Weekend Reading, 1.23.21.

sweater link

What a week. We have a new president. Social media felt fun again… lighter and happier? I know I breathed one big sigh of relief on Wednesday night. On a personal note I am starting to prepare for my move.  The first project has been getting reallllly focused on purging my apartment. I am slowly going through every corner, cabinet, shelf, closet, and drawer and donating/giving away a LOT. It’s wild how much stuff a person can accumulate living somewhere for even just four years. I don’t move for 9 weeks or so but want to make it as stress-free as possible so am starting the process NOW. I’ve also hired Erin Gates from Elements of Style (I am obsessed with her blog, have been a loyal reader for years) to help me design the new space. She’s given me quite a bit of homework and this weekend’s project is finishing up measuring every single piece of furniture and art in my apartment and getting all of that to her so that she can help me think about the flow, what goes where, and what I need to sell and buy, etc. Both projects (purging + getting ready to design the new space) are simultaneously tedious but exciting! Whatever you are up to this weekend, I hope it’s great. XOXO

The best fashion moments from the inauguration.

Tempted by these washable silk PJs. Has anyone tried them?

Maskne fighting sheet masks are HERE!

Inside Jenna Lyons’ dreamy Soho apartment.

These slouchy socks remain maybe one of the best purchases of this winter. I wear a pair every day.

Wait whaaa!? This DIY rattan cabinet looks incredible.

A friend gave me this Nest grapefruit diffuser. I was initially not sure where to put it as I burn so many candles. Turns out, it’s perfect in the bathroom.

Black and South Asian women reflect on Kamala Harris becoming Vice President.

“Hope is not the same thing as optimism.”

This $20 faux diamond band was one of last week’s best sellers. I’m so happy, as mine makes ME happy.

Blue Apron is doing a special flash sale through 1/29. Take $100 off your first 5 boxes!

This little baby doll dress is so easy to throw on, would be great with tights and boots right now.

Loved these tech hacks to help you have a better work-life balance.

How to brighten someone’s day during the pandemic.

I’ve been testing this Vitamin C serum since early December and really like it. More to come next week.

8 things to do with (almost) rotten produce.

Such a fan of this affordable initial pendant. I wear mine a LOT.

I loved and (though are lives are so different!) deeply related to this personal post from Liz.

Everything we know about Bridgerton Season 2.

To help with motivation, I treated myself to a few new workout things this week. These shiny navy blue leggings, this white tank, this navy blue bra!

How dreamy is this eclectic Manhattan loft space? The art!!!!

One of my new fav sweaters. Could pass for Rebecca Taylor or Sea!

On giving yourself grace.

Dunkin’ is going to start selling salads? Hmmm!

How pretty is this (very affordable) smocked midi dress? Love. This one, too!

Very excited about the new scripted Julia Childs show coming to HBO Max!

I’ve heard great things about these simple layering tanks and ordered a few this week.

Why we need to retire saying “You’re not fat, you’re beautiful!”

On finding your perfect winter moisturizer (I love that Bader + Skin Food were grouped in a similar quadrant.)

I’ve been stalking this cashmere sweater but have yet to pull the trigger. Love the silhouette!

And when all else fails, there are always baby kangaroos.

DISCLOSURE: IF YOU BUY SOMETHING THROUGH MY LINKS, I MAY EARN AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION, AT NO COST TO YOU. I ONLY FEATURE THINGS I TRULY LOVE HERE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

Photo by Allie Provost.

MasterClass Review!

I am very excited about this post (and I’ve been meaning to write it since summer when I first signed up, but life kept getting in the way and I wanted to spend more time taking classes!). I have talked about this in my 2021 goals post and also on the podcast, but a big goal of mine is to spend a couple hours a week learning something new or exploring an interest. It can be any interest or random thing I’m feeling curious about, but I think that continuing to learn is so so important. For me, this looks like watching more documentaries, listening to educational podcasts, reading non-fiction, actually reading all those beautiful art books, and of course… MasterClass!

MasterClass Review

I love MasterClass – it’s been a great way to pass the time during quarantine, and I have learned so much from taking their classes.

What is MasterClass

MasterClass offers courses for students of all skill levels, across a realllllly wide array of interests: everything from screenwriting (Becca LOVED Shonda Rhimes’ class) to writing thrillers (Dan Brown has a course!), interior design to cooking (there are so many really specific cooking courses) and beyond. If there’s something you are even vaguely interested in, there is probably a MasterClass for it! A one year membership is $180 ($15/month but it’s billed all at once) and with that you get access to TONS of classes. There are a lot of online courses out there but in my opinion, MasterClass is the best one.

You can stream Masterclass video anywhere (I like to watch them on my TV) or even download the courses to watch them offline, and each course is also accompanied by a PDF workbook. There is literally everything you could ever want to learn about… from acting with Natalie Portman and comedy with Steve Martin to the nerdier more niche stuff (I’m kinda tempted to take Space Exploration with astronaut Chris Hadfield?).

