Friday, January 30, 2015

City Guide: Charlene's Favorite Spots in Atlanta

(Illustration by Danny Brito)

Whenever I'm traveling (or even when I'm looking for a new restaurant in NYC), I look to my friends for recommendations on where to go - especially where to eat. That's why I started the city guide series, a compilation of my and my friends' favorite places in our respective cities and beyond. Today, Charlene is sharing her favorite spots in Atlanta! Fun fact: Charlene is Holly's twin sister - you can check out Holly's LA guide, here! We have many more guides coming your way, which you'll be able to find here. I'll let Charlene take it from here:

Hi, I’m Charlene! Atlanta has one of the best food scenes in the country. As a graduate student at Emory University, I also find it is an incredibly affordable place to dine well. Here are a few of my favorite places inside the Beltline!  

One Eared Stag, Inman Park

One Eared Stag is my favorite restaurant in Atlanta. It’s pricey, but the dishes are inventive and creative. Individual dishes can be on the small side, as it’s meant to be shared plates/tapas style. The menu is ever changing, but their terrines are always delicious. If the weather is nice, ask for a table in their back patio. I’ve sent several friends here before, and no one has ever been disappointed.

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Community Q BBQ, Decatur

By far my favorite place for BBQ in Atlanta. That’s a tall order, considering how many amazing places there are around town. It’s hard to go wrong here, but my absolute favorite is a pulled pork sandwich with two sides. It’s impossible to pick just two sides here, but try the Brunswick stew if you’ve never had it before. BBQ sauce tip: For the perfect combination, use equal and liberal amounts of their sweeter Georgia BBQ sauce and their vinegar North Carolina BBQ sauce. Don’t worry about getting in there with your hands, there are rolls of paper towels on every table. Get the peach cobbler, if it is in season!


Best place for ribs: Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, Morningside
A close second place: Fox Bros, Inman Park (Make sure to try their frito pie!)

Cypress Street Pint & Plate, Midtown

In every city, it’s always good to know where to get a solid burger — Cypress Street is mine in Atlanta. You might be daunted when you read what’s in their “sublime burger,” but get it anyway: ½ pound burger with two sublime doughnuts, applewood bacon, caramelized onions, and cheddar cheese. That’s right, two donuts from Atlanta’s best donut shop replace the hamburger bun! Cypress is also one of my favorite places to hang out with friends. The outside patio is great anytime of the year, but grabbing a table near the fire pit is perfect on a chilly winter night.

South City Kitchen, Midtown

You’ve got to have Southern food in the South! I love South City Kitchen’s modern take on Southern food. Meals start off with complimentary cornbread and biscuits, served with an amazing apple preserve. My favorite dish is their shrimp & red mule grits with poblano peppers, tasso ham, and smoked tomato gravy; the smoky flavor really compliments the sweet shrimp and the creamy grits. Other highlights on the menu include their fried chicken and banana pudding. While the brunch and dinner menus are similar, I prefer brunch. Prices are cheaper during brunch and all the menu highlights are on there. Portions are also smaller, which helps balance out the heaviness of the Southern food.

The life source for every graduate student (and maybe every student ever) is coffee. Octane has the best coffee in the city and happens to have a joint outpost in Grant Park with my favorite bakery in the city. Each cup of coffee is made to order with a Chemex pour over. My personal favorites at the Little Tart Bakeshop are the savory bread pudding and the bacon scone. I have tried almost every bakery item — tarts, scones, croissants, turnovers — and I’ve never been disappointed. This is also a great place to study or do some Sunday reading with their high ceilings and large windows.

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If you do not know where you are looking, you might miss this understated bar. Marked only by an old fashioned street lamp on the side of the Georgian Terrace Hotel, Proof and Provision serves up delicious craft cocktails and creative bar fare. It’s hard to go wrong with their menu, almost every item is a slam dunk. The top of list is undoubtedly the grilled prosciutto sandwich, shaved prime rib, and their pickles. While their craft cocktails are impressive, the bartender’s daily punch is always a great choice. Make sure you get in a game of shuffleboard while you’re here.

