Friday, May 16, 2014

bikinis and burritos

Next weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer and everyone's breaking out the boats (it's also the start of summer hours at the office and I am p-u-m-p-e-d for extended weekends for the next three months!). It's only right to spend Memorial Day on the water, so solidify those plans and pack the beach bag. I've got the SPF, The Goldfinch, the sunglasses—the Lime-a-ritas—but still need to find the suit. Maillots and retro styles are kicking itsy-bitsy bikinis to the curb this season, and I'm tempted to try a peekaboo one-piece, but a sporty scuba-inspired look is more "me." I'm loving the athletic but flirty personality of these cropped halter tops for an update on the traditional triangle—and they score bonus points for not flying off when you jump in the lake or wipe out behind the MasterCraft. If your Kindle's collecting dust and US Weekly's the only "book" in your beach bag, Chipotle's checking you. The carnitas and fajitas your mouth waters for are now coming with a side of lit. Starting this week, the chain's paper cups and brown bags will feature stories and essays from the likes of Toni Morrison and Malcolm Gladwell. In an occupation where I'm constantly told to cut and condense, copy ignored and art celebrated, it's satisfying that even a fast food joint is using the written word to distinguish its brand. Have a great weekend—and get yourself a burrito!

SHOP THE LOOK: one. two. three. four.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

prom dreams and dream home

It's prom season. I'll pass on the corsage, buffet and unrealistic expectations, but would accept (with all the excitement of a girl getting escorted to high school's biggest hurrah) the chance to wear a formal gown. Part of my fixation with the style is probably due to the disaster of a dress I wore to my senior prom circa 2006 (if memory serves, this was the song...). I have no idea what possessed me to pick what I did—and I'll save myself the embarrassment of describing it. But someday (please God!) a black tie wedding or charity gala will offer the opportunity for redemption. If that save-the-date arrived in the mail tomorrow, I'd wear something modern but soft, with clean and unexpected cuts, a higher neckline and subtle details like a twisted waistline. Posing for snap-happy parents and smiling through the Grand March would actually be enjoyable in this petal-pink column or crisp colorblock showstopper. This and this might tide me over until that day comes. If you like modern, minimalistic elegance as much for your home as you do your wardrobe, start saving your pennies for Restoration Hardware. The upscale but attainable furniture retailer has turned a dismal $35 million loss into a laughing-to-the-bank $69 million profit. Using the strategy that steered that reversal, they're investing heavily in a new store experience (think fountains and wine bars) to engage shoppers on a new level. I think CEO Friedman's on to something. I already want to live in the RH catalog, and that paper showroom come to life—with Pinot—will be that much more persuasive. Read more on the revival here.

images: one. two

Monday, May 12, 2014

pancakes and benjamin braddock

I've got some things going for me, but when it comes to cooking, I'm not winning any James Beards. But lately I've been motivated to make some simple dishes (including an amazing quinoa, chickpea, cucumber and tomato salad) and loved the process—so I'm riding the wave. When friends were discussing brunch plans last weekend, it occurred to me that I've never made the most basic of all breakfasts: pancakes. I don't typically like starting the day with a big meal, but I've been feeling really domestic and content with downtime at home—and lazily passing the morning with a thick stack of flapjacks and magazines on my sun-soaked balcony is the perfect low-key activity for that mood. If you want to chill out without the carbs, enjoy a Dustin Hoffman marathon. I'm making an effort to see more classic movies and made good on that goal during yesterday's thunderstorm with The Graduate. I love learning the background of an actor's real life relative to what's happening in character—and it's fascinating to watch Hoffman knowing his performance "made" his career. Some superficial research revealed that the 30 year-old was unknown before being seduced by Mrs. Robinson, his casting made "conventional good looks" no longer an on-screen requirement, and he turned down a lot of roles following Graduate fame for less glamorous theater gigs. So interesting. Can't wait to continue the study with Rain Man and All the President's Men. Hope your week's off to a great start (and if not—line up a Saturday pancake fest to look forward to)!

Chocolate: reminds me of my mom's fluffy cocoa-infused 'cakes that were such a sleepover hit.
Lemon Poppyseed: lightly sweet with delicate texture—interesting, but subtle.
Banana Nut: the nutty crunch gives it a hearty feel and robust taste.
Espresso Chip: an indulgent way to get that great coffee flavor and energizing caffeine kick (sans teeth stains!).

Thursday, May 8, 2014

breck and brows

Whew. I've been pretty tired lately and reducing my diet Coke intake isn't helping. At work, Men's Fall Preview, Home Fall and summer sale deadlines are all colliding, and on the home front, I moved to a new apartment last week. It's a nicer building (yay wood floors and black appliances!), in a new neighborhood (less collegiate, still young)—and it feels like a whole new start. With that transition out of the way, I feel capable of thinking into the future again and planning my summer. A few small trips are in the works, but the biggest will be Breckenridge for my oldest friend's wedding. I've had the hardest time committing to the bridesmaid activities (mani or pedi or both? Salon makeup or self-application?)—monumental choices, I know—but I pushed through (wink) and the appointments are booked. I haven't had my hair done professionally more than once or twice, but familiarity with the crushing mood an inadequate 'do can cause inspired me to get pinning—and be armed with a distinct direction. Lauren is pretty relaxed and just asked we wear our hair up and away from the face. I always get by on just a blow dry (side braid on dirty days), so it'll be fun to try something a bit more polished—I'm thinking a wispy knot, sleek pony or chunky braid. If the stylist fails to deliver despite visual aids? There's no better distraction than Cara Delevingne brows. Get to it.

images clockwise from top left: one. two. three. four. five. six