Maven takes a trip: My take on New Orleans and why it's one of my favorite comeback kids

Good morning, Monday. Back at it.

So this past weekend I was in New Orleans and had a wonderful time. If there is a city in these here united states that embodies poetry, it is the one where saints go marching in. The city has a rhythm and cadence and overall vibe that is lyrical in every sense. I love spending time there- my uncle lived in the French Quarter his entire adult life and my in laws are spending most of the winter there, so let's just say it's in my genes and my husband's genes to love this town.  This town has more soul in it's pinky finger than most places anywhere. Hard not to get swept up in it.

Truth be told- this is a town for people who like to imbibe and indulge. That's one of the many things I love about it. That and it's leafy, sleepy trees, it's beautiful avenues with grand names like Esplanade and Rampart. The Frenchness of it all. The endlessly lovely shopping of Magazine Street in the Garden District. The music on every corner. The bars on every corner. The drawl. The food. THE FOOD.  I could go on but you get the picture. It's a dreamy, special place that feels bygone and modern all at once. And it's a city that went through absolute hell and came back again with class, grace, and respect. I love a comeback kid. That's just me. Oh and for those of you think New Orleans is all about skeezy Bourbon Street, WRONG. The city has so much more to offer and it's all fabulous and elegant. 

New Orleans is a city where one goes HARD but takes it real slow. They don't call it the Big Easy for nothin'. Here are some of my fav things from my recent trip:

For shop ops- definitely check out Pilot and Powell in the Garden District (lots of lovely shops around here too as well as a Pure Barre studio). It's high end for sure and you'll find favs from Rachel Comey, Proenza Schouler, as well as lovely accessories. The gals there are delightful and chic and super friendly.

For getting your drink on- Um. Anywhere. Truly. There are more bars than you can ever get to, but my fav still remains the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt- did not get there this time but tops on my list since the Saz was invented there. And though I didn't love my stay at the Ace (more on that later), I did fall head over heels for the Creole Apothecary drink they mixed there. At the excellent Josephine Estelle restaurant bar in the hotel, I'll be dreaming of this crushed ice cocktail for days to come- here's some info on it from Flood Magazine.  Incidentally Peychaud's bitters and soda is the very best drink when you are hungover or nauseous. Just a pro tip for you.

“This is an ode to Antoine Amédée Peychaud, an apothecary in New Orleans who created his famous bitters in the 1800s. Peychaud’s Bitters are the only bitters used to make the city’s signature cocktail, the Sazerac.”

1 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. Peychaud’s Aperitivo
¾ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. ginger syrup

For strapping on the feed bag- Oh gawd. There is food for days in this town and all of it is amazing. Eating in New Orleans is a sheer delight- used to be you could only eat heavy creole food here but not the case now- tons and tons of options from the excellent St. Roch Market (one in Miami too), a food hall that's not to be missed for some of the best oysters of my life to my new fav Turkey and the Wolf for a collard green melt sandwich situation that is fairly life changing. I promise. Go get it. Here's the recipe.  Oh and Zapp's chips. Yum. And yum again.

For getting your dance on- Oh baby, there is music everywhere in this town. Not to be missed are all the awesome street musicians playing on Royal Street in the quarter, but if you can, check out a show at the infamous Tipitina's- I caught the Rebirth Brass Brand there and was nervous about getting blasted by sound (all horns yikes), but the acoustics were so fantastic and the band was so pro, it was a fantastic, sweaty, fun experience. Loved. 

For getting your art on- Endless opportunities- do a stroll along Royal Street in the Quarter and check out all the amazing galleries. Red Truck is a favorite for folk inspired pieces, but my big discovery this trip was the 818 Gallery- a fantastic gallery tucked away on a second floor on Royal that shares space with a vintage boutique. Jose Fernandes (his pic at top of this post) is an excellent photographer with some of the best photos of New Orleans I've seen- he's also got some fantastic images from Marrakech and I love his eye. We got to talking and he used to be a fashion photographer so no doubt he knows how to tell a story. I still may order a few prints when I figure out where to put them. Highly recommend going to see his work. So gorgeous in person. Amazing quality to his pictures. 

