Life + Links

Reading and Shopping Recommendations: The Big Life by Ann Shoket

Happy weekend! I’m writing this post on a Megabus (so glam, right?) en route to Boston to visit one of my best friends from school for the weekend. We don’t have a ton of plans, and I’ve been to the city quite a few times, so I’m just excited to catch up and spend some time together.

This week was actually really busy, so I’m especially proud of myself for getting up three other blog posts! On Monday night, I went to dinner at Ann Shoket’s (amazing, #goals-worthy) apartment. She’s the former editor-in-chief of Seventeen, and has a new book out called The Big Lifewhich is all about ambition, career, and finding that perfect balance of friends, a job you’re passionate about, and a relationship. Also at the dinner were five other #BadassBabes, and we had a really interesting and inspiring conversation about money. I love talking about these sort of deep life issues, and it was especially great to do so with girls with all sorts of backgrounds and experiences.

It was pretty much non-stop from there: Tuesday I met up with a few friends for drinks at Dos Caminos (it’s a great Mexican restaurant with several locations in the city!) Then on Wednesday I went to the gym since I  knew I’d be out of town this weekend and wouldn’t be able to make it my normal Saturday morning spin class. And the work week ended with an early Cinco de Mayo event and grabbings a drink with a friend on Thursday.

Hope you have a good week, and that I don’t hit any traffic on the rest of this bus ride. It’s 10:30 right now and I need to get out of here! LOL.

(Literally three minutes after I wrote that sentence we hit traffic. As DJ Khaled would say, I played myself.)

What I’m Reading

How to teach children about consent. Such an important post from Cup of Jo.

Aretha Franklin’s epic shade had me cracking up.

A lovely walk in Notting Hill I’m adding to my to-do list for the next time I’m in London.

An interesting look at the turmoil-filled retail industry.

How to prepare for a potential home buying purchase in your 30s.

Loved Krista’s hot takes about the new Instagram.

Gigi Hadid’s birthday looked pretty epic.

An interesting take on the new Handmaid’s Tale series. Are you going to watch? I genuinely don’t know if my heart can take it.

Love this pretty yellow dress on Jess.

Congrats to Caitlin on six years of blogging!

Jess has some amazing tips about making friends in a new city — or as an adult, in general!

What I’m Shopping

J.Crew is an extra 30% off right now, and I’m really feeling this bow swimsuit.

This eyelet dress is so pretty — I love the tassel detail!

This gingham dress has the cutest bow detail in the back.

Love this fringe dress, too. (Can you tell I’m feeling dresses right now?)

And one more, for good measure! Love the cold shoulder.

What I’m Writing

The second half of my Los Angeles recap!

How I convinced my fitness-hating self to start going to the gym more.

The perfect spring shirt dress.

Continue Reading

What I Did in Los Angeles, Part Two

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

I left off on the end of my Saturday in LA, when I had eaten my body weight in chimichangas. On Sunday, we woke up early to head west for a morning in Venice. Armed with a recommendation from a friend, we ate brunch at Gjelina, a trendy pizza restaurant with amazing vegetable sides. I had a chorizo pizza and we ordered fries to share. After eating there, I’ve ended up seeing it on a bunch of LA guides — so you don’t just have to take my word for it! I

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Next, we walked over to the Venice Canals, where I took these photos. It’s such a cute area, and I’d absolutely die to own a house here (or even just rent one for the weekend!) We then walked down the Venice Boardwalk, which yes, is grotty. So much so that I’ve heard some people say it’s skippable. But it was my first time, so I wanted to do it + see the beach. I’d personally say it’s worth it if it’s your first time visiting, as it is a “landmark” of sorts, but don’t expect much. It’s a lot of hot dog stands and t-shirt shops. Although there were a few poké places too! (Though is that where I’d want to get raw fish? Probably not.)

We then walked over to Abbott Kinney, the main shopping street in Venice (and where Gjelina is located!) I didn’t buy anything, but there are some cute spots: Daniel Wellington, Cuyana, Illesteva, as well as lots of unique storefronts that are partially outdoors, like the one pictured right below this, so it’s fun to wander through on a nice day. (It was overcast the day we went, but still fun.)

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Then, we drove back east a bit to grab an afternoon cocktail at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I had been once as a kid (not to stay, just to use the bathroom, haha!) but really wanted to go back as an adult. I always prefer grabbing a drink at a swanky hotel over doing lunch or dinner there, simply because it’s much more affordable. We sat outside at the Polo Lounge, which I highly recommend. There’s also a restaurant down by the pool, but it was a little loud and not nearly as elegant. And if I’m paying for a $18 cocktail, it better be elegant!

We both ordered Howard Hughes cocktails, which came in these sky-high martini-esque glasses, and were adorned with a little purple flower. It was the exact sort of over-the-top classic cocktail experience I was hoping for. Next time, I want to sit in one of these adorable pink and green booths. I mean, so, so cute, right?

