Salt Water Cure

Salt Water Cure

Since arriving in Birmingham on June 27, I’ve been adjusting to my new city, state, and job—even a new time zone. And while it’s all been exciting to say the least, the experience has also been pretty stressful. Each day at the office brings a new set of challenges: questions I can’t yet answer, numbers I don’t yet understand, and a building whose nooks and crannies I don’t yet know. And to top it all off, I’ve been living alone in a two-bedroom apartment whose furnishings comprise exactly one king-size bed, a bean-bag chair, and a TV. As I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve been counting the days until my better half arrives here—five more to go!—and we can finally start to make this place a home. (Thankfully, I’ve had our two cats here to keep me company. Otherwise, I’d have gone nuts by now.)

In the mean time, I’ve treated myself to the print above, called “Salt Water Cure,” by photographer Tina Crespo. I’d been wanting it for quite some time and finally decided to buy it because of the new meaning its quote, by Isak Dinesen, has taken on for me: “The cure for anything is salt water. Sweat, tears, or the sea.” Over the last few weeks, I’ve found solace in sweat sessions at the gym, relief in shedding a tear or two, and escape in daydreaming about some of my favorite spots by the sea. I can’t wait to hang it on the wall in my office, a constant reminder that, for whatever’s troubling me, a cure’s not far away.

What’s your cure-all for tough times?

 

 

Pair of Ases

The New Neutral

I’ve been combing my favorite shopping sites lately for a piece or two of jewelry to wear on my wedding day, and in the process I’ve come across some beautiful ones that don’t quite work for the occasion but would still be a welcome addition to my jewelry collection (hellooo, honeymoon!). Case in point: these delicate beaded earrings by Spanish jewelry designer Miguel Ases, which I first discovered on Shopbop. As much as I love to look at jewelry (and fantasize about buying it), my accessories routine is pretty much just that—routine—kept to a simple pair of Elizabeth and James gold studs, a thin gold bangle, and my engagement ring. But Ases’s dainty beads, colorful Swarovski stones, and artful designs might just be what it takes to get me thinking—and accessorizing—outside the, ahem, jewelry box. 

Touch of TangerineUrban Pyrite.jpb

Touch of Tangerine Small

Onyx Rose

Abalone and Leather

 

How would you style Ases’s earrings?

Feeling Gray

Sydney_Swimmers_4

“Sydney Swimmers” from Malin’s À la Plage series, via GrayMalin.com

I’ve had decorating on the brain lately. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we’ve had two new apartments in less than a month, and each move brings with it visions of a perfectly made-up space. Or that we’re on the hunt for a house here in Birmingham, which means we’ll have a whole lot more square footage to fill however we want. When it comes to decorating, my mind often turns immediately to art, and when I think about what makes me happy to look at, sunny days on the water always win. (See my “Happiness Is” Pinterest board for proof.) So, I’ve been obsessing over Gray Malin, a Los Angeles-based photographer whose work includes, among other things, aerial photography that depicts his sun-worshiping subjects as teeny-tiny flecks of color surrounded by beautiful beach scenery in places like Australia, Italy, and Miami. Some of his shots are symmetrical, some chaotic, and some are even nostalgic or cheeky, but all possess a feeling of endless summer that I just can’t get enough of. I hope to hang a few of his pieces in our new house, where- and whenever we find it (and if my better half agrees), but in the mean time, I might just have to buy one for my new office. The photos’ themes are, after all, a pretty perfect fit.

Bondi_Beach_7

“Bondi Beach” from Malin’s À la Plage series, via GrayMalin.com

Art Deco Miami

“Miami Pink Umbrellas” from Malin’s Art Deco Miami series, via GrayMalin.com

Teal_Chairs_4

“Teal Chairs” from Malin’s Art Deco Miami series, via GrayMalin.com

amalfi_swimmers_vertical

“Amalfi Swimmers (Vertical)” from Malin’s La Dolce Vita series, via GrayMalin.com

And here’s a tip: I signed up to receive Malin’s e-newsletter, and the confirmation email included a 20% discount code for my first purchase, so now I pretty much have to buy one (at least). Which of Malin’s pieces do you love?

