Social Media Diary 5 Year 1: Virtual Reality-Reality-Reelity

Tsk, tsk...Always late to my own blog party but what to do when real life and work beckons? Finally, here is the wrap of my Virtual Reality-Reality-Reelity story encapsulating my amazing year in Social Media.

As the song goes, New York City is where dreams are made of and it did on one fateful day last Sept 21st, design/home bloggers gathered from all over  North America and marked Social Media history. The catalytic forces that started it all were Janet and Joy of the Moggit Girls and The Style Agency (here's the Mogg Low Down by Carmen Natschke of @DecoratingDiva), Julieann Covino of jace interiors and the author of Create Girl , and the Nate Berkus team who invited us to be part of their blogger audience. I was preparing for High Point Market and had no intention of traveling but Leslie Carothers invited me to be her guest. How could I resist the honor of being the Social Media maven's guest, the temptation of the Big Apple, and most importantly, the opportunity to finally meet all the bloggers I've read and admired from my screen and lovely virtual friends I've been tweeting with? 

So off I went and here's a photo summary of my Big Applicious treat. I flew in on the weekend to catch up with my favorite cousin and Cebu friends who were in town partying and shopping. When it comes to  dining in New York, there's so much to choose from but I have a few constants. Ever since I read the NYT review of Szechuan Chalet, I never fail to share a comfort meal of dumplings in chili oil, sauteed greens in garlic ,and  a fried whole boneless sea bass with my cousin since it's conveniently located in her neighborhood. 
The next day my dear friend, Emmanuel Hamoy of Blanc de Chine and personal shopper and stylist to society doyennes,suggested Red Egg NYC in Chinatown for dimsum. Nothing like a Sunday dimsum brunch to remind me of home. Chinois Chic and the food is excellent. I will definitely be back there again.

photo credit: Red Egg NYC

We walked brunch off with serious marathon shopping before we hit another favorite stop, Mariebelle Soho, a fall/winter ritual when in the city. Even if it was warm out, it was truly exquisite being engulfed in Maribelle Blue laced with rich chocolatey goodness. Chocolate is for all seasons after all.
Dinner that night was at another oldie but goodie UES fave Campagnola, I was too stuffed to eat but happily watched friends indulge in Italian staples after buying up a storm of Italian and French material staples. A food hearty weekend with family and friends who didn't have a clue about Nate Berkus was just what I needed before the Nate mania that was to come.
 The Mark Lobby

Monday - I was excited to finally meet the supremely talented designer and lifestyle curator Jonathan Legate in person and arranged for us to meet at The Mark  so we could mix good food and design. I wanted to be able to say the 3 Js in one sentence.....Jonathan Legate and I had Jean Georges Vongerichten fare in Jacques Grange interiors. I know, I'm being silly but why not, I'm a fan of them all! 

Jonathan and I have an uncanny friendship on Twitter which isn't much different in real life so we had a 3 hour brunch over a seamless conversation from one thing to another.  Brunch was splendid for the overall experience except for a minor caffeine twitch. It took me 3 times and 20 minutes to ask for a coffee refill. 

Later that afternoon, Jonathan and I met again and this time, Scot Meacham Wood joined us or a cocktail at Campbell Apartment before the Rue Magazine launch party.  It couldn't have been more perfect to mark my first meeting with His Plaidness, of the distinctive and renowned Tartanscot blog, at the Campbell.

I had just listened to an interview he did with Olivia Wilder on Blog Talk Radio weeks before, I couldn't believe I was meeting him!  A very lovely and charming gentleman, don't let his  tartan glory and European flair intimidate you, he is as warm and down-to-earth as can be. And if you find yourself in San Francisco during opera season, you just might catch his singing performance here. Scot was recently featured on All The Best Blog.

The Campbell Apartment is the sweetest spot in Grand Central and remains a constant convenient on my list not only due to location but also ranks  high on my  food/drink & design mix.  The interiors were redesigned by the grande dame of British Design, Nina Campbell (no relation to original owner), in 12 hours to the tune of $350,000. It is the perfect place to meet friends for a drink or more before we all go  down and off into different directions. Don't you just love the rarefied-air-meets-plebeian-access vibe?

