Rebel Rebel… + Our Community Page.

coat // scarf // bag // jeans // heels

I like these photos as I am kind of a hot mess. That might sound funny but it’s the truth. So often we (bloggers) pose for photos but we wind up looking like a glossy version of ourselves. And that’s fine + normal but the reason I like these is because they’re so “me.” My hair is kind of a mess, my scarf is falling off, but I am definitely me here. And I’m wearing my favorite things… my classic camel coat from last year (that you are probably sick of by now – trust me I am too, this week’s warmer weather has me reaching for lighter jackets which feels amazing), my Rebel Rebel embroidered tee (my favorite, because I am sooooo not a rebel), classic denim, and the best pumps. This is, more or less, my everyday uniform!

Today though, I wanted to chat a little bit about our community page. Do you use it? Do you like it? I’m really happy so many of you have joined. Originally I had started it as a place where likeminded readers could connect to start meet-ups and make friends in their cities. But I have loved seeing the conversations that pop up over there and I really want to encourage more of that. When I have a reader question I need an answer to, I’ll post it there. I want you guys to feel like you can use it in that way too… as a resource… to chat and share opinions, share articles you’re loving, ask questions, and so on and so forth. So let’s do that… use it to talk about our favorite books, beauty products, and all the other stuff. I love Instagram and DM’s but it’s so much easier to sit at a computer and be able to type out a more thoughtful response over there. So, if you haven’t already… request to join (everyone gets in, haha… I had to make it a closed group though) and let me know what you think of it! xoxo

Outfit Details: Vince Coat (from last year but this one is very similar and half off!) // Old Navy Scarf (similar) // Sezane Bag // Citizens for Humanity Jeans // Manolo Blahnik Pumps // Polaroid Sunglasses

These tees are the BEST. Highly recommend!

photography by Trent Bailey.

Kelly’s Chic Under $100: Workwear.

affordable workwear under $100 | The Stripe

Shopping for your 9-to-5 is, in total honesty, kind of boring! How many button downs, pencil skirts, or ballet flats does a person really need!

It really shouldn’t be that way though. Finding what works for you is key, and then adding in other parts of your wardrobe is what makes it come to life. For example, I love a good striped collared blouse, so I love pairing them with jeans (if your workplace allows it – if not, try skinny black pants) and dressing them up with fun heels that can work double time as occasion shoes with an oversized statement bag.

Pick pieces that feel special but won’t break the bank (a luxe-feeling H&M find or two will do the trick) and pair them with key jewelry and always a lip. These pieces will refresh your workwear wardrobe in no time.

Xx

Kelly

Top: Wool Coat // Nude Suede Pumps // Silk Blouse // Suede Ring Bag // Marc Fisher Sparkly Heels // Laura Mercier Lip Kit // Sole Society Red Bag // Gold Layered Necklace // Black Silk Bow Blouse // Giorgio Armani Beauty Power Fabric Foundation

Bottom: Red & White Stripe Top // Gorjana Coin Necklace // Everlane Pleated Skirt // Dotted Dress // Marc Fisher Black Scallop D’Orsay Pump // Blue Stripe Blouse // Gorjana Gold Earrings // Blue Sole Society Bag

Inside Hunt Slonem’s Inspiring Brooklyn Studio.

I could not be more excited about today’s blog post. If you’ve followed awhile (especially on Instagram), then you probably know by now that I am Hunt Slonem’s super fan. I love his work… especially the bunnies. I have all of his books, I bought his wallpaper and had it framed, I like every Instagram, and so on and so forth. MAJOR FAN. On a whim, I decided to DM him on Instagram (his feed is amazing BTW) to see if I could coordinate a studio visit. I’d heard that the space was amazing, and figured it was a long shot… but what the hell… sometimes you need to take a chance! I was pleasantly shocked when his team got back to me minutes later, inviting me in! I was so, so excited.

Also – I know that this post is a little different than usual… would love to hear if you’d like to see more art features! Art is one of my biggest passions but I don’t talk about that a lot on the blog… let me know! (And if not, that’s cool too!) And I’m sorry for the photo overload… Trent was as excited as I was and gave me back over a hundred beautiful, edited photos from the day… it was really hard to narrow it down. Hopefully you love them as much as I do… total eye candy.

What blew my mind about the space was that it wasn’t just Hunt’s art. The space is packed with incredible antique furniture, plants, birds (yes living ones!!), hats (Hunt is a huge collector)… it’s one of the most inspiring places I’ve ever visited.

Hunt has lived with birds as a child… and has had up to 200 birds at a time! He learned so much about birds from bird keepers and being in the tropics + being fascinated by toucans. And I learned a lot about birds from him… did you know that parrots can live up to 100 years?! And… supposedly, Winston Churchill had one that lived to be 175 years old!

