How To Holiday: Earth Day

Earth Day is such a fabulous holiday - really - but it's one that I never know what day it's happening until I read about it in the news. Or, in most cases, twitter or instagram. Hey! It's okay though, because serendipitously, I took a trip just this past weekend out to the Catskills region (upstate New York) to relax and recharge my batteries with Mother Nature. Call it cabin fever - really, call it whatever you want - but I'm a big sucker for a little wooden shanty on the river with a fire pit out back.

Now, you may or may not be aware that I (proudly) went to Summer Camp for many, many years. Every year, no matter what, I knew I could get through anything (ugh, school work was SO stressful, y'all) if I could reach summertime and leave for camp. I looked forward to it all year! This, however, is a feeling that I find that only the truest of camp kids know about. My second home was a sleep-away camp in the mountains of North Carolina, perfect for rock climbing, canoeing, horseback riding, and (my favorite!) tubing. I still look forward to going back, although nowadays it's every five years for reunions.

Do you know that John Muir quote, "The mountains are calling me, and I must go"? That sentiment basically embodies my range of emotions about North Carolina, and every once in a while, I still feel that deeply-rooted urge to retreat into the woods and roast marshmallows over an open fire (aka scorch them completely, duh). So, in honor of Earth Day, as well as for summer camp kids around the nation, I wanted to share some of the pictures from this past weekend. It was truly magical, and I can't wait to go back and have more time to explore the region.


Beauty Bag: The Basics

If there's one thing that can be said here, it's that makeup (while we don't want to wear it all the time) does have the power to make you feel, well, prettier. The key word there is "feel." Now, I love makeup just as much as the next person. Heck, I've even been known to carry a spare eyeliner around with my just in case I need a touch up.

On the flip side of this conversation, however, are all the weeklies and celebrity news sites that FREAK OUT over celebrities not wearing make up. I'm not sure why this bothers me so much, but I think it has something to do with the fact that when I'm not wearing makeup, I get incredibly aware of my skin, the bags under my eyes, and all the flaws on my face. Another one of my many New Year's resolutions this year (including stepping up my hat game) was to take better care of myself - skin included.

After reading up on all the crazy, insane things people do to take care of their skin, there are a few things I've discovered that help me with feeling more confident without the help of a whole heap of makeup:

1. Take your vitamins. I, like many I know, believe that daily multivitamins are mostly a crock. And, I still do. However, since taking daily vitamins in the form of A, E, and K, as well as Biotin, I've noticed my skin is clearer, more vibrant, and resilient to daily damage. It really does make a difference - no joke!

2. Drink water - LOTS of water. This probably goes without saying, but water is really so important. In addition to hydrating you, having 6 to 8 glasses of water a day can help keep your body functioning the way it should. It keeps skin, the largest organ of your body, ready to take on whatever the day brings it - including the weight of wearing makeup all day way too often.

3. Please, please, please remove your makeup. Especially before working out or going to bed. Actually, revise - if you don't feel the need to wear make up (i.e., work, party, date, etc.), I've been making an attempt to not wear it at all. But really, wearing makeup while you work out is like begging dirt molecules to have a party in your pores. And sleeping with makeup on? It's an invitation to move in and start a home there. It weighs down the skin, pulling at it, making your pores open up to acne - basically, it's just not good.

4. Face masks are key. I really can't tout face masks enough. Whether or not you buy them from a store or make them at home, face masks rejuvenate the skin and invigorate life into dull cells. Whenever I'm feeling way too tired to handle life, I turn to face masks. Some of my favorites include oxygenating masks (Bliss' Triple Oxygen Energizing Mask is a must), hydrating masks (dying over Korres' Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial right now), and peel-off masks (in love with Boscia Luminizing Black Mask currently). Additionally, I've been known to dabble with exfoliation, glycolic peels (Boots No7 is my lifeblood), and at-home remedies.

5. Wear SPF, wear it every day. Seriously. Saying that I'm fair-skinned would actually be an understatement, so this might be one of the most important things for ladies like me. I freckle very easily, and I embrace that. However, along with freckles also comes uneven tone and sun-spotting. I make sure that, before leaving for the day, regardless of whether or not I've put my face on, that I've put on a good dose of moisturizer with SPF on (I've been known to switch from time to time, but I do have a thing for Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30). When it's cloudy, raining, snowing, sunny - doesn't matter. SPF protects the skin, and I really wouldn't leave the house without it.

What's your biggest simple beauty tip? Brownie points for anyone who can send me a holistic at-home remedy I've never tried before (there's not many). 


