Sunday, June 29, 2014

Link Love

It's so hard to believe the last weekend of June has come and nearly gone. Summer is flying by already, although I've noticed that NY'ers don't consider summer truly started til about now—whereas Midwesterners say summer starts Memorial Day weekend, because really, who doesn't love as much summer as possible? Let's just hope there's we get an Indian one in the fall, too. 

There's no shortage of events, festivals, exhibits, things to see, places to go, people to meet in the summertime. I had my first (ever!) summer Friday this weekend and have been on the go non-stop since. I swung by the Capwell & Co sample sale and picked up some new gems, hit up the BAMcinemafest to see Happy Christmas (two word review: highly recommend, it's on iTunes!), stayed out late enough to watch the sun rise yesterday morning, slept a few hours, went to the Brooklyn Flea, walked from Fort Greene to Williamsburg to see the Kara Walker exhibit (there's only one week left!!) and closed out the day with dinner at a lovely little restaurant in the 'burg. Needless to say, I slept pretty well, and I was going to stay home & relax some more today but the beautiful weather outside is calling to me and I'm helpless to say no.

This amazing advertisement from Always made me completely re-think the phrase "Like a Girl" (it also may have made my eyes water, just a little).

I was endlessly curious about this history of the Domino Sugar Factory after visiting yesterday. Here's 22 photos from when it was still in operation, and here's all the info you need to know to see Kara Walker's A Subtlety before it closes!

I've been getting non-stop compliments on my Illeteva sunnies (seen here and here). Snag a pair for yourself here.

Amy's NYC is definitely one that I want to live in (and if you want more, check out her instagram feed!).

More advice for any entrepreneur from Inc's 35 Under 35.

As I write this, I have two browsers, five windows and around 50 tabs open. Making it a goal to get down to just one tab after reading this article.

Victoria's favorite Paris moments have me dying to make a springtime trip there.

Picking up a pair of emoji-like studs from Alison Lou on M'oda Operandi. My favorite is the Happy Stud!

I've long been a fan of SKT Ceramics—I added this elephant mug to my growing collection yesterday!

Starting my pre-fall '14 wish list with these Tibi boots.

Image via

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Go With the Flow

Happy almost Friday! It's been another jam-packed week, but I'm not complaining. After what seemed like the longest winter ever (second maybe to GoT) and having been sick pretty much all of last summer, I could not have been more ready for beautiful weather . I'm cramming in as many beaches, parks, brunches and drinks al fresco that I can—I've even gotten my ass out of bed early enough to see friends BEFORE work (I know, what is wrong with me? All the coffee in the world follows at work on these days.). One of my favorite things this week was meeting an instagrammer I admire early one morning in Chelsea to shoot a few can check out one of his final snaps (and my favorite) here!
My boss at my last job brought me back these incredible, comfortable pants from St. Tropez a few years ago. It's no secret I love color and a crazy pattern, but I tend to stick to fitted silhouettes so I was a little apprehensive about them at first. I needn't have worried, they've become one of my favorites in spring and summer thanks to the wrinkle-proof fabric and elastic waistband (necessary for my summertime wine-and-cheese diet).
Equipment Blouse || Pants from St. Tropez || Fossil Wedges (old, similar) || Illesteva Sunglasses || Sequin Bangles

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Twins for Peace

It's no secret I have a growing sneakerhead obsession as of late (it all started with these bright blue Supras). So, naturally, I was browsing sneakers on Shopbop when I stumbled across the most amazing pair I'd seen yet—decorated with Mr Men Little Miss from childhood! I bookmarked them and came back a few days later to make a purchase, only to find out they'd already sold out in my size (there's still several sizes left in the high top and black-and-white versions!).
I started (desperately) looking on other sites for my size and while I was unsuccessful, I discovered even more about the brand behind them, Twins for Peace. They collaborated on a pretty extensive collection with Mr Men Little Miss, and offer several other styles—like the Boubou, a super-classic and wearable pair, pictured above. I especially love that they work in luxe fabrics like silk and leather (eyeing the turquoise & black combo, of course!).
After obsessing & tweeting about the brand for a few weeks, they reached out and asked if I'd like to stop by their showroom in NYC to learn more about the story behind the company & view the entire collection (check out my snaps here and here). I don't think I could say yes fast enough. Their motto, "Be Cool Be Good," came from the desire to be a brand without pretension while creating unique, timeless, covetable (by me, ha) shoes. They took the be good one step further by starting a one-for-one program in 2009, donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold. Clothing and accessories purchases further help by funding healthcare and education, and they work with foundations in low-income countries to employ local workers and factories, further investing in that country's economy to help break the poverty cycle. They've worked with communities in Brazil, Mozambique, Colombia, India and Tanzania so far. 
They also work with the Gacha Foundation (there is very little on them in English but they support localized education efforts in Cameroon). Each pair is hand beaded, with a portion of the proceeds kicking back to the foundation. I couldn't stop obsessing over the amazingly intricate beadwork on this pair at their showroom
Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Read more about the story behind the brand 
(the twins who started it are great-grandchildren of the Hermes family!)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Wedding Style

