Maven recommends: Vince still nails it for easy Summer basics

Good morning, Tuesday. It's another gloomsville of a day here in Brooklyn. Tough to motivate when it's like this outside. Gah.

So Summer will surely arrive and when it does, I'll be craving my usual bevy of long, cool dresses, flat sandals, and slouchy bags with floppy hats. That's my look for sure- think Mary Kate and Ash at the beach. There they are above at last nights CFDAs. Always so perfect in my mind.

 Even though I posted that cuckoo dress yesterday, my day to day dial is almost always set to minimalist/flowy for warm days.

Slip dresses are life in the Summer. Full stop.

One place to procure great pieces in this style? Vince. We all know Vince- in the same category as Theory and Helmut Lang for basics that go from city to country in a snap. I'm a Vince fan from way back and a recent peruse online had me remembering why Vince is so good. Check out some of my favorite pieces from their site- and of course, some are on sale (the navy tie dress above as well as the print for example). Love the little cargo jacket below, and all those great slip dresses are right up my alley. And those jeans are just the cutest with a white tank and sandals. Everything's so easy breezy. Love everything- super wearable, timeless, and chic.

Love how the little bomber above is a fresh take on suiting with trousers. 

I want to live in this maxi all Summer long. 

So check out an old fav and reliable brand for all your minimalist Summertime needs here. Cause that's what's up this spare and chic kind of Tuesday in the 718. Yours, in anxiously awaiting the sun. XO

Driven to madness by a Balenciaga dress (aka a typical Monday)

Good afternoon, Monday. How's it?

I'm being haunted. By a dress. A Balenciaga dress. A beautifully hideous Balenciaga dress. And I think I must possess it. Because it now possesses me. 

I don't know what it is about this f'in dress. Well I do, actually. It's totally Mrs. Roper meets Maude meets Rhoda. If you don't know who those people are, then you probably won't want this dress. But if you do, you'll know right away why I want it. It's the sexy version of a 70s old lady dress and I have to have it. I spotted it this weekend in Joan Shepp in Philadelphia and I have not stopped thinking of it since. An insomniac evening led me to search for it online, and I found it on My Theresa. I need this dress. I love this dress. This dress is crazy. Maybe I'm crazy.  And it has a big sexy slit in the leg. So it's a hotter version of a mumu. And I love it. I can't really find it in my size. And that's probably a good thing. But if I do. Look OUT.

I'm not going to buy this dress. But this dress. THIS BLOODY DRESS. I'm going completely batty over it. Look at it with jeans. So chic.So hideous. So fabulous. Ugh I'm in love.

I swear I've completely lost it. But how good is this crazy little number? I'm obsessed with it. Welcome to my mind. It's tortured and full of dresses.  Dresses of many varietals, but currently this one is occupying my entire frontal lobe and then some.

Cause that's what's up this eternal sunshine of a Monday in the 718. Yours, in overthinking. XO

America, I'm worried about you

Good morning, Thursday. I'm cranking on a gig and need to go back home tomorrow so I'll be brief.

America, WTF is wrong with you? With us? Do we not have anything better to do than exhaust ourselves with covfefe or whatever version of that will happen today? Wonder if that phrase has been trademarked yet, ps? No, don't. Please don't.

Because I'm worried that by osmosis we're all getting real f'ing dumb, or dumberer. And lazy. Must we react ad nauseam each and every time Trump gaffes on Twitter or anywhere else? Because as you pop another brain cell troubling yourself over another meme, the Orange One is shell gaming us into a major world crisis. All I'm saying is this- keep your head in the game and stop getting distracted by the constant sideshow attraction known as the Presidency. This whole Russia situation, climate crisis, and everything else is far too important to miss. Meanwhile, Baby Face Kushner and Grim Creeper Bannon are gumming up the works while we're amusing ourselves with word play and autocorrect run amok. Oh and whatever with Kathy Griffin. Who cares???

Head in the game, friends. Americanos. What have you.  Listen, I love the memes from time to time too but seriously- can we focus on what's really going on? Enough comic relief. There's work to do. Now let's get back to it.

