a tea + my thoughts // no. 2

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I’m back this month with another tea and a handful of things on my mind! The tea I’m talking about this month is my most common go-to and has been for years: a classic Earl Grey. It’s a black tea, kind of similar to English Breakfast, but infused with bergamot orange to give it the best floral, citrus flavor and makes it less bitter than your typical black tea. Earl Grey also happens to be the favorite tea of Queen Elizabeth, making it one of many things we clearly have in common 😚 Apparently, she likes Twining’s, too, which is my go-to brand.

Fun fact, because black tea is fermented, it’s a prebiotic that’s super healthy for your gut (like kombucha, which is made out of black tea). Plus, bergamot contains powerful antioxidants! To brew the perfect cup of Earl Grey, you’ll want to boil filtered water, then let it cool to 185 degrees then add a bag or teaspoon of loose leaves to steep for up to five minutes. I like to add a bit of raw honey to my cup and serve in a glass mug like the one in the photo.

find what you like //
I feel like I often hear so many people talking about aspects of their lives as if they were exhausting, miserable chores and I just really feel like shouting, “It doesn’t have to be that way!!” Really, it’s your life and it’s finite and you should be spending it doing the things you love or at least doing the necessary things in a way that makes you happy.

For instance, I hear all the time people say “I go to the gym a few times a week, but I really hate working out”. Really? You hate moving your body? The reality is they don’t hate working out, they just hate the workout they’re doing because they think that’s the workout they’re supposed to do. I don’t like aggressive boot camp style workouts. Does that mean I hate working out? God no, I love it. But I don’t do the types of workouts I hate. Instead, I do workouts that make me feel great during and after, like ballet and yoga and spin class or even just doing something active like a hike or a swim.

This idea applies to every area of life from working out to eating to your job and how you spend your weekends. People do a lot of things that make them really unhappy and we all need to realize that life can exist outside of the arbitrary confines so many people cage themselves into.

where do you get style inspiration? //
Last month, I went back to look at some of my old blog posts from several years ago and found one from 2015 about my favorite street style girls. It made me wonder, is street style still as big a thing as it was in my high school and college days? Or is everyone now just getting inspiration from fashion bloggers on Instagram? And if so, is that necessarily a good thing? I will say, I still love the girls I mentioned in that post, especially Caroline Issa who is perpetually chic. Who inspires your outfits?

looking back at old posts //
Like I said up top, I’ve been looking back through my old blog posts and have actually been super inspired by them! I did a lot of interesting fashion content, which I’d like to do more of but I’m kind of in a place where the state of the fashion industry is really uninteresting to me at the moment. I heard Kanye West talking about this and how the industry has kind of been reduced to things that appeal to the lowest common denominator and it’s no longer that attractive to a lot of people who have a long history of appreciating fashion. I’m trying to think of ways to re-engage myself in that world in a way that feels right to me. I’m excited to find new ways to appreciate this kind of art form again!

new album from the 1975 //
The new 1975 album came out in November, but I hadn’t gotten around to listening to it just yet because the songs I had heard sounded so different than the last album (which I adore) and it made me a little leery. But, I saw them perform “It’s Not Living” on Graham Norton and was like okay, yes, I’m into it. Then I listened to the whole new album and read a bit about it and wow, it’s brilliant and so timely. It really reflects a mood that resonates so much with me which is the bizarreness of being relentlessly optimistic in times of chaos. Like I said, it’s timely and reflects this very specific moment of time we’re in. Highly suggest you give it a listen and read the lyrics when you do.

trimming my own hair //
Even though I have hair cutting experience, i surprisingly just trimmed my own hair for the very first time! I was thinking about making an appointment at my salon before an upcoming trip, but then I asked myself if I really needed to pay $75+ when I really just needed a trim and would rather have that extra money to spend on the trip. I still had my cutting shears from hair school (long story), so I went in the bathroom and did a nearly dry point cut that look like five minutes and it did the trick!

the weekend list no. 54

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I’m having a hard time thinking of a low other than the fact that I had a few days where I felt like I’d pulled a neck muscle, but even that was kind of fine by me because it meant I had an excuse to lay on the couch with a cozy heating pad on my shoulder. 😂

The high of the past few weeks was definitely spending the day in St. Augustine with a friend. We didn’t do anything groundbreaking, but it was just a really fun and inspiring day where I felt like wow, I have a friend who gets me and that’s really great! Some other highs were having chocolate covered strawberries, having some down time to take hot baths with some Herbivore products, and just finally having some sunny weather again! It’s been that perfect Florida winter weather where it’s sunny but a little bit crisp.

