I typically scoff at girls who wear makeup to the gym, but I wasn’t preparing for just any workout. I was getting ready for the Skinnygirl Tastemakers Cycling & Cocktails event with Bethenny Frankel herself.
Public transportation had failed me numerous times lately, leaving me trapped in a stalled subway car or sprinting off a bus and down several avenues. Tonight, I couldn’t risk being late, so I decided to walk from my Upper East Side home office, across Central Park, to the Upper West Side Flywheel.
I arrived with time to spare, checked in at the front desk, and beelined for the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and was horrified! I couldn’t meet Bethenny Frankel looking like this! While my 2.4-mile walk to the event allowed me to arrive on time, it did not allow me to maintain my fresh face and perfect ponytail. Fortunately, the Flywheel bathrooms are stocked with nearly every beauty product on the planet, and I was quickly able to regain my Bethenny-ready face.
Around this time my friend Kelly arrived, and we secured our place first in line outside the studio where Bethenny was doing a pre-workout interview. After waiting a few minutes, the door flew open, and Bethenny somehow slipped out in the sea of press. Kelly and I entered the studio and took two bikes in the back. Neither of us had been to a spin class, and we were certain we were about to have our butts beaten (literally). After everyone was in place, Bethenny made her grand entrance, gave a brief introduction, and then left us to suffer through the cycling alone!
Somehow I survived my first spin class, but I was certain my Bethenny-ready face had once again melted off from the sweat dripping down my brow. Outside the studio, Bethenny was ready and waiting for us with a cocktail in hand. She posed for photos, gave a toast, and offered up a short Q&A. I was pleasantly surprised to see my makeup didn’t look too shabby in our snapshot, and I even got her to sign my copy of A Place of Yes!
Many of you know that meeting Bethenny has been a dream of mine, especially since moving to New York City. I’ve admired Bethenny for a long time for her perseverance in business and in her personal life. I believe she is one of the most savvy, strong, and saucy entrepreneurs in the business world, and love her or hate her, Bethenny’s no-BS, ball-busting approach has proved to be wildly successful. Her book, A Place of Yes, was incredibly inspirational and transformative for me, and I would highly recommend it to anyone (in fact, if you need a copy, hit me up – I keep about ten on hand just to give out to others).
If you want to be the first to know about all things Skinnygirl or if live in the NYC area and want a chance to meet Bethenny at events in the future, be sure to join the Skinnygirl Tastemakers.
Athens, GA, 2008
ME: That’s an awesome leather bag. Where’d you get it?
JULIE: Thanks! Actually, my friend Elke made it.
It’s hard to forget a name like Elke. So, when my friend Julie shared that By Elke had recently launched a new site, I had to check out the latest designs from the maker of the bag I’d coveted seven years prior. Within a few clicks, I fell in love all over again.
NYC, Upper West Side Trunk Show
One of a Kind Summer Bags, Accessories, and Jewelry
By Elke & Kim Clary Designs
Please contact me for details as this is a private event
It was a beautiful spring day on the evening of the trunk show. When I arrived at the Upper West Side high-rise, I was greeted by a doorman who directed me to the elevator. I entered the third floor apartment warily and walked toward the buzz of chatter and laughter. The spacious living area was lined wall to wall with handbags, satchels, totes, and cross-bodies galore. In the center were tables decorated with clutches, wallets, and other small accessories. The smell of fresh, supple leather permeated the room. Some women were holding up the bags, inspecting their insides, and discussing the various colors and styles. Others were modeling prospective purchases in front of a large wall-mounted mirror.
I kept walking, through a threshold and into another open space with tables of beaded baubles. In this room, women were piling on stacks of bracelets and layering varying lengths of necklaces, contemplating the perfect combinations.
At first, I was overwhelmed. I was standing in the midst of a trunk show in a home on the UWS with a porch larger than my entire East River-adjacent apartment. I was wearing jeans and my comfortable city shoes because I’d walked across town nearly three miles since “the weather was nice” but really to save on cab fare. I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful handmade leather bags and beaded jewelry I’d ever seen, and dozens of well-dressed uptown women were whirling around me, modeling bags and jewelry in the midst of their own personal fashion shows. I needed a drink to diffuse my insecurities.
After hitting up the spread of refreshments in the kitchen, I was ready to shop. First, I composed a bohemian arm party by pairing beaded bracelets by Kim Clary Designs with By Elke’s leather bangle. Then, it was onto the handbags! Once I spotted this woven clutch (similar here) with tassel detail, I was smitten. After I made my purchases, I took one final moment to bask in the beauty of the spacious UWS home before heading back across five avenues, twenty blocks, and through Central Park to my humble East River-adjacent apartment.
Photography by Sonali Prabhu of So Narly