On a Monday morning in late July, I gazed down on Times Square from the 30th floor of my New York City hotel, pondering to what heights the day would bring me as I prepared to meet a fashion icon, visit the famous fabric store, Mood, and shop the garment district. This moment was proceeded by a weekend of challenges from being re-diagnosed with shingles on Saturday, this time on my face, to an episode of a forgotten phone on the way to the airport, which made for a silent six-hour flight to JFK.

My appointment was at 11:30am on the lower East Side, and the question of what to wear was settled by dark clouds and umbrellas on the street. With the high humidity and 90-degree temp, basic black was out, so I went for color with a red-trimmed navy pinstripe tunic, matching narrow pants and an abstract, dotted scarf. I wanted to arrive fashionably cool, calm and collected, and as the cab pulled up to the Bowery address I checked the makeup camouflaging my rash. But as paid the driver I noticed my nails looked like I had clawed my way to the Big Apple. Could I find a drug store and do a quick manicure in 18 minutes? Turning the corner I saw a CVS store. After a quick purchase, right there, on the streets of New York, I gave myself a manicure using the window ledge as my backbar. No one even gave me a second look … ahhh, New Yorkers!

Entering the Patricia Field store I was greeted by a friendly staff member who informed me that Patricia had a household emergency and was not there. Ok, no problem, I had several stops to make in the area. I hopped on the subway and headed to 34th and Broadway, on a mission to find fabric for Richard Hallmarq (Project Runway) at Mood. He was working on his Fashion Week collection, and tasked me with finding six yards of jersey to complete his vision. The store is on the 3rd floor of a typical garment district building. I had to acclimate myself to large rooms of fabrics and walls filled with buttons and trims. Occasionally, Mood’s mascot dog, Swatch, could be seen running through the aisles (he greets nearly 1,200 visitors a day). After much texting of photos to Richard, I found a perfect printed jersey with a Project Runway discount. Mood, still owned by the original family, is recognized by designers world-wide. I was late for my re-scheduled appointment, but somehow my own mood had been invigorated, seeing so much color in one location, enhanced as I walked into Patricia Field, which optimizes extremes in vibrant color and design.

By 3:30pm I was back on the subway for a stop in the wholesale district, then on to Times Square for dinner and surprise tickets to The Phantom of the Opera. Right on cue, as the phantom disappeared from the stage, we slid out the theatre doors to make our way back to the hotel for one last duty of the night: calling in to a city council meeting to vote on an upcoming sales tax ballot initiative. As I lay in bed that night, I was unable to sleep with visions of multiple fashion experiences, taxis and taxes. I decided it was all way too much for a fashionista from Benicia.