The Importance of the Written Word

You can take the girl out of the south, but you can't take the south out of the girl. My mother always taught me to fully appreciate the power of a properly timed thank you note. Since the growth of the internet, it's become such a rare thing to find someone who actually takes the time to write an honest-to-goodness card. It's terribly pleasant to receive one, and a lovely way to express your appreciation to someone who might have helped a sister out.

There are a number of instances when one should hand-write and personally send a thank you note. First of all: after receiving a gift. It seems pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how few people follow through! And, of course, the other times include (but are not limited to): when someone does you a huge favor, immediately following job interviews, and after crashing at someone's place. Also, after an at-home dinner party or brunch, I always try to thank the hostess for the invitation and hospitality.

When you're picking out thank you notes (which happens to be one of my favorite pastimes - I can spend hours in a stationery store), make sure that the paper doesn't feel cheap. I prefer a heavier weight and a lined envelope, which always adds a special touch. I do like a great blank card - it's easier to craft your own note that way - but I've also been known to choose cards with a bit of a hippie tea party twist to them (go figure). A dash of pink, bunnies, fantastic fonts: all of these add a bit of sweetness to your gesture.

My collection of thank you notes.
Some of the best thank you notes I've ever found come from:

1. Kate Spade, which has the greatest lined envelopes on the planet, and often feature cute little phrases like the adorable "Tickled Pink" ones ($25).
2. Rifle Paper Co., hot off the heels of a collaboration with Garance Doré, making my heart sing with these floral numbers ($18).
3. Target, of course, has a wide range of possibilities - from blank note cards with fun patterns to cat-themed thank you notes ($4).
4. Hartland Brooklyn, which is local (yay!), quirky, and whimsical. Nothing's better than the "Thank Ewe" card ($5).
5. Steel Petal Press, offering up some of the best typography there is ($16), and as a bonus, is based in Chicago - home to Mateline.


Meow Moment: National Pet Day

Today is a very important national holiday. In case you weren't aware (not sure how that would be possible), it's National Pet Day. This can only mean one thing - I have yet another excuse to talk about my cat, Shep. He's been such a huge part of my life for over two years now that it's hard to let this holiday go by without at least mentioning him, let alone honoring him in the best way I know how - through cat fashion (naturally). 

I'm not the only lady in the fashion industry that's dedicated to (read: obsessed with) her cat. In fact, Anna Wintour's right-hand, Grace Coddington, famously loves her cats. Ruthie Friedlander of Elle.com also recently wrote about how her cat saved her life after a horrible breakup. Then, the New York Times (that's how you know I'm totally on-trend here) wrote about how adopting a cat is now seen as a badge of independence. I could go on and on, really.

Here is where I could say that everyone should adopt a cat (I'm not opposed to it, and will and stand by this sentiment), but I also know that there are so many people out there who hate cats. As someone who grew up around big dogs, I will say that understand their feelings about it. But, here's the thing about cats: once they love you, they really, really love you. Dogs love you all the time. That's part of their charm. And don't get me wrong, I will always love dogs. But there's something so rewarding about having a cat curl up in your lap and love on you, too - a different kind of love. It's very sweet and calming.

Fashion is just one of the many quirky and adorable ways to show the world your love for your pet on a day like today. Wear your love on your sleeve. Like Taylor Swift does (whose cat, Meredith, is one of my favorite internet celebrities ever).

1. With Love from CA Cat Sunglasses iPhone Case ($10) is a fearless dedication to hipster cats everywhere.
2. Charlotte Olympia Kitty Flats ($595) have been a favorite of mine for a while, as well as being donned by celebs like Katy Perry, Alexa Chung, and Sarah Jessica Parker (just to name a few).
3. CRAP Eyewear Hanoi Weekend Sunglasses ($56) are a great pair of cat eye of sunnies, without being overly dramatic and costume-y.
4. Markus Lupfer Meow Alex T-Shirt ($150) couldn't be any more perfect. Also available in a sweater and shorts combo (am I dreaming?).
5. Meadowlark Cat Ears Ring ($179) is subtly sweet and a great gift for cat ladies like myself.
6. Accessorize Cat Riding Cap ($39) will help expand my hat collection as well as being freakin' adorable (win/win).

Now, go out into the world and celebrate your pet! They deserve it, because putting up with humans is hard, y'all.


Day Trippin': The Cloisters in NYC

When I moved to New York City over eight years ago, I had a little bubble of safety that I liked to stay in. I went to school and lived on the Upper East Side, so my bubble consisted of an area encompassing 1st Avenue over to Central Park / 5th Avenue from approximately East 38th Street north to East 96th Street. I stayed in that area until I graduated, moved to Brooklyn, and was then forced to interact with the city on a whole new level.

