FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM
Monday
Feb242014

The Quality List

 

Recently, as you may have read, I’ve declared this the year of quality over quantity. In this physical realm, this is geared towards incorporating staple clothing items, natural beauty and food products, simple and organic household items and all of the above for baby everything. In the personal realm, this is geared towards relationships, intentional conversations, etc. The personal side has been easier to get a handle on. The physical side is a tad harder. There’s more ground to cover and I find we want to default back to what we know because it’s easy. In my quest to find the best quality black fitted blazer, I became more overwhelmed than when I tried to figure out what the heck an exersaucer was. I don’t have time to research and sift through the black hole of the internet for the creme de la creme of quality, but still affordable for what they are, items out there. Finally the light bulb went off….. I should just ask the internet about the internet. Yea? Yea!

 

 

 

This is where you come in. I'm asking for your help. This isn't a revolutionary season I'm going through - I know a lot of you have recently downsized your belongings in search of a more quality and simple lifestyle. I realized once I posted this photo on Instagram asking for a few suggestions - the emails flooded in! I’ve been working on compiling a list of the top places to find your favorite quality items. You're go-to stops and shops. Preferably online, but understand if it’s an in-store only place. This mama doesn’t have time to go scouring all over town for things anymore. Categories are everything from jeans to cashmere, to shoes and hair straighteners, to natural face moisturizer to baby toys, you name it. Also, just because it’s more affordable, doesn’t mean it isn’t quality. I’m a major fan of Uniqlo and would consider their sweaters and jackets to be on my quality list. I swear by coconut oil for just about everything in my beauty regimen and it’s cheaper than my fancy Chanel eye cream. Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. 

 


Asking y’all is my way of not having to read through endless customer reviews and get lost in the chatter and noise of the internet. Plus, I trust you. You people have astounding taste! You’ve tried it, own it and like it? Let me know! It’s a product that has lasted you for years? Don’t keep the secret to yourself! We all have ‘that friend’ with their regal and effortless style who seems to know exactly how to maximize their wardrobe? Raid their closet and tell us the brands!

I plan to gather as much information and compile a one stop shop list that would live here on the blog for everyone to reference! So alert your friends, ask your hairstylist and take notes. The more feedback the better for all of us. Just leave a comment below with your top suggestions or also feel free to shoot me an email --> parkeretc[at]gmail.com!

And just to lure you into taking some time to send me your suggestions.... I've included a picture of Parker. If anything.... do it for her and those cheeks! 


 

 

 

Wednesday
Feb052014

Visit :: Hotel Saint Cecilia

You want to know the greatest thing to happen to our lives right now? Free extended babysitting. The kind that allows you to jump on a quick flight, find a hidden gem of a hotel, explore a city, have a wonderful dinner date, stay out past your bedtime and sleep in like teenagers. That, my friends, makes you feel like a million bucks when you’re new parents. Technically, are we still ‘new’ parents? I don’t know the cutoff here. At seven months, we might consider ourselves ‘seasoned’. At least the permanent exhaustion look on our faces would declare it so.

A few weeks back, Parker got to have a vacation with her grandparents. We dropped her off, kissed her on the head, left a freezer full of milk and we fled south to Austin for a weekend full of R&R. Having lived in Texas for for a bit of my life, I’m not new to Austin, but it’s almost nice to go back now and kind of ‘rediscover’ it outside of being there in college (read: gross frat parties) or being there for work (read: gross music festivals).



We aren’t really hotel kind of people and usually opt to find a hidden gem in the Airbnb world, but this time around, we got serious and found some fancy digs to rest our heads. Eric has spent some time at El Cosmico in Marfa, and had heard rave reviews about its sister abode, Hotel Saint Cecilia. I tell ya, I couldn’t imagine a more serene place right off the main craze of South Congress, with its chic boutiques and trendy restaurants, can be quite loud and crowded. Not here. The atmosphere is as if California and Nashville merged into one with cactuses and rustic American flags hanging around... as they do. We were lucky enough to practically be the only people there, so it was as if, we had the whole estate to ourselves. The pool is heated, the mini bar is packed full of eclectic treats and spirits from around the world and best of all, each room comes equipped with a record player (vinyl supplied at the front desk’s extensive library).

We honestly only spent a short amount of time in Austin, I thought of it as almost a ‘staycation’ in a city you don’t actually live in, but sometimes you have to get away to really rest.



 

To See, To Do & To Eat::

Uncommon Objects :: If I go missing, the first place to look for me is this shop. Seriously. If I was a millionaire, I would buy the whole dang place and everything in it. Every corner is full of gorgeous curated antiques and oddities….. kind of like the current state of my apartment except consider ‘oddities’ to be ‘baby things’.

Stag:: A perfectly curated store for the man in your life.