I got the chance to sit down with Hunt and ask him a few questions.

When I asked him about his use of color, his face lit up.

To me, color is like candy… every time I go to a paint store I take like 50,000 chips to play with and study and hold them up.

When I asked Hunt about the bunnies and how he got started, I was fascinated by his response.

He started with religious paintings… he’d been an exchange student in Nicaragua in high school and brought back all these holy cards and started painting off of them. The bunnies started as groups of rabbits. Hunt later got excited about Victorian portrait frames and started doing little paintings to fill them in. The rabbits became a standalone thing, and eventually a study. From there, he also started painting butterflies and birds.

Even though Hunt is an artist and not a designer (duh), I was so inspired by the space he created. So I asked him to share a few design tips for those of us looking to update our space. I loved his tips!

Beige is overrated. (I so agree!)

* Large paintings can actually look really incredible in smaller environments – they become a mural!

* Color can be really powerful. A yellow bedroom is very pleasant. As red is so stimulating it can be great for a sitting room or dining room.

* Save old things and give them new life by getting them reupholstered with a beautiful fabric. He didn’t tell me to plug it, but Hunt’s fabrics for Lee Jofa are amazing. My friend Sally used them to decorate her nursery and I am absolutely obsessed with how it turned out!

I bought my first bunny (the turquoise one with diamond dust, that I’m holding above). It’s probably my favorite possession – no kidding. And I say “my first,” as I definitely plan on building up a little collection.

I started my addiction to Hunt’s work with his books. Try Bunnies, Birds, or When Art Means Design. I love them all so much – they are among my most favorite and treasured coffee table books.

photography by Trent Bailey.

If you’re interested in purchasing your own Hunt Slonem original, I recommend connecting with the brand on Instagram.

10 tips to boost your immune system!

I’m reallllly excited about today’s guest post, especially because I could have really used this advice a few weeks ago when I was sick! Dr. Alexandra Sowa is a board-certified internist, specializing in nutrition, weight loss and prevention in New York City.  She reached out, offering to give us some tips + tricks for staying healthy this winter, and I absolutely love her advice… though I’m a little nervous about #5. 😉 Follow her on Instagram for more healthy tips and advice!

There is nothing worse than being sidelined by winter sickness.  I’ve loved following Grace’s Winter Wellness Challenge, and as a doctor and a mom of two little kids, I know that nothing derails healthy lifestyle changes like illness.  Given that the cold and flu season is hitting us especially hard this year, I wanted to offer my top immune boosters and disease repellents to keep everyone as healthy as possible!

In addition to getting the flu shot (the ultimate ‘immune booster’) to ward off or minimize the flu, here are some natural ways to keep illnesses at bay:

  1. Get moving – While this may be the last thing you want to do in the dead of winter, getting off of your cozy couch (I know, sometimes it’s so painful!) and exercising every day for 30-60 minutes is one of the most effective ways to boost immune function. But remember, if you opt to workout at the gym, make sure to wipe down the machines, which can be germ magnets.
  2. Pop a probiotic (or better yet, eat a probiotic food) – While scientific understanding is still evolving on this one, studies have shown that daily probiotics improve the body’s immune response. This is likely due to “good” bacteria fighting off the kind of bacteria that makes you sick.  While a pill might be the easiest solution for some, foods like live-culture yogurt, tempeh, and kombucha offer the best probiotic punch.
  3. Lay off the booze – Over-indulging in alcohol will not only leave you with a hangover, but will compromise your immune system. Alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to produce disease-fighting cytokines, leaving you more vulnerable to infection up to 24 hours after drinking.  Alcohol also interferes with your sleep cycles, which brings me to #4…
  4. Get your beauty rest – Research has shown that getting less than seven hours of sleep a night triples your risk of catching a cold. The best, most restorative sleep comes when maintain a fairly consistent routine (no, sleeping in on the weekends doesn’t make up for getting 4 hours of sleep Monday-Thursday), so try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
  5. Eat two cloves of garlic per day – I don’t mean to destroy anyone’s love life with this recommendation, but garlic is a natural antiseptic.  It contains a compound called allicin, which blocks enzymes that activate infections. To get the maximum health benefits, crush garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit out for 15 minutes before cooking or eating.
  6. Gargle with salt water – Nope, this one isn’t just an old-wives tale!  While gargling regularly with plain old water is sufficient to help ward off a cold, it’s best to use a salt water solution (about 1 teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water) if you feel a sore throat coming on.  The salt solution will help ease inflammation and flush out any brewing germs. (It may also help get rid of garlic breath!)
  7. Invest in a Neti Pot. – A neti pot is a ceramic or plastic tea kettle-shaped container that can be used for nasal irrigation (think of it as a salt water gargle for your nose). Just like gargling does for your throat, a daily saline rinse can help sweep out bacteria and viruses from your nasal passages. Just remember to clean your neti pot out regularly, and only use boiled or bottled water.
  8. Meditate (or find something that reduces your stress) – Stress, both chronic and acute, depresses your immune system and puts you at risk for getting sick. Studies have shown that meditating as little as 12 minutes a day reduces stress levels, improves cognitive functioning and actually increases DNA that fights cellular aging.
  9. Enjoy some ginger tea – The exact science is a little weak on this ancient remedy, but fresh ginger contains anti-viral compounds that have shown to be protective against rhinoviruses (aka the common cold). So, drink up! (note from Grace: This tea is my FAVORITE!!)
  10. Wash your hands – While this one seems fairly obvious, 95% of people aren’t washing their hands properly (I know, gross). While it won’t boost your immune system, washing your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds is the most effective way to keep illness at bay.

