What’s Giving You Hope?

USA flag | Whats Giving You Hope?

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

My Favorite Outdoor Restaurants.

My Favorite Outdoor Restaurants.
cacio e pepe + steak at aurora

This post is from September but has been a big request in my DMs so I wanted to update it a little and bump it up!

This list of Manhattan + Brooklyn restaurants was a reader request! The city’s new sidewalk cafe culture has brought about many new favorite restaurants and made old favorites feel fresh and new. Spots I might have overlooked in the past but now they’ve created these gorgeous little sidewalk oases, becoming new favorites.

I will never take going out to dinner for granted again. I am so grateful that some of my favorite (and new favorite) restaurants have had outdoor dining – it’s been such a treat. And I don’t do it more than once or twice a week and know everyone feels differently. But I personally feel safe enough dining outside (and to be honest, it’s the thing that keeps me sane). It’s also important to me to support the restaurant industry as much as I can. My parents owned a restaurant until more recently and I know how hard it is right now – both for restaurant owners and workers. I wear a mask when not eating or drinking and don’t go anywhere that feels overly crowded or with people moving around a lot (there are a lot of spots in my neighborhood that I definitely avoid for those reasons!).

A few tips if you do choose to go out to eat. Wear a mask when you’re not eating/drinking, don’t run your server (it’s HOT), and tip as generously as you are able to. I’ve read a lot of pieces about what to tip and think it’s a personal thing… a lot of people’s income has been drastically affected by COVID. So tipping more than usual isn’t an option for them. But if your income hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic, please consider tipping as much as you are able.

My Favorite Outdoor Restaurants

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Aurora

I’ve gone to Aurora (above!) 3x now. It was the first outdoor restaurant I went to, and so it holds a special place in my heart… it’s become my favorite. They have really great Italian food but they also make an excellent dirty martini. I love pretty much everything on the menu but the cacio e pepe is especially delightful.

Have & Meyer

Delicious orange wines (they have SO many) and amazing Italian food. Highly recommend – we had amazing pasta.

OTB

More of a bar than a restaurant but the food is good too! And their little outdoor garden/streaterie is just so cute. Mismatched pastel chairs and umbrellas… just so colorful and happy. I love OTB for their negronis and french fries (and fried chicken) but honestly everything is delicious!

Sea Wolf

Honestly this place is a little overhyped but the view of the river is SO nice. I just hate that you can’t make a reservation. We went at 4:30 and still had to wait an hour. (If you are tempted, def grab a to-go cocktail at Donna while you wait – it’s a few minutes away!) The buffalo shrimp salad is amazing and I loved the oysters and lobster roll.

Strangeways

This is the old Extra Fancy, which devastates me because I loved Extra Fancy. Great cocktails, and a BIG yard space. It’s nice to go somewhere easy and casual that isn’t in the street. Def recommend, especially for inclement weather. We had the squash blossoms (delicious), shishito peppers (just okay), and crudo (would not recommend.

Other Parts of Brooklyn

Pilot

My friend Emily brought me here and I loved it! It’s a tiny little boat (think Grand Banks but smaller) off the side of Pier 6 Brooklyn Bridge Park with amazing cocktails and food. Highly recommend… and walking through the little park to get there will make you feel like you’ve left the city!

River Cafe

River Cafe very generously invited my sister and me in for a (v. romantic!) dinner and it was incredible. This is great for a fancier, more special night out. It’s an iconic restaurant (they’ve been open for 43 years now), located in Dumbo on the water just under the Brooklyn Bridge, with sweeping views of the city. We both had the beef and loved it, but the gnocchi and tuna appetizers were both incredible. Highly recommend. During COVID they have a three course prix-fixe and are open Wednesday-Sunday, from 5:30-8:30. Make a reservation in advance!

Manhattan

Gilligan’s

This was always a favorite spot for drinks (it’s right outside the Soho Grand hotel and you feel as though you’re in Montauk or somewhere summery!) and is still such a fun treat. Love the watermelon margarita… it’s delicious though quite strong!

Dante

Dante has been a favorite for a while and their new al fresco West Village location is so beautiful and chic. Excellent drinks and appetizers (we had a peach burrata salad that was to die for!)

ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen has one of the best wintery setups – it’s warm, but you’re not in one of those weird plastic tent things (I don’t trust those). AND, the best part? The menu features highlights from all three restaurants (ABC Kitchen, ABC V, ABC Cocina) so you can order from all three… (highly recommend getting the fish tacos from Cocina and the sundae from Kitchen!)

American Bar

American Bar is great for a fancier evening. I am thinking of going for my birthday. I call this Polo Bar’s breezier younger (downtown) sister. It was a favorite before quarantine and I’m glad it’s transitioned so well to the outdoors. The decor + vibe is ultra chic, the food is incredible, and they make a mean dirty martini. We had oysters, split a lobster roll, and this is random but the onion strings are a delight. They also have this amazing make your own ice cream sundae menu which I highly recommend!!!

