Tuesday, June 12, 2018

JUST SOME AUTHENTIC (AND AFFORDABLE) FATHER'S DAY GIFT IDEAS


So I was talking about Father's Day over the weekend with Megan while we were recording a podcast. (Did you know we do a podcast? Well, we do and you can rate / review / subscribe right here!)

Anyway, we were talking about gift ideas, and how it's kind of a bogus "holiday" and spending more than $100 on a gift is just not necessary. That said, we both agreed that it's nice to get Dad a little something. 

Megan is a big believer in giving the gift of upgraded grooming, because it's something that won't go to waste. Nice shampoo and conditioner? A delicious-smelling soap? Just put those bad boys in the shower as soon as he unwraps them and they will be enjoyed, guaranteed. My vote is for a big, beautiful bar soap from a new brand on my radar, Commodity. My favorite scent (the one in my shower right now, actually) is called Orris, but I've heard good things about Tonka, too.

Speaking of things that smell good, I'd also like to tip my cap in the direction of this Armani cologne. I mentioned it in my own beauty post the other day because I've been wearing it, but I promise you it is a low-key, lovely, unisex scent. If you're looking for a Father's Day gift for the father of your child, this is a great pick because it's kind of sexy, and you get to reap the benefits of its use!

A few other ideas I like for younger dads include cool, stylish stuff for him to wear that he'll, you know, actually wear—especially this summer. First up is what might be my favorite men's shirt to ever exist, the Bonobos Riviera short-sleeve button up. It comes in tons of really fun prints, as well as three fits and three lengths—which is pretty amazing for an $88 shirt. I also, surprise to no one, feel like a pair of Allbirds would make a great Father's Day gift. They're $95 and they work on everyone. The new tree runners are fun and again, perfect for summer!

Now, most of the other gifts on my guide here are almost self-explanatory, so I'll go ahead and briefly explain them anyway:

A stylish $60 dart board, because darts is a really fun game, and one that you and dad can play together. (I stan so hard for all games-as-gifts, just as a reminder!)

A bottle of Bushwick Kitchen Bee's Knees Spicy Honey, because it makes almost everything taste way better, from salads to cheese boards, pizza, toast, crostinis with ricotta and prosciutto... I could go on.

Bodum's 51 oz Iced Coffee Maker will be a game-changer for Dad's morning routine if he, like any normal human, loves cold brew. Prep the night before, leave it in the fridge to do magical things, and in the morning, voila, you're flying to the moon. (In your mind. It's strong.)

Okay so, technically the Yeti Roadie cooler is closer to $200, but it's an investment for the whole family! These things are basically indestructible and does all your favorite things—road trips, picnics, backyard events, fishing trips, pool parties... You get the idea.

Speaking of the great outdoors, if Dad loves any of the above activities, or you know, camping, he'll get a kick out of Burton's camping table. It's lightweight and packs down super-small, plus it's got two cup holders so you can crack open a cold one with your father and play some cards or something, because it's the quality time that he really wants!

My dad likes sipping Casamigos tequila. If yours does too, follow my lead and get him a bottle of the brand's new Mezcal! It tastes like the sophisticated love child of scotch and tequila, which is kind of fitting for the holiday, no?

And finally, a slightly unexpected gift idea I am very, very here for: a plant.

When the really nice folks over at Bloomscape sent me a pitch email about giving the gift of in-home horticulture for Father's Day, I was intrigued. I've only recently become obsessed with filling my tiny East Village apartment with plants-as-decor, and the last time someone gave me an orchid as a gift, it felt like more of a responsibility than a treat.

I asked Bloomscape's founder, Justin Mast, who comes from five generations of greenhouse growers and florist industry innovators, to sell me a bit on the benefits of plants-as-gifts. And I gotta say, he pretty much nailed it:

"People tend not to look beyond the necktie for a Father’s Day gift. A plant is unique, healthy for the whole home and something a family can bond with that doesn’t need to be taken for walks or can’t be left home alone. Bloomscape’s living room ready plants make the process easier, because dad’s plant shows up at the doorstep ready to go. Bloomscape takes care of the hardest part - growing the plant. Unlike a necktie, a plant is something the whole family can enjoy."