 

Going Coastal: We’re Alabama-Bound!

Coastal Living Blog

A few weeks ago, I shared with you all some pretty monumental news. But here I am, back with more! I’ve been keeping my activities of late under wraps, so I’m beyond excited to, at last, share what I’ve been up to and what’s to come. If you haven’t already guessed thanks to my graphic handiwork above, in a few short weeks I’ll be making my re-entry into the wild and wonderful world of magazine publishing, this time as the Managing Editor of Coastal Living. And the news doesn’t stop there. With my new gig comes a pretty major relocation for me and my (profoundly supportive and adventurous) Mr. – we’re heading to Birmingham, Alabama. Country roads, take me home!

For now, we’ll be busy enjoying the beautiful apartment we JUST moved into (three weeks is better than none, right?) and finding a new one in Birmingham, but I hope you’ll come back here often to see what amazing things unfold - including our now-destination wedding in Boston this fall. It’s going to be a big adventure, and we can’t wait for it to get underway.

Lastly, it must be said that I’m unspeakably grateful to a handful of people who have been so helpful and supportive during this process. I hope you all know who you are. If not, we’ll talk.

Forever Un-Debted: An Obituary

debt

Image via SavvySugar

 

To say that I’m excited to write this post is a gross understatement. Its subject matter is deeply personal and something I’ve shared with only a very select few family members and friends, but with the journey now behind me I felt it was too powerful and inspiring not to share. Here’s what the hoopla’s about: I paid off my credit card debt this morning. From start to finish, it’s a battle I’ve waged against myself for the last 15 years, and today I finally won. Below is an email I sent to my family this morning, a lighthearted way to share the good news they’d been anticipating right alongside me. I intended for it to be silly, but while writing it I realized how appropriate it felt. The debt that dogged me for so many years had taken on the form of a dependent who needed my constant attention and who factored into so many facets of my life. That final payment felt like a sort of death. And with it, I am reborn. I am, finally, free.

 

Credit Card Debt (1999-2014). Credit Card Debt departed my life this morning after sustaining prolonged and substantial payments, which had intensified over the past 18 months. Credit Card Debt was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1999. It entered the world as an HSBC Overdraft Protection account with a credit limit of $500. Born to a naive, single mother (me), Credit Card Debt developed and thrived in its university environment. In 2003, Credit Card Debt moved to Boynton Beach, Florida, where it grew from a spritely $500 to a robust four-digit figure as it supported a mother who worked in the country’s wealthiest ZIP code while earning a net annual income of $19,000. Credit Card Debt blossomed into a strapping five digits over the course of the next four years, gaining in size (and interest) as it tried to support a high-gloss, low-pay lifestyle in New York City. In 2008, Credit Card Debt’s health began to show signs of instability when it made yet another relocation, this time to Boston. Its weight fluctuated briefly, but its full health was restored in 2009 and 2010 under a course of treatments that included online shopping sprees, meals out, year-end tax payments, and an unexpected move. At its peak, the unruly Debt reached $13,000. Little did Credit Card Debt know, however, that its period of free reign would begin its end in 2011, when its mother finally earned a livable salary, grew tired of treading water, and put a plan in place to pummel it with cash. Under attack of 0% APR promotional balance transfers; freelance paychecks; consignment-shop earnings; and an accelerated payment schedule made possible by a move to an affordable Boston suburb, Credit Card Debt ultimately succumbed. It is survived by its ecstatic mother and grieving lenders, will be missed by absolutely no one, and has taught many a valuable lesson. Its mother is deeply grateful to four people in particular who offered support, financial assistance, advice, strategy, and encouragement throughout the course of its life without ever stopping to pass judgment. She couldn’t have done it without them. 

 

Have you ever struggled—or had success—with debt? I’d love to hear your story. If you’ve crushed your own credit card debt, congrats! And if you’re still working, know that you’ll get there. It’s never too late.

