Month: August 2021

Packing for the Beach House

While it may be tempting to overpack for your stay at the beach house, I caution against it. Your much-deserved time in and by the ocean shouldn’t be eclipsed by an excessive amount of belongings. I take my most casual items of clothing to the beach. No iron, no steamer…just five of the same tank dress. In addition to practical clothing, family-friendly games, classic movies, and wine all make for a celebratory time.

Works Sighted

Estelle Colored Glass Champagne coupes // Chateau du Petit Thouars Cremant de Loire Non Vintage // The Hygge Game // sunscreen // chapstick

Warby Parker sunglasses // Summersalt sidestroke // Charlie Holiday sarong // Sunbody Hats straw hat // Hermès Oran sandal // L.L.Bean Boat and Tote

J.Crew short-sleeve pajama short set (hydrangea) // S’well water bottle // Holiday // My Paris Dream // tank dress

Hostess Gifts

I’ve been spending time with friends and family in an effort to savor the last days of summer. The season has certainly been a step up from last year when my primary source of joy was flâner-ing with a straw tote. Zoom meetings don’t compare to seeing someone face-to-face, and in my world, dinner and the hostess gift have made a comeback.

I never show up to someone’s house empty-handed unless the token of my appreciation is arriving via mail. My creativity is usually put to good use in the selection process, but when I’m pressed for time, I opt for the respectable homemade baked good or flowers in a vase with water. Sending a handwritten thank-you note shortly after the event has passed is an elegant gesture.

Works Sighted

Uncommon Goods swivel cheese board // Mark & Graham small bamboo lacquer tray // Creekside Farms dried French herbs wreath

Pineapple Collaborative olive oil // Verve Culture Moroccan glassware // Hu Kitchen chocolate gift box

CapaBunga cheese vault // Anthropologie serving set // Art et Manufacture pie plates

The Alex Mill Edit

I can’t remember when I discovered Alex Mill, but I recall that it was love at first sight. The company’s motto, uniforms for individuals, and slogan, wake up, get dressed, don’t overthink it, embody the principles of this blog. The brand, launched officially in 2012, came into its own when Alex Drexler found a formidable business partner in Somsack Sikhounmuong. Alex, son of Mickey Drexler (former CEO and Chairman of J.Crew Group), was introduced to Somsack by his father a few years after the company’s inception. The co-founders (with Somsack heading the design team) make, in their words, the right clothes. I’m drawn to their timeless staples. My Alex Mill item of the moment: the khaki Kelsey skirt in linen.

Works Sighted

J.Crew slim perfect shirt in Baird McNutt Irish linen // Alex Mill Kelsey skirt in linen // Cole Haan Avani city sandal (old)

Alex Mill pull-on skirt in paper cotton // Alex Mill Paulie tunic dress // Alex Mill Kelsey skirt in linen // Alex Mill pull-on skirt in paper cotton

Further Reading

Somsack Sikhounmuong on designing for Alex Mill and life after J. Crew (Glossy)

Somsack Sikhounmuong Is Back—and He’s Launching Affordable Women’s Wear at Alex Mill (Glamour)

Shop Bargain Manhattan Thrift Stores: An Airbnb Experience

My first day in New York since March 2020 was a success. I arrived at Moynihan Train Hall with two events lined up: an in-person Airbnb Experience in the morning and my university reunion in the evening. After getting acquainted with Amtrak’s new hub, I headed to Made Hotel where I met up with Sammy Davis, the host of “Shop Bargain Manhattan Thrift Stores.” Two other women from the West Coast rounded out our group of four.

We settled ourselves in low-profile seating around a large coffee table in the hotel’s lobby. As the conversation struck up, I realized that our time together would be special. Our combined personalities created a vibe that was energetic yet relaxed. We discussed our personal styles, shopping goals, and motives for joining the group.

The women in my company had a real zest for life, and we connected over our shared interest of shopping. The social aspect and exercise appealed to me the most. I closed the rings on my Apple watch effortlessly while trekking between shops. We visited a total of five secondhand stores. Of all the clothing I saw that day, two items stood out. The first: the Ingrid wrap dress by Mara Hoffman. Originally retailing at $398, I spotted it in black at Crossroads Trading for $65. I ultimately decided to pass on the item because the style was a little too long and the price a little too steep.

The second item, found at Housing Works, was a khaki-colored pleated skirt from Talbots. I left with this one. A year-round staple for sure! One lucky woman ended up with several bags of great finds, but I was more than content with one. (Quality over quantity.) And besides, I didn’t want to show up to my reunion with extra bags.

To find the best deals, it is wise to thrift early in the day and often. I’ve added the stores from the experience to the New York Guide, but thrifting alone doesn’t compare to bargain hunting with Sammy. She’s an expert and recently shared her tips for shopping secondhand on New York Live.

Works Sighted

Photos by Sammy Davis

Mara Hoffman dress // J.Crew mask

Sail to Sable dress // Talbots skirt // Superga 2790 Acotw

Packing for New York

An in-person Airbnb experience and my university reunion are bringing me back to New York for the first time since March 2020. I’ve signed up for Shop Bargain Manhattan Thrift Stores to keep me busy until I meet up with other Birkbeck alumni in the evening. Here’s an idealized version of what I’m packing in my tote for the busy day. If I find myself with unoccupied time, I plan to consult the New York Guide.

Works Sighted

L.L.Bean Boat and Tote // Muji pouch // Flint lint brush // Burt’s Bees lip balm // Burt’s Bees lip balm // Stojo bottle // lightening cable // Leatherology cord wrap // phone

Public Goods tissues // Native deoderant // Native toothpaste // Vaseline // Cetaphil lotion // Madewell pouch // Leatherology keychain // power adapter

The Leatherology Edit

My urgent need for a new keychain led me to Leatherology. I’d included some of the company’s products in past collages on the blog but only recently made my first purchase—the circle keychain. I decided to order it in electric blue with light gold hardware and a gold monogram. When it comes to style, no detail is too small to overlook.

As I perused other products on the site, it became clear that Leatherology’s design team prioritizes functionality. Founders Rae and David Liu “draw inspiration from [their] daily routines to design fresh and familiar pieces to enhance [the] everyday.” I can’t think of anywhere else to buy a sophisticated, travel-sized tissue holder. The website is incredibly user-friendly and allows customers to preview their monogram on item(s) of their choice prior to purchasing. Personalized purchases aren’t returnable, but the preview feature will allow you to add your initials to any product with confidence.

Works Sighted

cirlce keychain // lipstick case // small tech bag

small accessories pouch // passport holder // small crossbody

tissue holder // belt bag // cord wrap set