Ahh, summer. A time for late nights, early mornings, parks, beaches, patios, anything and everything al fresco…oh, and weddings. I know I'm not alone in the sheer number of them that take place once you hit your mid-twenties (let's not even get started on the babies that follow). This year, I kicked off the unofficial start to summer with a wedding back in Iowa and will be wrapping up the unofficial end (Labor Day) with my younger sister's wedding back home. Scattered through the middle are more ceremonies, showers and celebrations—pass the bubbly, please!
I love a good any reason to shop for something new, but my bank account can't seem to get behind me during wedding season. To compromise, I look for a few new pieces each season that are versatile enough to be worn at least twice. Usually, maxi dresses feel more formal to me and I'm really all about comfort, but this one has a few extra things going for it. The fun, tribal-inspired print leans toward casual and minimizes the need for too many accessories. There's also a slit on one side—perfect for when I'm dancing and don't want to be tripping on extra fabric (I just loosely tie a knot in the side!). And, spoiler alertI was drawn to the various shades of blue.
My favorite detail, though, has to be the's wrinkle-proof! Which is amazing for me since I'm prone to ditching whatever I was wearing on whatever's most convenient when I get home at night (this dress passed the test when I got it in the mail, tried it on, and promptly dropped it in a pile on the bench in my room for three days). Already planning to toss it in my suitcase when I head back for my sister's wedding this August!
Donna Morgan Dress via Zappos || Gap Clutch || Sole Society Heels || Essie Polish in I'm Addicted

Photos by Ashley

Monday, June 16, 2014

Four Eyes

Some of you may remember that my 25th birthday was a few weeks ago….well, 24 bid me farewell with an ass-kicker of a birthday present. For as long as I can remember, I've had pretty much perfect vision (I was lucky enough to rarely get sick growing up, too—something that has not followed me to adulthood, either). I aced vision charts for physicals and took a little secret pride in being able to read the teeny, tiny print on the smallest lines from halfway down the hallway.  A few years ago, I took a job that involved a lot of long, long days in front of a computer screen, often working in photoshop at 400% zoom, and things declined rapidly.

Fast forward about 9 months and I realized I was struggling to read the digitized subway signs as the trains pulled into the station; any text more than a few feet away had a slight gaussian blur (pardon the photoshop pun). A few months later I started being covered under vision insurance at work, but I put off making a doctor's appointment. Eventually, I changed jobs and lost the insurance in the process, meaning I was only covered by my mom's back in Iowa. In the meantime, things weren't getting any better…so when I headed home for a quick (72 hour!) trip a few weeks ago, I prioritized an eye exam and came out with a new prescription.
Since everything vision is still pretty new to me, I assumed I'd walk out that day with a pair of glasses on their way to me, but once we looked at the price tags compared to the paltry coverage offered on my mom's plan I knew that wouldn't be happening. Vaguely familiar with Warby Parker, I decided I'd check them out when I got back to the city—at $95 a pair with some insurance reimbursement, they sounded like a pretty good deal. I popped up to the new UES store a few weeks ago with an image in my head of what I wanted and in less than ten minutes landed on the Baxter, which you see here! 
I'm still experimenting with when I need to wear them and when I don't. They're most helpful when I'm waiting for the subway since several trains run over my line and not all of them get me home, but I'm usually wearing sunglasses once I'm outdoors. I thought I'd need them more at work, but I haven't struggled too much with computer screens yet, the irony of which is not lost on me. I did wear them during a concert last week, as I've noticed trouble focusing on performances when I'm further away or up high. 