Moss:: A perfectly curated consignment store for the lady of the house.

Torchy's:: Best damn tacos in all the land. Well, this could start a fight of sorts to go throwing around ‘best of’ claims, but by golly, those tacos are the most memorable ones I’ll eat in Austin.

Contigo:: One of our Brooklyn buddies had a hand in putting this place together, so it was a no-brainer for our date night while in town. It gets pretty hopping during the warmer weather, but we were lucky to catch it on a chilly evening, by Austin standards, so we snuggled up at our table with complimentary southwestern blankets and cocktails. Try the crispy green beans, cauliflower gratin and the dewberry hills chicken.

Jo's Coffee:: Located in the parking lot of the Hotel San Jose, the other sister of the El Cosmico and Hotel Saint Cecilia tribe, it hosts a line around the block most days. The coffee is top notch and if you didn’t get a chance to snag a taco at Torchy’s, the ones here are a close contender. Try the Iced Turbo and a breakfast taco.  

Taco Deli:: Maybe all I do is eat tacos in Austin? This place is only for the ‘breakfast’ category. Nothing fancy, but a place not to be missed. Try ‘The Otto’ taco.

 

 

As with every city, there are probably awesome hidden gems that we likely have no clue exist! If you have some top favorite places in Austin, leave a comment below letting me know the spots so we can make sure to check them out on our next trip!

 

 

 See you again soon Hotel Saint Cecilia! 

 

Thursday
Jan092014

Quality Over Quanitiy

 

I’m not really a new years goal setting kind of person. This year, I decided to focus, not on goals or looking back, but more on something that is more all encompassing. Something that I can apply to a facet of things in the upcoming year. Maybe this came about as a rebellion to the overwhelming feeling you get when baby things start to accumulate, but I’ll take inspiration wherever it may show its face. Call it a mantra, a yearly philosophy or some other hippie phrase, but it is the thing I want to be present and overarching in all of my decisions and daily interactions throughout the year.



“Quality over quantity”

It’s not a new saying. It’s not something I came up with on my own. It is, however, something I envision can seep into nearly every aspect of my life. I want to choose quality content to be posted on this blog and not just quantity. I’d rather one solid and well written post a week over three where I just throw up pictures and some cheeky text about winter jackets. I want to choose quality words in conversations. I no longer need to be the one that talks the most. Lately, I’ve been simplifying my wardrobe down to well-crafted and staple pieces over the disposable trendy options that require little appreciation. I only want to share quality pieces of information and images on social media. The excessiveness in which we just word vomit things for everyone to read is alarming. I want to be more intentional on where we purchase our food as to be more in-the-know on where it came from. The most convenient option isn’t always the best. I want to deepen and enrich the friendships I already have instead of just being an acquaintance to a larger circle of people. In the online world terms, this means I want to foster the community I already have instead of focusing so much on numbers. I want to stop and ask myself.... does this add value to my life/blog/marriage/friendships. My hope is that this will challenge me to be creative and disciplined with my decisions, actions and time. In sum, I want better instead of more.


Jeans // Sweater // Necklace // Bag


 

Sunday
Jan052014

New Mom Beauty Essentials




Your beauty routine as a mom is more like a Formula 1 pit stop. Its got to be fast, efficient and leaves me looking in the best condition possible without expensing serious time in front of the mirror. In the first few weeks of Parker’s life, my primping was pretty minimal. As long as I could get under eye concealer, a few swipes of mascara and some powder on my face, I was feeling pretty good. And shower? That was considered a luxury I was only able to partake in after she went to bed and, only then, if I pep talked myself into staying awake long enough to actually use shampoo. Ah, those were the days.

Now that P and I have more of a schedule down (and I use the word ‘schedule’ so very loosely!), it’s easier for me to predict how much time I have to get ready based on her attention span. I usually place her in front of the floor length mirror, as babies sure do love to shamelessly stare and laugh at their own reflection. I have learned to achieve maximum productivity in a very small amount of time. Mainly, I have whittled down the products I use to the bare minimum. I’ve cleaned out the useless stuff, and now, stick to just what I know will get the job done. I decided to share a few of my top picks. I do have a few other go-to’s in each category, like lipsticks, but these are my tried and true.



Dove Dry Shampoo - Washing my hair was never a top priority pre-baby, so we all know it wasn’t make its way up the list once she was here either. I’ve always been a dry shampoo or baby powder or even just plain flour user to help make my hair appear as if I had the time or energy to wash my hair.

Dove Nourishing Oil - Here’s the truth, I once saw in a magazine interview with the Olsen twins hairstylist that he uses this on their tresses. So I obviously bought it….. and it’s a bargain at $4.00 a pop. Four months later, it has helped tame my hair in the summer and especially between cuts when the ends start to look a tad damaged.