So many more wonderful things to do in New Orleans- going to write you up a post about the endless vintage opportunities- tons of great vintage spotted by yours truly and I'll share later this week. 

Now it's back to work, though my heart is still down south. What a rich experience- if you haven't been, you have to go. Oh and about the Ace. Hmm. I know people love this hotel and it's fabulous for a work trip/photo shoot/business meeting. But it's so DAMN DARK and masculine, it just fell short for me. Why don't hotel designers understand women wear makeup? Could not even see to put it on.  It's not my vibe really and New Orleans is so unique and special- they tried to capture its essence but somehow missed the mark. I know I know- it's the "new" New Orleans which I was quite psyched to see. Problem is, I'm too in love with the old New Orleans and that's that.

The beds are super comfy and the staff is nice enough- I dunno- just did not feel on brand for this town and that's the truth. Good shopping there though with the wonderful Freda from Marfa stocked with all your Ace & JIg favs as well as Defend New Orleans, a great local designer/lifestyle guru whose wares are uniquely Nola. And Friend is an excellent men's shop that will bring all the boys to the yard. Great looks for the dudes here.

So it's Monday and I'm back in my city but need to start looking for an Air BnB for my next trip to New Orleans. Much more to see, eat, and drink there and I'm not nearly done. Cause that's what's up this Cajun flavored Monday in the Northeast. Yours, in mardi gras beads and oysters on the half. XO



Loving on Isabel Marant this Frenchy Friday

Good morning and TGIF.

It's been a long week but I was happy to have dinner with an old pal last night and we laughed and drank and had pretty much the best time. It's feeling very important to come out of hibernation and get social again- if I haven't seen you in a while, have at it. Let's hang.

So y'all know how much I love a good menswear moment, and nobody's doing it better for Spring than Isabel Marant. I swear there's something about her clothes that makes you feel inevitably and primordially cool and c'est tout. Love her still. Most likely always will. And her clothes fit surprisingly well, even if you're not built like a little French boy.

Thought I'd show you a few looks I'm coveting, so you can see there's a way to do masculine suiting in a way that is so very feminine and sexy. J'adore, et tu?

 Cause that's what's up this French femme kind of Vendredi in le New York City. Yours, in happy Fridays and boyish great looks. XO

Maven's state of the union

Good morning, Thursday. Welp my career as a blogger is totes tanking. Ha. I've been so bad about posting here but that's cause I'm writing every day for work and somehow, this blog suffers. I apologize. I hope to get better at regular posting but since I've been in hardcore hibernation mode, not much to report. It's too cold to be inspired. We got the memo, Winter. We got it. 

So let's see, what's new? Oh. I'm going to New Orleans next week for some hang time with David's dad and his wife and I'm really excited. Some of you know my uncle lived there his entire adult life and for some reason, that city has a real appeal. I feel like New Orleans is a bit like Good and Plenty- a very sweet place but super polarizing. I think I like polarizing places, actually. Jamaica. Glasgow. Detroit. A million other places most likely.  It's hard for me to imagine why people hate New Orleans- I think they consider Bourbon Street the "thing" to do there and there is simply so much more. The city is bursting with vibrancy, weirdos, amazing food, and best of all- music. Everywhere. Of every sort. I can't wait and plan to see something live every night. If anyone's been there lately and has some recommends, I'm wide open.

We'll be staying at the new Ace and can't WAIT to check it out. 

What else? I'm still happy I'm writing every day for work, but occasionally I miss a big, juicy shoot. I console myself with the fact that they are few and far between but the perfect mix for me would be a combo of big production and the written word.  And lately I've been missing my old comrades in the ad world- need to reconnect with the amazing people I worked with and have a drink or two. I'm missing the camaraderie of that world but have my feet deeply planted in this one. Although I've always been a bit of the grass is greener type of chick. I'm working on that.  Well, kind of. It's deeply ingrained. Meditating helps. Must. Be. Present.