I think it's going to take some getting used to, so any advice you fellow four-eyes out there can offer would be great. I feel like frames in general are stupidly hipster these days, and as an avid sunglass wearer I also keep thinking that I forgot to take my sunglasses off inside before remembering they are see-through. This has also made for some awkward moments on the subway when I have them on and realize that, yes, the person whose direction I'm vaguely staring in can see me (reflective sunglasses are a lot more helpful in these cases).

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Crossing Bridges

 A couple weekends ago, a friend of mine from college who currently lives in D.C. came to the city for a couple days and brought along another friend we went to college with, who also happens to be my (sorority) sister. It was the latter's first time in NYC, so I joined them for a day in Brooklyn to do a few tourist-y things, like walking over the Brooklyn Bridge (actually only my second time doing so in nearly three years here—the first time was with Jess & Hallie in April 2013 for the Walk for MS!).
My friend has a knack for capturing everyone at their best—we actually met in art/photography classes the first few days of freshman year—hence the gigantic smile on my face in all these pictures...including the one below where I'm checking for bikes so I don't almost get hit by one again (seriously, bikers on the Brooklyn Bridge are intense. And they will hit you if you're in their way).

Monday, June 9, 2014

Weekend Notes // Link Love

Kicking the week off in reverse with the link love post I didn't get to this weekend thanks to the extra-large glass of wine that became my dinner on Friday night. I know, priorities!

To recap the weekend in a few words: so. much. sun. Saturday started very bright and early with a 2-hour subway ride to a much needed beach day (the only thing I'll drop #SoulSurvivor for—sorry, Hallie & Jess!). Despite slathering my pale skin in SPF 70+ every hour, that sun devil burned through my defenses in a few patches, but I'm hoping coconut oil can pull off the usual miracle and keep me from peeling (you can scoop up my favorite brand here—I've been using it as body lotion, hair mask and lip balm for the past year). I capped off the night with a small dinner party on my back porch and rounded out my Sunday with brunch at an old favorite in the East Village with Emily. I also conveniently managed to accomplish absolutely nothing on my to-do list, but my summer priorities tend to go something like this: beach, sun, friends, drinks (especially margaritas), brunch.
#Sorrynotsorry, am I right?

Also on my radar:

Today's influencers give advice to 20-somethings. Definitely worth the read!

Investing in a much-needed beach blanket this summer.

I recently had a terrible experience with Megabus—the way they handled their customer service guaranteed I'll never use them again, so Breanna's post on burning bridges struck close to home!

My dream shoe is half off (but still a serious investment). Should I bite the bullet anyways?

Zara—where fashion insiders go for an edge (and you should, too!). 

NARS satin lip pencils have become my go-to summer lip color thanks to their easy, rich color!

Has anyone tried the Marilyn hair mask from Lush? Thinking about picking it up to keep my locks bright this summer and would love to hear any reviews!

The perfect denim shorts for summer.

Stunning bathroom design over on Kate's blog.

On repeat. This, too.

This beautiful Suno dress is great for summer soirées—and it's on sale, too!

Chia Seed Oats/Pudding has become my go-to breakfast. Super easy to make! I layer mine with my mom's homemade preserves, granola and slivered almonds.

Photo by Rose Mayo for Blonde in this City

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Floral Art

Taking you on a mini-throwback Thursday to a few weeks ago when I was back home in Des Moines and to one of my favorite downtown locations, the Pappajohn Sculpture park (recently & newly beloved by Lucky's EIC Eva Chen, too!). But first, the story behind this dress!
I was wandering through Flatiron late last summer and found myself browsing the sale racks at Anthropologie looking for things I didn't need when this floral number with 3-D appliqués jumped out at me. I checked the tag and was crushed to see it was a size too big and there were no others in sight. I hustled it over to a sales girl who told me it was an online exclusive that had been returned in store; there were only a handful left in the entire company and the closest one in my size had ended up in a store in New Jersey. Since I'm car-less, I opted for the easier route and tried it on anyways—and it fit! The midsection is a bit on the billowy side, but given my recent habit of eating bagels every day I'm more than OK with that. 
It's the perfect summer travel dress because it doesn't wrinkle and calls for few accessories, so I tossed it in my suitcase last minute on my trip home a few weeks ago to wear out to dinner and a night of live jazz. I hadn't gotten to spend much time in the sculpture garden since I moved, and they've added some incredible new works, like the one I'm standing in front of and a Keith Haring piece (oh, hey again, Eva Chen!). Already planning to spend an afternoon wandering the area with my mom when I'm back again later this summer!

