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SUMMER TO FALL: TRANSITIONAL STYLE

This is always the time of year when I start reallyyy craving fall fashion. But realistically? It’s still breaking 90 degrees most days in the city and truly crisp days are still a month or two away. So the key here is finding transitional pieces that will bridge the gap. Here – a few things I’ve picked up lately plus a few more that I’ve got my eye on.

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LET’S CATCH UP 7.11.22

I’m in a bit of denial over how quickly the summer is passing and, as much as I can, am trying to savor each of these warm weather weekends. For the record, I’m in full support of adopting the European approach to summer, which involves a much slower pace and about a month off work for holiday travel. But in the meantime, I’ll be planning day trips to the beach, popping champagne just because, ordering dessert and hopefully wrangling a weekend or two at the lake. Below – what else is on my mind, on my bookshelf and in my cart lately.

ON MY MIND:

  • The news cycle has just been brutal lately. One of the few ways that I’ve felt like I can make an actual difference is by signing up with Vote Forward – an organization that helps encourage historically underrepresented communities to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. When you sign up, you can select a state and send letters to potential voters to encourage them to get out and make their voices heard. I chose Pennsylvania (my home state and one that is deeply divided).
  • We saw the Elvis movie this weekend and I think I’m still processing it. I grew up with a pair of southern grandparents who loved Elvis and some of my earliest memories are of my grandfather strumming his guitar while singing Elvis songs. So for that reason alone, I knew it would hit a nostalgic sweet spot. In typical Baz Luhrmann fashion it was hyper-stylized, but I thought Austin Butler did a great job playing Elvis – the singing, dancing and accent all felt right to me. What I.. nearly hated.. was Tom Hanks. To be clear, he plays the villian of the story – Elvis’ long-time, manipulative manager that essentially ruined his career and contributed to his early death. But still, I found him incredibly hard to watch. All in all, I did like it – but I think you might need to love Elvis to appreciate the movie?
  • I’d love to start slowly collecting more art and like the way that blogger Grace Atwood approaches collecting art (trust your own intuition, buy what you love) – this post she just shared on common art related questions is a good example!

ON MY BOOKSHELF:

  • I’m reading ‘Finding Me’ by Viola Davis right now for my book club and it’s been really moving so far. I didn’t know anything about her back story – and the fact that she survived her childhood and ended up where she has is such an incredible story of resilience, perseverance and sisterhood. It’s also a really poignant perspective on race and poverty in this country. It will very likely be a 5 star read for me.
  • If you follow me on Instagram then you might have seen me raving about ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ series on Amazon. It perfectly captures that feeling of being 16 and having a crush that just consumes you. I also loved the friendship between the two Moms and the beach house setting. As luck would have it, the show is based on a 3 book series. Did I order the complete boxed set? Yes. Do I plan to binge read them all as soon they arrive? Yes. Team Conrad forever.
  • Speaking of book adaptations, have you read Where the Crawdads Sing? It was such a huge best-seller a few years back but I never picked it up and now I feel like I’d want to read it before the movie comes out!
  • I’m excited about this debut novel, Portrait of a Thief, from Grace D. Li. It’s being sold as Ocean’s Eleven with an immigrant story twist. Think I’m going to start on it after I finish my Summer series!
  • I’ve been craving a home refresh lately and am wanting to – slightly – evolve my style. I’m often really drawn to the eclectic look of British homes and want to pick up this coffee table book to explore the inspiration further.

IN MY CART:

  • Last month I did a self-imposed “no shopping” challenge. I started the practice a few years ago when I was trying hard to break the fast-fashion, ‘buy it, but don’t need it’ trend based habit of over-shopping that I’d spent about a decade indulging in. It worked and ever since I’ve been far more intentional about shopping and my personal finances. But even with good habits firmly in place I like to use these month long challenges as a chance to reset a couple of times a year. It also really helps me to become clear on what I do actually want to buy – if I’m still thinking about it a month later, I know it’s probably worth it.
  • I tried this clean beauty brand last summer and loved the mascara but it’s since been used up. I’d love to grab a refill and also try the lipstick and cream blush in this set.
  • How sweet is this cashmere cable-knit short sleeve sweater? It has a very vintage feel that I’d pair with denim shorts now and a midi skirt or under a blazer come fall.
  • I haven’t been wearing a ton of jewelry lately (besides small hoops and the rings I never take off) – but this teeny seed pearl necklace caught my eye and I think it would look great layered with a few chains or my favorite charm necklace.
  • I know it’s far from Fall, but these high waisted houndstooth trousers are on sale and will look so chic with a simple black sweater. I’ve mentioned it before, but when I’m shopping with my forever wardrobe in mind, if I see pieces that I love like this, that fill a gap in my closet and I know I’ll wear repeatedly – I buy them. Who cares if it’s July?
  • Also, call me crazy, but I might also pick up this pumpkin mug. We’re short on storage space so I have to be very sparing with my seasonal decor and the good stuff always sells out. I can just picture myself with a big cup of hot tea in this and a good book. Here’s to buying what sparks joy.. no matter the calendar date.

