Styled in Place: A stylish muse in animal print

Good morning, Tuesday. Hope you had a lovely long weekend. We spent it installing new air conditioners and taking care of business at home. We also found time to have a socially distant ice cream date, and strolled through Washington Square Park- the weather was just glorious. I also stored all of winter clothes and news flash- kept my summer clothes in storage too. I have less in my closet right now and have never felt happier in terms of feeling organized and a bit more minimal. More on that soon. Ooh and reading Andre Leon Talley's new autobiography which is more delicious than even expected. Fashion nerds this is a must read. I so appreciate his passion for dress as well as his take as the first African American man to have such an impact on editorial fashion pursuits. He shook the ground and broke through the ceiling.

But without further adieu, here is my second installment of Styled in Place for you. Hope you enjoy it- this look is a personal favorite of mine, ps. So good.

Bronwyn Berry: Producer and comfortably cool chick

We met Bronwyn on a crisp Spring afternoon earlier in the quarantine and photographed and chatted on her rooftop on Henry Street. Bronwyn’s one of those cool New York women that make you think about how cool New York women are. Originally from South Africa, Bronwyn is a film and television producer and epitomized feel good fashion with her look.

I was smitten by her poppy lipstick and of course, her amazing approach to sartorial, shelter-in-place style. Her outfit screamed “must have”, and after a frantic Google search, I found it was no longer to be had. Her cool timeless cred, passion for her career, and comfortable in her own skin vibe had me at hello. And her effortless chic which felt so appropriate for our urban jungle is what I love most about my little Brooklyn neighborhood. The women here are super stylish but super casual and never fussy. Here’s what she told us.

Okay, so tell me your name, where you live and what you do for work.

My name is Bronwyn Berry and I live on Henry Street in Cobble Hill, and I am a film and TV producer.

 What kind of things do you produce?

So, at the moment, I'm working on a documentary about doo wop so I'm learning all about music of the 50s and 60s, which I didn't really know about, because it's all like American music before my time. Today we are finishing cutting the trailer, the editors are in Brooklyn, the musicians that are working with us are in Florida and the executive producers are in Florida as well.

Well, I have to ask you, first and foremost about this fabulous outfit. Tell the story about it, if you don't mind.

 I went to Johannesburg where I'm originally from to see my mom, it was her 80th birthday in early March, and the flight is 16 hours. And I kind of got really tired of wearing leggings and T-shirts on the plane and feeling so incredibly unglamorous so I decided I wanted an international traveler look. So, I went to a store called the SPACE which sells like clothes by local designer and I found this one. And I was with my friend, who used to live in Johannesburg, but now she's moved to Barcelona. And she bought the summer version of this which was a kind of silky pale animal print. And I bought this one and we both actually caught the plane that night in our outfits.

 How is this look perfect for quarantine?

 So, my mother laughed at me when I got it, but I thought even if I wear it once on the plane and you know that's it, I was fine with that. But I got home, and it was a lockdown and I was just like, this is the perfect outfit. It just is. It's so comfortable. I don't have to try too hard. I've got a really nice kind of little velvet t-shirt that goes really well with it. It's like a burgundy color. And I've been wearing those like, yeah, for this entire time, which is kind of I don't even know how long it is. 

And do you always wear earrings and jewelry too while you are at home?

 I usually wear jewelry. Yeah, I wear jewelry and I wear makeup.

So how do you describe your sort of style during non COVID times?

 Um, I always like to look professional but because of my work, I don't kind of need to look like formal or anything like that. I like to kind of be put together when I choose pieces that kind of stand out, like, you know, like, like jewelry or kind of bold colors or something like that. I wear a lot of like, you know, jeans and tees, but then I always have an interesting jacket or a big piece of jewelry. You know, something like that. I mean, my, my style has changed quite a lot since I moved here. I've been here for six years now. And I was very bright in South Africa. Very bright, very cold, very grounded, like all of that. And I somehow have got quite muted since I've been here.  It’s kind of like a kind of don't want to stand off so much anymore, so I'm going towards more neutrals, but I always like, you know, to have a pop of color or something that's kind of unique or interesting.

Why is it important for you to feel put together right now? Like, what is it about this?

It's really important for me to feel put together now. I mean, I wake up in the morning, and I walk to my desk and I spend most of the day at my desk and I just somehow if I, if I don't kind of, you know, take a shower and get dressed and all of that, I honestly feel I feel I don't feel in working mode. So, it actually motivates me to work and to feel like in a way I make a transition from the bedroom and the relaxed to, you know, to the working mode, even though it's just like a couple of steps.

What kind of self-care things are you doing during quarantine when you're feeling stressed or anxious or any of that?

 I'm doing like a stretching class in the morning, which is like 30 minutes and it's just really slow stretching. And that's just to, you know, to kind of wake me up. Because usually I would wake up on my way to work, you have that walk or that somewhere, Yeah. And then I've discovered  something called The Class.

Oh, Taryn Toomey. I do it too.

 I'm obsessed with it. I feel it. It absolutely a energizes me.

Have you cried yet during the class? 

Oh, yeah. The class is like that. it's very emotional. It's a real release more than any. I kind of hate it when I first did it. I was like, this is I don't know what to make of this. And then I was on board, right? 

