Friday, October 24, 2014

{GETAWAY GIRL} #SOLOATSANDALS, EXPLAINED...


When I arrived back from Jamaica late one Sunday evening not long ago, I was greeted by my roommates with the usual, "How was it?" array of questions—and something more. As I unpacked my trusty Panama Jack straw hat and new favorite muscle tee from Paige, they began to tell me about all the strange questions they'd gotten about why I was at Sandals, a couples resort, by myself. "People think you had a mid-life crisis," Tully said.

That comment made me laugh out loud, or LOL, if you will. I certainly didn't have a mid-life crisis, but I did have a little too much fun coming up with a hashtag for my work-related press trip that I found hilarious. I also took advantage of posting as many pictures of me doing romantic things by myself on Instagram as I could. I was #soloatsandals, and it was pretty awesome.

CLICK THROUGH FOR TROPICAL PHOTOS AND  ROMANTIC MOMENTS...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

MID-WEEK MUSIC MOMENT: THE BARR BROTHERS


I bring to you with reverent hand / All the books and the lullabies
The kind woman that my passion wore / Like the shoreline wears the tides }


I first listened to The Barr Brothers when Moira introduced me to their really terrific song, "Beggar in the Morning." Well, they're out with a new album this week, and it's just the kind of thing we want for fall. Alternative indie music with nice melodies and great guitar strumming characterize their sound, with a pleasing dose of folk and storytelling mixed in. I'm particularly drawn to "Even The Darkness Has Arms," below. Pour yourself a mug of cider this Saturday and put the whole album on while you do a crossword. Or, you know, play it right now while you look at spreadsheets and send emails because it's Wednesday and these sounds will sooth you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

{STYLING NOTES} PLEASE DRESS FOR APPLE PICKING LIKE A REAL PERSON


As anyone will tell you, I'm not shy about extolling my love for the month of October. Selfishly, it's my birthday month (29 is comin' in hot...), but it's also undeniably the most beautiful time to be in New York. It's a great time to walk the streets, eat outside and spend time in Central Park. It's also a great time to escape the island and head upstate to look at trees and frolic around an orchard.

Oh yes, it's apple picking season. Fall's most Instagramed activity hits its stride this month, which I think causes a lot of upstate-bound gals to go into a tizzy over what to wear. On one hand, I get it. We wear pretty much the same thing over and over again in the city, and the countryside sort of begs for you to get into character a little. On the other, I think you have to be really real with yourself about this 7-hour experience. If you're going to shop, be smart! If you're going to shop your closet, don't over-think it.

Thus, my best advice for dressing for apple picking like a real person. But, a real person who likes to look good and get a little festive when the occasion calls for it. I'm heading upstate for some apple-picking myself this weekend (it's what Meghan calls a #falliday), so I'm already starting to mentally browse my wardrobe for appropriate attire. (Oh, and if you're wondering, yes, I was rather inspired by this pretty silly and expensive slideshow from ELLE.)

Apple Picking Like A Realist

1. Be smart about your layers. The temperatures in October are unpredictable. It could actually be like 70 degrees out there, so don't force the wool sweaters, fur vests and blanket scarves. Play it by ear. No one will doubt your appreciation for fall if you just throw on a plaid shirt with your jeans and boots and call it good. That said, if it is going to be chilly, bring something you can also tie around your waist for a little trendy-meets-practical moment. If you're desperate to treat yourself (trust me, I've been there) and worried it might actually be freezing, why not pop over to Uniqlo for a slouchy men's lambswool sweater? Inexpensive and still amazing, and will look perfectly cool with skinny jeans and a great hat.

2. The Bean Boots thing is real. Even if it hasn't rained in a week or two, you can bet it will be mucky out there. Spare your nice leather boots the drama and wear something more practical. You know I worship at the alter of the 8" L.L. Bean Boot, but your Hunters will do, too. 

3. Work with what you've got. Personally, I've got a great pair of black denim overalls from Paige that haven't gotten enough wear, so I might want to take them for a spin. (Too #farmerchic?) Would I buy some just for an apple picking #ootd? Please. If you're really lacking in a perfect plaid shirt for fall, then this is actually a good excuse to get one. Yes, it's festive, but it's also something you can wear until March. I like this black-and-white buffalo check shirt from J. Crew because it's thematic and warm, but also not so cutesy-woodsy that you couldn't tuck it into a pencil skirt or leather pants and wear it to work on Monday. 

