36 Hours in Nashville!

36 Hours In Nashville

Nashville was THE MOST fun. I had never been before and we had SO, SO much fun. We were there for the last of our live shows but we also got to see quite a bit of the city and do a lot, so I wanted to share everything we did here! I will caveat that there was one big miss: we did not see any live music! I know, I know… please don’t judge – it’s a good reason to plan a return trip. I’ll be honest; the live shows pull from a pool of energy that we’re not necessarily used to using so afterward we tend to want to just “old lady.” Both nights ended with early bedtimes and a glass of wine at our hotel bar and I feel great about that!

That being said, next time we will 100% see more live music – I’ve been told that Layla’s and Roberts are the best places to go. (And I’ve also created a Nashville travel guide, which I will update as I visit there more – it’s nice having everything in one place!)

36 Hours in Nashville

We stayed at The Noelle and it is probably the best/one of my most favorite hotels I’ve ever stayed in. It’s beautiful – the downstairs had a definite Soho House vibe. The rooms are plush and cozy, there’s an amazing coffee shop downstairs, and there’s even a cool speakeasy (Hidden Bar). One thing we both really loved is that they give you refillable water bottles and then on every floor there are “kegs” of both still and sparkling water where you can refill your bottle. It’s the little things!

(Full disclosure: The Noelle gifted us a room for two nights in exchange for coverage on Instagram.)

Having coffee at Drugstore Coffee in our beautiful hotel lobby…

They have an option to do a one bedroom with two king beds which is perfect for a girls trip. Either do what Becca and I did and luxuriate in your own king bed, or you can easily fit four to a room for a larger group!

After our shows we had a full day to explore.

We started with brunch at Deacon’s New South which is conveniently just across from The Noelle. This spot is FANTASTIC. Just don’t fill up on biscuits! We ordered the biscuit board (pictured above) which was a little slice of heaven… and then I got an omelette and Becca had a fried chicken BLT. As you might guess, I didn’t eat much of my omelette, instead opting to have half of  Becca’s sandwich. It was so, so good and now I am convinced that every BLT should contain fried chicken. Is that too much to ask?

Then we took a long walk along Broadway and 2nd (where all the live music was!) We had hopes and dreams of seeing lots of live music but as I already mentioned, were major failures in that department. After our stroll we were pretty hot so we took an uber to Parnassus Books. which is an institution in the books world – it’s Ann Patchett’s bookstore!

From there, we had heard that the 12 South Neighborhood was very cute so we had to explore that.

A few highlights: 

  • Becca had shave ice from a food truck and I got Jeni’s ice cream (my favorite!)
  • They had the cutest little Outdoor Voices I’d ever seen. It’s in this cute old house!!!
  • We both fell in love with Emerson Grace – a local shop that stocks designers like Ulla Johnson, Apiece Apart, and Rhode.
  • We loved White’s Mercantile – it’s an institution and neither of us had much room in our suitcase but it would have been the BEST for gifts!

After all the shopping and site-seeing we went back to our hotel. A drink at the rooftop bar, a little nap….

And then we headed to the most delicious dinner at 5th and Taylor. Oh my god it was just SO GOOD. The duck wings! The tomato pie! It was all just SO GOOD. I cannot recommend this spot enough!

This trip was FAR too short so I will just say that I cannot wait to get back to Nashville! We had an amazing time and I was left wanting MORE.

36 Hours In Nashville

professional photos by Jami-lyn Fehr

My Favorite Clean Sunscreens.

My Favorite Clean Sunscreens.

I talked about this a bit last month but I have such a love hate relationship with sunscreen. I mean, obviously – you need it. The sun is dangerous and nobody wants wrinkles or skin cancer. But the more I read, the more I realize how bad traditional sunscreen can be both for the earth and for our bodies. At the same time, mineral sunscreen can be really uncomfortable on your skin. The whole thing would make me want to just spend my whole summer indoors to be honest!

Enter Beautycounter, which makes the best clean sunscreens I’ve tried so far. Below, I’m going to get into the science behind sunscreen (both physical and chemical) and why it’s so important to choose a safe sunscreen. I really like all of Beautycounter’s mineral sunscreens (especially the new tinted ones!) and am going to talk more about them but don’t take my word for it – they also made Goop’s list of the 8 best clean sunscreens. Whether you’re a fan of Gwyneth or not (I am personally a huge fan!) I think we can all agree that she//Goop is someone we can trust when it comes to safer beauty products.

Clean Sunscreens & BeautyCounter

Let’s back up a little bit because I want to get a little bit nerdy with you and talk about the science behind sunscreen. Understanding a few key things (+ bad/good ingredients) has made all the world of difference for me.

