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MY 2021 SUMMER READING LIST

Last year I made myself a ‘Summer Reading List’ and it was a fun way to prioritize a set of books for the months ahead. I’m happy to say that my goal since last year to read more broadly (different genres, diverse authors) has really enhanced my reading life and I feel like I’ve got a really great mix lined up for myself right now. Hope you find something on this list that you’ll be excited about reading this summer as well!

1. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – After devouring Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – this is my most anticipated “beach” read of the summer. In all likelihood, I’ll read it in a single day on the dock at the lake.

2. Anna K by Jenny Lee – A modern retelling of Anna Karenina set in a similar world to Gossip Girl. Claire (my other half @prettywords) read this last summer and loved it and the sequel is already out, so if I love it too I can jump right into that one next.

3. Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge – Inspired by one of the first Black female doctors in the US, set in reconstruction-era Brooklyn – this is the next book club pick for my New York group and one that’s been getting a lot of good buzz lately.

3. Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland – A family saga that spans generations and begins in 1930s Atlantic City. This one has been on my list for a while now!

4. Find Me by André Aciman – The follow up to the best-selling Call Me Your Name (which I finally read last summer and just absolutely fell in love with) – while I know it won’t live up to the first book, hearing from those characters again will be worth it to me.

5. Luster by Raven Leilani – This book has been all over #bookstagram since it came out last year and I want to see what all the buzz is about.

6. The Switch by Beth O’Leary – I like to balance some more literary books in the summer with a few that are short and sweet and feel like a hug. Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare was that way for me last year and this one (about a grandmother and granddaughter who swap lives á la The Holiday) sounds so heartwarming

7. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – Claire sent me her copy of this after reading it – and while it’s not my usual genre, when she loves a book I usually love it too. I think it’s essentially a robot story? I’m going into it blind which I often like to do with books that Claire recommends and just trust that the story will take me where I need to go.

8. Better Luck Next Time by Julia Claiborne Johnson – A story about young divorced women staying at a Dude Ranch in Reno in the 1930s. This gives me City of Girls vibes which means I’m very excited about it.

9. Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion – A new curated collection of early short stories from Didion. I’ll read almost anything she writes.

10. The Mothers by Brit Bennett – After reading The Vanishing Half last year I wanted to go back and read an earlier work by Bennett. The Mothers sounds equally compelling.

11. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi – A YA novel that explores themes of identity and justice from an author that has been receiving (what seems like) very well-deserved accolades lately. Pet is apparently like a modern day monster story.

12. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – Our virtual book club pick for July, this one imagines a library that continues the other stories of your life – the missed chances or what-ifs. I think it will make for a good chat!

13. Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi – A complicated story of sisterhood, I’m waiting patiently for this on hold at the library right now after seeing so many people rave about it online.

14. Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates – This book came out 20 years ago and I’m so glad that Claire read it recently and recommended. It’s an intimate reimagining of Marilyn Monroe’s life and the real story behind the star everyone thought they knew.

15. Come Fly the World by Juila Cooke – A look at the golden era of travel and the Pan Am Stewardess life that was glamorized along the way. Bonus points for having such a great cover.

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A WEEK OF REAL OUTFITS: 5-21-21

I’m sure a lot of you felt the same, but this spring – after a year of pandemic life – my usual interest in putting together outfits was all but gone. And then last week I took a few days off work, the weather hit a consistent 75 degrees and all of a sudden I was excited to get dressed again. The results were 7 days of outfits that I couldn’t wait to put on and go out into the world wearing. Talk about a mood booster. Hoping you all have a sunny weekend ahead and are inspired to dust off some real outfits of your own.

These outfits are a mix of things already in my closet and a few new pieces. In the case that something is no longer available, or vintage, I linked a similar item.

WORK FROM HOME DAY:

Beach Boys T-Shirt, Vintage Skirt, Statement Earrings, Sandals

MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR:

White T-Shirt, Bag (old from Anthropologie), Polka Dot Shorts (gifted), Sandals (old from Marc Fisher)

MID-WEEK ZOOM CALLS:

Cardigan and Shell, Jeans, Gingham Heels (old from Talbots)

PICNIC IN THE PARK:

Dress (gifted), Bag (old from Talbots), Stud Earrings, Sandals (old from Talbots)

FRIDAY DATE NIGHT:

Earrings (old from Lulu Frost), Vintage Silk Top, Jeans (old from H&M), SJP Heels

AFTERNOON AT THE MUSEUM:

Suede Jacket, Grey T-Shirt, Printed Midi Skirt, Sandals + Bag (Old from Talbots)

DINNER AL FRESCO:

Black Dress, Hoop Earrings, Leopard Heels

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NAP DRESSES AND THE START OF SUMMER

I took a couple of days off of work for a long birthday weekend – which just so happened to coincide with the nicest stretch of weather we’ve had so far this year. Coupled with the new vaccine mask mandate and it really felt the whole city was outside celebrating alongside me. Which made it easy to cross quite a few things off my post-pandemic bucket list. Explore the Upper West Side, visit the Natural History Museum, eat at the Central Park Boathouse and get a mani/pedi – check, check and check!