That is all. Now go enjoy your freedoms and refocus.

Cause that's what's up this staying woke Thursday in the 212. Yours, in not getting fooled again. XO

Personal brand this: Why I'm over you. And you. And me.

Good morning, Tuesday. It's gloomy in the city today and a perfect day to hide but alas...

So this weekend I went upstate and it was lovely- received some very sad news upon my return- my uncle's ex wife, who we were all still very fond of, passed away suddenly.  She left behind a son, my dear cousin, and we are all devastated and shocked.  All day yesterday I went back and forth thinking of all the memories while checking in on my uncle and cousin back home. Needless to say, it was a rough day. And somehow, I had no interest posting it to Facebook- just felt slightly too personal and raw for me. I just wanted to feel the sadness and not engage. 

Which brings me to a post I was planning on writing today anyway- how much I'm completely puzzled by Instagram stories and Snapchat and how we are using video storytelling as a medium of self expression right now. From my vantage point, Instagram stories is a rabid collection of girls making duck faces, then opening their mouths to fake lip sync some song, and then dancing around in the upper body while drinking a cocktail or opening a beauty box. I don't get it. I don't get what's interesting about it. I don't get what's fun about putting mouse ears and a nose on my face while I'm getting my swerve on. I don't understand fake dancing of any kind and find the whole thing uncomfortable to look at, particularly because it's more often than not white girls who can't dance.

One of my fav Instagram stories train wrecks belongs to Bethenny Frankel- she of "Real Housewives of New York" and Skinnygirl fame. This is a person who, from the looks of it, can't spend a single moment alone. Yes, her new puppies are cute. Yes, her body is bangin'. But seriously? Her Instagram stories arc is depraved. Demented, sad, and social. Of sorts. This is a person who can't stop documenting every second of her so called life, and it's vulgar in it's compulsion. It's hard to look at really. So I had to stop. She's not a real housewife, she's a desperate one.

For many years, I've been all about the personal branding ethos and why it's important for all of us to propel our own brands forward. But today on LinkedIn a connection of mine, Tom Goodwin of Zenith Media,  posted the following:

"I find this whole idea of "the personal brand" and "thought leaders" or "influencers" really distasteful. Can't people just be themselves, have original thoughts, discuss what they find interesting etc. We are people, we are not brands, we just have personalities. Stop broadcasting, curating and strategizing and start just being."

Yes. Preach. I'm down with you, sir. I thought for a moment you were a dinosaur, but then I realized you're exactly where I am in this Darwinian pissing match called life. 

Because I've been thinking the very same thing of late, and I know I have some friends who are going to virtually smack me for saying so. I am overtired from analyzing influencer behavior and thinking about selling my own brand. To be honest, I've always known my great strength comes from having a voice that is all my own- before people became brands we were all just people. I wonder if we've gone too far down the rabbit hole to claw our ways out- to think of humans as brands may have seemed like a cool way to differentiate and stand apart in a crowded world, but maybe now there's real cred in turning one's back to daytime drinking selfie videos, shameless plugs, and hyper curated sheep behavior.  Maybe I just wanna be me. Sure I'm someone that is more entrepreneurial and do my own thing in spirit, so sure- a marketing tactic or two is needed to help me get work. But damn if I'm not quite sick of everything brand me- maybe it's time to focus on just being completely original and unshackled by all the bullshit. I think we're reaching peak levels of insanity when it comes to one uppance and everything related to our so called lives on social media.  What does it really mean to be true to one's own self anymore?  I don't care about your cute pool float, your grain bowl, or your frosé. Listen, I post my own bullshit too- guilty as charged. But I'm just here waiting for people to be themselves again and not shove said selfness down my throat, ya dig?

Ok rant over. That's just where I am today as I get down to it. Maybe the death of a loved one gave me a bit of perspective, maybe I'm just tired of Summer before it even starts. Maybe I just hate a grain bowl. Who knows? It's just where I'm at today, yo.  Don't kill me, Irma Zandl. 