Sunscreens are either chemical or physical. Chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and then absorbs UV rays, converts them into heat, and releases them from the body. The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone. Physical sunscreen is made from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and sits ON TOP of the skin, creating a physical barrier and reflecting the sun’s rays. 

The biggest culprit is oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor which can interfere with everything from our metabolism to our reproductive system, but it’s also terrible for the environment. Even in tiny doses, it can kill coral. (It’s also especially bad for children, whose bodies are developing quickly. Oxybenzone is an ingredient you want to always, always avoid.  It scores an 8 from the EWG.

So then the easier solution is to try a physical sunscreen, right?

Easier said than done. A lot of the clean/physical sunscreens I’ve tried just won’t come off. Last summer I tried a brand that will not be named that basically turned my skin completely white for an entire family vacation. It feels like you can’t win!

Clean Sunscreens & BeautyCounter

My Favorite Clean Sunscreens

As I mentioned above, Beautycounter makes the best clean sunscreen I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a LOT. Besides being very effective, they’re also very hydrating, feel good on the skin (love the light citrus scent!), water resistant, and leave less of a white cast than other mineral sunscreens.

I use the cream (and stick) on my face, and the mists on my body – always in SPF 30. Like with any mineral sunscreen, it does take a little getting used to because again, you are putting a physical barrier on your skin so you need to really rub it in to make sure there’s no white cast. I tend to spend some time in the bathroom before the beach/sun/pool really prepping and rubbing it in, but it’s worth it as the sunscreen is really effective – I’ve never gotten a burn.

For the mists, shake them well and hold 4-6 inches away from your body when spraying. I generally apply before putting on my swimsuit, standing on a towel (because they can be a little messy, especially if you go with the tinted ones!) Just spray and blend in like you would blend in lotion. The formula blends in quickly and dries down without any chalkiness. I have the three sprays and I have a rule for which I use.

Another important thing to note is that when I’m home, and out of the sun, I always exfoliate afterward!!! Spend some time exfoliating – like a good 3-4 minutes in the shower. Because it’s a physical layer, and because it’s water-resistant, this step is really is important. Beautycounter has some great scrubs – love this one for body (mmmm lemongrass)!

In the photo above I’m applying the light-medium. You can see it has a tint to it – as I’d had a spray tan, it’s a bit light for me.

On days where I have a spray tan, the medium-deep is perfect for me. You can see in the above photo that it’s a perfect match.

stick sunscreen

And as I mentioned above, the stick is great too! It’s totally sheer and perfect for on the go.

Grace Atwood for BeautyCounter Grace Atwood for BeautyCounter

created in partnership with BeautyCounter // photography by Carter Fish.

What I Actually Wore: 6.29 – 7.5.

What I Actually Wore: 6.29 - 7.5

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great long weekend/holiday. I had such a nice few days off. For the fourth, two of my girlfriends and I went to Dumbo House to watch the fireworks (seriously incredible!!!) and besides that I napped a lot, read a lot, had some great workouts, and just chilled. It felt really good and now it’s Monday and I feel recharged and ready to tackle what is shaping up to be a rather busy week!

Here’s what I wore this past week… starting with Nashville, and ending with being back in my Brooklyn routine! I LOVE MY ROUTINE and am not ashamed of that.

What I Actually Wore: 6.29 – 7.5

Saturday Day:

the occasion: exploring Nashville!

what I wore: Monki dress (apparently this is my go-to travel look as I wore this exact same sneaker/dress combination in Morocco this Fall! It’s old but this is very very similar!) // Vince Warren Platform Sneakers

Saturday Night:

the occasion: dinner at 5th and Taylor in Nashville (so yummy)!

what I wore: Apiece Apart Dress (a couple years old; seen here. To get a similar look I LOVE this dress which is on sale and only available in a couple sizes, this button front onethis printed one or  this printed one and I can’t speak to the quality of this but it’s only $21. And this is a cute plus option.) // Loeffler Randall Heels

Monday:

the occasion: recording my friend Dan’s podcast (it’s called Epic Table, check it out!!!)

what I wore: Mirth Caftan (gifted!) // J. Mclaughlin Belt (from last year but this is nearly identical!!) // Sarah Flint Heels

Tuesday:

the occasion: Girls Gotta Eat live show at Chelsea Music Hall.

what I wore: Katie Sturino x Stitchfix dress // Talbots Heels (on major sale I can’t believe they’re still in stock to be honest!) // Soludos Bag

Thursday:

the occasion: Fourth of July festivities at Dumbo House

what I wore: Saint Holiday Robe (as seen in this blog post) // Tibi Camisole // Rag & Bone Shorts // Soludos Wedges // Soludos Crochet Bag // Mignonne Gavigan Earrings (also here!) // Crazy Sunglasses (old but these are equally crazy/wonderful)

Friday:

the occasion: Errands in the city.

what I wore: Banana Republic Striped Sweater (gift) // Rag & Bone Shorts // Soludos Bag // Vince Warren Platform Sneakers

Good Lighting // Day to Night!

