Maven in love: Valentine's Day gift ideas for the woman in your life

Good morning, Wednesday. It's a snowy sitch here in the city, and I have not left the house in two days. I know that's not unusual right now, but I just can't be asked.  Something happens as you age- snow becomes intolerable.

Let's begin.

 I wouldn't say I'm the most traditional girl. I do a bit of zig when others zag.  I also wouldn't say I'm a traditional romantic in the relationship sense, though I am 100 percent a romantic when it comes to life in general. I can fall in love with a shop window, or swoon deeply for a beautiful meal, or beautiful anything. But Valentine's Day? Mixed emotions.

Fact- I got married on February 15th, 100 years ago. I remember clearly that David had a small window where he could get off from work (he was working in production at the time) to get married, and that was it.  I come from an era of BIG WEDDINGS. Vera Wang strapless dresses. With gloves to the elbow. GLOVES. Think full orchestra, roast chicken, and something borrowed, blue, and bougie. 

Another fact- milestones are not really my trip. And one more for the books- I hate to be the center of attention in the way brides always are. The thought of wearing white (haha, me in a white wedding dress, good one) and walking down an aisle with all eyes on me is about as pleasant as a colonoscopy. And the whole wedding vibe is not my vibe at all, and David agreed. So off to Vegas, we flew and tied the knot. Just us two. It was perfect and exactly what we wanted to do. But I digress.

Because Valentine's Day is upon us, and truth be told- I always liked it, even though it's surely side-eye worthy for its cheesiness. I love hearts, and I love chocolate, and although I don't love a generic greeting card or bad five-course meal, I do indeed love to love and be loved. And that's the truth. Yea, duh, we all do. . So yea, maybe I am slightly more traditional than I appear, and I guess the gifts I'm going to recommend for those with female loves are not far off the classic V Day brief but oh well. 

Also, fair warning- this is a list of spendy things. Indulgent things. Things Richard Burton may have purchased for Liz Taylor back in the day, thus the photo of the two of those gorgeous lovers at the top of the post.  And though we're not talking Liz Taylor level diamonds, this is not a cheap list of goods because, you know what? Chances are your lady deserves something gorgeous and luxe. Think of what you've put her through the past year in quarantine. PS- if times are tough, don't pay attention to any of this. A beautiful card, poem, or homemade cupcake will certainly do. It is very often the thought that truly counts, but then again, silk. Ok here we go:

If your gal is a bit cheeky, I adore these candles from Heretic (yes, they make THAT candle) that came across my inbox this morning. A burlesque candles that are a little naughty. Yes, please.

So I love silky things so, so much. Chances are she will too. This robe is so gorgeous- the color, the pattern, the luxury of it. Ah-mazing lingerie, too, if that's your thing. 

For kissing and making up, this lip palette is perfection. I love the red lacquer packaging (perfect for V Day) and all the bright and poppy hues that are moisturizing and super pretty. 
And, of course, there is the gift of fragrance. Because there is nothing sexier than smelling incredible, if you want to pony up for something pretty, you can't go wrong with anything by Frederic Malle. French perfume is a no-brainer, but his scents are complicated, delicious, and beyond sensual, much like love itself. I have many favs from his collection, but Carnal Flower is just divine. I have never been a big floral lover, but this one is completely intoxicating. A sophisticated tuberose that will have you following your femme around the house. Not that you don't do that now, but you're going to want to sniff her all day long. Trust.

Lately, I'm all about pearls. Because you can take something so classic and somewhat fuddy-duddy and make them fresh and exciting by pairing them with a boiler suit or layered with a gold coin necklace or thick link chain, they are such an amazing gift. I love anything Sophie Buhai does, particularly when it comes to pearls. These are so delicate and beautiful, and also extremely sexy.
And of course, V Day is all about flowers and more flowers. Personally, I've been buying fresh flowers throughout the quarantine because they brighten up any space. I found this florist online, and wow. Show-stopping. Very pricey, but omg. And, of course, roses are required. 

By now, you may be scratching your head, wondering when I became such a sucker for a Hallmark holiday. I say ok to that but LOVE baby love. I think it's something to celebrate. Needless to say, if you are single or you are the woman in your life or "it's complicated," any of the above work for self-gifting. Show yourself some love because you are worth every penny. Cause that's what's up this modern love kind of Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in ain't love grand? XO

What I miss most about life before the plague

Good morning, Friday. Long week. Bring on the weekend. Ps, it's cold as shit.

So last night, I was on the horn with a friend of mine, catching up on all the things. I was saying how restless I feel and how I feel a bit "stuck". I'm not someone who loves to stand still unless it's a well-deserved respite from a busy life. Right now, work is busy, but life? Not so much.

