The Steele Maiden: Blonde Bayalage French Braid

Helloooo Summer Fridays! From Memorial Day through Labor Day my office is closed on Fridays (in exchange for working longer days Monday through Thursday). And while it definitely makes the first half of the week feel like it moves at a breakneck speed, having 3 day weekends for a few months each year is wildly worth it.

This weekend we’re celebrating Adam’s birthday with lot’s of fun plans all around town. From a special hotel stay-cation to the ballet at Lincoln Center to burgers and a concert in Brooklyn, we’re going to be covering a LOT of ground. Be sure you’re following along on Instagram (especially IG stories where I share things in real time). And here – a few other things on my mind as we head into the weekend:

  1. This list of 10 Trips You Should Take in Your Twenties makes me feel like a lucky little lady. I’ve done all but #9!
  2. This is the next book on my summer reading list.
  3. They say your style remains forever influenced by the decade in which you grew up – for me the Nineties. While there are a lot of trends from the 90s that I’m happy to forget, it’s true that I’ve always loved the simplicity of the Carolyn Bessette Kennedy types of that era. This dress I picked up for the weekend reminds me of that time in fashion.
  4. As pictured above, I got a fresh cut and went blonder for the summer. I’m thrilled to be rid of my grown out roots and love the natural highlights. If you’re in NYC and in need of a cut (Sarah Rappolt) or color (David Benjamin) head to Wonderland Beauty Parlor in Meatpacking and tell them I sent you.
  5. I never post recipes here (aside from delicious cocktails that is), but I recently made these Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with balsamic onions and goat cheese and they’re honestly too good not to share.

P.S. Sign up for my newsletter for more Friday fun. And have a great weekend friends!


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The Steele Maiden: Gingham Ruffle One Shoulder Bikini

We’re headed to the lake house to kick off summer this Memorial Day weekend – and while it doesn’t exactly look like the weather will be good enough to spend it in this bikini (in all its gingham, ruffle, one shoulder glory) that doesn’t mean I can’t still relax on the dock with a good book and a cold drink (this one from last summer is a definite contender). Here – a few more things that are catching my eye as we head into the long weekend:

  1. If you’ve waited until the weather warms up to start your summer shopping, you’re in luck because there a ton of big sales this weekend. J.Crew is offering 30% off (the sunglasses above included), Anthropologie has 40% off its sale section (this gingham crop top is the most fun thing I’ve picked up for summer yet) and Nordstrom’s Half Yearly Sale should not be missed (this pretty yellow dress would be great for backyard parties).
  2. This picture from my Pinterest has me dreaming of a summer picnic date. This little basket would be perfect.
  3. After my big closet clean-out a few weeks back I’ve been really committing to keeping our apartment clean. Mara of M Loves M blog mentioned a trick she uses that I love, called the ‘One Touch Rule’. If you come home and take off your jacket put it right into your closet. If you throw it on the couch you’d have to come back and pick it up.. a second touch. Use a bowl? Wash it right away. Going back to a pile in the sink would be a second touch. Aim for just ‘One Touch’. Kind of a genius way of looking at things, right?
  4. I’ve picked up a few pairs of fun, affordable statement earrings at Charming Charlie this summer (like this and this pair) and my friends there wanted me to share the love – use my code: VJSJ81WL to save $10 off your $60 purchase.
  5. I’m not that into Astrology but Colorstrology seriously speaks to me. I have a strong connection to the hue I like to call ‘American Blue’ – a kind of faded worn in blue you find in an early sunset, churning ocean tide, worn in denim jacket, or summer hydrangeas. Hence the photo above. What’s your signature color?

Happy long weekend friends!

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Top of the Rock NYC in pink midi skirt and off the shoulder top

Today, I turn 30. So it felt only right that I take a moment to reflect on the past 10 years and offer some words of advice to my younger self. Here – an open, honest and heartfelt letter to my 20 year old self. To note: it’s a long one, and one that felt scary to hit publish on, so if you stay with me through this full letter – thanks. And also thanks in general because this space and all of you reading has been a true highlight of my twenties.

On Expectations:

That life you picture having in 10 years? With the big city and the big career and the marriage and the kids? Some of it you’ll get. And some of it you won’t. You’ll be lucky that way.

On New York:

You’ll move to New York just like you always wanted to and spend the better part of a decade falling even more in love with it. Sometimes it will momentarily knock you to your knees but this city will teach you how to quickly get back up and dust yourself off. You can be anyone you want to here, but keep being yourself. And don’t take a second of your life here for granted.

On Friends & Family:

Those girls you count as your best friends? Claire, Val, Jo… they’ll be the same best friends you have 10 years from now. Some of them will move away or get married, but they’ll still be the ones you can call on when you need them.

You’ll begin to realize on a much deeper level how lucky you are to have the family you do. The sister that has always been your biggest cheerleader. The Mom that taught you what it means to love unconditionally. The Dad that understands you in a way no one else does. They’ll be there through every high and low for the next decade.