4. Hats are the best. You can pull together a festive fall outfit with what's in your closet now, but I will always advocate for a felt or wool wide-brim hat if you don't have one. They are hands-down my favorite fall accessory. I still wear the one I bought three years ago from Madewell (long gone, but find a similar one here), and my girl Megan Collins (of Style Girlfriend) raves about the quality and fit of her Rag & Bone topper.  (See also: an inexpensive option from Forever 21.)

5. Pack the good stuff. Note: This has nothing to do with fashion, but it's important. No matter where you go, whether it's a tour of multiple spots or a one-destination apple-gathering extravaganza, there will be cider, but there will not be booze. There may be wine, but there will not be whiskey. Personally, I could give a hoot about bringing home a load of apples I'll never bake into a pie. However, I do like to wander around orchards, observing the foliage and ride in the back of a tractor-trailer with a little buzz on. Bring a bottle for the bus/train, and fill your flask for the walk. Find the nearest cider stand (there's always a cider stand) and have yourself a delightful little nip. Cheers!

Image credit: My post from a trip to Vermont in 2012

Monday, October 6, 2014

{GETAWAY GIRL} HOW TO HAVE THE BEST TIME EVER AT NIAGARA FALLS


I had an idea of what Niagara Falls would be like in my head. I was both wrong and right. It is international and it is middle America. It is excessively and proudly Canadian. It is a circus, and it is a time capsule of tourism that has remained largely unchanged for about a century. It is the closest I have ever felt to Mother Nature and maybe God, too. It is silly. It is expensive. And it is breathtaking

I had such a fabulous time that I couldn't resist sharing my recommendations for enjoying one of our great nation's (and Canada's!) busiest attractions. I want you to feel what I feel. And, I don't want to toot my own horn too loudly, but our merry band of girlfriends couldn't have executed this weekend more perfectly if we tried. All I can say is, get thee to Niagara, and do it soon. (Most attractions close for the season October 31.)

CLICK THROUGH FOR PHOTOS, ACTIVITIES, AND MORE PHOTOS...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

{GETAWAY GIRL} 10 ESSENTIALS FOR 48 HOURS AT NIAGARA FALLS...

Niagara Weekend

This weekend I will be fulfilling a dream I've had since moving to New York: I'm going to Niagara Falls. On Friday afternoon, Tully, Amanda, Lexi and I will be making the long drive upstate, through Poughkeepsie, past the Finger Lakes and across the Canadian border to Ontario. I'm actually really looking forward to the drive because while Manhattan is still winding down from summer, the northern reaches of the state will already be crisping and starting to put on their autumnal best.

We're staying in a suite with a fireplace and a view of the Horseshoe Falls (gotta love Jetsetter), and will be cruising north in style thanks to Drive The District. With a trunk full of snacks and plenty of Spotify playlists cued up, the seven hour drive should fly by, right? 

My goal at Niagara is to mix the classic tourist activities with a few more laid-back ideas—such as a winery visit in the picturesque town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. With a guarantee of getting completely soaked on the Maid of the Mist as well as at the Cave of the Winds and temperatures in the mid-70s, I'm planning an ultra-casual, not-even-a-little-bit-special packing list. Sneakers, denim, t-shirts and a couple warmer layers should do it. Oh, and a baseball hat for post-drenching hair. (I have a feeling we won't be looking quite as glamorous as Marilyn Monroe during the filming of Niagara (above) in 1953, try as we might.  

I've done a fair amount of online research, but if any of you have been to Niagara and have some suggestions for activities, hikes, drives, eats, etc—please leave a comment below!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MID-WEEK MUSIC MOMENT: MADE IN HEIGHTS


This is a song I just heard this week, via one of my favorite music blogs, Pigeons & Planes. I follow their feed on Facebook (nerd alert!), which keeps me up to date on a lot of indie and electro new releases. Anyway, this is a song from Made in Heights, who's "Murakami" I discovered during BCBGMAXAZRIA's show at NYFW back in February. I'm sort of thrilled to have something new from them, and this song, "Ghosts," does not disappoint. Take a listen below and let me know what you think!

The beat is addictive, and the song builds so well. It feels like 90's R&B mixed with current dance and a pleasing pop hook. I'll take it. The singer's breathy voice gives the whole thing a sort of other-worldly vibe, which makes the song title pretty apt. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

{STYLING NOTES} THE BLACK BAG EDIT...


{ Coco Chanel }

Every year around this time, I get the handbag itch. September is hard enough, what with fashion week and all the new fall merchandise tempting me at every turn—but handbags tend to make me especially weak right about now. Autumn always feels like the right time to make that investment purchase, whatever "investment" means to me at the time. As I'm deep in my black/white/navy only phase right now, I've got black handbags on the brain.

