Love Story

True Love
Don’t you just love hearing how people meet? How just one day paths cross and lives are changed forever. As a hopeless romantic, I am constantly asking couples I meet how they met. This past summer, a sweet Australian couple told me how they met on a train platform. A dear friend met her husband at church upon settling into a new city. Just today at the shop one of our artists told me she met her husband at The Muse, a local Nantucket watering hole. But my favorite story by far is that of my sweet grandparents, Malcolm and Gladys. My grandfather tells it like this…

I was working on the docks and my buddy mentioned to me that there was a new girl visiting the island from Fairhaven. Rumor had it her father had a fishing boat. He said she was quite cute and that he was going to ask her out to the movies that evening. I, trusting his judgement, quickly told him that she was already busy that night as I had asked her out. Now, I hadn’t even met her yet but knew our paths would cross later that day. And of course, they did. On Main Street, with my buddy, we saw your grandmother and I promptly asked if she would join me at the movies. The rest is history.

Amazing, right? I love the confidence of my grandfather. Fighting for the girl he hadn’t even met yet (perhaps this is where my hopeless romanticism comes from). And now, in their 69th year of marriage, these two continue to be my hope and inspiration for love. They both will attest it takes work. My grandmother says she just got lucky. I think they both did and so did I.

malcolm & gladys

Listen

Love Yourself
Friends, I had an epic fail yesterday. I woke up early to make a batch of my go-to chocolate chip cookies for a certain someone for Valentine’s Day. The plan was to send them overnight today to my old city but with Winter Storm Pax on the way I thought I better get them in the mail ahead of the storm. I love this recipe because the cookies always come out just as a cookie should be: crispy, chewy and delicious. But on the one day when it really mattered how they turned out, they were just, how do I say, not good. How could I possibly send along to that someone I wanted to impress?

But then I took a step back. And listened. The universe was giving me a sign. You see, I tend to put myself out there a bit too much. My dear friends (thank you so much) have certainly heard me analyze relationships over and over again. I will admit, I think I’ve gotten better but as my wise friend Mary told me just this past week “May, you have to guard your heart.” So universe, thank you for making me take pause and listen. While sending cookies along to Mr. Boston would certainly be a nice gesture, perhaps Valentine’s Day is not the time to do so. He knows how I feel about him and has shared how he feels about me but our timing is just a bit off. In the end, timing is everything. And you know what, I believe he and I are both worth the wait.

Island life is teaching me to be patient. And listen. Two important lessons for this girl. And thus, I guess I will be my special someone to impress today for as Carrie Bradshaw reminds me, “the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

Passion

MB as stylist
How does that quote go… “Do what you love and do it often.” One of the many reasons I decided to return to my island roots nearly two years ago was I felt like something was missing. Don’t get me wrong. I had a great life in the city. A good job, wonderful friends, a sweet studio (that I miss nearly every day) but something just felt amiss. With a little distance and lots of quiet island time, I have come to realize what was missing. Passion.

My time home has allowed me to find the courage to seek out and explore my passion(s). I no longer sit in an office but rather divide my time between a catering kitchen in the summer months and a beautiful shop, where I wear many hats including social media girl, shop girl, buyer, web girl, and design assistant girl. I never thought much about my love for all things design. Colors, textures, furniture placement… it always came natural to me. But I have come to realize it doesn’t come that easy to everyone.

And so I thought I would share my guiding principle when it comes to design. Let your space be a reflection of you and what’s important to you. Buy pieces that you love. Invest in them. My studio in Boston was nearly empty for the first six months as I was waiting to find just that right piece.

If you ever need help, know I’m here. And if you need a little interior inspiration, do check out my Pinterest board. Another one of my passions, I must confess.

Oh and the photo above… that’s me doing a little styling for a website photo shoot. Not bad for a day’s work.