Why I Stopped Going to Fashion Week.

coat // dress // tights // heels

I still remember my first fashion show. It was February of 2006, twelve years ago (!!!). I was 24 years old and about a month into my brand new job working for Procter & Gamble in New York: wide eyed and terrified and completely overwhelmed by the city. I was working as an Assistant Brand Manager on a portfolio of fragrance brands for P&G, one of them being Anna Sui. I just about screamed when my boss told me that we were going to her show. I tried to channel Anna Sui as best I could by wearing a black ditsy floral print dress ($20 at Forever21; it was a time where my salary was so low that putting an unnecessary $20 on my credit card meant rethinking what I bought at the grocery store that week) and black Anna Sui nail polish which I had stolen from the sample closet at work – it was right when black nail polish was becoming cool again. There was no time for a blowout or to get my hair done but that thought didn’t even cross my mind. At that point in my life I’d never even had a blowout and probably would have laughed at the frivolity of getting your hair styled without having had it cut or colored first.

Off we went. I would have been SO lost without my boss – it was one of the most intimidating things ever! The shows were held at the tents in Bryant Park back then, so we could walk over relatively quickly from our office at 3rd and 53rd. (I was wearing sensible heels as that is all I owned back then.) I still remember being shuffled in, taking my seat in the fourth row (my boss telling me how amazing it was that we had seats, gesturing over to the crowds of people in standing room). I remember sitting down and seeing the little perfume bottles on the chairs and beaming with pride as that was our product. And nothing compared to the feeling I got when the lights came on and the music started. The music! The models! Anna was famous for having all the big supermodels and putting on such a theatrical show. It didn’t disappoint, it was one of the most amazing things I’d ever experienced. I remember emailing my parents and friends back in Boston the next day. No one could believe I’d gone to an actual fashion week runway show!

Outfit Details: J.Crew Coat (similar here + here) // Ella Moon Dress (SO CUTE and only $99!) // Express Tights // Manolo Blahnik Pumps // BaubleBar Hoop Earrings // BaubleBar Necklace // Chanel Purse

Over the course of the next four years, I went to more shows – all for the fragrance brands I worked on.. Lacoste, Hugo Boss, Anna Sui, and so on and so forth. I eventually got to bring my own assistant and see the wonder in her eyes as the lights went on and the models marched down the runway. I never felt jaded or annoyed by fashion week; it was a huge privilege to attend.

In 2010 I started this blog. It would be a while before I was invited to a fashion show on my own, but I do remember my first one and I think it was maybe in 2012 or 2013 – Rebecca Minkoff. I was working at BaubleBar at the time and got permission to duck out and see the show. I remember that so vividly too. All of the bloggers were seated together in the far right corner of the room. The blogging industry was smaller back then – Instagram was just ramping up, and there were maybe 20-30 of us and we all knew each other. It was so much fun and it felt like a big sorority reunion seeing all of my favorite bloggers from across the country in one corner of the room. And there it was – that same magical feeling when the music went on and the models walked out. Rebecca Minkoff was particularly thrilling to me; as it was the first time I’d ever been to a show where if I saw something I really loved I could (most likely) buy it the next season.

Somewhere along the lines, after a few seasons, it stopped being fun for me. There are bloggers whose fashion week content I live for. They do it so well and you can tell they are genuinely excited to be there. Damsel in Dior comes to mind as I absolutely LOVE her content and find that her fashion week vlogs manage to be both aspirational and hilarious; making me feel like I am right there with her. I am not one of those bloggers. For me, I felt like fashion week was actually hurting my blog content as I felt like I was going through the motions to do what I thought I was supposed to do… running from show to show, feeling stressed out and insecure, being dressed (occasionally) by brands in clothes that rarely fit or flattered my body, and finding myself feeling really tired and run down from ALL THAT SCHMOOZING.