And it never gets old: every month they add new classes. This month they added several new ones but I’m particularly excited to learn more about the science of sleep with Matthew Walker. Also: Art and creativity with Jeff Koons!

How MasterClass Works

Once you get a membership, you can take any class and watch Masterclass courses at your own pace. The classes feature pre-recorded content, broken down into short lessons. Each course is about 3.5 hours of video, which in my opinion is manageable enough to not be intimidating… but still enough time to go deep. On average, each course is about twenty lessons, and each lesson is about 10 minutes long. It’s easy to take one or two during your lunch break, or first thing in the morning to get inspired, etc.

The Best MasterClass Courses

Here are a few of the best (in my opinion!) MasterClass courses. Note that this is just a quick list, and as I take more courses (I’m pretty hooked!) I will absolutely update this! (Please leave your favs in the comments section, if you’re a member!)

Interior Design with Kelly Wearstler

This was the first MasterClass I ever took. I have several of Kelly’s books (and a lamp) and love her style and taste. I learned a lot from this, especially around creativity and defining your aesthetic.

Screenwriting with Shonda Rhimes

I will admit that I have not personally watched this one (and honestly I probably won’t, as it isn’t high on my list of priorities/interests) but Becca swore by this one up and down and said she learned so much from it before she wrote RomComPods. I will take her word for it!

Creativity and Leadership with Anna Wintour

I mean, talk about learning from the best. To get to get this level of access to Anna is very cool. She shares her management tips, decision making tips, and advice for developing your own personal brand and vision. I really loved this one.

Malcom Gladwell teaches Writing

Malcom Gladwell is one of my favorite writers (he wrote The Tipping Point and Blink, amongst other things) so I loved hearing from him. From research to character development to grabbing and holding your readers’ attention, this book has it all. I will note that Masterclass has a TON of writing courses, I hope to eventually take them all. There is creative writing with Margaret Atwood, writing thrillers with Dan Brown, writing with James Patterson, fiction and story telling with Walter Mosley, more story telling with Neil Gaiman… I could go on! If you want to up your writing game, MasterClass is definitely for you – you can learn from so many of the greats!!!

Bobbi Brown teaches Makeup and Beauty

I loved this one. Bobbi Brown is a genius when it comes to beautiful, natural makeup and her course taught me SO much, just in terms of skills and techniques to applying simple makeup. I loved the smoky eye tutorial in particular as that is something that’s always been challenging for me.

Cooking Techniques with Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller (the chef behind The French Laundry) has a couple different cooking technique classes with MasterClass. I took the class about meats, stocks, and sauces (making dad proud!) but there’s also a great one with vegetables, pasta, and eggs. I am big on the cooking technique classes as they really help you to up your game. Gordon Ramsey has a knife skills class and that is high on my list to take next!

Is It Worth It?

In my opinion, MasterClass is absolutely worth it. A one year long membership is $180. So broken down per month, it’s just $15 per month which is about the same as a Netflix membership. (And frankly, I would like to spend more time watching this and less time on Netflix… but I’m not always sure my brain is ready for that!) If you are disciplined and use it regularly, you can easily take a course or two or even three a month… maybe even more. That’s a lot of learning and a lot of access to some of the most incredible and inspiring people in the world.

I’ll add that it’s probably more valuable to certain interests and careers. Writing is a big one, as is FOOD and cooking. There are also a lot of great courses about entrepreneurship and finding your purpose.

It’s important to note that you can completely try before you fully commit. There is a 7 day free trial and also a 30-day money back guarantee too so if for some reason you are unhappy or hate it, they will refund you in full.

Have you tried Masterclass? What are your favorite classes?

DISCLOSURE: IF YOU BUY SOMETHING THROUGH MY LINKS, I MAY EARN AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION, AT NO COST TO YOU. I ONLY FEATURE THINGS I TRULY LOVE HERE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Bundling Up + Staying Active!

sponsored by ShopStyle and Backcountry.

Since getting back to New York, long walks have been essential but it is much, much colder here than there! Every day (usually at the end of the day, just before it gets dark) I try to walk for at least an hour. For the first half hour I will put on an audiobook or a podcast (currently making my way through Unlocking Us by Brené Brown and also listening to The Lynching by Laurence Leamer), and for the second half I will put on music.

Bundling up is essential. When I need to be warm, I love a good puffer. The Patagonia puffer I wore in my last post with Backcountry is perfect for fall (or Charleston weather which is generally about 20-30 degrees warmer than New York!) but this one is ultra thick and warm. And I love the dark green color! I’m wearing the same Beyond Yoga leggings and Blundstone Boots from my last post.

