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    The Wong Shop

    University

    I still remember as if it were yesterday. I was young; I was smart, I was dumb, audacious and annoying.

    Oh University, thank you for three incredible years of lame jokes, award-winning fancy-dress parties, and sleepovers at the library.

    They say it’s the best years of your life; it was for me.

    By the way, if you’ve already decided that university isn’t for you, fly over to my backpacking story. My ‘career’ blog post is currently climbing the corporate ladder (my blog feed) and is due to a promotion.

    It’s been a few good years since I graduated. For those of you who have just finished college, there are a few words of advice that I wish I had been given when I left home to become a ‘real, live, fully-functioning adult’. Hey, it’s okay if you haven’t reached the stage in your life, where you can find your socks.

    Network

    I know, I know. You’re fresh outta’ college, and you’re a tiny bit nervous. I’ve been there. Don’t worry young Fresher. Everyone is as lost as you are. Fortunately, Uni’ has sneaky ways of bringing everyone together. You’ll naturally befriend your fellow peers in halls, seminars, lectures, coffee shops and societies. Oh and ladies, you know when you’re drunk, and everyone becomes your best mate? The student union toilets are the official networking zone*. I saw friendships blossom from a simple “I love your bag, where’s it from?”, Or (and here’s my lame attempt to guy-speak) ‘Nice watch mate’ — you get the gist. Photos are an excellent excuse to add people on Facebook, without being weird about it. Strike up a conversation by asking for directions to your lectures. The best friendships start in the strangest places. You will meet your lifelong friends at University.

    *Disclaimer: the student union toilets may not be an official networking zone. You may just be very drunk.

    Societies

    At the Fresher’s Fair, scribble your name down on every club that interests you. Okay fine, I initially did it for the freebies. Alongside the free stuff, you may end up picking up: life-long skills, friends, and wonderful experiences. I fell in love with cheerleading (don’t laugh — it involved extreme body flexibility), and it became one of my biggest passions.

    Research

    There is only really one thing I wish I did more of, and that’s some digging. I will pass on a little pearl for you: delve deep into your career prospects in advance. Find out what qualifications and experience you need to get your desired job — before the other grads get there before you do.

    Job

    Unless you’re rinsing the bank of mum and dad (most of us aren’t), a part-time job is handy. For flexible working, your student union is a good starting point. Employers will be impressed with what you did with yourself alongside your studies. During the summer period, go and bag that scheme/internship, you’ll thank your grown-up self later.

    Wonga

    Every time my loan appeared in my bank account, I would scream ‘f**k yeah!’. I was terrible at money management. I firmly believe that at school: we should have been taught about credit ratings, interest rates, bank accounts, mortgages, insurance, and why you should start saving like £100 per week, because by the time you’re 50 you’ll be a quadruple-gazillionaire. That’s a rant for another day. It’s a skill you will learn and value after you graduate. I don’t want to sound like your mother but always set aside some dosh for the future.

    The not-so-serious survival guide (debatable)

    1. Do not attempt to bring your whole room with you.

    I brought absolute useless crap with me to my halls. It took five trips from the car to my new room. Not only were my new flatmates seriously confused, but my dad (bless him) also had to carry my stuff with a lorry cart! You do not need, I repeat, you do not need five pairs of PJ’s and fifteen pairs of shoes. Pack wisely young’uns. Pack carefully.

    2. Wash. Please.

    It’s not sexy to let your personal hygiene go in the bin (I’ve Wheelie bin trying not to think up some rubbish puns, sorry). Aside from the obvious health implications, smelling like you’ve not had a shower for a few days is not a great icebreaker.

    3. Don’t get with your flatmate unless you’re planning on marrying them. (And for the nosey posey, this isn’t from personal experience, I’m observant / watched the tears roll in).

    I don’t care if he has a big room (wink), six-pack and looks like a Model. Guys, I don’t care if she looks like Mila Kunis. If it doesn’t work out? Awkward. You have to live with them for the rest of the year. Mega lolz.