Cause that's what's up this demented and sad and unsocial kind of Tuesday in the 212. Yours, in free to be. XO


TBT: 90s on my mind as usual with a new book on the matter

Good morning, Thursday. It's shite outside. But no matter- I'm Audi 5000 come tomorrow to chill in the woods with some pals. I can't wait.

So this being TBT and such, I wanted to share this brilliant collection of photos captured in a new book called "That's a Crazy One", which chronicles the 90s in New York from the point of view of best friends Mel Stone and High, who incidentally were the inspiration for the movie Kids. Article about the new book here

I love photos that document New York through the years- from Jamell Shabazz to Bruce Davidson to any number of people who understand the "relentless impermanence" (well worded quote from the article above) of this crazy place. Look at these photos and tell me they don't bring back some sort of feels. I love them and this book is a must have and all proceeds benefit NYC Public Schools Art & Photography program. We were all kids then. Or a lot of us were. I could look at these photos forever. And I probably will.

Enjoy that stroll down memory lane, would you? Cause that's what's up this looking back kind of Thursday in the city of NY.  Yours, in kids and impermanence. XO

For more information, visit the project's website here.

Maven pick: Keeping it simple with the perfect travel dress

Good morning, Wednesday. So happy to be WFH this week. Means the world. I'm super in hideout mode and don't mind one bit.

So you know I'm in a perpetual state of wanderlust- daydreaming about where to go next in this big, beautiful world. And as I'm doing that, I'm often thinking about what I'd wear while there. I know- it's weird. But I'm a very visual girl so enjoy thinking about the full picture, and naturally, that includes clothes.

There's always been a part of me that craved a perfect travel trousseau- a casual carry on bag filled with just the right stuff and nothing more. After a recent closet purge, I want to live my life that way- the right stuff as in the right projects, the right makeup, the right everything. Because getting it wrong is a bore.

So I loved this article in the Times recently about this fabulous little dress line, Zuri. Created by a New Yorker living in Nairobi, this Kenyan inspired dress was created to suit a universal need- throw it in a backpack, wear it to a wedding, belt it with jeans and rock it on a Sunday. I love everything about a dress that looks great on everyone (supposedly) and comes in enough patterns to suit most tastes. I have not yet purchased one, but think I'm going to- it ticks off so many of my boxes. I'm a big fan of this type of thinking- can't we all just get along? Maybe we can- if we all wear the same dress. I love the idea of a whimsical printed piece as a newfound uniform- fabulous. And the egalitarian price point? Bonus. You can buy a few. Oh, and they're completely sustainable. What's not to love about a dress this good, particularly as we enter prime dress season?

Check out all the fun here.  I'm in love. Cause that's what's up this paring it down with prints kind of Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in keeping it simple, and hitting the road. XO

Monday is under the duvet day

Hey, Monday. It was a lovely weekend working and making stuff with good friends and enjoying a day off yesterday in that glorious weather. I'm a fan.

So it's a gloomy one here in Brooklyn and don't be jealous, but I'm still under the duvet. I have no interest in motoring around today and suppose that's one of the gifts of freelance life, I don't have to.  It's rare I allow myself a pause. I'm uncomfortable with not knowing what's next when it comes to work, but since I have a project coming my way, I'm enjoying the sweet silence.  It's been a crazy couple of months with the move and such and having a down day is a lovely thing. Don't expect much from me today. Hold my calls. I'm hiding out wincing through a Rascal Flatts performance on the Today Show. Who likes them? Why? "Life is a Highway" reminds me of sitting in an airport Chili's. Awful. 

Oh and needless to say, my little fur baby is very happy to have a day off too. He's happily curled up next to me- there's nothing better than a bed in with Khan. He's good at napping. See him? Exceptional even. It feels so indulgent to do absolutely nothing. But sometimes my fake Type A soul craves some peace and quiet and lethargy. I've been forced to be a little Energizer Bunny but really, I'm slothlike. 

Wherever you are, enjoy your Monday. Maybe you're out hustling, maybe you're just chilling. It's rare I'm happy staying put, but feeling content to do absolutely nothing. A post about nothing even.  A Seinfeldian blog post.