So we continued to chat on it, and I realized what I miss the absolute most during this time of staying home. I miss chance encounters. And serendipity. Life has become so ho-hum, and for now, that's how it has to be to stay safe and healthy. But as a New Yorker and creative observer, I find the lack of spontaneity a challenge. For instance, the other day, I had a dentist appointment uptown and decided to check out a gallery having a show with an artist I've recently discovered. I rang the buzzer on a nondescript building on East 68th off the park and checked out this cool little gallery called Turn. I had a delightful conversation with the gallerist, chatting about pop culture, fashion, The Beatles vs. The Stones, and the oddness of cats. It was such a lovely moment- looking at young artists and chatting with a total stranger. As a card-carrying shut-in, I no longer get to have many random conversations. Or chance encounters at, say, a dinner party where I might meet someone who could become a new friend or business prospect. I love that about New York City- it's totally true you never know who you will meet, and I miss that more than anything. And although I'm not exactly Howard Hughes, it feels different when out in public these days- people want to keep to themselves and keep their distance. It's regrettable. 

I see so many posts from people that say they miss their families and friends. I feel secure in those relationships, and though I miss quality time with the people I love, I REALLY miss being out and talking to new people. I'm sort of an introverted extrovert and lifelong connector, and I need the stimulation of off the cuff conversation to stay motivated, inspired, and happy.  All in all, what I miss the most is simply shooting the shit. I'm starved for it and so can't wait to engage with the possibility of new energy, kindred spirits, and a sense of connection. I guess what I'm saying is I don't miss the spontaneous water cooler conversations as much as I miss the spontaneous conversations I have with a barista in a coffee shop or the would-be gallerist who happens to love the Stones as much as I do. New York is a mosaic of diversity, but it's also the place I feel most connected to people. I feel like some of the best things that have happened in my life have happened by chance. Of being in the right place at the right time. And finding gifts and treasures when I'm not even looking for them. Oh, beautiful serendipity, come back to me.  

I'm looking forward to chance encounters once we all have shots in arms.  Cheers to the possibility of new conversations. Of those knowing glances when experiencing the city with strangers who "get it". Of dancing in a crowd and vibing on the energy of the collective. Ugh. I want it. Needless to say, so many of us are missing travel for this very reason- the unknown adventure that awaits and delicious sense of discovery.  I miss that beyond but in this instance talking about the everyday discovery and loveliness that comes from living in a place like New York.

Cause that's what's up this games of chance of a Friday in the 718. Yours, in talking to strangers. XO

Go for glow: My favorite new beauty products to love your light

Good morning, Wednesday. It's sunny and cold in New York City, and here we are almost a year into this pandemic, and just wow. Thank goodness for coffee.

And while I've been sequestered, I've found that rituals are a helpful way to begin and end the day;. Whether it's that first cup of aforementioned coffee or lighting a favorite candle in the afternoon (currently loving my Apotheke Palo Santo number), marking the day and honoring the moment has become essential for my sanity. So it's not surprising that I still love putting on makeup in the morning, even if nobody will see me at all. I enjoy taking time out to do something indulgent and uplifting.

On that accord, I'm all about skincare. Religious, fanatical skincare. My devotion to a daily skincare practice has become a non-negotiable. Twice a day, I'm doing all I can to keep my skin glowy, bright, and healthy. Particularly in the winter months, our skin needs a little extra love to keep it hydrated, bouncy, and happy. For me, it's all about radiance and glow. I'm forever seeking products that give a lit from within look- next week I'll recommend some makeup products that help, but today it's all about skincare.

So here are a few of my new favorite products that provide not only great results but a lovely, sensorial experience as well.

My new facial cleanser/massager tool from Popsonic is just perfect, bought on a whim from one of those steals and deals segments on the Today show.  I put cleanser right on the bristle side and power on to provide a massage while I cleanse, and then I love the other side that is paddle-like for a stimulating massage. Yes, it looks like a sex toy. And?

Three products from Kiehl's are on my list this month, too. I recently popped into their original location in the East Village and stocked up on a few things (and got a great gift). I'm obsessed with this treatment water that's like an essence- it somehow brightens and soothes your skin with an ultra-fresh feel after you cleanse and before you apply your products. I love an essence of late and can see a big difference when I use one- it makes the other products penetrate more deeply, so if you're spending all that money on products, why not ad something that gives your whole routine a little boost?

I also bought this incredible lip balm in Naturally Nude. If you read the blog on the regs, you know I'm forever in pursuit of the perfect nude lip, and this one delivers the perfect, subtle tint while taking care of chapped, parched lips. This Pro-Retinol eye treatment is also divine and subtly tinted to give the eye area a bit of brightening. Obsessed.  As for my gift, I got this fab mask brush. You may think a mask brush is excessive, but. I used it to apply my favorite StriVectin mask, Cloudberry Moisture™, on Sunday, and it made a huge difference when it came to an even, hearty application. Good stuff. Mine was free with purchase but here's another good option.

