Month: June 2021

5 California Brands to Watch

White tie-waist dress by Vince

I’ve been to California twice—on the way to and returning from Australia when I was 15. My experiences in the Golden State are still limited to L.A.X. My impression of West Coast style comes from reality television (Laguna Beach, The Hills, and Selling Sunset), California brands, and Meghan Markle’s casual outfits. Although my aesthetic is more East Coast than West Coast, I’ve been letting California-based brands inspire me lately. Here’s five companies I’ve been watching:

Lunya // Founded in 2014 by Ashley Merrill, Lunya designs sleepwear for the modern woman. Must buy: the washable silk sleep set.

Sotela // This Latina-owned brand offers a highly-curated selection in sizes 0-30. Frustrated with the ill-fitting clothes in her clothes, Hanna Baror-Padilla founded Sotela in 2016. My pick: the Luna wrap dress in linen.

Sugar Mountain Candy // Bianca Branaman produced the company’s first clothing line in 2015. That Spring/Summer collection featured simple designs in cream, black, grey, and navy. The brand is environmentally conscious. On my radar: the Hope top (black).

Vetta Capsule // Founded in 2015 by Cara Bartlett and Vanessa van Zyl, the brand values quality clothing over quantity. Swoon-worthy: the convertible wrap mini dress and the flutter sleeve wrap top.

Vince // Rea Laccone and Christopher LaPolice founded Vince in 2002, but they sold the company when it went public four years later. The brand exudes a sleek, chic, effortless aesthetic. Purchase of the moment: the short sleeve tie waist dress (white, black).

Works Sighted

Vince dress // Castañer Carina 60mm wedge espadrille // J.Crew clutch (old)

Cases for Apple AirPods

Apple AirPods Cases

AirPods have been making my life easier since November 2020. They’re useful for listening to audiobooks/music and for taking calls when my hands aren’t free. They make mundane chores, like tidying up, washing dishes, and folding laundry, bearable. My workouts are more enjoyable too. No more wires! I didn’t invest much time looking for a case when I first acquired them, but now that everyone’s talking about going back to society full time, protecting them would be a prudent move.

Works Sighted

leather case (brown) // silicone-coated hardshell case (matte grey) // hardshell case (tortoise)

silicone case (stone white) // TPU case (marble) // vegan leather case (brown)

My French Soul: An Introduction

French style books

I took my first French course in 2018. It turned out that FREN 110 was more than just a class; it was an international experience. For 50 minutes a day, five days a week, I left Philadelphia and traveled to France. My mind specifically landed in Paris, the only French city (beside Versailles) that I’d ever traveled to in actuality.

The course was conversational. Hiding at the back of the classroom in hopes that you wouldn’t be called on wasn’t an option. We had to speak. I met Madame during her office hours to work on my pronunciation. (My background in Spanish had put me at a disadvantage in this department.) As I became more familiar with my new language, she didn’t have to correct my speech as much.

French words started to push their English equivalents out of my head, and culturally I became more like les Français. I savored the food, embraced wardrobe basics, and learned to enjoy life’s little pleasures.

When I tried to make a case to Madame for abstaining from bread, she said, “that is not the French way.” It’s also not the French way to bake bread with additives like they do in the U.S., and overeating isn’t commonplace in la République. I’m not sure if I’d call myself a minimalist, but I believe in getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose in my life. Nothing in excess. My wardrobe exemplifies this mantra the most.

My library of books about French culture/history, Paris, and Parisian style is pretty vast. You can find a selection of my collection on the newly-published Like a Parisienne page.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish

nail polish

I acquired my first bottle of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri nail polish (slick slate) a few years ago. I went to the salon on my lunch break and didn’t have time to sit under the dryer for an extended period of time. The polish I’d bought for the occasion dried quickly, and I returned to work with shiny typing nails. Since then, I’ve purchased one more bottle from this line (buff and tumble), but now I’m considering additional shades. I realize the ingredients list is a mile long and that other less toxic/non-toxic alternatives exist. (Other nail polish brands that appear in my collection include Essie, Butter London, and Acquarella (which I still have yet to try)). But right now, I’m going to let the quick-drying Ms. Hansen enjoy her moment in the sun.

I’ve been doing my own nails, and the quicker the polish dries, the less likely it is that I’m gong to mess them up. Orly nail defense strengthener is my go-to top coat, but there’s one by Sally Hansen that has recently come to my attention. So has this nail polish organizer and dryer. Anything that makes my at-home nail routine easier is worthy of my attention. If you have any tips/tricks, please share your comments with the class. Likewise, if you’d like to shout out your favorite nail polish brands.

Works Sighted

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish

Orly nail defense strengthener

Kayu Edit # 2

straw totes and sandals

My Kayu journey began last spring when I purchased a tote named Behati (since sold out). Although I’m not in the market for anther straw tote right now, I check the website periodically to update my wish list. Keeping my lists current for all of my favorite brands is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job as a blogger. Four of the items I’ve rounded up are sold out at the moment, but I reckon they’ll be restocked. I realized in my stalking of the Arianne clutch that items disappear and reappear online like the California tide. You simply have to keep a watchful eye.

Works Sighted

St. Tropez tote (black) // mini Sur tote + mini tote liner (cream) // Athena sandal (gold)

St. Tropez tote (cream) // Athena sandal (black) // mini St. Tropez tote (cream)

Athena sandal (natural) // Sur tote // mini St. Tropez tote (black)