Since my epic move out East, I've ventured to explore a number of areas. The south part of the island was pretty much covered when Jeanette was living in the Financial District, I had the East and West Village mapped out, not to mention Flatiron / Chelsea (where I've worked for a number of years now), the Theater District (from when my parents came to visit), Murray Hill was a frequent after college (sigh), and I dated a guy on the Upper West Side (where Alyssa now resides). After conquering Williamsburg (where a friend lived for some time), I started branching out even further, taking day trips and making concerts in Park Slope, Randall's Island, Tarrytown, Cold Spring, and heck, I even made it to a Mets game once. 

I still very much enjoy discovering and adventuring on new day trips, and making people come with me. This time around, we made it out to The Cloisters, which is an intriguing extension of the famous Metropolitan Museum, only you have you go all the way up to 190th Street (eep)! Opened to the public in 1938, The Cloisters is devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, and is one of the coolest places I've been in a long time. It's located on a huge plot of land overlooking the Hudson River, with gorgeous views of cliffs on one side and cityscape on the other. Pieced together from elements of medieval cloisters in Europe, the building houses some amazing architecture, and one of my favorite tapestry series - The Hunt of the Unicorn.

A series of several tapestries that follows hunters in pursuit of a unicorn, these medieval wall hangings always intrigued me in Art History class. As a huge fan of art history fiction as a child (so cool, I know), I was gifted and thoroughly enjoyed a novel, The Lady and The Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier, based around the creation of similar unicorn tapestries. That book (as well as innumerable others) begot my childhood love of churches, old museums, art history, and ancient architecture. The Cloisters brought all of that back together for me, making me reminisce about lazy summer afternoons reading books and being transported to another time and place.

Read More:
Met Museum
The Cloisters
The Unicorn Tapestries


Introducing... Shep!

For those of you who are already even slightly a part of my life, or even if you just follow me on Instagram, you know know that I have a cat. A cat who is, to put it bluntly, very strange. Adorable and perfect, but strange. He acts like a dog, but has a few tendencies that are distinctly feline. He's chatty and snuggly, and can recognize commands, but also lives for tuna and knocking things off of shelves.

Let me explain: I always grew up around pets - we had newts, hamsters, fish, frogs, a bird, and dogs. My brother even had a guinea pig at one point. But, for some reason, we never had cats. I suspect it's because my dad thinks all cats are inherently assholes (which, in his defense, is right - at least a part of the time). Mainly, though, we had dogs. And I'm not talking about itty bitty chihuahuas or tea cup yorkies, or even funny little lap dogs, I mean BIG dogs. Dogs that could knock you down if they wanted to. Dogs that should never live in a teeny 1 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn.

When I got Shep over two years ago, he was nothing but a little nugget of fur. My friend knew I had been looking to rescue a cat for a while, but she also knew I was looking for something very... specific, since I was more of a dog person. She e-mailed me and said, "I have one I think you belong with." And so, I jumped on a bus and headed into the suburbs of Queens. I found myself at a quaint little white-picket-fence-looking house after a 2 hour bus and subway venture, knocked on the door, and was immediately greeted by a huge yellow lab. The family was more than nice, and took me into the back of the garage, where the kitten was in a cage with his four or five of his brothers and sisters. They explained to me that there was a stray momma cat in the neighborhood who had given birth a few times, but they were never able to catch her to try to help her. So, they decided to rescue the litter instead.

Shep was the runt - nothing but striped fur, a little round belly, and enormous bat-like ears. I picked him up and he instantly started kneading me with his paws, and I fell. Hard. He was mine and I was his. Ever since then, Shep and I have been inseparable. So, since I know you'll be seeing him from time to time - here he is! Shephard, or Shep.

Name: Shep
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Describe yourself in three words: Furry, cuddly, unimpressed.

Tell us a little about yourself: I'm a cat, so I lounge around, mostly. I also take pride in destroying things - that takes up a hefty 15 to 20% of my day when I'm not napping. I have been known to enjoy laying on my back, kneading anything that's even mildly squishy, and finding a way to get behind the AC unit and / or refrigerator. I guard Molly's apartment with an iron paw, and I will scream at you if you get in the shower. I take it really personally when anything - even you - gets wet.

What is your favorite thing(s) in life? Being held, mostly. I love to be snuggled at all times of the day (and I will yell at you if you don't - my mother always taught me to use my words). I also really enjoy sticking my head all the way inside of old, used shoes - they just smell so good. Oh, and I live for any kind of box or bag that I can crawl inside and hide, waiting for an unsuspecting person to walk by so I can pounce on their toes (another favorite pastime).

How/where do you picture yourself in the next five years? Maybe I'll finally find a way to open the cabinet door so I can get into the trash can again. That would be nice.

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