Any photographer (or blogger for that matter) can tell you the importance of good light. In my own home I know all the good spots to sit/stand when I’m talking to the camera for Instagram stories – and the spots to avoid! The right lighting makes us look our best. And Ketra’s advanced lighting illuminates fabrics and materials in a favorable natural light, reducing unflattering shadows and harsh hues. Natural light also helps us feel our best! (Studies actually show that employees would rather work by a window in natural light than receive an extra week of vacation!).

Ketra Lighting

Recently, Ketra invited Carter and I into their studio to play around with their amazing natural lighting system and take some photos in the different light settings. What’s really cool is that we took all of these photos over a couple hours (in the morning); adjusting the controls of Ketra’s system to mimic daytime and evening. The ability to control the range of natural light settings is helpful when creating outfits – whether searching for the perfect night look, or putting together an ensemble that’ll seamlessly transition from day to night – allowing you to see how materials will be perceived at different times.

If you aren’t familiar, Ketra is a premium LED lighting system that provides the highest quality natural light, mimicking sunlight for interior spaces. Their mantra is “Bring the Outdoors In” and the lighting actually cycles dynamically throughout the day to exactly match the color temperature and intensity of natural light. So you get crisp, white light during the day and soft warm light at night. It’s pretty incredible (and I will be honest – now I really want the system for my apartment!!)

Ketra Lighting Grace is featuring Ketra Lighting  Ketra Lighting  Grace is featuring Ketra Lighting  Grace is wearing a gold dress Grace is wearing a gold dress

If you are an art lover, you’ll appreciate Ketra even more. The lighting system also features advanced tunability; so that you can best showcase the details of paintings, sculptures, and other art. Ketra lighting is used in several museums and galleries, such as the Art Institute of Chicago!

If you are an art lover, you'll appreciate Ketra even more Grace is wearing a floral blue dress Grace is wearing a floral blue dress Grace is wearing a emerald green dress Grace is wearing a emerald green dress Grace is wearing a emerald green dress We loved playing around with the saturated color settings!

You can also change things up if you’re feeling creative. We loved playing around with the saturated color settings!

Ketra  featured by Grace

Created in partnership with Ketra Lighting.

Photography by Carter Fish.

Everything I Read in June 2019.

Everything I Read in June 2019

This month was just medium when it came to what I read. First of all, I just didn’t have as much time to read as usual. We were in 5 different cities for our tour and it felt like I was always scrambling just to get my blog posts/regular work and recording done. I actually didn’t think I’d hit my goal of reading 6 books a month but then I read two books this past weekend. Last month was definitely a MUCH better month of reading BUT there were still some really good ones this month.

If you take one thing away from this post it’s that everyone needs to drop what they are doing and pre-order American Royals immediately. It was SUCH a fun book (and it’s also our September book for the podcast!!)

IF YOU’RE NEW HERE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOK, DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHECK OUT MY BOOK CLUB PAGE.

Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every.single.book I’ve read in the past few years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for. I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading in real time to my Amazon Shop. I also just posted a roundup of my favorite bookstagram accounts so they will be able to give you some fantastic recommendations as well!!!

And one last thing! What should I read next? Your suggestions are the BEST… thank you, thank you!

Everything I Read in June 2019

Two Cute Romances!

Waiting for Tom HanksWaiting for Tom Hanks, by Kerry Winfrey, by Kerry Winfrey

I’m going to be really honest/blunt here and say that for the first 110 pages of reading this book I was highly irritated.  I bought it at Parnassus Books in Nashville and it was a surprising pick for me as romance isn’t even my typical genre, BUT I wanted something light and fun to read and just zone out to. I found the main character to be deeply unlikeable and annoying (SO much whining over what Tom Hanks would/would not do!!) and highly immature/unrelatable. (Maybe that’s because she’s 27 and I’m 37 but still; man, she was annoying and I hope I wasn’t like that when I was younger!!!).

Anyway, I was going to put it down but powered through (mostly because it was the day after our live show and I just wanted to read something light and fluffy and only had “heavier” books with me). So I powered through, and I have to say, once the main character stopped whining so much, it got very cute and the ending was very satisfying. But still, it took a while to get there.

  • Overall Score: B-

Evvie Drake Starts OverEvvie Drake Starts Over, by Linda Holmes., by Linda Holmes.

