Dec 29, 2014

From the boys

Whoever put the brakes on winter for the past few days, I thank them. Friday was a beautiful day to walk around in a light jacket and eat ice cream. Would you believe me if I said half of my outfit came from the men's section? There is something extra relaxed about the roominess and slouch of men's clothes. Roll sleeves up, tuck hems in, no one would know the difference. I'm all about comfort these days and have even thought about wearing sweatpants in public (I always chicken out though!).

Many of you have asked about these sneakers that I've been living in on Instagram. Unfortunately this black/white colorway is hard to find, but if you're a size 9 or 10 (they run big), Totokaelo has just that left. I've also ditched all my other bags for the time being for the Halzan that I picked up in Paris. It's super versatile and is particularly beautiful in harsh sunlight.

Men's Jacket / Men's Sweater / Pants / Sneakers (different sole color) / Sunglasses

Dec 23, 2014

48 Hours in Nashville

By some stroke of luck (ok, and deliberate planning), I was able to spend a few days (or 48 hours, to be exact) in Nashville for the second time this year. I must say, going in December is far more pleasant than being there in the thick of summer when you could cut the air with a knife. While a lot of the places I visited this time weren't necessarily new to me, since I was on a work trip the first time, I was able to enjoy everything in a different context this time around. But in short, I love spending time in Nashville and hope this mini-guide will be helpful for anyone who plans on visiting soon. [Disclaimer – if you're looking for music recommendations, I'm afraid this isn't the guide for you. If you're looking to eat well, read on!]

We drive straight to Pinewood Social after landing at BNA. You won't find a space like this in NYC. The place is massive with multiple seating areas and a bowling alley in the back. Along with the Pot Roast Hash and Buckwheat Waffles, we try a Windsor Fleet, a cortado with bergamot, vanilla, and demerara – surprisingly good. We finish and grab more coffee to go.

We make the 14-mile drive south to Loveless Cafe on Highway 100. This Nashville classic known for its biscuits and thick cuts of country ham is well worth the trek (if you can even call it that). Four of some of the best biscuits in Tennessee for under $3.00 with your pick of jam? Again, you ain't finding that in NYC.

We find ourselves taking a little detour to historic downtown Franklin, just another 20 minutes southeast of Loveless. We walk through the holiday fair and some of the cute small businesses lining Main Street.

We're back in Nashville shopping our way through Imogene + Willie, where it's a sight for sore eyes all around. I bought a pair of jeans from them back in June and they're still some of the most comfortable I've ever had.

To cure a serious case of hanger, we head to Hattie B's Hot Chicken. What is widely considered as Nashville's signature dish, hot chicken is pan-fried chicken in a skillet with a cayenne pepper-paste, which gives it that brick red skin. The wait can be long, but it's worth it. I get a side of greens for balance of course.

We check in to The 404 Hotel, one of the only real boutique hotels in Nashville we could find. There are only five rooms, and each has a loft space with a seating area. I love the mix of modern design and vintage furniture, but the only real downside is the lack of natural light in the rooms. There's a narrow window near the top of the room, but that's about it. I do, however, appreciate the extra-roomy bathrooms and soft towels. We digest our hot chicken as fast as we can.

Dinner is at City House over in Germantown. Open since 2007, this was one of, if not, the restaurant that kickstarted the new wave of restaurants in Nashville. Pizza and pastas highly advised, but save room for desserts.

For a nightcap, we find ourselves at Patterson House. It's a beautiful space and a quiet way to end the night. The cocktail menu is lengthy and there's something for everyone. Had our trip not fallen on a Sunday-Tuesday, our first dinner would have likely been at The Catbird Seat, which sits above Patterson House.

First things first. Coffee. We head to East Nashville for the original location of Barista Parlor. The space used to be an old transmission shop, so it's super open and a bit warehouse-y feeling. We chow down on a biscuit with ham, egg, cheese, and chile-infused maple syrup. Not complaining about that.

I am excited to visit Elizabeth Suzann's studio and try on some of her clothing in person. I had admired a number of her pieces online and it was great to meet Elizabeth herself. I pick up these (crazy) pants and sweater.