Get the Look

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Making Ripples

I knew I wanted to write something about turning 25, but I was unsure how to frame it for a while (my birthday was last Monday, Memorial Day to the rest of you). I've been long familiar with Maya Angelou's works and words, but her recent passing and the abundance of articles filled with some of her best quotes that have been circulating the web felt particularly poignant as I reflect on my life so far and where I want it go. So, I'm putting a few of her better-known quotes in context to my current life.

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."

Certainly one of her most famous quotes, and it has resonated pretty deeply in me each time I saw it posted this past week. I've always considered myself a pretty positive person (especially in the summer and the weather lately has been pretty wonderful), but like most people I know, I expect and hope that things around me will conform to my life. If I don't like something, I try to change it. If that doesn't work, I sometimes resort to complaining—or worse, giving up.  Juggling work, friends and "me" time can be mentally exhausting, made worse by the pressure to obtain the status symbol of being busy every. single. night. (Seriously, though, having events and plans every night of the week is NYC's version of the popular clique in high school, and sometimes I just want to go home, Seamless French toast and fries from my favorite diner and watch TV without feeling guilty about not being out.)

"We may encounter defeats but we must not be defeated."

A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and came across a tweet from Mackenzie that simply asked: "What are you looking forward to today?". As embarrassing as it is to admit, it took me several minutes to think about what I was happy about that day. The last month has involved a lot of travel with a lot of delays on top of laryngitis and a sinus infection that I'm still trying to kick, among other things. I've been waking up and focusing on the negative, the mundane and a jam-packed schedule, and Mackenzie's tweet reminded me I should be focusing on the positive, the things that make me happy and that I have to look forward to, even if my only plans that day are to go to work and  hit the grocery store Seamless French toast & fries on my way home. Hitting a "milestone" year is a reminder of how fast life can go by (trying not think about the next one being 30!). I want to make a conscious effort to stop making excuses for bad moods, though I wholly admit there will still be plenty of bad days.

A few other things I took note of as I rounded out year 24:
Confidence in yourself is key to happier, healthier life. Do what's right for you, not someone else. If you're not happy in a relationship (or a friendship), get out. If you're miserable at your job, look for a new one. If you don't like how you look, learn to accept and love the things you can't change, and go after the things that you can—change the way you eat, the way you move, the way you dress. Learn what makes you happy and comfortable, you'll know it when you see it (and feel it).

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

Know when to say yes, and when to say no. Is this going to make me a better person? Will I regret my decision later (ahem, impulse shopping)? I said "yes" to a new job last year—one where I took a pay cut, but one that has ultimately led me to grow personally and professionally. I've learned to say "yes" to opportunities, and to not be afraid to go somewhere or do something by myself. And on the flip side, I know when to say "no". To a guy I'm not interested in, to high-paying jobs I'd be miserable in, to clothes I don't need, to that second or third drink I could really do without.

"All great achievements require time."

Know your cross roads. Where do you want to go in life? The first time I got in a cab in NYC, I naively gave them the address—not realizing that cabbies operate almost exclusively on cross streets. I had to scramble on my phone to figure them out so the cabbie could get me there. I'm the first person to tell you I'm pretty terrible at planning (though you can probably figure that out when I get sporadic with posting). I moved to NYC on a whim, and until I started my first full-time job I rarely planned more than a week or two in advance for anything, but I've also started to recognize that I need to think more about the future. You don't need to know all the little details in between and I'm a firm believer in letting things happen instead of setting deadlines for yourself, but if you have a goal for where you want to be or how you want to feel, recognize that as your cross roads and figure out the best path to get yourself there.

When I first found the photo in this post on Pinterest, someone had attached this quote:
"And the waters will stay the same throughout the years until you step in and make a ripple in their history, a ripple that will affect the tide and the waters from that point on."

*Image via Jeff Luker