I also wanted to put it out there again (a bit of a broken record I know) that I'm available for all your personal styling needs so let's go shopping. I've been in cool down mode when it comes to my own personal consumption, but would love to get my shop on for you. Just let me know.

So what have we learned? I'm headed South next week. I miss you. You know who you are. Let's have a drink.  After I dress you up in my love. That's about all. Just wanted to catch you up. Oh, and buy this Tatcha  tinted lip oil in Geisha. It's a gorgeous bit of tint and really works wonder on Winter lips. You're welcome.

Cause that's what's up this playing catch up kind of Thursday in the 212. Yours, in taking care of business. And pleasure. XO


On going back to basics when the going gets tough

Good afternoon, Thursday. I'm feeling like a whirling dervish on ten peyote buttons right now. I swear. I feel like I can't stop or catch my breath and the city is gloomy and the trains are a disaster and everyone needs something and all I want to do is the following:

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

Just STOP for a moment and take in the moment, the day, the year. I don't know. Take in anything at all. I think many of you may be feeling the same way and sometimes you just need to strip it down and reset. Back to basics and such.

That's why I'm feeling fairly vexed at the moment when it comes to what to wear. Because even a girl with a closet full of clothes can feel overwhelmed and moreover, hate everything she owns. It's been snowing. It's been cold. Now it's warmish. And about to rain. I can't get it right. 

So for me, the appeal of the classics takes hold and I want to wear something somewhat ordinary but chic and keep it real basic.

Because of that, I present the humble, oversized white men's button down. Is there a better look? Fresher? Cooler? Put together but perfectly undone? That's my goal. And look I would point you to some white shirts but they are just about everywhere. For me, I like men's shirts from Brooks Brothers and J.Crew because it makes me feel a little sexy to wear a man's shirt with something pretty underneath but that's just me. Some of you may prefer something more fitted and that's just fine- but I like mine oversized and maybe slightly rumpled and soft. That's my jam.

So truly in these times of great stress and cuckoo vibes, erbody needs to take it down a notch. Loosen up by buttoning up. I know what I'm wearing tomorrow so thank goodness for that.

Cause that's what's up this warm/rainy/weird day when all I want to do is hard chill in my white button down. Why is that so bloody hard? Yours, in classic looks and resetting the agenda. XO

Golden Globes recap, albeit atypical

Good morning, Monday. Phew. Ice storm's a comin' tonight. Fun times. Hibernating yet again. 

So last night's awards show was absolutely, at the very least, completely unprecedented.  As someone who has often commented on the red carpet (for my own amusement but somehow people like it), I felt weird. If 2017 was the year of #metoo, was objectifying women and talking about what they were wearing ok? Mixed feelings on that one. I did notice that it was not at all about "who are you wearing" but more about "what do you have to say" and that is A Ok with me.

To be honest, if the message was to be serious, I'm not sure the wearing black thing was quite right. To me, it looked like any New York gala, as more often than not, we New York chicks are generally in all black. Every day. Like, seriously. There's nothing chicer than black in my mind (except for deep midnight blue in some cases). So everyone looked pretty fantastic, except for Giuliana Rancic whose horse mane needed to be put out to pasture. She's kind of the worst. Not kind of. Is. 

I loved Claire Foy's Stella McCartney look in particular, and thought Halle Berry was an absolute beyond knockout as was Alicia Vikander. But everyone looked stunning, which is not hard in an expensive, perfectly tailored black dress.  Also loved Jessica Biel- gorgeous skin and dress, and not a bad looking date. 

But back to the show. First of all and last of all, Oprah Winfrey, who was honored last night and bought the house down. I have never made a secret of how I worship at her altar and always have. To me, she is the quintessential American success story, and a woman of color to boot. She is 100% self made. Not many people can say that and she did not count on her looks or her connections to get anywhere- she got where she is because she is an inspiration. Her speech really moved me and I can't wait to see what she does next. Step in the ring, Oprah. 2020 may very well have your name on it. 

For me, I think there should have been a female host, because Seth Myers struggled as any host would in such crazy times. 