We're not remotely hungry, but we man up and head to lunch at Husk. Located in an 1895-era house in downtown, Husk Nashville is the second location of chef Sean Brock's acclaimed restaurant in Charleston. We have a little reverse price shock at the lunch menu and have a total eyes-bigger-than-stomach moment. We order, like, 80% of the menu and watch table after table get turned over as we continue to stuff our faces. (Only half of the food we had is pictured here.)

Regret. Pain. Must unbutton jeans. And I need more coffee. Since my last visit, a second location of Barista Parlor in the Gulch opened up, so we check it out. I'm sipping my cortado in a dire food coma when I bump into Tiffany, which makes that the second accidental time seeing her in Nashville (when the girl doesn't live there either!). It's a very small town.

We attempt to get hungry (come on, metabolism). We visit a few more shops, like White's Mercantile and Cadeau, both well-curated shops with a great selection of homewares and gifts.

Still reeling from lunch, we head to Rolf & Daughters, where we meet up with the lovely Chelsea of Fenway Journal. We start easy and just have a few drinks, which are all cleverly named, so you're ordering something like a 'Silence of the Lambrusco' or a 'Nothing Camparis 2 U' (well, I got a real kick out of them). Don't miss the pastas here.

We end our night at Pinewood Social with Ferraris (Fernet and Campari, that is) and dessert. Please don't ask me how many calories were consumed this day.

One final coffee before our flight back to NYC. Crema is my other go-to for coffee in Nashville (they also provide the coffee at Pinewood Social). Until next time, Nashville!

Dec 16, 2014

Old and new favorites

Apparently my closet has been missing out on having a super thick knitted sweater – until now, that is. With this one (by Maska and sold by A Boy Named Sue), I can throw caution to the wind and wear my Max Mara spring-weight coat in winter and be totally warm and cozy. I missed the boat on getting a new winter coat this season, so I've been trying to wear this green coat whenever possible. Now, all I want are chunky sweaters to tide me over NYC's impending winter. It really does make such a difference.

This is also probably the most colorful you'll ever catch me. It's so hard for me to not want to wear black and grey all winter (er, I mean all-year round), but I suppose a little color won't kill me.

Sweater / Pants / Tote / Scarf / Coat (similar)

Dec 12, 2014

A Saturday in Paris

There was one beautiful day in Paris on this last trip – of course it was also the day I slept in from jet lag! But what can you do but embrace what's left of the day? I think some 9+ miles were walked this day (if my iPhone health app is accurate at all). Below are some scenes from the day, from the smoker across the street from the AirBnB, to spying on neighbors' units later at night and the beautiful streets of Paris in between.

It's hard to go wrong with Paris and black and white.

Dec 10, 2014

Bits from Paris

It's no secret that shopping in Paris is terribly fun and dangerous, especially with the Euro as cheap as it has been recently. I was feeling a little extra indulgent as I recently just spent my birthday over there. Over the past two and half years, I've been lucky enough to visit the city four times now. To me, there's almost something easy and comfortable about returning there. I never feel pressured to cram my schedule, because I know I'll be back soon enough. I spend my days there just as how I would spend a leisurely day in NYC – walking a ton, having long lunches, and visiting my favorite shops.

From this trip, I picked up a few more goodies from the usual suspects: Astier, Byredo, magazines from Colette, the new Halzan bag from Hermes, and a varsity jacket from APC.

My favorite Parisian, Nicolas of Telescope Cafe (which I wrote about way back when), gave me one of the best birthday gifts ever – these darn cute ceramic cups that Le Petit Atelier had made for Telescope a while back. On my last visit to Paris, I had been trying to get my ass over to Le Petit Atelier but found that they had closed up the shop. These made me so ridiculously happy, and they will be well used for sure.

I'm a complete sucker for Byredo packaging. They make such good props too that I couldn't resist a new hand cream and a candle from their holiday line. The cardamome scent is complex and heavenly.

It's almost too pretty burn. Almost.