Tuesday, November 25, 2014

THANKSGIVING IN NYC: MAKING THE MOST WHEN YOU CAN'T GO HOME


When you decide to move to the opposite side of the country from your entire family, there are certain things you learn very quickly: traveling home is expensive, traveling home for the holidays is more expensive, and when you cannot, you're never the only one. As New York is a city of transplants, it's a guarantee that at least a handful of your friends will be here, too. 

I've been fortunate enough to take up with a group of friends here who are from all over the place—Memphis to Indianapolis, Newport Beach to Paris, and Seattle, of course. Each year, I've stayed here for Thanksgiving, gathering with friends and visitors and friends of visitors for a rag-tag feast delicious enough to rival those prepared by my (much-missed) family.

The crowd varies by year, but one thing is consistent: It's always a great weekend to be in New York. It's the first truly festive weekend of the holiday season, the non-touristy parts of the city empty out, and the touristy things feel more fun than torturous.

On that note, click through for my recommendations on what to do on Thanksgiving weekend in New York City. Not surprisingly, most of them have to do with drinking and eating...

Monday, November 24, 2014

{STYLING NOTES} WHAT TO WEAR ON THANKSGIVING...

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea


I have but two words for you when it comes to Thanksgiving attire: fancy sweats.

This is my mantra, my ideal, and my plan for Turkey Day. A couple of weeks ago I picked up a great pair of shiny black joggers from Zara (very similar to these, from J. Crew, which come in a rainbow of wearable colors) that sort of feel like baggy spandex. If you don't know the feeling, I really recommend it. As you can imagine, a pair of pants with a relaxed silhouette but a sort of dressy sheen are just the ticket for "dressing up" something super comfortable for a holiday that centers around eating. This is the easiest way to look nice, feel amazing, eat everything—what more could you want?

Since I'll be celebrating with friends here in the city rather than at home with my family, it's definitely a "come as you are" feast—but I want to look at least a little bit festive. My go-to with a pair of joggers like these is usually a silk (or just silky) blouse with a relaxed fit that I can give a little half-tuck in the front and be done with it. For cooking I'll go barefoot, and for dinner I can just slip on my favorite pair of black suede pumps from Aldo (they have a really good vamp). Bracelets and rings are cumbersome for cooking, so a fun pair of earrings or my fav new Lulu Frost necklace should do the trick.

If tradition has anything to say about it, Thanksgiving will be freezing. Personally, I'll be wearing my new Tibi coat that I scored at their sample sale last week. But, all you really need is a great overcoat you can throw on and be cozy after your big meal. (Here's a similar style from ASOS, btw.)

It's not a terribly complicated formula, kind of like stuffing from a box: Easy, comforting and still good the next day for leftovers.

Friday, November 21, 2014

{YOUR WEEKEND PLANS} COZY UP & LISTEN TO 'SERIAL'

A curious phenomenon is taking over pop culture this fall. People all over the world have become obsessed with—wait for it—a Podcast. It's called 'Serial,' and I am among the hooked.

Produced by the team from This American Life, the show is narrated by Sarah Koenig. She takes listeners along with her through a (true) story she unravels in weekly episodes. She's reopened a murder case from 1999, in which a high school honor role student, Adnan Syed, was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend. He's been serving a life sentence ever since. 

I have never been much of an NCIS or SVU watcher, crimes shows don't particularly interest me. However, for me, Serial is gripping. It's fascinating and entertaining and incredibly detailed. It's also complicated and filled with emotion on behalf of the convicted, his family, his friends and also those who believe he is guilty. Not to mention Koenig, who's excellent storytelling pulls us into her own conflicted feelings about the case, the further she digs.

I'm no stranger to listening to stories: My parents and I listen to books-on-tape read aloud on our way to Sun Valley all the time. But, to have a story broken down into episodes like a television show adds this element of suspense and fuels speculation and chatter on behalf of the audience. Serial has inexplicably gotten huge throngs of people (to the tune of about 5 million downloads) excited to sit and do nothing but just listen.

But that's part of what makes it great. You can take the story in while you're out doing other things—which you can't exactly do with, say, Netflix. Suddenly, you find yourself wishing your commute was just a little bit longer.

I began episode 1 on my commute to work yesterday. I arrived at my desk before it had ended, and just sat there with my headphones in, unable to begin working or do much of anything at all until it had ended. I listened to episode 2 and 3 on my way home and at the grocery store, and then broke into 4, 5 and 6 as I made and ate my dinner. Though it was designed not to be binged upon, playing catch-up has caused me to do exactly that. I'm anticipating that I'll be fully caught up by the weekend, and left to wait impatiently for more—along with everyone else.

Serial releases new episodes every Thursday, and with the exception of Thanksgiving, they will apparently continue into mid-December with the conclusion of the season. All I can say is, pour yourself a glass of cider, cozy up and catch up! There are nine episodes out so far, but we have to wait until December 4 for the next one.

[Read a much more detailed and articulate case for listening to 'Serial' from the WSJ. And thank you MEGHAN  for turning me onto this!]

Thursday, November 20, 2014

{CELEBRITY STYLE} JENNA LYONS AT SOLANGE'S WEDDING...


Drama. Feathers. Fur.

These are the feelings I have about the ensemble that J. Crew's creative director, Jenna Lyons, wore to Solange Knowles' wedding in New Orleans over the weekend. I am obsessed with this, and have now began to deeply consider the sartorial power of a white wedding. Except in this scenario, I would wear something like this, not the (equally cool, to be sure) cape-and-dress combo Solange wore for her big day.

