Cherry blossoms are blooming in Central Park. The pretty pink flowers signal the beginning of spring and summer time in New York City, adding color to the brown landscape. As the weather warms up, the happiness gets carried into the gloomy subways- a welcome change noticed by daily commuters that have dealt with the cumulative misery of millions of faces during the winter.
The best place to see the cherry blossoms in Manhattan, New York is on the
Want to see the changing leaves, smell the fresh fall air and escape the crowds of Central Park? You don't have to travel far from New York City to immerse yourself into nature. Drive forty five minutes north from Midtown Manhattan, and you'll find yourself in the midst of splashing waterfalls, serene lakes and secluded hiking trails. Harriman State Park in Upstate New York has hundreds of miles of gorgeous, dog-friendly hiking trails waiting to be explored.
Getting to St. Tropez in the South of France from New York City requires a flight to Nice, then an hour and a half car ride along the jagged coast line. The trip there is well worth it, especially during the summertime when it's warm and the social scene is lively.
Cap Antibes is a coastal city in Southern France overlooking the Cote d Azur, or French Riviera. A coveted vacation destination for Americans and French alike, the area is filled with historical buildings, luxury hotels and quaint restaurants with incredible local cuisines. Having approximately the same temperatures as Northeast America, the best time to visit Cap Antibes is in late August or the first week of September. However, if you're trying to avoid the crowds, the second week of September will give you a more quiet experience with slightly chillier temperatures.
Where are the best beaches you'll want to visit during your trip to Bermuda? Jobson's Cove, Horseshoe Cove and the Pink Sand Beach were worth seeing, and beat my expectations for an island only an hour and forty five minutes away from New York City. However, my favorite beach in Bermuda was on a small, private island located at the tip of the island. A boat ride away from the main island, the beach was secluded with live coral, colorful fish and crystal clear blue water.
What is there to do in Bermuda? First of all: the beaches are incredible. If you know where to go, you'll find a cove on the side of the bigger beaches where the water comes pouring in between tall rocks, calmly circling out again. The crystal blue waters are warm and calm, making swimming a pleasure. The large rocks jutting up from the beaches create a picturesque scene. Sitting on the dock at one of the restaurants overlooking the waters, you can enjoy fresh fish and locally sourced vegetables. And if you're up for it, you can rent a boat and head off shore to catch your own fish.
My own fishing experience was one of the highlights of my trip to Bermuda. Leaving the Bermuda shore on the fishing boat, we passed a wrecked ship that reminded me of the tales surrounding the Bermuda triangle... The aquamarine waters glistened in the sunlight, appearing to change colors as the water deepened. Sand reefs jutted up from the ocean floor, covered with only four or five feet of water. The shallow spots were covered with coral and ocean plants, easily seen from the boat through the clear waters.
Once we arrived at a good fishing spot, the captain and crew lowered the lines on the back of the boat- the ones they used to catch the big fish. Tuna and wahoo were known to swim in the area, so the goal was to have a fish to take back to hotel for the chef to cook for dinner that evening. After slowly circling around in that area, we were able to wrangle in a gorgeous silver wahoo that measured approximately three feet long.
After catching the wahoo, I and some of my friends were feeling a little green from the turbulence. We heading back to calmer water on the reef and threw out smaller, handheld lines until it was time to head back to shore. The chef at the hotel made wahoo crudo later on while the sun dipped down after another beautiful day in Bermuda.
Visiting Paris, France is as pleasurable as it is educational for a fashion designer. The shopping is plentiful and never disappoints, while the outdoor cafes between the stores provide a welcome, delicious break. The energy in the city is more sophisticated and romantic than the loud bustle of New York City. Walking along the street, you'll likely notice more women in dresses and heels than in sportswear and sneakers. The detailed architecture on the buildings and the balconies with flowers trailing down the rails complete the picture.
Shopping in the designer clothing stores always takes up a couple full days of my visit. I walk down Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where one can find most of the top French design stores. On my second day, I'll seek out emerging brands to see new ideas and concepts. The clothing always feels more elegant and sophisticated than the more street-style friendly stores in New York City, which I love. I browse slowly, looking at every detail and design element until the attendants start to eye me suspiciously.
Touching and feeling the clothing is an important part of learning the elements of what makes designer clothing feel and look different than bridge or mass market clothing. While I was attending the Fashion Institute of Technology as a design student, my design professors stressed the importance of looking at the actual clothing instead of images online. Their advice was on point- I always pick up fascinating design and finishing details that I would miss by just looking at a photograph. In addition, feeling the hand of the textiles is an experience in itself.
By now, I can immediately tell the difference in a high quality garment, and if shortcuts have been taken to speed up the process. Seeing 1/8 French Seams on a silk chiffon blouse reminds me of the careful process of sewing, trimming and pressing that is taken for granted by individuals just looking at price tags. I gravitate towards hand beaded appliqués and hand finished garments, knowing how long it took to complete them. I rarely purchase something, since I personally am an emerging designer, and I'd rather funnel my finances into new collections. I don't shop to buy at this point in my career, I shop to learn.