And I love this Leland Francis botanical serum, which is a fraction of Vintners Daughter products' price and fabulously herbaceous. I discovered it after a fabulous facial at neighborhood beauty bastion Shen, and I love its thickness, and the smell is lovely too- a great all-around serum at a reasonable price. Packed with 29 botanicals, it's a great all-around serum that balances, hydrates, brightens, and soothes.  I like the simple packaging too. Chic.

I've recently cut my hair way short again (thank you, Lord) and am so happy not to have to fuss with it. As much time as I like to spend on my face is the same as the little time I like to spend on my hair. It's just not my thing. But I absolutely love Christophe Robin's Cleansing Mask with Lemon- it's a non-shampoo shampoo, so it doesn't cause your hair to puff up and gives it that lived-in look I love while still provided a deep clean. Just don't get this sucker in your eye. Trust me. 

Wondering what rituals you all have to help you get through this rather tedious, ho-hum time. Restlessness is kicking in, and I'm just try8ing to stay grounded. A little self-care seems to help.

Cause that's what's up this love the skin you're in kind of Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in finding your light. XO

My Thoughts on Inaugural Fashion

Good morning, Thursday. It's truly a new day in America. And it feels real, real good.

Yesterday's inauguration was flawless. From the ceremonies to the speeches to the excellent prime time performances by some of our best and brightest, 1.20.21 was a day for the books.

And this maven was super impressed not just by a new chapter in history unfolding, but also- the fashion. 

I have always loved fashion because it serves as a pulse check for culture and society. And if yesterday was a barometer of anything, it was that we are ready to plunge out of the darkness of the past four years and go headfirst into something more positive, optimistic, and most of all- colorful.

We are a nation of many colors, creeds, proclivities, and beliefs. And we are also a nation where we now have the FIRST female Vice President, and a strong, beautiful woman of color she is. For me, yesterday's fashion chronicles were all about color and brightness. I led this post with Michelle because WOW. 

It was striking to me that Melania left the White House in somber black. Also striking that she departed the plane in Florida wearing a bright and printed Gucci caftan, but that's not here nor there because Melania is no longer news. Bye, Felicia.

What's most interesting about yesterday is that all the women at the festivities were wearing lots and lots of color.

And as I mentioned earlier in the season, I thought coats had a HUGE moment yesterday. It's always cold on Inauguration Day, so practicality prevailed, but also SO MUCH COLOR. And I love that Jill, Kamala, and Michelle most likely did a Zoom call to discuss the day and decide wearing young American designers was the way to go. So so smart. Incidentally, Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson are young black designers. And Markarian, who did Jill's daytime look, is a young designer from NYC, and blue signified trust and stability. I love the use of purple throughout- honoring the unity of red and blue coming together and also an homage to Shirley Chisholm's own fashion choices when she ran in 1972, though Hillary was surely channeling Prince with that fluffy scarf realness. I also loved that many women wore pearls as another nod to Chisholm and Kamala's sorority.

I am also obsessed with Kamala's stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, a true fashion maven who wore a stellar coat. I look forward to seeing more of her.

Also, Gaga was beyond. And J. Lo was a vision in white Chanel, though the makeup seemed heavy-handed IMHO.

And poet and official chill inducer Amanda Gorman was a vision in sunny yellow and a red Prada headband.

And no fashion round-up would be complete without mentioning Bern dog. OMG. He looked like he was running out to Trader Joe's and forgot about the Inauguration. Those mittens. And the meme world exploded. So good.

As 2020 was coming to a close, I took a look around my own closet and decided it was time to get more colorful for Spring 2021. I'm thinking Bill Cunningham blue, purple (a favorite hue of mine), and lots of brightness. I'm craving color so badly, and from the look of those setting the tone for the country, so is everyone else.  And though it may be too early to sing "Happy Days are here again," I will say that the notion of a new and modern roaring 20s has massive appeal. I'm so ready for lighter, brighter, more positive days ahead. Let's get colorful and celebrate our diversity and rediscover our greatest export- optimism.

The day ended on such a high note, and though admittedly I'm not much of a Katy Perry fan, her performance capped off the evening with fireworks and a beautiful finale to a gorgeous day. Sensational.

I'm so inspired and energized by this new day in America. I cried most of yesterday- tears of joy, tears of relief, and tears of closure as well as a fresh start. I'm so ready to embrace something more positive and bright and so glad fashion played a role in making America SHINE again. Cause that's what's up this fashionable Thursday in the best country in the world. Yours, in a brand new mood. XO


Good morning, Wednesday. Happy Inauguration Day.  I suspect many of us will have PTSD from the past four years. Still, today, we celebrate turning the page and returning to something more familiar and, hopefully, more compassionate and sane.

