NYU freshman and food enthusiast Becky Hughes walks through the West Village, past her favorite boutiques, eventually ending her commute at the quaint cafe where she works as a waitress.
Her black leather tote hangs in the crook of her arm. One of the many classic staples characterizing Hughes’ city-chic style, the bag perfectly fits her on-the-go lifestyle as a food photographer, intern and full-time student. Her food blog, blairfoodproject.com, serves as a road map to document her transition from rural Storrs, Conn., to the busy food mecca of New York City.
Most female students have a go-to purse once the utilitarian backpack is discarded and the world outside the classroom beckons. For Hughes, American Apparel’s L’Epicier leather bag is the best choice. The buttery soft black tote matches just about anything and is large enough to carry all of Hughes’ possessions as she explores on the weekends, snapping pictures of the best food in the city.
“I really try to collect pieces that make my wardrobe cohesive and that I can wear a lot,” Hughes said. “So when I splurge on something, I know I will get my money’s worth.”
Cricket Energy Bars and Water Bottle
As a girl with health-focused habits, Hughes always carries her large reusable water bottle and a snack of some kind. Working in a locavore cafe, a place where the food is locally produced all day, Hughes knows the temptations of the city’s plethora of great, accessible food.
The Cricket Energy Bar was particularly unique.
“They’re actually great,” she said. “It’s a new company from New York that uses cricket protein. Once you get over the fact it’s cricket, they’re sustainable and taste great.”
When she has to shoot for her blog or NYU’s “Spoon University” page, she carries her DSLR camera to snap some photos in the city’s hippest eateries.
“I love shooting the reviews for Spoon U because they generally try to feature places that are affordable for college students, and it’s a fun way for me to discover new places to go out with friends,” Hughes said.
The camera was a gift from her parents that catalyzed her passion and talent for photography, eventually blossoming into a portfolio that is dangerous to look at on an empty stomach.
“My camera is one of my more valuable possessions so I don’t always carry it,” she said. “I use my phone a lot for Instagram, but when I need a good picture, I use my camera.”
Hughes keeps a long list of restaurants that she is eager to try on her phone. Every time a friend recommends a place or particular dish, the list grows longer.
“I figure that the more places and dishes I experience, the better I’ll understand cooking, the food industry and New York’s food culture,” Hughes said.
The gift card in her bag is to Pies ‘n’ Thighs, a home-style comfort food restaurant in Brooklyn.
“It’s actually a birthday present for my best friend from Atlanta,” Hughes said. “It’s my way of suggesting he treats me to chicken and waffles sometime.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 7 print edition. Cate Wright is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]