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Today, we’re going to Jacksonville to hang out, try some new food, and just overall find cute things. I’m going to do another post about it in the same format of my recent St. Augustine post because I thought it was a fun way to talk about a little day trip. I’m also hoping to swim this weekend because it should finally be warm enough on Sunday, God willing that the water isn’t freezing! Crossing my fingers.

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My goal in life is to have my friends and coworkers speak about me the way they speak about Meghan Markle in these quotes. She sounds so amazing!

I always love the work that Krystal and Igee do, but I am especially in love with their Funny Face photo series!

Great article about how self-compassion positively impacts academic performance.

My best friend Caroline did a great post about her experiences at Sundance.

Some wonderful thoughts on how to be a good creature in the world.

Camille Styles’ six rules for a happy marriage.

Rosie did an interesting post on Evian’s new bottles and their eco-friendly, circular brand. And here’s even more info from Vice.

Some good entertaining advice from Celerie Kemble.

ten classic movies to watch on a cozy night

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Whether it’s a cold, drizzly day in the winter or a devastatingly hot one in the summer, there’s almost always an excuse to make some buttered popcorn and have a cozy movie moment. If I want to be über cozy, I’ll pick a classic film because they tend to provide the most magical movie viewing experience. From the dramatic performances to the incredible costumes, watching a classic film always leaves me feeling inspired.

Sadly, I don’t think watching classic film is in fashion for many and I think that’s because of a misconception that black and white means morning. I have to admit, older films are often very different than contemporary cinema. Prior to Marlon Brando’s entry into Hollywood, film acting was wholly theatrical and went on to stay that way even after his breakout role in A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951. That theatricality maybe doesn’t translate very easily to us now that we’re so accustomed to modern acting. I could write a lot here, but I digress!

I made this list because I wanted to share some classic movies that I recommend for everyone but especially ones that are good entry points for someone who hasn’t seen a lot of older movies but maybe wants to start. My definition of “classic” is typically pre-1980s. The oldest film on this list dates back to 1939 and the most recent from 1964. Yes, there are three Audrey Hepburn movies on this list of ten, but what can I say? They’re so good!

roman holiday (1953)
I often say this is my favorite film of all time and it’s just so sweet and easy to watch. I actually think it’s a great primer for someone who is new to classic film because it’s not as dense as many classics can be. It still feels fresh almost 70 years later (crazy to think about). The story is about Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) who is in Rome for a press engagement when she runs away from her hotel, only to be found sleeping on a bench by American journalist Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck). Cue an adorable scene on a Vespa!

rear window (1954)
Another classic I consider to be really accessible is Hitchock’s Rear Window. It’s about a newspaper photographer (Jimmy Stewart) who is confined to his apartment with a broken leg when he thinks he sees his neighbor commit a crime through his back window. He and his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) spend the movie investigating and trying to prove his suspicions right.

casablanca (1942)
This iconic film is a must for anyone who loves cinematic fashion and drama. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is a nightclub owner in Casablanca, Morocco who is confronted by his old love Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) when she comes into town to ask for Rick’s help to get her husband Victor, who is fleeing the Nazis, out of the country.

an american in paris (1951)
This is a really fun musical with some amazing dancing and an interesting set up. It’s one of those movies that just makes you feel really good watching it. An ex-GI and painter Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) moves to Paris to fulfill his dream of being a painter. He falls for Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron), but is also pursued by an American heiress who is interested in his art.

funny face (1957)
Another super feel good movie, this one stars Audrey Hepburn as Jo, a girl who works in a bookstore in New York and is approached by fashion photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) to become a model. She’s stubborn intellectual and initially refuses but is eventually drawn into the fashion world in Paris. SO much good dancing and beautiful clothes.

little women (1949)
Now’s a good time to watch this version of Little Women since yet another remake is soon to come out starring Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan. This version stars Janet Leigh, June Allyson, Margaret O’Brien, and Elizabeth Taylor as the March sisters who grow up in New England during the Civil War.

