Sally O'Malley

Good morning, Friday. I almost said Monday. Oy. 

Well, here we are. And here I am. Today I turn 50 and have been thinking of this moment for about a year now. If I'm being honest, I'm feeling a little fucked off about it. Like, how the hell am I 50?  But I know this feeling shall pass. Because although it's a big birthday, I've never felt stronger, smarter, or better in my entire life.

As someone that's born in a new decade/year (1970), marking these milestones has a lot of significance. So I tend to remember those birthdays the most. Don't ask me about 20. I have no idea. Probably drunk somewhere, making out with someone.

I very clearly remember turning 30, almost more than any other birthday in my life.

When I turned 30 I was in San Francisco on a hellish project, and feeling all the feels. Every single one. I got in a big fight with my boss and retreated to my friend's Victorian in the Haight. There I listened to "Blood on the Tracks" on repeat, and cried. The tears were not tears of sadness. They were tears of relief. I was so happy to be out of my manic panic 20s era. l knew at 30, life would be different. And it was. I met my husband two weeks later and the rest is history. 30 was probably my most important birthday of my life. Until now I suppose.

I turned 40 in Miami and threw myself a party with Jamaican patties, and David had a cake made with my picture on it. I had lots of friends over, my aunt flew down which was awesome, though I'd be lying if I said I was thrilled to fete myself in such a way. I'm not super comfortable with people celebrating me. Not that I'm not worthy. I'm just kind of shy about that stuff. Anyway, 40 was nice, and we all got boozy, but it wasn't really me to have a big bday party, and it still isn't. Thanks, quarantine.

Cut to 50. I'm working my butt off, I'm exercising my butt off, and I'm feeling powerful. I recently got a tarot reading (sorry non-believers) and the first three cards I pulled were the sun, moon, and stars. Can't beat that, really. I thought about renaming this blog "MIdlife Maven". But I'm still me. I don't need a label. I'm going to keep on just as I was because I'm not down with that title.

I feel that great things are in store, but this day threw me for a loop. I don't feel old at all, so I'm wondering how on Earth I'm 50. I had a hard time sleeping last night just thinking about it, but as the day got underway, I started to feel better. The anticipation was killing me. As in somehow I'd wake up with a chinful of hair and a.bucket full of hot flashes. Neither happened. 

Look for a piece from me next week about turning 50 in captivity/quarantine. I'm writing this piece here in the car on the way to the beach, my happy place. Thanks to all my friends and family for wishing me well. I'm a bit thrown off by 50, but so grateful I can find my groove in lockdown, where I can quietly welcome this birthday just as I wish, with a slow bandaid rip. To be honest, I have very little patience, so the slow rip is something I have to deal with. Patience has never been my strong suit, and it sure isn't at this moment.

Cause that's what's up this 5-0 kind of Friday from the highway. Yours, from Sally O'Malley (see above GIF).  XO

Nap dresses are the new athleisure

Good morning, Thursday. Back in the BK and it's hot in the city. Trying to call myself with some cold brew from my local spot and settle in to city life yet again. 

So check it. Recently it has come to my attention that athleisure sales have been skyrocketing. It's interesting to see the types of businesses benefiting from the pandemic- you go try and find a Clorox wipe anywhere, for instance. Not to mention paper towels and baking supplies. And when it comes to what we are wearing during the quarantine, many are sticking to elastic waists and gym clothes because they are comfortable, easygoing, and cozy. I for one am never without a fresh supply of my beloved Splendid black leggings. They are in my wardrobe forever and I absolutely adore them- they're on the thin side which I like and are simply the softest, most comfy leggings around. Highly recommend.

But as someone who also works out at home now, I'm not much for staying in my workout clothes all day, though sometimes I do. For me, being home is all about being comfortable, but I prefer to have a bit more fun with it. Because, well, you know. That's the maven way.

Which is why something called a "nap dress" recently caught my eye.

It came across my Instagram and I clicked on it and it was love at first sight. It's from a brand called Hill House, and it comes in a short length and a more midi version and I just love the idea of a simple dress to wear all day. And if a nap happens in between zoom calls, so be it. Don't even pretend you don't shut your eyes for 10-20 minutes when the going gets rough. Why not do so in style? Admittedly the name is kind of eye roll-worthy but who cares? It's cuter than sweatpants, this much I know, and I can throw on my Vans slides and take Khan for a walk, too. And since my current binge watch obsession is "The Great", my fantasy has me lolling around my castle/apartment, effortlessly lounging in a nap dress. I just find it lovely, zoom call worthy, and adorably sexy all at once. I am a longstanding fan of nightgowns as clothing- thinking back to the 90s in New York City where you would find me in a slip more often than not. I was so that chick. 