    4. Freshers love rumours.

    If you do something silly, expect it to spread like wildfire. You might even get a new nickname.

    5. Make use of the time you share with your flatmates.

    You will remember the fun times more than when you stayed alone in your room (obviously, organise your time to revise). I was lucky. In my flat, we all got on well like a house on fire (literally, we set the microwave on fire). We played pranks, cooked, watched films, went for meals and played silly games together. Don’t worry if you don’t get on with your flatmates; another flat will eventually adopt you.

    Leaving home

    You will be homesick in your first few weeks; there will be tears when your parents drop off their ickle pickle munchkin to grown-up school. Awww, I feel for you, I really do. There will be tears after that. Don’t worry, I promise you, it gets better.

    Pop your photos of your family and friends on the wall. Open up your boxes and lay out your duvet. Once you’ve unpacked your life in your new room, go and introduce yourself to your new mates.

    Plan a trip to Ikea with your new mates, avoid the temptation to play Narnia in the wardrobes, gobble up some meatballs and buy: extension lead, laundry basket, kitchen equipment and stationery.

    When you’re skint, resist the temptation to wander into town, search for bargains on eBay and buy your books from Amazon. Where else can you shop naked and it is appropriate?

    My favourite places that offer student discount are ASOS, Topshop, Waterstones, New Look, Currys, Apple, HP, Spotify and McDonalds (free cheeseburger with every main meal, you’re welcome buddy). P.S I do not endorse McDonalds, but it hits the scrimp spot for your student cravings.

    My flatmates got sick a lot (a few of us were in sports societies which had insane socials). Mummy Wong recommends lemon, ginger & honey in hot water. It works.

    There will be times when you’re revising, and your inner crazy will come out to play. Don’t stress too much, work to the best of your ability and everything will eventually work out.

    Time flies faster than you will ever imagine.

    University has a way of slowly shifting your identity, like sea sand getting pushed around by the ocean, slowly accumulating into new contours to form the person you’re supposed to be.

    Have a wonderful time and take lots of pictures. You’ll be entering the most life-changing chapters of your life.

    Location: University of The Wong Blog
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    Credits:
    Photography: Craig Flemming, Stylist: Natalie Armin, Make Up Artist: Laura Gingell and photos from weheartit.com

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    NYC

     

     

     

     

     

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    I’m not going to lie here. I gave it my best shot to be all cool and slick – like one of the Mad Men ladies. Yes. That was the look I was going for. And then my shoe got caught in one of those NYC drains. Ok fine, it happened twice. Fail. Anyway, I love Brooklyn; it’s edgy. I love the quirky restaurants, delicious brunch eateries, and arty-farty shops. Myself & Wendy stumbled upon a street which looks similar to Chelsea in London I have a weird thing for spotting pretty doors. On our breezy wander, Wendy spotted a beautiful door. We looked at each other, at the same time and we just knew – that was the door. I’m dressed in one of my favourite outfits, the little silk strappy cami and statement trouser. It’s simple and makes me feel all womanly. It’s the perfect uniform for running around the shops, sitting through meetings, lunch and an afternoon of brainstorming like a true New York business lady. The cami & trousers are from Topshop. The sunglasses are from eBay. The heels are Jimmy Choos. I wore the gingham black & white trousers because they remind me of the NYC skyscrapers at night.

    Location: Brooklyn, New York

    Clinique Moisturiser | La Roche Posay Anti Blemish | NARS Sheer Matte Foundation | NARS Stick Concealer in Ginger | M.A.C EYE BROWS | Urban Decay Palette | M.A.C Eyeliner | Shiseido Eyelash Curler | YSL Waterproof Mascara | MAC Blush in Mata Hari | MAC Lip Pencil | MAC Lipstick in Cockney |

    Credits: 

    Photographer: Wendy Whitesell

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    #ProjectMNYC – Brooklyn Brunchin’

    Dear fellow Brunchers,

    I’ve always thought that London did Eggcellent brunch.