I will never forget where I was four years ago when Trump got sworn in. I was at a small boutique ad agency, freelancing, with a group of very young people who were as devastated as I was.  Shots were poured in the early part of the day to cope and take the edge off. We all prayed it would not be as bad as we thought, and in some ways, it was worse. To me, the fact that being a patriotic American became something perverse and disgusting was possibly his worst offense, that and the countless horrors like putting children in cages. To have to watch all of that unfold is something many of us will never forget. And I'm looking forward to the American flag meaning something wonderful again. 

As a young person, I admit I never felt that who was in the White House had any bearing on my life. I rejoiced when Obama became President and loved him and his family from the start. And now here we are, with a President that is poised so perfectly for the times in which we find ourselves. And I hope young people can now see that it matters who is in the White House; it really matters. And I believe we have a President who is perfect for the times.

Because Joe Biden understands grief better than most, and he is empathic, compassionate, and experienced. He has dedicated his life to public service, and I believe he will help us heal. Not to mention the first female and African American VP at his side. The past four years have forced us to confront some horrible truths about our country. And as we look ahead, we must face this grief, honor it, and move on to something better. I, for one, am looking forward to a renewed sense of American optimism. A return to a White House filled with love and tradition and light. I don't know what the lunatic fringe has planned, but I will take a moment or two to restore my faith. I admit I was skeptical about Biden, and he was not my first choice, but I am so impressed by his grace and sense of duty to his country.  Finally, something to celebrate amidst so much sadness. 

But amidst the pomp and circumstance, we must not forget how the past four years have changed us.  I'm currently reading Glennon Doyle's fantastic book, "Untamed," in which she notes it's important not to run from grief or difficulty but to face it head first so you can move past it. That's where we all are right now, and we need to learn from our collective grief and loss and find some hope and healing. An atypical inauguration day begins, and hoping for a safe and peaceful afternoon. Today is a day to find our way and our soul once again. It's a very different day than it was four years ago, and here's hoping we can restore and endure and come together for this significant moment.

Cause that's what's up this paying attention and taking it in kind of Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in American dreams, and switching on the lights. XO

Bird Brooklyn is closing and its the end of an era

Good morning, Monday. The weariness. It's a lot. I'm so hoping we can get back to sanity soonish. It's tough out there for a human. I'm so grateful to have what I have but jeez- what a crazy world we live in, not to mention a crazy country.

And amidst this backdrop of chaos and mayhem and COVID came the news that Brooklyn retail icon Bird was closing. For those unfamiliar, Bird and its owner, Jen Mankins was instrumental in creating the whole "Brooklyn look" that became not only a local phenomenon, but an export around the country, and arguably, the world. 

I have always thought about what my mom would think when walking around my Cobble HIll/Carroll Gardens neighborhood.  As a woman who has always been stylish, I'm not sure she would understand the BK vibe. Here women look like hippies, commune members, or some version of sculptress. The BK look is epitomized by the following items, and Bird sold them all:

A clog or clog boot (No. 6 is preferred)

A generously cut sackish dress (brands like Rachel Comey, Black Crane, and Suno made this famous)

Chunky knits of all kinds (Lauren Manoogian comes tor mind)

Carpenter pants and wool socks (Jesse Kamm is the icon here when it comes to pants)

My mother would probably think these women look vaguely unkempt. Not put together. Disheveled. But that's part of the look. Because though the women in this neighborhood skip heavy makeup and wear their tresses in top knots, their skincare game is on point (Bader products, Vintners Daughter, all bought at local beauty icon Shen Beauty) and their highlights probably cost more than a monthly car payment.

I remember when I first moved back to Brooklyn in 2011, I loved the vibe and embraced it wholeheartedly, even though dressing in this laissez-faire manner doesn't come cheap. Though I am not a mom (which makes me an anomaly in this neighborhood), I did fall in love with the aesthetic, and though I never really went full Brooklyn look, I incorporated parts of the aesthetic into my everyday attire. For me, the whole look can make me look like I live in the shtetl, so I tend to glam it up slightly.

Shtetls aside, I spent a lot of my hard-earned money at Bird. There was my Black Crane phase. Flannel flavored jumpsuits. Voluminous poet dresses. Elastic waist pants I wore on every flight I took for a long time. Or the Isabel Marant and Ulla Johnson tunics and dresses I'd rock all summer long in an homage to my boho comeuppance.

Then a favorite item of mine- a Rachel Comey faux fur leopard coat. Only one left in my size the day after Christmas and massively on sale (thank goodness). I live for this coat still and always am so excited to wear it. And I also loved when they did their own dress line under the Bird name- I bought an adorable printed mini dress with a mock neck and short sleeves that is simply the cutest dress of all time. Or the way I'd drool over all the Dries Van Noten pieces I craved and sometimes dreamt about.