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Dress // Sunglasses

With not much else on our agenda for the day, we then make the quick drive over to West Hollywood to stop at Gracias Madre. I can’t speak much to the food there, as we only ordered chips and guac, but it’s all plant-based. We both ordered snowcone cocktails, which were both very tasty!

For dinner on Sunday, I met up with a friend from college for poké at Sweetfin on Larchmont. I love poké, and am so happy it’s becoming more of a thing in NYC, though we’re not nearly up to LA standards just yet. Also, if you’re in the Larchmont area, there’s a great ice cream shop called Salt & Straw just down the block!

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

On Monday, I headed up to Malibu, where I met up with Brooke and her boyfriend for lunch at Malibu Farm. It’s a super cute spot right on a pier, so you get a gorgeous beach view the whole time. The menu is pretty expansive — tacos, burgers, sandwiches, et cetera — but there’s no french fries, which really threw us for a loop.

I also ordered a kale mimosa and felt very #LA.

After we parted ways, I walked along the beach for a bit (so, so beautiful!) and then headed to the Getty Villa. LA has a lot of great museums, and on my next trip, I’ll definitely try to hit more of them. But this time I just didn’t make a ton of time for it as I was more interested in exploring the different neighborhoods.  I am, however, glad I made time for this one. The space was built by J. Paul Getty to house his Greek, Roman and Etruscan art. And while the art is impressive, it’s the villa itself that really blew me away. One thing to remember: You do need to make a (free) reservation before you can enter. Parking costs $12, if I remember correctly.

Afterwards, I set off on the drive back east, and of course, was caught in another LA traffic jam. I had some time to spare, so I stopped by the Grove, an outdoor shopping center near Beverly Hills. It’s way more picturesque than your average outdoor mall and has a ton of stores — Nordstrom, J.Crew, American Girl, Madewell, you get the picture.

Also to note: At this point on Monday I realized I had gotten the most unattractive sunburn in the sun during lunch earlier that day. My face was SO. PINK. I felt the natives judging me for not putting on SPF. It was the one day I didn’t wear any CC cream, which has SPF 50 in it. Rookie mistake.

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

I was flying out Tuesday night, but had the day to explore. My stepsister works in Hollywood, so after dropping her off, I walked around the “Walk of Fame” was able to see some famous stars! The whole thing is incredibly expansive.

I also tried to go to the Broad Museum that morning, but by the time I got there (45 minutes before opening, on a rainy Tuesday!) it was already a two hour wait. Honestly, I’m sure it’s great, but I just didn’t want to stand outside in the rain for two hours. Next time!

There were also a couple of food spots I hadn’t yet checked off my list. The first and foremost was Lemonade. If I could only drink one beverage for the rest of my life, it would be a hard choice between wine and lemonade (this is excluding water!). I don’t drink soda, and I never have, so lemonade has always been my drink of choice.

I went to the location on Larchmont after struggling to find parking at the one near the Broad. Since I was meeting up with my stepsister later that day for In-N-Out, I decided to skip eating there, and just get the lemonade. I ordered the guava limeade, and it was so refreshing. I was tempted to get a second, but resisted and then headed off to LACMA.

Though I didn’t actually visit LACMA (sensing a pattern here?), since I was short on time to meet my stepsister for lunch, I wanted to see the famous urban lights installation outside, which I think of as a classic sign of LA.

Then, it was time for In-N-Out. I had been a couple times before, in Vegas and San Francisco, and it was just as good as I remembered. Also, it’s so cheap. My burger/fries/lemonade combo was less than $8. I have to say, that definitely gives In-N-Out advantage in the great In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack debate.

My last stop was at a place called Churro Borough, which makes churro ice cream sandwiches. Yes, you read that right. And yes, they were so, so good. I love churros. I wish they were more of a staple in my everyday diet.

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

After going home to pack, I headed to my stepsister’s office to drop off her car and take an Uber to the airport. There was an accident, which made the typically 20-minute trip take almost an hour. And then Uber prices skyrocketed to $80 for a normally $25 trip. Cue me having a near panic attack on the drive. Luckily, it all worked out — my Uber driver was awesome and got me there in great time. I made my red eye, slept nearly the whole time, and arrived back in NYC at 5 a.m. Needless to say, the next day at work was rough, but I powered through!

I had the best time in LA. I could totally see myself living there, to be honest! All the restaurants, the cool neighborhoods, the shopping — and of course, the palm trees! I also love to drive so that part didn’t even bother me that much. I definitely belted out along to the John Legend and Ariana Grande version of Beauty and the Beast too. And best of all: I got to see people I love but rarely get to hang with. Can’t ask for more!

