Hey, It’s Mel Bae! A born & raised Brooklyn bae in my twenties sharing my NYC (and worldwide) adventures. My blog is all things lifestyle, beauty & eats. Also known as a few of the best things in life.
Hey Loves! We’ve officially stepped into November so you know what that means, the holiday season is here! With that being said let the holiday party invitations come through. It’s that time of the year where we need to start investing in and planning out our holiday looks to attend all those work parties, get togethers and festive outings! If you’re anything like me, you love an outfit that’ll have all eyes on you, without it looking like you tried to hard! Well, I’ve got my hands on what I think to be the PERFECT holiday dress..
The satin style slip dress is sexy, chic and a must have. What I love most about it is that you’re able to adjust it’s strings in SO many ways which gives the dress so much versatility & the ability to really make it my money’s worth. I can turn it into a mini dress, a long gown, high low, the possibilites are basically endless! And depending on your mood you can dress it up and down, the ultimate win.
My current look of choice? “Glam but I’ve got errands to do” This look is for the girls who wait till last minute to grab that bottle of wine for the host of the party & head to the liquor store on their way to the turn up. And yes I am completely speaking from experience. No shame in my game. I matched my Get Choosy dress with my white Yeezys, Gold Accessories, A Glossy Lip and a Soft Brown Smokey Eye.
Inspired by celebs such as as Dua Lipa & Kylie Jenner it comes in both Black & Champagne, perfect colors for the holiday much? Available in sizes 0-22(i’m wearing a size 2) and it’s cost? Only $65, now do I think it’s worth it? Absolutely! I can’t wait to style this dress different ways throughout the season. Shop the dress on Get Choosy’s Official Website here.
Another day, another pop up exhibition in NYC so today we’re chatting about the New York Magic Lab!
New York Magic Lab is the world’s FIRST ever magic themed art exhibition and you know what means… Instagram worthy pictures galore! The two floor pop up is smaller than your average NYC pop up but it’s got just the right amount of entertainment for a fun & unique experience. Open since late September the theme of the pop up matches the feel of the season right now: magical & mysterious as we make our way towards Halloween!
Upon opening the doors into NYML you will walk into a magic themed wonderland filled with plenty of photo opps including their giant sized magic card with different giant magician hats to match (which you can pop in out of, hello boomerang opportunity!) and of course the front desk where the staff can check you in and answer any questions or concerns on how to navigate the exhibit, they were super friendly & fun.
I think we can all agree you can’t have an NYC pop up exhibit without a ball pit room, it’s like signature room that draws visitors in! The pink tiled room will totally bring you back to your elementary school days, when life was easy. Remember when bills, relationships & adulting wasn’t a thing? Same. Although the room brings out your inner child, it also provides you with some good adulting advice with a magical twist:
Life Is Tricky Baby, Stay in Your Magic. #LoveIt
I couldn’t have been the only one who had dreams of being a pop star for approximately .5 seconds of their childhood. So of course I had to take advantage and bring that same dream back! The best part about this room is that there was actual music being played Spotted, me singing a classic “I’ll Be Missing You”.
My favorite part of the New York Magic Lab? Definitely the basement level! Down there you could find fun outfits, a slide and the main attraction the dance floor! *Cue Justin Timberlake’s Rock Your Body* The dance floor was definitely the highlight of the night, you could spot all visitors getting into their best poses to catch a good pic here. The floor changes colors every couple of seconds so when it comes to lighting you’ve got options honey! I chose to strike a pose with the Kanye (well old Kanye) sunglasses from that “Stronger” era.
If you’re looking for a fun quick little pop up experience, New York Magic Lab is definitely a cool option! But act fast this pop up will only be around until October 28th, you can purchase tickets ($26 for adults/ $21 for children) & see full schedule here.
Please note: Dogs are welcome here! So if you have a furry friend you’d like to bring with you, you can do so! Also this would be fun for young children as well, so real life parents this is kid friendly too. Another note to mention: some nights you are able to see a magician perform some card tricks. I spent about 30 minutes at the pop up, but you can easily tour it all within about 20! For further information contact New York Magic Lab on Insta: @newyorkmagiclab
Once again thank you to the New York Magic Lab team for having me! Will you be popping by the pop up?