I'm building these muscles which I don't usually you know, work that much. Yeah, so, for me, that's self care.

Excellent. Is it just you and your husband here at home?

 Yes, and a cat.

 So how are you finding quarantine as a couple?

 Well, my husband is a writer. So, he always works from home and he's a real introvert. And I’m an extrovert who likes to leave home in the morning, I had the most adjustment. But I think we've got we've got very strict boundaries, he stays in his office, and I stay in my kind of office, which is the dining room table. And we actually don't, we don't unless you want to ask each other. Please help me write this or whatever. So, I must say that I'm lucky. I'm so grateful for him because I actually can't think of anyone else that I could have locked down with other than him because we have a lot of fun. It was my birthday last Friday.

Happy birthday. How did you celebrate?

I spent the day on the phone to all my friends all over the world they were waking or waking up and going to sleep at different times Australia and Barcelona and South Africa and LA and ended the day with zoom cocktails with like 10 people.  And my husband managed to get Wanderlustre, a great shop in our neighborhood, to open for him and he went in and got me some gifts and some flowers.

 I love her store as well. She is great. What are you most looking forward to when we come out of this situation?

 I am so looking forward to sitting across from my friend and having a glass of wine and talking to them. I mean, I really miss that kind of connection. I also really miss my three nephews in North Carolina. And I'm looking forward to seeing them. I mean, I would have to go into 14-day quarantine. So yeah, kind of in the future. It's not gonna happen straightaway.

Ok, so what are you taking away from quarantine? What are the life lessons?

 I think I developed a serious case of FOMO living in New York where I had to go out all the time, and I never stopped, and I could never be still. And I’ve really learned to be still and to take great enjoyment in the moment, and not have to rush everywhere all the time. You know, I think the quality of my life has actually improved, because, although I am not seeing my friends, and I am not doing all the things I want to do, I am actually really enjoying just living my life with a different sense of peace. So, I hope to take that for good.

 Cause that's what's up this animal printed, stylishly short start of the work week in the 718. Yours, in Brooklyn style. XO 

 

Maven recommends: The Home edition

Good morning, Thursday. Well, Memorial Day weekend is upon us and here we all are. I would love to be at the beach but I would not love to be around a bunch of idiots who don't understand social distancing, so I'll be channeling a bit of sun and surf right here in Brooklyn. 

And as this quarantine continues, I'm having some major epiphanies. One is- I have to much stuff. Way, way too much stuff. As I store my winter clothes, I'm clearing out my closet and am dying to live with less. This is not my typical state of mind, but it's what I want. I was talking to my husband about how I want to live like a quarantiner after this all ends- spend less money, be more mindful, and get hyper organized and clean in the home. it seems counterintuitive to buy more stuff to get organized, but it's all about the "right stuff" vs. just a bunch of mindless crap. My inspiration? Shira Gill. She speaks to me way more than Marie Kondo and I love her. So today I'm going to share some stuff for home that you might enjoy. As we spend more time here feel like it's justifiable to make some purchases for the home.

First up, new bedding. I love to switch out my bedding for Summer and I am dreaming of some spendy linen sheets to stay cool, but this set from Urban Outfitters caught my eye because it's so 70s. I just love it even though it's counter to my current mood for minimialism  and would be fun for those WFB aka working from bed days. 

On Andrea LInnett's awesome blog, she mentioned this blue (currently loving this blue color so much) bake sheet that I absolutely fell madly in love with, if falling in love with a baking sheet is possible, that is. Great Jones is a brand I've never heard of, but love this pot set that would be a nice way to upgrade my kitch sitch and get rid of old pots and pans in favor of one good set. I love the white for some reason but this pink is fun too.

Next, a fresh set of towels. Get rid of those old towels and go more minimal. Clear out the linen closet and get fresh with these modern towels in a great weight for summer. They are thin and I tend to prefer a thicker, more waffle-like towel, but these look gorgeous hanging in the bathroom (and come with a little hook which Is genius) and are a nice way to switch up the towel game.

And since I am so in love with my neighborhood these days, I am so thrilled that local French bakery favorite Bien Cuit started this amazing site to deliver provisions- amazingly yummy stuff, and yes- the fixins to bake bread, the Covid trend sweeping the nation.

For makeup, I'm always looking for ways to keep all my items organized, and this little swivel number is great for your favorite select items you need to keep out right now, which is probably less than usual. Stash your other makeup for later and only keep out what you're using, and of course, get rid of any old makeup. Now is the time- germs, people.

So yea, I'm becoming a bit of a minimalist as I want less and less stuff crowding my days and nights. Or rather, I want the right stuff. Cause that's what's up this home is where the heart is kind of Thursday in the 718. Yours, in next level nesting. XO



Introducing Styled in Place: A Personal Project and Collaboration

Good morning, Tuesday. How we doing?

