Catbird

As I stated in the previous post, August 2019 was a pivotal month in my journey as a jewelry enthusiast. It was then that I bought real gold for the first time. I’d purchased a few costume pieces in the past, but they weren’t sentimental or of lasting quality. I became an official customer at GLDN (which I’ve previously discussed) and the New York brand Catbird. The latter was started in 2004 by Rony Vardi, a determined woman who made her dreams come true. A CFDA article that was published in 2019 opens like this: At age 34 with $16,000 of savings and a desire to be her own boss, Rony Vardi launched Catbird.

The number of shops has grown from one to three since the company’s inception, but all of the jewelry from the brand’s own line is made in the Brooklyn studio on Bedford Avenue. Although other brands are represented on the website, I usually spend the most time looking at pieces made by the Catbird crafters. The gold is ethically sourced, the stones are conflict-free, and every piece is suitable for daily wear.

The collage above features items that appear in my personal collection and some that beckon to me from my wishlist. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in marking my successes with jewelry. May you look back at the end of 2021 in awe of how much you’ve accomplished. Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way.

Works Sighted

homespun ring; classic hammered ring; angel hair diamond studs

smallest love letter charm; adjustable sweet nothings chain

twisted stacker ring; tiny corsage bracelet; threadbare ring

GLDN

I started my jewelry collection in August 2019. Advancing age had finally compelled me to consider what heirloom-worthy items I was going to leave my future grandchildren. I hadn’t been a jewelry wearer prior to that noteworthy month, but I immediately took to a few pieces whilst browsing online. One of these was a necklace from a company called GLDN. Chrissy, the brand’s founder, started her business on Etsy in October 2012. The Etsy shop is still active, but I prefer to browse the impeccably-designed independent website. It wasn’t difficult to select my first piece from the handmade offerings.

My GLDN journey began with the Yue necklace. Since I didn’t know what length would flatter me or if I’d like the product, I ordered it in 14k gold fill with a disc void of personalization. When the package arrived, I opened the padded mailer to reveal a grey box. The dainty necklace inside had a brilliant glimmer, and I knew in an instant that I was meant to have the 14k solid gold version instead. After trying on the initial piece, I was able to determine the appropriate length for my neck. I also came to the conclusion that the necklace wouldn’t be complete without an engraved letter M. Returning the product to La Conner, Washington was simple, as was reordering the Yue necklace to my specifications. I also acquired the pleine lune necklace in 14k solid gold. Each necklace arrived with a special handwritten note from their makers, and I still admire them from time to time.

Dear Reader, I hope that you make 2021 special in your own way. May the year ahead shine brightly for you. Bonne année.

Works Sighted

GLDN Yue necklace

The L.L.Bean Boat and Tote

The L.L.Bean Boat and Tote was originally designed for hauling ice but is an ideal carrier for endless combinations of items: notebook/pen, towel/sunscreen, salad/apple/Perrier, package/shipping label/tape. It is a stylish sidekick for busy days. The sizes range from small to extra-large, which enables the buyer to select a style with dimensions that suit the task(s) to which it will be designated. The handle’s color and length are customizable, as is the color of the monogram. Oh yes, you must get it monogrammed. The only time I ordered a Boat and Tote without one was when I gave it to a friend and didn’t know if she would prefer her initials on the side. I’ve given this canvas bag as a gift on three occasions. The medium, open-top tote with short, navy handles is my go-to style in these instances. But it also comes in a zip-top version, which I’ve found useful. L.L.Bean will occasionally produce variants of the classic tote, but I don’t recommend that you explore them until after you’ve become acquainted with the original.

Works Sighted

L.L.Bean Boat and Tote (medium, short handles in navy, red monogram)

Parka Weather

It is impossible to enjoy the weather if you do not dress for it. When the temperature reaches a degree that warrants a parka, it makes sense to wear one. (Puffer coats are also permitted.) You feel and look uncomfortable when you are cold, and that is not becoming.

When I wear my parka, I feel like a caterpillar in a freshly-spun cocoon: cosy and good spirited. I refuse to use inclement weather as an excuse to stay in, unless the weather is actually inclement. In the Mid-Atlantic states (or at least in PHL) we generally like to use the threat of snow as an excuse to close schools and nonessential businesses. However, things may look different this season due to the Covid work-from-home/study-from-home policies currently in place. Taking a walk every day is vital to maintaining good health. If you work from home, it may be the only opportunity you have to be active beyond your commute to the opposite end of the hallway.

You don’t become exempt from your daily walk just because winter has set in. You weren’t exempt from your commute when you were going into the office. If you prefer moderate weather, don’t worry. All of the seasons take their turn. For now, bundle up in your insulated, water-resistant coat and get moving. Count your steps if that works for you. Let’s not go downhill this winter unless we’re on a sled, tube, snowboard, or skis. In fact, a Christmas walk sounds gratifying.

Merry Christmas to you dear Reader. May you find health and happiness in 2021.

Works Sighted

J.Crew parka (old); J.Crew Martie pant; L.L. Bean boots

Throws for Outdoor Dining

So far this winter (late autumn according to the calendar), we’ve had snow on two occasions in Philadelphia. The weather has been alternating between cold days and unseasonably warm ones. Per the city’s Covid guidelines, unless you opt for restaurant takeaway, you must dine outside. I cook at home constantly, and enjoying a meal that I did not prepare myself is a real treat. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to savor food from someone else’s kitchen when I’m sitting at my table in the street.

Some restaurants are providing outdoor enclosures and/or heaters for their guests. But, not everyone will be lucky enough to find themselves in a heated enclosure. Those who don’t make it to the VIP section will have to grin and bear it at a table on the sidewalk or in the street. Some establishments are offering throws, but I thought, Why not bring my own.

Works Sighted

Brooklinen throw blanket / Garnet Hill waffle-weave throw / Garnet Hill brushed-cotton throw

Matouk pezzo throw / A&R Cashmere reversible cashmere-blend throw / Williams Sonoma solid cashmere throw / Williams Sonoma cashmere & wool equestrian throw

Magic Linen throw / Matouk initial pezzo throw / Peacock Alley Hudson throw

The Open-Front Cardigan

The open-front cardigan is an item of clothing that I didn’t own prior to working from home but have since acquired. The cold weather presents limitless opportunities to incorporate a third piece into my daily looks. With the spirit of comfort in the air, I’ve been giving my trusty grey blazer a break. Note: the term comfort is not synonymous with the extreme level of informal dress that has prevailed across the U.S.

If you’re not sure what a third piece is, permettez-moi d’expliquer. It’s an item that is layered on top of your outfit’s base. A third piece enhances your look. The base consists of a top, a bottom, and a pair of shoes. Jackets, blazers, vests, and cardigans are all viable third pieces.

I find that the open-front cardigan simultaneously adds polish and comfort to my button-up shirt/Martie pant uniform. Think of the opening sequence to Mister Rodgers’ Neighborhood. The first thing Fred does is replace his suiting jacket with a sweater and his dress shoes with a pair of canvas sneakers. In an instant, he’s ready to teach the kids. I don’t have children, but I do have a cat who likes to be held. An open-front cardigan is more conducive to snuggles than a blazer.

Works Sighted

J.Crew Factory cardigan (old); J.Crew slim perfect shirt in Baird McNutt Irish linen (old); J.Crew Martie pant; Margaux Demi flats (black)