Monday, April 24, 2017

{ TRANSITIONAL SEASON DRINKING } THE SPRING BEER GUIDE

There are some days, some moments and some places when nothing but a beer will do. I've always enjoyed a good brewski, mostly on a "Can I just have something light but not so light that it tastes like water?" level. But just as my hard alcohol palette has grown up from vodka and cranberry juice to whiskey, bitters and sugar—my grasp of ales, sours, lagers and stouts has evolved a bit, too. That's mostly because I spend time with people who know a lot more about beer than I do. Chief among them is my friend Jerry, so naturally I felt it was my duty to exploit his expertise for your benefit.

Last year, I asked him to round up his favorite fall beers that you can find around NYC—he obliged and you guys loved it. So, I cajoled him into re-upping his recommendations for spring. Think of this list as your cheat sheet to being the savviest person at the bar all season. And on that note,’ll let Jerry take it from here...

Hey guys! It’s me Jerry and I’m back again to help you step up your beer game—and this time around we'll be focusing in on springtime or "warm weather" beers that are ideal for impressing people at festive outdoor gatherings. I apologize in advance for the absence of any bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts, but we’re aiming for lighter pursuits! By that I mean refreshing radlers, tart sours, or a well-balanced APA. Now, I will never turn down a glorious, juicy DIPA from Other Half but lighter beers just work better this time of year. (#summerbod, etc, etc.)

Since we last met, I’ve relocated to Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn which means my proximity to great beers is even more dangerous… And that happens to work out quite nicely for this article! The move has given me an opportunity to spend time in the superb outdoor beer garden of Threes Brewing, sampling their in-house beer as well as the other local offerings they keep on draft. Another one of my new favorites is LIC Beer Project, who offer a variety of styles—but their clean and crisp Saisons are really something to behold. Anyway… let's jump right into the list, explore what the city is pouring, and toast to the changing of the season together! Cheers!

//CLICK THROUGH FOR ALL OF JERRY'S BEER PICKS//

Thursday, March 30, 2017

{ ON MY RADAR } DECOR & FUN GIFTS FROM THREE POTATO FOUR


{ All images via the @3potato4 Instagram }

Even though I don't exactly have the time or money to redecorate my room, I spend a lot of time daydreaming about how I would do it—and "window" shopping for things online. I also like to think of myself as a good gift-giver (and guide-maker), and sites like Three Potato Four are part of the reason why.

HOW I FOUND THREE POTATO FOUR:
Over the holidays I spent most of my waking work hours putting together gift guides. Some for this blog, and many for my freelance clients. For inspiration, I spent many hours looking at the guides on other publications, and my favorites by far were from Goop. One of the site's guides included a key tag from Three Potato Four, so I followed the trail to see what else they might have. The next hour of my life was spent clicking, ogling, clicking again and generally becoming obsessed with their selection of contemporary gifts, home accessories and novelty pieces—all with a fun vintage vibe.

WHAT THEY DO:
It's hard to summarize exactly what TFP does, except to say that the company was founded by two people—Janet Morales and Stu Eli—who love to collect things, including vintage. They started the company in 2007 as a way to make funky collectors items feel new again. And they succeeded.

Based on how many "special projects" they've done, I sort of can't believe I'd never heard of Three Potato Four before. TPF has collaborated with Urban Outfitters numerous times, as well as Madewell, Nordstrom, L.L. Bean and West Elm, among others.

WHY THEY'RE GREAT:
It's just so fun to surf around their store, okay? That's basically it. The pennants, letter boards, prints and key tags are cheerful, happy nice to look at. You can hop onto the site and find a cute little gift for a friend or coworker or pick up a funky piece of decor for your apartment. Nothing is really outlandishly expensive and they even do cool custom projects for teams, companies, hotels and events. (How neat would it be to have custom key tags as the parting gift from your wedding?)

WHAT I WANT:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

{ ON MY RADAR } HOME ACCESSORIES FROM UMBRA


Could your tiny New York apartment use a little spring "sprucing?" Mine could. Have you been telling yourself that you're going to get a houseplant and raise it up like your own? Me, too. Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite design crush that will invite said sprucing and plant care-taking and make you feel like you're getting West Elm finds at Ikea prices.