Confession

Breaking Bad
Netflix, we have a problem. Thanks to you, I have spent the last 7 days glued to my computer screen engrossed in Breaking Bad. I have made it to Season 5, episode 3. How is this possible? I can’t sleep. I have skipped meals. I’m having dreams of the Mexican drug cartel. You (and AMC) have made me an addict. I don’t know how the story of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman will end. Part of me wants to race home after work today to find out but another part of me doesn’t want this story to end. I guess the silver lining is that House of Cards starts this weekend. Please don’t judge me for my T.V. consumption as of late. The winters are long and quiet 30 miles out at sea!

Perfection

Anthropologie
Anthropologie. What can I say. You just keep getting better and better. Every time I walk through your doors I feel like I’m home. Seriously, how do you do it? And I love that you are now offering not only a beautiful selection of intimates and workout wear but your beauty offerings are expanding as well. You are that friendship that just gets better with age.

Here are just a few of my picks from their February catalogue:

My dear friend is getting married the first weekend of May so a few new dresses are in-order for all the pre-wedding festivities. This Tracy Reese number is certainly calling my name.

The one New Years resolution that I have fallen a bit short on is my stretching, or sweating my butt off. Now that I have discovered Pure + Good, Anthropologie’s exclusive workout line, I might just kick myself into gear. These cropped leggings and jacket are currently my top contenders.

This beach cover-up is perfection, hence the title of this post and represents everything I am and love: boho, beach and ever so chic.

In the past, I have always had basic dinner plates in my cabinets and used colorful accent salad plates when setting the table. The thinking was simple. I wanted the food to take center stage. That was until I saw these dishes. Aren’t they amazing? And I love the message: Dream, Love, Eat. Words to live by.

Any for my beauty picks, I would gladly take this hand cream (and its lovely packaging), this all natural cover-up and this under and top coat collection.

My Crush, Part II

Giada
I hope you all enjoyed meeting my John last week. Today, I am sharing my girl crush… Ms. Giada. Isn’t she beautiful?! I can’t tell you how many times I have dreamed that we are cycling through Tuscany together. I think we could be besties. I also read that she has a love affair with tequila, just like me.

Seriously, if I could be any woman, I would want to be this lady. Grew up in L.A. with a grandfather in the film business, attended cooking school in France, married her college boyfriend (who just so happens to be designer and simply adorable), a mother and an Oxfram Ambassador. What a life! I may have just blown off a day of work and joined a B.J.’s Wholesale Club (my only purchase was Giada’s cookbook) to meet this woman a few years back. And let tell you, it was one of the best days of my life and my signed cookbook, one of my prized possessions.

Giada has one more thing to soon add to her resume… a restaurant. Yes, it’s true. She is finally opening up her own place in Las Vegas at The Cromwell, a boutique hotel, set to open in May. The restaurant, which will seat nearly 300, will showcase Italian food with a California twist with impeccable views. As Giada says, picture a modern Milan osteria, not a rustic Italian dining spot. My father has had a place in Vegas for years and I may just finally take him up on his offer to visit. Can’t wait to try this place!

Fresh

Fresh Products
I have never been a make-up girl… something about applying foundation and using eyeliner has always caused me some trouble. What I am, though, is a skin-care product girl and let me tell you, I have been a fan of Fresh for quite some time. My addiction to all things Fresh began in college while working at Beauty by the Sea, where I was first introduced to Hesperides, which to this day is my go-to summer fragrance. Since then, I have been an loyal customer. They may know me by name at the Newbury Street location, just saying.

With these cold winter days upon us, I try to keep my skin well nourished. My routine is quite simple. I begin and end the day by washing my face with their Soy Face Cleanser. I have been using this product religiously for nearly five years. This cleanser works for all skin types and contains nourishing amino acids, rich soy proteins, and soothing botanicals to hydrate, calm, and tone. And for those nights when I attempt eye make-up (very, very limited), this cleanser washes it clean away.

Moisturizing is key. My go-to winter moisturizer is their Black Tea Age Delay Cream. Wait, did I really just admit that I use a product with the words “age delay”…. my secret is out. This nourishing and soothing cream has restored a certain glow to my skin. I can’t tell you how many comments I have received lately and I owe it all to this product. I should note that I switch things up just a bit in the summer months and use the Lotus Youth Preserve Cream. A little less rich for those warmer days.