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Lure, Midtown

While Atlanta is landlocked, it has several fantastic seafood restaurants with a focus on sustainability. Highlights on Lure’s menu include their oyster bar, the whole Georgia rainbow trout, and the grilled octopus & pork lettuce wraps. The Georgia rainbow trout with seasonal vegetables in particular is perfectly executed. Don’t be intimidated by deboning the fish, the wait staff are more than happy to help! If you enjoy craft cocktails, try the “blue eyed boy” here; this fizzy cocktail is individually bottled in-house and contains gin, mint, elderflower, and peach bitters. Leave room for dessert; the entire dessert menu is a must-have!  

Bonus Seafood Tip: If you need an affordable oyster fix, try Goin’ Coastal (Virginia Highland) on Wednesday—$5 for a dozen oysters! Go early or call ahead to reserve your dozen.

(Photos by Charlene Wang & Joana Yu)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Winter Wear: Houndstooth Coat and Overalls

Outfit Details:
Coach houndstooth coat
Topshop hat
Miu Miu sunglasses
Banana Republic shirt
ASOS overalls
J. Crew socks and scarf (both borrowed from Bobby)
Seychelles ankle boots (old)
Kate Spade Saturday "Zipline" tote
Armani Exchange gloves

This coat and hat combo has been on repeat, because they do a great job of keeping me warm. Sometimes, that's all that really matters. Like this week, for instance. I know that Juno was much more mild than everyone expected, but it's still cold enough to keep me shivering - and there's enough snow to make Miku a very happy dog.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Makeup Monday: Beauty Links

Photo from my instagram. Morgan Taylor "Sweetest Thing" nail polish, Warehouse Teddy Coat (on sale!) and Forever 21 bow ring.

I had a makeup tutorial all planned out for today, but my skin is peeling and in need of repair (long, boring story), and I wasn't in the mood to have a camera zoomed in on all of that mess. Luckily, I have just the right products to get it back in check - and even discovered a new-to-me, non comedogenic/hypoallergenic cream that is saving my irritated skin's life. I'm super late to the game on that one, I know, but better late than never. Anyway, while I let my skin breathe and repair itself, please click on some of my beauty-related favorite links of the moment - they're worth checking out!

- You can learn a lot of amazing makeup tips and techniques from drag queens, which is why they are my favorite YouTubers. Miss Fame is my absolute favorite, hands down. Heart palpitations, ugh. I'm in love.

- I'm currently loving this eyeshadow in "Dione" - especially when applied wet. So much drama for a neutral shadow!

- Makeup organization ideas. I've been slowly but surely reorganizing my own collection, but it could use some more work. Any tips are welcome, so please share your secrets.

- I love this simple braided updo. You can also try my easy braided updo, or check out more of my hair tutorials, here.

- A softer approach to the cat-eye. Also, I'm obsessed with this look.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Year, New You.

Can you believe that the first month of 2015 is almost over? Time flies, and with each passing day, our resolutions get forgotten. This year, I picked a few that are more realistic. Even though we're only one month in, I'm off to a good start. What are your resolutions? Here are mine:

1. Eating in more. Even though it might seem silly, this is at the tippy top of my list. I eat out way too often, and when I’m not out, I’m ordering in. Seriously, I’m ashamed when I see how many Seamless charges are on my bank account…it’s embarrassing. Bobby is a great cook, but I have never really tried, past sandwiches, eggs, and the occasional taco night. This year, I’m going to start cooking. Nothing crazy - I’m not going to aim for Top Chef or anything, just simple things to keep me from caving in and saying, “I’ll just order something." The goal is to limit eating out and see how much money I can save by doing so. This also meant I had to delete my Seamless app. Farewell, my darling!

2. Finishing my Invisalign treatment. (For those of you who missed my last posts (read those posts here), I'm currently receiving complimentary Invisalign® treatment in exchange for sharing my experience). I’m more than halfway through my Invisalign treatment, and as long as I consistently wear my clear aligners (and diligently press the attachments when I put them on), I’ll be done in about six months. Even though I’ve gotten used to wearing them, I can’t wait to be done — because that means my teeth will be straight! I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey with you, and especially love hearing about your own experiences. If you are interested in Invisalign clear aligner treatment, you can request more info, here.