HOW I FOUND UMBRA:
It all started when I was having a down day. I decided buying some house plants from Home Depot would cheer me up, and I was right. I felt so thrilled at my newfound sense of responsibility and adult decor choices that I knew what I had to do next: Get my plants fancier places to grow. During a mid-afternoon work break, I spotted these Umbra hanging planters at Urban Outfitters. From there, I began scooting all over the internet looking for more from this intriguing brand.

WHAT THEY DO:
Umbra is a Toronto-based design brand that mixes chic design with utilitarian purpose in their line of home accessories. Picture frames, mirrors, planters and tons of shelving—these are the kinds of decor accents that would appeal to  just about anyone and fit in nicely with most people's interior aesthetics.

WHY THEY'RE GREAT:
I've never been particularly "girly" when it comes to my taste in interior design, and with obvious budget restrictions, it's important to me that what I buy is a strong mix of form and function. Umbra meets those needs—their shelves, frames, planters and other accents are useful, unisex and design-centric. I love this "Cubist" floating shelf, for example, that could serve a million purposes from a "nightstand" in a small space to a planter and book nook, or a place for your kitchen tools and iPad when you're cooking. And, as with most brands that pique my interest, it's affordable!

WHAT I WANT:
  • I'm sorry, are you honestly telling me you don't want a bath caddy ($39) with a spot to hold your elegant stemmed wine glass, your expensive French bar soap and your thrilling new YA novel? Please.
  • As I mentioned above, these hanging planters ($25 for a set of two) are so cool, and a great price, too.
  • This circular mirror ($160) would look good in literally anyone's home, and if I'm being biased, especially mine.
  • I have a lot of random books that aren't really doing anything cool in my room, and these floating shelves ($29 for a set of three) could give them some real style and purpose.

You can shop all of Umbra's products on their website, as well as smaller selections over on Amazon, Urban Outfitters and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

HOW TO HAVE YOUR OWN 'HOLIDAY IN THE SUN' AT ATLANTIS


{ The drive to Atlantis from the airport is scenic as hell. }

Back in November my cousin (who lives in Boston) asked me if I'd be interested in going to The Bahamas with her in February. Through some fancy rewards program she had been offered a free four-night stay at the storied location of Dualstar Productions' most important film, Holiday in the Sun.

Now, I don't know about you, but anytime someone offers me the opportunity to do something The Olsen Twins have done, I say yes and then spend at least five minutes wishing I had a twin. But in this scenario, a blonde cousin fit the bill just fine. I was ready for a family vacation with a side of youthful independence and a high probability of fleeting romance.

Months went by, and I bided my time by watching Holiday in the Sun YouTube clips like this, this and this to prepare myself. Spoiler alert: I did not see Megan Fox nor did I get caught up in an antique smuggling racket, but I did work diligently on this playlist and then listen to it non-stop over our four-day getaway.

// CLICK THROUGH FOR ALL MY BAHAMAS HIGHLIGHTS //

Thursday, March 16, 2017

{ ON MY RADAR } JEWELRY FROM STONE & STRAND


I have a problem when it comes to jewelry, I know that. I also know that I'm not alone in my near-constant desire to put more holes in my ears and adorn those holes with tiny diamonds, flecks of gold and tiny irreverent designs. See also: delicate chain necklaces, anklets (yes!) and precious rings. If you like all those things and contributing to your 401K, keep reading.

HOW I FOUND STONE & STRAND:
I found this retailer on Instagram! (How millennial of me, right?) When I followed @Catbirdnyc the other week, I was prompted to follow some similar accounts, one of which was @Stoneandstrand. Naturally I popped over to their website... And then instantly felt a connection—as well as the urge to get out my wallet.

WHAT THEY DO:
Jewelry! Founded by a Wharton MBA student and a former fashion editor, the site is a treasure trove of both in-house and independent brands / designers. Their pieces are right on the money for anyone who has a sweet spot for dainty earrings, stacking rings and all the tiny diamonds

WHY THEY'RE GREAT:
The first thing that drew me into Stone & Strand was the price points. While you can find a ton of pretty, delicate jewelry between $15 and $150 from mainstream retailers (Nordstrom, Shopbop, Baublebar), most of it is either plated in sterling silver/gold or made from solid surgical steel. Faux jewelry like that turns my fingers black and makes my ears burn with irritation. 

