April 14, 2014

{LIFESTYLE} 30 Things to Do Before 30



In just over a week, I'll be celebrating yet another birthday. Somehow, I've sped through almost 28-years of my life - years that have seen me through multiple evolutions and awkward phases and Madonna-scale style transformations, and that I've begun welcoming with my yearly wish list, which could just as well serve as a testament to my insanity. The not-so-distant future is full of some major, exciting milestones: I'm launching my first fashion collection in the fall (yes! It's true!), I'm working on a book filled with hilarious and embarrassing stories that I will publish, and I'm getting married to someone that I know, without a doubt, is the love of my life and my person. I could cheat and add all three of these major life events to my 30-before-30 list - knocking out a solid 10%... but I won't. While I'm doing pretty well in checking off normative life passages from the massive list of things-that-are-expected-of-us-by-a-certain-age (and that, by the way, I think are BS), I've been thinking a lot about the things that don't fall within the list of expectations - the events and interests that make me the person I am, but have somehow fallen by the wayside.  These aren't resolutions, or overall life goals: just a short-term bucket list of things I don't want to keep postponing! 


1. Document my family's oral history. 

2. Meet my extended family in England. 

3. Visit Iceland; swim in the Blue Lagoon. 

4. Take a Burlesque class.

5. Volunteer for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

6. Read the 100 Best Novels. Fortunately, I have a head start.

7. Take a hike in the Hudson Valley.

8. Bake the perfect (gluten-free) Princess Cake.

9. Go on a weekend trip with my closest friends -
even if it's just an hour outside the city.

10. Learn my way around a toolbox;
 it's called a "Phillips Head," not "the thing with four things." 

11. Dine at Thomas Keller's Per Se or The French Laundry.  
12. See a baseball game at Yankee's Stadium... 
Even though I hate baseball. 

13. Go Skydiving. 
(I'll save this for after the wedding. We already put down a deposit, after all). 

14. Visit Charleston, South Carolina.

15. Become fluent in French. 

16. Get certified in CPR. 

17. Take a helicopter tour of Manhattan. 

18. See BeyoncĂ© live. 

19. Tour a Frank Lloyd Wright building in person. 

20. Take a swing dancing class. 

21. Go to Napa Valley and learn anything about wine.

22. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.

23. Visit the "new" Downtown LA and go on an art walk.

24. Go to a hot air balloon festival.

25. Start a supper club with close friends. 

26. Make a bespoke fragrance. 

27. "Live" in a city that's not New York or LA for at least a month.

28. Try 10 completely new-to-me recipes, and blog about them. 

29. Take an improv class. I can be funny, right? 

30. See a performance at the Disney Concert Hall in LA. 

I think this is all fairly attainable, and I look forward to crossing these off my list one by one... The countdown begins now! 

April 11, 2014

{STYLE} A Day In The Life with MYNT 1792



One of the things I love most about my work life, and which I am thoroughly grateful for, is that no two days are alike - ever. I'm the type of person who needs to constantly be stimulated, finding inspiration around me, being inspired by my projects and by the people who I get to work with and interact with on a daily basis. When things are too monotonous or stagnant or same-y, I feel lost - so prioritizing my life in this way has become somewhat of an essence. I appreciate that, if I need or want to (and have the time), I can take a lunch break at an outdoor patio, or restructure my day to enjoy time with friends and work later in the evening.  I can choose to work at home, or at a coffee shop, or fill my days with meetings with publicists and visiting showrooms. In designing my first fashion collection, I've also fallen back in love with drawing and painting, and have started to carve out time in my day to refocus my skills in gauche. There are days where I write for hours on end and without interruption, and others where I am running all over the city - uptown and downtown and crosstown at least three times - that I forget to check the time or respond to e-mails or eat something until I'm quickly reminded by a dizzy spell.

