Thursday, March 23, 2017

{ ON MY RADAR } HOME ACCESSORIES FROM UMBRA


Could your tiny New York apartment use a little spring "sprucing?" I have. 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 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 //

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

17 BITS OF TOTALLY ARBITRARY DATING ADVICE FOR 2017


{ A favorite from the best Tumblr: Fly Art Productions }

It's that time of year again! In 2015, it was the Dating Manifesto. In 2016, I hit you with the Drake Guide to Dating. This year, the Year of Our Lord 2017—I feel obligated once again to take stock of my current attitude towards love, relationships and when it applies, the lack thereof. 

2016 was an interesting year for me romantically, but I honestly think I spent more time writing about dating than I spent actually dating. (Scoot over to Style Girlfriend to check out 5 Ways to Boost Your Confidence Before a Date, 10 Ways to Impress A Woman and 3 Style & Grooming Hacks to Try on Your Next First Date for proof.)

So here we are, it's Valentine's Day! (Dun dun dun!) The internet is practically bursting at the seams with relationship and dating advice this month, so figured I'd better to do my part to contribute to the noise. (Need gift ideas for your main man? Or the guy you just started dating? How about just for you?)

At this point, I'm quite good at coming up with advice that I have a hard time following myself, but it's never something that just comes to me out of the vacuum of space inside my mind. My friends, our conversations, and the romantic experiences we've all had are what help me articulate the tips and tidbits you read here.

Which brings me to my point: Is there anything new to say about dating in 2017? Has anything really changed in the last couple of years? I can't say for sure. I have a hard time distinguishing between actual changes in the broad sense and my shifting attitudes that are tied to my personal experience and of course, my age.

Nevertheless, I persisted. I grilled my friends and mined my own heart for ideas and advice that feel (at least somewhat) fresh right now. From mentality shifts to shifting locations, I hope you find these little nuggets (as arbitrary as they probably are) to be somewhat helpful.

// CLICK THROUGH FOR MY BEST DATING ADVICE FOR 2017 //

Friday, February 3, 2017

{ GIFT GUIDE } VALENTINE'S DAY GIFTS FOR EVERYONE—ESPECIALLY YOU


Oh god, Valentine's Day. Sorry, but that's honestly the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this holiday. A couple of years ago I wrote sort of an impulsive, almost rant-like post about how being single on Valentine's Day is very "chill." I don't know if I was trying to prove something to myself or what, but looking back, that post doesn't feel entirely honest.

I think my true feelings like somewhere between "Thank God it's on a Tuesday this year" and "If I'm being honest about myself, I really like wearing red and pink anyway!" And so, after that long and winding introduction—a little gift guide for ya!

A lot of the festively hued selections above are handily gender neutral—like a wine-colored pair of Vans sneakers and a delicious bottle of wine. (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is my favorite affordable red!) See also: burgundy cashmere socks and an adventure-worthy backpack from Herschel Supply Co. (that's majorly on sale).

Same goes for fun, playful gifts like the gigantic Where to Eat Pizza book or a big box of my favorite (repeat, favorite) chocolate treat, Sees suckers. Perhaps you're looking for an excuse to treat yourself, and if so might I suggest Everlane's preppy new penny loafers in rich oxblood leather, or burying yourself in a good book, like Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, which I'm picking up next.

Whether your Valentine's Day includes a hot date with your main squeeze or a cozy, lazy, it's-just-Tuesday night with your roommates remember that at the end of the day, this lame-o holiday is about love. And if you love cute pajamas, tassel earrings, fancy water bottles (bkr, anyone?) or novelty socks that only cost $4—you're going to want to scroll through all my fun and festive Valentine-y picks below.

// SHOP SOME FUN VALENTINE'S DAY FINDS BELOW //