When I read the news on Instagram this weekend about the store closing, I felt so sad. A real bonafide part of Brooklyn was leaving, and could not survive the current climate or inevitable fallout from the pandemic. I do think the legacy of Bird (they had four stores in Brooklyn at one time) will live on. But I'll miss shopping there and so will many stylish women in the neighborhood. This store was not for everyone- the clothes could be tricky to wear, not to mention expensive. But I love the risks they took to bring a new aesthetic to the city and the world. And most importantly, a feminist approach to dress that showed us all that feeling sexy was more than just showing some skin. Feeling sexy in your clothes was all about confidence and a cool cut or silhouette. I give Jen Mankins so much credit for redefining how we all want to dress, and making Brooklyn style cool. She was instrumental in that and the clog booted hoards in my 'hood will surely be mourning this loss. It's true there is not a default Brooklyn look, but Bird created an archetype that became an icon.

And that's what's up this Brooklyn forever kind of Monday in the 718. RIP to an icon. You will be missed. XO

My take on the year that was

Good Monday morning, my friends. It's been a minute since I've written. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, albeit a weird one. As someone who has lived 50 years on this planet, it's true that certain years are better than others. This one was not great and I'm really looking forward to a fresh start in 2021. 

A few housekeeping notes as the year ends...

I'm committing to exploring some new ventures next year. I've been writing steadily for a while now and I'm ready to stretch and flex a bit. If I'm using my intuition, it's going to be something clothing related- a design, a pop-up, something of that sort.  I'm ready for a new challenge and most of all, I'm ready to do something that feels 100 percent like me. Because 2021is all about being true to myself, and only doing things that feel aligned with my point-of-view, desires, and DNA. 

I know we've all had a ton of time to think about ourselves lately. Being a shut-in is good for that. And for me, I've learned that at this stage in the game, I want to be more discerning about life in general. If this year has taught us anything, it's about what matters most to us. That looks different for each and every one of us. My picture is all about finally embracing my entrepreneurial spirit and going for something one hundred percent myself. I am so grateful for the incredible work I've done in 2020, and cheers to further development of my unique offer in 2021. I feel like everything I've done in my career from trends to production to writing has landed me here.

And speaking of writing, I'm never going to stop doing that. Writing is a part of me, but I have many parts of me that are itching to come alive as well. Let's see where I land but this blog will continue to live as long as I feel like putting it out- I do love sharing with all of you and can't see that stopping any time soon. I realize the frequency is not ideal, but I like this blog to be a non-stressful place for me to connect. It's not necessarily meant to be a daily "job". But I'll keep going as long as you want to keep reading. And if there's anything you'd like me to cover, do let me know.

Next, I miss you. All of you. I realize how important the relationships in my life are- and how much I am looking forward to in-person connections when this horrible plague is in the rearview mirror. I miss dinners. Drinks. Dinner and drinks. Connecting in hallways, stairways, and just about anywhere. I'm sure you all feel the same way. It's true I absolutely am a homebody and need my space, but man- I can't wait to kick my social life and family time back into regular gear. It's enough already. This is all a revelation as I previously considered myself a bit of a misanthrope. Turns out I like people. Weird.

I've also noticed the importance of rituals as we all spend all of our time at home.  Somehow, there's an unpredictability to the mundane that can be anxiety-producing. What will the day bring? What fires need to be put out? What will Cuomo say in his 11 am preso? Because of all the unknowns and instability, I find comfort in certain routines. For instance, I love setting up my home for the day. From opening the curtains to let the sunshine in to turning on the lights in the living room to flipping the switch on the Christmas tree (needed this year), I'm loving how the day comes alive and also how I wind down in the evening. I've also been super diligent with all of my self-care rituals. I'm digging skincare and makeup to help set a course for some version of normalcy. Oh, and my favorite new ritual is my Nespresso machine. The whole experience is top-notch and I'm obsessed with it. That gentle whirring. It's the most.

From a style perspective (no maven post would be complete without one), I've cut my hair short again and am embracing more of a tomboy moment these days. I did succumb to a matching sweatsuit and have not worn it once. I have however switched out my obsession with dresses for jumpsuits. I'm no longer a nap dress kid. I'm all about that pants and jumpsuit life, but I for one am looking forward to embracing a more colorful perspective come Spring. I'm going to invest in some non-black or navy clothing to amp up my mood and go for something bright. Cobalt blue is particularly top of mind, as are hot pinks, purples, and greens.

As for pop culture consumption, I continue to be obsessed with Harry Styles. His appeal to women of a certain age is not lost on me. I just love that guy. Because he's the guy at overnight camp who played guitar and dug Baudelaire and put your stomach in knots but not in a truly hormonal way. There's something very safe about his sexiness, and I like it. On the other side of the sexy spectrum is Miley Cyrus. She's killing it. From gorgeous cover songs to rock and roll style to that blonde mullet. I just love her of late. And of course, I watched a ton of television. All the usual suspects. My fav of the year was probably the bawdy period series "The Great". But I also loved "The Queen's Gambit", the hilarious second season of "Pen 15" and of course, "The Morning Show". I'm sure there are more I'm missing but those stand out for me. Ooh, and of course, "The Crown". Omg. I so love that show. As for "The Undoing"? Meh. I'm scared of Nicole's face, though big kudos for Jen Aniston, whose performance in "The Morning Show" is stellar and she's owning her age in the best of ways. Well played.