rebecca (1940)
A perfect movie for Halloween, but really great any other time of year as well. Rebecca is my other favorite Hitchock movie, based off of the novel by Daphne du Maurier. A young woman (Joan Fontaine) marries a mysterious widower (Laurence Olivier) and moves into his seaside manor, Manderley, where she is confronted by the ghost of his dead wife, Rebecca.

breakfast at tiffany’s (1961)
If you haven’t already seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s, get on it! There’s so much more to this story than what is often portrayed (the iconic black dress and eccentric main character). Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) is a socialite who dabbles in some questionable activities to fund her life in the city. She intrigues her new neighbor (George Peppard) who comes to find out the truth about her identity.

the women (1939)
There’s a 2008 remake of this movie with Meg Ryan and Eva Mendes that isn’t incredible but it’s still a fun watch. However, you should definitely watch the original which features an incredible cast of all women (really cool piece of history for the time) including Joan Crawford, Joan Fontaine, Hedda Hopper, and Norma Shearer. The story is about a woman who finds out her husband is having an affair with a salesgirl, which results in a lot of drama and hot mess.

mary poppins (1964)
It doesn’t get more classic than Mary Poppins! Need I explain the plot? A magical nanny (Julie Andrews) appears in the lives of siblings Michael and Jane to take them on a series of magical and musical adventures. I’d say this is another good entry point to classic films because it’s just so entertaining.

a triumphant return to st. augustine

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As you might know, I lived in St. Augustine, Florida while doing my undergrad at Flagler College and have so many good memories of my time there. From swimming in ocean in the mornings before class and hanging out at all of the cute cafés to riding my bike around the cobblestone streets and appreciating all of the historic architecture (in addition to all of the typical college experiences, too, of course), there was always something to appreciate.

But, I didn’t go back to visit St. Augustine for a really long time after graduating because the end of senior year was a weird time for me and for awhile, I felt really negative connotations with the town that I loved so much before. I finally went back for the first time last summer, three years (!!!) after graduation with my friend Ryan, who I had studied with and was back in Florida visiting from New Jersey. He admitted that he kind of had some of the same weird feelings being back, which made me feel so much better about the whole thing.

While it was weird seeing all the ways things had changed and all the old places where I had so many memories, it was a good way to get over the bad vibes. Since then, I had visited one other time but it was at night and rainy and wasn’t the most exciting. But, this past weekend, my friend Holly and I planned a day trip that I felt helped me to reclaim my old city as my own.

Holly grew up in North Carolina and only moved to Florida recently. She’d been wanting to spend some time in St. Augustine and I’ve become a pretty enthusiastic tour guide, so I was excited for the day. What made it even better was that she recently bought the same exact car as me, so it was like being a passenger in my own vehicle on the way up. Haha.

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We started by getting donuts and driving up A1A along the beach to get there, which is one of my favorite drives. Sometimes when I had the time, I would take this route going back to school from my parents’ house in New Smyrna Beach in the evening. I always listened to Lana Del Rey on the drives for some reason (lol) and it was so magical. It’s an ocean view almost the entire way until you pass through some small, really Southern looking towns and then get into St. Augustine Beach.

Once we got into the beach side of town, we passed some of my old haunts like Café 11 (which had the best caprese sandwich and there were always dogs out on the patio), the beach outpost of Kookaburra Coffee, and the beach entry by the pier that was always my go-to.

Passing by the beach as we approached downtown, we passed the old office of the wedding planning company I worked for in school as well as the lighthouse and the touristy Alligator Farm, somewhere I’d never actually ended up visiting.

Crossing over the Bridge of Lions is always a kind of magical experience because you get the most amazing view of historic downtown as well as the portion of the St. John’s River that comes through town. Sometimes, you’ll get stopped if the drawbridge is up, but it’s fun because you can get out of the car and walk around. Didn’t happen to us today, but the view was perfect nonetheless.

So, we parked over on a street by my old dorm and walked up through campus so I could show her the amazing architecture and especially the courtyard which is one of my favorite places in town.

We walked around a little and stopped in this new self-serve tap room situation which reminded me of a scaled down version of a wine bar I love in Winter Park. We had some wine and pineapple cider, then walked uptown around where my former hairstylist’s salon is. I like the uptown area because it’s less touristy than much of downtown.

Our first stop was Juniper Market which is a super aesthetically pleasing coffee shop slash market slash art studio. It’s all white shiplap and there are tons of gorgeous paintings and paper goods created in house. There were some gorgeous postcards with painted magnolias and oranges that I’m very much coveting!

