Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Live in the sunshine...

Happy Wellness Wednesday


For The Conscious Consumer

My friend Lauren recently introduced me to an awesome accessories line: Cuyana. I’m absolutely obsessed! Not only are the brand’s bags, hats, scarves etc. chic and versatile, the pieces are travel-inspired and decidedly made with love. What’s more, creators Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah donate a portion of their proceeds to charity: water. Gallardo and Shah’s mission is to “elevate the fashion industry” – 
1. Timeless Style: We add an unexpected twist to classic fashion by using globally sourced premium materials to design one-of-a-kind accessories.

2. Sustainable Change: We rejuvenate communities by supporting small business, micro-industries, craftsmanship and local water projects.

3. Products with Soul: Each piece celebrates a country’s culture, heritage and its people.                                                                          – Karla Gallardo & Shilpa Shah
This is certainly an accessible cause I can get behind. And I couldn’t agree more with the ladies behind Cuyana…

Shop Consciously,


P.S. Cuyana’s destinations (and design influences) include India and Peru – two places I’ve visited and loved. I’ll share pics in posts to come.

P.P.S Cuyana’s Argentina line launches TODAY. Check it out! I’ve got my eye on the Evening Bag in Black Leather and the Merino Scarf in Light Grey.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pack It Up, Pack It In

After traveling for the majority of weekends this summer, I’ve come to some packing epiphanies. I used to despise packing. In the past I would stay up until the wee hours on the night before a trip, trying on every item of clothing I own and sorting each piece into yes, maybe and no piles. This was obviously a painstaking process, and inevitably I would reach a state of delirium and end up packing both the yes and maybe piles anyway and calling it a night. I always over-packed, but there is a better way! Here are my newfound packing realizations/tips.

1. Pack Warm Clothes, Even in the Summer
Whenever we go to the beach for the weekend I’m always cold at night. And trains are iceboxes. Always pack a jacket. Always pack a scarf. Always pack socks.

2. Don’t Unpack and Repack Key Toiletries
This is a huge time saver, especially considering the strict liquid laws for flying. I’ve learned to keep a designated travel toiletries bag, with toiletries already in it. Buying a second set of your essentials is worth the few extra bucks. It saves a lot of time and stress. How tedious is having to squirt face wash into a little plastic “travel size” container?! In my travel bag I keep a small zip-lock of q-tips, a mini Aquafor, a disposable razor, a travel sized shaving cream, a dab of eye makeup remover, shampoo & conditioner samples, a mini toothpaste, a small bottle of face wash, a mini face moisturizer and the smallest body lotion I can get my hands on. 

3. Pick a Color Scheme and Stick to It
I usually pick pieces that match either a black purse or a brown purse. I went with brown (with a strong coral influence) for my most recent trip to Amagansett.


P.S. I once heard about a woman who kept only white clothes (including under garments) at one home and only black clothes at her second home… That’s one way to streamline your dressing decisions. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hamptons 2.0

As I’ve said before, the best time to go to The Hamptons (or anywhere) is September. Justin and I even considered having a September wedding in Montauk before we were seduced by Napa.

Anyway we went to Amagansett last weekend, and I can now share a new and improved guide to The Hamptons.

Best Laid-Back Bar - 
Try the bar’s signature drink: the BBC (Banana Baileys Colada). (Thank you for the introduction Jamie!)

Best Lobster Roll - 
Clam Bar’s street-side locale isn’t quite as appealing as Duryea’s perch on the water, but the food’s better and the ambiance is still enjoyable. The Clam Bar always plays great music, and the lobster roll is perfection. (It’s a lot less dilly than the lobster sandwich at Duryea’s.) Our table was even interviewed by the Travel Channel for a “Beaches” series including a segment on the best lobster roll in The Hamptons. We (genuinely) explained why the Clam Bar has the best lobster roll...
Justin: “They let the lobster do the talking."
Travel Channel: "If the lobster could speak, what would it say?"
Tune into the show next spring for Justin's answer...

Best Coffee Shop - 
This is a no brainer. Jack’s has an Amagansett outpost! And I was finally able to check it out. We biked there, which was lovely. And the coffee shop itself is delightful. It’s larger and more extensive than the one in the West Village, and it has many more food options including delicious homemade oatmeal, as well as a selection of Asher’s packaged goods. I absolutely love their dark chocolate smothered pretzels.