But then – you’ll have to say goodbye to your Nanny. Even years later you’ll find yourself missing her voice, her hands, her distinct mixture of strength and softness. Try to be the kind of woman that lives on long after you go.. and remember to visit your other 3 incredible grandparents any chance you get.

On Career:

That unpaid internship you kill yourself commuting to New York for right now? That company will go out of business by the time you graduate. But despite a terrible recession and a degree in Fashion Design that some called ‘frivolous’ you’ll never once be out of a job. You’re parents taught you to work hard and you picked a career path you loved. A decade later you’ll be an Art Director with an intern just like yourself. Eagerly dreaming of the big city and the big career.

Don’t let yourself get comfortable. Don’t let fear dictate your career path. Take big risks, put in the work and see where it takes you.

On Body Image:

That figure you live with now and quietly find fault in? Those ribs you think stick out too far, hips you think are too curvy and calves you think are too big? Stop wasting your time. It will take you years but you’ll stop wanting to look skinny and your only desire will be to feel strong. Right now you can barely run one mile but you’ll learn to love running with a devotion usually reserved for religion. It will save you. You’ll run a half marathon.. and then three more. You’ll learn balance and that you feel best when you’re working out nearly every day of the week. Don’t worry – you’ll still love pizza. 10 years from now you’ll be way more at ease with your body and looks than you are now.

On Love:

That boy you’re with right now? He’s cheating on you with a girl that pretends to be nice to you. I wish it wasn’t going to take you another 2 years to find that out. I wish I could whisper the word ‘run’ to you right now but I can’t. Sometimes life is a slow burn before it finally ignites into a wildfire.

When that day comes it’s going to feel like you can’t possibly sustain the heat of that heartbreak. He’ll spend a year calling you in the middle of the night crying and begging for you back. But he underestimated you and he’ll be pleading with a girl that’s already long gone. Finally, one day he’ll stop calling. He’ll find someone else to hang the weight of his insecurities on. Someone who would carry them better or could love him better or… really it doesn’t matter. He’ll marry her.

But you? Baby, you’ll learn to run. You’ll learn to be the kind of woman that takes what she needs and doesn’t apologize for it. You’ll keep running until one day someone stops you dead in your tracks. Looking into his eyes will feel like home. But they’ll warn you that he’s too young, too careless. And they’ll warn him that you’ve got dreams too big for him. Don’t listen. He’s going to challenge you in ways that you never imagined. You’ll be better for it. Years later you’ll still wake up every morning just happy at the sight of him next to you. Keep doing that.

On the things you don’t have.. and the things you have instead:

You won’t walk down the aisle or spend sleepless nights rocking a baby to sleep. Instead you’ll walk through ancient tea gardens in Shanghai, stroll the alleys of Paris at midnight, dance through the empty Californian desert. You’ll spend late nights among the winding canals of Amsterdam and the neon-lit streets of Nashville. You’ll watch the sun rise over the Manhattan skyline after blurry nights that now feel crystal clear. You’ll drive cross country twice. You’ll run across finish lines. You’ll stack your fingers with rings you got for yourself. And you won’t find yourself wishing there was a diamond there instead.

10 years from now – you’ll be enough for yourself. You’ll be proud of what you’ve got but still hungry for more. Trust me, it’s going to be a good ride.




The Steele Maiden at Home: Anthropologie candle and Daisy Marc Jacobs Perfume

William Morris once said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to beautiful.” I find that quote to be so strikingly powerful that I’ve been applying it to my home, and in fact – entire life – for years now. This week it’s rung especially true as I’ve been tackling a deep spring clean. After 3 years in our apartment, my closet along with several other corners, were feeling crowded and bogged down by ‘stuff’. Stuff that was no longer useful or beautiful to me. So out it goes. It feels so good to start fresh. Here – a few more things on my mind as we head into the weekend.

  1. In Sweden, a Museum of Failures opened. It showcases the greatest commercial flops, often from very successful inventors and brands. The lesson – that failure is inseparable from success and should be celebrated. Brilliant.
  2. Do you all follow Margo & Me? Her blog posts read like beautiful magazine editorials and her style is kind of my fantasy romantic, french girl look. This post is so dreamy.
  3. I’ve been talking about my current obsession with statement earrings for the past few weeks here. They’re just such an easy way to elevate a look. This pair is featherweight and just went on sale for just $10! That’s less than lunch in this town.
  4.  I studied abroad in London when I was 20 years old and I’m hoping to finally get back there this year, a cool decade later. This restaurant would be a must visit this time around. Talk about millennial pink.
  5. Out with the old (clothes, bags, shoes… to donation they go!), in with the new. Made room in my closet for these fun heels in wear with everything black and feeling quite happy about it. Plus they’re 40% off right now.


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The Steele Maiden: St. Jude Spring Gala with Collectively - wearing Asos drape back dress

On Saturday night, I had a real New York night on the town. Adam and I were honored to be asked to attend the St. Jude Spring Gala on behalf of Collectively. It was an evening filled with drinks, raffle prizes, delicious food from some of New York’s best restaurants, and dancing. All for an incredible cause.



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The Steele Maiden © 2012

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.