nyc itinerary: girls trip

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Okay, what's better than a fun girls trip? Honestly, not much. Of course, you can go to the beach or Nashville or wherever, but I think New York is the move. I may be biased, but there is just so much to do here with your girlfriends that it can't be beat. New York is known for being a fairly masculine city, but I'm happy to report that a ton of new, girly spots have been popping up lately that are perfect for a trip with your best friends, your mom, your sisters, whoever! 

STAY

The Ludlow Hotel
When I think of stylish hotels in the city, my mind immediately goes to The Ludlow. You've likely seen their famous bathrooms on various Instagram it-girl accounts. The whole place is super Insta-worthy, so you and your friends will have no shortage of fun photo ops. There's also a great lounge space and a restaurant, Dirty French.

McCarren Hotel & Pool
For a summer trip with a more laid-back vibe, check out McCarren Hotel & Pool in Williamsburg. It's less pricey than hotels in the city, but the neighborhood is perfect (my favorite) and super close to Manhattan. The hotel has a gorgeous rooftop bar and a sunny pool deck, the perfect spots to hang out on a hot summer day.

The Jane
For major Wes Anderson vibes, book a room at The Jane. The decor is beyond gorgeous and it's located in the West Village, so you'll be close to all of the cutest spots in the city. The hotel is home to one of the prettiest new restaurants, Old Rose, which I'll mention below. 

The Public Hotel
Public Hotel is similar in design to The New York Edition, but less expensive and a bit of a younger vibe. It has an art exhibition space that doubles as a dance club at night, a beautiful hotel store, and several restaurants including a lush rooftop. 

The Roger Hotel
I stayed at this cute boutique hotel near Flatiron last summer and thought it was so darling. I was initially drawn to the black-and-white striped awnings outside (of course), but they also have a chic lobby space and really cute rooms. As a smaller hotel, I'd say this one offers less of an 'experience', but it's a really nice option in a super convenient location.

Airbnb
For larger groups, renting an Airbnb is a fun and more cost-effective option. If you do this, I definitely recommend spending extra for a really great space to call your home base. Yes, you'll be out and about for much of the day, but having a nice apartment to come back to will feel like a fun sleepover. You can even order Seamless and have a cute night in. Some options I like are here, here, and here.

EAT

Old Rose
Like I mentioned above, Old Rose is located in the Jane Hotel and, to me, it's kind of the new While We Were Young. It has the white marble, checkerboard floor vibe that looks beautiful in photos. The menu is really good too, with lots of elevated comfort food like margherita pizzas, sourdough avocado toast, waffles, and a great drink menu.

ABC Kitchen
For a splurge dinner, try the super chic Jean-Georges restaurant ABC Kitchen near Union Square. It's inside the beautiful home store ABC Furniture & Home (which you should definitely peruse) and is decorated like something out of Architectural Digest.

Sweet Time Dessert Cafe
This is a super cute little place with an indoor cherry blossom tree and a cute neon sign. They serve cute little desserts that weirdly remind me of Lush bath bombs. Things like galaxy mousse cake and pastel dessert drinks.

The Cafe at Sel Rrose
Another very chic spot, the restaurant Sel Rrose has a little cafe that serves coffee, prosecco, morning pastries, and small plates. This would be a great place for a very low-key brunch.

Milk + Roses
In Greenpoint, Brooklyn, you'll find Milk + Roses, a restaurant with the dreamiest, magical garden ambience and rustic Italian food. They offer baked goods from Balthazar as well as things like focaccia, ricotta ravioli, and panna cotta.

Blank Slate Tea
This place just opened up in Flatiron and it's super pink. Stop by here for a quick meal or to pick up a variation of wellness teas (or boba!) that come with a very cute pink coffee sleeve.

The Broken Coconut
Everytime I walk by this place with a friend, we always exclaim how cute it is. There's tropical wallpaper and pink neon signs as well a menu that offers acai bowls, coconut yogurt, overnight oats, and grain bowls for a healthy eating experience.

DO

Check out Roman & Williams
Even if you don't eat a La Mercerie (which you should), stop into Roman + Williams Guild in Soho to browse the art-like furniture and to smell the flowers at the shop in the front.

See Anastasia on Broadway
There are tons of shows to see in the city, but I think Anastasia is the perfect one for a girls trip. I don't know any girl who doesn't love the movie! 

Get manicures or pedicures at a cute salon
Round up your group and head to one of the cute mani-pedi spots in the city like Essie's flagship salon, Primp + Polish, Sundays Nail Studio, Paintbox, or Chillhouse.