Why should you believe Justin? Because horticulture is in his blood. Also, he genuinely just loves plants and cares about helping other people love plants, too.

"Bloomscape wouldn’t exist without the knowledge my parents gave, and continue to give, me about how to be successful in this industry. The gift of a plant affords that same opportunity for a father and his children to bond over the responsibility of caring for a living thing and watching it grow."

Aren't you so sold? I am. I love the idea that growing and caring for a plant can be this sort of nice, low-key way for some parent-child bonding. Plus, when you shop on Bloomscape, they give you all the information you could need, including how hard it is to take care of and whether you can have it around pets!

There you have it! Father's Day is just a nice reminder to make sure your dad (or the father of your children, or your grandpa, or your brother who's a dad now) feel appreciated. So get him a little something. Or at least call him on the phone.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

OH NO, MY SKINCARE & BEAUTY ROUTINE HAS BECOME... EXPENSIVE

The first thing I have to say as I start this post is that I am a lucky woman. I have a bunch of friends who work in the skincare and beauty world. One of my freelance clients is Bobbie Thomas—a woman who has access to the newest, latest and greatest of everything in those industries, too. And as a blogger, I get brand swag from PR gifting from time to time. This is a rarified space to exist in, and it has given me access to products I never would have dreamed of spending money on, say, five years ago.

As a culture, we are pretty obsessed with beauty and skincare right now, and thanks to these personal and professional connections, I have taken a big, drunken gulp of the Kool-Aid. I am on a mission to have "perfect skin" just like Allure and Into The Gloss tell me I should be. It's a bullshit idea and I know that, but being someone with problematic skin, I don't see my desire to improve it's overall condition as a bad thing, as long as my efforts are safe, reasonable and not likely to bankrupt me.

I've had the good fortune to be able to try out tons of high-end beauty and makeup products in recent months, and some of them really have improved the look and feel of my skin (and how my makeup looks on it). So I thought I'd take some time to share the winners with you guys. The ones I've actually loved. The ones that, once they run out, I will be purchasing with an allocation of my own disposable income. The ones that I would tell you it's okay to spend your disposable income on if you want. Because listen, some products are pricey for a good reason—they're made from sustainable ingredients, they're all-natural, or they're just really, really effective—and some are expensive because they've got a huge brand name that says they can be. 

Ahead are the beauty, skin and hair products I've been using lately that are somewhat expensive but in my opinion, truly worth the spend.

Monday, June 4, 2018

THE VC POLO CLASSIC IS THE OFFICIAL START OF SUMMER


If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I truly love having friends in high places. For the second year in a row, my girl Megan received an invite to attend the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic as a VIP guest—with a plus one. Like a new boyfriend eager to impress his girlfriend's friends at a wedding, I do my best to make her look good and be a welcome addition to the party. We dress up, we show up, and we drink a lot of really good champagne.

This year it was... Hot. And not just because of the dudes below holding very large bottles of Veuve. It was 80 degrees before we'd even boarded the ferry, and the sun was out all day. As per tradition, and despite the soaring temps, we had long, wonderful, bubbly rosé-fueled day. We posted a lot on social media (natch, and also #sorrynotsorry) and got to catch up with our other fabulous celebrity-adjacent friends. (As in, we were all hiding from the blazing sun under the same gigantic tent as beautiful people like Sienna Miller and Penelope Cruz.)

This event always feels like the official kick off of summer in the city because it's just so damn fun. People get dressed up, they get a little tipsy, they eat tuna tar tar out of tiny ice cream cones and mango sorbet out of tiny lipstick cases. They also may or may not try to become friends with Gale King and B-level cast members of This Is Us while everyone else is stomping the divots... (What? That definitely "wasn't Megan.")