Beyond Yoga’s leggings are just so special and SOFT. I’ve mentioned this before but back when I was on an airplane every month (that seems strange to write!!!) they were my travel go-to. But they’re also great for the things they’re intended for… yoga, walks, runs, etc! I love that they’re ultra high waisted. They run true to size, I take a medium.

outfit details:  The North Face Puffer Coat // Stoic Turtleneck (on sale, I went up one size!) // Beyond Yoga Leggings // Carhartt Beanie (color is Canyon Brown) // Smart Wool Socks // Blundstone Boots (color is Black) // Outdoor Research Face Mask

A few good sales at Backcountry:

Take up to 50% off select PrAna styles (through 1/31), and take 60% off select Stoic styles (through 1/26 – I have and love this long sleeve top and the turtleneck pullover I’m wearing in this post).

The Blundstone boots were one of my best-selling items last month and I love them so much. I’ve been wearing them on my walks of course but also out to dinner because it’s really cold. (I joke that my outdoor dining look is very akin to apres ski.) They are incredibly comfortable and run TTS. If you want to wear really thick socks with yours I would say go up 1/2 size, but I’ve been fine w/my usual size. They’re moderately warm but with these Smart Wool socks they’re perfect. I’m told that they last forever which is great as they are in my opinion, the perfect Chelsea boot. And the more you wear them, the comfier they get. Just like my beloved birks, they mold to your feet. Last time around a reader asked for a rec with heels and I think that these look great.

One thing I mentioned last time but really love is that Backcountry has partnered with The Nature Conservancy since 2008 to support its mission of protecting the lands and waters on which all life depends. I love how easy it is to donate to The Nature Conservancy upon checkout at Backcountry.com

This turtleneck pullover is currently half off! I recommend sizing up – I’m wearing a large in these photos.

photography by Allie Provost.

This Week’s Best Sales, 1.20.21.

Just popping in with a few good sales to share. Happy shopping!

This never happens! For a limited time, take 25% off full price items at Tanya Taylor with code NEWYEAR. I have and LOVE this dress and have been ogling this one.

Do not miss this 100% cashmere sweater for under $50!

If you wear a size large, don’t miss this one: my fav Ulla pullover for 50% off!

Take an extra 60% off sale items at J.Crew Factory with code SALE4YOU

I have been eyeing this pretty little animal print mini and it’s such a good price now – under $50!

Take an extra 50% off all sale styles at Anthropologie for a limited time. Love this cozy sweater and this ultra soft tunic.

These Vince boots are currently in my cart – they are half off and I love the texture!!!

Madewell is having a secret stock sale with up to 70% off! I have and love this pretty sweater (the details are so lovely!) and I’m eyeing this striped pullover.

Take 20% off sitewide at Boll & Branch with code GRACE20 – ends 1/31!

DISCLOSURE: IF YOU BUY SOMETHING THROUGH MY LINKS, I MAY EARN AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION, AT NO COST TO YOU. I ONLY FEATURE THINGS I TRULY LOVE HERE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

photos by Clay Austin.

What’s Giving You Hope?

It’s inauguration day. I think back to early November and this day just felt SO far away. I’ve had a lot of nervousness leading up today, especially after the insurrection on the 6th. But we are here, and aside from any nervousness I feel so incredibly hopeful. My shoulders are hanging a little lower than usual, that crick in my neck seems to be finally going away, and I feel like I can breathe again.

Today we inaugurate our 46th president. This afternoon marks the start of the Biden presidency. Just writing that sentence fills up my heart. And besides swearing in Joe Biden, we will watch Kamala Harris become first the first woman, first Black person, and first person of South Asian descent to become the vice president of our country. Biden and Harris have become such symbols of hope for me personally, and I’m sure many of you feel exactly the same way. When I think about Biden I think of hope but also empathy, unity, and real leadership. A fresh start, a new beginning for our country. I am really proud of us for getting to this day. It is easy to feel nervous. It’s easy to be scared. And I let’s be real: I am definitely also both of those things. I struggle with feeling exuberance and joy while also wanting to temper my expectations to not be disappointed. But I am choosing to focus on HOPE. On small miracles, micro-joys, and little kindnesses and good deeds that will add up and make a big difference. We are all in this together.

I’m hopeful for the vaccine rollouts. I get emotional every time I see a vaccine selfie and cannot wait to see my parents get theirs. And I am dead scared of needles but I’ll be first in line once it’s my turn. I’m hopeful for an eventual return of normalcy. To be able to freely give hugs, to travel again (and travel back to New York!), to go to the beach (I have been really missing the beach lately), to not feel constantly worried and scared.

A few of my personal favorite quotes about hope:

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“It’s always something, to know you’ve done the most you could. But, don’t leave off hoping, or it’s of no use doing anything. Hope, hope to the last.” – Charles Dickens

What is giving you hope today (and every day?) Happy inauguration day. XO