    But oh no, no no. New York. Brunch in New York. It’s something else.

    It makes sense; brunch is a New York institution. I would have had a strop if it wasn’t all cracked up to be. Ha, get it? OK, no more egg y̶o̶l̶k̶s̶ jokes.

    Every weekend the NYC streets are jam-packed (on toast) with hungry (Bloody) Mary’s. I love a good melt-in-the-mouth eggs Benedict (my favourite) with creamy avocado on sourdough bread, topped with those hipsters chia seeds and the whole shebang. In London, I’ve noticed that all the little benedicts compete for creativity (dependent on what cafe you decide to go to on your brunch day).

    My New Yorker cousin Amy ushered me to a little place called Colonie in Brooklyn.

    Best brunch I’ve had by the way.

    Amy told me that ‘Bottomless Brunch’ (hehe, bottomless) is very popular. New Yorkers love their breakfast with all-you-can-drink Margaritas, Bloody Marys, Mimosas or Sangria. I physically cannot handle more than one drink (my friends call me one-shot Wong) but who doesn’t love unlimited top-ups of anything?

    Amy had the ‘Biscuit Benedict’. Sublime smoked ham & hollandaise, this type of sunshine is just the wake up call you need.

    The ‘Mushroom & Asparagus Scramble’ is like a pick & mix bag of breakfast goodies stacked on top of each other. I, of course, opted-in for added chorizo (I was ready to eat my arm that morning). Paired with eggs: it’s crunchy, fluffy, comforting and works well together.

    I love Brooklyn: quaint streets lined with inventive restaurants, stylish bars and eclectic shops. It’s just so damn cool.

    A typical Brooklyn inventive hipsterish hang-out is Royal Palm.

    It’s a retro Shuffleboard bar. It’s got a 60’s vibe and you feel like you’ve walked into an all-American diner/bowling alley.

     

     I know this is a Brunch post, but I have to share with you this ramen I had in Brooklyn.

    The story starts with an octopus salad and a hint of lemon. It ended with a crispy + squishy happy ending.

    A generous amount of Pak Choi and a good meat to noodle ratio = happy Monica.

    But, the real key to a good ramen is the broth. Spicy and fragrant, it was Souper.

    I’ve already shared this waterfront view in Brooklyn with you in my Yellow post. But, I love it so much; here it is again. It doesn’t need much of an explanation so I’ll end this post and leave you to the city.

    Brooklyn, you melt my heart.

    Your’s truly,

    Fellow Bruncher. x

    Location: Brooklyn, New York

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    Yellow

    Ladies! (Sorry guys). What’s the perfect summer colour?

    Yellow, of course.

    ‘But yellow doesn’t suit me!’, you may say.

    As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better than painting the town yellow. We’ve been lusting for the sun for most of the year.

    Yellow suits everyone. You just have to find the right shade, sunshine.

    A dark yellow (like my little Warehouse number) suits everyone. I’ve got your summer wardrobe covered; I’ve squeezed in a hint of my favourite pieces for my fellow zest lovers above.

    You may be wondering why I’m waving a sash-on-a-stick like some crazed loon. Well. I’m fascinated with Rhythmic Gymnastics. I collected some inspiration from Pinterest and took it to the streets of New York. I won’t get carried away here and pretend to do it professionally. I was just flinging a ribbon in the air in comparison to the ladies who compete at the Olympics.

    I love summer nights. I love summer nights even more in New York. At sunset, I floated around Brooklyn with Wendy, a local New Yorker and an amazing photographer. Like bees collecting nectar: myself & Wendy buzzed around Brooklyn while snapping up my zesty dress in the big apple, like a pair of lemons.

    You can hop onto my New York adventure here.

