I'm also working my retail job on weekends for extra money. Life in the city is expensive, and my goal is to live here in the near future. I'm working as much as I can to give myself the life I want and to be able to afford fun activities and shopping sprees too. This job is really easy and close to where I live so it's not a problem to work here two days a week. Then I have to do research for my grad school capstone project. As part of my school requirements, everyone in the program has to do an extensive research project due at the end of the semester in December. I've only just started working on it, but I can tell it's going to be a lot. My topic will be fashion-centered because I'm continuing the fashion beat so I'm excited to see where it takes me even though I'd rather not do this project.

SoHo, Manhattan
Future Plans
I have one semester of grad school left in the fall before I graduate. As surreal as that sounds, I'm ready to move on. I've learned a lot in my time here but I'm ready to work and pursue my interests. I plan to continue working for magazines after graduation and cover the fashion beat if possible. I have a few publications in mind that I'd love to work for but we'll just have to see what the future brings. I'd also like to spend more time on my hobbies like blogging (obviously) and running. I was a long-distance runner in high school and I miss how much I used to run each week.

Thanks so much for reading!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

4th of July Ready With Wooden Ships

Happy Saturday! Now that it's finally June, we're one step closer to my favorite holiday, the 4th of July. I absolutely love everything about summer and the 4th of July. Pretty fireworks, backyard BBQs with friends and family, and red, white and blue outfits. Speaking of red, white and blue outfits, I'm so excited to partner with Wooden Ships today to bring you a festive look that you can style for the upcoming holiday. I'm a huge fan of stripes and anything nautical because I grew up in Connecticut, so this sweater is the perfect fit for me. Wooden Ships sells the perfect chunky sweaters that will remind you of the ones you wore growing up.  I love how it looks paired with high-waisted jean shorts, but you can also style it with pants and skirts or easily throw it over a dress! The material is light-weight and comfortable, which is ideal for summer days at the beach and the off-the-shoulder look. 

Wooden Ships is an NYC-based family-run sweater company founded in 1992 by Colombian-born fashion designer Paola Buendía and her husband Mark Donovan. They also have locations in Australia and Canada. The inspiration for their company comes from a two-month trip to Bali, where they found a community of travelers and natives who spend their time creating art, fashion, and architecture to name a few. The founders were also inspired by the authenticity of real wooden ships and the song Wooden Ships by Crosby, Stills and Nash. 
My favorite thing about Wooden Ships is their dedication to ethical sourcing and production. They only produce clothing as it's ordered so there's no waste or overflow. They have a company based in Bali under their control, and they support fair wages, conditions, training, and opportunities for growth within the company. They also encourage female empowerment and over 60% of their knitters are women. As of 2017, their factory is over 85% solar powered. Wooden Ships recycles all materials and is aiming to become a paperless office and ship products by sea. And they use eco-friendly, degradable packaging. 

The founders also donate to great causes like Earth Justice, International Anti-Poaching Agency, Environmental Defense Fund and others. And they raised $1 million in collaboration with Avaaz, a global activist non-profit to help save Bornean Orangutans and the Indonesian rainforest. 

You will be the best dressed at the beach in this sweater for sure! Thanks so much for reading! Make sure to check out Wooden Ships for your 4th of July outfit and for future sweater needs. 

*Post sponsored by Wooden Ships. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Eight Memorial Day Weekend Sales to Shop

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Summer is officially here now and I couldn't be more excited. I've always loved this holiday because it signals the start of summer and all of the outdoor cookouts to come. Plus, i'm done with school until my final semester in the fall and I'm ready to relax for the next week before I start my new job. I have a few family parties this weekend in honor of the holiday, but I'm definitely making time to check out some of the sales occurring. 

I'm currently in the process of yet another closet cleanout, and I realized how badly I need to update my summer wardrobe, so the sales came around just in time for me. If you've been following me on Instagram lately, then you've probably noticed how I'm into blush pink and girly styles right now. I also really love accessories like hair scarves, big earrings, neck scarves, straw purses, and retro sunglasses. Most of my sale picks are going to follow typical Nicolette fashion. Enjoy! 

Old Navy 
Old Navy is 50% off all tees, tanks, swim, shorts, and dresses until Monday night. 

J.Crew Factory
60% off all men's and women's styles 

50% off all sale styles and 40% off full-price styles 

Forever 21 
50% off sale 

Buy three get 60% off

50% off

50% off 

Urban Outfitters
50% off 

Thanks so much for reading! Happy Memorial Day!