I finally did it, my FIRST SOLO TRIP OUT THE COUNTRY! I’ve shared my past experiences traveling solo across cities in the United States with you guys but this time I took it overseas to ICELAND. I know what you’re thinking… Iceland of all the places in the world? Yes because I’m that random. Personally I’ve always wanted to visit the country to witness the beauty of the Northern Lights & when I spotted a great deal on a roundtrip flight from NYC to Reykjavik – I just couldn’t refuse!
Words can’t express how much of a great decision this was. Iceland was the PERFECT destination for my first out of country solo trip – let’s get into everything you need to know, how I planned my trip, saved money, what I did in Iceland & why exactly it’s the best solo destination.
ICELAND SOLO TRIP | I Went To Iceland ALONE & It Was The BEST Trip Ever! - YouTube
Booking My Iceland Trip:
I LOVE me a good flight deal, if anyone were to ask me what excites me (besides the actual traveling) it’s the feeling of getting a great deal online. When people think traveling they automatically associate it with one word: expensive. And it really does NOT need to be pricey if you plan accordingly! I follow alot of travel deal websites/social media accounts such as Secret Flying & Suzz’s Travel and I am subscribed to the email newsletters of several airline
companies so if I a deal to a destination I have on my must go list, I’m ready!
I booked my trip via WOW Airlines for around a RT total of $250. Yes, ONLY $250 to travel to Europe so you know I had to hop on that! But let me make this clear from jump, WOW Airlines is not a luxury airline nor do they claim to be. Known for its cheaper prices it’s what you would call a “budget airline”. Expect to pay for carry on luggage (which they are very strict about sizewise), any beverage or meal in flight & even choosing your seat (which you can avoid if you let them choose your seat the day
of your flight or when you check in). Also here is NO entertainment on this flight OR wifi so if you can’t go a couple of hours being disconnected this airline probably isn’t for you.
When it comes to my experience with WOW Airlines, I loved it! I had no issues, I sleep through flights so the lack of WiFi didn’t matter to me and there’s a USB outlet at every seat so I didn’t have to worry about my phone, iPad + other electronics dying!
Money + Language + WiFi:
$$$: Once you arrive at Keflavík Airport, there are currency counters available for you to exchange your dollars for Icelandic money (known as krónas) but I’m going to let you know right now, completely unnecessary. In Iceland, debit and credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere! During my 5 day stay I did not once encounter a place where it was cash only. This was a major perk it felt great not having to worry about losing cash.
Fun fact: Tipping is not required in Iceland, so no need to worry about that but of course if you receive amazing service it’s always nice to tip.
Language: When it comes to language barriers in Iceland it’s pretty simple there is none when you’re from an English speaking country! Icelanders speak both Icelandic and English fluently. Never did I have to worry about someone not understanding me which was great! Another reason why this is the perfect solo destinations for any fellow Americans, if you ever have an questions the people of Iceland will be more than happy to help you & happy to chat in English with you!
WiFi: You get a wifi connection, you get a wifi connection, you get a wifi connection. Iceland is known to be one of the most connected countries, there legit wifi everywhere. So you can get all those iMessages, send all those Instastories & all while visiting the country. Although in South Iceland some areas didn’t have the greatest service there’s always connection on the tour line buses which takes me to our next topic…
Traveling through Iceland is super easy! When it comes to actually traveling within the city of Reykjavik everything is walkable, most of your destinations will be nothing more then a 20 minute walk. There are taxis available but I only suggest hopping in one if you like to waste money. When it comes to traveling for excursions or to other parts of Iceland there are SEVERAL bus tours to choose from. I used Gray Line Tours for most of my tours that stepped out the city as well as my transportation to and from the airport! They were exceptional, easy to communicate with and just professional. Did i mention they can pick you up directly from your hotel? I highly recommend them for any transportation needs!
Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, it’s just a fact. And you will DEFINITELY realize that once you begin your search for accommodations in the country. I’ve seen hotels ranging from $850+ and listen paying that amount by yourself not including the daily Iceland activities & expenses is alot as a solo traveler. So not only was this my first out of country trip this also became my first experience at a HOSTEL! Hostels are super popular in Iceland because everyone is trying to enjoy their trip for the most affordable price.
Personally I never really liked the idea of staying at one until I came across The Galaxy Pod Hostel! It’s unlike any other hostel I’ve heard of. It has a futuristic theme and every person has their own personal “pod” aka you have your own mini room! In the pod you can find: USB outlets to charge your electronics, a tv, control of light and fan, a cool selfie mirror, a bed (one of the coziest i’ve ever been in) and a safe to keep your belongings. You are also given a locker to store your luggage and there is a lounge room, kitchen, bar & of course restroom with plenty of showers & toilets!
For my first hostel experience I must say I LOVED Galaxy Pod Hostel & so happy I chose to stay there during my trip! Also the total cost of my stay was $198 for 4 nights (less than $50 per night)
Check out inside of The Galaxy Pod Hostel in my ICELAND VLOG
Food & Alcohol & Going Out:
BUY DUTY FREE LIQUOR AT THE AIRPORT, I REPEAT BUY DUTY FREE LIQUOR AT THE AIRPORT! If you’re a drinker you will save so much money buying your liquor in the airport vs when in town. That was easily one of my smartest moves before I made my way into the city. Liquor is not cheap & even Icelanders are known for pre-gaming heavy before having a night out. Do like the Icelanders and pregame, but even better because of your less expensive bottle. Also look out for happy hour times when you’re out and about, that’s the best opportunity to enjoy some of Iceland’s beers & cocktails while staying within a budget.
Let’s chat about turning up in Iceland, two words: It’s lit. Laugavegur Street on a Saturday night is where you need to be! What’s great about the city of Reykjavik that it’s so small it’s so easy to bar & club hop because everything is right there! You can find places playing the latest songs you would hear back home & there’s a place for every genre of music. Me being more of a urban music fan will still never get over hearing Magnolia play in the Iceland club. The Brooklyn in me cried. I wouldn’t say there’s much of a dress code but if you’re going out, you would want to look nice right? Partying style over there is staying warm but dressing it up a little more!
When it comes to food the Icelanders have some specialties you must try or you’ll question if you really went t0 Iceland? Their popular dishes are: Icelandic Lamb Soup, the Icelandic Hot Dog (aka Pylsur), their seafood/ seafood soups and rye bread. Fermented Shark is also a thing here but personally I had to pass on that.
See below for some of my favorite spots that I hit up that you should check out for yourself when in Iceland:
Clubs: Prikid & B5 (Hip Hop + RnB genres played here) Food: Icelandic Street Food, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, Noodle Station, Hlölla bátar (Subs & Burgers), Devito’s Pizza, El Santo, Aktu Taktu
Icelandic weather is unpredictable. It does whatever it feels like doing! During the 5 days I stayed it was winter, spring and autumn all at once. I would say come to the country prepared with a heavy jacket and light jacket that you can alternate from! Layering is key and a scarf will be your best friend for any weather switch ups. Visiting Iceland in September, I can officially say from my experience it felt more like autumn in NYC. Trust me it’s not as bad as you think it would be!
Why YOU Should Travel To Iceland:
Whether you come here solo, with your significant other or with friends you will have the time of your life. Iceland is unlike any other place I’ve visited and if I had one word to explain my trip it would be: magical. From the views that I believed I would only see on TV to the small city filled with gems on every corner this is an adventure I think everyone should have. Not every place that I’ve been to has left a mark on me spiritually but Iceland has made the biggest impact of my life.
If you’re looking for peace and tranquility, you’ll find it here.
If you’re looking for an escape mixed with fun, you’ll find it here.
If you’re just a wanderer at heart, your soul will thrive here. Iceland is truly one of a kind.