Perry Street

First of all: if you are looking for a truly socially distanced restaurant where the tables are all really really spaced out, this is it! It’s a Jean-Georges restaurant, so you know the food will be great, located in the West Village right by West Side highway with pretty views of the river. The food here is excellent. I recommend getting a bunch of appetizers. We had the peach + goat cheese and heirloom tomato salads, the rice cracker crusted tuna and we shared the burger. SO good!

Marea

We had a fancy dinner here and it was fantastic! It was the farthest from Williamsburg I’d been in ages (across from Central Park) and everything on the menu was amazing… especially the clam pasta! Highly recommend… it feels like escaping to Italy for a night.

Raoul’s

Raoul’s is closing 1/31 – 3/15 but you MUST go if you can. They have the absolute best steak au poivre in the city (my humble opinion) but also (for brunch) this amazing pancake souffle dish that will change your life (if you like baked apples, which I do!).

To my fellow Manhattan/Brooklynites… have you eaten anywhere that’s really impressed you? Would love to hear about it in the comments!

My Favorite Stylish Coffee Table Books.

Stylish Coffee Table Books

I have been meaning to write this (accidentally very long!) blog post for a very long time now as it’s been a big reader request and when it comes to coffee table books I have built up quite a collection,and have a lot of opinions, too. Nothing makes me happier than a thoughtfully chosen stack of books. And if you’re wondering what a coffee table book is, to me it can be any book that’s great for casual reading… something you can flip through. Some are oversized and lavishly illustrated, some are more compact, some (okay most) are beautiful, some inspire… you get the point! Coffee table books are a wonderful way to add personality to your space and they also make for a great gift.

My Favorite Stylish Coffee Table Books

This is going to be a longer post as I have so many to recommend. I’ve broken things out into five categories: New York + Travel, Art, Design + Interiors, Fashion, and Photography. We will start with travel + New York specific books. I don’t know whether to be embarrassed or proud that I own every single book in this roundup. Art and design books are definitely my weakness and I’ve been collecting them since my twenties. Also, apologies that a few are out of print and now wildly expensive… they weren’t when I bought them!

Stylish Coffee Table Books: Travel + New York

Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City

Equal parts science and art, this book explores the geographic history of New York. So cool.

The Encyclopedia of New York

A literal encyclopedia of everything that’s happened in New York from pop culture to politics.

The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons

This set is also one of my favorite gifts to give as I love the New Yorker’s cartoons so much!

Humans of New York

If you love the instagram account, you’ll love the book. The book features 400+ photos & stories.

Surf Club

I bought this book after staying at the Surf Club in South Beach this past March.

In The Spirit of Beverly Hills

This is such a fun and glamorous look at the rich and glamorous heritage of this city.

The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows

The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of my most favorite hotels and such an incredible, inspiring place.

Where Architects Sleep

The perfect gift and an incredible bucket list of the best (architect approved) hotels in every city.

Stylish Coffee Table Books

Stylish Coffee Table Books: Travel + New York

Andy Warhol Polaroids

Warhol loved snapping casual pics of all his famous friends (and himself). This rounds them up!

Art House

The 5 residences designed by art collector Chara Schreyer’s and interior designer Gary Hutton.

Reading Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol loved books and illustrated many! This is a look at his innovations in printed books.

Picasso’s Women

Picasso’s depictions of  the eight women who played a prominent role in his life and art

Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings

I’ve always loved Damien Hirst’s spot paintings – this book features the full collection.

In Shadows I Boogie by Harland Miller

I am a big big fan of his clever canvases inspired by book covers – this is a comprehensive catalog.

Hunt Slonem Bunnies

Hunt Slonem’s bunnies are my favorite (I collect them!) So obviously this book is a favorite.

Hunt Slonem When Art Meets Design

A beautiful peek into Hunt Slonem’s fantastically decorated and meticulously restored homes.

Jasper Johns

A look at one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, and his use of iconography.

For Art’s Sake

A peek inside the glamorous homes (and art collections) of the most important art dealers.

Stylish Coffee Table Books

Stylish Coffee Table Books: Home + Design

These books will make you wish you were an interior designer… or maybe that’s just me! Dreamy interiors, home design, gorgeous prints and patterns, and so on and so forth.

AD 100 Years of Style

A celebration of the magazine’s 100 years – SO much beautiful home decor inspiration.

Live Beautiful, by Athena Calderone

Athena’s instagram is a favorite of mine and this book is packed with lust-worthy home decor.

Rattan

You know how much I love rattan everything! This book is informative + also beautiful.