Cause that's what's up this easy breezy Monday. Yours, in keeping it quiet. XO

RIP Chris Cornell: My favorite dark horse

Good morning, Thursday. I was beyond sad to hear about the loss of Chris Cornell, frontman of iconic bands like Soundgarden and Audioslave. I can't believe they're talking suicide.  Losing a talent and voice like Chris is just too much to bear on this hot day. I have always adored his growl, a voice that came from somewhere deep inside. He was one of mine, one of yours, he belonged to Generation X in many ways. I'm not sure why all the Grunge Gods die so tragically- Cobain, Staley, Weiland, probably more I'm missing. And now my favorite. 

I've joked with my husband that Chris Cornell was my free pass.  He was pretty much perfection. As a single woman, I was always knee weakened by the dark and stormy type of gent- physically and otherwise. I believe I used to refer to it as a "Heathcliff complex"-  dark and brooding and sitting in the corner looking like he wants to tell everyone in the room to fuck off- yea, loved that. He was gorgeous. That lanky beauty. And of course, the oft mentioned darkness.

But it's probably that irresistible darkness that killed him, as well as gave him that voice. 

I remember Sandra Bernhard, in a black bra and leather pants, covering "Black Hole Sun" one of the first times I saw her live. It was amazing, and it's an exceptional song. And although the 90s saw me more in a clubby/hip hop mood, I can't ever forget the way grunge took over. But it wasn't until a visit to an aging Russian homeopath that I rediscovered Cornell's gifts. True story.

When I was a younger woman, I went to see a homeopath on the reco of a friend. His name was Edward Shalts and we talked for a while and then he started telling me about this amazing new band he was digging on called Audioslave. He played me a couple of songs- and that instantly recognizable voice came streaming through his office while he prepared my supplements and I fell in love all over again. Not with the homeopath, mind you. But with that blessed and beautiful voice. It almost broke my heart. It truly spoke to me. Needless to say, i remain a huge fan of Audioslave and to think of a world without Chris Cornell makes me very sad. When Prince died, his performance of "Nothing Compares 2 U" was transcendent. It was exceptionally beautiful. Mind blowing even. Watch it.

Getting older's a bitch. Having demons is a bitch. And being blessed with such talent can often be more of a bitch than a blessing. I'm not sure if he ended his own life, but the world lost a comet overnight. He died a few hours after a show in Detroit, and I will miss him and his amazingness. He truly was one of my favs. I will always love rock and roll, a dark horse, and next level talent no matter where I am or what I'm doing in life. RIP. I'm gutted.

Cause that's what's up this flag at half kind of Thursday in the 212. Yours, in black hole suns and spoon men. Good night, dark horse. XO

Maven pick: Aziz Ansari's Master of None is must see TV

Good morning, Tuesday. It is splendid in New York today. Yes, splendid. And glorious. And delicious. I love this city when the seasons change. It's so beautiful.

So many of you may think I'm a bit of a maven about town, but truthfully- I'm every bit the couch potato. I have always always loved television and I'm so happy that programming of late has been fuego. I am loving all the new shows of the last few years and how good TV is in general. I am indeed the cheapest date in town- just set me in front of the TV with a glass of wine and some Seamless and I'm sorted.

One of my new favorite shows is the stellar "Master of None", Aziz Ansari's brilliant show, now in it's second season on Netflix. If you're not familiar with Aziz, you need to know who he is- he's big as a minute and funny as hell. Now listen- I'm a Louie C.K. fan. It's hard not to be. But there's something kind of sticky (as in gross) about Louie- we all know he's a superfreak. I can't help but feel that way. I have many girl friends who claim Louie is sexy. I can't get there. Plus his maudlin take on New York drains me from time to time. And sometimes, his jazzy soundtrack is a bit heavy handed. DON'T SHOOT. I know he's brilliant. But Aziz.

