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back at home

We stepped onto American “soil” via the maze-like immigration lines that seemed to form into one in some parts. I had to stand in line with everyone, people with Canadian passports and others who needed a visa to get in. It seemed like that was the very first sign of a new nation that I was from. One where we were all looked at the same, but just a very thin slip of paper is what distinguished “us versus them” -and though this is something that made me a bit confused about the country now trusting me, a former government official, I was perfectly fine with standing in the line with others who didn’t have the slip of paper.

“Ma’am, we’re glad to have you back. Happy birthday.” The very words that greeted me to my home country. My home. We hopped into the car, checked-in at CitizenM in Time Square, and got ourselves situated for a busy week ahead. I was traveling with Kristabel, another blogger from London, and so it seemed really different for me to experience the city with someone who sees NYC as a destination rather than a place that provides a “roof” or a place where the people who walk are considered friends and family. That communal feeling I get whenever I’m in America had seemed to grow stronger since I was in America last, which was exactly a year ago. It left me in that limbo between proud and jealous for wanting to bottle that up and take it back with me to the UK, which isn’t possible and never will be.

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dress c/o BODEN slippers c/o BODEN sunglasses KATE SPADE NEW YORK

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central park

On our second full day in the city it was unbelievably hot. With temperatures in the 90s, which isn’t easy for someone who spent winter in Estonia just the week before! It felt wonderful though, slightly overwhelming, but liberating. We walked around Central Park, which took me back to my trip to the city just shortly after my college graduation. We saw boys playing with boats in The Pond and got lost in the midst of it all after crossing a few patches of grass and across some gorgeous people-speckled bridges. We visited my favorite place in the park, Bethesda Terrace. Tip: go extremely early in the morning to catch it in it’s full glory without disturbance. You can find my last visit here and more photos of Bethesda Terrace here!

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blouse c/o ANTHROPOLOGIE shorts c/o ANTHROPOLOGIE sunnies RAY-BAN c/o SUNGLASSES SHOP sandals c/o BODEN

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I wanted to use this trip as an opportunity to explore parts of NYC {and hopefully set a precedent for exploring other parts of America} that provides a history that explains what makes the American community so resilient, strong, and courageous. We spent a great part of an Afternoon in Harlem, where we walked around several blocks and found street art depicting a new world order and community of “togetherness.” History has not repeated itself and in turn has allowed various communities to share their cultures with one another to create a melting pot that beautifully assimilated into this concrete jungle that houses people of all worlds and places among varying social structures.

A big thank you to Pulkit Datta, a good friend from back in college, that is now striving and thriving in the film industry in NYC. He has lived in NYC for almost a decade and made Harlem his home for the last few years. Since his time in the area, he has seen Harlem build a community and develop into a wonderful place to live!

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what I wore in Harlem

gingham blouse c/o NEXT jeans LEVIS flats JOSEFINAS sunnies KATE SPADE NEW YORK

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warm thanks to NYCgo for providing a cityPASS for us to view
some of the attractions during our stay.

city inspiration

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night at the museum

On a more rainy day, we decided to stay indoors and visit the Met. The vastness was tremendous and bigger museums like this or the Lourve should be tackled with what tickles your fancy the most. I had already explored the Egyptian art and Indian architecture parts, which are subjects I covered in undergrad. What I really wanted to go for was the Commes des Garcon exhibition at The Constume Institute and it didn’t disappoint. Res Kawakubo is known for her avant-garde designs and challenging the notions of everyday life. Considering my placement in the UK makes me feel exceptional and different, she helped contextualize that “different” makes beautiful sense and breaks down barriers of what is “normal” playing in that in-between space.

jumpsuit c/o ANTHROPOLOGIE denim jacket c/o ANTHROPOLOGIE earrings c/o ANTHROPOLOGIE

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eating through the city

Maison Pickle
On our first real night in the city, we meandered to the highly suggested and acclaimed Maison Pickle. Retro-chic and everything in between giving you a true essence of Upper West Side vibes. We enthusiastically ordered a few dishes including their in house made bread topped with olives and feta cheese and garnished with the right amount of parsley and the shrimp dumplings that swam in the shallow buttery-creamy sauce that give it an ounce of comfort and topped the meal off with a few cocktails and a French dip because #YOLO. It was at that moment that I was stuck behind a curtain printed with the Union Jack for way too long because American portions are enormous! Looking around it seemed that most people were regulars because they were able to eat a the succulent {and pretty messy} French dip without fail.