Continue Reading

How I, A Self-Proclaimed Fitness Hater, Started Working Out Regularly

How to Start Working Out

Cute sneaks — essential to fitness. Although I don’t wear my cutest sneaks to the gym because I don’t want to ruin them. LOL. Also I promise I don’t work out on my bed. 

This post is part personal reflection, part advice. To start: I’ve never been an athlete. Not even close. Nearly every person (boy or girl) played AYSO soccer (was this a thing where you’re from?) in elementary school. I didn’t. Neither did my best childhood friends, so I was fine with it. But that, coupled with the fact that I never did volleyball, basketball, softball (anything!) meant I didn’t play a team sport until I did intramural kickball last year. When I was 23. YEP.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just sit on the couch as a kid. I danced until I was seven, and after that, transitioned into figure skating, which I did multiple times a week until I was in high school. Then I switched gears and did theater and the newspaper! Which were fun, invaluable experiences that had a huge impact on me (after all, I’m a journalist today) but didn’t really contribute to good habits when it comes to physical fitness.

As I abandoned the more physically active routines of my childhood, I never really replaced it with anything else. And honestly, I’m lucky: I was able to stay fairly slim without working out with any sort of regularity in high school and college. From the age of 14 to about 22, I’d say I was lucky if I made it to the gym once every three months. More often, it was about six months.

After I graduated, I still put off working out. I was new to the city, I wanted to have fun. Working out isn’t fun! (Something I still mostly believe, to be honest!) But around January 2015, I was going through some personal issues, and hit up pretty much every gym in the city’s free trial program to try to work out the stress. And then, I made a big move: I joined a gym.

It still took me about a year — and a gym switch — to become someone who works out on a regular basis. And by regular, I mean I try for twice a week, but always make it at least once a week. I know, this isn’t much. But this post isn’t about becoming a fitness guru or falling in love with working out. To be honest, I still don’t really love it. Carly said it best earlier this year: I feel satisfied after a good workout, but that’s it. I don’t love the process, and I’m honestly always looking at the clock. It’s about making working out a part of your routine when it never has been before.

And with that, please know — I still have a long way to go. I see posts from bloggers who say they work out five to six times a week, and I’m honestly baffled. (How do you find the time?!) I have yet to be able to bring myself to wake up early enough for a morning workout. I’ll always prioritize grabbing drinks with friends over hitting up a yoga class. I’ve got a ways to go. (Although I’ll never apologize for putting friends over fitness!)

But I am proud of myself from going from being a person who would get laughs if I talked about going to the gym to someone who does feel guilty if I don’t make it there at least once a week. It may not seem like much, but to me, it IS huge. And if I can do it, anyone can. I do believe it’s all about baby steps. Right now, it’s once or twice a week, but maybe soon, it’ll be two or three times. Any improvement is improvement.

Here is how I did it.

Oh, and here’s some activewear I’m loving, because this post is a novel, I need some sort of visual to break it up, and I didn’t take any fitness photos. (Told you I’m not an athlete.)

1. Make it as easy as possible on yourself.

I mentioned above that I’ve switched gyms in the past few years. The first one I joined, Blink Fitness, was about 13 blocks from my apartment. Short blocks, but still, 13 blocks. It made going to the gym such a production that I hardly ever it did it.(Ironically, about six months after I swapped gyms, Blink opened up a location about two blocks from my apartment.) But who wants to work out and then walk 13 blocks home? When getting to the gym already is a feat for you, don’t make it any hard on yourself. Choose a location that’s super easy for you to get to, whether it’s a block away from your office or across the street from your apartment. When it’s that close, you’ll feel too guilty not to go.

2. Make it a bit of a financial burden.

You’re probably thinking, ‘Diana, why would you join a gym that’s 13 blocks from your apartment? Of course you won’t go.’ Well, you are smarter than my 22-year-old self. The reason I joined Blink was because it only costs $25 a month. And I had this idea in my head that because I hadn’t worked out much in the past I should spend the bare minimum on a gym. But since the commute was getting to be too much, I switched to New York Sports Club, which is a bit more expensive, but a lot closer.

It ended up kicking my butt into gear. Not only does NYSC have classes, a big motivator for me, but when you’re only paying $25 a month, it’s easy to be like ‘oh, whatever, it’s just $25’ and skip a week. And before you know it, you’ve missed a month at the gym. When it’s $50+ every month, I can’t reconcile not utilizing that money. If you truly can afford it, sometimes it’s good to make yourself feel a bit more indebted to your gym experience, as it can push you to go more.

3. Be realistic.

Y’all, try as I might, I am just not a morning person. I could sign up for a 9:30 class on Saturdays, but honestly, I know I’ll never make it. Instead, I set realistic goals — like making it to an 11:00 spin class instead. It’s just enough time to lounge in bed for a few hours in the morning, but not so late I feel like I’ve wasted my entire day up until then. To that point, I’d also never book classes three days in a row, because I know I’ll need a day off. (Okay, I’ve tried. And then I end up cancelling one to catch up with a friend, or my couch. Couch time is important!) It’s easy to feel like you need to be hitting the gym six times a week like that girl you see on Instagram, but your progress is your own — go at your own pace and don’t beat yourself up!

