Lifestyle

Shopping Small

Ball stud 14K gold earrings by Teeny Tiny New York. Warby Parker glasses.

Etsy has been my favorite platform for discovering independent artisans for many years, but lately I’ve been browsing the site more than usual. Supporting small businesses has become even more of a priority for me since the start of quarantine. I recently purchased a pair of 14K gold stud earrings from Teeny Tiny NY; they’re officially my everyday studs.

What makes shopping small so special? When you support a small business, you’re making it possible for the owner to earn a living. But, the benefits of shopping small extend beyond a pat on the back for a philanthropic job well done. When you buy a product from a small business, it will most likely be unique. It may even be handmade by the owner. If the business chooses to source their products instead of making them, the selection will still be curated in a unique way. There are so many independent sellers out there to discover, so keep your eyes open, and don’t be afraid to expand your horizons. You’re bound to discover something exceptional.

Works Sighted

Teeny Tiny NY 14K gold stud earrings // J.Crew slim perfect shirt in Baird McNutt Irish linen (previous season) // Warby Parker Durand

Quitting the City

Items suitable for a life in the country: grill, beach chair, cooler, games, beach towel, magazine, outdoor plates and cups.

They say that visualizing your goals will help you to reach them. Well, right now I’m visualizing myself in the country full-time. Do you see yourself in the city, the country, or both?

Works Sighted

platter // skewers // plate // cocktail napkins // cup (dusty blue) // cup (soft blue) // picnic basket

croquet set // magazine // pitcher // towel

portable grill // chair // tongs // Yeti cooler // Scrabble/Monopoly

Travel Essentials

Travel essentials: AWAY carryon, L.L.Bean boat and tote, notebook, BAGGU, Cetaphil, peppermint essential oil, London Undercover umbrella, S'well bottle, Apple iPhone and EarPods, Cadence capsules, Stoney Clover Lane luggage tag and passport cover, J.Crew scarf.

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

Miss Dior eau de toilette

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 eau de toilette

Escape to the Chateau

Outfits inspired by Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau. Two dresses and gardening clothes for your visit to Château de la Motte-Husson.

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

20 Springtime Activities for the City Dweller

A sketch of Kensington Palace gardens. Navy ASOS skirt and black ballet flats by Blue Velvet Shoes.

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