Best Form of Transportation - 
I’ve always favored trains over buses, but no longer. The Jitney was comfortable enough and the staff even handed out complimentary water bottles and lemonade. And the best part? We were able to avoid Penn Station.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Love it Want it Buy it

Do you LOVE J. Crew as much as I do? If so, shop online today & tomorrow and receive 30% off final sale items. Just use code LOVEIT.

If you’re like my friend Rachel and in the market for white jeans despite the post Labor Day status, these look great.

I think this polka dot iPhone case is just adorable, or as my step-sister Brittany would say: loverly.
Can't get enough of polka dots? Neither can I. I LOVE this cami.

Shop ‘til you drop!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Remedy or rubbish?

The change in season has brought tornado warnings to the tri-state area as well as an overall uncomfortable-ness to my ears, nose and throat. Don’t get me wrong; I love this transitional period from summer to fall. September is my absolute favorite month. (Side note - Justin and I have a theory that September is the best time to travel anywhere in the world. We haven't been proven wrong yet.) Here in NYC, the temperature is a perfect mid 70-something and the sticky humidity of August is mostly gone. But something in the air is wreaking havoc on my ENT situation. And this has me thinking, which natural remedies are BS and which really do work?

So without further ado, let’s play: Remedy or Rubbish?

Gargling with salt water - Remedy or Rubbish?

Chugging orange juice when getting sick - Remedy or Rubbish?
Despite a few studies that suggest that large doses of vitamin C may reduce the duration of a cold, most of the scientific evidence finds no benefit. Taking high doses of vitamin C is not recommended... High doses of vitamin C may cause headaches, intestinal and urinary problems, and even kidney stones.
Chewing on the (pickled) ginger that comes with your sushi roll - Remedy or Rubbish?
I’m not sure about evidence proving its effectiveness, but my yogi friends agree that it can’t hurt. And I’ve read that in general ginger is good for you. It can boost immunity and much more. 

Sipping tea with honey - Remedy or Rubbish?
Personally I think it helps. And The Times agrees. This article explains that hot steam is soothing, and that tea with honey can alleviate symptoms of the common cold.

Using a neti pot with filtered water - Remedy or Rubbish?                                       
I’ve used my neti pot a few times. At first it was very weird and a little scary. But it does help lubricate the sinuses.
*Don’t be alarmed by the death by neti pot horror stories in the news as of late. Just be sure to use FILTERED water, not tap. (Neti pots sold at drugstores come with saline packets to disinfect your H2O.)
“If you talk about the general population, there are more common things to be aware of and worry about than a scary amoebic infection,” said Dr. Hagen, who is also the editor of “The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies.” “It’s an opportunity to remind people to be cautious and use good cleaning approaches and maintenance of their neti pot. 
Ingesting Emergen-c at the first signs of sickness - Remedy or rubbish?
First ingredient = fructose. Not worth it, and not necessarily natural. Also, there is some controversy surrounding Emergen-c’s main components. 
Be well!

P.S. Here are a few reputable remedies recommended by my Ayurvedic expert coworkers. I’ll be trying them ASAP and will report back on my verdicts…

Drinking a cup of hot water with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar
My friend Jonelle swears by its overall healing properties.

Using nasya oil
Apparently it does wonders for the nasal passages. I found this article online.

Taking probiotics on the reg, and especially when you feel a cold coming on
Reuteri is the strand my friend Brian recommends. Probiotics are said to be the first line of defense against congestion et al.  

Chewing on cloves
Cloves are supposed to have analgesic properties. I’ve been told that chewing on cloves produces the same effect as sucking on lozenges: they numb a sore throat and help clear sinuses. I’m looking forward to giving it a shot!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Petite treats

Just in time for Wellness Wednesday this post is about sweets. Counter-intuitive? Probably, considering our culture of super-sized portions and fad diets that don’t work. But I believe eating right can include dessert. And most non-Americans agree. Check out French Women Don’t Get Fat if you’d like to read up on the subject. Of course it really is common sense, this notion of eating everything in moderation, but for some reason we Americans (myself definitely included) are so intoxicated by the advertising, product placement and general ubiquitousness of “junk food.” Allow this entry to serve as a reminder that food is not the enemy and that portion control is key. I’ll try to adhere to this basic truth while prepping for my wedding, and I’ll start by practicing compassion for myself and not feeling so guilty when I indulge in delicious desserts. Here are a few of my favorites as of late:

With or without vanilla ice cream, it’s perfection.

