Packing for Tulum – The Shoes

We’re headed to Tulum, Mexico for our honeymoon next month so of course I’ve already started working on my packing list, starting with the shoes….

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I’m trying to get to Mexico with one carry on so need to keep it light with the shoes, and I plan to be casual and comfortable for the entire trip.

1. Birkenstock Gizeh: I’m a longtime fan of the Gizeh in black patent leather. The pair I bought six years ago are only now starting to look a little beat up, so I am bringing them along as my pair of “fancy” sandals. I thought of bringing my new Arizonas in black oiled leather, but I’m a little worried about beach wear and tear so decided it was less risk to go with the older pair.

Wildcard Birkenstocks: The very trendy Arizona Birkenstocks in white have been haunting me recently. At first I dismissed as too impractical in such a light color, but now I am thinking they are in the perfect shade of “bridal white” for our wedding after party, and beachy enough for the honeymoon.

2. Toms Shoes in Purple Woven: I mean you just can’t do better than a pair of Tom’s, especially for a pair of traveling shoes. This will be my third pair, and I tend to wear them for years until the toe section starts to rip apart. I still have my original beat up pair of grey Tom’s as they are perfect for weekends camping, cleaning, or painting. I had originally planned on getting a new pair in a nice classic color such as navy or olive green, but the fun summery neon pop in the Purple Woven pair convinced me to change it up a bit. I’ve had these shoes now for a couple weeks and they are beautiful – especially the pretty details such as the pink elastic triangle, and stitching decorations on the side. I keep the rest of my outfit simple when I wear these so the shoes get the attention – like jeans and a white t-shirt with a green army jacket. A note on shopping for these – I wasn’t able to find my size online, but when I popped into my local Urban Outfitters they had a whole slew of this shade in my size and more.

3.Havaianas Slim Flip Flops: I don’t know how to pronounce the name of the these shoes, but I’ve read many a raving review, and my fiancé really likes his men’s pair of flip flops. I generally avoid all plastic flip flops (ouch!) but decided to give these a try since I wanted a pair that could handle the beach, and rain, and not have any fabric or foam that would need to dry out. Jury is still out though – they look really cute, but the first time I wore them the plastic predictably ripped up my feet, and I got a huge blob of gum stuck to the bottom (not the shoes fault!) and the gum seems impossible to remove. I think I will still bring them on our trip, but might also bring my tried and true LL Bean flip flops as an alternate pair.

Happy Summer in Arizona Birkenstocks

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I’m planning to wear my Arizona Birkenstocks all over town this summer. I’ve had them a couple weeks now and they have taken a little longer to break in than my older Gizeh Birks that were soft and comfortable right out of the box. I’m breaking them in with the straps set really wide, and then as they get more comfortable will slowly loosen the straps. I got the straps in Black Oiled Leather since I thought they looked a little more polished than the more hippy traditional tan suede, and I am pretty happy with my choice. I’m picturing these both with army pants (pictured above) and with a sleek patterned pencil skirt. Bring on the summer weather!

In Search of a Travelling Bag – the Convertible Travel Tote Bag from Patagonia

Travel bags are always a tough call for me since I need the perfect combination of ease and utility, but also a dash of cool. For my trip to Montreal last month I decided to give the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Tote Bag 26L a shot.

Our vacation agenda included both nice restaurant dates, and a ton of walking around the city and hiking to the very top of Mount Royal so I knew I need a bag that could handle double duty. I ended up taking a trip down to the SoHo Patagonia one day and picking up this bag that I had first read about in I Want to Be Her. The helpful Patagonia employee showed me how to convert the bag from tote to backpack, and the extra hidden pockets for hiding the extra straps away.

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L. Wearing the bag as a backpack for a hike to the top of Mount Royal, R. Switched over to a tote bag for an evening out

The bag was easy to convert back and forth, and I also give it bonus points for all the extra pockets. For a day hike, the side pockets help my water bottle and phone for easy access, with plenty of room in the center of the bag for maps, snacks, and scarves. Switched over to a tote, the bag had extra pockets for all the important things, and the plain black kept it simple enough to both carry to a bar or restaurant.