And this year was also all about taking long weekend drives. We've schlepped all over the place to escape the city and have so loved getting in the car with the dog to explore all the riches nearby. From going upstate to checking out Greenwich to finding hidden jewels here and there, I am immensely grateful to have a car.  But truth be told, no matter where I go, it's simply New York or nowhere, baby. With so many abandoning ship, I love this city more than I ever have.  Big up to my Carroll Gardens neighborhood for providing a deep source of comfort during this very strange time. Though I did think about spending the summer and beyond at the Jersey Shore, I'm not ready to leave New York and I'm thrilled and honored to contribute to its resurgence. I feel a sense of duty to give back to a city that has given me so very much.

As for food, we've all been cooking a lot more, though the past few months have seen me patronizing local restaurants much more often. In terms of what I've been making, I'd say cauliflower rice is my go-to of all go-tos. It's super easy to create custom dishes with cauli rice as a base, and I've done it with everything from arrabbiata sauce to "fried rice" by adding an egg and some veggies and soy sauce to adding frozen cauliflower rice to my smoothies and using it like ice for a bit of a veggie boost.  I also find myself more drawn to vegetarianism again. And though I gained weight in the first six months of the quarantine, I've now lost it and feeling back in my groove. 

And no post on this year would be complete without mentioning the home gym sitch. I don't have a Peleton and don't plan on getting one as my second bedroom is now my closet and there's no room for it. I have loved the innovation of workout studios around the country and around the world in terms of providing an incredible array of options for any taste and fitness level. I'm still doing Pure Barre, am obsessed with The Salt Drop, and go in and out of Taryn Toomey's The Class (it can be a bit woo woo but it's a great workout). I've also found yoga to be immensely helpful, particularly during the nail-biting days leading up to the election and the days following. I'm grateful to Prema Yoga, my local studio, for bringing online classes to life, as well as Bulldog Yoga out of Villanova, PA for their fun and music-fueled workouts. I also dig Y7's online offer, because I can't handle their in-person classes (hot yoga is not my bag) but love their vibe and choice of songs. 

So that's a wrap on the year that was. It's hard for me to admit I fared so much better than others. With so much suffering and sadness out there, it's hard to not feel that collective sense of tragedy. I'll never forget the feeling I had early on in the pandemic when my next-door neighbors lost their daughter to the virus. Or the fear I felt when my mother got it. Or the freezer trucks parked outside of my neighborhood funeral home. Or the sickness in my stomach over George Floyd and so many senseless killings. This was one fucked up year, and it will take time to heal from all of this darkness and fear.  I just wanted to give my take on how I handled life during COVID and how I am so looking forward to turning the page on the pandemic. Look for me at the disco, darlings. I'll be there in a silky, jewel-toned something or other. And if you need a bit of a pick-me-up may I suggest a Soul Train line dance rabbit hole courtesy of YouTube? Delicious.

And that's what's up these last few days of a crazy, paper-thin fragile kind of year kind of Tuesday in my beloved Brooklyn. Happy new year and let's hope for health, happiness, and some version of normalcy. Yours, in home is where the heart (and apparently everything else) is. Bye, Felicia. XO

The Shoptimist Returns: The Brooklyn Small Gift Gift Guide

Good afternoon, Wednesday. Well I have to say it- I’ve succumbed to the Coronacoaster and have been feeling more ups and downs than the elevator at Saks. I tend to be a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to catching up to the masses, but the holiday season at-home vibe hit me hard. I’m missing holiday cocktails and holiday attire and a general sense of holly jollies. I’m well aware I’m luckier than most, but ya- tough times, strange days. All of it. I find listening to Drake helps with a few extra dog snuggles, but that's just me.

 So this morning I saw on NY1 this awesome website built to help Brooklyn businesses. It’s called Shop Brooklyn not Bezos and I just love it. I’m not going to pretend I don’t shop on Amazon, but I am a huge fan of shopping local, particularly when it comes to thoughtful, unique gifts. So I thought I’d do my very own take on BNB and share with you some of my favorite spots in my neighborhood for self-gifting and for everyone on your list. I've focused on small but special gifts here. Because to me, this season is all about little presents with purpose.  My neighborhood of Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill has some amazing little shops well worth your support, as does every neighborhood in this blessed borough. So here goes my gift guide- all of these shops are within walking distance to my house. I'm a lucky girl.

