Tuesday, January 31, 2012

love this line: ashaloo

I'm not the only one who loves the ashaloo etsy store - refinery 29 is right there with me.  Asha Maddali is the girl behind the brand who describes herself as a "matcha green tea smoothie obsessed cat lover who is fond of: street musicians, ukuleles, Paris, terrariums, Anderson Cooper and of course accessories, all kinds!" -- Sounds like my kind of girl.  Plus, she creates all her pieces locally here in New York City + finds inspiration in vintage finds. It's definitely worth checking out the rest of her stuff here - especially the headpieces + so-amazing ear cuffs... and everything else. But definitely start with these four -- they're at the top of my list.  What's on yours?


clockwise from top left - [one] [two] [three] [four]

Monday, January 30, 2012

lux leathers: UNEARTHED cuffs

I may be late to the party, but I recently came across UNEARTHED on etsy + was immediately drawn to their amazing leather work.  The sister duo behind the brand handcrafts each piece in a small LA studio with the most insane list of raw materials - including ostrich, frog, snakeskin, alligator, crocodile, beetle wings, cowhide, pony hair, lizard + more. 

<<>>A note for my fellow animal lovers out there: the Koenig sisters only buy from reputable + responsible distributors, and most of their materials (like the stingray leather) are actually by-products that would have otherwise been discarded as waste. You can find out more info on this here.<<>>
Their philosophy is to never settle for ordinary, which compels them to take everyday items like lighters, flasks, business card holders, belts, pill boxes, compacts, etc. + turn them into beautifully crafted, unusual pieces of art.  Everything they make is gorgeous, but the real star is their insanely luxurious looking leather cuffs.

The style, texture, color + feel of each piece is so unique, it's impossible not to fall in love with one (or in my case, ten!).  Don't believe me? Check out a dozen of my favorites - which I chose out of almost 100 - and try to pick just one:

For the especially adventurous, UNEARTHED also creates limited edition bangles. This one features the taxidermied head + tail of the actual snake from which the cuff was made:

Totally insane or totally amazing, I haven't decided.  I do love unique + sometimes dark accessories, though I'm not quite sure I would go this far. But I'm not ruling it out yet. Maybe I'll start with something more low key, like a simple polished fuchsia stingray, and work my way up.

What do you think?

[all photos via UNEARTHED's etsy page]

Friday, January 27, 2012

friday's one-of-a-kind find: the leather "paper" bag

I'd like to say that it was love at first sight. But when I first came across this bag on etsy, I did a double take.  Initially, it looks like it contains a pb+j and a fruit roll-up. Then it clicks.

. . . So let's just say it was love at second glance.

 It's like those edible experiments where they make a pastry dessert look like a double cheeseburger - totally bizarre and yet amazing at the same time. Instead of playing with her food, Brooklyn - based designer Dana Meyer toys with our idea of the classic brown bag, ditching the paper for a buttery, rusty - hued natural suede leather. It works because the craftsmanship is impeccable, the color is perfection and the texture is super luxurious.

The bag also features a magnetic closure + folds up like the real thing for easy storage or travel.

I would display this in my apartment, use it as a clutch or - why not - do the obvious use it as a cheeky play on the classic lunch box.

Talk about totally unnecessary but equally amazing . . .

Looks like brown bagging it is back.

Enjoy the weekend!

[all photos via dana's etsy page]

Thursday, January 26, 2012

wear your love story

As soon as valentine's day rolls around, we are bombarded with messages of seduction --- mostly from retail stores.  Every one seems to have found the perfect gift, and it's always heart-shaped + saturated in fuchsia, baby pink, blush or blood red. 

Trust me, I'm not complaining. I love Nordstrom + I love love. But I always have the same thought as I scroll through the slide shows of lingerie + perfume: if that someone is really so special, doesn't she deserve something not featured in a generic roundup of romantic cliches?

As much as we love opening up jewelry - and trust me guys, we definitely do - the well-thought-out words that accompany the gift is always the best part. Even more amazing (maybe for it's elusiveness) is the long-lost handwritten love note, in all of it's crossed-out, misspelled glory. 

With that in mind, here is my valentine's advice: definitely don't lose the jewelry - just pick a piece that combines it with the one other thing we'd most like to get, on v-day or any day.  Take a look: 

<><><><><><><><> one <><><><><><><><>


<><><><><><><><> two <><><><><><><><>

<><><><><><><><> three <><><><><><><><>

<><><><><><><><> four <><><><><><><><>


<><><><><><><><> five <><><><><><><><>

<><><><><><><><> six <><><><><><><><>

<><><><><><><><> seven <><><><><><><><>

<><><><><><><><> eight <><><><><><><><>

<><><><><><><><> nine <><><><><><><><>

Whether it's tucked inside an envelope, rolled into a locket or written on the page of your very own book, these lovely finds are the perfect way to write your love story - and wear it - this valentine's day. Just call me cupid --- I think I can already hear the "awww".

