Food for Thought: Mate Dollars.

While on vacation last spring, my friend Kate introduced Becca and I to an interesting concept: “mate dollars.”

The idea is that you are “shopping” for your person and you have a fixed amount of “mate dollars” to spend.  There are five categories and you can spend up to $100 on each one: kindness, physical attractiveness, creativity, wealth, and liveliness. But you only have $300. At first. And then… your “budget’ is reduced to just $100. It makes you really think about what you want in a long-term partner.

With nothing to do besides lay in the sun and chat, we spent an entire afternoon debating this. The idea is to think pragmatically about dating. Of course we all want a “perfect” partner, (and also love to think of ourselves as perfect, too). But no one is actually perfect… so imagine if you had only $100 to spend. Would you spend the whole $100 on someone really attractive and wealthy, only to have them be unkind, boring, and uncreative? Would you date someone who is really ugly but is super creative and smart? Kind but boring? Interesting but completely broke? It’s REALLY HARD when you have to break it down to specific dollar amounts.

I first thought about how someone who was perfectly equal and average across all of the categories would be. $20 to each. From there I thought about which thing matters least. Wealth is the lowest for me. I do pretty well for myself and don’t want kids so I’m not really looking for a “provider” of sorts. Buuuuttttt, I also don’t want someone who doesn’t care about money AT ALL. Like, I like my life and don’t want to make concessions to be the sole provider:  I want a true partner who can also contribute! So let’s give $10 to wealth.

Physical attractiveness brought up more questions. Is it what is attractive to YOU personally, or society’s standards?? Because they can be very different and for me, while yes looks matter, personality matters more when it comes to actual physical attracgtion. So I gave that one $10.

Liveliness is also interesting. We all giggled, laughing a bit – what is “lively!?” Is that that annoying guy who can’t ever sit still and wants to tell you about his crossfit  and protein shakes and bee pollen smoothies and insane morning routine? (Truly sorry if this offends somebody but it’s not my thing!). So we reassigned “lively” as “interesting.” And that’s an important one.

And just how important is creativity? My friend reasoned that she’s very creative so she didn’t need a creative partner. I argued that as a creative, I’d be sad if my partner wasn’t at all creative. I would want someone to brainstorm and ideate with. But if they’re really interesting, maybe you could cut down on creativity? I liked that my friend and I had different views here. Her view that she could be the creative one; my view that I wanted someone as creative as me. It really goes to show that what’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another.

Kindness is where the debate really kicked in. If someone is really creative and interesting and fun, do they need to be kind, too? (Yes, of course.) But which one is more important? At this point, you have ony $80 to spend across the three. (Stressful, right!?!?!?). And just how kind do you want your person to be? Are they volunteering at a soup kitchen every weekend? Are they a bit of pushover? Kind is good but I want someone who challenges me.

Anyway! This really made us all think!!!! We drank several mezcal margaritas and laid in the sunshine and ultimately brought out pencils and paper to write it down because it was so hard to decide how to spend our precious “mate dollars.”Ever the Libra, I ultimately ended up being diplomatic: spending my money across all three, evenly… $26.67 across kindness, creativity, and liveliness.

We kept thinking and changing numbers. I’m an introvert – do I really want someone super lively? Could I cut down there a little bit to have someone a bit more kind, a bit more creative? But then creativity came into question. Do I even really want someone who is THAT creative? Could that get annoying? Would it be fine if they were just really kind? Ugh but not too kind, you need to have an edge, too! I shuffled things around… $20 to kindness, $30 to each creativity and liveliness.

LUCKILY, this is not a real thing – it’s purely hypothetical. But it’s an interesting (I won’t say fun, it was slightly agonizing!) exercise to do, if anything, to get a bit more clear on your priorities and what you want. Could you settle for a less attractive mate if they treated you well? Does it really matter if your partner is that creative? Would you be okay being the breadwinner? Fully supporting a partner? There are no wrong answers here, it’s about figuring out what is best for YOU and where your priorities/non-negotiables are.

Curious – how would you spend your mate dollars!? Tell me in the comments if you feel comfortable sharing!

If I had $300….

