The weeks seem to come and go so quickly, especially around the holidays, but we’re all about savoring our Sundays. This week we have a wide variety of topics- from jewelry brands to a new favorite menswear line, a great soup recipe and tips on how to make a big move easier. We hope you enjoy today’s post and feel free to let us know about something you discovered/found interesting/learned this week in the comments below!
Julia– I’ve been under the weather (with sinus/ear infections and bronchitis) over the past week and I know I’m not alone in the misery of being sick. I got so many messages from readers saying they were in the same sad boat and we all sort of commiserated together. It’s not a fun time to get sick and there are definitely a mix of things going around knocking a lot of people down. Aside from the help of some prescription meds (which have made me feel 100x better), the one thing that has got me through the week is soup! It’s really the only thing that felt good on my throat/I had an appetite for. And Thomas just so happens to have the best tomato soup recipe (not his own though)…it’s really, really, really good! We’ve been making it for years and it’s still the first thing I ask for when I’m not feeling well. He made a big bowl this week that I kept re-heating and I thought it would be the perfect thing to share since so many others seem to being getting sick, too. Thomas’s favorite cookbook of all time is America’s Test Kitchen and that’s where the recipe for the Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup is from. I love it because like its name states, it’s sans cream, but still tastes like it has cream in it! The secret? You cook bread into it! It helps give that slightly thicker texture rather than a watery canned tomato soup. It’s finally starting to get really cold, so cooking up a fresh pot of homemade soup on a Sunday afternoon sounds like the best plan!
Thomas– Without a doubt, Julia’s love for fashion has rubbed off on me. Though I don’t have nearly the wardrobe she has, I’ve steadily built out my closet over time. Adding higher quality staples that I can keep for years instead of buying budget-friendly styles that I’d most likely dispose of at the end of the season. Though you still have to pull my ear to get me to spend money on myself, I find that I am increasingly spending more money per item on fashion. That has little to do with changes in circumstance but simply because I can get more quality for my buck, even on things that are over $500. This transition has accelerated because unfortunately, some of the brands I used to wear no longer work for me, most notably J. Crew, which made up about 50% of my closet. Sadly their quality (and other brands caught in between fast fashion and contemporary) has receded significantly year over year, to a point where I won’t even try on things anymore.
Mr. Porter has become by far my favorite place to shop for clothing. Ignoring price for a moment, their product mix of an optimal blend of closet staples and statement pieces, outfit styling, supporting content and imagery can’t be beaten for men’s fashion in my opinion. But since price is a factor in every buying decision, Mr. Porter’s luxury price point has always given me this feeling that any purchase I made there was a special treat that I could afford only a couple times per year. I’d still browse expensive items, but then I’d change to Sort By – Price Low, finally ending up buying none other than, you guessed it, a J. Crew Shirt. My guess is I wasn’t the only shopper that did this. Mr. Porter’s luxury selection and impeccable curation on higher priced items create a halo effect on lower-priced items, generating a perception that the lower priced items are of higher quality. Luxury Brands use this strategy all of the time to mess with our value perception calculations, which always take place in our head when shopping. Their big money makers aren’t their apparel but their higher usage items like Shoes, Bags, Accessories, Makeup, and Fragrances.
So when I saw that Mr. Porter launched their own collection called, Mr. P, I was excited to check it out. My excitement continued to build when I saw the price and the mix of product I could see myself wearing day in and day out. I ordered a button down shirt to see if it lived up to the picture, and when I received my shirt in the mail I was ecstatic. It seems they took all of their learnings from selling the best men’s clothing, the customer data and shopping behavior on their site and combined that to create a fantastic collection of closet staples. All while doing it at an unmatched value level. The shirt I got, a white oxford button down, is a shirt I’d live in, fantastic fabric, perfectly cut, I’ve actually slept in it twice, and it’s $160. Comparable shirts would very easily be over $250 (or $450 if you’re Thom Browne) on Mr. Porter. With that, I can’t wait to see what else they roll out with coming seasons of Mr. P. Below are the top items on my wish list, hint Julia, in case there’s a man in your life that might appreciate something from my new favorite clothing brand.