Because my days vary so much in activity, my dress usually requires adaptability. On days when I'm not chained to a desk and cramming on a dozen deadlines (as often seems to be the case), I need to be able to go from a breakfast meeting, to a showroom appointment, to a sample run, to an editorial review at Marie Claire, to a night of previews, to a cocktail party. Occasionally, these days will allow time for an outfit change - and I relish in that! I've been closely following MYNT 1792 ever since they launched just a few seasons ago, and I really feel like they make some of the most versatile, quality clothes for the fashion-conscious working girl on the go - and not just because they gave me the opportunity to design my dream jacket. Their spring collection is mostly black and white, which makes it the perfect foundation for looks that go from day to night, and work to weekend, (and I love the subtle houndstooth texture woven into the bomber jacket and these pants). I had so much fun styling some of my favorite pieces from the collection and wearing them around my neighborhood!


Above, wearing: Brigitte Bomber c/o MYNT 1792, Rene Pencil Skirt c/o MYNT 1792, Georgette Button Down c/o MYNT 1792, Karen Walker Northern Lights Sunglasses, Mawi Necklace, Lulu Guinness Verity Bag, Loeffler Randall Jules Wedges


Above, wearing: Georgette Button Down c/o MYNT 1792, Shourouk Marisa Necklace, ISLYNC "Sorry Not Sorry" Necklace, Bastian Leggings c/o MYNT 1792, Karen Walker Northern Lights Sunglasses, Nasty Gal Shoe Cult Lucite Heels, Tory Burch Flower Cluster Bag 


Above, wearing: JF Tote c/o MZ Wallace, Giselle Pants c/o MYNT 1792, Loeffler Randall Jules Wedges

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This post was sponsored by MYNT 1792. All opinions are my own. 
Photos by Lydia Hudgens

March 26, 2014

{STYLE} Escape to Sunshine


Topshop Blurred Floral Scuba Top, ASOS Leather-Look Skirt, Kenneth Jay Lane Pearl Bracelet, 2 Park Avenue Beau Bag c/o Kate Spade (now on sale!), Moschino Cheap & Chic Embellished Suede Heels  

New York City is exhausting. A short trip to virtually any other city in the country is a swift reminder that the little things in life just take more effort (grocery shopping, laundry, getting around, going to Target, finding a private outdoor space to relax) than almost anywhere. That said, little getaways are also great reminders of why I love the city I've called home for a decade: the fast pace, the access to art, that I can travel an hour to get to the beach, or to the mountains, or to the woods. All that said - it was time for a change of pace.

Being in New Orleans the last few days has been a much needed break. I'm super lucky to get to travel a lot, but I've needed a proper time-off from winter weather, and it turns out that a few days in the south is the perfect antidote. Plus, I haven't visited New Orleans since the end of October! This city moves slowly, with a relaxed approach to virtually everything. Ali and I have been enjoying long walks through the French Quarter, browsing vintage shops and painstakingly deciding between perfect costume jewelry finds, walking our pup Frankie along tree-lined streets, enjoying jazz with an accompaniment of wine in the Bywater, and dining al-fresco. The city is quiet when you need it to be, and raucous in all the right corners. I've still been working, but with my laptop on a patio, and my conference calls taken by the water. Even a flat-tire yesterday afternoon became a pleasant experience when two strangers stopped to help and graced us with the meaning of southern hospitality. 

Back to NY tomorrow, but I think this time in New Orleans was just what I needed to survive the remaining time until spring actually kicks in.


{SHOP THE LOOK}
Photos by Lydia Hudgens

March 19, 2014

{BEAUTY} Spring Beauty Favorites

Even though I'm by no means a master at makeup, I'm an unabashed product junkie and love trying out new colors and beauty innovations as they emerge, and definitely give in to color trends in a major way. Right now, my go-to everyday makeup is a fresh, dewy face with a bold lip and cat-eye, and with a few new palettes in my arsenal, I've started playing with a little bit of color on my lids, too. Little tweaks, like adding shimmery shadow to the corner of my eyes, and lining the waterline with a white or champagne pencil, have also added tiny updates to my overall look. It's those tiny, subtle changes in your beauty routine that can help make you look more awake, refreshed, and even toned.

SKIN
I confess that I'm not very good at moisturizing my body as much as I should. I hate how most lotions feel sticky, and find that they often take too long to absorb into my skin before I get impatient and want to either jump into bed or put on my clothes. Body oils, however, are super light and absorb into the skin super quickly. My favorite is Moroccanoil's Body Mist - it smells amazing and soaks into the skin virtually on contact. I originally received it in a gift bag, and have repurchased it once already since. It also gives a nice glow without making you look oily. I've also been using a dry brush (I use this one from The Body Shop, but the luxury-minded may prefer Clarisonic's body attachment) on my skin after showering to help get rid of some of the dead flakes and allow for better absorption.

