LORDE. She’s from New Zealand, she’s only 16, she’s amazing. Her hit single “Royals” is everywhere. I hear it three times a day – at least once of my own volition. I’m also now obsessed with her song, “The Love Club.”
If you love your Lorde goodness and want more, here are four songs I recommend.
2. “Primadonna” by Marina and the Diamonds. We love our Marina and the Diamonds around here. Kicky sassy pop song, in true Marina style.
3. “Okay Cupid” by Kitty (formerly Kitty Pryde). Effortless laid back rhymes from the least-expected source. I bet in the early days of hip hop no one anticipated decades later a white Florida girl would be rapping about boys.
4. “Oblivion” by Grimes. Are you on the Grimes fan train yet? I hope so. She’s a little creepy – but good creepy, like Twin Peaks. “Oblivion” is the gateway Grimes video, but if you want more, I also like “Genesis” and “Crystal Ball.”
And if and while you’re going down the Grimes rabbit hole, please do stop by and witness the spectacle that is Brooke Candy. Grimes lists her as a muse, and she shows up on Charli XCX stuff too. Jordan is convinced it’s performance art, but I’m not so sure.
Welcome to the living room tour. After the guest room and master bedroom, this is the next space that feels close to finished. Of course there are always enhancements that can be made, but overall it’s pretty complete.
You might notice that it’s not too fussy in terms of decor. We really fell in love with the architectural details of this room and tried to decorate in a way that let its structure shine (hence the lack of window dressings, molding, etc.). We also generally prefer neutral color palettes and make up for that with textures and patterns instead.
This is the main part of the room. We didn’t have to buy too much new furniture for it, so that was nice. In the photos above, the rug, mirror and lamp are the only additions from our previous living room set.
This is our random little reading nook, of sorts. These two chairs live here most of the time, but serve double duty as dining chairs when needed (they’re part of the set we bought for the dining table). We were really excited to find the tray table, as it adds visual weight and a metallic element without taking away from the windows.
Our music corner is conveniently squeezed into this space, with the two guitars flanking the piano and the trumpet resting on top.
This little piglet is one of my favorite elements. I’d been lusting after it for more than five years until Jordan surprised me with it last Christmas. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland (the baby/pig scene, obviously).
The cats used to rub up against it and try to chew its ears off.
They’ve since moved on to other endeavors, like the kitty high beam.
Aaaaaaaand with that, we’ll conclude the tour. Next up: the office!
Like anyone who’s ever struggled to find the perfect outfit, there are many moments when I look at my closet and genuinely feel that I have nothing to wear. And in these moments, I want to go out on a giant shopping spree and buy all the clothes I see.
Other times, the vision of a perfect, efficient and polished life takes hold and I want to throw out my clothes and keep only 10 superb, pristine outfits so that I will always look put-together and fabulous no matter what I reach for.
But each time I’m on the verge of implementing this strategy, I think about all the whimsical and costume-y outfits I like to put together and how limiting it would be to only have the 10 outfits in my closet. So I table the idea and move on.
BUT YOU GUYS, I think I just found the holy grail of closet rotations. And just to make sure it really works, I tested this one out for an entire month first before sharing (you can read about my other rotation system here). I’m now on the second month and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. I’m officially calling it the “ReNEW Rotation”™ and here’s how it works:
1. Choose a theme. Because August always feels like the last month of summer to me, my theme for the month was: Bright Colors. But it can obviously be anything: nautical, stripes, polka-dots, resort, navy and orange, black and white, Jackie O, etc.
2. Pull 15-25 items from your closet that fit your theme. From skirts and blazers to shawls and belts, go through your closet and select anything that speaks to your theme. Don’t forget shoes.
3. Place all the items together in the same section of your closet, in the spotlight. Above is what the right side of my closet looked like after this step. It’s easier if you can hang everything in one place instead of keeping some items in drawers. I also like to organize from left to right: shorts, skirts, tops, dresses, blazers. You can place shoes that fit your theme on shelves underneath your “spotlight” clothes.
4. Pull from this section first when selecting your outfit everyday. There will obviously be occasions that require you to choose other outfits, i.e. work events, special occasions, bad moods (all black clothes for that, thanks), but the majority of your outfits will come from this selection.
5. Repeat with a new theme at the end of the month. For September, my theme is Shades of Blue (my favorite color), with gold jewelry as the accent.
The three biggest perks of this system: (1) It’s so much easier to pick your outfit every day; (2) You give each piece within the theme proper love and attention (no more guilt about not wearing certain items); and (3) You actually miss the rest of your wardrobe and it’s exciting to rediscover it as you prep for the next theme/month!
Also, by grouping items by theme, you’ll be inspired to create new outfits without buying new things.