I must admit, as a lifelong cynic, I was worried the whole show was going to be too Hollywood. Case in point- Meryl. I now really dislike her. On the red (black) carpet, she seemed so full of herself, and all I could think was- no way you did not know about Harvey. And that's that. In an industry that seethes and teems gossip, it would be difficult not to know. And that's where I kept falling down last night- how did they not all know? It's terrific they are saying "time's up" but is that only because a news story broke? Do we have to wait until everything explodes to clean up the bodies? The industry should have done more sooner, but I can only hope it corrects itself now. There's no other choice.

And though I wanted to hate on all the couture as protest, I couldn't. Because I appreciated what many of the women had to say- including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and a fabulously bare faced Frances idontgiveonesinglefuck McDormand. Love her. And also loved Natalie Portman slipping in a jab about no female directors being nominated. Well done. 

I'd like to sit and dissect the fashion, but that's not what last night was about. Everybody looked gorgeous, and everybody stayed on message. And really, I think this is a step in the absolute right direction.

Oh, and also major thumbs up for all the pixie cuts- Michelle Williams, gorgeous Zoe Saldana, Kate Hudson (hated her dress- felt inappropriate but loved the hair). In an era where we have so much to do, no nonsense hair is a very sound idea. PS- I'm inspired by Michelle Williams and very much want to go platinum. Do I dare?

Oh, oh- one more thing. That L'Oreal commercial was cray cray. Poor Winona. I felt it was so off brand for her in the worst possible way. Just show her being real. That's what 2018 should be all about. Sure you can have gorgeous hair and expensive gowns, but if you're full of it, leave the stage. Time to get real. That's what I'm after.

Cause that's what's up this post Globes kind of Monday in the 212. Yours, in getting real and taking care of business. Be like Oprah. Remind me again who runs the world? ;) XO



A funny exchange across the pond yesterday

Good morning, Friday.

So bomb cyclones. WTF? Such a suitable storm for our current "climate" in this country. Everything is so mental and cuckoo and, pardon my language, 'UGE.

I literally could not get out of my front door yesterday and Khan and I had to wait for David to get home from work to go out. It was not a cute look for us. And if you too were home from school or work yesterday, you no doubt watched the news and from the looks of things, we were all about to go down in a bomb cyclone brrrr of glory. Sure it was a bad storm and sure it snowed in weird places like Charleston but Jeez. Winter much, anyone?

Funny thing yesterday- I was emailing with a friend across the pond in the UK and was sharing an article about the bomb cyclone and how truly "bombastic" it all seemed. To which he replied:

"Oh, dear. That sounds intense. We're currently in the midst of 'Storm Eleanor'...but I don't think it's quite as dramatic as the Bomb Cyclone.  A harbour wall was knocked down and it made national news".

And there you have it, folks. In the US we have #BOMBCYCLONES! and in the UK, they have dear sweet Storm Eleanor, who can be a bit temperamental, but, in true English form, keeps calm and carries on. (Except for the harbor wall bit). Incidentally, when I was in England last February, I delighted in the morning news, which, compared to our version here, is positively delightful. Good Morning Britain had a particularly riveting story that almost made me miss my ride one morning- vigilante pigeons were taking over the country and pillaging chip shops and stealing crisps. Cheeky pigeons. Parliament actually met to discuss how to solve the problem. I'd appreciate an update if you have one, UK friends. But back to bomb cyclones.

I just found the exchange very funny. Just picture if you could the human form of a Bomb Cyclone vs. Storm Eleanor. Pretty much sums up the good old US of A right now, doesn't it? In my mind, the Bomb Cyclone is a strange shade of orange and has a rather bizarre combover. As for Eleanor, she carries a purse and is always up for a spot of tea. I was just reading about her carnage and it's not pretty, but still, it's just Eleanor being Eleanor. Cheeky monkey.

Cause that's what's up this bombed out in Brooklyn kind of Friday. Yours, in weather is in the eye of the beholder/reporter. XO

New workout alert: Pilates is my old/new jam

Hello, Thursday.  It's a beautiful day in the bomb cycloneberhood. Crazy. Wind is positively howling and Khan and I are hunkered down.