One of the things giving me life right now is the inauguration of a personal project I'm doing with photographer, Adriana Favero, who lives in my Brooklyn neighborhood and is beyond a kindred spirit. Together, we're exploring personal pandemic style and how we are dressing to soothe, inspire, and find ourselves with a new project called "Styled in Place". We've been going around the neighborhood (at a safe social distance of course) to photograph the beautiful women (and a few men) of our Brooklyn nabe wearing something that speaks to their sartorial approach. I have wanted to document my lovely neighborhood for a long stretch now, and this soothes my soul in so many ways.

I know there are many people suffering tremendous losses right now- from income to family members to a sense of sanity. But I was so taken by a woman when this first began, sitting around the corner from me on her stoop wearing a sparkly Rachel Comey dress, and it just made me feel amazing to see her dressed to just be dressed. I am a woman who thinks personal style is anything but shallow or surface. It's how we communicate to the world and express ourselves and bring joy and delight. And at this time while we're all maybe being a bit more fiscally responsible, it's fun to shop one's own closet and find things that work, or purchase mindfully when it comes to buying things you can actually wear right here, right now. So without further ado, I give you my first foray into this project.  I hope you enjoy it- look for a new post every Tuesday for the immediate future. 

Oriana Reich: The colorful collector

I first met Oriana in the late 90s and was always impressed by her artful approach to dress. As often does, life happens and she moved on to big things in Hong Kong, and a few years ago, she moved back to New York, and as luck would have it, she moved to my neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, in Brooklyn. She is a creative director and brand strategist.

 I remember when she came back to the city, she was taken by how casual we had all become. Oriana is a woman that really appreciates an artful approach to dress, as well as a strong, bold lip and an encyclopedic knowledge of everything tasteful, creative, and generally fabulous, with the well honed eye of a global citizen. Here’s what she told us.

 Tell me about your look today.

My look today is colorful and confident and very comfortable. I felt like I needed to be optimistic about what is going on at the moment and this color reflects that. It also reminds me of the evil eye, so I also feel protected and that’s the vibe. The dress is from COS Spring/Summer of 2019, and the shoes are from Paloma Barceló of Spain. My necklaces are a combination of vintage amber and glass beads, and the thin long green necklace is vintage Miriam Haskell. The rings are from Marianne Anderson in Scotland and Mouritzen in Denmark. 

What about the lipstick?

It's “Marlene” by NARS (but I think it's discontinued!!!).

What do you collect?

 I collect a lot of different jewelry and I have everything organized by color, so today it was the green and blue day. These are three different necklaces, worn together.

How do you use color as a form of therapy?

I think you reflect the colors you are wearing on to other people. It affects people’s mood when they look at you.

Who or what influences your style?

There are so many to choose from. I love the 40's & 50's for silhouette and form and femininity. I also love hand woven textiles from Mexico, India and South East Asia for pattern and color.  Dries van Noten for magical color palettes and pattern extravaganzas. Carla Fernández for her contemporary interpretations the hand made crafts and traditions of Mexico. Maria Cornejo -  powerful and classic and from NYC!I  love vintage and everything from the 20's like Maximalism and I love mastering color, texture, and pattern. I like playing with accessories so I can just be creative.  Usually I look to art and interiors for fashion inspiration versus fashion design itself.

You have the challenge of being pregnant and being under quarantine. In terms of dressing, how are you deciding what to wear?

Well this shoot prompted my closet clean-up, so I took everything out of my closet. I don't fit into 95% of the things in there and then I haven't been going out. I had to really dress to accommodate my belly, so that is sort of interesting.

 You’re 22 weeks pregnant.  How have you found quarantine, and what have you learned or what taken from it?

There are a lot of voices in my head during this, so I think I’ll learn how to be more forgiving with myself. I always want to be productive, but it’s tough at this time. At the moment there are a lot of dots to cross.

 What’s keeping you inspired? 

I'm inspired by thinking about how this thing is affecting everything, like I'm really fascinated.
So thinking of these big ideas all the time has been really interesting.


What are some of the things you miss?

As humans, we're social creatures. So now all these new ways of looking at your physical gestures and movements that indicate different things. And people say that the eyes are the door of the soul but when people are wearing their masks, it takes on new meaning.
It's amazing how you adapt, I think it scares me; you cannot go and talk to people and you can manage it when you do have that one video call.


How are you taking care of yourself now?

I'm just trying to be forgiving.  Like being ok with not feeling productive if your energy level shifts because things are roaming, so just be gentle and taking hot showers. I have been doing some yoga and breathing staff but then I found that really challenging. But I have been doing more like active cardio exercises that gives more energy. I find myself dancing around my apartment.


What do you most looking forward to returning to when this is all over?

On a simple level, I think it's the social aspect and being able to feel happier and less stressed. Otherwise I still feel relieved to be at home and it's not the end of the world. I think beyond that there is so much uncertainty around not going back to something exactly as you knew it; like after 9/11.  I can only say that I look forward to things that might make life more positive and that maybe some sort of correction needed to happen. That’s me being optimistic.


What are gravitating towards now what kind of style? If you were buying clothes right now what do you think you would buy?

I think now because of pregnancy I only like natural fibers with really clean lines and great colors and really good quality fabrics.

What's something you would never wear?

A brushed polyester lining; that would be a nightmare.