Imagine a world where clothing and accessories were replaced with… body modifications? Well that world exists at A. Human! This week the brand debuted their body morphing designs at their exclusive installation right here in NYC. I was invited to check out their A. Human collection in Soho and you know I couldn’t refuse the experience, I needed to see this for myself and I have one word to describe it… WOW.
Now let’s get into the good stuff! Upon stepping into the exhibit, visitors are shown a trippy video welcoming them into A. Human *please note there is an immediate warning that if you suffer from epilepsy the visuals that you see once coming in might trigger you, so please take this warning into account if you do*
From there you step into the full exhibition space where you find real life models sporting the body modifications! It’s intriguing, cool but yes also a little creepy. You will find yourself just staring at how well the modifications are placed. And you’ll also find yourself debating if these real life models? or are they mannequins. MOST of the displays are HUMANS. So if you’re having a discussion about if one of the heads you’re staring at is real, yes they are human and yes they’re probably chuckling in their mind at your amazement & wonder of their look.
Things that you’ll find inside A. Human include: feet with attached heels (imagine if you could permanently wear heels!), models buried with just above their shoulders being visible in which they display skin-tone colored necklaces and models in glass cases displaying body parts such as belly chest and more, of course decked out in some A. Human accessories.
Now I know some of you reading this right now thinking… it sounds eerie AF in there, but shockingly the exhibit balances those feelings by combining Instagram worthy art displays that are actually bright and fun! Trust me if it was really that creepy I would’ve been out the door within five seconds.
I think of A. Human as intriguing & creepy chic, Could it be the next step towards fashion? Possibly! But I’ll let you guys decide for yourselves! The exhibit is open ALL month long (closed Tuesdays + Wednesdays) with tickets at $28 for General Admission or $70 for their After Hours option available Friday evenings and include two cocktails!
Make sure to check it out and let me know what you think! To visit the A. Human visit yourself you can purchase tickets by clicking here and don’t forgot to follow them on Instagram here.
Three years ago Refinery 29 celebrated its 10th anniversary with the creation of 29Rooms and since then it’s been an annual tradition for me to visit the AMAZING art installation! I’ve been getting so many questions about it and I’m finally giving you guys all the tea!
So basically let me sum up what 29rooms actually is, it’s legit 29 rooms… of instagramable greatness, that you can only access for a limited time. The rise of pop up museums has been real these past few years but Refinery 29 is taking the lead with this one right here. Installations that you see this year will most likely not be back the next so they keep visitors returning every year to see what’s new and of course take more pictures!
What I personally love about 29rooms is that not only do you leave with a bunch of cool Instagram pictures (I know, i know that’s what you guys care about) BUT you will emotionally connect with the art as well. Several of the rooms promote self care, equality, take a stance political issues & push the motive of voting plus more. Basically what I’m saying it’s empowering af.
If you haven’t noticed by my pictures clearly my personal favorite room was:
A Long Line Of Queendom
Which was an installation purely dedicated to black women! It was beautiful, golden and just exudes Black Girl Magic. It was so cool to see that Refinery 29 had a room dedicated to being Black AF. Inside you can find inspiring quotes, shoutouts of black women who helped sculpt the culture and a long gold silky. I’m telling you guys, it was pure greatness.
I forgot to mention that you can even leave with some free goodies! With sponsors and partnerships with brands such as Bai, Dr.Jart+, Aldo, Rebook, Adidas and more, I was pleasantly surprised to get gifted with a couple of things to test out the brands! I mean who doesn’t like free goodies?
Located on 588 Baltic Street in Brooklyn… Do I highly suggest yall to visit? F*ck Yes!!
If you’re looking to spice up your Instagram feed, go on a fun date, or just really looking to get inspired by the work that these artists create 29Rooms is for you! Running from September 6-9th and 13th-16th 2018, you can purchase tickets on the official website by clicking here.
Tickets begin from 39.99 for general admission & $129.99 for the Starlite experience (which is at night and includes 3 drinks w/ your ticket). Do you plan on visiting the pop up? if so let me know about your experience!