 

Boyfriend Blues

Over the last few weeks I’ve been on a serious hunt for the perfect pair of distressed boyfriend jeans. You know the ones. Loose in the hip, seat, and legs with a just-right taper and strategically placed rips and tears. I almost gave up after trying on about 12 pairs, resigned to the fact that to pull off the style you really do have to be shaped like a boy. And I, for one, am not. In most cases, my small waist swam in the extra inches up top while my bum and legs felt squeezed into their designated spaces. Here are a few of the pairs I tried – and returned.

Jeans1. AG Adriano Goldschmied “Nikki” // 2. KUT from the Kloth “Catherine” // 3. J.Crew Vintage Straight Jean // 4. Citizens of Humanity “Emerson” //
5. Current/Elliott “The Traveler”

 

But just as I prepared to relegate my participation in the boyfriend-jean trend to staring wistfully at the models in my J.Crew catalog (and the Instagram feed of Glitter Guide founder Taylor Sterling, who looks good in absolutely EVER. Y. THING.), a little miracle arrived in the mail from Nordstrom: Citizens of Humanity’s “Dylan” jean.

 

Citizens   Citizens of Humanity “Dylan”

 

They’re lightweight, which makes them look less bulky and allows for a better drape, and the slightly darker shade makes them feel a little more put together. I’ve worn them out once and am already wondering if I should pick up a second pair, knowing that eventually I’ll wear these out in a totally different sense. They’re a petite, girl-shaped girl’s denim dream come true.

What are your go-to denim brands and styles?

 

 

Polar Light: One Last Dose of Winter

Chandelier 1“Polar Light,” by Arturo Erbsman

It was a long, harsh winter here in Boston, with nasty weather lasting well into March. After weeks of desperately willing warm weather back to the Northeast, though, it seems it’s finally here to stay. So, I’m finding it a touch ironic that the latest object I’m lusting over is a light fixture that’s at its best when the weather’s at its frigid worst. “Polar Light” is an icicle chandelier created by Arturo Erbsman, a young French designer whose work highlights the intersection of manufactured objects and the four elements of nature. The chandelier, which is composed of metal and mesh, was designed specifically to be hung from the branches of a tree in winter, where it captures water that ultimately freezes and forms ice-coated stalactites. Light passing through the ice creates the beautiful ghostly effect pictured above. It almost - almost - makes me wish for one last blast of winter.

Chandelier 4

Chandelier 5

Erbsman showed Polar Light at Milan Design Week 2013. He returned to this year’s event (it wraps up tomorrow) to show his latest series, Water Lamps. Two of my favorites from Erbsman’s new series are “Atmos,” an atmospheric lamp that uses the condensation of water to diffuse light, and “Cumulus,” which the designer calls a “personal cloud storage lamp.”

Atmos“Atmos,” by Arturo Erbsman

Cumulus“Cumulus,” by Arturo Erbsman

What’s your favorite design twist on an everyday object?

 

Graphic (Interior) Design

Graphic Living RoomMy fiancé and I are currently awaiting word on an application we submitted for a new (to us) apartment in Boston’s South End. In addition to dreaming about our easier commutes and the fresh crop of restaurants and bars to check out, the moving process has gotten me thinking a lot about how I’d like to decorate the place. Its exterior is brick, and its inside is light-filled with blonde wood floors. (It’s a nice change from our current place, which feels dark and old, but not in a charming way.) What we’ll decide on remains TBD, but lately I’ve been drawn to graphic pieces with clean lines, neutral colors, and a bold pop of color here and there. A few of these are already sold out, but I love them nonetheless.

1. Plaid blanket (sold out, but wouldn’t you love to look around here for something just as fab?).

2. Chic striped beach towel, which I’d use as a throw.

3. Architectural steel pendant light.

4. Midcentury-modern club chair.

5. Zig-zag pillow (only $22!).

6. Brooklyn Bridge pillow (I’m determined to get this no matter what else we decide on).

7. Cat treat jar (sold out from Crate & Barrel a long time ago).

What’s your interior-design style?

