pretty things no. 12

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I am so happy the weekend is finally here! This week felt really long to me for some reason and I am so happy to have slept in this morning. I'm planning for a really low-key weekend of reading, Netflix, and picking up groceries. What are you guys up to?

Did you all see the photos of Meghan Markle visiting the Commonwealth Youth Forum this week? She wore the most perfect spring outfit centered around the Altuzarra Audrey dress. She draped an oversized black blazer over her shoulders, wore a cross-body bag, and black sandals. You could also style this dress with a denim jacket.

I know I talk about Chloé bags a lot, but they are always by far my favorite bags on the market and this one is no different. It's definitely the cheapest accessory you'll find from Chloé ($340), but mind you, it is very tiny. This is something you would clip onto another bag just to carry things like your lipstick, hand cream, and subway pass.

Everyone needs a classic trench for spring and I love this one from J.Crew. It really gives me all the Audrey vibes, especially if you paired it with black cigarette trousers and ballet flats. Of course, you can wear it with just about anything and look super chic.

How cute is this denim bow top from See By Chloé?! It's a little bit edgy but still quite classic. I keep picturing this top with white jeans and espadrilles, but you can totally take it many different directions. 

Do you guys love Jo Malone like I do? All of her scents are so unique and luxurious. For spring, I love the idea of swapping my usual body wash for her Wild Bluebell body wash. It smells like a beautiful garden and the bottle will look pretty in your shower. 

I hadn't heard of this designer before, but I'm really loving Carrie Forbes shoes. These raffia wedges in particular are really cool. They have a very 70s, Palm Springs vibe to me. I could very easily picture these on Lauren Hutton or a woman in a Slim Aarons photograph. 

 

five steps to a cozy bedroom

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I'm allowing myself to be a bit cocky for this post, so bear with me:

I like to think I'm somewhere in the royal family of coziness. Hygge was my thing long before Meik Wiking's book became popular in the U.S. and, honestly, before the reasonable age at which a person should even care that much about home design. I was that little girl who not only watched HGTV constantly and who made her parents take her to the Parade of Homes every year as an elementary school student.

So, it's safe to say I can make any room into a cozy haven and I've developed a little formula that anyone can use to do the same! 

STEP ONE | developing a color palette
This is where you'll choose 3-5 colors as the palette from which you'll be making decisions going forward. My suggestion is to 1-2 neutrals, 1-2 accent colors, and one metallic. Your accent color doesn't necessarily have to be the 'pop of color' you hear about. Feel free to do so, but if you're going for cozy, I tend to think a fully neutral palette is the move.

In my bedroom, the color palette is white, dove gray, burnt orange, and gold. Some easy color palette choices are white, navy, gray, and mint or white, blush pink, gray, and hunter green but you can take this in many different directions.

Typically, you will use this palette and choose your design pieces in layers. Your neutral will likely be the color for most of your big pieces (in my case, I have white walls and white bedding). Then, you layer in smaller pieces in your next neutral (dove gray nightstands and painted mirrors) and your accent color (burnt orange desk chair). Your metallic will be used for small accents and accessories (gold wishbone object, gold door handle). 

STEP TWO | adding texture
Once you have your broad color palette chosen, you can create depth by adding texture using blankets, textiles, baskets, and artwork. For instance, all of my bedding is white but I used large fur pillows and small embroidered throw pillows to create layers of texture. Since it's all the same color, it'll look interesting but still very luxe. Continue adding texture using throw blankets (faux fur, nubby knits) and even artwork like textured paintings using your color palette. An example of this is a painting I created for my room which is simply colorblocked sections of metallic gold, beige, peach, and navy.

STEP THREE | choosing multiple light sources (fairy lights, glowing low light, overhead light)
Lighting is a crucial element to making your space look cozy and put together. You likely already have an overhead light and a source of natural light, so start by playing with these. I tend to keep the overhead light off at all times because of its harshness and I like to diffuse the natural window light with gauzy, white curtains.