On Saturday we spent some time picnic-ing in Washington Square Park and it really felt like the start of summer. I was happy to break out this new blue dress for the occasion. Blame it on Bridgerton’s Regency-era costumes and Hill House’s infamous “nap dresses” – both well timed for a global pandemic audience – but these smocked, empire waist, puff sleeve dresses are everywhere this summer. This floaty version is from Few Moda – an online retailer that sells clothing made in the same factories as brand’s like Reformation and Zimmerman, but offered at a fraction of the price when you subscribe to a membership. I was a little bit skeptical but they sent me this dress and I can attest to the fact that the quality is great and I would have gladly paid $54 instead of the $200+ that those other brands would charge. Especially on items like this that are a bit trendier. And if I just so happen to be able to wear it from for a picnic and also for a nap? All the better.

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MY SPRING/SUMMER WISHLIST

I know I always say this but I really can’t believe it’s almost May. Isn’t it still 2020? Time is funny these pandemic days. I have a lot to look forward to this month – my second vaccine shot, my birthday, warmer weather, a couple of days off work, a weekend at the lake. All in all it feels like high time I dusted off my ‘real wardrobe’ and added a few new pieces, to be mixed and matched from now through August. Below, what’s caught my eye.

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A POST-PANDEMIC BUCKET LIST

There was a time when I was making seasonal bucket lists pretty regularly, but during the past year I can’t say I had all that many activities to put on the list. With our second vaccine dose schedule for the first week of May – the spring and summer ahead suddenly feel buzzing with opportunities.

To note: I realize that some of these activities are things that you personally might have been doing for months now.. or oppositely, that you’re still not comfortable doing. Feel free to make a list that’s all your own!

In no particular order (and aside from seeing friends and family!) here’s what I’m most looking forward to:

  • Manicure/pedicure – I haven’t been to my favorite neighborhood nail salon since February 2020. I cannot wait to treat myself to this again! It’s a little luxury that I’ve sorely missed
  • Movies in the theater – seeing movies at the theater is one of my favorite things to do. Alone, with a friend or on a date night – as long as I’ve got a fountain Diet Coke, pack of Twizzlers and 2 hours with no distractions, I’m happy.
  • Try a few new restaurants – While we’ve been to our local favorites for outdoor dining this past year, we haven’t really been out and about to try new restaurants ‘just because’ and I really want to get back to that. It’s one of the joys of living in this city after all. On my list (these aren’t necessarily ‘new’ places but more so ones that have long been on my list to try): Minetta Tavern, Gupshup, Carbone, The Tyger and Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse.
  • Visit a museum – I actually did go to the Met on a weekday late last year and it was really limited tickets so things felt plenty safe, but I’d like to visit some others that I haven’t been to in a long time now like the MoMa or the Natural History Museum (which I’ve never been to!)
  • Road Trip – Pre-pandemic, Adam and I were exploring more of the surrounding areas in New York – from Montauk and Sag Harbor out east to Hudson and Woodstock upstate. I’d love to plan a few summer road trips to continue to see more of the greater NYC area.
  • Sunset Sailboat Cruise – I’ve always wanted to do one of these chartered sunset sails around Manhattan and hoping this summer I finally can make it happen.
  • Explore a new neighborhood – I really want to get out and explore areas of the city that are lesser known to me. Chinatown is high on my list this year (the thought of fresh dumplings seems like reason enough) and the Upper West Side which I just never really have a ‘reason’ to travel up that way, but always strikes me as lovely. May need to watch the quintessential UWS flick ‘You’ve Got Mail’ in preparation.
  • Live music – This is probably the thing that Adam and I miss the most – whether it’s a big show at Madison Square Garden or a tiny jazz quartet at our favorite little neighborhood spot, live music is the soundtrack of this city to me. This one might not happen until later in the summer or early fall here but when it does, we’ll be there with bells on.
  • Travel! – I mean, this goes without saying. Due to our work schedules this also probably won’t happen until late summer/early Fall but I am itching to pack my bag and stamp my passport again. Now.. where to?!

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Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.