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ever since my trip to nicaragua in december, i’ve been feeling this insatiable itch to pack my bags and just go. on a whim, to a warm, sunny destination, a place with aquamarine waters and the scent of coconuts and palm trees that swish back and forth in the wind. as a child, i hated the beach. the ocd neat freak in me didn’t like getting sand everywhere – in my books, in my discman, in my bathing suit. but over the past few years, (especially since moving to new york), i’ve really come to appreciate the beauty of the ocean. the open horizon, the hot sand burning the bottom of your feet, the scent of sunscreen and the feeling of slightly crisped skin. there’s something about escaping to the beach that allows all your problems to melt away.

there’s this quote i love – you’ve probably seen it floating around pinterest – that reads, “the cure for anything is salt water. sweat, tears, and the sea.” living in a place that’s constantly go go go (and being a person who isn’t very good at slowing down) has taught me the true value of getting away, and doing so in a place where all i’ve got to do in a given day is sit on the sand, fry in the sun, and read my book.

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in nica, my phone didn’t work unless i had wifi (which was hard to come by). there was no email. there were no text messages. there was no beeping, no buzzing, no ringing. there was just the hot air tossing my hair around my shoulders, and the sun waking me up each morning, and the feeling of total and utter freedom. my week in nica gave me back a piece of myself that i think i’d lost in the past few years in new york. the piece of me that couldn’t care less about shoes, about clothing, or makeup, or material things. the piece of me that appreciates natural beauty, and the art of just being, of good conversation and friendships that make my heart grow a few sizes bigger each day. i love this city, but anyone who’s lived here knows it’s a trial to do so, and that new york can drain you. it’s such a shame that vacation is a luxury that only some can afford, because it’s oh so important to get the fuck out of the city and out of your head every so often. going away for the week taught me that, now that i’ve been blessed with a salary that allows me to escape, i need to do so. often.

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i’ve got a trip planned to LA the last week in april, but i’ve still got the travel bug crawling through my body – the urge to cut myself off from what i know and get back to the basics. so much that i actually considered splurging on tickets back to nica for memorial day weekend. this post, from grace atwood (who has, in the past few months, become my favorite blogger – i like to think she and i would be friends if we were ever to meet in real life), featuring shots from her latest trip to tulum, has me dreaming of that turquoise water and a stay at playa papaya. i also happened to look up flights to tulum for memorial day, but they’re uber pricey, sadly. i’m secretly hoping they’ll go down last minute and i can hop on a plane and be touching down to sunshine and sand in just a few hours. i’ve never been to mexico, but grace has put tulum on my list, big time. it looks like my sort of place, the kind where it’s not just optional to disconnect, it’s mandatory.

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a few nights before i left nica, my friend martha’s friends (locals), drove us down a long, bumpy, winding road to a secluded beach where baby turtles are rescued, raised, and released back out into the ocean to find their lives. 30 minutes through the woods, through waters and fallen trees and into the black, we came out the other side. a short walk away was a beach unlike anything i’d ever seen. white light hurts the turtles, so there was no light to be seen. all there was to lead our way to the water was the moon, and the stars (along with tiny little red flashlights we could use to ensure we didn’t step on any of the babies, which were approximately the size of a reese’s cup, if not smaller). i tell you, those turtles may have been tiny, but i’ve never felt so small. the sky stretched higher and wider than any i’d seen, and i swear the stars in nica are the brightest stars around. the natural beauty literally vibrated around us, the silence elevating the enormity not just of the beach itself, but also of the moment. it was a magical moment, and one that i think reawakened in me my desire to see the world, to go. Image

we need to be reminded that we are small, and the world is large. and the best way to do that is to travel. tulum, here i come. also on my dream list: istanbul, santorini, the dominican republic, and marrakesh.

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i’ve been following photographer jamie beck for a few years now, and every time i come across one of her photos on instagram or one of her posts in my blog roll, i experience this overwhelming sense of wow, i wish i had that life. not even in a jealous way, really. more in a, i admire her drive and her talent and her passion so much kind of way. beck is the kind of woman i hope to be when i grow up (even though she’s only 2 years older than me). she is (or appears to be, at least) secure in who she is and confident in her life path. she’s the kind of woman who knows who she wants to be, what she wants from life, and isn’t afraid to go ‘head and get it.

her blog is a veritable feast for the eyes, and her latest post, about 30 things she’s learned over the past 30 years, is no different. it features beautifully shot black and white images of her 30th birthday, a glamorous affair that appears to have featured ball gowns (because why not?), and includes some really good tidbits of advice that i couldn’t help but share. beck says that she’s “independent in a way that i wasn’t in my 20s” and that she feels she’s “finally found her rhythm in life.” inspiring, right? i recently turned 28, and i feel that i’m just starting to find my rhythm. here’s hoping by the time i turn 30, i’ll be closer to finding my place, and more importantly, finding my peace.

below, a few of my favorites from jamie’s list, 30 things i’ve learned in the past 30 years:

2. Failures are not mistakes, only the lessons that give us stories.

3. GO WITH YOUR GUT. Always, always, always.

7. You may end up loving the things you once hated.

4. DON’T HAVE A BACKUP PLAN.

25. Don’t be in a hurry to graduate college, get a job, get married, have babies. Have the freedom to spend your 20s exploring yourself and the world around you.