To celebrate this new system and illustrate the “bright colors” August theme, I made Jordan help me with a photo shoot, the results of which are displayed throughout this post. Photo shoots are tough, man. Major props to all the fashion bloggers out there who do this regularly. Putting on the outfits and finding the backdrops was one thing, but also posing (which I hate) while strangers walked by was another pain entirely!
So there it is. I hope my new system can help others wrangle their closets too! I’ll post an update after September’s “Shades of Blue” theme as well and we can compare notes if it’s working for anyone else.
I know, I know. You didn’t even realize that “trumpet art” was its own thing, right? Well it is. I had no idea what I would find when I typed “trumpet” into the arts section of Etsy, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same. From the animal-inspired, to the cliche’d, to the “this is legitimately awesome and what started as a joke may turn into an actual purchase” – Etsy has you covered for all your decorative trumpet art needs.
Here are my six “favorites”:
1. The super cute illustration that I could buy – or try to draw myself
5. The ‘sum is greater than its parts’ combo art of dinosaurs, historical costumes and brass instruments, because why not? (I hate that this one is actually super pricey because how awesome would this be above our piano?)
6. And finally, the “I don’t even … there are no words for this” sculpture of awesome. It’s like a direct challenge to the painting above. “I see your colonial triceratops, and I raise you a virtuoso dragon in a fedora who can fly while playing with one claw.”
I recently had lunch with a friend who’s experimenting with minimalism. To get started, she gave herself a meaty challenge: every day, for one entire month, she got rid of 10 things in her home (and put them away for Goodwill).
“Ouch!” I said. “Did you choose 10 things a day so that it would really hurt?”
“Yes!” she said. “I wanted to feel the difference.”
Interesting, I thought. This friend of mine is always inspiring me with her monthly projects (she switches themes every month), and this was no exception. So I went home and enlisted Jordan in my own version: 100 things in one month.
I chose 100 in one month instead of 300 (10 per day) because, for one, consistent de-cluttering is already a regular part of our routine. And two, I knew 100 would hurt. 30 would be easy, maybe even 50. But double that, and you really have to re-evaluate the necessity of some of the items in your house.
So here’s what we came up with when it was all said and done. Three (large) bags total: two for clothes and one for miscellaneous household items.
Buster got to stay of course – we would never give him up! He just likes to oversee projects and jump in the bags every once in a while to make sure they’re doing their job and staying sturdy.
Of all 100 items, 60 percent was easily clothes and shoes. That’s the first place we started, and the pile increased consistently every day. After that, it got a bit more tough. We had to start opening drawers and cabinets to figure out where else there might be hidden clutter. The remaining 40 percent was a mix of beauty products, costume jewelry, household items, kitchen utensils and linens, and a few other random objects. We finished the whole project in about two weeks, ahead of schedule.
And my friend was right. When you’re done, you feel so good! Lighter, clearer … There’s a very real energy shift when you let go of things that are no longer useful or have stopped bringing you joy. I might just start implementing this project on a semi-annual basis.
My mom and I have been traveling together since I was three years old and we haven’t always had the best experiences at airport terminals. In my memory, it started with the time Air France tried to keep us from boarding our plane. They (falsely) claimed that we had previously cancelled our tickets for the very flight we were trying to board. Confused, we pointed out that our tickets had been purchased at the same time as my step-father’s ticket. If our tickets were cancelled, why wasn’t his?
The answer they didn’t want to give us was that they had just engaged in a fun little game of racial profiling, and it had backfired. They had seen my mom’s last name and my last name – which are both middle-eastern – and never considered that we might be connected to the dude (my step-dad) with the “all-American” name. We eventually got on our flight, of course, but not without significant stress and disappointment in people.
an airport that has actually always been welcoming
Then there was the time that the airline employee at LAX wouldn’t allow my mom, step-dad, Jordan and I to conclude our speedy check-in and get to our gate to board our flight to Mexico – the flight that left only once every 24 hours – resulting in an exchange of angry words and hand gestures between him and my mother. My mother always maintains her exposure despite her feelings, and for her to voice her frustration with him was significant.
So two years ago when I drove my mom to LAX for her long set of connecting flights to the Middle East, and stood with her as the airline employee told us that the second flight she needed had been cancelled and they must have forgotten to call her, requiring a 24-hour delay, I knew her blood was starting to boil. She was so frustrated, and understandably so. Getting yourself ready for a 20-hour, two-flight, three-country trip is not easy. Having to do it twice in a row is even worse.
On the drive back home, I tried to ease my mom’s frustration by highlighting the positive: we now had another day to spend together. Also, we could grab some burgers at her favorite bar. But my attempts were wasted, and her blood continued to boil.
Finally, I turned my car stereo back on.
“Don’t waste your time being angry, when a moment is better with a smile.”