Anyway, we had a lovely time, I will admit that I was pretty hungover at about 11 p.m., once I'd already been home for five hours. I hope I get to keep my status as a professional +1 next year! And in the meantime, here are a few more photos from the day that are honestly for my own enjoyment as much as yours... 



This look combo is called "Destiny's Childing" and it's a term that Megan introduced to me. It's when you're excellently coordinated but not quite matching. We actually both ended up having wardrobe panic attacks the night before the event (we had a sleepover) and the resulting outfits we landed on also happened to be excellently coordinated in shades of red, white and blue. Go America, go us.



I'm wearing an outfit almost entirely shopped from my own closet. The dress is Zara from last year, the shoes are Aldo, also from last year. My sunglasses are those extra-large Wayfarers from Ray-Ban, the earrings were a loan from Mignonne Gavigan and the bag was a gift from a very cool accessory brand, GG Maull

Photos taken by: Me, Megan and one of those dudes holding those giant bottles.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

WAIT SO... THE MET GALA RED CARPET WAS SO MUCH FUN, FINALLY!



{ Zendaya in custom Versace }

On my Instagram stories last night, I captioned Zendaya's look, "Joan of Chic!" And truly—just look at her! She took the theme of the newest costume exhibit at The Met (Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination) and the dress code ("Sunday best") to a very cool and just barely flirting with costume-y place. Her head-to-toe aesthetic is glamorous, interesting, thematic, and just plain striking! And so, she gets my vote for best dressed.

While Kim Kardashian also wore custom Versace chainmail (and looked so bodied it was almost ridiculous), Zendaya actually managed to have a little fun with the theme of the night. (Joan of Arc is a heroine of France and a Catholic saint, if you need a refresher.) 

And here's the thing—Zendaya wasn't the only one! This was a really, really exciting and whimsical red carpet overall. I haven't felt inspired to write anything about the Met Gala since 2014, and it was only just okay that year. Well, it's 2018 now and I am back on it with many thoughts and feelings.

Why? Because in a year that has felt like a never-ending onslaught of bad news, tragedy and political scandal, it was nice to shelf all of that for a few hours and ogle some truly outrageous fashion. How refreshing that we got a little dose of the good kind of crazy, right? Rihanna came dressed as a literal pope, and Lily Collins could best be described as a sexy, gothic nun—but like, in a chic way. 

// Indulge me, if you will (by clicking through below), while I wax poetic about some of my favorite looks of the night... //

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

MID-WEEK MUSIC MOMENT: LEON BRIDGES DOES HIS BEST VAN MORRISON

Gotta send up a tremendous shout out to my girl Amanda, who sent me this song sort of late on Monday night. I had been having a day, and as soon as the jingle-jangles kicked in and I heard the sweet voice of our boy Leon Bridges, I instantly felt better. You guys, this song is romantic as hell. Like, almost overwhelmingly so. 

The first thing I noticed about "Beyond" is that it borrows heavily from one of my absolute, all-time favorite songs. Listen to it all the way through, and then put on Van Morrison's classic, "Into The Mystic." You'll notice the similarities right from the start, to such a degree that I really wonder if Leon paid to sample our man Van.

Either way, "Beyond" stands on it's own because of Leon Bridges' distinct vocals, and the much more layered, produced sound that modern music has. My favorite part? The ringing that sounds like it might be sleigh bells, but could just be really good tambourine playing. If you're in a vulnerable place emotionally, I'll warn you now that the lyrics will make you feel things.

Anyway, between this, that Lord Huron song I chirped about in my last MWMM and yes, almost all of Kacey Musgraves' new album, it's safe to say that I'm in a pretty sonically romantic mood this spring. Whether or not that translates to my real life honestly changes by the day and the week, but whatever. In the meantime, let's all just feel blessed by this tune until the full EP, Good Thing, comes out on Friday!