SKIN TONE

First and foremost, I'm recommitting myself to the skin care line that has worked the best for me (Somme Institute), but I'd be lost without my trusty beauty balms, color correctors, and concealer. Though a dedicated skincare routine has kept new acne under control, I have a lot of dark spots and scarring that I try my best to cover up. In order to get a more natural, dewy look and use product more sparingly, I always apply these products with a wet sponge; the beauty blender is my favorite. On days when I want more coverage, I use Chanel CC Cream; I love its more opaque finish. Though it unfortunately only comes in one shade (a very pale yellow), it is the perfect color for my skin tone. On days when I want more sheer overage, I opt for Stila's Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm, (c/o). Both products contain broad spectrum 30-spf and are packed with moisture, which is exactly what my skin needs. For my eyes, I've been using Benefit Lemon Aid, and love the pigment and creamy texture for both my lids and under-eye; it's like a cup of coffee for your face.

COLOR
A bold lip color and flushed cheek are very important for me. I never really feel "done," without either. I could probably forego all other makeup as long as I have my lipstick! Though I've only tried it in one color (La Diva) Chanel's new Luminous Matte Lip Colors are a great matte formula that is long wear without drying out your pout. I'm also in love with Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics new line of Color Pencils, currently available in 11 colors plus an invisible liner. They're perfect to use as a lip-liner or stay-all-day base, and for a skilled user, can also be mixed with a medium for all over color. I have used mine with a tiny bit of rose oil on my cheeks as a stain, and it's perfect. I've also only recently gotten into highlighters, but I love NARS Adelaide Illuminator - which I apply along the cheek bone and on the apples of my cheeks. It's a very shimmery pink that is a great base to a more saturated rouge; again, a little goes a long way. If it's too pink (or too glittery) for your tastes, I also recommend NARS Copacabana.  As I mentioned above, I've started playing around more with colors on my eyelids - and Urban Decay Naked 3 has probably been my favorite palette to create very natural eye contour looks.

FINISHING TOUCHES

I can't remember the last time I sported bare nails, so suffice to say maintaining strong nail game is important to me (even Buzzfeed agrees, apparently). Right now, I'm all about pastels in my wardrobe - so it stands to reason that soft hues would make their way to my beauty routine, too. Deborah Lippmann's "Blue Orchid" and "Flowers in Her Hair" are both opaque, creamy colors that have major staying power. For a more neutral tone, I also love "La Vie en Rose" which is very pale with a subtle shimmer. At last, before I head out the door, I reach for a splash of fragrance. After a year plus of thinking about it, I finally took the plunge and bought Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede. It's a beautiful fragrance but it is strong - which I think is an asset, as all I need is one spritz to last all day. Though it's a floral scent, it manages to be youthful and fresh.

I'm curious:what are the new additions and obsessions to your makeup bag? Any products out there that I must get my hands on, or beauty trends you're anxious to try?

March 17, 2014

{STYLE} When Life Hands You Lemons



Photos by Lydia Hudgens

I'm counting down the days to spring in such a major way. As tired as I am of talking about the weather, I cannot get over how tedious and long this winter has been. It's exhausting! I have to appreciate the mostly warm and sunshiny day we had on Saturday, though. It was the perfect day for a stroll with my pup to the farmer's market, followed by a more dressed up (and lemon adorned) afternoon of picking up blooms and catching up on some reading while curled up on my couch by an open window. On Saturday night, I headed into the city to catch a showing of Wes Anderson's newest film, Grand Budapest Hotel, with my friend Taylor. Visually, I can't help but love Anderson's movies - a pink, chandelier-laden hotel in the midst of a pastel city, (with a neighborhood pastry shop, Mendl's, that would send Briony and I into a total Instagram shame spiral, no doubt) -- but the story line sort of ended abruptly and, really, nothing will beat Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums.