If there’s anything that I’ve been amazed about in NYC it’s the rise of the Brunch lifestyle. And honestly I’m just thankful. Breakfast/lunch entrees, bottomless drinks, good music AND I get to pass out drunkingly in bed before 9pm? It’s honestly the perfect balance of adulting while being irresponsible. And I’m here for it.
So I’ve compiled a list of 10 of my favorite brunch spots in NYC. Now personally my favorite type of brunches have the music blasting, drinks flowing & me forgetting about any of my worries while turning up with my crew. Basically what I’m trying to say is, if you like a boring, quiet brunch that won’t have you twerking to the latest Drake hits… this post isn’t for you. But if that’s what you’re looking for, as always I GOT YOU! Let’s begin:
450 Park Ave S – New York, NY
PS 450 isn’t the cheapest brunch spot on the list. But sometimes you’ve got to pay for the price of litness. Brunch is $50 before the included gratuity and taxes (which will probably lead to about $70 total) but i mean… they legit hand you the bottles of champagne. That’s the type of energy I’m on. The DJ plays hip hop, RnB, reggae & Top 40s hits. To me it’s kind of the Woodland (see below) of the city but less ratchet. Basically to summarize your experience, you’ll definitely be leaving the PS 450 happy & turnt.
33 Avenue B – New York, NY
Poco is a brunch spot gem located in the LES, that you’ll DEFINITELY need to make reservations for! The venue itself is small compared to the other brunch places on my list but it’s just as lively as the rest, you will actually hear the music lasting outside! With brunch costing about $35 plus tax & tip, you get unlimited mimosas, sangrias & your choice entree. Just make sure to bring cash, because their bottomless brunch is cash only.
Beauty & Essex
146 Essex Street – New York, NY
Beauty & Essex is what I would consider to be one of the more popular brunch spots on this list. I don’t think there’s anyone in NYC who hasn’t seen this place on their Insta feed! You walk into a speakeasy kind of entrance & then inside you find a glamorous interior! It gives you total “I think I might be too broke to be in here” vibes. So if you’re looking to turn up while looking classy af, this is the spot for you! Now the major downside Beauty & Essex is it does NOT have a bottomless brunch option, so don’t expect a server to be bringing you unlimited drinks back to back, unfortunately it doesn’t work like that here. You get one glass of champagne & then have to order any additional drinks… and yes you guessed it, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny. Minimum cost at this brunch will cost you $70! The pro, it’s lit af – you won’t ever leave here not having a good time. Just remember it’ll cost ya!
140 7th Avenue S – New York, NY
Let me warn yall right now it get’s PACKED in here! Why? Because Agave is just that good. Back on the bottomless brunch energy with this venue, you get – an entree + two hours of unlimited mimosas, margaritas, frozen margaritas & wine for about $35/45 (depending on your group # & not including tax + tip). The drinks are amazing, now I don’t want to brag… not that this should be something to brag about but I KNOW drinks & at Agave they’re ALWAYS on point. The food is also bomb BUT portions are a bit smaller then I’m used to, I mean I still get full but something I’ve definitely noticed. The music ranges from Top 40 hits, Hip Hop, RnB & if you love singing a 90’s or 00’s throwback that’ll happen here! Agave is a must go!
242 Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn, NY
If you’re from Brooklyn, you know Woodland. It’s become our borough’s staple restaurant for a lit & ratchet brunch. Is the customer service the best? Nope. Is it super packed with ridiculous wait time? Yes. Do we still go anyways? Absolutely. When it comes to Woodland, you KNOW it’s going to be a party. So yes, as much as most of us love/hate it – it would be un-brooklyn of me to not include it.
259 Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn, NY
Out of all the places on my list Piquant might just be the calmest. It’s the perfect spot for a first date brunch or for those brunches where you and your crew need to seriously catch up (and don’t want to scream over the music). Trust me the vibes in there are on point. Music is good, Food is AMAZING and it’s only $25 for entree including bottomless mimosas/sangria. Affordable is an understatement. Also if you end up wanting to turn up some more you can head to Woodland right across the street! Heads up sometimes they only accept cash only – so make sure to have some on you!