// LISTEN TO "BEYOND" BELOW //


Oh me oh my I can't explain / She might just be my everything

Friday, April 6, 2018

WEEKEND LISTENING: KACEY MUSGRAVES AND HER 'GOLDEN HOUR'


And you can have your space... Cowboy

Not since Carly Rae Jepson dropped E.Mo.Tion have I felt this many types of ways about an entire album from beginning to end. Since it came out one week ago, I have listened to Kacey Musgraves' third album, Golden Hour, at least a dozen times. This album is getting great reviews around the interwebs, and perhaps most especially from all the people I follow on Twitter, which gives me comfort because, well, I am not a "country fan" and most of my "people" aren't really either.

Before I heard "Space Cowboy," Kacey Musgraves was in my head as a modern female country singer that I had no interest in knowing more about. On the whole, I don't love modern country music, or so I thought. And I'll admit, I had a certain pride point in labeling myself as someone who was too cool for country music—unless it was vintage and classic, like Johnny Cash, John Prine or Bonnie Raitt. But back in September I wrote a whole post about Midland, a new country band with an old school sound, whose entire album, On The Rocks, I am also obsessed with.

So anyway, I've gotten off my "High Horse," (sorry, it was too perfect) and am willing to just be real and say hey, I do like some country music, a lot of it in fact, so here we are. Me, Kacey and now hopefully, you. This album is pleasing from beginning to end, and while it does have a lot of country roots, the songs vary from heavy pop to disco, slow ballads and psychedelic wanderings. The lyrics are modern, sassy and smart, and damn if they don't get stuck in your head. I've been walking around for days singing to myself, "Baby I ain't WonderWoman / I don't know how to lasso the truth outta you / Don't you know I'm only human?"

While I think people are going to keep talking and raving and tweeting about this album throughout the spring, and I think it's going to be on repeat for me into the summer too, I still don't see a #SongOfSummer in it. And that's okay. But I need you to listen to this album all weekend so we can be on the same wavelength, which is: If we can't see or feel spring yet, at least we can listen to it. Golden Hour is warm with a chilly breeze, sunny, crisp and blooming with color—but not the hot, sizzling fire of summer. Does that makes sense? Maybe I should be done now. Listen below please, now.

// LISTEN TO THE WHOLE ALBUM BELOW OR ON SPOTIFY //




Image credit: NPR

Monday, April 2, 2018

{ STYLING NOTES } WHAT'S ON MY MIND FOR APRIL...



A fun thing about "Spring" is that it is really just a concept—a state of mind. At some point, flowers will bloom and bright green leaves will start sprouting from those depressingly bare trees. But for the most part, you and I are just trying to get by, filing our taxes, crying over our busted March Madness brackets and wondering if it's too soon to start making plans for the Fourth of July.

We got pummeled with snowstorms through most of March and I am betting that April will be an equally unsurprising mix of eye roll-inducing weather. But guess what... Talking about the weather is boring, and complaining about "Spring" is also boring. So let's move on and talk about something else: Anxiety!

When the tax deadline approaches, I start to get really anxious and send that stress in all kinds of exciting directions. For our purposes, I'm going to dive into all the fashions and fun and games that I want to purchase and indulge in while avoiding my looming date with Uncle Sam.

SQUEAKY CLEAN NEW KICKS
By far, I wear my sneakers more than any other shoes in my closet, and I bet you're the same way. We're creatures of comfort, aren't we? We're also creatures who crave novelty and newness, so join me in fawning over Allbirds' new 'Tree' runners in this 'Kauri Stone' color. I love love love my wool Allbirds already, and find myself very attracted to this new, slightly more summer-y beige and white update.

I stopped wearing my favorite Stan Smiths like a year ago because they became to dirty and "worn" for me to enjoy how they looked with outfits. I know some people crave that look, especially with like, Converse All Stars, but it doesn't feel stylish to me on the streets of New York. Anyway, while I love my navy-on-the-back version a lot and would quickly restock them in my wardrobe—I'm a little bit aching for a pair that feels slightly more... Rare. Not that I'm a sneakerhead, but these all-white Stan Smiths are so dope. And at least $30 more than a pair with navy or green on the heel. Is that price hike worth it? Methinks absolutely.