Next, you'll want to add in a couple of additional light sources like a glowing bedside table lamp, fairy lights, and of course, candles. This light layering technique will allow you to set a couple of different cozy moods by mixing and matching which ones you have turned on.

STEP FOUR | mixing old and new
You know how French women always talk about mixing items that are new and items that are vintage/heirlooms? The same goes for creating a cozy bedroom space. Whether you're shopping on a West Elm or IKEA budget, this is definitely possible.

If you have a smaller budget, you could get your bed and desk from IKEA, then refurbish a pair of thrift store side tables and add in small, vintage accent items you found at an antique store or that were given to you by a grandparent. A pricier option would be to splurge on an antique headboard and then keep the rest of the space clean, modern, and new. Either way, it's just keeping with the concept of old vs. new or, as they say in fashion, high vs. low. 

Using my room as an example: I have a custom-designed IKEA desk (not as fancy as it sounds, you can mix and match pretty much anything in their office section) and simple white bedding from Target. I paired those things with refurbished side tables and mirrors plus several pieces of handmade artwork done by myself or friends and little accents I've picked up from boutiques or Anthropologie.

STEP FIVE | using layers of fragrance
This final step isn't one most people often consider a part of the design process, but it's so important to creating a cozy, serene atmosphere. Layer your fragrances! Select whichever fragrance family (woody, citrus, floral, etc.) most appeals to you---note that it doesn't have to be a traditionally 'cozy' scent like vanilla, it's just whatever makes you feel happiest. Then, pick out candles, room sprays, sheet sprays, and wallflower plugins in scents from that fragrance family. 

This can also change by the season. In the cooler months, I'm a big fan of warm, woody scents so I'll have a Byredo Bibliotheque candle burning, paired with a vanilla wallflower, a waffle-scented room spray from Bath & Body Works, and then a lavender sheet spray to add a bit of freshness. In the summer, I'd probably do a Volcano candle with a coconut wallflower and room spray. 

Those are my biggest tips for creating a cozy bedroom and trust me, they work! Anytime someone walks into my bedroom, they mention how serene and cozy it feels immediately after passing through the door. And you really don't have to spend a lot of money to achieve it! Just take your time and think things through as you decorate and be sure to keep the space very clean and uncluttered.

the new spring closet staples + how to style them

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Happy Thursday, you guys! Last night, I did a fun training webinar with Jenna Kutcher and I'm still feeling super inspired and creative from it today. What a great way to start the new season, right? Speaking of spring and feeling creative---do you feel like you're dying to refresh your wardrobe a little bit after that dreadful winter? I am! There are a couple of pieces I consider 'new closet staples' for spring. For the most part, they're pretty classic but can be styled to suit many different personal looks.

the staples

TOPS

white everlane tee | a quality, white supima cotton  t-shirt is a closet must-have for any season and this spring is the perfect time to upgrade yours. 

retro, gathered top | these tops are perfect for spring/summer as they conjure images of old hollywood starlets on the beach in the midcentury.

slouchy sweater | for a cozy, feminine look, invest in a slouchy sweater made of a light material, preferably with a cute back detail like a keyhole or bow. 

BOTTOMS

straight-leg blue jeans | the go-to style of denim these days is a slightly cropped, straight leg jean in a light to medium wash to give it a 90s vibe.

white mini-skirt | switch up your usual denim mini-skirt with a white version with a rough, frayed hem.

track pants | they're comfortable, sporty, and a staple for a slightly edgy, street style inspired look.

SHOES

slip-on loafers | slip-on loafers aren't going anywhere just yet, so pick up a pair in black, brown, white, and/or a statement color like blush pink or mint green.

white sneakers | they're incredibly versatile, make your legs look more tan, and give any outfit a fresh, young vibe.

tan ankle boots | perhaps the easiest to dress both up and down, a pair of tan ankle boots are a must and I highly recommend the Dicker boot from Isabel Marant.

