Dolce and Gabriella

Little thoughts from the Big Apple


New York Hit List

What better way to conclude my stay in New York than make a list of all my favorite New York things? Before I came, I was desperate for recommendations on where to go. But all I could really find on the subject were lists of places that were way out of my budget. I didn’t necessarily want to avoid the must-see tourist attractions, but I hoped to find some “local” things to do that were a little quieter and, hopefully, less expensive.

It wasn’t easy, but in time I did find some relatively cheap, good places to eat, shop and hang out. The majority of these are centered around the East Village near my apartment. If you’re considering staying in the city for a longer period of time, it’s a great neighborhood for college-age people. There are lots of inexpensive restaurants, especially on St. Marks Place, and it’s a short walk to lots of great shopping in Soho, the West Village, and the Flatiron area.

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On the rise: Steller

In my last post, I mentioned speaking with fashion illustrator and social media guru Katie Rodgers about how she built up her online presence. Her popular blog, Paper Fashion, documents her creative life as a freelance artist (with clients ranging from Kate Spade to Valentino.) She credits much of Paper Fashion’s initial success to its early start date–when she started blogging, there weren’t many fashion illustration blogs, so it was easier to gain a following.

The same strategy has worked for her on social media. Katie stays current by jumping on trending platforms before they’re the next big thing, ensuring that her online presence stays fresh (and that Paper Fashion stays in the public eye.) The strategy has worked for her again and again: the Paper Fashion Facebook and Pinterest pages, both of which Katie founded early on, count around half a million fans each.

I couldn’t stop myself from asking her: what’s the next big thing, then? Her money’s on Steller, an up-and-coming mobile storytelling app designed by Mombo Labs. The app is a “trivially simple” way to share moments. You combine pictures, video, and text to build simple, design-centric stories, which you “flip” through on your phone as you would a book. Then you share the stories with the Steller network and with your friends on other online platforms.

I love the restrained design of the app, and the story-building tool is easy to use. Although I wish there were a few more in-app features that would make Steller a little more versatile (for instance, a way to put in additional text boxes or multiple photos on the same page), it’s a beautiful, intuitive way to record and share little snippets of life. The multiple pages and ability to integrate different media allow Steller stories to explore a subject in more depth than you’d get on Instagram or Vine.


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I made my first Steller story yesterday…and somehow it became the #1 most-viewed story on the app. (I think I’ll keep using it.) I’ve been meaning to do a blog post on my boyfriend’s visit to New York–he came and visited me for a week–but I think a Steller story captured our time together better than I could have in a written post. The app has great potential for use with my blog…I’m trying to figure out exactly what the relationship between my blog posts and Steller stories will be.

Here’s the story, which silly WordPress won’t let me embed:

Download Steller on their site, and tell me what you think!