Travel Essentials

Ah, the joys of trip preparation. Buying miniature tubes of toothpaste at the pharmacy. Affixing my luggage tag to the handle of my suitcase. Deciding which vitamins to pack. Curating a week’s worth of outfits. Designing my own survival kit. Setting an itinerary. I’m not going any farther than my city’s art museum for the time being, but traveling, my favorite pastime, is always on my mind.

Works Sighted

Baggu bag // S’well bottle // Cetaphil cleanser // Cetaphil lotion // Stoney Clover Lane travel pouch // doTERRA peppermint oil // Cadence capsules // J.Crew scarf

Designworks Ink notebook // Stoney Clover Ln luggage tag // Stoney Clover Ln passport cover // Colgate toothpaste // Burt’s Bees lip balm // tissues // toothbrush // J.Crew socks // Trtl travel pillow

Away carry-on // Uni-Ball pen // portable charger // Madewell pouch // RFID blocking card // Babyganics sanitizing wipes // toothbrush case // L.L.Bean Boat and Tote // London Undercover umbrella // book // Apple EarPods // universal travel adapter // phone

Signature Scent

Scent isn’t just for what we might refer to as special occasions. After all, isn’t every day we’re alive a special occasion? If I had to guess which outfit component was most often forgotten, it would be that dab of something special at the start of the day. At a time when many of us are less mobile, a daily, mood-boosting spritz is as indispensable as vitamin D. A signature scent is a fragrance that serves as a constant in one’s life. It is present through the lighthearted moments and through the ones that test us.

If you haven’t yet found your signature scent, it’s never too late. Your path to discovering one that suits you begins with your nose. Go into shops that sell perfume and survey your options. There are testing strips for this purpose. Oftentimes there’s also a container filled with coffee beans for guests to sniff in between products as an olfactory palette cleanser. However, it may not be a bad idea to bring your own tin of beans. Department or beauty stores are sound places to start.

I’ve been wearing Miss Dior for seven years. I purchased my first bottle at either John Lewis or Liberty. (Memory fails me.) The road to our union was rather lengthy due to the pitstops I made along the way at other brands: Diptyque, Jo Malone, and Chanel to be exact. The thought of buying a second scent crossed my mind, but it never came to fruition. I also adore Diptyque’s Eau Duelle and never pass up an opportunity to apply a bit to my wrists from the tester bottle whenever I’m visiting Bluemercury.

How many signature scents should one have? I’m glad you asked. I’d say, ideally no more than two; absolutely no more than three. As I write this, I’m evaluating my fragrance supply. It appears that I may be in the market for a new bottle sooner than I’d thought. I came across an article on The Good Trade about eco-friendly perfumes. Four companies piqued my curiosity: Maison Louis Marie, PHLUR, Lavanila, and Providence Perfume Co. Christian, is it time for us to part ways?

Works Sighted

Miss Dior

Escape to the Chateau

You’ll recall that a bottle of Chateau du Petit Thouars Crémant de Loire prompted me to travel virtually to the Loire Valley this past November. Visiting the makers of my favorite Crémant has been on my to-do list since the holiday season, but Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau is starting to inspire a full-scale Loire Valley itinerary. I’ve recently added Château de la Motte-Husson to the list of stops.

The nineteenth-century house is a two-hour drive from the Château du Petit Thouars, but stops in Tours, Angers, Le Mans, and Laval are bound to extend the trip north by a few days. The venue is available for hire during the wedding season, but its owners offer other opportunities to see the chateau first-hand. I envision myself taking part in the gardening days and food-filled festivities. The grounds are also outfitted with pods for glamping.

It has been a joy to see Dick and Angel Strawbridge transform this 45-room house. I’m currently on episode 3 of season 3, and there are 7 seasons in total. If you’re in the UK, you’ll be able to watch via Channel 4, but as a resident of the US, I’ve been tuning in via Peacock TV. Dick and Angel are such a creative team! I can’t predict what improvements I’ll bear witness to next, but I’m sure I’ll find myself in awe several more times as the series progresses.

Works Sighted

The Floral Society apron and glove setJ.Crew linen shirtCOS pantsSuperga 2750 Cotu Classic

Sunbody Hats straw hatJessie Zhao silk scarfKayu tote

Alex Mill dressSuperga 2750 Cotu Classic

Aurate earringsMiss Dior eau de toiletteL.K.Bennett clutch

Staud dressSarah Flint heels

Art elements from thechateau.tv

An Introduction to Dietary Supplements

They say you’re supposed to derive all of your vitamins and minerals from the food you eat. How many times have I heard that. Well, I can’t say that I know anyone who meets their ideal daily nutritional value through food alone. The purpose of a dietary supplement is to make up for the nutrients one lacks in a healthy diet. Yesterday, I saw a construction worker eating a bag of chips for breakfast. While someone with his eating habits would benefit from supplements, vitamins and minerals should be paired with a healthy diet for maximum effect. For more on eating well read “An Introduction to Whole30” and “What I Eat on Whole30.”