3. Make more plans…and keep them. I can’t count the number of times I’ve made plans without setting them in stone, only for no one to follow through. “Let’s plan a trip!” or “Let’s get together next week!” usually falls through the cracks, unless someone takes the initiative to set concrete plans. I was catching up with a friend, the other day, when we realized we hadn’t seen each other in months…and we live in the same city. We talk all the time, but I’ve always been so weird about making the first move. I always worry that I’ll be bothering them. Last year, my friends and I made plans to go to Paris. It seemed like idle chatter, until someone stepped up and set a date, found flights, and got the ball rolling. Next thing you know, we were on our way to Paris. Whether just catching up with a friend over coffee or finally planning that girls’ trip with Kim and Claudia, I’m going to be more proactive.

Friday, January 23, 2015

DIY Striped Suitcase Tutorial

Much of my decor is thrifted, upcycled, and DIYed, and that ended up carrying over to the studio I share with Helena. Decorating the space has been a lengthy labor of love; we've been adding pieces as we find them, making everything more of a treasure hunt than a black and white checklist. I'll be sharing more about our decor (both at the studio and in my home), because it's something I enjoy so much, and it doesn't have to break the bank. See that glittery gold arrow marquee? I found it, battered and dusty, at an antique shop in North Carolina for $10. We cleaned it up, spray painted it gold, finished it with glitter, broadened the pre-existing holes and inserted lights. And that little stripedsuitcase? I'll show you exactly how I spruced it up. Follow the steps below for this simple DIY project.

(click for larger image)

Materials needed: old suitcase, painter's tape, choice of paints.

1. Start with an bare suitcase (this is vinyl).

2. Use the Scotch Blue painter's tape to cover any edges you don't want painted. I ran my nail along the edges of the tape, to make sure it was all secured.

3. Paint the whole area white (two coats). I used paint with primer already in it, to skip the step of priming it. I used these Glidden paint samples at Home Depot for all of the colors, and left one white. You can have any colors mixed on the spot, and it's more than enough!

4.After it's completely dry, lay out more of the painter's tape in any desired pattern. I went with simple, diagonal stripes. Again, secure the edges for the cleanest lines!

5. Paint the empty spaces the colors of your choice.

6. Pull up the tape to reveal clean lines, and you're done. Use it as a photo prop, cute storage solution (I have some stacked on top of my trunk, to hold seasonal accessories), or whatever you like!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winter Wear: Neutral Coats

(photos by Claudia)

Outfit Details:
Topshop hat (always, because they're the warmest hats, ever) - not online anymore, but might still be in stores
Trina Turk "Nancy" coat (majorly on sale)
Zara romper
old Sperry Top Sider boots

During the winter, I usually settle into a routine of basing my outfits around whatever coat I want to wear - which is why I have a lot of coats. They take up a lot of space in my closet, but keep my wardrobe a little more interesting. After all, I have no intention of taking off any outer layers when it's that cold, so I might as well make the coats the main event. This led me to collecting a lot of statement outerwear (a few examples here, here, and here), but I finally started introducing some neutrals.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Makeup Monday: Make Your Colors Pop!

Products used: Wet n Wild white liner, Sugarpill "Burning Heart" palette, Urban Decay 24/7 Liquid Liner in "Smog", Sigma Lip Base in "Indulgent" with Jouer Lip Gloss in "Wind".

Chances are, you have a white eyeliner in your makeup bag. You probably bought it because so many magazines told you it will make your eyes look bigger and brighter (it can), but after getting more of it on your lashes than your waterline, you might have let it sink to the bottom of your bag. If you want to give it another try, use it as a base for your bright shadows. It's a cheap and easy way to make the colors pop! Here's an example of how I used it:

1. Apply white liner on your lids.
2. Pat yellow shadow on the inner corners.
3. Put orange shadow in the middle.
4. Finish with red shadow.
5. Blend the three shadows together, until there's a seamless transition.
6. Line your upper lash line with a bronze, liquid liner. Here's a tutorial if you need a refresher on winged liner.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Weekend Link Roundup

(photo from my instagram.)