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THOUGHTS ON TURNING 35

I turned 35 in Paris.

In some ways, it feels like I was 17 just a few years ago. Wide-eyed, sharp-tongued. Eager to pick up a full hand of mistakes in the next decade or so. I can picture myself so clearly then… it feels tangibly recent.

But at the same time, I feel solidly 35. And I mean that in a good way. I’ve softened in areas and strengthened in others. It’s been good for me, this slow and steady path of aging.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people have this kind of fear of 35, but I’ve always held a bit of a fascination with this age in particular. Back at 17, in my tiny bedroom in Pennsylvania, I would stay up late to watch Sex & The City and think.. that’s it. Not some timeline of matrimony and motherhood that everything else was feeding me. I wanted exactly what those 35 year old women had. The big careers, big romances, big fashion, big city.. all on their own terms. That was it for me. So I spent the next decade and a half chasing it. And now? I think I just might have a version.

Along the way, there has been nearly as much broke (wallets.. hearts..) as there has been built. More lessons learned the hard way than any easier alternative. But in another 17 years, when I look back on myself in these photos, I hope I feel proud of the progress.

From here, the future feels unnervingly unknown. I suspect there will be more mistakes along the way. More growth too though. And if I need a point of reference – there’s always my original favorite female foursome… The Golden Girls. Carrie’s heels and Sophia’s handbags seem like a winning style combo.

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MY 2022 SUMMER READING LIST

Can you believe that we’re already speeding headlong into summer? One of my favorite “small joys” of the season is creating a Summer Reading List. Like you used to have for school.. but you know, actually fun. My reading definitely shifts with the seasons – and in summer I gravitate towards page-turning memoirs, light-hearted rom-coms and fast paced fiction. I’m really excited to dive into the books on this list and hope you find something you might want to pick up and read too.

And in case you’re looking for more – here’s my 2020 list and my 2021 list.

Linking them all below on Amazon so they’re easy to reference, but whenever possible I suggest visiting a local indie book store or your public library this Summer!

  1. Book Lovers by Emily Henry: A buzzy beach read that’s going to be everywhere this summer. I’ve read both of Henry’s other best-sellers and think they’re really well-written rom-coms. Excited for this one.
  2. Finding Me by Viola Davis: My virtual book club’s pick for June! I’ve heard this memoir is great with her voice on audiobook so I might end up listening to it instead.
  3. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald: One of the classics that I’ve had on my list for awhile. I picked up a copy at famed bookstore Shakespeare & Company in Paris.
  4. Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach: Literary fiction focused on two sisters coming of age, with a hint of a mystery element.
  5. The Maidens by Alex Michaelides: An academic thriller that draws on Greek mythology. Fun story: Adam and I unknowingly met the author over drinks in Paris and after exchanging emails, it dawned on me who he was as I’ve seen this cover everywhere! I can’t wait to dive into this one.
  6. Rivals by Katharine McGee: I rarely refer to anything I do as a guilty pleasure.. but liking these books definitely falls into that territory. This is the 3rd in the series about an alternate reality where America is ruled by a monarchy like our British co-horts. It’s the literary equivalent of an episode of Gossip Girl – and I (not so secretly now) really enjoy them.
  7. God Spare the Girls by Kelsey McKinney: To redeem myself, here’s a smart literary fiction option. My book club is reading this in July and I’m excited to tackle these themes of faith and family.
  8. Taste by Stanley Tucci: Because I’m really dreaming of a vacation through Italy. This will hopefully tide me over until that day comes.
  9. Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman: I flew through this last week and really enjoyed it. A perfect rom-com beach read in my opinion – and I loved that it was based on a true story of a journalist who interviews Chris Evans and the story leads everyone to wonder what really happened between the two.
  10. Woman Eating by Claire Kohda: A modern literary take on the vampire trope. I’m reading this now and it’s a really interesting take – would make a good book club pick as I’m already wanting to discuss it with someone!
  11. Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li: An Ocean’s Eleven style art heist story from the perspective of young, first generation immigrant Americans. I’m looking forward to this one.
  12. Fly Girl by Ann Hood: A memoir of a TWA flight attendant’s stories from air travel’s 1970s glory days.
  13. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: Any excuse to stay in the dream-world of Paris for awhile longer. I actually started this on my flight so want to finish.
  14. It All Comes Down to This by Therese Ann Fowler: Sounds like it will be good for fans of The Paper Palace – a story about adult siblings dealing with family drama, set in coastal Maine.
  15. Capote’s Women by Laurence Leamer: A tell all look at the “swans” that surrounded Truman Capote in New York’s 1960s society scene.