Okay first of all, this was written by one of the hosts of Pop Culture Happy Hour, which is one of my favorite podcasts. It’s the story of widowed Evvie Drake and Dean Tenney (a former NY Yankees pitcher). Dean finds his pitching arm out of sorts and decides to escape to Maine for a bit to regroup and get away from the city. He rents the apartment off of Evvie’s house and a cute friendship develops between the two of them. There’s the whole “will they or won’t they” energy which of course I loved, but there’s also this really nice storyline between Evvie and her best friend Andy and the complexities of male-female friendship but also trusting people and letting them in. It took me about halfway through the book to get invested in the characters, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. It’s really heartwarming.

Overall Score: B

What if George Washington Were King And Not President!?

American Royals, by Katharine McGeeAmerican Royals, by Katharine McGee

Oh my goodness. This book. First of all, you may remember Katharine McGee from The Thousandth Floor trilogy, which is one of my all time favorite YA trilogies. Well. She’s back at it with a new trilogy which comes out in September so I highly recommend preordering it ASAP! (This is going to be our September book for the podcast too) Imagine if after the Revolutionary War, George Washington became the king and not the president. And then, fast forward to modern day and write a book about the teenagers set to rule the palace. There’s Princess Beatrice (the heir), and her twin brother + sister Jefferson and Samantha.

It’s deliciously good (reminiscent of the cast of The Thousandth Floor in the best way possible. Samantha is the wild child, Jefferson is the dreamy prince that every girl wants. We also get to know the two girls vying for Jefferson’s heart: manipulative Daphne, and down to earth Nina. This book is SO MUCH FUN, I read it in a day and now am deeply depressed that I have to wait for the second book! I’m so sorry to gush about a book and then make you wait for it, but pre-order it now for the best little treat in September!

  • Overall Score: A+

A Heartwarming (+Epic) Story About Friends.

Everything I Read in June 2019 - The Friends We KeepThe Friends We Keep, by Jane Green

Jane Green has been one of my favorite authors ever since the good old Jemima J days. Her books feel like a warm hug and she writes about friendships so perfectly – in a way that is realistic but still feel good. This one is no exception. It follows three best friends from college into their fifties. It’s a good look at growing older, facing disappointment, betrayal, and forgiveness. There’s Evvie, the beautiful model who starves herself to be successful. There’s Maggie, who married her college crush who turned out to be an alcoholic. And then there’s Topher, who followed his dreams to America to become a successful actor only to make a massive career-derailing mistake.

I loved this book and the realistic portrayal of friendship; but I also loved the way it showed their friendships evolving over thirty years and how while each character faced horrible, life-altering events, they were always okay. That’s what I took away from this book – even when it doesn’t feel like it, even when we are in crisis, things will always be okay and work out.

  • Overall Score: B+

A Very Real Look at Female Friendship.

How Could She, by Lauren MechlingHow Could She, by Lauren Mechling

I really loved this book. It was such a real, honest look at female friendship, the “power balances” of friendships, and all of that. It’s the story of Geraldine (living in Toronto and reeling after the end of her engagement) and her two friends Rachel and Sunny, who live in New York. Rachel is drawn to New York after seeing how perfect her friends’ lives look… Rachel is a writer and Sunny is an artist/columnist and decides to move there. But when she gets there nothing is quite as shiny as it appears.

The magazine where Rachel + Sunny work at is on the verge of folding, Sunny’s life is falling apart, and Rachel is struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Geraldine can’t seem to find a job to save her life. This book is so raw and real; by the end of the book I felt like I knew each of the characters (all so flawed but still likable). At times it’s a little painful to read (and you want to shake the characters a little bit) but it’s been a long time since I read something where I felt like I really knew the characters, and could identify so much with a character (I really related to Geraldine, FWIW).

  • Overall Score: A-

A good old fashioned mystery/thriller!

A Nearly Normal Family, by M.T. EvardssonA Nearly Normal Family, by M.T. Evardsson

This was my book of the month pick! It’s written by a Swedish author and has been translated into several different languages. The book is the story of a family (Adam- the father, Ulrika- the mother, and Stella- the daughter). 18 year old Stella is suddenly accused of murdering a man 15 years older than her. Confusion within the family immediately ensues as she is taken into custody and isolated from her family.

The book follows troubled Stella’s relationship with the victim and constantly keeps us on our toes as we try to decide who did what and who was right and who was wrong. Was 32 year old Christopher a psychopath? Was Stella prone to violence? Did she do it? This kept me guessing and while it was an unputdownable thriller, it also dealt with bigger stuff: morality… lying for your child… rape… it was dark, and definitely made me think!

  • Overall Score: B+

photo by Iron + Honey!