REAL COUPLES is a monthly feature where we highlight our inspirational married friends and share their stories with you.
We first met Simon (@chungmania) at Canal Street Market in Chinatown where he currently serves as the Director of Partnerships. When we met, we noticed two things off the bat -- he was refreshingly friendly and the best dressed guy in the room. In his role at Canal Street Market, he’s responsible for partnering with local brands and creatives in the NYC area. He’s passionate about bringing unique experiences to the market and building a hub for art, culture, and wellness in the community. Lauren (@lolochung), who her friends affectionately refer to as Lolo, serves as a concept designer at Victoria’s Secret where she’s in charge of the core ideas for the design team. They live together in their tastefully decorated apartment on one of Chinatown’s historic streets with their adorable pup, Raf.
So how did you guys meet?
Lauren: I was working as a shop girl at the Marc by Marc Jacobs men's store in the West Village when Simon came in to shop with his friend. We got to talking and really hit it off. A few weeks later he came in to see me again, and we realized we both lived off the same train and coincidentally were both having housewarming parties that weekend. That's when he slipped the smooth line, "You should come by my place, I can text you the address. Could I get your number?" And the rest was history from there.
Tell me about getting engaged!
Simon: I was here on a travel visa from the UK, so every 90 days I had to go back home, which became a major stress point on our relationship. One time I got stuck in the airport for 48 hours, didn’t have a cellphone while I was there, and Lauren thought I wasn't going to be able to get back into the country. At the end of the next 90 day cycle, we both agreed we had had enough and I was just like, “Babe, I think we should end all this nonsense and just get married.”
Lauren: My first reaction was, “Are you kidding me!?” I was shocked, but of course I said yes. He took me shopping on 5th Ave to look at wedding rings and we went into all the major jewelry shops - Harry Winstons, Van Cleefs, Tiffanys... just a couple of kids rolling through acting like we had a huge budget. Pretty hilarious looking back but still one of the funnest days I've ever had. Simon somehow managed to find a ring and ordered just in time for us to get married at City Hall 10 days later. It literally arrived hours before we left for our ceremony. He had tracked down the FedEx truck that morning, came running back to the apartment, and got down on one knee in our tiny Bushwick bedroom. It was the most perfect, beautiful day and I wouldn't change a thing about it.
So married life... let’s start with the fun stuff. Tell me about your pup, Raf!
Lauren: He’s named after Raf Simons, my favorite designer. He’s the runt of his litter. He’s our child, and he’s the boss.
What are you guys watching on Netflix together right now?
Simon: Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain. Rest in peace.
OK, now the important part. We need the Simon and Lauren guide to NYC.
Favorite casual date spot?
Favorite fancy date spot?
Sushi Nakazawa in the West Village.
Favorite neighborhoods and why?
Simon: Chinatown, especially because I both live and work here. I like to fully embrace one neighborhood, and I love all the little quirks here. It’s also been the first time I’ve lived in a highly Chinese-populated community, and it’s allowed me to fully embrace my background.
Lauren: For me, it’s Chinatown and the area between the West Village and Tribeca. It’s awesome just getting lost in the streets over there and feeling like you’re in another world.
Best low-key locals spot?
Souen on 6th and Prince -- it’s a cool little Japanese spot that serves good and healthy food with no frills.
Favorite place to go out when you’re with the girls?
Favorite place to go out when you’re with the boys?
Simon: Playing pool with friends, or getting Korean BBQ in K-Town, or dim sum at Jing Fong.
Describe each of your perfect days in NYC.
Lauren: It would be getting lost in the streets on a perfectly breezy, sunny day. Just strolling through the neighborhood and being appreciative; taking the time to look around without feeling stressed.
Simon: Hanging out with Lauren and Raf, relaxing in Washington Square Park and people watching. There’s always something going on over there.