    Location: Brooklyn, New York
    Warehouse Yellow Dress | Jimmy Choo Shoes

    Clinique Moisturiser | La Roche Posay Anti Blemish | NARS Sheer Matte Foundation | NARS Stick Concealer in Ginger | M.A.C EYE BROWS | Urban Decay Palette | M.A.C Eyeliner | Shiseido Eyelash Curler | YSL Waterproof Mascara | MAC Blush in Mata Hari | MAC Lip Pencil | MAC Lipstick in Cockney |

    Credits:

    Photographer: Wendy Whitesell

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    #ProjectMNYC | Taking New York

    Welcome to New Yawk baby! Watcha twaking bout? (You should read that in the Godfather voice, just FYI.)

    Who wouldn’t want to go to New York? Seriously, though, if you come across a weirdo that doesn’t, send them this post.

    If you grew up watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S – then you must go and take me with you – so I can go again.

    Anyways, it’s time.

    Time for what? You may ask.

    “Ooh……. New York. Ooh……. New York. Grew up in a town that is famous as a place of movie scenes. Noise is always loud, there are sirens all around, and the streets are mean”.

    “If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that’s what they say. Seeing my face in lights or my name on marquees found down on Broadway”.

    Alright, I’ll stop pretending that I’m crawling all over the karaoke, whilst, forcing you to sing – before you take the microphone off me.

    At JFK airport, we discussed whether our booked Airbnb could potentially be a catfish. Like a Tinder date, we prayed that our match looked like the advertised photos. We (‘like totally’) wanted the New York apartment experience, but we had one hurdle.

    I got stopped by the Mr Border Control man. I thought to myself, “Oh s**t, what have I done?”. He said, “Mam, I’m going to need to seize your apple”. (He desperately tried to keep a straight face).

    Yes, that’s right. I had my apple seized, in the Big Apple.

    While the others wet themselves, I managed to wriggle myself in.

    And while you’re at it.

    2. Head to Washington Park. Unfortunately, it’s not home to the F.R.I.E.N.D.S fountain, but lots of people (like me) hop into it and pretend it is anyway!

    3. Ah, the Empire State Building. Try imagining New York City’s skyline without its towering spire. Our New Yorker buddies showed us the ropes and ushered us up to a rooftop bar for epic views. You know all those movies you’ve seen set in New York? You’ll end up pointing at everything saying, ‘ahh, I saw that’ and ‘ahh, and that one’.

    4. Times Square is mesmerising: it’s bright, loud, chaotic and has the best Broadway shows.

    5. Wall Street is a pretty cool spot to check out. Have a stare off with the bull and then walk to Wall Street to see where bankers destroyed the economy. Try and go on the weekend or during work hours to avoid the wolves – who come out to play.

    6. There’s City Hall for if you decided you wanted to get married.

    7. On a hot day, a stroll on The Highline is actively encouraged. It’s a mile long walkway built up high on the old New York Central Railroad. And don’t forget to stop for some gelato along the way!

    8. Brooklyn Bridge is a must. Head to this romantic, iconic suspension bridge for the ridiculous views.

    9. Don’t forget to meet The Statue of Liberty. She’s really friendly and kindly let me poke her torch.

    10. We paid our respects to The World Trade Centre. Send your love at the two memorial fountains – in memory of a dark tragedy in New York’s history.

    We had a friend who let us sneak into the top of a new building.

    The view is just, breathtaking.

    11. I overheard a little nugget from a local that The Rockerfella Centre gives you a better view of the skyline than from the Empire State Building. Let me know what you think?

    12. Grand Central Station looks exactly like in the movies; it felt surreal to see this it as a functioning train station. (I don’t know why I always thought it was a film set.)

    By the way, I love 7Eleven. We need it in the UK.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    And that’s that!

    I know. I took a zillion pics (it’s in my genes). There is just too much to do in New York.

    And that was just the touristy stuff! (I’ll be writing a post soon on the local gems so watch out for that.)

    What’s your favourite spots in NYC? Any hidden gems that I missed?

    PS, if you’ve been reading my Blog, you might of noticed that I’ve done a switch-a-roo from Vietnam to New York. Just to let you know, my backpacking adventures will be back very soon. Hasta la vista!

    Location: New York
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