The trade in for the convenience of the lightweight ripstop fabric is the the bag is pretty unsturdy and tends to flop around when you put it down. The material also has a polyurethane coating which did come in handy in the rain/snow, however it did give the bag a shiny, crinkly appearance that I couldn’t quite get used to. But overall I did love being able to just flip to a backpack when needed, then back to a cute tote bag in seconds flat. This is a bag that I hope will come with me on many future adventures.

What’s your best traveling bag?

Spring shopping list 2014

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For my Spring shopping list I keep coming back to the classics & the comfortable – but with a twist.
1. My JCrew BRIDE sailor tee // I love a classic JCrew stripped shirt, and now that I’m newly a bride-to-be I couldn’t say no to this one
2. Minnetonka Thunderbird Boat Soles // My Minnetonka collection keeps growing with the addition of this pair from EBay, and I really should do a whole post on moccasins. I like these since you get the comfort and strength with the boat shoe bottom. Though I think for my next pair I’ll get a more classic soft sole.
3. JCrew Factory airspun baseball sweater in colorblock // I’ve yet to tire of classic baseball t-shirts. This one is a lightweight sweater that will be great for spring, and I can dress up with a necklace for work.
4. MOTHER Rascal Straight Jeans // I’m still into all my skinnies, but have started thinking of adding in some straight leg jeans into my rotation to keep things fresh.
5. Velvet Nyleen India Challis Tunic // I’ve been big into tunics lately since they are comfy,and the loose fit hides the fact that it’s been a while since I hit up a pilates class. This one is a cool boho print, with a nice blousy, well made feel to it.
6. L.L. Bean Quilted Riding Jacket in Navy // Spring has been slow coming to NYC this year. I realized that I have plenty of winter jackets, and plenty of summer jackets – but not really anything for those in between days. This jacket fits the bill, with a nice preppy feel, slim cut, and plaid/corduroy details.
7. Luxe sweatpants // I spend lots of time in sweatpants, so I’ve decided to up my game into something a little fancier. I’ll probably mostly wear at home, but may also cuff and layer with a denim shirt and cute sneakers for spring weekends.
8. Madewell The Sidewalk Skimmer in Calf Hair // I recently nabbed a pair from Ebay, and they have become my go to office shoes. I especially love wearing these when I get to the office and realize I am wearing all black and/or grey but can pop these shoes on to add a little fun to my outfit.
9. Madewell Mini Cross Body Transport Tote in Peacan // I’m a huge fan of the regular Madewell Transport Tote, and only recently discovered that there is a smaller, cross body version. I especially love the blue striped lined interior, and extra pockets.
10. Birkenstock Arizona // I’ve long been a fan of the Gizeh in black patent leather and have worn my original pair into the ground. This year I decided it was time for a fresh new pair, so I grabbed the classic Arizona that has been popping up on so many pretty feet recently.
11. Vans Classic Slip-on in Black checkerboard // I always wanted a pair of Vans in high school – at the time I loved the lace up versions. But slip-ons have been on my mind for a long time now, and I think they will make a great pair of shoes to commute in all spring/fall. I went back and forth between the black and whited classic checkered slips-ons, but decided on the black checkered version to be a little different.

Things I am thinking about

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Giant Scarf // I have tons of scarfs, but am still on the hunt for a perfect large grey scarf that can double as a travel blanket. I like this Virginia Johnson swan scarf since wrapped around my neck it would just look like a beautiful dove grey scarf – but when wrapped flat you’ll see a beautiful graphic swan print. {SALE}

Beret // Time to bring back the beret! Ladies let’s make this happen.

Small bags to stay organized // With this zip pouch from BAGGU in Electric Dot Poppy

Mocs // I’ve slowly been expanding my collection of Minnetonka mocs because they are the best shoes around. I also wore then a lot as a kid, so they feel familiar to me from the day they arrive. For some reason though my collection is missing the classic Minnetonka Thunderbirds – so lets fix that! (How beautiful is Bleubird’s Minnetonka lookbook?)