For more photos from this project as well as more amazing work, check out Adriana's site here.  I've rediscovered my love of interviewing people (once the journalism major...) and feel super inspired, even in these tough times.  And if you know someone with stellar style  in the BK area, (particularly BK Heights/Cobble Hilll/Carroll Gardens/Red Hook/Slope/Fort Greene or anywhere walkable from those spots, let me know. 

Cause that's what's up this well dressed Tuesday in beautiful Brooklyn. Yours, in sartorial therapy. XO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Covid era cravings from the Maven

Good late afternoon, Wednesday. Hope you are all well on this rather beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky.

So as we continue to quarantine, I've put on my trend hat to get a sense of what people are wanting to wear- from makeup to clothes to shoes. OK, maybe it's not everyone's taste, but it's what I'm feeling a gravitational pull towards, so there. Like peonies, for instance. I want them EVERYWHERE in my home.

Here's a few other things I've been checking out:

Fit to be tie dyed.I love this long sleeve tee from the men's department at Need Supply that feels more comfortable punk that hippy princess. 

I'm also seeing a ton of sweatsuits in the summer of love realm that do spread joy, like this one from from Madewell and Warm. Cute right? 

Ooh and like trendwatching clockwork these Raquel Allegra tees popped up on my Insta from Bird Brooklyn. SO GOOD.  Oh and if you are trying to save your pennies right now and you have the space, do it yourself tie dye is AWESOME. I used to love doing it and I love playing with everything from cheap vintage slip dresses to tanks and tees. And socks. Tie dye socks are pretty cool too.

Skin(care) is in. Full disclosure not needed but here you go- I write for skincare and you know that, but truly- skincare is having a real moment. I'm loving my new booster from Beauty Pie, which seems to really amplify and maximize my products while brightening my skin, while my samples from Vintners' Daughter are miraculous game changers and though the super serum is too expensive for my blood at present, I love it. 

Ooh and if you need a little lift (albeit a spendy one), Westman Atelier's new Peau de Rose is the perfect little zhuzh you need when it comes to a highlighter- sure it's makeup but it feels like skincare because it gives you the most divine petal soft glow. Use on your eyelids too. You're welcome. Glorious for Spring. Oh and I just ordered this Nars liquid blush in Orgasm (of course) because it looks so so pretty and perfect for a pick me up.

Can we kick it?  I don't know about you, but I'm generally barefoot at home and I look forward to slides and bare toes every Spring. But right now exposed toes feels strange- call it a lack of pedicure meets ewww germs combo. Covid feet are a thing too, so there. I'm craving a sneaker moment and love a more surfy number for the summer- may go all in on classics and do this slip on checkered Van or better yet, a Converse high top to wear with a dress to keep it all casual but a little bit tough. Ooh and how about these tie dye Chuck Taylors? A mix of the above tie dye moment with the sneaker vibe. Good times.

White light.  I love a good cotton or gauzy dress for Spring, the looser and more flowy the better. How good is this one from Free People or this one, which is just what I love in Summertime- slip on styling that is so so easy. These dresses make me happy. 

And if you want to up the ante a bit, how good is this one I found online from A Bronze Age? Beautiful. I love a house dress. It's the caftan of Covid. I also love the floral print in this. So nice.

To smell good is to self care. I live for perfume. And you know this. I am fragrance fanatic and there won't be a day in my lifetime where I won't put on a fragrance, and my new favorite is Amber Rose (not inspired by the gal), a limited edition from Heretic. It is everything. Labdanum, vanilla, Moroccan rose. I love everything about it and it's light and subtle and oh so perfect.

So there you have it- my thoughts and feelings and cravings and observations for all the world to see. Would love to hear what you're looking for or feeling, and watch this space for an exciting personal project i'm crafting with a new friend. I can't wait to share it with you. Hint- it's about style. Duh.

Cause that's what's up this humpty hump day in the 718. Yours, in cloudless skies and cool cravings. XO



Maven recommends: 5 caftans you don't want to miss

Good morning, Friday. TGIF.  Hope you had a safe, sound, healthy week. The news is beyond distressing so I've made the choice to limit my intake. It's all too much and I'm not a great sleeper as it is so I'm shutting down the doom and gloom, or rationing my consumption.

But let's talk about style because- why not? And speaking of limiting my consumption, I've made the decision to shop my closet all season and not do a ton of buying. But it's hard to resist a good caftan (kaftan?) moment. Because what's easier to wear when working from home than a loosey goosey dress?

I've seen some great ones on H&M and wanted to share with y'all. Have a look and with all the bread being baked and wine being knocked back, a kaftan moment is just right. Not a waistband in sight.

Here's a few I love:

This one is so so chic and makes me feel like I'm on vacation.

This one in basic black is a nice take on the LBD, the stay at home edition. You can look casually chic for all your Zoom calls yet pop out to walk the dog before lunch. Love.

So maybe you're going to give me a fashion foul for putting this in the caftan category, but how chic is this little tunic? it's totally business time from the waist up and kicky chic on the way down. Also great for conference calls. Love the fresh stripes and sleeve detailing.

Ugh this one is tough to pass up. How great is this flowy black number? I'm obsessed. I so want to hang at home in this.

