Lifestyle

Beach Essentials

The number of items I deem necessary for a trip to the beach depends on the location and duration of my stay. If I’m going to Cape May for the day, I’ll need a chair. A towel will do if I’m planning to sit by the water for an hour or two. For a leisurely walk in the sand, I’ll forgo a bathing suit and opt for a sundress instead. If I find myself at a European beach club or seaside hotel, I’ll leave the serving of the food and drinks and the seating arrangements to someone else.

Works Sighted

hat // bathing suit // / sunscreen // chapstick // bag

umbrella // sunglasses // pen // notebook

towel // chair // cooler

Shopping at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

I’m a card-carrying member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art once again. The temperature-controlled building provides respite from the heat and a shopping destination. In addition to books, postcards, branded items, and products bearing images of famous works, the museum store also sells design-focused merchandise. The items in the selection I’ve curated spoke to my artistic soul. A PMA sketching trip is on the horizon.

Works Sighted

sketch book // writing paper // book

pencil set // pencil sharpener // writing paper

book // book // pencil case

How to Discover New Brands in 4 Steps

A brand’s products speak to its history and vision. Thus, reading a business’s about page is on par with making a wish list. Recently, I became aquatinted with the following brands: Poppy and Sage, Verve Culture, and Papillon Press. The process by which I became aware of them can be easily replicated. Here’s how to discover new brands in four steps:

Step 1: Make a Map // I started designing city guides to map past shopping experiences and ones on the horizon. Adding pins to the Philadelphia Guide compelled me to make an immediate plan to visit Moon + Arrow, a boutique that had been on my radar for years. Destination: 742 S 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147.

Step 2: Go Brick-and-Mortar // Having the opportunity to experience carefully-curated spaces with my senses is a privilege. When I opened the door to M + A, the scent of something pleasant wafted over me. I was transported to a sunny seaside place void of SEPTA buses. A basket tote by Poppy and Sage and a citrus press by Verve Culture further inspired my vision. As did sea-glass-tinted Moroccan glassware (also under the Verve Culture label).

Step 3: Talk to Shop Employees // My conversation with a lovely M + A employee led me to Walter Pine, an oasis and floral studio across the street (729 S 4th St). In a green sea of houseplants, I discovered Papillon Press, a letterpress company specializing in notebooks and greeting cards.

Step 4: Research Online // Upon returning home, I took to the internet to investigate all of the brands I’d been introduced to during my outings. Compiling a mental list of most-liked products provided an opportunity for reflection.

Founders Roll Call: Poppy and Sage: Robert and Carly Waters // Verve Culture: Jacquie Lewis, Jules Vertrees, and Sarah Laping Garland // Papillon Press: Madeleine and Vernon Wiering // Moon + Arrow: Chelsea Pearce // Walter Pine: David and Christina Cavagnaro

Works Sighted: Scenes from my visit to Moon + Arrow

Prepare a feast with French macaron: An Airbnb Online Experience

After realizing that a coffee table book wasn’t going to cure my wanderlust for Nice, I packed my virtual suitcase and booked “Prepare a feast with French macaron.” The Airbnb Online Experience started promptly at 1:30 PM Eastern Time (7:30 PM in Nice). My personable host Emma Lloret greeted me with a welcoming bonjour, and we conversed a bit in French before switching to English for the baking lesson. Teaching French is one of her many talents, and she was elated that I could parler un peu.

Emma guided me through every step of the macaron-making process from preheating the oven to cooling the shells. A history lesson was also included during the macaronageCatherine di Medici, wife of King Henri II, is accredited with the macaron’s migration from Italy to France. Back then, they didn’t look like the ones from Ladurée or Pierre Hermé. Emma’s finished product looked pristine, but some of my shells resembled snails. Squeezing the batter out of the ziploc bag onto the baking sheet was more challenging than I’d imagined. During the lesson, I rediscovered the intricacies of my overly-powerful oven. Americans would say practice makes perfect, but the French know personne n’est parfait.

Emma offers several other online cooking classes:

Don’t they look too good to pass up.

Packing for Nice

Outfits for Nice, France

My mind has been on the Côte d’Azur lately, so I signed up for an Airbnb Online Experience based in Nice. “Prepare a feast with French macaron” is hosted by Emma Lloret, founder of the brand Delicious by Emma. In addition to teaching cooking classes online, the entrepreneur runs a bed and breakfast, teaches French, and welcomes travelers around her table for breakfast and brunch. I intend to inquire after this studio or one bedroom whenever my travels bring me to Nice.

My preliminary research led me to Emma’s Airbnb guidebooks (one, two, three, four, five). The restaurants I’ve included in this roundup are based on her recommendations. Come along with me as I bookmark online resources and pack my virtual suitcase for Nice.

Guides

Sights

Restaurants

Works Sighted

balconette swim top // highwaist swim bottom // tote // scarf // wrap dress // tank dress

sunglasses // towel // coverup // Superga 2750 Cotu classic // purse // tee shirt // slides // lace-up sandals // heeled slides // skirt

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)