Frederic Fekkai Brush - I truly felt like an adult when I invested in a good brush. It really makes a huge difference when you’re blow drying your hair with a quality brush versus the ones I used to pick up on the clearance shelf at Target in my college years.



Estee Lauder - Here’s the deal. This stuff is legit. On the day I had Parker, I wasn’t planning on going into labor, so I had gone through my morning routine to run errands around Brooklyn. But, then I ended up with a baby. Anywho, I had this makeup on, as I do most days, and literally through all the chaos at the hospital, I didn’t have time to take it off. So, it wasn’t like I got dolled up to go have a baby. But here’s the thing….. it stayed on… and I mean, after all was said and done, it was almost 30 hours later and it looked nearly the same it did when I applied it…. pre-baby.

Almay Undereye Concealer - If you want to buy your girlfriend who’s about to have a baby the best gift ever. Get homegirl some good under eye concealer. This stuff covers a multitude of sins and for that…. I am thankful.

Stila One Step Prime - This sucker is basically an all-in-one for your makeup needs. If I was lost on a deserted island, I hope this would survive with me. It’s a primer, a lip color, perfect for a little blush, and great as eye shadow too. Really, what will they think of next!


Bareminerals Mascara - Normally, I would use those mascaras with the primer on one side and the mascara on the other because it helped with clumps and evenly separated the lashes. Now, this is all I need because it does such a crazy job on its own.

Beauty Blender - I could get on my soap box for days about the beauty blender. Seriously. I did a whole post about it. Go read that and then go buy yourself one. You’re welcome.

Witch Hazel
- After hearing the raves about the benefits of witch hazel, I was so intrigued and then finally won over. It’s eco-friendly, super gentle and
reduces inflammation. I now apply it once in the morning prior to my lotion and makeup and then once in the evening after I wash my face. It’s the single best part of my routine.

Clearasil Refreshing Face Scrub* - When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately stopped using any product that contained salicylic acid as it’s a big no-no while you’ve got a bun in the oven. Generally, in life, you should use it sparingly. But, I was recently gifted some Clearasil products to try out and have some surprisingly refreshed skin during these winter months. My dermatologist suggests only exfoliating once or twice a week, so I don’t use this all that often. The oils your skin produces are essential to keeping it healthy.

Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash - My skin can be pretty sensitive. I have rosy cheeks and if something is too harsh on my skin, I can see it immediately. This wash has been a staple in my routine for years. It cleans without destroying my skin in the process.


* this post was sponsored by Clearasil and Refinery29. click here for a free rebate offer available for all Clearasil Superfruit products and #wintheday. thank you for supporting the brands that help support this blog *

Thursday
Dec192013

West Elm Holiday DIY Event

 

Recently, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a holiday DIY event at the West Elm store here in NYC. My partner-in-crime for the evening was the lovely Hannah of Hannah Kate Flora, who is a master DIY megastar. Not to mention really important people like Nate Berkus and Queen Latifa have requested her to DIY for them. My claim to fame? Helping Ben Lee sew a button back onto his shirt once. I ended up having to use a safety pin and duct tape. So we can see who the real professional is here in this scenario. 

With my new squishy roommate around these days, my DIY projects have had to take on a whole new speediness to them. They can take no longer than the length of her general distraction time frame - which has recently hit an all time high with the addition of the Christmas tree lights to our apartment. So..... I started with that as the base of this project. 

 

 

What better project for the holidays than to highlight a quick and easy way to monogram just about anything. Honestly... anything. Once you learn the basics of this project, you can go buck wild on just about any fabric in your home. It works on everything from pillowcases to onesies to blankets and stocking caps. I'll have a full tutorial available soon here on the blog so you too can make monograms galore in your very own home. Please, contain your excitement! 

We handed out West Elm napkins to each of the students and let them loose. They dined on the finest chocolate and champagne from Duane Reade and Chelsea Wine & Spirits, respectively. Nothing helps spark those creative juices like bubbly and chocolate peanut butter M&M's. Truly, some of our students came up with brilliant personalized ideas for their napkins! My favorite thing about classes like these, is that although I may be helping facilitate the general idea..... I get super inspired by how creative everyone else is! For instance, one gal personalized her napkin with a "$" sign. We obviously became fast friends! 


 

Thanks to all the lovely ladies (and gents!) who came out to DIY with us! The night wouldn't have been possible without the help of my friends at DecoArt who have the world largest selection of crafting supplies and paint known to mankind! Also, everyone upped their street cred thanks to the crew over at Tattly who sent over some seriously amazing tats to spruce up our bare skin with. I've already worn mine to a few Christmas parties..... they sure make good conversation starters!  

We're looking forward to hosting more events in the future. So keep a look out for some coming your way!