And at 12.99, this leopard caftan is a steal. Throw it on over your bra and underwear and prance around the house as you make your first cuppa. 

So there you have it- 5 cute pieces to feel a bit more stylish as we continue to shelter in place. Cause that's what's up this caftaned cacophony of a Friday in the 718. Yours, in life, love, and loose clothing. XO

Why Carrie Bradshaw is the ultimate shelter in place style icon

Bon matin, Monday. Don't you just love waking up late, going directly from bed to your yoga mat, straight to a call with Europe? Oh yes, I do. Grateful actually- the new hectic suits me better than the old hectic if I'm being honest. I've always loved working from home. It's my jam.

And on that note, here I go bringing up Carrie Bradshaw again, whose version of New York I'm loving in these locked down days and nights. I've been so enjoying watching old episodes of "SATC" lately- so many gems. So outdated on so many levels but also so ahead of its time. Regardless, that version of New York is lovely to look back upon- makes me happy.

And when you think about it, Carrie Bradshaw is the ultimate New York work from home woman. So I couldn't help but take some style cues from her when it comes to how to dress. Her looks still hold up when it comes to sheltering in place. So be like Carrie when thinking about pieces you most likely already have in your own closets to take working from home on a little style safari. PS that spaghetti strap tank above? Love.

Now that it's getting warmer, I love the look of a tube top and some khakis. I'm a fan of an oversized khaki pant- a little destroyed is good, too. Paint stains and holes keep khakis from looking golf-like. Great look.

Take a flimsy, filmy top. Vintage-esque and ladylike is the vibe. Pair with some baggy shorts. Shazam. Instant cuteness. Bonus points for a black bra underneath.

Nobody did a lingerie moment like Carrie. As an absolute lifetime fan of slips and slip dresses, walk around your house all day like this. Because why not? Throw a cashmere cardigan over the whole business to walk the dog. Good times. PS Carrie and Big. Just because.

Everybody has a good grey sweatshirt, or should. Throw on a soft, worn in version with some black pants and you're all set. Heels? Not so sure but you do you. I'll be in these. Have not removed them in days.

For old time's sake- remember this Juicy dress? I'd wear mine with bell bottom jeans and it was so chic. I kind of wish I kept mine- I believe I had it in a few colors. 

Borrow a sweater from your man or find an oversized version from your own armoire and go pants free. Because Zoom does not require pants. But slap some self tanner on- I just bought this new Jergens jam and I'm super excited to try it. I am an absolute ghost.

So there's a little fashion moment this Monday morning as we all work together to figure shit out. Shop your own closet, make like Carrie, and for goodness sake, stay the heck home. Cause that's what's up this vaguely stylish Monday in the 718. For the record I'm still in my gym clothes. Yours, in shelter and the city. XO






Thoughts on style while sheltered in place...

Good morning, Monday. I hope you all had a healthy and safe weekend, "good" seems like a stretch so wishing you health and safety instead. 

So you know I often write about clothes on this here blog, and the whole idea/notion/POV of fashion has been turned on its arse, just like everything else in this thing called COVID-19 life. In times like these it may seem silly to even talk about clothes, but we all wear 'em and we all need 'em so talk I must.

As a woman who expresses herself through her wardrobe, this time has been both challenging and liberating.  Small caveat- I'm not one for overly complicated clothes in general, and I will pick comfort first and foremost when it comes to what I wear. I hate to feel uneasy or restricted in my clothes, so that bit is still very much part of the picture.

But truly- I have found I can't wear anything with the following: buttons, snaps, or anything of the sort. I also have not worn a dress in the longest, though I suspect that may change as it gets warmer- though sitting in the house in a dress feels weird to me, unless I find a way to redefine the "house dress".  I have been wearing jeans from time to time- my J Brand skinnies that have a ton of stretch and feel more like leggings and on the opposite end of the spectrum, some super old American Eagle boyfriend jeans with tons of holes that are about ten sizes too big but super comfy.  But on the top half- I can literally only stand to wear tank tops, tee shirts, or lightweight sweaters- of which I have many.  I'm living in them and them only, and mostly in basic black besides the occasional rock tee, of which again, I have many.- or something like the one pictured above with a fitting sentiment for right now. I'm also obsessed with an oversized  Chanel like jacket I purchased from H&M in both cream (sold out) and black- it's so chic and gives me the little boost I need to layer over my gym clothes when I take Khan for a walk. I remain obsessed with Splendid leggings. There is simply nothing better. The perfect thinnish weight, the perfect softness. I absolutely love these and they were on sale for half price (and again this weekend) so stocked up. On my feet, I've been wearing my black rubber Gucci slides with (wait for it) nude colored socks from Pure Barre, or I've started rocking a bit of a higher sock thing of late too. Yes, this is a look. But it all somehow works for me and I feel good. Whether I look good is a different story, but I am not into dresses right now. Or anything other than simple, simple things that are a mix of rolled out of bed, took a barre class, and then hit my first conference call, followed by a dog walk and then more work stuff.  Oh, and I have been rocking a great jumpsuit from Cos that is a bit of a lightweight wool- super oversized and comfy and sporting two holes at the neck line that I care not about, not one bit. And an old onesie from American Apparel, that's a ribbed cotton and buttons all the way up. It's kind of a union suit vibe but looks cool with a denim jacket thrown over it. As for jewelry, pretty much not wearing any at all, though some days I still wear my coin necklace just because.