The Cut put together a glorious round-up of black bags under $400 recently, which must have spurred my inspiration for this post. I chose to dream both small and big, so do what you will with that—my picks include everything from River Island to Givenchy. The truth is, there are so many black bags on the market (for obvious reasons) that weeding through what's worthwhile and what is not is rather exhausting. I did my best to think like a reasonable person with excellent taste.

Bear in mind that the selection here is only my vision of shopping on a budget or for the trophy case, etc. You've got to examine your finances for yourself to determine what's feasible. Then again, what fun is it to be reasonable when you're talking about bags?

Browse the rotator below (scroll right for more bags and higher prices) or all of my nifty descriptions and selling points, farther below.

Budget (Under $100)
  • This faux leather bag from Steve Madden has the look of a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, without the daunting price tag. At $88, you know what you're signing up for here—this is a faux leather bag that will look rad this season, but may not last you many years.
  • This moc croc top-handle bag from River Island gives you a lot of look for $80, in the most versatile size and shape. It resembles a lot of the covetable designer bags you'll find right now, but it's not close enough to any of them to look too much like a knock-off. 
  • While not technically a handbag, I think this simple, unfussy Baggu weekend bag for $72 is such a steal. It's incredibly roomy, made from durable heavy canvas and just the thing for road trips, train rides and weekend getaways alike. (It also comes in nautical stripes if you're feeling jaunty.)
Semi-Budget (Under $300)
  • I have a hard time resisting anything Madewell does in the fall, but I'm especially smitten with this black genuine leather bucket bag ($198). The dual straps mean you can sling it over your shoulder or carry it in hand—as you do. The simple design ensures you'll want to carry it even after the buck bag craze has ended. (See also: the Transport tote.)
  • Depending on your eye with handbags, you may dig this 90s-inspired Sam Edleman bag ($108) or not. If you're looking for something that feels a bit more edgy, you might like Rebecca Minkoff's 'Julian' bag ($298).
  • I have a little Coach crossbody that is similar to this Tory Burch foldover ($225), and I can't tell you how much use I get out of it. It's small, versatile and works as well for bar nights as it does for Sunday brunch.
  • If you simply need a big, unfussy bag that you can carry to the office without embarrassment, the Kate Spade 'Cedar Street' tote is a great option. I like this because it's a brand with sophisticated street cred, but not so much branding that you're a walking advertisement.
Minor Investment (Under $600)
  • I have always loved Loeffler Randall's 'Rider' bag, and this black-on-black "murdered out" version is so sleek. 
  • Time's Arrow is one of my favorite up-and-coming accessory brands, and this little crossbody with gold hardware ($550) is so cool and special—definitely a purchase you'll treasure.
  • Mansur Gavriel bags are selling out everywhere these days, which is both unsurprising (they're very good-looking) and a little baffling (they're so simple). If you can swing it, the mini bucket bag is total envy bait, and slightly more affordable than the larger version, at $460.
Major Investment (Under $1000)
  • In this price range, you should be thinking about your label choice as much as quality. When you invest, you want your choice of designer to reflect not just your salary, but your taste and your style identity. For the downtown cool girls, the Rag & Bone 'Bradbury' tote is a nice sweet spot. The brand has major street cred, and the design is timeless with an edge.
  • Sophie Hulme is one of the hottest handbag lines at the moment, and her distinctive hardware ensures everyone will know exactly what bag you're carrying. Aside from that, this tote is as functional as it is luxe. Yes, please.
  • When it comes to fancy, tiny and expensive, if it isn't jewelry, it might as well be Gucci. The retro-inspired 'Disco' bag is a patent leather treat, and one you'll pass down to your daughter and granddaughter for sure. 
For the Trophy Case ("Whatever, I'm flush with cash!")
  • If you're going to really do it, do it right. The Givenchy 'Antigona' bag is the satchel that so many other satchels aspire to be. It is a thing of beauty, and a serious purchase at just shy of $2500.
  • Ah, Saint Laurent. Just because the brand lost the 'Yves,' doesn't mean his ladylike, timeless sensibilities aren't still with us. The Sac De Jour ($3290) is a sumptuous, perfect bag to treasure.
  • And for the truly bossy ladies out there, Nancy Gonzalez. These bags are hand-crafted in Colombia from exotic skins, and this crocodile clutch ($2200) is both totally chic and a little bit frightening.