  • Creativity: $70
  • Kindness: $70
  • Liveliness $60
  • Physical Attractiveness – $60
  • Wealth $40

If I only had $100…

  • Creativity: $25
  • Kindness: $35
  • Liveliness: $20
  • Physical Attractiveness: $10
  • Wealth: $10

Even just writing them down I want to change things around, but that’s what I settled on. 😉

Infrared Sauna Blanket Review.

How to Use the Infrared Sauna Blanket

This post was originally posted this summer but it’s REALLY COLD out right now and the HigherDOSE team just extended my discount code for another year, so I wanted to update it!

You might remember that about two years ago I got really into going to HigherDOSE for their infrared sauna, and going to Shape House to lay in their infrared sauna blankets. Truth be told, it was expensive and also a pain in the butt, scheduling wise. After the sauna you are so sweaty that you really have to go straight home… it wasn’t something I could do before events or meetings and I don’t like making multiple trips in and out of the city in a single day. So like with many other awesome but inconvenient things, even though I loved it and really loved the results, I stopped going.

This past summer,, HigherDOSE got in touch to see if I’d want to review one of their at home infrared sauna blankets and I was so excited – the idea of being able to do it at home, from the comfort of my couch sounded incredible. Still, I had questions. Would it be as effective as going to Shape House or HigherDose? Would it smell bad? Would it be easy to clean? Etc. etc. I was already sold on the benefits of using an infrared sauna blanket but the at home element was new to me.

For $100 off your infrared sauna blanket at HigherDOSE, use code GRACE100! (This code will work through the end of 2020!)

Why I Love My Infrared Sauna Blanket

It gives you all the benefits of going to the sauna – but at home. I can lay on my couch and SWEAT (I put down a towel, don’t worry!) without leaving my home (no sweaty subway ride home afterward). Also, while it’s expensive, it will pay for itself in a month or two if you do it a couple times a week (a 10 pack at Shape House is $400!)

How to Use the Infrared Sauna Blanket

The blanket is a large rectangle that folds together sort of like a sleeping bag (velcro panels). It is pretty simple. You plug it in, lay it flat down (I take the back couch cushions off, lay a towel down underneath, and put on my favorite show), and SWEAT for an hour. The blanket is a high quality waterproof PVC with infrared technology and a remote control to control the temperature. I usually keep the temperature around a 7 (it goes up to a 9); that’s all I can handle!!! You can work up as you become more comfortable with it.

When you are in the blanket, it’s recommended that you wear loose cotton clothing that you don’t mind getting really sweaty: a long sleeve tee, socks, and long pants. Be sure to drink a lot of water during and after your sauna session – I fill up a large mason jar and keep it next to me during my session… I try to drink the whole thing over an hour.

You will sweat a lot. The clothing that you wear will be soaked and there will be sweat in the blanket. It does not leak though – it’s pretty self contained. I had been worried about cleaning it but it is actually very easy- immediately after my sweat I unfold the blanket, lay it flat, and just wipe it down with these cleaning wipes from 7th Generation. You just want to do it immediately! (Whatever you use to clean the blanket; I’d definitely be sure to use something natural/organic!).

I’ve had my blanket for six months and use it at least once or twice a month and it has been really easy to clean and does not smell bad at all. The key is to clean it immediately after sweating. The 7th Generation wipes are perfect!

Infrared Blanket Benefits

Infrared Blanket Benefits

There are so many health benefits to infrared sauna treatments (this post that I wrote last year is a great resource!) but here are a few of my personal favs. Infrared technology is really cool!

More energy

You will definitely notice more energy after you sweat.

Weight loss

I’m hesitant to include this as you do notice an immediate slimming effect but that’s all water weight. So you will of course temporarily lose water weight which is great in the short term. That being said, it does burn a lot of calories. According to Shape House, a single sauna session in the blanket burns upwards of 800 calories.

It’s great for your skin.

Sweating is great for your skin – it helps you detoxify and boosts collagen levels. I notice that when I’m using the blanket 2-3x a week (or getting a good sweat at somewhere like Tracy Anderson), my skin is so much softer.

Reduced stress + anxiety.

While the blanket is not comfortable at times (you get really hot!!!) it is incredibly relaxing. It’s great when you are feeling anxious or stressed.

Infrared Sauna Blanket Review

I love my infrared blanket. It is just as effective as going to a sauna to sweat, but I can do it at home. This is big for me as I live in Brooklyn and am a bit of a homebody.