A better song could not have come on.
“If you feel your time’s been wasted, wasted here for a while…”
She did feel that her time had been wasted. At LAX. By the airline. The airline that should have called her with news of the last-minute cancellation.
But as we continued to listen to John and let his words sink in, our shoulders began to lower, our jaws began to unclench. We started to smile and recount all the other ridiculous times we’d experienced at airports, and our moods turned around.
I love this moment that I had, with this song and with my mom. Since then, this melody and these words have ingrained themselves into my brain and my heart, providing a personal soundtrack to difficult moments.
John Boutte at D.B.A. in New Orleans in 2011
Just last week, I was really struggling with some work stuff and it was causing me stress at home, in my dreams, and on the way to work. When I feel like this, I usually turn to music, a beer and a cigarette – in that order. For some reason I did the reverse this time, starting with a beer the night before, two cigarettes on my way to work (that’s a lot for someone who smokes six cigarettes a year), and then music. I connected my iPod to my car stereo – while juggling a cigarette and almost burning myself – and put “At the Foot of Canal Street,” followed by ”It Don’t Cost Very Much” for some reinforcement.
And then I made myself start to smile. There are studies that show how even a fake smile can boost your mood. I kept it up throughout the day. In an aggravating meeting, I caught my jaw clenching and made myself smile instead. I instantly felt better and smiled even bigger hearing John’s voice in my head.
Which brings me to the reason for writing this post. This blog is obviously a fun place to talk about music and fashion, but it’s also a place to explore their impacts on our lives – and specifically mine. In this instance, these two songs have helped me so much that I felt selfish not sharing them. I hope they can help someone else too.
I posted a picture of my new sparkly sneakers on Facebook the other day and they were way more popular than I anticipated. So I figured I’d share all the fun things that have been making me happy lately.
1. My new nail rings from Asos, in silver and gold. For only $15, these are totally awesome. (Also, I’m still obsessed with Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci.” I rap along at least once a day and I’m not ashamed.)
2. Disco ball sneakers. I snagged these Jimmy Choos (my first pair!) on sale at Saks last week. They’re even more fun than they look.
3. My cat hat. Of course I bought this, it has cat ears! Grabbed it from the New Orleans Urban Outfitters while waiting out the French Quarter Fest storm.
4. My Tattly tattoos. I’ve shared previous temporary tattoos from Tattly on this blog. This one’s a recent favorite.
5. The Greatest MotherF*&!ker, technically called “GMF” by John Grant. A commanding voice. A cheeky performance. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
I had a fancy work event to attend a couple weeks ago and was tired of my stick-straight-flat-iron hair number. I wanted a little more bounce and softness but I’m hopeless with a blow dryer and curling irons give me fake doll hair curls, like I’ve been styled by the beauty counter at the American Girl store.
So I went online and booked myself an early morning appointment at DryBar. This chain – and others like it – provide a shampoo and blow dry in the style of your choice for $35 and have appointments available all day. Also, they have tea and cookies. I selected the “straight up.” I may have to go back for the “southern comfort.” At these prices, why not?
Like the rest of the world I adore Daft Punk’s new album Random Access Memories. In addition to the hit single and official party track of the summer “Get Lucky” ft. Pharrell Williams, I can’t get enough of “Lose Yourself to Dance” and “Doin It Right” ft. Panda Bear.
But … you can’t listen to this album nonstop without wanting more electronic dance music (EDM) goodness, bringing us to Disclosure.* Another male pop duo, though from England, these two share Daft Punk’s grasp of EDM and its evolution. Just as Daft Punk re-interpreted disco on their new album, Disclosure has re-interpreted 90s house music.
Here are my three favorite songs from their album, Settle.
“When a Fire Starts to Burn”
Try to hear this one without watching the video, which takes away from the strength of the song. A chewy vocal with a sinister bass line (wait for it), it hits all the right 90s tones.
“White Noise” ft. AlunaGeorge
Careful with this one. It gets stuck in your head and then you’re in public murmuring “If you want to get off, then let’s play rough.” Totally worth it, though.
“F For You”
“F For You” is the smoother and more gentleman-ly track of the three, but it definitely stands on its own. The perfect soundtrack for the 90s underground clubs packed with tight tank tops and an abundance of hair gel.
Of course there’s a lot more to Disclosure than just these three tracks. Very honorable mentions, for example, go to “Latch” ft. Sam Smith and “Confess to Me” ft. Jessie Ware.
Also, if Disclosure leaves you yearning for more 90s-inspired music, try “1991″ by Azalea Banks. It’s worth the video alone – a thinly veiled tribute to C & C Music Factory and La Bouche that makes me want to buy matte purple lipstick.
*Big thanks to Stephanie for introducing me to one of my new favorite acts.