So here's something. Everyone is headed to the gym these days as the calendar strikes 2018. It's inevitable really. And I've always been a consistent workout type of girl because it keeps me from going completely insane. It's true. A stronger, tighter bod is a bonus at this point in my life. 

I wanted to shout out my favorite new/old workout- new because I'm doing it at a new place but old because I used to do this form of exercise all the time, and it's Pilates. I have always loved it but prefer to do it on the Reformer (a machine that looks vaguely torture-like but is really a series of pulleys and strings for resistance training) vs. on the mat.  Remember when Pilates first became a thing in the late 90s? I used to go to re/ab in Nolita wayyy back in 1997, and got hooked on it from that point on. It's a workout that anyone can do, and it does wonders for any aches, pains, or posture issues. Super easy on the joints which is a plus for me these days. Cause my joints are a bit janky of late. 

In my Brooklyn neighborhood, Club Pilates (a chain)  has opened, and it's fantastic. As workout junkies know, Pilates classes can be super expensive, and this franchise has figured out how to bring down the price to $25 a class. That's less than Soul Cycle. Still expensive, but much better than the normal price. My classes rarely have more than 5-6 people and the teachers are super attentive. It is, without a doubt, a workout that is both challenging and therapeutic at the same time. I am LOVING it and want to do it as much as possible. It's not the type of workout where you walk out in a sweat, but the next day you will feel it. In all the right places. I'm hoping to go at least twice a week and supplement with my usual routine of spin, barre, and yoga. 2018. I'm branching out, yo. I do tend to get obsessed with a workout when it feels right, and I always get psyched when I pull myself out of an exercise rut when I find something new to do.

If you happen to have a Club Pilates in your neck of the woods, check it out- they have over 300 studios with many more scheduled to open. I know in the city they have a spot in Tribeca too, highly recommend this workout-  it stretches, tones, and works your core. It's all about that long, lean look, even if you dance more like Elaine Benes than a Fosse girl.  I trekked there this am in the snow (bonus for it being a block away from my apartment) and the workout was intense but enjoyable. Love the TRX training too, no doubt strengthening but feels so much better than lifting heavy weights. Oh and dudes (as if dudes read this blog), it's great for you too. Usually 50/50 mix of men and women in classes. Lots of athletes do pilates to heal from injuries and get stronger and more agile.  

So if you have a chance, check out this chain and get involved. Holler at me if you ever want to come to Cobble Hill and take a class with moi.  I think combined with other workouts it's perfection (yea, I know. Cardio. Ugh).

Cause that's what's up on this snow day of a Thursday in the borough of Brooklyn. Yours, in white out conditions and toned abs. XO

Maven muse: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Good morning, pals. First day back at it. Fun innit? Oy.

So was watching a ton of tube this weekend and finally got the chance to watch a few episodes of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" on Amazon Prime and telling the story of a young Jewish woman who becomes a comedian and blazes some serious trails in 1950s New York. She's a rich Upper West Side type, with academic parents and a recent failed marriage. Needless to say, whenever there's a show about a sassy Jewish girl in New York,  I get a million texts from people telling me to watch it. It's good. Truly. Fun show. Created by the team behind the "Gilmore Girls". So good on that.

But truly the most important takeaway for me is the FASHION. OMG. It's stellar. Better than "Mad Men" even.

The year is 1958 (I have often said I would love to be in New York during the Beatnik/jazz years)  and the city is clearly divided into an uptown/downtown moment and women were also divided in terms of being a perfect housewife vs. finding true happiness and confidence.   I love how the wardrobe team straddles that divide. The clothes are so gorgeous, particularly the coats. I love the swing coats favored during that era- so stylish and beautiful.  It's all very Dior New Look, which lasted until the end of the 50s and then replaced by more straight suiting a la Chanel and then of course Givenchy's sack dress, which completely let it all go, literally. The wasp waist was over. And I'm sure women everywhere were able to breathe again. Literally. 