Living With Pattern

My sister’s beautiful book about incorporating more pattern into your home.

Schumacher: S is For Style

A look at Schumacher’s iconic prints and patterns (and how to integrate them!)

Emerald

You know I love emerald green: this is a look at some of the most beautiful emerald jewels.

Essential Eames

A celebration of Charles & Ray Eames and their many significant accomplishments.

The Finer Things

Straightforward, but this book is truly a guide to the finer things. I reference it a lot.

Living With Color

Color can be so tricky and my sister breaks it down in a really approachable, accessible way.

The Book of Palms

This is more of a science book, but beautifully illustrated and you know how I feel about botanicals.

The Selby is in your Place

Todd Selby’s portraits of dynamic and creative people in their home environments.

The Eye

A look at how the world’s most influential creative directors develop their vision.

de Gournay: Hand painted Interiors

A comprehensive look at de Gournay’s stunning hand painted wallpapers and textiles.

fashion + people book recommendations

Stylish Coffee Table Books: Fashion + People

Lee

A beautiful look at one of the first style icons before there was ever street style, etc. Love her.

Chanel Set of Three

A set of three books showing Gabrielle Chanel’s impact across fashion, perfume, and fine jewelry.

Yves Saint Laurent Style

A retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent’s forty years of design. (The companion to the exhibit!)

Impact

A celebration of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America)’s fifty years

Ralph Lauren In His Own Fashion

An illustrated biography of Ralph Lauren (and his many empires).

Jewels That Made History

A must, for any jewelry lover! Documents the most important jewels worn from Cleopatra to Lady Gaga.

Vogue The Covers

A stunning collection of Vogue’s covers from over the past 125(!!!) years.

The Authentics

A peek into the private worlds and homes of some of the most creative trailblazers around the world.

Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People

I have a few of these Vogue books and this is the best one. The homes! The gardens! The fashion.

Vanity Fair 100 Years

A look back on the past 100 years… culture, art, + more all the way from the jazz age til now.

photography book recommendations

Stylish Coffee Table Books: Photography

Herb Ritts LA Style

The work of one of the most iconic photographers of the beautiful people of the 80s + 90s

Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture

Elgort’s first book! A look at his world-renowned fashion photography alongside his personal work.

Slim Aarons Women

As he called it: “attractive people, doing attractive things in attractive places.”

Slim Aarons Once Upon a Time

An absolutely beautiful book, love stepping into the dream world of Slim Aarons.

Arthur Elgort’s Models Manual

This one is hard to track down but it’s amazing. The perfect topper for your stack of books.

Richard Avedon Photographs

A retrospective (1946-2004) of one of the most-respected fashion photographers’ work.

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!

This Week’s Good Things, 1.18.21.

This Weeks Good Things 1.18.21
coat // top // pants // mask // slippers

I had such a good weekend and hope that you did too! I read a lot – making a significant dent in both Big Magic and The Midnight Library. So I highly recommend both books and can’t wait to talk about them on the podcast.

One really fun thing I have been doing before I move is making standing reservations at my favorite restaurants as the weather has been pretty good and it’s important to me to support my fav spots as this winter is going to be so hard on restaurants. This weekend I made it to both ABC Kitchen and Raoul’s (two absolute favs). Another thing I’ve been doing that’s making me really happy is taking Sundays completely off from Instagram. It’s a small thing but good for the soul. I actually have to delete the app from my phone as I have so little self-control.

I think I’ll write more about this but it was an interesting exercise and not having it on my phone made me realize how frequently I will idly reach for my phone to check in (even when I’m allegedly so “busy” and have so much work to do. I’m definitely learning a lot about myself and my habits from this, that’s for sure.

This week’s list of good things is a fun one… enjoy! XO

This Weeks Good Things 1.18.21 amazon faux diamonds

Faux Diamonds from Amazon

OK do not hate me/judge me for this but my latest obsession is these (rather gigantic looking) faux diamond eternity bands from Amazon. I ordered quite a few (and returned quite a few) but my top two contenders were this (more subtle, could maybe be real) eternity band and this (not even remotely subtle) baguette eternity band. At $13 and $20 a pop, they absolutely spark joy. I can’t explain it (and yes I know, I have plenty of nice jewelry!) but they make me incredibly happy. It’s fun, even when i’m just sitting at home writing, to look down at the keyboard and see my very sparkly (and very fake) diamond rings.

This Weeks Good Things 1.18.21

Mifa Eucalyptus Body Products

My friend Erin saw how much I love the Necessaire eucalyptus body wash (it’s still a holy grail fav) and sent me this eucalyptus mood mist and this eucalyptus coconut oil body wash. I LOVE both. Eucalyptus is one of my favorite scents, mostly because it makes me feel like I am at the spa, and both of these projects are legit. The shower gel is self-explanatory but the mist has a few uses: I’ll spritz it on my face after working out (or mid-day, as a nice pick-me-up), but it’s also nice to spritz all over a damp towel to pretend I am at Equinox (my old gym – their eucalyptus towels were always such a treat). You can also spritz it on your pillow. Or, when taking a bath, I sometimes get hot and will spray my face with it then. Absolutely heavenly.