For a discount on the blanket….

HigherDOSE is giving my readers $100 off their purchase! Click this link to buy the blanket, and use code GRACE100. This offer expires 12/31/20!

HigherDose review Infrared Sauna Blanket Review

photography by Carter Fish.

What I Wore: 1.11 – 1.17.

What I Wore: 1.11 - 1.17

Happy Monday! I was in Charleston for the weekend and flew back home to New York today on a 6am flight so if you are reading this I am either up in the air or back home in Brooklyn! It was fun to take a spontaneous little trip down; I always feel so much more calm and relaxed being down there vs. New York. I didn’t even realize that today was a holiday (hence the 6am flight, not my usual cup of tea but everything else was SO expensive) and have booked myself up with a full work day – I have a shoot and a bunch of brand deadlines to finish up today. I hope you’re not at work today but if you are, at least there’s something new here for you to read!?

The weekend was so nice… I didn’t even look at my computer until yesterday afternoon when I sat down to write this post and update my Charleston guide (yes, that post is FINALLY updated, sorry for the delay but it has all my CHS recs in one happy little place!)

ALSO – you’ll notice lots of Rent the Runway in this post. I worked with them on a series of sponsored instagram stories last week. In case you missed it on insta, if you use my code RTRGRACE you can get $200 off your 60 day trial. This is the best deal they’ve ever done! I have been using RTR since the beginning of the summer and am obsessed with the service.

What I Wore: 1.11 – 1.17

Sunday: 

The occasion: visiting allllll of the babies (my friend Nicolette’s 5 day old baby and my niece Zoe!) Bare legs in January – what a crazy day!!!

What I wore: Veronica Beard Jacket + Dickie // Equipment Dress (also here!) // Vince Sneakers

What I Wore: 1.11 - 1.17

Monday: 

The occasion: working from home!

What I wore: Valentino Red Sweater (via Rent the Runway)

Tuesday: 

The occasion: working from home + a lunch meeting.

What I wore: Tanya Taylor Dress (via Rent the Runway) // Express Tights // Sarah Flint Heels (get $50 off your first pair with my code GRACE50)

What I Wore: 1.11 - 1.17

Thursday: 

The occasion: meetings in the city.

What I wore: Tanya Taylor Blazer (via Rent the Runway) // Jockey Tank // Frame Jeans

What I Wore: 1.11 - 1.17

Friday: 

The occasion: morning flight to Charleston; lunch at Minero and drinks at The Ordinary and dinner at Herd Provisions. So. much. food.

What I wore: Scotch & Soda Top // AGOLDE Jeans // Miu Miu Pumps (5 years old)

That’s it for What I Wore: 1.11 – 1.17!

Charleston City Guide.

The Stripe Charleston City Guide

I have been obsessed with Charleston for a long time now. I probably visit at least every other month. It started with that press trip several years ago and I have been hooked ever since, even convincing (well, helping to convince… it wasn’t a lot of work) my parents to move to John’s Island.  So now it really is my second home, in a sense. I just love this city so much. If you’ve never been, definitely add it to your list. It’s the absolute perfect weekend getaway.. the flight is just over an hour out of New York! My not-so-secret goal is to get the whole family to move there (or at least live there for part of the year)! Someday!!

In the meantime, today I’ve rounded up all of my favorite spots for you in one handy guide.  I try to keep this post updated as I try more and more Charleston faves, old + new but I feel pretty confident that I’ve captured most of the best spots!

**Updated January 19, 2020**

The Stripe Charleston City Guide

oysters at leon's
oysters at leon’s… one of my fave lunch spots!

Charleston City Guide

Where to Eat

These are all alphabetized. I felt like it wouldn’t be fair to list them in any other order… I have so many favorite spots!

