After the repeated navys, khakis, and whites of nautical week (and it’s spill over), I thought I’d switch it up with something a bit more bold. Like yesterday’s romper outfit. This ensemble requires little work for the resulting polish. A strapless dress, espadrilles, and a big hat seem old hollywood in a way that will make you look like Grace Kelly even when you’ve just rolled out of bed. I’ll be doing a similar look later this week on the blog, so for now, I’ll just leave it at that. Make sure to turn in tomorrow (ok really almost today… later) for this Wednesday’s woman!
Right in time for nautical week, eco-friendly lingerie brand Naja asked me if I’d like to join some other bloggers and share my beach bag essentials. I’m pretty terrible about the thinking ahead that is involved to pack a beach bag (or even a bag in general), and more often find myself frantically running, arms over chest, up to the house where I drip all over the deck before someone takes pity on me and brings me a towel. But I suppose if I was travelling (or took an unexpected trip to the Azores– it’s a long story), this is pretty much what my beach bag would look like:
1. Beach Hat (Panama, floppy, boater? get in my bag.)
2. Passport (although don’t leave this unattended if you go in the water… or in general!)
4. Binoculars (For boys or birds? It’s a tough call.)
5. Book (This list is in no particular order, or this would be at the top- especially a good vintage Penguin edition 6. Watch (or phone to keep time)
7. Shells and or Sharks teeth (though I’m more likely to find these for the bag home…)
8. Linen/cotton/gauzy Scarf (mostly to blow in the wind while you walk)
9. Cool drink (Perrier, every day.)
10. (not pictured) Kite (When is a better time? With better wind?)
11. (not in bag and probably won’t fit) Umbrella!
Outfit Details: Umbrella: Vintage | Boater Hat: Vintage | Dress: Derek Lam | Belt: Vintage | Shoes: Union Bay | Watch: Posh find! | Earrings: Thrifted | Sunglasses: Target | Scarf: Liberty London | Bag: Fossil | Passport Case: J. Crew Factory | Binoculars: Estate sale find for 50 cents!
While I personally haven’t had the chance to try any of Naja’s products yet, they are super sassy, and you can find out more about them here. They offer uniquely designed underwear, as well as an eco-friendly bra and swimwear line, which is made with fabric from recycled plastic bottles. So it could be the perfect find for those looking to lessen their eco-footprint. I like this suit, named Faye. Regardless of the reason why, it reminds me of Faye Dunaway (or Bonnie of the Bonnie and Clyde movie duo). Tres chic, non?
“I used to pretend I was someone quite mysterious and fascinating. Then I grew up and realized I was mysterious and fascinating'” –Sally Bowles
If it wasn’t clear from my last post, I tend to relate to new places, people, and things from familiar characters and stories. Berlin, of course, would be no different, and yet, with all the mystery and legend surrounding the wall, it’s become almost a character in itself. Still, I don’t think any self-respecting musical theatre enthusiast can approach Berlin without hearing in their head that whispered beckoning from the back of a seedy dance hall (or outdoor brick structure): Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome.
After accidentally booking a hostel for the wrong date twice, I ended up staying on what I later realized was the East Side of Berlin, about a fourth of a mile from the East Side Gallery. The location was great and convenient for our purposes, but the whole time I was there, I couldn’t help but feel a bit displaced by the fact that a mere 25 years ago, the place I was staying would have been completely inaccessible to me. While I realize that my impressions don’t add anything fresh to long discussion; overall I was just impressed by how arbitrary the divide seemed, watching as cyclists streamed down what would have been an abruptly ending road (Fremde, etranger, stranger).