Incidentally, I spotted this jacket the other day and thought it had a nice vibe, great over tees and jeans and of course, leggings. And less than 40 dollars, too.

I also have not worn much makeup of late, which has been liberating and pretty cool. Now when I put on makeup I think I look weird, almost plastic. But I will cop to a bit of tinted moisturizer and this AMAZING illuminating powder I got from Chanel a few months ago- it's super glowtastic and pretty. As for my nails, they are like bobcat claws, if bobcat claws were gnawed to their nubbins. And my toes? No bueno. A shade of blue felt like a good idea a month ago. Now? Nope. Don't even get me started with the hair. I'm keeping my flame going with a product called Overtone, which is like a color depositing conditioner that doesn't do crap on my roots, besides turning them an odd shade of yellow. I believe that's referred to as a "hot root". For my roots, my sister got me some L'Oreal stuff/root spray and it's ok. Does the trick. But talk to me two weeks from now. Oy to the vey.I also was excited to try the new Drunk Elephant (famous skincare line) shampoo and conditioner. I don't love it. I do think the Christophe Robin Prickly Pear mask is a great once or twice a week solve for dryish tresses, even though it's very much a splurge. Masking once a week is great, and not just for your skin. I'm still keeping up with all my skincare thank goodness. That can't and won't go by the wayside. Another big switch for me? Behold the glory of the night shower. I find myself enjoying the relaxing vibe of an evening shower, vs. the more invigorating one of the morning shower. Regardless, I have not dropped my perfume habit. Not one bit. No matter what, I still wear it every day. Smelling good is feeling good to me. I'm going back and forth between Serge Lutens lovely, thorny rose La Fille de Berlin and Flower Porn by Heretic. I guess i'm feeling florals lately- just something pretty feels right for Spring. It is still Spring, ps.

 My other big malady of late is the whole mask/glasses thing. Oh man. The glasses fog up like woah when you wear a mask. More reason to consider Lasik when this is all over. 

The other day I saw the photo above of Leandra Medine, she of Man Repeller fame. I love this photo so much and this look speaks to me, even though I'm in much more of a basic b mode these days. Her style is so much fun- love the print, the proportion of her situation, and the awesome layered jewelry. I also loved this story from one of my favorite bloggers and style stalwart, Andrea Linnett- the mix of prints feels right for a world gone topsy turvy. I'm wondering if when this is all over, I'll be more like Leandra or keep my simple vibe going. Perhaps it will all go back to normal, and I'll go back to normal too- which is somewhere between Leandra and simple Sally when it comes to dress. Wondering if any of you have succumbed to the rather crazy sales happening, whether you've made an effort or relented to elastic waists, or if you are just in your pajamas most days, contemplating how you can keep this dream alive of going braless and makeup-less when it comes time to go back to the office. I'm also aware that many out there are suffering and not remotely thinking about any of the above, and I wish you all the love and support you need to get through this challenging time. Keep me posted, and I'll do the same.

Cause that's what's up this sheltered in style kind of Monday in the 718. Yours, in keeping it real. XO



New York diaries: Thoughts from the Wuhan of the West

Good morning, Friday. Another day, another day of isolation rollercoaster. 

So the other night as I was snuggled into my nightly routine of tea, television, and dog snuggles, I got a text from a dear friend of mine, a lifelong New Yorker who asked the following:

"Do you think you and David will leave NYC?"

Unfortunately, I knew what she meant. She was wondering if living in the Wuhan of the west had us rethinking our choice of city. She asked if we would ever consider moving to a place like Asheville, a place we recently visited and loved. She asked me this because she was feeling New York could not possibly recover from this, and that the city would somehow fall victim to crime, horrible unemployment, and general decay. I decided to give her a call and chat more on this.

A bit of background- like many New Yorkers, my friend is affluent. Not FU affluent, but affluent enough to spend summers in the Hamptons and take surf lessons in Sayulita.  And she has affluent friends. Who have houses in Amagansett and ski chalets in Park City. Her friends are doing her head in, with a little mind game I can only describe as virus shaming. One friend in LA is wondering how she is still staying in the city, when "everyone" has already left. Her friends are calling from their Hamptons homes wondering how she is surviving in the Manhattan war zone. One friend told her that the Upper East Side, now a ghost town is becoming a dangerous place. A friend of hers, who hightailed it the hell out of town, had her apartment robbed in the 70s and Madison. Because my friend has friends who abandoned ship, she's feeling weird about staying in town. Because most monied New Yorkers peaced out when it became COVID crunch time.

Here's what I told her.

First, New York ain't going anywhere.

New York weathered the Great Depression, 9/11, 2008, Sandy baby, and a million other maladies before my time and most likely, long after mine. 