  • Basic Kitchen is a newer favorite. It’s delicious healthy food but also with yummy drinks (get the beet margarita!) I love how open and airy it is and everything on the menu is really really good!
  • Basil is a must if you love Thai food as much as I do. Their duck is basically famous, and the ginger pork is probably my favorite thing on the menu. (Their spring rolls are also delish.) I like it for lunch or takeout… it’s casual and never disappoints.
  • Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits I joke (sort of) that I get fat every time I go to Charleston and Callie’s plays a big part in that. There is nothing better than one of her warm delicious biscuits. Nothing. Fun fact: they have cream cheese inside the dough which keeps them extra moist and yummy.
  • Cannon Green is one of the prettiest restaurants in the city. The space is elegant (and very large… great for parties and/or large groups) and will make you feel as though you are in some sort of really beautiful indoor terrarium.
  • Chez Nous is a really interesting concept as they only serve a few things each day. Two appetizers, two entries, and two desserts! The best way to know what they are serving is to check out their instagram account. The space is tiny (and I think) they don’t take reservations, so it’s best to go with just one or two other people. The food is always delicious… I would definitely say this is a must-visit while in town.
  • FIG is another favorite favorite. They recently remodeled the space. I haven’t been in to check it out yet, but I’m looking forward to it on my next trip. Everything on the menu is delicious. Everything. Listen to the waiters’ suggestions as they are all very knowledgable. When I went for my mother’s birthday, they had just caught a fresh mackerel that day. I’m not usually into mackerel (I find it to be too fishy and oily) but the mackerel at FIG is epic. It melted in our mouths like butter… we ended up having to order another plate!
  • Herd Provisions is more new to Charleston but is SO good. We went this past trip and had the poutine, steak, an amazing salad, and so much more. We sat at the bar and had a really delicious meal + a great time.
  • Husk So I will be honest. I think that Husk is a little bit overrated. That being said, if you are looking for a classic Charleston Brunch (think pimento cheese, biscuits, and something fried)… go here. The food is delicious, but it’s very, very heavy. I personally love their bar even more (it’s in a separate building, adjacent to the restaurant), as it is a great place to grab happy hour. The cocktails are so, so good!
  • Leon’s Oyster Shop is one of my favorite places to grab lunch. It’s best to go on a nice day… there’s lots of outdoor seating. Oysters, rosé, and the fried chicken sandwich. You don’t need much else in life.
  • Little Jack’s is owned by the same team that does Leon’s and it’s delicious. This time around they went with a tavern type of vibe. Think burgers, truffle fries, yummy bar food. We call the Tavern Burger the “girl burger.” It’s the perfect size… not a slider, but not a full on burger. You’ll be able to eat the whole thing and still have room for dessert.
  • The Macintosh is absolutely delicious. Fresh, farm to table ingredients… and so many good vegetarian options. The deckle is a must. It’s meant to be shared between two people. They also have a bacon happy hour. I mean… I can’t think of two things that go better together!
  • McCrady’s is tied with FIG as my favorite restaurant in Charleston. The sad thing is that the tavern is now closed but the tasting room is still open and it’s a really special experience. I’ve only done the tasting a few times but it’s absolutely incredible!!!
  • Minero is a casual spot that serves up delicious Mexican food. It’s located upstairs with pretty city views. I love the queso and breakfast tacos, and their chicken wings may be one of my most favorite things on the planet! It’s the perfect spot to go for a boozy lunch or brunch.
  • Monza has the best Italian food. The pizzas are amazing but the thing to order is the butter bean salad (it’s so refreshing and delicious) and the carbonara (this pasta will change your life. I didn’t order it but my friend let me have a few bites. It’s one of the best things I’v ever eaten!!)
  • The Ordinary is my friend Deirdre’s favorite spot, and by extension, my favorite too. The cocktails are delicious, the oysters are incredible, and don’t even get me started on the crab toast. They have a great happy hour, and if I am in Charleston, I am probably sitting at the bar with Deirdre.
  • The Park Café is a little further away from the action too, but it’s worth the trek. I personally love their homemade ricotta cheese. But also, avocado toast! I like to get a half grapefruit and share the avocado toast… it’s the perfect breakfast.
  • The Peninsula Grill I have never eaten a full meal here, but go for the coconut cake. Just trust me. It’s incredible and they actually ship it worldwide.
  • Raw 167 is another spot that I go to every.single.time. I visit Charleston. Great oysters, but my favorite things on the menu are the lobster roll and the tuna burger. The best thing to do is go with a like-minded friend or date (my sister is the perfect companion for this activity!) and split the two. If I were on death row, that would be my last meal.
  • Xiao Bao Biscuit is another awesome spot for lunch. The drinks are really delicious, and the cabbage pancake is unreal! Seriously. It sounds funny, but get it. It will change your relationship with cabbage forever!