26. “He who does not take risk, does not drink Champagne.” Risk = reward

27. Perfection is boring.

28. Like attracts like. Create the kind of work you want to keep creating. Work with the kinds of people you want to keep working with. Surround yourself with people you believe in.

 

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{taylor tomasi hill as photographed for the cut during the first day of NYFW}

in a world where street style has gotten to be an atrocious, howridiculouscanidress game, taylor tomasi hill continues to bring her a-game, proving that you can get dressed (and be successfully photographed) without looking like you got dressed in the dark.

sweater, warm coat, and sneakers. aka, what most other new yorkers are wearing in this weather. thank goodness SOMEONE isn’t trying too hard.

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have i told you all how obsessed i am with lauren conrad? the reality tv star turned bonafide lifestyle mogul has done what no reality star before her has been able to do: she’s become a well-respected woman with multiple businesses under her sleeve. first, there’s her series of YA novels (right up my alley, obviously), loosely based on her own experience on the hills. then, there’s website, laurenconrad.com, a veritable treasure trove of lifestyle content for the pinterest generation (i eat that shit up, i tell you!). but that’s not all she’s doing. there’s the beauty department, a how-to beauty site she started with makeup artist amy nadine and hairstylist kristin ess. she’s also got a clothing line for kohls, a new online shopping venture with friend hannah skvarla (the little market), and of course, her paper crown clothing line, which she designs herself. the girl does it all, and she does it with perfectly waved california blonde locks and cat eyes to kill for. 

lest you think LC came off as a ditz during her mtv days, i remind you: she’s a mogul. a ditz doesn’t have that many (successful!) businesses under her belt. paper crown does pretty well for a ready to wear line, and is carried in shops across the country.

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so, where does all the magic go down? in a gorgeous exposed brick studio space that’s flooded in sunlight and features a floor to ceiling pinboard. hello, lover. lauren and the paper crown crew moved in a few years ago, and recently, conrad decided it was time for a makeover, they turned to interior goddess estee stanley, and the team at her new site, domaine. together, the domaine team crafted a space that was light, airy, comfortable and chic – just like conrad’s paper crown line. full of affordable pieces that you can easily purchase to recreate at home, this cheery studio is functional, inspirational, and feminine to boot. Image

the feature is worth a read, so be sure to check it out. my favorite tidbit? a sweet story about lauren’s former desk, a thrift store farmhouse table which she purchased for $100 and painted white back when paper crown began. preserving the desk in the name of sentimentality, the domaine team transformed it into a tall drafting table with a higher set of legs. “i love that they used the same table,” says lauren. “on the day we moved into the office, i was painting and i painted a big heart on the bottom of it. it’s still there, and i’m so excited because it represents the beginning of our business.”

sweet, right? speaking of sweet, check out some tips to help you get the look of paper crown’s pad in your own space. Image

shelving | basket | foo dog bookends

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pendant light | parsons desk | industrial bar stools 

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i’m a big fan, and frequent shopper (when my pennies add up) of one kings lane, the online interior decor flash sale site. OKL appeared on the scene a few years ago, back when gilt was the main player, and no one was doing the decor thing on the ‘net. since then, they’ve pretty much exploded. their revenues are out of this world, their design eye is beyond, their blog and social properties are perfect curated…i’ve got a crush, for sure. of course, it doesn’t hurt that OKL is the brainchild of two smart, savvy women, susan feldman and alison pincus, who saw a hole in the market, and filled it with ease. OKL has offices in both san francisco and new york, and their manhattan office was featured in the most recent issue of matchbook. it’s gorgeous, isn’t it? i can’t imagine working in such a lovely space. i feel like i’d be inspired every time i blinked. have a look below, and click here to read more about how one kings lane came to be.

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one girl five looks - emilyyou guys, i have a serious girl crush on into the gloss founder/former hills “super intern” emily weiss. weiss, who started her career as an intern at teen vogue then moved up the ranks at the mothership, left magazines a few years back to start into the gloss, an online mag/blog/website (what to call it, really? the site is so unique that it’s hard to put into words) that’s all about beauty and the industry insiders who know it best. ever wonder how essie (yes, that essie) got her start in nails? into the gloss has the story. wonder how kelly wearstler feels about hair? ITG has that too. weiss works her fashion industry connections for all their worth, putting together interesting, engaging content that’s well written, and, perhaps most important of all, different from what everyone else is doing online.

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oh, and did i  mention the girl looks like a supermodel and has incredible style? well, there’s that, too. formerly a long haired brunette, weiss chopped her locks last year into a “leonardo in romeo and juliet” style and has since gone darker. as if she wasn’t already insanely cool.

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she’s a street style photog favorite, and for good reason. whether she’s rocking her signature black skinnies or an oversized pair of aviators, the girl looks good. now, if only my legs were that long. er, and my hair was that straight, and dark, and…

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note to self: comparison is the thief of joy.

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but really, though, don’t you kind of want to be her? just a little bit?

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