Thursday, October 30, 2014


The truth is, it's been like 70 degrees in New York City for most of October. Bare legs are still a thing, and my tights are still in storage. Halloween is tomorrow. I know I shouldn't look Mother Nature's gift horse in the mouth, because soon enough it will be horrifically cold and daylight savings will plunge us into the dark days until like March. And yet, I'm still kind of pissed because it has been way too hot to wear most of my sweaters—most specifically turtlenecks. With my still-kind-of-new short hair, I've had a lot of fantasies about doing that tucked-in faux-bob thing, and also that thing where you can wear a sweater and a skirt at the same time.

So while I won't jinx myself by wishing the cold weather would arrive sooner, I will happily start my hunt for the perfect turtleneck to get me through the cold months—when they finally come. At the moment I'm on a big neutral kick, and rarely wear anything that isn't white, cream, navy or black. Hence, my favorite knits of the moment fall into those color families, too. I kept most of my selects at about $200 or under, but naturally there are a few luxe choices, too, because cashmere.

Monday, October 27, 2014


 { "Got a long list of ex-lovers, they'll tell you I'm insane
But I've got a blank space baby, and I'll write your name" }

In this post, I am most essentially just reiterating what you may have already read on or the New York Times and even The Atlantic: Taylor Swift's new album, 1989, is good. Like, really good. It is simple, pure pop music at it's best, and I am not ashamed to enjoy it almost entirely from beginning to end. 

She's left country behind, blah blah blah. She had basically left country behind on Red, too, you guys. (And I love that album, too. So much. ) I think we all went into T. Swift's media blitz for this album with an "Oh, brother!" attitude that masked the genuine, "Will it be good?" question. We accepted "Shake It Off" as as inescapable and catchy. Then we heard "Out of the Woods" which has an incredibly repetitive chorus but it's synth-y, strong and again, damn catchy. I will admit that "Welcome To New York" is a really poor reimagining of our collective, beloved modern NYC anthem, "Empire State of Mind." But for her base audience—it'll do.

For better or for worse, we should expect nothing less than this from Taylor Swift. She is the masterful architect of her own carefully curated brand that encompasses everything from her friendships with fashion darling Karlie Kloss and HBO darling Lena Dunham to her #1989SecretSessions for her fans to her boyfriends and breakups—and especially her public-facing personality. Nothing is less than perfectly executed and filtered for her 12.5 million Instagram followers. 

Like Red, there are songs on 1989 that tug at you to guess at who they might be about, but unlike Red, that's not the point here. Is "Style" about Harry Styles? Probably, but like, who cares—it's a sleek, dare I say sexy song that feels like a Swiftian take on the "Nightrider" theme. The sounds, the beats, the fun of the music is what makes this album worth a few dozen listens. It's easy to pull sonic references from friends like Lorde and collaborator Jack Antonoff of fun., as well as Lana Del Rey, Haim, Rihanna and obviously, an overarching 1980s vibe. The lyrics are primed for tween Tumblrs—short and cutting one-liners like "Darling I'm a nightmare, dressed as a day dream" are sprinkled throughout.

The singles already released are hardly the best songs on 1989. "Wildest Dreams" is her Lana-esque moment that you can't help but like, "Blank Space" is a self-aware reference to her own musical/romantic past, and "New Romantics" (an extra track from her exclusive-to-Target deluxe album) is a shimmering dance song with an '80s beat and a striking vocal similarity to The Killers "Mr. Brightside" in the verse. Is every song amazing? No. There are a few snoozers here and there to be sure.

The bottom line here is that girl is so good at the things she sets out to do, there's little cause to fight her on it. She sounds different but still distinctly like herself, which I suppose is the goal. She delivers everything that diehard Taylor Swift fans want, and a new sound so expertly produced, she's pulling in the non-believers, too. (We can thank pop master Max Martin for that.) I didn't want to love this album, but I'm not mad that I do. I suspect you might feel similarly.

Well played, Taylor Swift, well played.

Buy it on iTunes here, or get the deluxe Target version here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


One of my favorite things about fall is that slowed-down, cozied-up sensation we all start to feel around mid-October. We start reaching for our sweaters even when it's still just a touch too warm to wear them (at least in NYC) and begin to crave hot cider almost as much as coffee. I like to revel in the ritual of it all—taking in as much of the changing leaves as I can, wearing cashmere socks around the apartment and of course, updating my daily soundtrack to a more seasonal beat.

You already know (I think) that I worship at the alters of Lord Huron and Fleet Foxes this time of year. I tend to treat their albums like the Christmas music of October and November. So, I tried to keep things fresh, and did my best to leave their presence at a minimum on this playlist. 

Most of the music here is new to me, including recently discovered favorites like Lo-Fang, The Barr Brothers, Nick Mulvey and Vancouver Sleep Clinic. The vibe is a mix of indie and folk; songs that are guitar and vocally-driven. You'll find some familiar folks like Vampire Weekend and John Mayer of course, as well as The Swell Season's live cover of "Into The Mystic" by Van Morrison that is just amazing. 

I listen to this a lot on during my morning commute, to keep my L train subway rage at calm simmer, but in my mind, this is a good mix for fireside reading, cozy drinks with friends, cooking dinner and cloudy Sunday afternoons. Maybe even a hike in the woods. Take a listen and get into the seasonal spirit.

*If you want to try out my unedited, lots of artist-repeat playlist (best played on "shuffle") you can check it out here.

Friday, October 24, 2014


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.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


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


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


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.)