Moreso than other cities, it is difficult to escape history in Berlin. With every tattered building, it stares you in the face, but the city’s vibrance almost subdues the ghosts. The art scene is tremendous, and it seems like start-ups are blooming around every corner. I’m not sure whether it’s a joke, but I heard that all you need to move to Berlin as a young person is a camera. They offer a special visa for artists. Bliebe, reste, stay. Like I said, I don’t know if it’s true, but we certainly saw a lot of art, but of all the displays, I liked none better than the china room in the Charlottenburg Palace. This room was fabulous. The attention to detail was extraordinary, and for some reason the designer felt the need to play with the border between the wall and ceiling to the point that a deer was sticking out of the wall (I kid you not!).
What I wore:
Dress: French Connection
Tights: old (I can’t remember the brand)
Socks: stolen from my Dad ❤
Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger
Clutch/ Wallet: Fossil
and introducing… my new coat (which I bought there on a splurge): TALLY WEiJL
Gluklich zu sehen, je suis enchante, Happy to see you!
Shared to What I Wore
What could be lovelier on a Sunday afternoon than to stroll in the park, visiting Roman ruins in a historic cathedral town? I bring you St. Albans, a gorgeous village thirty minutes outside of London, named after England’s first Christian martyr, birthplace of John Churchill (the first Duke of Marlborough, and as you may remember my previous post, victor of the Battle of Blenheim) and home to the only existing medieval clocktower in England (which was used as a semaphore tower in the Napoleonic wars). Yet the most epic sight of St. Albans is probably St. Albans Cathedral, a Gothic monolith, legendarily built with stones taken from Roman ruins rolled up the (long) hill from Verulamium Park and completed in 1089. It was here that the first draft of the Magna Carta was written, and it was once the largest cathedral in England! We arrived around 2:00 in the afternoon (Blackfriars to St. Albans is about a 30 minute ride for ~10 pound return fare). It’s a ten minute walk up to the church through the village area, but on the way you pass through the adorable square (where you will find the clocktower). Once there, you follow the signs and slip down a side street, and all the sudden the Cathedral comes out of nowhere! We were surprised we couldn’t see it towering over the horizon. Once you’ve found it, you wonder how you could have missed it! It takes a full five minutes to walk around the whole thing! It sits at the top of a hill which slopes down to the Park. There you can enjoy the company of weeping willows, frantic children and Roman ruins alike—we certainly did.
What I Wore:
Hat: antique store find
Fur collar: estate sale gem ($7.00!!)
Pencil Skirt: Zara
Wallet/ Purse: Fossil
Shoes: Stubbs and Wootton
In all my time at Oxford two years ago, somehow I never got out to nearby Woodstock to visit Blenheim Palace. Honestly, I think it was because I got the idea that it was a big picnic area next to a house in the middle of nowhere (ergo, not worth the bus ride and 18 pound entry fee). I was, in a word, incorrect. While there are ample grounds one might fancy picnic-ing on and while it is in the middle of nowhere, even the most understated could hardly call Blenheim a house.
Granted by Queen Anne to the Duke of Marlborough, Blenheim Palace was built to memorialize (wait for it) the Battle of Blenheim (the Duke’s famous victory in the War of Spanish Succession. Over the next hundred years, its interiors were gradually stripped as subsequent heirs squandered the fortune, and it looked quite different (on the inside) from its former standing when a young Winston Churchill came to reside there (on his holidays from boarding school).
While I was surprised to learn of Churchill’s aristocratic roots (even though a John Churchill was the name of the Duke of Marlborough, so it probably should have been more intuitive), I was not particularly surprised that such a big personality would be raised somewhere so grand in scale– it also gave new meaning to the background behind his tomes on English military history (since he was virtually living in their mausoleum). Judging by the grounds and gardens, he also had plenty of absolutely stunning places to sit back and write. There are a few more pictures than usual in this collection, but it was all so stunning, I didn’t want to omit anything!
