life-changing purchases

An Autumn State of Mind

By | at the office, fall, life-changing purchases, lifestyle | No Comments

No matter how many years go by that I don’t have to go back to school (and I think it’s been 10 now), autumn still feels a little bit like the start of a new year. As those carefree summer days quickly give way to the hustle and bustle of September at the office, I’m inspired to get organized, learn some new things, and refocus on some of my work-related goals. I spent the weekend trying to snap myself out of a little funk I’ve been in because this year’s beach days are dwindling down. I decorated my living room with sparkly leaves, neatly folded all my sweaters, and then I stumbled upon the perfect object for fall. Not a pair of boots or a brand new scarf, but a pretty little chevron notebook (for $3 @ TJMaxx), whose impeccably bound blank pages are destined to become my new catch-all for to-do lists, meeting notes, and project plans at work.

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” That’s the Roosevelt quote I scrawled on the first page before jotting down my page-long list of tasks this morning. I toted my little book to the first of a newly scheduled daily meeting for my department, and then I started to cross things off one by one as the day wore on. Before I knew it, it was 9:30 p.m., and I’m not saying it was the notebook, but I think I may have accomplished the work of five people today. And it was all important. And that felt good.

I’m gonna miss my warm, sunny beach days more than anything, but I think I can get on board with this fall thing after all.

Nautical Wheeler

By | blogs, fashion statements, life-changing purchases, outfits, spring, style | 6 Comments


Top: Ralph Lauren (thrifted). Cardigan: Banana Republic. Pants: Apt. 9 (similar). Shoes: Cole Haan (similar). Belt: Michael Kors (similar). Bag: Tory Burch (love it so much in bright blue for summer!). Sunglasses: Ray-Ban. Necklace: Lia Sophia. Bracelets: Alex + Ani, Lia Sophia, Kate Spade, Swell Caroline.

My favorite outfits usually have some kind of story behind them, and this particular one begins with Atlantic-Pacific. The day I discovered her blog, I fell head over heels in love with this outfit. Her gorgeous silk Ralph Lauren shirt immediately went on the ultimate wishlist in my head (at the time, it was accompanied by the perfect fitting camouflage jacket, penny loafers that don’t look ridiculous on me, a vintage Hawaiian circle dress, and the Pade Vavra shark tooth necklace). I figured there was no way I’d ever find this exact top, but about a week later when I stopped in a local thrift store, would you believe this shirt was the first thing I saw? “No freakin’ way,” I said to myself. It was about four sizes too big, but I bought it for $4 and had my tailor work her magic. Two years and a yellow cardigan later, I’m finally able to recreate one of my favorite looks of all time. I give all the credit for this outfit to Blair, whose blog is a constant source of inspiration for my wardrobe (even though I bet she’s almost a foot taller than me). 🙂





The Great Sandal Debate of 2013

By | fashion statements, life-changing purchases, shopping, spring, style | 11 Comments


Every spring I do this. I go off in search of the perfect pair of summer sandals. Some years it’s a pair of heels or wedges. Some years it’s the perfect flip flops. This year it happens to be a pair of gold leather flat sandals. The two on my wish list are the two above — the Jack Rogers Hamptons Navajo in Platinum and the Canfora Gail in Oro. Both handmade, both high quality shoes, both pretty expensive for a little pair of sandals, and both favorites of Jackie Kennedy. As much as I’ve been lusting after the Canforas for ages, I might save my first splurge on a pair of Capri sandals for the first time I actually visit Italy. Although, for $10 more, I can order the Canforas through Shopbop and enjoy the luxury of returning them if they don’t fit. As for the Jacks, I’m pretty sure I need them in a wide width, so I’m stuck using the Jack Rogers website, rather than Zappos, Amazon, Piperlime or another site offering free return shipping. Hmm. I’m horrible at making these decisions.

While I’m sure your initial reaction is, “Lisa, why the hell do you need such expensive sandals?!?”, I’d like to reiterate my previous point that I’ve taken up investing in quality items I love, rather than stocking up on a bunch of crap I won’t care much about in a year or so. (Besides, I just sold, like, 32 articles of clothing and shoes from my closet on eBay.) Whichever pair of these sandals I end up with, I’ll probably still be wearing them five summers from now. (Unless I relocate to the Caribbean, in which case, I’ll be wearing them five winters from now, as well.)