We sat up in the quatre-foil designed mahogany balcony and had a lovely view of the scene below and the gorgeous beams.
"Campbell signed the lease in 1923 and commissioned Augustus N. Allen to transform it.  When Allen was done, Campbell had a Florentine palazzo fit for a doge.  A mixture of complimentary styles – Romanesque, Renaissance and medieval – the space made the intended impact." - Daytonian in Manhattan
"Anchoring one end was a huge stone baronial fireplace (which hid a steel safe).  Leaded glass windows admitted light and the wooden ceiling beams were hand painted in brilliant colors.  There was a mahogany musician’s gallery with carved quatre-foil designs, a pipe organ, a baby grand piano, 19th Century Italian furniture (pretending to be 13th Century), and Campbell’s overpowering desk. More impressive than the $1 million art collection lining the walls was the custom woven Persian rug that covered the entire area.  The carpet cost Campbell $300,000 in 1924 – an amount that would translate to between $3 and $4 million today." - Daytonian in Manhattan 
In 1994 a $100 million restoration of the Terminal was initiated and the doors to John Campbell’s former office were finally opened by someone who was not merely looking for storage space. A restoration of the old office began in 1999. $1.5 million later, the timbered ceiling was restored, the windows were uncovered and the sumptuous space gleamed again.  Renovated into a posh bar called The Campbell Apartments, its integrity was sympathetically preserved. In 2007 bar owner Mark Grossich decided to spruce up the well-used space and commissioned London-based interior designer Nina Campbell to redesign it.  Grossich spent $350,000 to re-do the color scheme, replace the furniture and carpeting.  The entire project was completed overnight, precluding the need to close the bar for even one day. - Daytonian in Manhattan

We were fashionably late for the Rue party...
Nothing beats the subway so we dashed off
from the Campbell's storied walls
down to the tracks
flushed from the first blush of our martinis in our cocktail garb!

Personalities from the Rue Magazine Launch Party
at Century Furniture in NYDC
Mackenzie Horan, Leslie Carothers, Karen Young

Jonathan Legate, Leslie, Janet
Moggit Girls Joy & Janet
 Leslie & Jonathan
 Tamara Stephenson, Julie Bova
Rue Mag Team
I was very excited for the hip Rue chicks. They worked very hard and it was worthwhile seeing them shine. Crystal of Plush Palate has always been supportive of Frou La La since I started this blog. She was the very first person to drop by and leave a comment. I got to spend a bit of time with Crystal when she came by the SNUG space in High Point Market 2 weeks ago. We were talking about fervently pursuing our passion and I couldn't agree more with her favorite quote: "Leap and the net will appear."
 Leslie, Ron Woodson, Jaime Rummerfield, Nicole Nachazel

I've always admired Woodson & Rummerfield's glamourous
and elegant style and was thrilled to meet them.
They exude G.L.A.M. in every way and make
the perfect premiere cover for Rue.

 Amy Dragoo, Michelle Wiebe, Ron Woodson
 Toby Willis, Emily Anderson, Will Taylor
 Susan Brinson, Janet, Joy, Will Brinson
 Jonathan and Susan Serra
 Cassandra Lavalle 
 Julie Ann Covino
 Julie, Leslie, Nicole
 Marcy Feld and Catherine Avery
 Eddie Ross, Jennifer Powell, Amy Preiser

Nate Day
 Susan Schneider, Amy, Leslie
Leslie, Susan, Amy, Jonathan, Susan
 I was seated 2 rows behind Joy and Janet
and captured Nate Berkus in between them.

Much has been said about the Nate Show and it's so passĂ© to even discuss it now. Did Nate's show meet my expectations? I had no expectations and just had a fantastic time with  not-so-new friends and making new ones who came and donned their favorite bright colors in full force. I was sad to miss the blogger party organized by Camilla Pavone and The Nest at The Collective but I had a Bergdorf's shoe salon appointment. I figured that if there was a host who would understand my absence, it would be Camilla whose blog is called High-Heeled Foot in the Door. Dinner that night was at my usual corner  in the vivacious, Baraonda, with a dear friend. Nothing like decompressing with someone totally unaware about our virtual reality world over martinis and heavenly seafood. 


jonathan legate said...

Love the piece and LOVED meeting in person. Only problem is we now have to make it routine!

Unknown said...

Fantastic diary & photo journal May. And... You have shared with us some wonderful places to visit the next time in New York. Enjoy your weekend!

Froulala said...

Yes Jonathan, it must now be a routine! :-)

Sarah, thank you for reading the post and glad that it makes you want to visit them the next time you're in NYC. Always so much to do, very little time when there. Never a dull moment. Hope you're enjoying a pumpkinlicious Halloween my friend!

traci zeller designs said...

Loved seeing all the photos from the Rue party -- almost made me feel like I was there!

April Elizabeth said...

What an wonderful account of an accumulation of fabulous experiences! I feel the warmth you extend towards those your relate with just by reading it.

Regina at Fauxology said...

Loved reading your post and seeing NYC again! Oh, I miss New York so... Thanks for the pics of the handpainted beams...and 3-4 million for the rug in today's pricing, wow. Beautiful images, wonderful adventures.