The Butcher’s Daughter
Never in my life did I think I would visit a vegetarian restaurant and feel content after it. We visited The Butcher’s Daughter to start the long day of meetings and were invited into an oasis. I perused the Instagram account and seen the place geo-located a few times, but little did I know what I was going to expect. Far removed from the uppity, stingy and sometimes scary Vegan places-The Butcher’s Daughter served up fresh juices, smoothies, animal topped lattes and meals that would make anyone happy and content. I went for the standard avocado toast with an egg on top because avos are expensive in the UK, but was surprised by how lovely and refreshing the juices were too! Three locations, so be sure to visit at least one of them in your lifetime even if your blood pumps bacon grease.

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…and we ate some more

When we were perusing Harlem, we decided to get something to eat there just to get some good American soul food. When we asked anyone anywhere where to go, Sylvia’s was mentioned over and over again with many praise. We walked in to a semi-empty restaurant, which turned quickly turned into a packed house with a queue at the entrance of the restaurant. Built around big, long tables-clearly for some quality family time, we started off with some buttermilk biscuits and then threw ourselves straight into our entrees. Gluttony was an understatement, but comfort and soul is what everything exuded. From macaroni and cheese, garlic mashed potatoes, tender fried chicken and an assortment of greens. We ate in silent and it was the little comfort foodie haven that we only dream of!

Tijuana Picnic
One thing the UK is far removed from is quality Mexican food. I’m currently sitting at my parents’ house in Florida and have indulged on Mexican for 2 days straight and don’t regret it. Tijuana Picnic, as you walk in, has those Wes Anderson vibes with the patterned floors and walls and the lush dark citrus booths. With a touch of Asian flair, we were thrilled to be sipping, licking and dipping throughout the entire meal. Go for the cocktails {my favorite was the smokin’ maid} and leave with a belly full of good food. From duck wings to fajitas and that big bowl of guacamole.

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  • Natali

    Ah! Love travelling through your photos/posts! I miss NYC so much!

  • Tiffany {A Touch of Grace}

    I haven’t been to NYC in a few years and long to go back. I have yet to visit Harlem, but it will be a must do for my next trip. I always look forward to your restaurant recommendations. Delicious!

    • You need to go back! But I bet Audrey will just want to move there in the future haha. The food was AMAZING and I can’t believe I used to live in such a vibrant city. Makes London look so dull now haha

  • Sarah

    You look so beautiful in the jumpsuit, Supal! Always a doll. I loved you reflection of going back to America, and that as a tourist. xxx

  • I cannot imagine a life without Mexican food. I don’t think I’d be able to make it long term. Haha!

    I’ve never been to New York, but it’s one of the places on my list. You make it look GOOOOD, too, btw. 😉

  • Sade

    YES! I’ve been waiting on this bumper post. This makes me want to pack up a suitcase and go visit immediately. Maison pickle sounds delish…

  • Paige Allison

    Oh, the food in NYC is so so so so so good! I seriously have never had a bad meal there. And it’s funny, I forget that it’s actually a pretty city. When you’re in it, there’s so many people and garbage lining the street that it’s easy to think of it as another big, dirty city. But you got some great images!

    • SO GOOD! And you know, I had this issue when I first went to NYC as a tourist. I got overwhelmed by all the buildings and by how smelly it was. When I went there as a blogger, I totally appreciated it more

  • I was just in NYC myself! That exhibit was unreal… loved the work of Rei Kawakubo.. unreal inspiration and creativity. 100% would go see it again!


    • SO glad you got to go. I wish I could go back to. It’s crazy to think how much fashion explains today’s world!

  • I have to say that the US passport people are always the kindest to me when I come back from a trip. They always are proud to say welcome home! But I will be coming back to the US after a few weeks away and will be going through immigration for the first time this year so I am curious to see how it will be now.

  • I don’t know how you do it but the way you photograph places is beautiful. You make them feel like home for some reason, I don’t know how to explain it haha maybe it’s just my perspective? Xx

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    • Ah Siham, that’s the biggest complement coming from someone like you! Thank you so much! I hope I can continue to share beautiful photos and videos that you enjoy 🙂

  • Allie Mackin

    How cool to get to travel with fellow blogger and that she is from London. Very cool. And LOVE your photos, your photographer did a fantastic job. Your trip looked amazing for sure. And did you hear they want to change the name of Harlem? So ridiculous. Not going to happen.

    Allie of

    • Definitely cool! Well, I’m an American living in London – so not very surprising I traveled with her haha. It was nice to see her perspective since she once lived there too. And thanks-I don’t have a photographer! Just Kristabel and sometimes my tripod on other parts of the blog. I did hear about that during our “tour” – I’m curious to see what all happens with the amount of changes happening.

  • Your NY Trip looks amazing! I love your Boden attire too! We usually go to NYC once a year but this year we can’t and I am so bummed!

    • Thanks! Only the first dress is from Boden, the rest is Anthro! Well, future trips to NYC is a must then!

  • Lindsay Katherine

    I want to take this exact trip…with your wardrobe too. I love the outfit you wore to the Met 🙌🏻