Hands down the best cupcake in NYC, and probably in DC too. (Thank you for the introduction Leah.)

Justin and I have been eating these just about every night this summer. I think we single-handedly bought out our grocery store’s stock. 

If you find yourself at the Jersey Shore, this crumb cake is worth the stop. The crumbs to cake ratio is perfect, and it’s really moist. 

Talenti is my new favorite gelato brand. It’s AMAZING. And the little plastic pint containers can be re-used for small snacks like raspberries.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Another one bites the dust

Celebrity couples are infamous for their lack of longevity. Everyone knows that. Not everyone gets seriously sad when a celeb couple parts, but I do. I admittedly get disproportionately upset about celeb breakups. After all, they’re real people – just like us! – capable of heartache and all (unless of course they’re participating in publicity stunts). Regardless, breaking up is hard to do. And I over-sensitively empathize with each and every star. So of course it pained me to hear about the demise of Amy Poehler and Will Arnett’s union. Even though I don’t watch either of their TV shows. 

The one celeb couple I have the utmost faith in is Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson (despite the fact that they had an affair while Hanks was with his first wife.) I once read a quote in Us Magazine that stuck with me, about the secret to their healthy marriage. According to Wilson it’s that Hanks makes her lattes, they talk five times/day, and he makes her laugh. But of course true compatibility must play a part. When it comes to famous peoples’ relationships, there is in fact a method behind the madness. The New York Times even published this article about the science behind celebrity breakups. Enjoy the data!
P.S. Now that I’m on the knot I’m automatically receiving [the nest] newsletters… For the most part these emails are just accumulating as unread, but this article caught my eye. 
image via

Friday, September 7, 2012

Getting Down & Dirty at the Farmers Market

The Union Square Greenmarket holds a special place in my heart. Back when we were just friends and Justin was still courting me, we spent an afternoon meandering around the market’s stalls packed with natural peanut butter, zucchini bread, beautiful flowers and so much more. Justin probably doesn’t remember that afternoon, but I can tell you what I was wearing. (I have a fickle memory; I remember specific outfits from especially enjoyable afternoons years ago, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you the names of any of my high school history teachers.) Anyway the USQ Greenmarket can get crowded, especially on weekends, but it’s worth the brief moments of claustrophobia. See below for a few pics I took on my iPhone while passing through the market a few weeks ago.

In the past I’ve liked to browse in the summertime but buy in the fall – when the merchants have in-season apples, along with apple cider, pumpkin bread, etc. But the market always has organic goodies and nutritional snacks like wheatgrass shots, and I’ve been reading that farm-to-table food in general has some surprising but incredibly beneficial qualities, all stemming from dirt. Apparently eating dirty Farmers Market food is really good for us. Yes – produce with a little soil on it. In Spontaneous Happiness Dr. Andrew Weil says there are benefits to exposing our hands and noses to dirt. Back in 2007 Discover magazine published an article titled “Is Dirt the New Prozac?” which reported on the results of a study of the “hygiene hypothesis.” This hypothesis, as summed up by Weil, said: 
The recently popular idea that living in environments that are too clean accounts for the sharp rise in the incidence of asthma and allergies in developed countries over the past century. Proponents of the hygiene hypothesis argue that excessive cleanliness deprives young people’s developing immune systems of routine exposure to harmless microorganisms in the environment, such as soil bacteria. Without this exposure, our immune systems might not learn to ignore such molecules as those in pollen or pet dander.
And there’s more useful info…
Pursuing this line of reasoning, some researchers have tried treating people with a common and benign soil bacterium called Mycobacterium vaccae. Preliminary results indicate that injections of a killed vaccine made from it can alleviate skin allergies. The vaccine has also been found to reduce nausea and pain in some lung cancer patients and, surprisingly, improve their general quality of life and mood…
The takeaway?
It can’t hurt to kick up some dirt and not be afraid to inhale a little dust when you’re digging in the garden. You can also expose yourself to beneficial mycobacteria by eating vegetables fresh from the garden—if you don’t scrub off every speck of dirt. 
For us city folk without gardens or even yards, growing veggies on our fire escapes is one option. The other option is to buy food from the local Farmers Market.