The Litter Box

By | home improvement, kona the kitty, life-changing purchases, mele the kitty | 2 Comments

plant litter box1

Over the weekend, J and I attended a lovely wine party at the fairly new home of my former co-worker, Dave, and his wife. As they took us on a tour of their place, I became instantly jealous of their multiple faux plant cat litter boxes. So much so that, as Dave poured me my first glass of wine, I was already on Amazon, shelling out $59.99 for one of my own (with free two-day shipping). The quality item arrived today, was assembled in a mere five minutes, and is currently awaiting its first cat crap. The foliage on top has really changed the entire ambiance in my living room, and I don’t even have to water it. What a classy solution to (literally) the shittiest aspect of cat ownership. I’m so excited.

A Few of my Favorite Things

By | hair care, life-changing purchases, lifestyle, lists, shopping, skin care, style, wine, year in review | 2 Comments


1. Shelley Kyle Tiramani Moisturizing Body Lotion. Love the way this lotion’s subtle scent reminds me of outdoor beach house showers in summer. Not sure why, but it does. I picked mine up at a local shop here in VB called Simply Selma’s. Love. =)

2. Hunter Huntress Rain Boot in Pillar Box Red. I actually purchased my Hunters at the end of 2011, but from snowy nights to soggy crab pickin’ parties, full-blown hurricanes to just plain rainy afternoons, these boots have certainly seen their fair share of puddles in 2012, and the rest of my shoes are certainly appreciative of that.

3. Longchamp ‘Le Pliage – Large’ Tote. I spent a lot of time this year looking for the perfect travel tote to pull triple duty as a carry-on, a purse, and a camera bag (in combination with my Ona Roma camera insert). I found this one in San Francisco, and it’s absolutely perfect.

4. Collecting seashells. It seems like I collected more shells along the water’s edge this year than I have since I was a kid. This particular handful came from the Florida coastline, where the Gulf of Mexico meets the soft, white sand in front of the Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola.

5. St. Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan for Body. Started using this tanner one right around Memorial Day weekend, and it kept me glowing all summer long. No streaks, lovely scent. Easily the best self-tanner I’ve tried.

6. Statement pearls. This necklace was a gift from my mom last Christmas, and it’s been an accessory in heavy rotation throughout 2012. This particular Stella & Dot ‘Sofia’ pearl bib necklace is no longer available, but the brand’s ‘Lucia’ necklace is pretty similar. This more affordable Forever21 Graduated Pearlescent Necklace is another one I wear all the time.

7. Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil. This product is a game-changer. Just a teeny drop of this product works miracles in my hair.  As in, I can replace at least 16 other hair products with just this one. Go to Sephora. Ask for a sample. =)

8. Gap 1969 Always Skinny Jeans. I wore the hell out of these jeans this year. =) They’re comfy, flattering, and I love that they come in lengths.

9. Beach Cruiser #2 (aka 2012 Electra Cruiser 1 in Blue). I bought myself Beach Cruiser #2 this summer just because I had room for an extra bike. I still love my Electra Coaster 7D, but the gears/fenders are a little fussy, and the lower-maintenance single-speed is a bit more conducive to riding on gravel trails and hanging my beach chair on the handlebars. Besides, coaster brakes are sweet.

10. Tommy Bahama Medium Brim Scarf Hat. (seen on me here) This hat was a splurge, but I’ve got to say it was well worth the money I paid for it. It’s so secure on my head that I can wear while I’m riding my bike, which I love. It’s also very high quality and pretty flexible, which means I can lean back in my beach chair without it awkwardly moving around, looking ridiculous or losing it’s shape. All that, and it protects my skin, my blonde locks and my eyes from the sun. #lifesaver

11. Saint James Garde Cote II in Noir. If I had to choose the best article of clothing I acquired all year, it would be this shirt. 2012 was a year of quality over quantity for me, and this shirt is a perfect example. Instead of going overboard shopping during my annual summer trip to NYC, I kept the item count down and put my dollars towards this top. It’s constructed of a UV-protective fabric, so well-made, wrinkle-free and basically the most versatile shirt ever. I’ve worn it to the office, to the mall, to the airport, to dinner, to wineries, and everywhere in between. I’ve folded it, hung it up, washed it, packed it, and crumpled it up in a ball — it doesn’t lose its shape. I’ve worn it with skinnies/heels, boyfriend jeans/flats, skirts, blazers, sweaters, shorts…I even re-created my favorite J.Crew SS13 runway outfit with it (kind of). Maybe I need it in red stripes, too? =)

12. Chandon Blanc de Noirs. Easily the best wine I discovered on my trip to Napa Valley. It’s a delightful blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, and to be honest, my recent shipment from the winery included a bottle of this stuff the size of my torso, so it’s exactly what I’ll be ringing in the new year with. Don’t be surprised if this bubbly ends up on a list of 2013’s favorites, too. =)