For beauty lovers, Shen Beauty on Court is clean product paradise. The staff are amazingly knowledgable and fun and the items offered are some of the best you can buy. I’ve become a devotee and their new location further up on Court Street is beyond gorgeous. One of my fav brands I discovered while shopping there is Haoma. I love the packaging and the oil-based cleanser takes self-care to a luxe and melty new place. This face oil is gorgeous and layers beautifully with all of your skincare for a bit of a bright, holiday glow.

 Down the block from me is a fab new store called Rue St. Paul. I love their rental model but also love their bits of sparkle. Isn’t this a lovely little necklace?

If you’re looking to pick up something for your man while you self-gift, I love Haus of Hanz. They have wonderful stuff for the boys (and girls) and I’m a big fan of this extra-soft flannel shirt, and he will be too. I should know, because I bought it for David. Plus, they are the nicest people and always send you a lovely email to thank you for your business. Classy.

If you want to give your tree a modern touch, check out Wanderlustre. They have fabulous stuff for the home overall and I just love this Good Witch ornament. We all need a bit of positive hocus pocus right now.

And how much fun are these mother of pearl stash boxes with a checkered Vans vibe? And this faux fur throw, though. Spendy but great for a high-end gift. PS well aware this is not a small gift but gah. I love it.

Oh and if you have a Gen Xer on your gift list, check out Woods and Grove, a store close to home I find myself enjoying all the time. I’m obsessed with these super fun, pop cultural plates. This Kurt Cobain one feels on point.

Further along on Atlantic Avenue are some fabulous shops. M. Patmos has the most beautiful knit wear and elevated basics, not to mention those socks I posted a few posts back. If you’re on the market for chic stocking stuffers, this is your spot. I’m in love with this vintage Indian silk scarf for a pink pop of boho to go with all your at-home attire.

You all know by now how much I LOVE Meg, a local Brooklyn brand that has been a go-to of mine for years. If you have an activist in your life, get her this great feminist hat in hot pink (yea I love pink). It’s so good.

 We are all feeling the homebody vibe, and if you want to go for something unique and special, The Primary Essentials has you covered. They have incredible things for the home and I’m loving these rather unique candles that would make a very cool and Insta-worthy tablescape.

If you or a friend or loved one is a vintage vixen, Consignment Brooklyn is a one stop shop for all of your fashion fixes of the vintage persuasion. Owner Eva Gentry has the best eye, and I love these vintage eyeglasses. Giving me major Jena Lyons vibes and I’m crazy about them.

 So there you have it- come to my neighborhood for a walkabout and I’ll show you all the hot spots, socially distanced of course. Or shop online.  We can still make the holidays glorious by supporting small business and helping everyone stay on their feet. Cause that’s what’s up this give a little and get a lot kind of Wednesday in the 718. I truly believe supporting small business is crucial right now. Yours, in small gifts for all, with love from Brooklyn. XO













Thoughts on Thanksgiving: Gratitude with a side of kvetching and future gazing

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving to my friends, family, and everyone I know. And don't know. All of y'all.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my very favorite holidays. From the fall colors to the crisp air to the Macy's Parade to the fantastic meal and togetherness with family and friends. Not to mention it's the traditional kick-off to the holiday season. I am a big fan of the holidays and feel grateful that I've had nothing but a wonderful time for the past few holiday seasons. But here we are now. And yea. Hmm.

Though I am tremendously grateful for my work and my family and friends, I'm missing stuff. 

I admit at the beginning of the quar. I was thrilled to WFH, be at home, eat at home. All of it. I was relieved not to have to run around to and fro. From the gym to the office to the dinner plans to falling into bed and feeling completely tapped out. But now I feel that way from the lack of much to do at all. I even started missing commuting a bit. It was that time in the morning where I'd put on my music and look at people and places and watch the city wake up. As a creative person, I'm getting somewhat panicked about the lack of inspiration. I'm like a baby. I need constant stimulation. A baby and a New Yorker. That's why I live here- for the constant air of surprise, delight, and sometimes disgust. I need that range in my day. Now I may have all of those things. But it's because I watch too much CNN while I'm working. It's just not the same.

Yesterday I was chatting with someone about what's next. What will people want to wear after months and months of matching sweatsuits? Will we ever stop wearing ugly shoes? Will I ever need a blazer again? Or a dress? I'm starting to dress like a bro and I can't stop. I mean my last blog post was about socks. Send help.

But back to what's ahead. 

As I watched Biden introduce his cabinet, I felt an unusual sense of calm. Like, yea. We're in a crazy pandemic, but things may just be ok soon. Because we are going to have some normal people around. That look normal. And talk good. And care about public service.There's relief in that, and I know I'm not alone.