P.S. The Union Square Greenmarket is open:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
8 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

P.P.S. The New York Times recently published an article titled “Dirtying Up Our Diets” which makes the same argument as laid out above: 
Over 7,000 strong and growing, community farmers’ markets are being heralded as a panacea for what ails our sick nation. The smell of fresh, earthy goodness is the reason environmentalists approve of them, locavores can’t live without them, and the first lady has hitched her vegetable cart crusade to them. As health-giving as those bundles of mouthwatering leafy greens and crates of plump tomatoes are, the greatest social contribution of the farmers’ market may be its role as a delivery vehicle for putting dirt back into the American diet and in the process, reacquainting the human immune system with some "old friends."
Read on here.

P.P.P.S. I love visiting different city’s Farmers Markets when traveling in the States. It’s a great way to learn about each locale’s culture and of course find yummy snacks and even souvenirs. My friend Rachel and I brought home jam from the Santa Barbara Farmers Market. I’ve also perused the Boulder Farmers Market, which is really extensive and awesome. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

FNI (AKA “Fashion’s Night In”)

I’m with this girl:

Tonight is Fashion Night’s Out (FNO). If you’re not familiar with the event, it involves over 700 stores (in NYC alone) extending their hours to promote brands and offer discounted and limited-edition merchandise, along with free drinks and musical performances. There will be hoards of people going from store to store for the free goodies. It’s basically a Halloween for the 20-something set. Some of the “costumes” are of course ridiculous. And the situation is especially appealing for wannabe models who don’t eat candy but do enjoy GWP’s. (That’s retailer lingo for “Gift with Purchase.”) Oh and there will be celebrity appearances.

I will not be making an appearance. I’m opting out of participating in this evening’s festivities. I don’t love shopping, and I definitely don’t love shopping among packs of people. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate fashion or need a little something something every now and then. But I’ve learned to do the lunch-break errand and also capitalize on my weekdays off for when I must visit the department stores on Fifth Avenue and the tourist-friendly boutiques in Soho.

And what’s more I’m beyond having FOMO. I’m happy being a homebody, much unlike my 25-year-old self, and much to the dismay of my still-rowdy girlfriends. Tonight I’ll probably be virtually window-shopping on Pinterest and ThreadMatcher while sitting in front of the “boob tube” (as Justin calls it) watching this guy at the DNC. The best part: I won’t need to dress up.


P.S. For dressing down during this dreary Fashion Week, my essentials are Hunter rain boots and my new-ish Tatula hooded military jacket from Artizia. 

pic via

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Introducing: Wellness Wednesdays - On H2O

After a gluttonous Labor Day weekend in Maine (lots of lobster rolls, ice cream, s’mores, etc.) I feel like I need to detox and up my water intake. I’m not feeling motivated enough to do anything drastic (and really healthy) like cut out refined carbs or sugar, so I’ll start with my tried and true feel better basic: H2O.

Back in high school I read in a magazine (maybe Seventeen or Cosmo) that drinking lots of water is the key to great skin, weight loss and more. I don’t know if guzzling 3 liters of water each day is all that effective – but I do know that I feel better when I drink tons of water. So I’ve been doing just that consistently (and kind of obsessively) since high school. Back then I stocked my car with Poland Spring sport bottles and downed them throughout the day. Today I stock my desk at work with 1.5 liter bottles from Gourmet Garage. (And at home I refill them from our Pur water filter – which I highly recommend.) I think my extreme water consumption is worth the excessive amount of pee breaks I take throughout every day. And recently this notion was (once again) reaffirmed by a magazine: this time, Self. Self’s September issue devotes a section to “10 foods for radiant skin” and includes a side-note on water:

Is water really a miracle potion?
Short answer: Yes
We know it’s not earth-shattering advice, bit if you want great skin, guzzling H2O is nonnegotiable. Beyond doing its obvious job—water dissolves nutrients from food and helps transport them to skin cells.
How much do you need?
The Institute of Medicine suggests up to 11 cups a day. We know! But don’t freak out. Remember that many veggies and fruits contain a lot of aqua. (An apple provides about ½ cup.)

I don't eat an apple a day but hopefully my high intake of water will continue to keep excess weight, dry skin, etc. at bay.


P.S. I realize that using plastic bottles isn’t all that green. But rest assured I do recycle – despite Justin’s annoyance at having an extra bag of disposables in our tiny kitchen.
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