I spent most of yesterday at my friend Heather's house for a potluck brunch, with some of my closest friends and a lot of sparkling wine and berries. I made a pretty great salad to accommodate my gluten free needs and a friend's vegan needs that received some high praise, so I may take a foray into recipe blogging this week (yes? no?). On my way home, the cold picked up again, and I started obsessively thinking about all the exciting things happening in the (very) near future: inspiring and fun projects on my calendar, a roadtrip from Louisiana to California with stops in Austin and Marfa, my birthday, my sister's law school graduation (Natalie, you're an overachiever!) and continuing the fun and romantic process of wedding planning. 


This time next week, I'll be in New Orleans with Ali and Frankie, and knowing that is certainly enough to keep the random slowflakes in the forecast from bugging me. 


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March 12, 2014

{STYLE} Daylight Savings



Yesterday was the first day in a long time that really, really felt like spring - especially considering I woke up to flurries and a weather widget tarnished by snowflakes on Monday morning. I know my friends throughout Europe have been all "boohoo, we didn't have a winter, no snow, wah wah wah," but those of us on the East Coast (or more brutally hit, the Midwest) of the U.S. who have spent the last few months wading through dirty slush and forcibly practical outfits (the ones that don't make it to the blog because I'm just not even trying to look cute when it's -5 degrees, nor am I trying to make you believe that I hobbled around the icy Lincoln Center plaza in an open-toe stiletto), are very very pleased by this turn for warmer weather. What is warmer, exactly? A balmy 55-degrees practically feels like summer, demanding bare legs and an equally sunny disposition. Real talk: this winter managed to transform me into a really bitter bitch, even in spite of all the mood-lifting precautions (Vitamin D! Exercise! Hydration!) that I had taken from the day I first buttoned up my overcoats. 

So, for my first day of spring I set out to do something I do regardless of the weather: fill my home with some fresh flowers, because I'm a Taurus and that's a thing that we do and also because why not? Flowers are pretty and smell good and add texture to any space. I did this in a party dress from the newly relaunched Eloquii because also, why not? Life is a ball and the sun is out and it stayed out until just past 7PM last night and I'm soooooo happy. 
Photos by Lydia Hudgens

Some things about Eloquii (the source of my awesome leather-and-tulle dress): Even though it was not previously a go-to destination for my personal fashion needs, I mourned the closing of the brand when The Limited decided to cease operations last spring. I thought that the brand offered great pieces for the modern working woman, and even more than that - I was sad (and kind of pissed) that The Limited made few efforts to promote or market the line before giving up. When I got word that they were coming back as an independent line - I was stoked. I knew this meant that whoever was now at the helm must have a passion to see the brand live up to its full potential. It's still early, but the spring line is promising, with a younger, edgier look and feel than the original Eloquii. It's much more my style, to say the least - and I already have a decent wishlist running, (this skirt, these pants, this jacket - swoon). I'm really, really excited to see what they have in store for summer and fall. The pieces I've tried (all woven - not jersey/stretchy) also run very true to size! If you're used to shopping at ASOS Curve, size up from what you take there.

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March 6, 2014

{INSIDE THE STUDIO} The World of Tatty Devine

Created in celebration of Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! by Tatty Devine

It's hard to remember exactly what the gateway to Tatty Devine's colorful, quirky jewelry line was, but I believe it was during the latter years of high school through LiveJournal, where most of my early fashion discoveries came from. I'm sure that I bought my first pieces from the since-sadly-defunct Fred Flare website, and every trip to London since has required a pilgrimage to one of their stores. By all accounts, I've turned into a bit of a collector, waiting on every new collection to see what pieces would make their way across the atlantic and into my now-overflowing wardrobe of fun, costume jewelry, (among my favorites, my Frida Kahlo brooch, and the tiny enamel Swallow earrings that have been part of my arsenal for nearly a decade).

Throughout my years of online fangirling, I've had an opportunity to develop a bit of a relationship with the PR and social media darlings at Tatty Devine HQ, and when they caught word that I'd be their neighbor during my London trip, they invited me over. How could I pass that up? I imagined a rainbow hued perspex wonder world where there was an ongoing stream of motown hits playing, and girls who could give Jess Day's wardrobe a run for its money - and I was not too far off. A walk through Shoreditch took me to their bi-level studio, where everything from brainstorming to candy eating to production takes place, and damn, does everyone who work there seem happy (and so, so sweet).