Once a week, I indulge in a little extra TLC and use their Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask. I apply this soothing cream and twenty minutes later, my skin is like new. Try it, I promise you will see instant results.

The great thing about this Boston-based company is that they are constantly introducing and improving their product line. While visiting their Newbury Street location last week, I was introduced to three new products: Black Tea Age Delay Serum; Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Concentrate; and Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Infusion Treatment Toner. As I admitted moments before, I am focusing more and more on “age delay”. These products, as the nice salesman told me, will do just the trick. Diminish fine lines, fight free radicals, hydrate. These are my major concerns as of late. I ended up splurging on the eye cream and toner and I’m very happy I did.

Are you a Fresh fan too? If so, do tell. Would love to hear your favorite product. And remember, use your moisturizer!

Escape

Beach Please
Let’s be honest. I think we could all use a little escape right now. With more snow in our forecast for tomorrow, I have officially started the countdown to my escape to Southern California. Surf, sunshine and sand… yes, please.

When daydreaming of warmer weather, I also think, what will I wear. Here are a few pieces I may just need to pack in my California bag and have ready for an island summer.

– I tried this Calypso tunic on while in Atlanta a few weeks back and made the executive decision that it will be my go-to summer 2014 piece. Great with skinny jeans or as a beach cover-up.

– My girls know that I’m a tried and true Nanette Lepore fan so when I saw this beautiful blue two piece, I just knew it had to be mine.

– Every summer, I have one mission… to find that perfect white dress. A special thank you to Shopbop for helping me find this one. Love how this will transition into evening with a simple belt and a leather jacket. Beautiful and so mine.

– Being that I’m a bit on the tall side, I love me a maxi dress and I am so grateful that this trend is sticking around for another season. Loving this one from Piperlime. Again, a perfect day to night option. I guess I’m secretly hoping for lots of evenings out this summer. Maybe just maybe!

– Last summer I had to sadly retire my favorite J.Crew sandals. I think these ones will make a fine replacement. Note to self… if you find a sandal you love, purchase 2 pairs and hide 1 away.

Movie Monday

Philomena
Well I checked another Academy Award nominated film off my list this past week… Philomena. Only five more to go. Think I can do it? If this snow continues, I have no doubt!

The story of Philomena is a quite tragic one. A mother’s death, a father’s abandonment, teenage pregnancy, lost love. You see, Philomena was sent to a convent in Rosrea, Ireland in the early 1950s after becoming pregnant. Forced to work in the convent’s laundry seven days a week, as payment for taking care of her son Anthony, Philomena was being punished for her “sin”. And then a mother’s worst nightmare, Anthony, at the age of 3, was sold by the nuns to an American family for 1,000 pounds. Philomena wasn’t even able to say goodbye.

Fast forward 50 years, and Philomena connects with Martin Sixsmith, a onetime BBC correspondent and former member of Tony Blair’s communications team, who takes on her request to help her find Anthony as a human interest piece. The friendship formed between these two is quite something.

I won’t tell you much more of the movie as I don’t want to ruin it but what I can tell you is this. Judi Dench is phenomenal. And her co-star, Steve Coogan, who adapted Martin Sixsmith’s 2009 book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee into a screenplay, provided a bit of comedic relief and voice of reason.

I would consider myself a religious person. I try to follow my life in the tenants of the bible’s teachings. However, I also believe that we are not placed here on this earth to judge anyone but rather to love and support one another. The way Philomena is treated by the nuns and punished for her actions is beyond me. And yet, she forgives. The church, the nuns, herself. Philomena embodies the very essence of Christianity in my view, the ability to forgive, even those who hurt us so gravely.

My favorite line of the film is when Martin recites to Philomena a poignant T.S. Elliot quote “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Forgiveness and home. I think that about sums up this film for me.