Stone & Strand is focused on showcasing high-quality, trend-forward pieces and promoting up-and-coming designers who make good stuff. I have yet to find a piece on the site that isn't made with solid metals and real stones (14k gold, sterling silver, genuine diamonds).

As you might expect, that means some of it is affordable—like the earrings under $200 category—and some of the jewelry from designers like WwakeManiaMania, and Jennie Kwon, for example, are more in the "ask for it as a gift" range.

WHAT I WANT:

This post is the start of a new, ongoing series here on the blog called On My Radar, where I'll be showcasing new-to-me brands and shops that I think you should know about! Check back every week for a new feature.

Friday, February 24, 2017

{ PLAYLIST } BAHAMARAMA...


Let's do a little imagination exercise. Pretend for a moment that you're not at your desk right now. You're barefoot, barely dressed and reclined on chaise with your body angled towards the warm sun. Beads of salt water are slowly evaporating off your skin. There's a rum drink sweating slightly in a festive glass on the table next to you, its little paper umbrella casting a small shadow over the best-selling paperback you bought at the airport. With the plush, dry terrycloth towel under your body and sunscreen reapplied, you reach for your earbuds and put them in. You press play, lie back and lower your sunglasses over your eyes. What do you hear?

That's the mindset I tried to put myself in as I created this playlist—most obviously because I am at this very moment on my way to the Bahamas with said best-selling paperback and plans to procure that rum drink as soon as possible—but also because we could all use a little auditory sunshine this time of year, right?

Oscillating between modern disco pop (The Knocks) and old school Pacific Ocean vibes (The Beach Boys), I wanted my Bahamas weekend soundtrack to feel like as much of an escape as the destination itself. I've got the requisite Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley jams too, mixed up with some Drake, St. Lucia and Miguel. And because this is the site of the iconic Mary-Kate and Ashley film Holiday in the Sun, "Island in the Sun" is obviously in there, too.

// Take a listen below, it'll basically be like you're on vacation with me, I promise //


Image credit: Newsweek

Thursday, February 23, 2017

{ PACKING ESSENTIALS } LONG WEEKEND IN THE BAHAMAS...

{ Three Graces dressAmerican Eagle bandana / Quay Australia sunglasses / Brixton hat / BaubleBar earrings / Vans slip-ons / Turkish fouta / J. Crew one-piece swimsuit / Madewell sleep top and shorts / Aritzia blouse / J. Crew shorts / S'well bottle / Havaiana sandal / Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser }

You'll have to follow my Instagram to keep up with my adventures, but tomorrow I'll be en route to spend a long weekend in the Bahamas with my cousin. I can't wait to escape the dreary February vibes in New York and spend a few sun-soaked days with my toes in the sand and a straw hat on my head.

Since the trip is so short I'm not packing much—just a few swimsuits, sandals, an outfit for a golf lesson (I know), and a handful of breezy dresses for day and night. Blame it on the absolute takeover of "millennial pink," but I'm channeling a mostly white wardrobe with splashes of pastels and blush tones—a far cry from my usual all-black-and-navy routine.

I've had my eye on these festive Baublebar drop earrings for a while, and this little getaway was the push I needed to #addtocart. I'm also not particularly fond of white sunglasses in an everyday setting, but happen to think these Quay shades will work perfectly for the beach (and look amazing in selfies, natch). I've also had a revived interest in my girl Marie Antoinette lately, so I'm going to pick up this 2002 biography that was the basis for Sofia Coppola's movie (that I love with a passion).

Now the thing is—my dreams of this serene pastel vacation palette hinge entirely both on my ability to shop for a few things prior to my trip (easy enough) as well as being able to find where I've hidden all my summer clothes in the depths of my under-bed and over-closet storage. Stay tuned on that front, but meanwhile, shop a few of my packing essentials for yourself!

// SHOP MY BAHAMAS PACKING ESSENTIALS BELOW //