A Peacoat // I’ve been craving the JCrew Majesty peacoat for several years now, and think it is finally time to just do it. I’ll wear this all spring long, and the gold buttons will make me feel extra sharp (even if worn with sweatpants).

Board Shorts // Perfect way to wear a bathing suit but still cover up some problem areas. I just bought this JCrew pair off EBay and can’t wait for them to arrive.

Travel Tote // I’m taking a trip to San Diego for a week in February and have already started to think about what travel bag to use. I may retire my Vera Bradley gym bag due to the lack on interior pockets.  I’m pretty fascinated by the bottom zip shoe section on the Lo & Sons Catalina Bag to ensure that shoes stay separate from clothes and other packed items. A much neater solution than what I normally do – which is pack all my shoes in the main compartment in plastic bags.

Madewell Transport Tote

Madewell Transport Tote

Madewell Transport Tote

 

Madewell Transport Tote

Madewell Transport Tote

Madewell Transport Tote

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Madewell Transport Tote

Madewell Transport Tote (c/o Shopbop) // Also in black and olivetree

This bag had been on my radar for quite sometime, but I had a fear that it would end up like most of my leather bags: sitting on a shelf gathering dust since leather is too heavy to carry on my shoulder for the duration of my  50+ min commute. I finally gave in and ordered the Madewell Transport Totes since I could not resist the beautiful shade of cognac leather for one day longer. I happily discovered that the bag is much lighter than a traditional leather bag, probably due to the simple, no frills shape and no liner or heavy hardware to weight down the bag,

I was concerned that the drop of the shoulder straps would be too short for winter wear once my bulky puffy coat came out, and that sadly is true. With a bulky coat the bag has a tendency to slip off my shoulder, and I had to keep constantly pulling it back up. But with any other normal weight, non-puffy coat the shoulder drop is fine and the center of the bag helps it to hang comfortably off the shoulder. Related to puffy coats, the Transport tote does hold up against winter weather, as I wore it out a couple times in the rain and while it looked all sorts of damaged in the rain it dried out quite nicely. I’m too afraid that bad weather will harm the leather so I’ve stopped bringing it out if there are any raindrops in the forecast. (For those bad weather, puffy coat days I grab my Longchamp Le Pliage that is virtually indestructible.)

Some Insta-love for my Transport Tote:
Watching an early morning soccer game
With boat shoes, stripes & camo
Touring 1 Infinite Loop
Chilling poolside

The Free Tote from Isabel Marant pour H&M

Isabel Marant Free Tote H&M

Did you shop the Isabel Marant pour H&M collection this week? I work right next to an H&M, so I took a break at lunchtime and swung by to take a look. The women’s section was roped off with an orderly line that stretched outside, but the Men’s section was open so I wandered right in. I grabbed this Cotton Scarf with woven stripes and love it.

Though the best part of shopping Isabel Marant pour H&M was getting this lovely tote for a shopping bag. I would have paid the $34.99 for the tote alone. It’s pretty basic – large roomy bag, no inside pockets, and long handles – but the tie dye fabric makes it fun and boho, and it feels really unexpected. I used this as my shopping bag all weekend and think it is going to go into frequent rotation as a weekend tote. The extra long handles will come in handy in the winter when I am wearing my puffy coat all the time.

Back to the actual purchase…here I am wearing my new scarf with a MUJI stiped shirt for a double dose of stripes! The scarf material is a good quality, and it is both warm and soft. The stripes and woven fringes give it some extra texture. I love this MUJI shirt since the stripes are great, fabric is super soft, and it has a crew neck instead of a boat neck. I love a boat neck in theory, but the always seem to just show off my bra straps. Crew neck is the way to go.