The Stripe Charleston City Guide

The Stripe Charleston City Guide

The Stripe Charleston City Guide10

Where to Drink

So I only have a few favorite drinking spots. Maybe this means I need to drink more (trust me, it doesn’t) but I think this is because I’m more of a restaurant girl… and also, the two places below kinda fit every need. If I want wine, I go to Bin, if I want a cocktail, I go to The Belmont. If you have a bachelorette party or are craving a wild night, check out Prohibition but that’s not really my jam. (Feel free to leave your favorite watering holes in the comments below, I’m sure it would be helpful!)

The Belmont is my favorite bar-bar in Charleston. I go a lot. The cocktails are amazing. I usually will have a Negroni, although last time I went, we all got piña coladas which was totally weird (they’re on the menu!!) but also awesome.

Bin 152 is my favorite wine bar. I wish we had one in New York… I’d be there every night! It’s owned by the same team that does Chez Nous, and their selection is really really good. I go here a lot, too! (It’s right around the corner from The Mills House, so kinda perfect if you stay there!)

The Watch (the rooftop bar at The Restoration Hotel) is a great spot to grab a drink. They have two large patios and an indoor space too which is nice when it’s hot out. The views of the city are amazing!

The Stripe Charleston City Guide6

The Stripe Charleston City Guide12

The Stripe Charleston City Guide24

Where to Shop

So, the big shocker here for me initially was that Charleston has some really gooooood shopping. King Street pretty much has everything you could ever want or need. That being said, I never thought I’d be saving up to come shop in Charleston which is the case. I know it sounds nuts but I have better luck shopping here than in New York!

Hampden Clothing is my go-to. Stacy, the owner, has the best eye. She brings in amazing designers that haven’t even hit New York’s best boutiques yet. She has an incredible eye, and it shows. You will walk in, and want everything in the store. Not to worry, the staff will have you covered. My sister and I both rely on Evelyn, our spirit animal who is both the store manager and one of the lead stylists… but the entire team is very knowledgable and helpful. I feel like all of my best investment pieces come from Hampden. Every time my sister and I visit, the one thing we have to do is pay Hampden a visit.

Candy Shop on Cannon is a must-visit for two reasons. First, if you love vintage jewels (hands raised), you will be in heaven. Deirdre (the owner and my great friend) curates the coolest stuff ever. Second, if you need to get someone a present, it has to be Charleston Rice Beads. I wear mine constantly (love the longer strands!). It’s nice being able to give a gift that is rooted in history, but also very wearable. Anytime I’m getting any (female) friend of mine a Charleston gift, it’s always Charleston Rice Beads!

Croghan’s Jewel Box is a Charleston institution and a must-visit. They carry the most incredible range of estate jewels, but then there’s also the Goldbugs line (made in house) – so many beautiful pieces! I wear these drop earrings constantly.

Beckett Boutique has a beautiful mix of contemporary clothing (they carry two of my favorite designers + friends… Holst + Lee and Library by Lauren Lail). The selection is smaller than Hampden but everything is meticulously selected… so many pretty things!

The Stripe Charleston City Guide15

The Stripe Charleston City Guide18

The Stripe Charleston City Guide20

Coffee/Breakfast:

The Daily is a great little spot for coffee and a grab and go breakfast. Addicted to their breakfast burrito.

Harbinger has great coffee and is the CUTEST little cafe. Perfect place to sit and people watch and get some work done!

The Rise at The Restoration Hotel is another great spot for coffee. I love their croissants!

Where to Stay in Charleston

Where to Stay in Charleston

Where to Stay in Charleston

Where to Stay:

86 Cannon may be my personal favorite hotel in Charleston. It’s a charming little bed & breakfast with just a few rooms. The owners are so kind and they have two beautiful dogs! You can see more of the property in this blog post.

The Restoration Hotel. I love this spot. Right now it’s my favorite. They have big, cozy rooms, beautiful decor (the library downstairs is incredible with its fireplace and cobalt blue chairs) and the coffee shop (Rise) is one of my favorites. They also have a fantastic rooftop bar (The Watch) which is perfect for watching the sunset with a glass of wine.