Laura– December 7th marked five months since I packed up my tiny bedroom in my 4-person apartment in Boston and headed South to Charleston! Since I moved here I’ve been asked a lot by new faces or friends from home “How are you liking Charleston? Do you feel settled? How did you make the leap by yourself? I admire your courage!” I’ve loved meeting new people in this charming city and it isn’t until I’m asked these questions that I stop to reflect on this life change. It was just go, go, go from the second I said yes to this unique opportunity and when I have my mind set on something I don’t let anything get in my way. However, in the following months after the move it slowly sunk in that I’m living far from the familiar and I started to feel homesick. This is also my first time living alone (it feels glorious though) so I don’t have a roommate to hang out with and distract me from my homesickness. This feeling would come and go, but then one day I grew tired of it and needed to conquer it. Why am I sharing this? Because I know there may be some people out there who hesitate to make a big life change exactly like this. One thing I dislike is fear being the only reason someone is missing out on an amazing opportunity that will ultimately fulfill him/her. So I want to share three beginner tips that make taking leaps like this completely doable:
- Learn to love being alone: Do as many activities/exploring/dining/sightseeing alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually an extrovert, but there is honestly nothing better than having a slow morning/day to yourself. Last weekend I grabbed a latte and scone from my favorite coffee shop and savored every bite while seated on an outdoor bench. I can’t tell you the last time I ever did that. And over the last few months when the weather was beautiful I frequented my nearby beach for solo strolls up and down the shoreline. It’s so serene and my favorite spot to relax and just be.
- Decorate your space for you: There were a lot of home decor pieces I brought from Boston with me, but not enough to complete my apartment. I kept thinking “Oh, I’ll just wait to buy something for that corner/wall/area when I actually own a home”, but then everytime I walked into those aforementioned areas it would bug me that it was incomplete. So last month I finally pulled the trigger and bought an accent chair, framed large photos for my walls, added hints of greenery, and even bought my very first Christmas tree. Now I love walking into my home everyday.
- Find local tastemakers through Instagram: Take what you like and find local creators who showcase/share that passion. Instagram is all about community and chances are that once you find the one person you admire you’ll be able to find others who share similarities too! Look through the comments section on their posts or the person’s “Following” list to then see who’s in their network that you can also follow. It sounds creepy but it’s not because this platform is about discovery and these other artists want to be discovered, so follow along. Bottom line is, once you find this local group chances are they will advertise events or pop-up shops in their feed/Instastory that you can attend to meet other like minded people! And it’s always nice to support small businesses too. :)
Those are just a few of my tips for settling in. I hope you find them helpful! I’d love to know, have you found yourself hesitant to take the leap because of these things? Or if you have taken the leap, what are some tips you did to settle into your new home?
Margaret– I’ve attended a couple of holiday pop up shops recently, and I find I’m always the most drawn to jewelry lines at these shows. I’m not one to wear a ton of jewelry, but I usually pair a ring and set of earrings with my outfits daily. When it comes to dressing up for events, I love to wear either a creative statement necklace or earrings. I thought I would share my favorite lines, ranging from local Charleston artists to those based elsewhere, to help you find the perfect jewelry gift. Delicate, gold rings one can layer are beautiful, but hard to find. Both Jane Pope Jewelry and Christina Jervey Jewelry have wonderful collections of thin-band jewels. Jane Pope’s recent collaboration with Sally King Benedict boasts unique pieces through a collaboration of fine art and metal work. For vintage pieces, I turn to Croghan’s Jewel Box. This is also one of my favorite shops to bring friends and family to when they visit during the holidays. For creative/ statement pieces, a few of my favorites are Theodosia Jewelry, Lizzie Fortunato , Abby Kent Flythe Fine Art, and Lika Behar. Lizzie Fortunato earrings are on my wish list this year. I love her creative designs that surpass trends. Abby Kent Flythe is my aunt, and she has one of the most incredible collections of vintage and contemporary turquoise jewelry in the country. I wear one of her turquoise rings daily, and each one of her pieces has a unique personality.