Cut to now- where most days I admittedly work from bed, often under the duvet. It's my happy place. I'm not one for a desk. So for me, WFH is very much WFB. 

Besides the above nap dress,  a bevy of cotton poplin dresses popping up everywhere are on my radar. From Zara to my new fav A Bronze Age, a puffy sleeved poplin frock feels just right- particularly in lemon yellow or lilac. Loose, easy, and crisp.  Sleeper is a spendy brand with the most gorgeous sleepy chic dresses ever, oh and I see you- party pjs. I see you and feel you and love to love you but this post is about dresses so sit this one out.  

Not to mention my current obsession with Eileen West white nightgowns, or this long sleeved one from Lacera, which I spotted in the Rhinebeck Department Store and wanted on sight. Prim at first sight, but taken up a notch with a black bra underneath and a coin necklace and it becomes unmumsy. A bit of cottagecore perhaps. But doesn't have to be matronly. Unless of course you want it to be. Do you though?

And if you're not into wearing white, a cotton black dress is every bit as cool. I love this one from Modern Citizen that came across my inbox last night. And the back is lovely too.  

So as we continue to keep it all on lock (I am anyway), consider a nap dress. Or don't. Whether you are team athleisure or team nap dress, move forward in good health, peace, and for goodness sake, a bit of style. Cause that's what's up this don't snooze on style of a Thursday in the 718. Yours, in cold brew, nap dresses, and sweet, stylish dreams in quarantine. XO

On cool cats and staying put

Good morning, Friday and TGIFFFFFF. Yes, friends. Yes. I'm headed upstate on Sunday for a week \to wftc (work from the country) and get a little change of scene. After the past few weeks, I need a small respite from my beloved Brooklyn. And as the city comes back to life, a bit of a cautionary tale.

What's fantastic about this city, this heartland of mine is the people's resilience here. In the past few days, I've seen my Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens transform into a small European village, with outdoor seating and a bit of a return to something that did not feel normal, but lively. Traffic is back in the city in a big way, and there's more hustle and bustle than we've seen in a while. I feel like screaming "TOO BLOODY SOON," but I know that businesses are hurting, and we have to support them. As a relatively neurotic bunch, I'm wondering how comfortable we'll be trying on clothes in stores and getting our hair done and everything else. That's all very much TBD, and I'm admittedly in the minority of people yearning for the early days of quarantine- not the people dying and the fear but the strange sense of calm that came over this entire town. It was like "Vanilla Sky" when you drove through Manhattan- an empty canyon that had a sense of peace and beauty to it I've never experienced in my whole life here.

But cut to now.

I have friends hitting the road for good. Some have decamped to Connecticut for a year or so to see what happens back here. Others stay in their Catskills homes for good right now and let go of their leases in Manhattan. I don't blame them at all. I'm not one of them, and I'm not super interested in leaving right now. I am one of those romantic fucks that still loves this city. Unconditionally and at all costs. Talk to me in a few months, but I still want to hang. If anything, I'd choose to leave the damn country if I could. But that's a whole other thing.

Which brings me to the cat pictured at the top of this post. 

As I walked to a stoop glass (or three) of Sauvignon Blanc with an old colleague who lives in the neighborhood, I walked by this guy. There he was, just sitting on his stoop. Not a care in the whole world. Grizzled but handsome in a rugged, edgy kind of way. I am not one for cats, but I do admire their gravitas and general FU gestalt. Plus, they have character. And I like that.

So as I walked by, his owner unloaded her car and casually looked at me and said in her best Brooklyn deadpan, "That's Steve McQueen." 

I asked if I could take his picture, to which he remained aloof, but I like this shot, which says admire me but don't fucking look at me. I can relate. Very much.

To me, this cat epitomizes what I love about New York and always will. Somewhat disheveled at present, but way cooler than you could ever hope to be. A majestic figure, highly intelligent, and a bonafide badass, living right on my block. 

I realized as I walked by him, I was not yet ready to leave this cuckoo town. Because I still get such a kick out of it all. Of the old Italians that now drink their coffee alfresco and watch what's happening on the street. Of the beautiful, leafy streets of my beloved Brooklyn in the summertime. Of stoop hangs with old colleagues and chilled wine. Or the dad next door who spent hours inflating a lovely pool for his two boys complete with doughnut inner tubes, to the delight of the little girls that live next to them who peer over their fence in wonder at this summer standout. And of course, animals with names that make your whole day. You may find a cat named after a cooler than cool movie star in Connecticut, and you very well may not. And that matters to me. I've explained it as well as I could, but many of you know exactly what I mean. Particularly this funny feline named Steve McQueen. He gets it.