ACCESSORIES

basket bag | even though it was the standout bag trend of last summer, the basket bag is back in full swing this season and will give your look a charming, Riviera vibe.

delicate bralette | whether it shows through your top or not, a beautiful, delicate bralette is a crucial building block to the perfect laid-back, spring wardrobe.

sculptural earrings | this version of the statement earring relies more on texture and shape than on pops of color than the typical tassel version you see everywhere.

the looks

LOOK 1
White t-shirt tucked into straight leg jeans with slip-on loafers and basket bag.

LOOK 2
Slouchy sweater with white denim mini-skirt, white sneakers, and sculptural earrings.

LOOK 3
Retro, gathered top with straight leg jeans, ankle boots, and basket bag.

LOOK 4
Delicate bralette under white tee with track pants and white sneakers.

LOOK 5
Straight leg jeans with slouchy sweater, slip-on loafers, and delicate bralette.

LOOK 6
White t-shirt paired with white mini-skirt, ankle boots, basket bag, and a jacket. 
 

my 2018 spring favorites

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Happy spring, you guys! This past weekend was the most perfectly magical, warm weekend in the city. Everyone was out and about in the Meatpacking, happy and so pretty in new spring clothes they undoubtedly bought online in the midst of one of our many snowstorms this winter. On Saturday, a friend and I got ice-cream from Ample Hills Creamery and walked the entire High Line. It was heaven!

Since it finally feels like spring, I'm sharing my spring favorites for the year!

Fashion
I recently picked up this pastel yellow sweatshirt from Brandy Melville and have been wearing it constantly. I'm going to take some photos in it soon and talk more about it, so keep your eyes out for that!

Recipe
I tried this Greek Horiatiki recipe through Plated and I'm completely obsessed! I've already recreated it since getting the Plated box a few weeks ago and plan on making it my staple meal for the summer. It's essentially a big plate of grilled chicken, spiced chickpeas, fresh vegetables, and hummus. Omg, it's delicious! 

Cafés + Restaurants
I've tried several good restaurants recently but here are the highlights: brunch at a cozy little spot called Epistrophy, leek and potato soup with a leek grilled cheese from Maman, boba chai at the cutest new pink spot Blank Slate Tea, and a yummy red velvet cupcake from the charming Little Cupcake Bakeshop

Music
I have been absolutely in love with the new MGMT album 'Little Dark Age'. The wait was so worthwhile for this new music from my favorite band. It's hard to choose but my favorite songs from the new album are 'Me & Michael' (the happiest song of all time) and 'Little Dark Age'. Highly recommend that you watch both music videos because they're complete works of art.

Movies + TV
The past few weeks have been all about TV series for me rather than films, for some reason. The new season of Series of Unfortunate Events was so good and that's coming from a major fan of the books. I really enjoyed the 90s high school throwback Everything Sucks! The kid who plays Tyler had me dying laughing throughout the whole season and I'm honestly very sad that the show was cancelled after only one season. Another good Netflix show is Alexa + Katie. It's a sitcom about a girl with cancer and it's a little cheesy (like a Disney Channel show) but actually really cute and endearing! But of course, most of my TV time lately has been spent rewatching The Office.

Books
I'm not even going to talk about the movie because it was disappointing, my favorite book I've read recently was Ready Player One. It took me forever to actually sit down and read it, but I ended up loving it. If you have any interest at all in 80s culture, video games, or fantasy/sci-fi culture, you'll probably love this book, too.

Podcast
I have a post coming up with a lot of new podcast recommendations, but one of my favorite new finds is Royally Obsessed. The hosts are editors from Cosmopolitan and The Cut, respectively, and they basically just chat about royal family news. There's a lot going on in that world right now, so there's a lot of good content. I've been really into the royal family for years (it's my not-so-guilty pleasure), so this one makes me really happy.

Candle
As always, my favorite candle for spring and summer is the Volcano candle by Capri Blue. It smells like tropical punch and joy.

Photography + Art
Around this time of year, I love looking at old Slim Aarons photographs. They always get me excited for summer and have inspired many a pool day with cocktails and magazines.

six ways to feel more successful

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success is a wild ride, not the destination at the end of it.
— sophia amoruso

Success is a really tricky thing. For the most part, the pursuit of success and the fear surrounding lack thereof have been the big driving force in my life since I can remember, but especially since college. Success in career, in relationships, and even in lifestyle are my biggest desires and, honestly, probably yours as well even though it might manifest itself in different ways. 

