Posts tagged: etsy
January 28, 2011

French Friday: Best Friends Necklace for Grown-Ups

I remember being on the playground in elementary school wearing saddle shoes (everyone else had Keds) and seeing girls wearing those brokenhearted “best friends” necklaces. It seemed like a secret, highly-exclusive club: who had the other half, and how could I get one? Do you remember how important the title of “best friend” was then?

Looking back now, I wish I had appreciated those super rad saddle shoes and had not sweat the sly handing out of those necklaces. I mean, what do best friends in first grade do anyway? It’s not like you need them to help mend your heart, visualize your winter look, or talk about what the hell you’re doing with your lives. You’re seven.

Which is why I love this necklace so much. First off, it’s a whale, not a heart (cool), and it bypasses the whole idea of “best” which feels silly by the time you’re nearing thirty anyway. (But traditionalists, take heart: this Etsy seller has the whale take on the “best friends” necklace, too.)

Let’s talk about the weekend. What are you guys making and doing and––as equally important––not doing?

Photo: Whale Amies necklace on Etsy

January 25, 2011

What Are Your Winter Wardrobe Essentials?

1. stripey puff-sleeve top 2. duck boots 3. Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion 4. France and Hammer necklace 5. Benetint 6. gray cowl 7. jeggings

One of the few times I read Goop, I picked up a pretty sage piece of advice: build yourself a uniform. Uniforms remove the guesswork for those of us unusually pressed for time or short on inspiration. Give yourself the right pieces, and you can always look cute.

But what the hell are those right pieces? It can feel like a search for Waldo. Earlier this winter, over what should have been a charmed Saturday brunch, I remember feeling hopelessly dorky in my outfit. Elsewhere in the restaurant, I saw a young family eating with visiting grandparents. The young blond mom had a great, face-flattering haircut. The rest of her outfit was super simple: a comfy, but cool-looking top, well-fitting pants, and edgy earrings. It was all so easy it demonstrated one of my mom’s key pieces of style advice: let the woman, rather than the clothes, shine.

After many more badly dressed winter days, I decided to do a bit of shopping. You might share this particular thrifty girl bugaboo: even if I’ve been wearing the same clothes for years, I often have trouble biting the shopping bullet. I’m happy to spring for vintage summer dresses, but when it comes to wardrobe workhorses, let’s just say my closet has a few holes.

But a cute, warm coat and a new favorite sweater can––no matter how shallow it sounds––change your life. When you like your outfit, you feel good, and when you feel good, you project a confidence and irresistible energy that will come back to you like a boomerang.  And if that sounds too The Secret for you, you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

I accidentally stumbled on a formula that works for me right now in my work-from-home life: jeggings, puff sleeve sweaters and stripey tops, a down coat and duck boots. If this feels a little utilitarian, it’s all about the accessories: a spritz of the marvelously green-smelling Gardenia Passion makes me feel like a harbinger of spring and a few touches of understated gold jewelry have me channeling Left Bank cool girl je ne sais quoi. Do you have a winter uniform? What are those magically easy essentials that make you feel pulled-together and chic?

January 7, 2011

French Friday: Pretty Parisian Laptop Case


Years ago, I bought a laptop case on Etsy. The fabric was a woodland scene––nibbling squirrels and jaunty-looking mushrooms––with bright red buttons and winding twine as a closure. The interior was a soft, robin’s egg blue flannel. I bought this laptop cover during an especially urban period in my life: I worked in a tall, steel and mirrored glass building in the center of midtown. A rattling subway car conveyed me on a crowded, subterranean journey. I browsed giant, two-story chain stores on my lunch hour. Something in me craved a sweet sylvan escape.

I’ve been slow to recognize the exquisite marriage between form and function. I spent years buying super cheap, quick-fix solutions to those daily necessities: a toilet bowl plunger, a coffee cup, a tote bag. My lesson first came in the form of those Anthropologie cafe au lait bowls. I had lovingly picked them up each time I visited the store but never just plunked down the cash. It was stupid––I could have been enjoying them everyday. They didn’t cost much. What was stopping me?

I suppose what I’m talking about is pleasure, and being careful to not needless delay it. Having a laptop case with tiny squirrels on it delights me. So does drinking out of sky blue cafe au lait bowls and keeping nice hand soap in the bathroom. None of it costs much, but the pleasure it adds is infinite.

So in honor of French Friday I offer up this laptop case for your perusal, charmingly Gallic and avian. When you’re pulling out your computer to pay bills or work on a paper a little French whimsy can go a long way.

December 16, 2010

A Tradition of Giving


To people who are very actively involved in helping people who have less year round, the sudden holiday emphasis on reaching out to those in need is, I bet, obnoxious. I’m sorry to say I’m not one of the year-round do-gooders, and I’d wager that I’m not the only one who wishes she had a giving tradition that was a regular part of her life. But I’ve felt overwhelmed by the options. Sometimes, it’s hard to know who to help.

I assisted a yoga class at a middle school for autistic kids for awhile. I went through the application and background check to be a Girl Scout volunteer and then they never called me. (If it were appropriate to put a frowny face emoticon here, I would.) Should we sign up to help at a soup kitchen, become a Big Sister, drop in sporadically at a senior center, walk dogs at a shelter? What form of volunteering will best fit into our schedules and feel like the best use of our time and talents? The answer is probably that we should just do something, anything. But I think many of us are so eager to feel that we are making a difference––in a way that resonates with us with meaning––that we’re hesitant to just sign up for anything. If we’re going to make a commitment to something, we want it to be the right thing.

I’ve bopped from this to that, food pantries and animal shelters, but in the past year I realized the best way for me to give back would be continuing the biggest help I ever got. In those tender pre-adolescent and teenage years, there was a lot of tumult in my life, a lot of change, a lot of unpredictability. But there were also a lot of teachers and babysitters and one particularly awesome Big Sister along the way who taught me, without being cheesy or overt about it, that who I was was awesome, that I could be and do anything I imagined, that there was a wide world out there for me to adventure in.

I talked earlier about my word for 2011 being full. Articulate what you want, and man, it has a way of just flooding in. I’ve been working harder, writing more, cooking more, seeing my friends in ways that feels so good. All that is great, perfect even, but there’s one more thing that needs to fall into place for my sense of fullness in the new year: the right tradition of giving.

How do you guys give back in your lives, in ways both organized and unstructured? What has it brought into your life or changed about your perspective? And do any of you share that feeling of wanting to give, but not knowing what’s the best thing for you?

Photo: Longfellow quote letterpress card by Etsy seller letterary press