Happy weekend! I'm back in Brooklyn and readjusting to the cold; we're missing my family but happy to be surrounded by our cats and pup. Here are a few links I've been clicking on:

- New blog to follow: Create Your Own Universe. Follow my darling cousins Claudia and Mark on their adventures. They even made a free donut desktop download for their readers, because it's Mark's birthweek and no one appreciates donuts the way he does.

- You should also follow their dog, Presley the Dingo, on instagram.

- NYC might get our very own dog cafe, where we can sip coffee and pet dogs who will be available for adoption, brought in from a no-kill shelter on a daily basis. Thanks for the tip, Eliot!

- I resisted purchasing it the first time around, but the ice cream bag is back in stock, and I've been considering it. I can't resist a novelty bag (or mirror). I'm also into this cat bag and this hot air balloon.

- Jeremy sent me the best news, ever! NYC is banning single use styrofoam products. Hooray for the environment, of course - but to be honest, I'm really excited because I have a very weird styrofoam phobia. If only we could ban chalk, too. Hey, I never said I'm normal.

- I get a ton of questions about this lip color, whenever I wear it. For the record, it's Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in "Patina" and yes, it stays. The secret to not letting it dry out your lips is to moisturize before (then blot it off), use primer, and remove and re-apply halfway through the day. It does stay all day, but feels so much better if you just reapply that one time!

- I'm crazy about Amazon's original series, Transparent, which is about a transgender parent and the entire family's journey. It's funny, touching, and absolutely brilliant. I highly recommend it! What are you watching, right now?

- This is perfect.

- How to outsource your life, aka how to be a functioning hermit (like me). FYI, I had to delete the Seamless app, because one of my New Year's resolutions is to stop eating out and ordering in, so often. It made it way too easy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Very Mickey Outfit

old Forever 21 Minnie sweater, Mickey Mouse skirt, bag, and headband from Tokyo Disney (see that post here), old UGG bow flats, Quay "Kitti" sunglasses, thrifted belt.

Over the holidays, we took the kids to Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. We  had such beautiful weather; it was just chilly enough to make it feel like Christmas! The fake snow, hot cocoa, and Frozen castle had the kids (okay, all of us) completely enamored. I get a lot of questions about Disney, so I'm currently working on a guide with tips for planning your vacation. I'm not saying I'm an expert, but after years of family Disney trips, I've learned a lot about how to make the most of the experience.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Makeup Monday: Sugar and Spice Tutorial

(Click for full size)

Products used: Urban Decay Primer Potion, Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar (1."Pink Sugar" 2. "Puddin" 3. "Licorice"), Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in "Perversion", Urban Decay 24/7 Liquid Liner in "Perversion", Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner in "Junkshow", Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in "Patina"

I've been on this glitter kick, lately - have you noticed? It all started with this holiday look, and then I went for the loose green glitter. But then all these Urban Decay Glitter Liners showed up, and my sisters and I immediately grabbed different colors and put them all over our lash lines. Amanda went for classic silver, Tessa layered a blue and iridescent white for a snow princess vibe, and I went for the pink. Layered over pink liner, this glitter really looks gorgeous - but since I'm traveling, I have a limited amount of product with me. Instead, I used it as the finishing touch to an already dramatic eye, because I was wearing a flower crown and it was no time for subtlety. I used shadows from the Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar, which smells absolutely heavenly and has a lovely array of shadows. You can skip the glitter or even swap out the shadow colors, for this tutorial - it's easily customizable to your liking. Follow the steps, below!

1. Apply "Pink Sugar" all over freshly primed lids.
2. Sweep "Puddin" in and just above the crease.
3. Pack "Licorice" in the crease and outer corner.
4. Blend the heck out of it, until there are no harsh edges.
5. Line your lower lashline and smudge. You can also soften the line with a little bit of shadow.
6. Line your upper lashline with liquid liner. Check out this tutorial if you need help with applying winged liner.
7. Go over the liner with glitter liner. I find that dabbing it on (instead of swiping it) leaves a more concentrated trail of glitter. Finish with mascara (I forgot to photograph that, as usual) and you're all set!