The Planter’s Inn. The Planter’s Inn is a favorite as it is luxurious yet charming, cozy, and very central. The perfect mix! The Peninsula Grill is also attached, meaning you can grab that yummy coconut cake on your way home! The only downside is that they don’t have very many rooms so getting a reservation can be hard (and expensive). But the service, cute rooms, and convenient location make it worth it.

Zero George is one of the most beautiful hotels in Charleston, and has been ranked one of Conde Nast’s best hotels. I am absolutely obsessed. They also have a great restaurant. It is a bit of a hike to town and less central than the other two hotels I mention, but the beautiful space makes up for it.

The Mills House. I want to love The Mills House. I really do. It has the most beautiful exterior (I instagram a LOT in front of those pink walls), and it has an amazing story (the original building actually served as the Confederate Headquarters during the Civil War). And when you walk in, the first floor is really lovely! That being said, the rooms are just meh. But I still listed it here as a) it’s pretty cool getting to stay in the old Confederate HQ and b) the location is great… it’s right there in the historic district and close to everything. I am probably going to get in trouble for saying this, but I hope someday someone buys this hotel from Wyndham and helps it realize its full potential.

Where to Stay in Charleston

The Stripe Charleston City Guide19

But also make sure you visit Sullivan’ s Island!

Poe’s Tavern is chill and relaxed and the perfect burger joint. It’s also dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe, which is pretty awesome. Get the burger.

The Obstinate Daughter is so delicious that it’s worth driving to Sullivan’s, even if you don’t have other plans there. I accidentally ordered the frittata (long story) and it was amazing. On another visit, we had the polenta fries (scrumptious) and I had the shrimp roll (like a lobster roll but maybe even better?) It’s a must. The line can be intimidating… bring a tiny snack to hold you over.

Goldbug is my latest jewelry obsession. The designer/owner Ashley Reid Martin creates the most gorgeous (lightweight) brass pieces… perfect for summer/Charleston’s  humid climate where you want your accessories to be as lightweight as possible. The photos on her website don’t do the product justice, but her earrings are beyonnnd.

And also John’s Island!

My parents moved to John’s Island a little over a year ago. To be honest we probably haven’t done enough exploring BUT there are currently two places I really love!

The Wild Olive is by the same team that does The Obstinate Daughter and is absolutely delicious! My dad actually works there a few days a week. It’s some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had.

The Southern General is a little spot in a mall but has an incredible turkey sandwich. My mom and I like to split the turkey pesto sandwich.

Weekend Reading | 1.18.20.

Weekend Reading | 1.18.20
scuba blazer + sweatshirt dickey

Happy weekend! This week was a hot mess mix of being super productive (I got a LOT done for my Amazon the Drop collection and am in major party planning mode for an event next week) and feeling dreadfully lazy/in need of a nap. Add to that a broken computer and a mold situation inside my bathroom light/fan and it wasn’t the best recipe for productivity. I guess we will just say win some, you lose some!!! I feel less bad about the lazier days as I did work quite a bit last weekend and sometimes your body does just need a break!

Weekend Reading | 1.18.20

So excited for Jacey and her collection with Summersalt!

Love the puff sleeves on this cute sweatshirt. (This one is very cute too and an even better price!)

Snoop Dog x Dunkin!!!

Loved (and agreed with) this piece about baths so much!

These earrings are amazing, look vintage, and are a great price.

A dermatologist’s advice on improving your skin texture.

Such a cute preppy blazer for under $100. Reminds me a little of Veronica Beard.

The history of Weleda Skin Food.

Everything we know about the Game of Thrones prequel.

Veronica Beard is having a sale and just added a ton of new styles. Want everything !

The best new hair products launching this month.

Such a cute top!

This dissolvable packaging is such a good idea.

How to get more up to date on international politics.

The perfect casual weekend jacket.

A very comprehensive post about retinol.

A great date night top (in plus sizes here!)

What Sutton Foster wore to her Younger audition.

The NYPL’s most checked out books!

Very into the graphic print of this blouse.

This healthy take on chicken tenders sounds so good. Will def be making these next week!

DEEPLY into these safety pin earrings. They’re so cool!

20 ways to feel better in 2020.

Love seeing what Cup of Jo readers wear for date night. Also, this sweet essay about moving in together.

Very into these $50 mules.

The best lip products under $15.

These earrings just went on sale and I LOVE them.

The importance of advocating for yourself!

Photography by Carter Fish.