Favorite Find: Joerg Daiber’s “Little Big World”

The earliest hours of Saturday morning are among my favorite of the week (second only to the earliest hours of Friday evening, when an entire weekend lies ahead). I usually spend this precious quiet time Pinning and catching up on books, blogs, magazines, and social media. This morning, my mind turned to travel (no surprise there) after finding some fascinating photos and videos on Twitter from faraway places like ChinaJapan, and Norway, as well as cities here in the USA.

My favorite discovery of the morning by far, however, is “Little Big World,” a video series by German filmmaker Joerg Daiber. Daiber’s mini-movies depict daily life in destinations around the world in time-lapse and tilt-shift form, which creates a miniaturized effect – like toy villages sprung to life. Adding to their whimsy are equally fast-moving musical selections, many of which are classical. The combination of scenery, movement, and music makes me want to belly laugh, hold my breath, and cry, all at the same time. They’re pretty magical. Below are a few of my early favorites, but you can see 30-some-odd more on Daiber’s YouTube channel (I’ve already subscribed). Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Tell me: Who are your favorite travel photographers and filmmakers?

Honeymoon Scheming: Part 1

Now that my fiancé and I have set a wedding date, I can’t help but let my mind wander a few steps ahead to our honeymoon. It’s been a long, cold, and snowy winter in Boston, so I’ve been dreaming of far-off destinations soaked with sunshine. But I’ve never been a big fan of laying on the beach for hours and hours on end and I don’t want to spend an entire honeymoon doing that (though, on this 20-degree night, I would happily reconsider). I’ve been scanning the globe in my mind, trying to think of sunny spots that offer a perfect mix of ways to relax and explore. My ideal trip would include some beach time, but mostly a combination of city and country locales where we could enjoy rustic hotels and scenery, wine tastings, long drives with the top down, exploring old city or town streets, lots of simple, rustic, and delicious food, authentic shopping spots for art and ceramics, and ample opportunity for peace, quiet, and tranquility. Who knows if we’ll find a place that captures all of that, but here are two options that seem to come close.

Argentina & Uruguay

I first fell in love with South America when I traveled to Peru with Inkaterra in 2007 (read that article here). I especially loved the Urubamba Valley’s massive mountains, vast blue sky, and golden light, which is how I picture Argentina and Uruguay to be. (Judging from some of these pics, I’m not far off.) Of course, a South American honeymoon wouldn’t be complete without a few days and nights in Buenos Aires, widely known as the Paris of South America. Perhaps a tango lesson or two?

buenos-airesRomantic architecture and cobblestone streets in Buenos Aires (Photo via With Love From Kat)

The Vines Resort SpaMendoza, Argentina (Photo via The Vines Resort & Spa)

Usuai ArgentinaUshuaia, Argentina (Photo via Huffington Post)

Four Seasons Carmelo UruguayPoolside in Carmelo, Uruguay (Photo via the Four Seasons Resort Carmelo Uruguay)

SunsetSunset in Montevideo, Uruguay (Photo via Tumblr)

Italy

A week filled with pizza, pasta, gelato, and wine – lots of wine! – seems like the perfect way to celebrate our marriage. Early autumn in Rome sounds (and looks) so romantic! My dream trip to Italy would include a few days exploring every nook and cranny of Rome, followed by a few on the Amalfi Coast (if you’ve never been to the island of Ischia, I highly recommend it!), and a relaxing finale in Tuscany (riding bikes, reading by the pool, sleeping in, touring historic homes, and, yep – sipping wine). I’ve been to Italy twice already – once in high school and once on an assignment, but never as a plain-old grown-up tourist. I love to think about experiencing Italy’s romantic side with my future hubby. 

Rome in the fallRoman streets in autumn (Photo via Kerry Murray Photography for AFAR) 

???????????????????????????????The Spanish Steps and Hotel Hassler (Photo via Forbes)

hotel de russieHotel De Russie’s magical and romantic garden courtyard (Photo via Rocco Forte Hotels)

mezzatoreDusk on the island of Ischia (Photo via Leading Hotels of the World)

tuscanyAnd they lived happily ever after…in a Tuscan vineyard. Does it get any better? (Photo via National Geographic)

Where did you go on your honeymoon? If you could go on a second one, which way would you head?