A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches

This TV show was based on the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness (if you are not familiar with the books, I highly recommend them… the series is basically a witch/vampire romance but for adults, not kids), which I absolutely loved. The TV show is not as good as the books, but is still very fun. It also helps that it stars Matthew Goode, who I have a huge crush on. I’d forgotten about it a while back (I think it was originally on the BBC). Last weekend I binge-watched season one and am now up to date on season 2. It’s a little tricky to find but I stream it on Amazon. Don’t expect cinematic greatness but it’s a fun show to lose yourself in on a cold Saturday.

Loz City

Loz City

If you’re a regular here you know how much I love pretty little pill things. My friend Allie (who has incredible taste in art by the way!) told me about Loz City last week and I fell in love with her work and immediately started following along on Instagram. Pill stuff has become quite trendy and I feel like they have a really cool and unique take on it. She’s based in New York and creates sculptures, paintings, graphic art and street art. The piece above, Hearty, is made entirely from aspirin, cast in epoxy resin. I realllllly want one of their pieces but am absolutely not allowed to buy anymore art until I’m settled in Charleston.

Salt Bag straps

Salt Bag straps

A really fun way to update your existing handbags is to add a bag strap from Salt. (I’m wearing one in this Instagram post.) Their straps are (generally) 41″ long, and handwoven by Fair Trade Colombian Wayúu artisans. Such a cool idea! The brand is founded by best friend duo Marla Toplitzky and Kacy Lubell, and I love the bright colors and vibrant patterns. Also worth noting: a portion of proceeds from each purchase goes to Nest, a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of global artisans through transparency, sustainability and advocacy.

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!

Weekend Reading, 1.16.21.

Weekend Reading 1.16.21
mask // dress

How was your week? Mine was nice. I shared some big news and am now just making lots of list and tackling to-do’s and next steps. This is going to be a calm and cozy weekend (aren’t they all, these days!?) and I’m planning on reading, purging and decluttering a ton (one of my biggest to-do’s), seeing my niece this afternoon, and hanging with a few friends. Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s great. Stay warm, stay cozy, stay safe!!!!

Weekend Reading, 1.16.21

And I am soooooo excited that Sex and the City is coming back. Best news of the week?

I don’t know how this is even real but this cashmere sweater is now marked down to under $40!

How to thrive this year, based on your enneagram type.

This episode of Brené Brown’s podcast about shame and accountability is especially relevant right now. I’d deem it a MUST listen.

How pretty is this satin pajama set.

The second impeachment of Donald Trump, explained.

OK so it’s very summery but I LOVE this pretty maxi dress. Also, this “beach robe!

I really related to pretty much everything Orlando said in his gym reveal post. He has such an incredible way with words (and of course, the space itself is incredible!!!!).

30 Black-owned handbag brands to know.

A very cute (inclusively sized) ruffle sweatshirt.

Find the place you love, then move there.

Obviously you don’t need a party dress right now, but I have this one from Blair’s collection and it’s amazing (and now very marked down!)

All about Sally Rooney’s latest book.

This is fun!

What the cast of Sex & the City should wear in 2021.

These sweater pants were a best-seller last week… so cozy!

Have you seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s book club, Onward? Every month they read a different book by a Black female author and then Elizabeth interviews the author. I am on a book-buying hiatus until I move but broke it to order Sing, Unburied Sing.

One of my most favorite pairs of boots just got marked way down (from $450 to $180)

Another great article about being childfree by choice. I am so happy this is being normalized more and more.

Sephora’s plan for addressing racial bias at the retail level.

This Hudson Valley farmhouse is an absolute dream. Wowowoww.

Oh I love this powder blue puff sleeve cardigan.

Bon Appetit’s ten most popular recipes from this year.

Want to read more? Listen to this 14 minute podcast.

How fun is this cozy leopard scarf?

Tips for cleaning out your closet.

For the little one in your life. I got this teddy bear fleece for my niece for Christmas and she’s obsessed!

Loved this list of upcoming contemporary fiction to look forward to.

How to clean your cast iron pans.

You never really know what you’re gonna get with these Amazon purchases but I love the looks of this balloon sleeve chunky cardigan and ordered it this week.

This one is for the cat lovers!

This cute plaid jacket just went on sale!

WHAT – now you can get girl scout cookies on Grubhub.

A little wanderlust for you, whoaaaa…. this new Paris hotel is incredibly dreamy.

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.