ON-THE-COUCH AFTERNOONS
I know what you're thinking—Taylor, backgammon, again? You literally mentioned in the last post you wrote which was ahem, kind of a while ago. I know, and I am... Sorry? Not that sorry actually. And that's because between then and now I found this beautiful colorful backgammon set from the MoMA Design Store. I have dreams of playing under the soft afternoon sun on our little patio, but as of now it is still very much way too cold for that, so the couch it is.

I also really want a new set of Three J NYC pajamas. I have a similar shorts set that's lavendar and white, and I do end up wearing the shirt out on the town sometimes, as I often suggest to you guys in fashion stories. This crisp blue-and-white set would serve the same purpose, just a nice update for the year. (I feel like the top would be so good tucked into a white denim skirt...)

And finally—I just finished reading The Love Gap by Jenna Birch. I loved this book, it's an easy, fascinating read that dives into some of the most common elements and issues of modern dating, from the perspective of high-achieving, high-quality women like you and me. I spent many a delightful Sunday afternoon this winter reading this book while enjoying some tea and and a candle, snuggled under a blanket on my couch.

ON-THE-COUCH COCKTAIL HOUR
While I was home in Idaho last month, my roommate came along, and in the evenings I'd whip us up a cocktail and we'd play cards until dinner was ready. The game? Rummy 500. The drink? A homemade "skinny" margarita made with surprisingly good Sauza silver tequila.

My simple recipe goes something like this: 

  • Rim a double old fashioned glass with lime juice and salt.
  • Squeeze a ton of fresh lime juice into that glass. Like, a lot. More than a shot's worth probably. 
  • Add a few splashes of simple syrup so it's not too sour. 
  • Add a shot and a splash of that Sauza silver tequila.
  • Stir.
  • Add one large ice cube or whatever ice you've got on-hand.
  • Top with soda water. 
  • Stir again!
  • Garnish with a lime wheel.

When I recreate this drink at home (which I did for some girlfriends the other night) I also made sure to have a great soundtrack going. And I know there are a lot of bluetooth speakers out there, but I can't tell you how sophisticated I feel when my music (or podcasts in the morning) come from my extremely adult Sonos Play:1 speaker. The sound is amazing, and might I suggest this Spotify 'Happy Hour' playlist I made.

Oh also if you like condiments, you should really invest in some Sun Valley Mustard. The spicy-sweet flavor is my favorite, to the point that my parents put it in my stocking every Christmas. My holiday jar is almost empty now and I'm ready to place my order for more... And I guess I just thought you guys might like it too.

A FEW FASHIONS
Fashions! Okay so, I have to tell you that after a lot of exhaustive and humiliating searching for a pair of those "cool girl" Levi's jeans, I finally found a pair that doesn't look absolutely terrible on me. I encourage you to look into the 501 Taper fit! They're distressed and slightly cropped, and for me, they sit at the right place on my waist to go well with tucked-in tops. If you, too, have been searching hopelessly to make this trend work for you, try these jeans maybe!

Also intriguing to me? Very extra hoop earrings and an Adidas track jacket. What? Yes. The hoops above are gorgeous and from Jennifer Fisher, which means they cost about $500. I'm obsessed, but not $500 obsessed/ So I found a very similar pair from Baublebar that cost just $36.

And speaking of expensive jewelry, have you heard of Foundrae? Oh man, this jewelry is so so so cool and so pretty. One of my favorite pieces is this gold and enamel cigar band ring that costs a very cool $2850. The creative director of the brand, Beth Bugdaycay describes the brand's pieces as "modern heirlooms," and I can't help but agree. Filing these away for the dream shopping list...

The Adidas track jacket thing I can't really explain except to say that Armie Hammer is my new style icon.