Go to The Whitney
I recommend the Whitney over the other museums for this trip because of its location and general vibe. The new location is right on the water near the High Line and offers some really great views. The collection is quite varied (from contemporary artists like Alexander Calder to classic, American artists like Grant Wood), so there's something for everyone. 

Wander around Williamsburg & Nolita
These two neighborhoods in particular have a lot of great boutiques to pop in and out of. In Williamsburg, you'll find a lot of independent and vintage spots intermixed with places like Madewell and SpaceNK. In Nolita, you have mid-range designer spots like Everlane, Ulla Johnson, and Totokaelo as well as the McNally Jackson bookstore.

Party at Le Bain & House of Yes
If you want to really go out, there are two spots I recommend. Le Bain is a discotheque at The Standard. It's rather chic and French-inspired. On the flip side, House of Yes is a crazy performance space and dance club in Bushwick where you'll wear themed costumes and encounter all sorts of wild performance art through the night. I really like House of Yes for a girls trip because it definitely isn't the kind of place where you'll find creepy dudes.

five beauty products i'm loving lately

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Happy Monday, everyone! How was your weekend? I'm really excited for this week. I'm going to visit some friends today that I haven't seen in awhile and then continuing to work on a huge new project which I'll talk about later. Later this week, my best friend Caroline is coming into town to celebrate my birthday early and I'm also freelancing from one of my favorite office spaces in the city. I'm planning on having pizza night at Ops with Caroline, walking the Brooklyn Bridge if it's nice enough out, splitting mac + cheese at The Smith, and potentially going over to MoMA PS1 in Long Island City. So yes, lots to look forward to!

But today, I'm sharing five beauty products that I have been really into lately. I had so much fun shooting these products at Brooklyn Bridge Park. How amazing is that skyline view?! 

Seriously though, check out any or all of these five products next time you go shopping. The majority of them are actually very budget-friendly which is a plus!

Bioderma | Sensibio H20
I have no idea how, but I only just got around to buying a bottle of Bioderma micellar water. I'd been using makeup wipes for the past few months and suddenly came to the realization that I should switch back to micellar water to save money and unnecessary waste. So, I popped into Ricky's (the most dangerous place ever for beauty lovers) on the way home from my library and got a bottle of Bioderma Sensibio H20. If you're out shopping for a Bioderma micellar water, note that the pink bottle is Sensibio (the standard version), the blue bottle is Hydrabio (contains glycerin so it's good for dry skin), and the bottle with the green lid is Sebium (balances oily skin). 

Tocca | Crema de Mano, Giulietta
I love, love, love Tocca hand creams. I was first introduced to them with a grapefruit scented bottle that I got from the Birchbox store in SoHo. I was randomly at Marshall's when I visited Florida last month and saw a Tocca hand cream for $3.99 that I quickly snatched up without even smelling it. Luckily, the Giulietta scent--tulips and green apples--turned out to be amazing. 

Summer Fridays | Jet Lag Mask
I talked about the Jet Lag mask only last month, but I'm going to talk about it again because I love it that much. As I mentioned before, it was gifted to me but I would gladly pay for it, too. This mask is so hydrating, it's been incredibly helpful in keeping my skin decent as I have been battling with an overheated radiator that's been drying out my skin. I just slather it on right before bed and leave it on overnight to protect my skin from the dry heat. P.S. I hate radiators.

L'Oreal Paris | Elvive Extraordinary Clay Pre-Shampoo Mask
I tried a sample of this awhile back and really liked it. Recently, when I was out buying new hair products, I decided that I would get this instead of a conditioner. That's not to say it at all replaces a conditioner---I just happen to have really soft water in my current apartment that already takes volume out of my hair, so I really didn't want to add conditioner on top of that. Anyway, this mask is one that you use before you shampoo in order to remove oil from your roots. This is a great product to use once a week or on your at-home spa day.

Kristin Ess | The Signature Shampoo
I've been using this shampoo for a few weeks now and I'm loving it so far. First of all, it smells amazing (kind of like candy but not synthetic or cheap) but it is also sulfate-free and cruelty-free so it's a good budget option for those looking to be more conscious of their products. When I wash with this, my hair comes out silky and soft but still retains volume. Such a good product to try from Target!

BONUS:

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
I didn't photograph this product, but I've been using the Veil primer lately and it's so good! It has a really silky texture that glides onto the skin really easily. Your makeup goes on top of it really well and it helps the look to last all day. Plus, a little goes a long way so it should last you awhile.

Have you tried any beauty products that you love lately? Let me know!

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.