Ms Lyons is no stranger to the dramatic maxi skirt + shirt combo, and I believe this is the same skirt she wore to the Met Gala (with a casual cashmere sweater) in 2011. (She actually wears a shirt and skirt to the Met Gala every year, I am pretty sure.) She is also a master of the brunette-and-red-lip combo, as well as the casual-coat-as-cape move. She has a lot of go-to moves, and a lot of hyphenated styling moments in her arsenal. Here, she uses them all in one dramatic, fantastic outfit. I love it.

*Image credit: The Observer

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MID-WEEK MUSIC MOMENT: GEORGE EZRA



{ My friends and family - they don't understand
They fear they'll lose so much - if you take my hand }

This song was sent to me by my friend Lauren, and I haven't been able to stop listening to it since. I had never heard of George Ezra (nĂ© George Barnett), but I think he's got the potential to seriously blow up in the coming months. This song, "Budapest" was something of a hit earlier this year, and it totally escaped my radar at the time. It's fun and lovely and a great toe-tapper for the desk on a frigid New York Wednesday. The video is great, and reminds me very much of my morning commute on the L train. 

For more of his music, you can check out one of his EPs on Spotify—but I'm kind of dying for his full album (you can find more of his music and videos on his YouTube channel. His voice is deep, gravely and soulful, and seems to bely more emotional damage than a person that young should have experienced. All the same, he's an extremely enjoyable blend of folk and pop, so I hope you like.

ALSO, for a real treat, check out his video for "Listen to the Man," which features your man Sir Ian McKellen being awesome. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

{WEEKEND INSPO} GETTING A LITTLE TRIM...



I'm going to my new favorite little hair salon in Brooklyn (Deluxe) this weekend for a trim. It's kind of amazing how fast your hair appears to grow once you cut most of it off. I last had a trim at the very end of July, and I've been hankering for a little update since early October.

I don't want to go too much shorter, but I love the idea of a more angular, slightly bouncier chop. That said, I think I'm finally mastering this lob of mine, and have narrowed down my essential hair products that I think you might benefit from, too. For example, myself (and my roommates) cannot live without Dove Refresh + Care dry shampoo. Trust me, I've tried them all and this one is the best. I use it even when my hair is clean, after combining Kerastase's Spray-a-Porter and Forme Fatale before blow-drying. (It's a magic, triple-threat combo for volume and texture.)

Additionally, I can smooth things out or add kinky, playful waves with GHD's 1 inch professional straightener. It's a little pricey, but this one works brilliantly, heats up quickly, and when you consider that it's something you use almost daily (and makes such a difference) the cost-per-use goes way down.

Short-haired ladies: What are your favorite hair products?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

TALKING TAROT CARDS, LUCKY NUMBERS AND LULU FROST...


On Tuesday night, friends of Lulu Frost (and it's founder, Lisa Salzer) gathered at 20th and Broadway to celebrate the launch of the brand's first brick and mortar shop. There was champagne, plenty of bling and even New York's most Instagram-famous dog was trotting around making friends wherever she went.

Part of the fun of the evening was that guests could create their own custom Plaza piece. On hand to help us choose our charms was a numerologist—with a set of tarot cards. I've never dealt much with either, but I was eager to see if I had a "lucky number." Each person's special number is actually called a "life path number," and is found using your birth date. (Calculate yours here.)

As I wrote in this post a while back, I was not always keen on horoscopes and the role of the stars and universe in our day-to-day lives. However, after deciding that I was more of a Libra than a Scorpio, and investigating that sign, I've found a lot of parallels and truths in regards to my own life. Anyway, when I sat down with the numerologist and she did some quick math, she showed me that my "life path number" is 7.

She pulled out the different tarot cards that corresponded to my number: The Chariot, pulled by two different sphinxes, symbolizes victory but also pull in two different directions to arrive there. The Seven of Wands represents creativity, and the hurdles you may have to overcome to accomplish your goals. The Seven of Cups is all about figuring out what you want in life, and the difficulty of chasing after things that may not ultimately make you happy. The Pentacle symbolizes waiting and patience—emphasizing that reaching for the fruits of your labor before they are ripe can be harmful.

For more reasons than I can or should recount here, this reading gave me a lot to think about. I mentioned to the numerologist that I had just turned 29, and that this birthday was weighing on me more heavily than most, and that I was feeling anxious for change, but unsure what that change might be. She related something very interesting back to me, that I had never heard before. It takes Saturn 29.5 years to make it's full rotation back to the exact place in the sky it was when we were born—this is called Saturn Return. When it does, a person is said to experience a major shift—and enter to the next stage of their life. The first Saturn return is believed to be the transition from youth to maturity, and occurs between the ages of 28 and 31. How about that?

I'm certainly not alone in my late-20s panic. We all go through it, don't we? And I think it's very interesting to think that our anxiety around turning 30 isn't only brought on by the prospect of beginning a new decade and leaving our wild-but-wonderful 20s behind. The Saturn Return suggests that the stars and planets have a say in it, too. Looking at this time as a "shedding of skin," as the numerologist called it, is much more appealing than a "third-of-life crisis," no?

More than any other time in my life, I actually feel empowered by both my age and my place in the world—as uncertain as it may be. I don't miss being 24 one bit. I am certain that while my life, my career and my personal relationships are all in rather pointed states of transition, I am growing into the person that can handle these changes and take advantage of what they might bring. And with a lucky number 7 around my neck, I'm feeling all the more ready.

Do you believe in astrology, lucky numbers and horoscopes?