Embarrassing things would happen. Brands would reach out to dress me for a show, have me come into their showroom to select a piece to wear and nothing would fit. Literally, nothing. I am 5’8 and wear a size 6 the majority of the time. A small person by regular world standards; a large person in fashion standards. I don’t think the fashion world really knows what to do with us “in between” people… not a zero or two, but not plus sized. This happened constantly and always felt incredibly embarrassing (I’m thankful that things are starting to change and brands are becoming more inclusive – things are a LOT different today; for example one of my favorite brands recently dressed me for their presentation and they just asked me for my size and style preferences and sent over a dress. There was no awkward back and forth or the ever-embarrassing and slightly condescending, “Oh I’m so sorry, are you sure you can’t squeeze into a two? That’s the biggest we have but don’t worry… it’s a “big” two!” And then trying things on to oblige the person and inevitably almost ripping the garment.)

And then there was the comparison game I would play with the other bloggers. How did they all just look SO GOOD, all the time? (This is something I still wonder about, for the record. Fellow bloggers/fashion girls, teach me your ways: do you keep full bags of makeup and curling irons in your Gucci bags as you trot across town, looking effortless and amazing?) These tiny girls with their perfect hair, perfect makeup, perfectly coordinated accessories and outfit changes throughout the day… and on top of that they never look like they are trying… all effortless and cool. I’d look at them and then back at myself and just feel wretched. For the record: I just can’t do effortless. If I don’t try, I look like a slob, if I do try, I look like I tried. There is just no in-between!

Every season I would say to myself that it was the last one I would go to, that I wouldn’t do it to myself again. And every season I would put myself through it again.

People complain about fashion week; about the industry and about bloggers ruining things and making it a circus. And maybe some of that stuff is true but at the end of the day the problem was me. I was forcing myself to do something I just didn’t enjoy. I don’t like crowds, I don’t like hob-nobbing with strangers, I don’t even really like champagne! And I hate comparing myself to others and feeling inadequate, too fat, not stylish enough, or whatever feeling those events made me feel. (Note: I do not think I’m fat or unstylish; this is not a call for reassurance… I’m simply expressing how these events make me feel. Feelings are temporary. All in all, of course there’s stuff I’d change but I think I look pretty good and I like how I dress.)

So here’s the message for you. If something makes you feel bad, you shouldn’t do it. Plain and simple. And to do it (and complain about it!) is just totally crazy and stupid. The way I see it, there are so many younger bloggers who would die to go to a fashion show. Attending is a huge privilege, even if it’s a privilege I don’t particularly want. If I RSVP “no,” someone else gets to go (hoping that they will have that same amazing wide-eyed experience I had all of those years ago)!

I will always love fashion. I scour the trends on Pinterest and Vogue and Bazaar; I live for the street style photos, and like I mentioned before I love seeing other more fashion-y bloggers’ content. But fashion week isn’t really relevant to my blog. My own style is pretty basic and I don’t see anything wrong with that. I like my cozy sweaters and comfortable ankle boots and hope that when I do an outfit post maybe it inspires you to try something new or mix up things you already have, but calling myself a “fashion blogger” seems hilarious at this point in time. My mission here at The Stripe is to help  us feel good about yourselves, and leave you feeling inspired to try something new. And when I write about things, I want them to be things that will bring you joy. Books, bath soaks, cozy sweaters, jeans that make your butt look amazing… stuff that will inspire you but never ever make you feel less than. Sure, fashion is definitely a part of this blog but it’s more about finding a new color or fun accessory that will help you feel more put together. I’m absolutely not a “cool girl,” and I think that’s why you come here – to read the musings and ramblings of a regular person/human guinea pig who just really likes all this stuff. If going to fashion week helped make my blog better, I’d suck it up and go, in the name of work and doing a better job, but over time I have realized that there is little value that attending shows brings to my blog or social channels… and unless that changes, I don’t plan on changing my stance!

This year I went to one thing, for a favorite brand that I mentioned above. I went in, and said hello to my PR contacts, I took photos for Instagram and had a seltzer… and then after twenty minutes or so I wandered over to Soho House to drink wine, eat meatballs, and laugh with one of my best guy friends who complimented my (basic, inappropriate for fashion week but perfect for real life) outfit. My kind of night. 😉

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! PS – My dress is under $100 and my favorite BaubleBar earrings (everyone thinks they are vintage) just got marked down to only $22!

photography by Trent Bailey.