And when this plague is over, will we all take to the streets and rejoice? Will disco make a comeback along with silky, lame silhouettes and high heeled sandals? Will I embrace my inner Bianca Jagger, or will I continue to dress like Rocky? Or perhaps I'll combine the two. My navy separates from the Uniqlo  men's department with a high heeled sandal? It's not clear.

But my money is on makeup, glamour, and fa-shun, honey.

Because next year at this time, there will be another Thanksgiving. And I'm hoping we are all going to celebrate with our families and loved ones the way it's meant to be. And there will be parties for Christmas, and yes, there will be sparkly moments to celebrate. And there will be a President in the White House who loves dogs. And people. And I'm guessing- the holidays. Today I warmed my spirit with some classic house music. While I was home alone with the dog looking on. I need fun in a BIG WAY. I'm not ok without fun. Who is really? Fetch me a dopamine release. Or is that what online shopping is now?

On that note,  as the sales permeated by feed, I purchased pajamas. Three pairs of pajamas. That's how I roll right now. I don't have my eye on a shoe or a handbag or even a dress. I only wish to buy pajamas. What does that say about these strange days? Also, we got a Nespresso machine. I'm not sure about it. Why is it so whipped? Is that normal? It vexes me and I'm not sure why.

I guess we all just have to make the best of it. Thank God for "The Crown." Thank the Lord for strong coffee and mid-afternoon music breaks and cauliflower rice. Weird I know, but I literally make it with everything. I'm thankful for my bubble of sorts. I'm also grateful for Trump leaving office. It's time. GTFO. I'm also thankful that we left our old apartment to live in this sweet building. What a blessing. And obviously, for my health and the health of my loved ones. Oh and lest you think I'm ridiculous to complain, I know how lucky I am. But I'm Jewish and complaining is my birthright. And if there was ever a time to kvetch...

Because coming to a terms with a rather strange holiday season has me feeling blue. I'm missing all of you and missing my upcoming traditions- no Sandra Bernhard at the holidays, followed by our annual dinner at Indochine. No dinners to celebrate friendships. Some window shopping, most likely but not a ton of bopping about in stores. Besides, I'm shopping small and you should too. It's the right thing to do, and we both know it. SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS. FULL STOP. Ooh and on that note- another trend I predict for 2021. The little engines that could are going to win. Think people taking care of their communities, digging into their neighborhoods, and supporting mom and pop shops in an effort to heal. A sort of new hyperlocalism/bubble culture while we all continue to feel a bit shy about traveling?

Last year, at this time, I was sitting in my new apartment, surrounded by boxes,  packing for a trip to Jamaica. What a difference a year makes. These days, it's hard enough to just focus on what's immediately in front of you. But I believe we all need something to look forward to and dream, dream, dream. 

But for now, I'll enjoy a few days off. And fantasize about wearing something silky with a bold lip and hitting the town and eventually getting on a plane and traveling again. Hoping your weekend is all about being very present and grateful but also allowing a little room to dream, darlings. We must.

Cause that's what's up this Thanksgiving Thursday in the lovely borough of BK. Yours, in tryptophan and trying to stay positive. Eat the dessert tonight, ps. Live a little. XO

Maven recommends: Get grounded with a good pair of socks

Good morning, Thursday. Three cups of coffee in and yet, still tired. As a girl naturally prone to darkness, this gloomy weather is intoxicating but also slightly debilitating. I romanticize gloomy days, but I suppose I could use some sunshine. That or more Drake. I'm all about Drake today.

Weather aside, it's almost the holidays. Yea, I know.

I'm thinking gifting may be something we all want to do this year or for many, the economics of gifting may not be in the cards this year. And then there's those of us who are feeling the need for a bit of a self-gift lift. For the self-gifted types or for those looking for gifts for sisters or anyone else, I'm obsessed with these socks. 

Socks and I have a complicated past. I've always fancied a bare foot. It must go with that sunshine vibe I love so much- I like my feet to be uncovered as most socks feel sweaty and gross. But since the quarantino I'm loving all of my slippers (hello Baboosha babies j'adore) and now am also loving on socks. Keeping my feet warm in between Teams calls keeps me grounded. Or something like that.

So when I found these Pata Paca socks in my sock drawer, I fell back in love with them. I purchased them at M.Patmos last year (lovely local brand and shop in the BK) and remembered how great they are. They're Peruvian alpaca and are somehow incredibly warm and comforting but not itchy or hot in any way. I'm currently rocking a red pair (red socks rule) and this season the shibori ones are calling my name. At 30-45 bucks a pop, they're not cheap but man they are cozy as cozy gets.

They're almost like slippers and they take your Birkenstock game to the next level, so get a pair.  I also love the marled/melange vibe of this pair.

You can purchase them on M.Patmos site here. They make a great gift for you or anyone else in need of steady footing. Cause that's what's up this it's almost the holidays kind of Thursday in the 718. Yours, in good tidings and playing footsie. XO