Sons Of Essex
133 Essex Street – New York, NY
Another party brunch in the LES! Sons Of Essex is a go to spot (and I’m sorry this one’s another ball out venue). Known for it’s hip hop brunches, If you know all the lyrics to Biggie’s “Juicy”… you’re going to love it here. A bottomless brunch here will cost you around $65 but I think stopping by here for the experience at least once is well worth it.
70 West 3rd Street – New York, NY
Where my fellow Caribbeans at? Negril Village is straight up JA vibes, on the brunch menu you can find Ackee and Saltfish, Oxtail, Jerk Chicken and the list goes on! During it’s weekend brunch it’s usually super packed with the DJ BLASTING the music, if your intent is to have a conversation, trust me this isn’t the place for that. But you can definitely jam out and have a good time listening to reggae/Caribbean tunes. For unlimited mimosas you have to pay an additional 15 with your meal and the weekend brunch runs from about 12 – 3:30 pm!
Angel Of Harlem
2272 Fredrick Douglass Boulevard- New York, NY
Yes yall! It’s time for me to show uptown some love because we can’t sleep on the Harlem brunches! Let me just say if I could convince you with two words why you should do brunch at Angel Of Harlem… Rum Punch. Their rum punch is amazing & most importantly part of their bottomless option which also includes mimosas, white sangria & red sangria as well! The atmosphere is cool & the DJ here is also one of the best parts of Angel of Harlem! It does get packed as you would expect so try to make reservations beforehand! My food recommendation? The Chicken & Waffles are EVERYTHING!
Ricardo Steak House
2145 2nd Avenue – New York, NY
I LOVE Ricardo Steak House, so much that I’ve actually celebrated my birthday twice here! If your favorite meal to order at brunch is steak and eggs you will obsess over theirs. Although I come here more often for dinners, I can’t sleep on the brunches here – they’re just as good! The DJ here is always poppin’.. ALWAYS. And if you’re celebrating a birthday you’ll most likely receive sparklers when the servers sing “Happy Birthday” to you, aka if you’re extra af as me and like those things. The bottomless option serves up mimosas and bellinis, that come in different flavors for 2 hours, which is additional $25 with your entree. The vibe in this venue is very trendy, brick interior wall, a Biggie painting, a MLK painting anyone who truly is about the culture would love it here.
And that’s a wrap! Will you be hitting up one of these brunch spots soon? If so let me know! Drop a comment, message me, tag me on social and let me know how your experience went!
It’s TriBeCa Film Festival season and if you aren’t familiar with it I’m about to put you on! Every spring in NYC the city hosts a major film festival showcasing several different independent films, documentaries & overall just some pretty dope film content!
I had the opportunity to join MCM x Tribeca Film Festival‘s private event at PUBLIC for the film trailer release of the brand’s upcoming documentary “The Remix: Women In Hip Hop“and one phrase to describe it?… Lit AF.
The documentary & event celebrates celebrity stylist Misa Hylton, the woman behind some of Hip Hop’s most ICONIC looks! She’s dressed celebrities such as Diddy, Mary J. Blige, Lil Kim, Jodeci and more. So basically you haven’t reached icon level if your outfit hasn’t blessed by Misa. In the first look of the documentary you get a glimpse of her journey and talent in creating memorable looks for celebrities of course alongside some iconic quotes, my personal favorite? “LIL KIM IS A GIFT FROM GOD!“
The event stuck to it’s hip hop vibes with performances by Rapsody, Big Daddy Kane and special guest DJ, 9th Wonder! Rapsody & Big Daddy Kane came out rocking styles from the upcoming MCM x Puma collaboration (something I’m definitely going to be in the lookout for later this year) and some other celebs spotted at the event included Ryan Leslie, Rich The Kid and Naturi Naughton!
Wondering what they were pouring up? The cocktail menu consisted with drinks such as Opening Credits, Paloma Punchline, Magic Hour Gin & Juice and TriBeCa Sunset all making for a smooth & fun night! Debuting in Winter 2018, The Remix: Women In Hip Hop is a MUST SEE for anyone in love with hip hop, fashion or just down for the culture!