Upon planning our palace visit, I wanted to make sure that I really felt the part. Conveniently, I had also never tried Laduree macaroons. In a thoroughly undignified manner, I proceeded to tote no less than 10 macaroons to Blenhiem (don’t worry, I shared). It was so lovely eating the height of French patisserie while casually lounging in the gardens. Did a few of the stray garbled crumbs intermingle the tastes? Sure (but that’s just more macaroon). This leads me to a little unsolicited travel advice: if you want for something to feel a certain way and you have a certain idea in your head, create that ambiance, and your memories are more likely to reflect the intent of your efforts. This is not to say you should go crazy with the Breton stripe in Paris, but if everything is better with ice cream, give yourself the ice cream (or macaroon, or truffle, or eclair, insert sweet thing here)!
These are not very helpful at all, but I’ll include them, nevertheless.
Scarf (shown in first picture): Estate Sale Treasure ($1.00)
Blazer: Estate Sale ($9.00)
Blouse: Talbots (hand-me-down)
Green Suit Separate Pants: Antonio Melani
Satchel: Fossil (ebay)
Boots: Tommy Hilfiger (S/S: 2014)
I go into this detail as a reminder that it’s not how much you pay, but how you wear it that determines whether or not you look palatial!
I live in an area called Southwark. For those of us who aren’t British, it is counter-intuitively pronounced “Suth-uck,” rather than “South-wark.” Historically, it was the theatre, gambling, and prostitution epicenter of Central London. While such activity wasn’t permitted under the Queen’s watchful eye, her visual impairment kicked in right around the bank of the Thames, making anything that went on South of its shore virtually unchecked (this is also because Southwark was not part of London proper, making it a separate jurisdiction). The City of London was particularly suspicious and subsequently, unkind, to theatrical groups within its limits, leading to a large theatrical community in Southwark, where they claimed to “practice” in order to perform for the Queen. Today, it’s where you will find the rebuilt Globe Theater, although the gambling and prostitutes have relocated (hopefully). Between the Globe and the installation of the Tate Modern Art Museum, its become a popular area that hosts lovely walks down the Southbank, and scenic views of St. Pauls.
However, before you get to St. Pauls, you have to cross over London Bridge (possibly one of the most boring bridges in London, despite its widespread musical acclaim). And before you reach London Bridge, you encounter a sudden wall of delicious smells cascading from the left side of the street. That pantheon of flavors is none other than Borough Market. Borough Market is the next step up from a farmers market, selling all sorts of fresh produce, meats, and cheeses, in addition to a delicious selection of tempting takeaways.
One thing I didn’t realize upon visiting Borough Market is that unlike the farmer’s markets I’m used to back home, people don’t really shops here for their groceries. That isn’t to say no one does, but Borough Market today is a bit of a tourist destination, which has driven prices from the mom and pop tomato stand fares you’d expect to those recognizable in the rest of central London. If you decide to take a visit yourself out-valuing Tesco will not be on the schedule. However, it’s fun to just walk around, and take in the selection, of well, everything.
As should be no surprise to those who know me, with a universe of food staring me in the face, while there, I decided to splurge on a coffee. However, this coffee had a recommendation, namely a line spanning out the door (and I’m told, on weekends, well around the block). The brand is Monmouth. Founded in 1978 in Covent Garden (on Monmouth Street), they have grown into three stores that seem to have a cult following. A yuppie playground, Monmouth is not coffee for the weak; if you are prone to headaches, this is not your brew. If you want to stay up half the night doing work to the background of warm, rich flavour this is where to get your beans.
To the sartorial: have you ever seen something that was so crazy that you secretly wanted it (for no rational reason), but told yourself you could never pull it off? That was my relationship with my lion skirt. When I saw it in H&M, it’s combination of quilting and lion heads, I demurely put it back on the rack where it belonged. Undaunted, I returned to best this beast, and here is my interpretation, if you can think of a better way to sport it, let me know below. I’m definitely up for suggestions.
Leather Jacket: H&M
Satchel: Fossil (this is the only purse I brought over, but be on the lookout soon for some diversity, and the newest addition to my closet!)