Second, this is not just a New York problem. It's a world problem. I'm not sure who her friends are, but my friends in places like LA are also sheltered in place, although they are thanking urban sprawl for having more actual space to physically distance. I'll give them that. But it's not like people are going to parties, hanging out at restaurants eating avo toast, or taking hot yoga classes in Santa Monica. How anyone could say it's much worse in New York may be in deep denial about what their own cities and states are dealing with. Sure we have way more cases here- but we are a huge city. But does anyone know a single person who is living life as normal right now? No? Me neither. My point is- where else is there to go? I'd rather be cooped up right here, at home. Plus there are coyotes in Chicago and mountain lions roaming the streets of Boulder. Just saying.

Third, and this one may piss some of you off- a few less rich, entitled New Yorkers would not bother me. I do predict the 2.0 version of white flight happening all over again. For a long time now, rich people have decided that the ultimate badge of smug poshdom is not only staying in the city, but raising a family here. I know, because all their kids are screaming in my neighborhood on runaway scooters 24/7. It's true New York in the 70s may have been crime ridden, derelict, and downright scary. But it was also a resilient, exciting, and wholly creative time when the real lifeblood of the city- the creative class- the artists, dancers, writers, freaks and geeks, could actually afford to live here. It's true this city has become safe and clean and that's all good, but I wouldn't be mad at flattening the curve with less hedge funders/whack influencers/rich dicks.  I am so tired of living in a city that has become only about having beaucoup bucks (yes i know New York has always been about money but the last twenty years or so it's become a sanitized, entitled amusement park). Bring back the edge. I'll be here for it. Maybe all those small businesses that are suffering may actually be able to afford rent again, and pocket a few dollars in profit when this is all over. Imagine that.

And yea, I may be sitting in solace in my own Brooklyn bubble.  But I don't have a house in the Hamptons or a chic cabin in Phoenicia. This is what I've got. And I love it. And I'm not leaving any time soon. In fact, the thought didn't even cross my mind. Because if any place can weather a virus or storm or mega meltdown, it's this place. And this is my place. And I love living somewhere that is resilient, resourceful, and possibly, a little fucked up. Much like life.

Do I think that in this era of super viruses we may experience some sort of white flight all over again? Yes. And perhaps ruralism will have a moment as many seek security in wide open and secluded spaces. But am I willing to go full Walden at this moment and check out of society? Though it has its romance factor and I do believe simplicity is something we are all craving as life continues to become too complicated, I don't think that life is for me. Not any time soon. Because as much as I like the idea of goats and chickens and overalls, I also love this city and am curious to see what's next for it- it surely won't be easy but it will be worth it to reinvent this city and find new ways to fall in love with it all over again. I'm a romantic but make no mistake, I'm also a survivor.  And one thing's for sure, whatever's ahead, I'll be here for it. And take part in the new version of New York. Trash can fires and all. 

Cause that's what's up this world gone crazy kind of Friday in the best damn city on Earth. Yours, in finding my place as I shelter in place. XO


Face facts: Exposing a major fear of mine


Oh hey, Wednesday. Here we go again. I'm wearing my favorite onesie and seizing the day as best I can. But I have an issue. And the struggle is very real. Are you there, crew? It's me maven.

I need to tell you all one of my biggest problems with this virus besides the toll it is taking on our lives literally and figuratively is the following- I hate video conferencing. OMFG do I hate it. I'm not sure how many of you have met me in person, but I am notoriously camera shy. Like, to an absolute fault.

That said, put me in person with just about anyone and I'm golden. But this whole camera thing just ain't my thing, and much like driving, I've avoided it my entire life. (I know how to drive- thanks to living in Miami for 7 years, but don't miss it at all).

But back to the subject at hand- if you think I'm being hard on myself over my appearance, I'm not.  I'm just not particularly camera ready and some people are and I'm just not. At all. Add video to the mix and ugh. omg. i'm not ready for my screen test and never will be. I hate how having a job now requires a strong on camera presence? I just can't. How to navigate this crazy world when everyone wants to bloody zoom zoom zoom all the time?  I find the whole thing so unnerving and uncomfortable. I'd almost rather get an enema than have that awkward video call. Yuck.

I also have many friends, god love 'em all, who want to do caftan happy hours and game nights and wine with friends. I can't do it. I just can't. I'm sorry to all but the whole venue is not my trip. Call me anytime in lieu of seeing me in person. I just don't want to Facetime with you. Any of you. Ever.

What's it all about,  Alfie? Shall we unpack it? Why do i fear this so? I just looked it up and found something called scopophobia which is a morbid fear of being stared at by others. I buy that. I don't like it. Maybe that's why I didn't want a wedding and why I spent ,most of ,my career behind the scenes. Don't look at me indeed. And on that note, ommetophobia is defined on Healthline as "an unrealistic fear that their eyes are in danger of being injured. Another possible cause is the avoidance of eyes related to situational or social phobias, also called social anxiety". Hmm. Not sure that's really me. But still don't look at me.

What's funny about it all is that I go to great lengths to be noticed. My hair is bright red. I'm not afraid of fashion. Or a loud print. Yet somehow, I'm uncomfortable when someone sticks a camera in my face or I see my mug on that Brady Bunch Zoom screen. Maybe I need to wear a chicken head. That might help. Or a costume of any sort. That won't be weird at all. I cop to taking selfies from time to time, but it's rare.