Like any other industry, the fashion industry is always evolving. I will always be a student of the arts and of design. Finding other brands that are bringing ideas to the market that feel fresh but continue to carry the elegance that I feel during a trip to Paris always makes me feel happy and inspired.
XOXO, Kate Stoltz
Pictured: Kate Stoltz getting ready for a day in Paris at La Réserve in France.
To shop the pieces featured in the photos, click on the links below:
Do you believe in making New Year's Resolutions? I do for business goals. However, I believe personal goals should be updated on a daily basis, not necessarily on a yearly basis. As humans, we are subjected to ever changing life circumstances, human error and outside influences. My only personal goal is to improve the person I already am, on multiple emotional and physical levels. I believe that resolution alone covers a lot of ground. In the meantime, career goals are much easier to look at in a yearly context. Numbers don't lie, and it's easy to make goals based on the information on our tax returns alone.
I started by writing down three of my biggest goals, then added details beneath each goal. I am keeping the piece of handwritten paper to read until the end of this year. Knowing that I have my goals written down and stored in a safe place, I know I need to accomplish (at least) ninety percent of them.
To start the year off with a fresh start, I spent the New Year out in snowy Aspen, Colorado. Having learned how to snowboard in my teens, I still enjoy spending a couple of days shredding the slopes. Literally shredding the slopes, considering that most skiers actually hate snowboarders.. our wide boards pack the powder and the slopes can become icy. A new board, combined with a year long absence from the slopes made the first day on the slopes a little treacherous for me. However, snowboarding is like riding a bike- you never really forget how to ride.
Gliding down the slopes during the day, shopping in the town of Aspen with my dog Victoria after the slopes closed, then going out to dinner with friends was a satisfactory way to bring in the new year. The fresh mountain air and beautiful scenery was a welcome retreat from New York City... I will be back <3
I wish everyone the best in the upcoming year in both personal and career goals. I hope you enjoyed your own New Year's celebrations!
XO, Kate Stoltz
Rocky Mountains in Aspen
On the slopes of Aspen
Approaching Cloud Nine for a cup of tomato soup
View from Cloud Nine
The town of Aspen as seen from the slopes
Kate Stoltz's faithful travel companion
If you are planning a trip to Bali, Indonesia, then Ubud needs to be added to the list of places that you are planning to visit. I had the pleasure of spending a week in this beautiful country, and fell in love with Ubud. The rich culture, the kind people, the food, the jungle and the peaceful air was an incredible experience. I stayed at the Viceroy in Ubud, which is in the middle of the jungle.woke up to the peaceful sound of birds chirping, and fell asleep to the sound of crickets. The air was refreshing, and it was the most peaceful, beautiful setting. During the day, I visited the Saraswati Temple, a beautiful, ancient Hindu temple that is still attended daily by the locals.
Saraswati Temples in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Hindu offerings at the Saraswati Temple in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Kate Stoltz at the Saraswati Hindu Temple in Ubud, Bali
Breakfast at the Viceroy was fresh fruit from the jungle, fresh fresh ground coffee and local eggs.
Breakfast at the Viceroy
The view from the breakfast table
The rice fields are just as peaceful and beautiful as the temple and the hotel. The amount of labor that the farmers put into maintaining their rice fields is impressive. Each patty needs to have enough water, but not too much... The farmers work the fields by hand and get up very early in the morning to maintain these fields.
Kate Stoltz by the rice fields in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
I want to do yoga here every morning, then sip tea and listen to the birds..
Yoga mats by the rice fields in Ubud Bali in the jungle
The Hindu and Buddhist culture was integrated into the land and people. The kind way they treated me and each other, the statues and the ancient carvings was all so real, inspiring and incredibly natural. I left a big piece of my heart in Ubud, Bali <3 XO-Kate Stoltz
Buddhist statue at the Viceroy in Ubud Bali
What is there to do in New York City? The many museums in Manhattan are a great place to start.. I've been visiting museums every day for the last couple of weeks for an art class. Yesterday, we visited the Frick Collection, which quickly became my favorite museum. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a close second, but the Frick collection offers a more private experience. It's definitely worth seeing.
Indoor Courtyard at the Frick Collection
Just a little background: Henry Frick was a wealthy merchant that built an elaborate mansion on 5th Avenue in the late 1800's. He built the mansion to live in, but intended it to eventually become a museum. Frick loved art, especially pieces of beautiful sceneries and women. The walls are lined with incredible works from the likes of Claude Monet, Vermeer, Van Dyke and many other masters. The Frick Collection doesn't allow photos to be taken inside the museum, only in the courtyard. Photos don't do the Frick Collection justice though. You really need to go yourself to enjoy the mansion, the valuable art and the courtyards
Frick Collection outdoor courtyard