We went next door to Goldfinch, a boutique I loved exploring when I was in school. They have a really cute curated selection of chic, beachy bohemian dresses, bags, and jewelry. Next stop was the antique store across the street where I found a gorgeous pair of vintage earrings for $2! 😍

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Next, we walked over to one of my all-time favorite restaurants in the world, The Floridian. I absolutely adored their original location which was right next door to my communications building and was sad to hear that they had moved but I ended up really adoring the new location. They were able to really retain and maybe even enhance the cozy, homey, Southern vibe.

What I love about The Floridian is how it celebrates Florida heritage in a way that’s authentic. There’s no Mickey Mouses or tacky neon palm trees. Instead, there are beautiful wooden antiques, the most stunning alligator painting (it might be charcoal), and a creative, well thought out menu that sources locally.

I got my go-to order, the Fried Green Tomato hoagie with side salad and sweet tea. My friend got a Fried Green Tomato BLT (with bacon jam instead of actual bacon) and a Garden Gimlet which was this really great herby cocktail.

After our early dinner, we went over to Ice Plant which is one of my favorites that I never visited enough when I lived in town. It’s this great bar inside a 1920s ice factory that serves a vintage inspired menu. I got my go-to Moscow Mule and we sat there for quite awhile talking about fun potential future plans and making friends with one of the bartenders who was a fellow Flagler graduate. He was definitely the kind of person who made me proud to have graduated from Flagler because was so intelligent and thoughtful about the issues we were discussing.

I took a couple photos while we were having drinks and sort of love them because they have an interesting vibe and look like they could’ve been taken in the 1920s, particularly the one at the bottom of this post. It really feels like it tells a story.

After drinks, we went over to the beach. My friend is from North Carolina but once came to St. Augustine for spring break and, coincidentally, one of the spots that meant a lot of her was the same pier that holds a place in a lot of my own memories.

So, we went over there and walked on the beach. It was getting dark and misty and I was wearing wellies, so it weirdly felt like being on a beach in England or something!

Last stop was ice-cream because how else would we end the day? We picked some up and then made the drive back home. It was super misty at that point so all of the fluorescent signs along the beach made it feel like we were in a film noir. Ultimately, it was such an inspiring day and made me feel really excited for the rest of the year!

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twelve little luxuries under $50

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‘Tis the season for a little luxury, don’t you think? Of course, that could potentially be said about any month, but I just think it’s so fitting for February. In most places, it’s still cold to the point where everyone wants nothing more than to be cozied up indoors until spring. A big facet of this month’s theme of self love, in my opinion, is treating yourself to little luxuries that give you a little boost of joy.

Of course, when I think about things I’d like to treat myself to, my mind sometimes jumps to a Chloé handbag or a gorgeous sweater from The Row, but those are definitely not just “little” luxuries 😅 Luckily though, there’s tons of little luxuries that are either free (cuddling with your pet, doing yoga by the beach) or a lot more affordable than those splurge items. Here’s my list of twelve little luxuries, all under $50, to treat yourself to this month.

Why not start with a really good, luxurious tea like the Chocolate Rose variation from Tea Forte? Pair that with the iconic milk chocolate bar from the Mast Brothers based in Brooklyn. Pop a bottle of champagne, preferably Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. If you’re a sweets girl, head to your local bakery for a gorgeous fruit tart. Dress up your nightstand or kitchen table with a fresh bouquet of flowers from Trader Joe’s or your local florist.

Make laundry less of a chore by using detergent from The Laundress, which made my college dorm hall laundry trips a whole lot more bearable. Treat your teeth to a fancy licorice toothpaste and a tortoise shell toothbrush. Make every hand washing a mini spa experience with Aesop’s Resurrection hand soap. If there’s a classic film you adore, buy a copy of the Criterion Collection version.

Get a little taste of Chanel with one of their Le Vernis polishes to make you feel super luxe. There’s nothing like a great lipstick to boost your mood and the Tom Ford lipsticks are particularly beautiful. Pick your favorite Maison Margiela Replica scent (I like them all) and buy the travel size version which lasts a surprisingly long time.

What little luxuries do you treat yourself to? Maybe the occasional hot yoga class or a mimosa at your favorite brunch place? Let me know!