Although my body thrives on Paleo-compliant foods, I realize that some non-compliant foods may prove beneficial for some people. For example, high-calorie-burning athletes may benefit from whole grains. Similar to one’s diet, supplements should be tailored to the needs of each individual. If you haven’t considered supplements before, the best piece of advice I can give is to read the labels in full. The same goes for those of you who already take vitamins and minerals in supplement form and haven’t read the nutrition facts. Taking a multivitamin may be better than opting out of supplements altogether, but I find that one capsule doesn’t contain all of the nutrients I need.

Identifying the purest vitamins and nutrients on the market is an ongoing goal of mine. I’ve read a lot of labels and compared quite a few products across various brands. Thanks to my mom, I grew up with Shaklee products. Over the years, she’s shared invaluable knowledge that has helped me to build a list of companies that I trust. All vitamins and minerals are not created equal. For example, when I discovered that the zinc supplement I’d been taking contained rice flour, I upgrade to another product with ingredients that met my standards.

Here are some basic vitamins and minerals for your consideration:

  • Vitamin C / An antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals, vitamin C is water soluble, which means the body expels the excess. You don’t have to be versed in chemistry to know that vitamin C is essential to maintaining a sound immune system.
  • Zinc / Like vitamin C, zinc also combats oxidative stress.
  • Calcium / An essential mineral for building strong bones, calcium is absorbed most effectively by the body with the help of magnesium.
  • Vitamin D / Especially indispensable during sun-less times of year, vitamin D is a mood booster.
  • Vitamin E / Promotes healthy skin and a strong immune system.
  • Potassium / A preventative for the dreaded charley horse.

As I previously mentioned, you’ll have to tailor your daily supplements to your needs. Beware of the conflicting attitudes between traditional medicine and holistic medicine. I favor the holistic approach but find traditional medicine to be a viable solution for ailments that can’t be addressed by natural means.

Works Sighted

Vitamin Shoppe potassium // Vitamin Shoppe D₃ // Penn Herb Co. vitamin C // Solgar calcium magnesium // Solgar vitamin E // Solgar zinc

Athleisure Dresses

Over the past year, the clothing industry has been offering us more casual options—at least in the U.S. I visited J.Crew about a month ago and observed that loungewear accounted for 100% of the new merchandise. I don’t lounge that much, I thought. The hours between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM aren’t for sweatpants.

I prefer to save athletic wear for workouts and loungewear for evenings at home on the sofa. Most of the pieces in my closet are structured—pleated skirts, button-ups, and sheath dresses. I generally favor clothing that retains its shape on the hanger, but my work-from-home routine warrants clothes that are a bit more casual. I acquired a few pairs of shorts last summer, but I’m starting to consider my warm-weather, work-from-home options early this year.

What’s comfortable, cool, polished, suitable for answering the door, going for a walk, and jumping on a Zoom call? The athletic dress seems to fit the bill. I don’t mind looking like I’m going to the country club. Instead of court or golf shoes, I’ll be wearing my Superga sneakers.

Works Sighted

Sandro dress // Tory Burch golf dress // Greg Norman dress // Daily Sports dress

Savalino dress // Tory Burch polo dress // Polo Ralph Lauren dress // Tory Burch tennis dress

20 Springtime Activities for the City Dweller

I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to keep myself occupied during the approaching warm-weather months. According to the calendar, spring will be here in 29 days. There’s no telling what lockdown/curfew restrictions could be implemented this year, and I want to be mentally prepared. I live in the city, and like many other city dwellers, I don’t have access to a private outdoor space larger than a postage stamp. This means that most of the time I spend outside is in the public sphere. If access to the public sphere is restricted, I’m not left with very much. Here’s my preliminary list of things I plan to do this spring at home and/or outside when permitted. A woman can’t live on outdoor dining and online shopping alone.

  1. writing
  2. reading
  3. sketching
  4. practicing calligraphy
  5. making greeting cards
  6. sewing
  7. embroidery
  8. filming and editing short videos
  9. morning walks
  10. meditating
  11. visiting museums
  12. attending educational Zoom lectures/events
  13. Popsugar workouts
  14. Les Mills dance workouts
  15. jumping rope
  16. watching non-English films
  17. making non-English Spotify playlists
  18. listening to podcasts
  19. MasterClass courses
  20. experimenting with low-carb, vegetarian cooking

Works Sighted

Sketching at Kensington Palace (2014)

ASOS skirt (old); Blue Velvet Shoes ballet flats