I'll stay in this city until it no longer serves me. But right now, I still need it, and it needs me. PS I'm not a martyr and I don't want a medal. I'm just sharing what's up in my little neck of the woods.  I wish everyone safety and health, continue to fight for what matters to you, and what matters to help us all keep going. Yours, in cool cats and sheltering in my place. XO

Thoughts from a city on edge


Good morning, Monday. I haven't written in a long time, and the world looked a lot different than it does now or the way it looks from my last part.  Today, New York enters Phase Two of la grande rentrée and stores, outdoor dining, and hair salons can open up again. Lord help us all.

For me, many voices needed to be heard, and I was quiet so I could process it all. There was a ton of posts, updates, and otherwise all over social media to support the protestors, and to commemorate the senseless death of George Floyd and countless others. Once upon a time in America...I hope one day we can talk about this time as a reckoning- when we confronted the virus of COVID-19 and the enduring virus of racism. At some point, I hope we can all heal together. Together being the operative word.

So I've been struggling to write about all the things I typically write about because it was not the time for my voice. I wanted to make room for others to talk, and I wanted to make room in my mind to process what was happening. And then came the fireworks.

True story and I think I've told you this before- I don't like fireworks. At all.

As a child, I had a raging phobia of loud noises, particularly fireworks and anything loud and boom-like. In case you don't live in a big city, maybe you're not experiencing the nightly sonic booms that we are having in places like Philly and New York. In my neighborhood, summer fireworks are a bit of a thing, but not on this scale. It's not going off like crazy in my nabe, but the surrounding areas are suffering anxiety with four straight weeks of BOOM after BOOM from about 10-2 am each evening. Dogs are freaking. Children are crying. People set off professional-grade fireworks every night for hours on end, and it's jarring, scary, and very unsettling, particularly because the city is already on edge. (Not to mention doing this is such close proximity to buildings, cars, and people is beyond dangerous).

Many people are complaining, and the fabulous fireworks debacle of 2020 is making the rounds of newspapers like the New York Times, blogs, and nightly news shows. The police are totally MIA when it comes to this illegal activity, and many are accusing them of planting these fireworks in neighborhoods themselves. It seems that besides the police, the only person not seeming to give a crap about it all is our mayor, but that's another story.

Anyway, I'm on Nextdoor (a local app for community postings) in my neighborhood and posted about fireworks about a week ago, and people came for me.

First, I was a "gentrifier," and how long have I lived in Brooklyn during the summer?

Second, I was showing my white privilege by complaining about this. And how lucky I was to have this as my only complaint as people were fighting for their lives every day.

Third, as previously mentioned, maybe it was the cops themselves setting them off to cause chaos and confusion.

Hmm. 

I, in no way, implied that my annoyance at fireworks is comparable to concerns for human life and police brutality. I just said they are very jarring and scary and add to the air's sense of tension. And as more and more people came to my defense (thank you, people of Brooklyn), I realized that the nightly explosives were part of this whole reckoning. That we all have to face our fears and the things that make us uncomfortable. Maybe it's all about staying awake. Because nobody can sleep with these explosions all night. Or perhaps it's just that people need to calm the heck down and understand that to judge someone you have never met is pretty horrible and counter-productive. On the subject of conspiracy theories, no comment. 

And as the other crisis of Corona continues to taunt us, I heard a story on the radio that gave me pause. An epidemiologist was talking about the decrease in cases in countries like Italy and France because countries like those in Europe are socially minded (and no, not just socialist). They are societies that believe in the public good. And then, there's us. 

We believe in individualism. At every cost. Because protecting our freedom is the number one thing we all are supposed to believe in the most in this country, right? But what if your individualism was making everybody sick? What if your endless sonic booms are making others uncomfortable, and not in the right way? 

I would love to see this country move towards something else. Because we can't go back to normal, and we shouldn't. I would argue that everything before COVID-19 was anything but ordinary. We were spinning out of control. Imagine a country where you can celebrate your individuality while being mindful and compassionate when it comes to the health and well being of others? Call it being civically minded, socially-minded, or just being a good neighbor and citizen of Earth. We have got to start caring about other people. And wear your damn mask, for goodness sake. 

Don't be an asshole. Plain and simple. Be considerate of your neighbors and communities and understand that amidst so much hurting and anger, we need some good healing energy too. Now is the time to fight, but it's also a time to acknowledge how deeply wounded we are as a country. This weekend was Father's Day, and I couldn't help but think of my next-door neighbors, who finally took down their Easter decorations yesterday and spent their first Father's Day without their 32-year-old daughter, who lost her life to COVID-19.
You have no idea what people are experiencing- practice compassion, keep fighting for what's right, and work for healing and coming out of this dark period better allies, better friends, and better Americans. Be a fighter AND a lover.

Cause that's what's up this loving Monday in the 718. Yours, in newfound American optimism, and keeping it real. XO

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