Isabel Marant for H&M

Autumn Backpacks

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Today was the first really cool day in Brooklyn, and during a walk in beautiful Prospect Park I started thinking about carrying a backpack again. I’ve pretty much given up on backpacks since I need easy access to my pockets, but the crisp cool fall weather is making think of giving that a second thought. Here are some ideas..

Moto Jackets for the Fall

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For the fall I knew I wanted to get a moto jacket – but instead of leather I wanted one in cozy sweatshirt material that could go from sweatpants casual to fancy in the blink of an eye. I ended up finding the perfect jacket at the Chealsea Buffalo Exchange. It is true black sweatshirt material with all the good moto snaps and zippers. The jacket is a Nom De Plume YaYa Moto Jacket that was originally sold at Urban Outfitters.

Here’s an outfit I wore recently for dinner & drinks, but the jacket could easily work with some slouchy sweats and an old tee for the weekend.

Outfit details:
Jacket: Thrifted Nom De Plume YaYa Moto Jacket.
Blouse: Old H&M, but here’s another option
Jeans: Koral Skinny Jeans, currently sold out, but these are similar
Shoes: Patent Leather Kate Spade wedge pumps. Mine are about 7 years old and purchased at the Marshall’s in Queens. Here is a similar pair from Kate Spade
Bag: Thrifted

Lots of other moto options out there:

 

Semi-Late Fall Shopping list

Fall Shopping 2013

This fall shopping list is a little late, but in my defense it is so beautiful here in NYC this time of year that it feels like fall has just gotten started.

1) Luxe Sweatshirts: I have really been enjoying the recent crop of “fancy” sweat shirts that have been cropping up recently. I like the idea of taking something basic/simple/necessary, and then kicking it up a notch. The flip side of course, is that if you are going to spend this much  money on something so basic you are going to need to wear it forever in order to make the cost per wear worth it in the long run. I like the idea of buying one sweatshirt that can kick it both to work with a fancy necklace, and then on the weekends with some  boyfriend jeans and mocs. Alexander Wang makes the grandaddy of luxe sweatshirts, but I also like the Three Dots Easy Fit Sweatshirt, and a Terry Sweatshirt from the Gap.

2) Flowy blouses are what I want to wear all autumn long, and then plan to layer under a warm cardigan once it starts to get cold. This Stand Collar blouse from Uniqlo looks like a perfect neutral, and I am also hearing great things about the Silk Blouses from Everlane.

3) A classic pea coat. Each and every year I swear I am going to invest in a great peacoat. I remember picking out a classic one in high school with my mom, and I wore it year in and year out. Uniqlo has a nice one, though I have to admit I can’t get enough of the gold buttons on the Majesty Peacoat from JCrew.

4) Clogs: I really want a pair of No. 6 or Swedish Hasbeen slip-on mules. I think they will be great to wear for early fall with bare feet, and then layer on some wooly socks once the weather starts to get a little chilly. I can’t get peep toe mules out of my head, though I was pretty glad to pull my No. 6 boots out of storage to wear again for this fall.

5) Leopard belt. Here’s another eBay score for me, but the original version in “little leopard” is currently on sales over at JCrew.

6) Go Sox and Go Pats! I’ve been wanting a Tom Brady jersey so I can wear my New England pride all over Brooklyn. I picked up mine for about $35 on eBay, but you can grab yours over at the NFL Shop. Old Navy also has some cute Team Spirit gear.

7) The perfect denim shirt. I am sure there are more noble pursuits in the world, but a good chunk of my brain has recently been taken up by searching for a perfect denim shirt.  I could devote whole post to this topic (and probably will) but for now I thank Madewell for coming to the rescue.

8) Leather Tote. I was down on leather totes for years since I thought they were too heavy. Until the amazing rich color of the Madewell Transport Tote finally won me over. My main concern about this bag was weight, and was the handle drop long enough. Happy to report the weight is good, and handles have been OK so far and the big test will be when I bring out my giant winter parkas. Until then this bag has been my constant companion throughout the fall. I’ll be doing a whole post on this guy soon enough!

9) Black skinny Jeans. Can anybody have too many pairs of black skinny jeans?