So Aziz is a lovely man of Indian descent, whose positive energy comes through in his character, Dev- a young comedy type of sorts looking for love in this crazy town. I love his friends on the show, and most of all, I love his silliness at a time in our country when we need it the most. If Louie is the guy you do shots with and talk about the decline of western civ, then Aziz is the guy you eat a slice with and create funny voices for all the people walking by the window. I love him. Oh and his hilarious first response on any of a zillion dating apps? "Going to Whole Foods, want me to pick you up anything?" BOOM. Immediately funny and puts a lady right at ease. Great.  How could a single gal resist? Men who make women laugh. The very best. I should know. 

In this season, he does a wonderful episode on learning how to make pasta in Italy, and I'm completely smitten with an episode he did about New York City- I won't spoil it but he absolutely nailed the beauty of this city- from uptown to downtown, from rich to poor. So so very on point. And his portrayal of being of Muslim descent (his real dad is in the show) is a refreshing change from what we typically see. It's funny because I always related way more to a dark horse like Louie when it came to the funnies, but now I'm all about and so in need of Aziz's infectious goofiness. It's the best. Plus Bobby Canavale's cameo this season is amazingly good.

If you haven't watched it- you must must must.  An unlikely hero in these tenuous times. The show is like dessert every time I watch it, but with much less guilt. Go get some sugar, kids. You're welcome. 

Cause that's what's up this Netflix and chill kind of Tuesday in the 212. Yours, in comedy always wins. XO

How a Brooklyn apartment can reveal a little something about life

Good morning, Monday. I'm working on a few projects right now and busy, busy, busy. But I wanted to write because- well, I always want to write.

So you all know I moved into a new apartment- two blocks away from my previous one. It's funny because I had a whole list of things that needed to be checked off in order for me to be happy:

Two bedrooms/two baths
Outdoor space
Washer/dryer in unit
Ample storage space for my ongoing trousseau
No walkups

When I started looking, I had this list top of mind- until a chance meeting in my nail salon led me to my new place, which by the way, has only one of the above going for it.

I met a woman while getting my nails done whose family owned a building in my neighborhood- a two bedroom in lovely Cobble Hill. I jumped at the chance to see it because I liked her, and after I saw this lovely little jewel box of an apartment, I quickly asked where do we sign, and just like that, it was ours. And it was not anything that I expected. Here's why.

I am sharing a bathroom with David for the first time in many years. We have no washer/dryer in our unit, let alone in the building. We do have two bedrooms, but one of them is being turned into a closet for that above mentioned trousseau, because we don't have a ton of storage. We are on a third floor walkup, and we have no outdoor space, save for a lovely stoop. But that's all ok somehow, because we love this new apartment. It's bright, airy, completely charming. I love everything about it, though it certainly did not tick off many of my boxes. But really, isn't that how life works out? I was so worried Khan would hate the steps, hate having to be walked all the time, and that my clothes would have nowhere to fit. I also worried about that bathroom sitch, but so far everything has been lovely. We had our first real weekend at home this weekend and after we hung our last picture, we knew we were indeed, home. Love.

We tell ourselves we need this, that, and the other thing to be happy, but how often do all of those items on our eternal lists add up? We all have an image or mental checklist of what it would take to be content- from Mr. or Mrs. Right to our perfect job to our perfect home. But if you're like me, those things never really line up. Because sometimes when you're not looking for everything to be just right, you may miss an opportunity for a serendipitous encounter in a nail salon, in line at Trader Joe's, or a million other scenarios. Leave some room for the unexpected and you'll be amazed at how much happiness it will bring.

The moral of this story? Don't settle for less than what you want, but be willing to be flexible on all that box checking. Life has a way of working out regardless, and in the strangest of ways.  I also thought this apartment would allow me to indulge in a French minimalist apartment fantasy, but alas, non. We have tons of artwork and fun little things that make our house a home and though I admire a minimalist point of view, I'm not sure I can embrace it. Again, just be comfy with who you are and what you like and be willing to riff on all of it and you'll be just fine. Because I am. And I'm eternally grateful that everything always seems to work out, even if it's not exactly as you expected. I'm totally cool with that. 

Cause that's what's up this going with the flow kind of Monday in the 212. Yours, in happy accidents, and being true to oneself. XO