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WHAT I WORE IN PARIS

Since getting back from our trip to Paris I’ve been slightly overwhelmed with wanting to share it all.. but not knowing where to start. So I finally figured – how about with the fashion? Some of these pieces I bought specifically with Paris in mind, but they’re just pieces for my “forever wardrobe” and thought would be fun to debut there. They each feel like they have a bit of a story and definitely have a few more to tell after coming on this trip with me. As always, I’m a sentimental shopper at heart. Below – everything I wore in Paris. In no particular order.

I changed into this as soon as we landed for a late lunch and stroll for pastries. I love this outfit as it feels very ‘New York meets Paris’ to me and definitely plan to repeat it often now that I’m home. The jeans are a rigid, high waist (I cuffed them under so they hit at my ankle bone) but they break in beautifully and the white tee is my new favorite. I plan to buy in multiples. The sunglasses – which you’ll see in a lot of these photos – are prescription, which is why they’re basically now the only pair I wear.

This was in Versailles. I wanted an outfit that was equal parts Marie Antoinette at the Palace, Marie Antoinette at Petite Trianon and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette – hence the Converse. I realize this is a very specific reference, but I studied Fashion History as a part of my college courses and so, this stuff thrills me. I ended up in this corset-like floral top, a slouchy sweater, big eyelet midi skirt and aforementioned Converse. It was a good outfit for the 7-8 miles we ended up walking there.

A pre-dinner walk along the Seine. The same jeans and tee as before, just swapped the jacket and the shoes for the Chanel look-a-likes.. until I can work up the nerve (and the savings account) to spring for the real deal. Grabbed this glossy little chain strap bag and a pair of hoops to finish it off.

This dress was the first thing I bought after our flights were booked. Pink, tweed, mod. Just so much fun. I wore it out and about on my birthday with a black leather backpack I’ve had (and been traveling with for years) and the same black slingbacks with a walkable block heel.

This is a little bit bold for me but I wanted something that felt sort of YSL/seventies glam for my birthday dinner and ended up really falling in love with this fuchsia draped dress. It’s by a designer that I wasn’t familiar with but after eyeing it on The Outnet (Net a Porter’s designer discount site) – I finally got it when it went on extra sale. Paired with chunky gold platform sandals and swinging disco ball earrings.

On our last day in Paris we went straight to the (fashion) source. 31 Rue Cambon.. aka Chanel’s Flagship since 1918 when Coco herself took over the space. I’m not sure that I fooled anyone inside Chanel that I belonged.. but I had fun pretending. I’ve had this dress in my closet for a few years now, but I found a similar option here. Paired with ladylike extras – a tweed jacket, top handle bag and silk grosgrain headband.

So many of the French girls I saw in Paris were wearing midi dresses and high top Converse. This outfit was the closest I got to feeling like one of them. The straw bag was a birthday gift from Adam I found in French boutique Sussan Shokranian – all hand-embroidered in Paris!

Baby’s first Blahniks! These Manolo Blahnik embroidered heels were a birthday present to myself. When I saw them on The Real Real a few months ago in pristine condition, in my size, for an absolute song – I knew it was fate. I pictured wearing them at this exact location with a super menswear inspired look. In style serendipity, I found this double-breasted jacquard vest at a Pearl by Lela Rose sample sale in April. And then I dug out a pair of black shorts I’d had since I was honestly 22 years old and grabbed an oversized button down shirt and chunky gold link necklace. This look is all the things I love about fashion – mixing high and low. Playing with texture and proportion. Old pieces paired with newer ones. It’s one of my all time favorite outfits.

A very sweet little date night look, worn on our second night in Paris. The dress has since sold-out so I’m linking a few similar options. Paired with that top handle bag and black slingbacks.

Excuse the grainy photo here, but this was the view from our AirBnB bedroom window! And I was just waking up! In Paris! Loved this little travel pajama set that came with a matching robe. It’s super soft and packed up nice and small.

I wore this on a Seine boat cruise and then on to dinner. The top was another Pearl by Lela Rose sample sale find (I really lucked out there!) paired with a super cheap midi skirt, ordered last minute when I couldn’t find quite the right thing to pair with that top. For what it’s worth – the quality and fit were pretty decent. Paired with these gold platforms again which were so comfy and a vintage YSL bag.

How could I not end on this?! I saw this dress last December (part of an exclusive collaboration between Nicola Bathie and Antonio Melani and was swooning over it) – but had no occasion to wear it and no excuse to pay full price. I thought of it by chance last month and took a quick search on Poshmark.. only to find one, new with tags, in my size for a quarter of the original price. More style serendipity! It was so much fun to wear for midnight drinks at Bar Hemingway inside the Ritz. When else can you be that over the top?! Paired with my favorite (and truly comfortable) black Perfect Pumps from Sarah Flint. Code: SARAHFLINT-BASTEELE gets you $50 off your first order.

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