All of the super motivated and smart girls I know struggle quite a bit with the concept of what it means to be successful. We did well in school, always had big dreams, and tended to appeal to our teachers to get ahead. That formula often works well when you're growing up but it can be challenging to enter the 'real world' after college because there is a glaring lack of structure. You're no longer taking tests or receiving grades, so how are you supposed to know if you're doing well or if you are 'successful'?

I certainly don't know all the answers but I ruminate on this a lot and, thus, read others' thoughts on the topic to try to parse the meaning of 'success' and how to achieve it. What have I found so far? That, like Sophia Amoruso said in the quote I shared above, success really is a journey and not a destination. Success is momentum. As long as you are working toward something and always moving forward, you should feel successful. 

Another quote I loved was something Christine Andrew shared on Instagram. I'm not sure where she read this quote but it has really stuck with me: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing you will be successful in whatever you do."

So, yeah. This is a big topic. It really requires a lot of thought and soul searching with regards to what your idea of success looks like. Really, coming to a conclusion about it probably takes a lifetime.

But, there are definitely some little ways you can feel successful in your everyday life while you tackle the big picture issues and I'm sharing five with you today! 

It's funny. The photos in this post are quite apt to the topic because they are such a visual representation of me living out my dream. They were taken at this spot in Soho by the restaurant La Esquina and the big YSL ad. This is a spot that, no matter how jaded I get by New York, always stuns me and reminds me how crazy it is that I live here right now. I obviously have a lot of things I want to accomplish and can definitely experience a lot of fear of those things, but ultimately I'm proud that, by 25, I've accomplished some really big things. You can honestly do anything you put your mind to!

Here are six ways to feel successful no matter where you are in life:

listen to podcasts
I'm a huge podcast fan. I listen to hours of audio per week while I'm getting ready, commuting, and doing certain tedious projects at work. They're such a good way to not only be entertained but to improve just about every aspect of your life. I suggest spending at least a half hour each day listening to a podcast on a topic that will improve your success. Some ideas are Goal Digger, Freakonomics, Super Soul Conversations, Don't Keep Your Day Job, and Money Girl.

read everyday
I'm always asked how I manage to read so many books each year and the honest truth is just that I enjoy reading and prioritize it. Set a goal that works with your lifestyle. It could be to read for an hour every night before bed, but I think the simplest goal is to read at least one chapter every night. Most likely, you'll end up reading more. Plus, it doesn't have to be a non-fiction, career-oriented book. Reading fiction is just as beneficial!

schedule organization days
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with upkeep tasks as an adult, so I recommend scheduling a few days per month to be dedicated to organization. Spend these days cleaning up your phone and computer, checking items off your to-do list, and keeping track of your finances. Plus, you can make it fun by listening to music, watching movies in the background, or ordering a pizza from your favorite local place.

make time for quality rest + relaxation
The glorification of being busy in modern life is so real. Important as it is to be a go-getter and to live your life to the fullest, it's equally important to give yourself time to recharge. Be sure to spend a weekend every so often doing nothing but watching Netflix and chilling at home. 

honor your accomplishments
If you're anything like me, you achieve something you've been working towards and immediately, you're on to the next struggle without ever acknowledging the fact that you just achieved something you badly wanted. This mindset makes it really hard to ever feel successful, so it's vital to celebrate the things you achieve. An easy way to do this is by journaling or by making then reviewing a reverse bucket list (where you write down cool things you've done rather than cool things you want to do).

plan for future goals
Success is momentum. It may seem like 'success' is the state you're in when you achieve your goals, but it's actually the state you're in when you are working toward them. If you make a point to always be planning your next move and setting new goals, then you already are successful.

What goals are you working toward right now? Do you feel successful at this point in your life? What does success even mean to you? I'm curious to know!