And speaking of Dior, many of her looks remind me of Raf Simons at Dior. Amazing. Oh and babydoll nighties. I love those. Particularly when worn with said swing coat (watch the show).

So I'm getting inspired by a fictional Jewish comedienne and her marvelous wardrobe. What's getting you out of bed today?

Cause that's what's up this downtown/uptown/upside down first day back at it in 2018. Yours, in  getting back in a New York groove.  XO

Why I'm resolution free in 2018 (and every year really)

Happy New Year, 2018. Woot. Bring it.

I'm not one for resolutions and admittedly a bit fly by my seat vs. big goalie in general (more Type Z than A all damn day), I thought instead of resolutions, I'd show you what most people on my feed are leading me to believe the new year will be all about.

  1. Everybody is going to be very thin.
  2. Everybody is going to be very fit.
  3. Everybody is going to be kinder and gentler.
  4. Everybody is going to fight harder.
  5. Everybody is going to love harder.

I'm not putting any judgement on these. But year after year I pore through people's resolutions and wonder the following:

Why can't we just chill the fuck out? It's the first day of the year. THE FIRST DAY.

Isn't it enough we just survived a year as auspiciously assholic as 2017? Is that not enough? Now we need to run away from carbohydrates and think about how we will fight the power?  No. CHILL OUT. BREATHE.

Just BE.

That's all I'm saying. Just BE for a minute. For a month. For a year. Forever.

Because I guarantee you if you just be and stop trying to beat your own personal best, you will be the following:

Happier

Healthier

Peaceful

Strong

More loving

All of that and more. I can't tell you how. But if you stop working and fighting and hollering so hard and just be, all the stuff you want to do or want to become should most likely happen. As they should. As they may. As you wish. Just be it. You get it. Now do it.

And for that, I can tell you I easily went to the gym this morning, and more than easily allowed myself to just listen to music and relax and eat good fun while I worked on some work things at my leisure. Because I was just being. And not trying altogether that hard and there I was, doing all the things one "should" do on New Year's Day.  You're welcome.

So stop being so bloody resolute. Just be yourself and whatever will be, will, well you know. Oh and by the way, when I want something and put intention to it, it happens for me. But I'm patient in that process and don't need it all to happen when I say it should happen. You dig? 

Cause that's what's up this being the change kind of first day of the year in beautiful Brooklyn. 

Yours, in B-E-I-N-G. XO



Bye, Felicia

Good afternoon, last day of this bloody awful year. See ya. Go on. Git.

Listen I haven't been posting much of late because, well, I've lacked the inspiration a bit and I've also lacked the time. 

And in lieu of a proper look ahead/reflective kind of post, I'd like to keep it short and sweet instead.

This year kicked our primordial ass. I'm not sure I can remember a year as nail biting, please wake me up from this nightmare, make it stop kind of feeling. I am so glad it's over and I can't wait to shut the door on 2017. I have never wanted anyone or anything or any year to leave so badly in my entire life.

And it's not just Trump, #metoo, Maria, Irma, or anything in the news. For me personally, it was beyond challenging. There were moments when i was sure I would never figure it out. I'm not sure I have yet but absolutely feel better than I did a few short months ago. One chapter is closing for sure, and I for one am ready to throw the book at 2017 and all of its weird, Mercury in peyote kind of cray cray.

So with that, I'll sit here in my leggings and rock tee and drink a glass or however many of Sancerre and cook up a scampi and quietly give 2017 the old heave ho. Bring it 2018. BRING IT. And no need to remind me of what I'm grateful for. I know all of this. All the more reason for this wretched wench of a year to go, go, go.

I'm not one for resolutions as you know so not really making any. The one that keeps gnawing though is the need to give more of myself, my time, and my money to good causes and those in need. I'm going to make good on that one for sure. Cause that's what's up this see ya, later alligator kind of New Year's Eve in this delightful city at the end of this G-d awful year.

Cheers to the new year. Please make it better than the last. See ya, sucker. XO