gift ideas for a practical woman

calvin klein sport bra

There are some interesting articles on how to manage the holiday season in the anti – consumerist – eco – conscious blogosphere recently.  A lot seems to focus on taking time out to care for oneself and how to talk to friends and family about not giving you excess material items.  It is hard to avoid consumerism around this time of year.  No amount of eco guilt is going to end generations of consumerist warm blooded American Christmas gift giving tradition.   Continue reading

good read


I stumbled across a feature on the Apiece Apart blog inspiring woman series about Christina Kawabata’s beautiful house in upstate New York where she and her architect husband raise their two kids with very little material possessions in one large open concept space.  It was featured in the NY times, in an article titled ‘the Anti-McMansion‘ and also on the Remodelista blog.  In the interview with Apiece Apart, she talks about people’s general reaction to her home and how she has managed to raise two children with this lifestyle.  It got me thinking about the idea of creating “domestic calm” and how that might be important to have firmly in place before bringing children into this world.

[image credit:  Apiece Apart]

good read

ny times article

Stumbled upon a surprising NY times article by David Brooks on the evolution of simplicity — his analysis on the progression of minimalism / asceticism throughout history.  It is surprising to find David Brooks writing on this topic.  I usually find myself irritated by his right leaning political opinions, but found myself nodding in agreement with him here.  It’s a must read.

good read

kinfolk 16

This week, I learned about ‘slow living’, ‘essentialism’, and ‘downshifting’ and how these lifestyles differ from ‘minimalism’.  I found a good read from Kinfolk (the slow living magazine out of Oregon) in an article about essentialism and how its focus is more on individuality through an emphasis on curation, not just downsizing.  I love reading about variations on how to simplify our lives.  It is reassuring and grounding.  I’m finding it very important to remind myself of why simplicity makes sense by writing and reading about it.  We need reminders because the world around us constantly tells us to endlessly buy and work more.

outfit: working class comfort

trade-mark clothing label four pocket top

This vintage Trade-Mark Label top was a great find at a local New Orleans consignment store.  I’ve been paying more attention to the quality of fabrics lately, and the fabric here is what got my attention first.   It is made of a hefty 100% cotton fabric.  The thickness not only means it will last a long time but also elevates the aesthetic by giving it a stiff-crisp-clean feel. This is a nice addition to a corner of my wardrobe that’s rockin’ a Mao-era socialist vibe.

[outfit:  vintage Trade-Mark four pocket shirt, Zara utility shorts, APC half moon bag, Cluse watch]

outfit: the breton crop

breton stripe top cluse watch

This cotton wool blend breton top from Cos shrunk a bit when it accidentally ended up in the dryer.  Now it makes the perfect crop to wear with high waisted anything.  What a surprise.  I haven’t seen any breton crops, especially ones with tomboy drop shoulders out there. I’m loving this simple twist to a modern classic.

[outfit:  Cos breton cotton/wool top, Zara utility shorts, Cluse watch, gifted Swarovski friendship necklace]

outfit: the modern sweater dress

billy reid preston dress cluse watch

Modern women want to dress comfortably.  I’ve been drawn to dresses that feel like cozy sweaters but cut in sophisticated modern silhouettes that can still be worn to work or the night out.  Here is a gem I found at the Billy Reid boutique in New Orleans.  They make high quality modern mid length dresses with menswear textiles that look much better in person than online.  The pieces are well worth the investment if you’re looking for essential wardrobe items.   Continue reading

good reads: on the decluttering message and old cars.

pauline chardin beirut car

This edition of good read is a bit random.

After tasting the freedom of riding in a friend’s vintage car this summer, I’ve been thinking about buying a car myself; why not live it up during my final years here in NYC?  These photographs of old cars on the streets of Beirut got me thinking.  They are taken by Pauline Chardin (travel blogger who runs the Voyageur) and was featured on the NeedSupply blog.  I love the sun-scorched urban landscapes she captures; feels like a a surreal 80s apocalypse, the scenes are cinematic, but the reality of the state is much more dire.  Still these junky cars are appealing for my minimal needs.

You also have to check out a great post that will get your head nodding by the minimalist woman on the decluttering message and how it went from “topic du jour into perennial concern.”

[image credit:  Pauline Chardin]