Wondering how the rest of you feel- I know we are in a cultural moment (long before COVID-19) where more and more of us are comfortable being photographed and photographing ourselves in every possible situation. I'm just not that gal and probably will never be. I'm all talk- quite literally. And that's that.  I'll always be that avatar on your screen, faceless but not nameless. This would be a good time to get over my phobia, though. Let's wait and see. If you have any tips on how you deal with it, do let me know. Or maybe it just doesn't bother you. Lucky duck.

Cause that's what's up this Corona problem of a Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in saving face. XO

From New York, with love

Good morning, Wednesday. It's gloomy in the city, for so many reason. There are small slivers of hope happening in terms of hospital admittances, etc. but wow. This has been nothing short of surreal.

As many of you know, I identify as a New Yorker from deep within my bones, even though I am a native Philadelphian. There is no place on Earth that feels more like home for me than New York City, and my neighborhood in Brooklyn has always been a great source of comfort and joy for me. I love living here and I audibly sigh when I cross the Brooklyn Bridge and head back home. 

I have seen a lot of shit go down in this city. I was here for 9/11, the blackout, Hurricane Sandy. And though there were dark days, this is different. I've joked to friends that I always like being where the action is, but being in the city this time around has felt scary, and strange. What was different about 9/11 was the fact that neighborhood businesses were a huge source of our collective healing. Bars remained open, giving away free drinks to those of us trying to cope with a new reality. People gathered together- around car radios, coffee shops, and anywhere to find some source of connection- I remember so clearly the horrible search for loved ones, and all the photos posted on walls and fences that all of us stopped to look at in disbelief, bonded together in our collective horror. But cut to now.

There is no ability to physically be together at this very hard time. The stores are shuttered. The gyms are closed. Going into a pharmacy to pick up allergy medicine feels treacherous and downright frightening. The three block lines to go into Trader Joe's where people stand six feet apart are now a part of everyday life. And yes- I hate to admit it, but I've come across some people who have been hostile and rude. But tensions are so high, and I get it. These are unprecedented times and we are in the center of a swirling storm and it's all too much.

I was going to write a funny post today about all of my COVID era self discoveries, but something else took precedence. I posted about it on Instagram this am but here's a closer look.

Last night was a beautiful evening, and as the golden hour when the sun was setting so perfectly on the brownstones, we took Khan for a walk before dinner. We have literally been walking in a two block radius of light, somehow finding comfort in both the routine and the need to feel close to home, even when we are outside.

I passed a woman and her young daughter, seated on their beautiful stoop, dressed in outstanding clothes. She was in a sequined Rachel Comey dress (spotted by local clothing boutique Bird on my feed), with silver stilettos, and her daughter was in a lovely dress too. As I passed them with my bandanna mask and army jacket and unwashed hair, I audibly gasped. How stunning and chic they looked. It was like a ray of sunshine on top of the sunshine. I stopped to thank them for making an effort. New York is a town infamous for its stylish inhabitants, and for me, I felt a glimmer of hope amongst all that glitz. We walked the dog and talked about our day, and what we were going to make for dinner, or if we wanted to order from our new favorite French place around the corner (La Cigogne- best Nicoise salad in town, not to mention the hand cut truffle fries). 

As we reached our house, our next door neighbor was sitting outside with his face mask on, looking a bit under the weather. His house is all about the old school part of Carroll Gardens that I equally love- blow up decorations for all the holidays and Sunday gravy with family that always comforts me when I see their disposable silver trays in the trash on Monday (secretly, I've hoped for an invite since I moved in). We nodded in his direction and asked how he was doing, to which he replied, "not well. I lost my daughter to the virus".  And then my sense of hope sank deep into my soul. She was 31 years old. 

The ups and downs of this period will never be forgotten. One day you feel hopeful as you watch the trees bloom, the next day you can't get out of bed. The juxtaposition of joy and sadness in the time it took to walk the dog was so intense. Living in New York is intense as is- everyone knows that. But right here and now is when living in New York becomes more. It becomes a barometer and symbol for what the whole world is going through. In a one block radius. 

Wherever you are and whoever you are, I hope you are finding some glimmers of hope along with the sadness. I'm someone who is very empathic and tend to put my emotions in a drawer to cope with life, but that drawer is full and busting open so I'm letting it all out. I love New York more than ever, and I've never been prouder to live in a place that forces us to deal with the very messy business of life, right here, right now. It's funny because what I'm missing more than anything during this time of Corona is not brunching with friends or leaving the house. I'm missing my community- the local flavor and the kids getting on busses to go to school when I leave my barre studio in the morning, the beautiful shops and boutiques full of creative entrepreneurs that make living here a lovely experience. And the sense of normalcy of living in a city that, although, chaotic, is full of love and hope and connection. I suppose that's why I've been finding great comfort in old episodes of  "Sex and the City" lately, because that's the New York I fell in love with. We'll live there again, together. I'm sure of it.

Cause that's what's up this proud New York moment during this very difficult time. Yours, in concrete jungles where dreams are made of, there's nothing we can't do. Let's hear it for New York, because there's no place like it.  Happy Passover, ps. A virtual Dayenu from me to you. XO