[all photos via catbird + sellers' etsy pages - see numbers for links]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

four layer nails by Marie

To help you get through hump day, my wonderfully talented friend Marie (see for yourself here) has agreed to share her very latest art project. Even though her days of pulling all-nighters hunched over wildly intricate illustrations in our tiny NYU dorm room are long over, she's still putting her talent to good use... check it out:

This is the only time I've seen her work + thought "I can totally do that." Granted, she is an amazing artist, so at first I didn't think I could possibly make it as clean as she did. But her directions (below) are super easy to follow (not to mention adorably quirky, just like her) so I am definitely going to give it a try... and, of course, you should too!

here it is: the 3 color, 4 tiered polish fade!
by: Marie

First things first - if you're going to take the time to DIY this polish fade, you'll need to netflix your favorite best-of-the-worst TV show - something to provide background noise you can tune out while giving your nails your full attention. You know - Teen Mom, Food Network, Real Housewives of Anywhere, etc. For me this is anything A&E.

You'll need 3 colors to end up with 4 layers of fade. I used hot pink, gray, and a sparkly gunmental...but you should be creative! Mix + match. Experiment.
  1. Take your first color (in my case hot pink) and paint your whole nail with a solid two coats. This will be the color that shows up closest to your cuticle.
  2. Next give one coat of color #2 (for me, gray) to the top 3/4 of your nail.
  3. Let dry while zoning out to A&E.
  4. When dry, take your first color (the hot pink) and paint the lower 1/2 of your nail so your overlapping with the 2nd color you just painted. This will give you the solid color first tier near your cuticle, as well as the 2nd tier of mixed color #1 and color #2.
  5. Then take color #2 a second time and paint the first top half of your nail, just slightly overlapping the 2nd tier.
  6. You're finished with tier 3. Let dry.
  7. Finally, take color #3 (in my case a sparkly gunmental) and paint the top portion of your nail.
Finish with a clear top coat and SHOW IT OFF! Be warned: everything you do + hold will suddenly be more exciting. Your daily cup of deli coffee will look (and maybe even taste) better than usual. Hailing a cab is suddenly performance art. Text with style. Facebook with flair. 

Leave a comment letting us know how it turned out...we are dying to know. And enjoy the compliments, Marie definitely is!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

dizzy over druzy

I'm super into the neon trend that's been happening lately, and definitely still loving the natural gem stones that adorne the most fashionable wrists + necks almost every season. 

But what's even better is the result when you combine the two - something that Marina Fini has absolutely killed with her druzy-based line of jewelry, Infinity, which I can't seem to take my eyes off... 


These landyard necklaces (directly above) are my hands-down favorite, but I would wear any of her pieces anywhere from a lunch date to a night out + even a cocktail party. The deep, vibrant hues make them more sophisticated than cutesy, which I absolutely love, and they have it all when it comes to accessories: they're eye-catching, gorgeous, unexpected + edgy all at the same time. But be careful: they definitely aren't for the faint of heart, so just make sure to keep everything else simple.


The California based company five-and-two also uses druzy (or what she calls "rainbow quartz") to create accessories that have a slightly more fun + girlie vibe. See what I mean:

These gorgeous rings (above) are five-and-two's claim to fame - and it's easy to see why - but I'm also loving their necklaces (below).  The contrast of the vibrant quartz against the earthy brown backing is reminiscient of a piece of art - but instead of being mounted on your wall, it's hanging around your neck.

Of course, I couldn't not mention these lovely pyrite + string bracelets (below). They're a great add-on to an already stacked wrist, or perfectly dainty all by themselves.  As friendship bracelets they're a great little gift no matter what the occasion, which (in addition to great greeting cards) I am always on the lookout for. With a huge selection of colors+ adorable packaging, you will definitely want to pick up a few for yourself while you're at it. Don't worry: at under $20 each, you can grab one for her and one (or two!) for you.



If you're looking for something a little softer (and maybe a little less rock-star-meets-new-age-hippie), these druzy studs by NYC jewelry design are absolute perfection. They're not too small (about the size of a penny), which makes them delicate and still a little daring at the same time.  I would show these off with a high bun and otherwise clean look - definitely leave the necklace at home.

Unless, of course, you want to trade in the studs for one of these:


The teardrops are beautiful, but I'm really feeling the black heart. With Valentine's Day coming up, I can't think of a better anti-v-day present to buy your single-and-loving it friend - or, for that matter, yourself! Enjoy!