4. Find your groove with instructors.

Unless I’m out of town, I always make it to my Saturday morning spin class. And a big reason why is the instructor. She’s so motivational, has an amazing attitude and the best music. When you find an instructor you love, don’t let that slide by. It’s so important and can serve as a huge source of encouragement.

5. Make a conscious choice.

I’m not working out to lose weight (although I wouldn’t mind getting a bit more toned up!) or train for a marathon. I could have continued on, hitting the gym once a year and supplementing my fitness with occasional long walks in Central Park (which are great!) In the end, it was just a choice that I wanted to make working out a part of my weekly routine. I just decided I didn’t want to be the person who got winded after walking up a flight of stairs anymore. I didn’t want my going to the gym to be a joke. In the end, though it’s always a push to get myself to the gym, I’m always glad I went after. It’s a choice, every time, to go and do that work out. And in the end, that’s where my shift came from: Making a choice to make this a priority in my life in a new way.

While I still wouldn’t call myself an athlete by any means, I would say fitness is a part of my adult life now in a way it never has been. For most people, it’s not much — just once or twice a week. But for me, it’s something.

How did you make fitness a part of your routine? What tips and tricks have worked for you — and the biggest one, how can I conquer morning workouts when my bed is oh-so-cozy? Please, share below!

Continue Reading

White Shirtdress, Nude Sandals + 10 Little White Dresses for Summer

English Factory Collared Drop Waist Dress, Little White Dresses for Summer // Pearl Girl

White Dress //
Nude Sandals //
Pearl Earrings //
Initial Ring //

It may started off a little gloomy, but this weekend turned out to be a great one. Saturday I had two birthday parties, one during the day at Lorley Beer Garden on the Lower East Side, and at night, one at Dave & Buster’s in Times Square. Yes, you read that right! I’d never been (to any Dave & Buster’s, ever), and I may never go back, but it was fun to have a night in a suburban-style arcade.

On Sunday, I headed to Brooklyn to meet a friend for coffee, with the best view, and then went uptown to the Met to see the Irving Penn and George Seurat exhibits. After seeing Sunday In the Park With George last week, I was in a Seurat mood. Both the shows were great, particularly Irving Penn, who was a fashion photographer for Vogue. The Seurat one was a little small, with only one of his major works, but still cool to see!

English Factory Collared Drop Waist Dress, Little White Dresses for Summer // Pearl Girl

English Factory Collared Drop Waist Dress, Little White Dresses for Summer // Pearl Girl

English Factory Collared Drop Waist Dress, Little White Dresses for Summer // Pearl Girl

Onto the outfit — this. DRESS. I first saw it on Shopbop in February and was like, yes, yes, I’m into this. I need it. During the Shopbop sale in February, I almost bought it, but then changed my mind, and was like I don’t need it. Then, I was driving up to Syracuse on the last day of the sale, and this dress was back in stock in my size. It was one of those black out, must buy all the things moments. So I got that dress, this dress, and this dress. Hey, I needed to meet the minimum, right?

English Factory Collared Drop Waist Dress, Little White Dresses for Summer // Pearl Girl

English Factory Collared Drop Waist Dress, Little White Dresses for Summer // Pearl Girl

I love love love this dress even more than I thought I would. The pattern on the front and the cuffs is so cute. And I the drop waist style is such a fun twist on the shirt dress style. I will definitely be breaking it out a ton this summer. In particular, I can’t wait to wear it on my trip to Charleston in a few short weeks! For this, I just paired it with my go-to nude sandals, which I bought for my cousin’s wedding last summer (I was the maid of honor!) They’re a great shoe if you want a slight heel, but something that’s still comfy.

English Factory Collared Drop Waist Dress, Little White Dresses for Summer // Pearl Girl

English Factory Collared Drop Waist Dress, Little White Dresses for Summer // Pearl Girl

I honestly adore the look of the little white dress for summer. It’s so more my speed than the little black dress. There’s always about a thousand I want at any given moment, but I’ve rounded up ten I’m especially loving in the widget below!

Continue Reading

Life + Links

Reading and Shopping Picks April Sale Alerts

Hey, friends — what a week! It was a seriously exhausting one, to the point where I’m impressed with myself for getting this post up (to be fair, I am writing it at midnight on Friday!) But exhausting in a good way: I caught up with friends over drinks (Tuesday) and dinner (Thursday) and saw two Broadway shows! On Wednesday, I saw Sunday in the Park With George, which, if you read this post, you’ll know I attempted to rush tickets for a few weeks ago, failed, gave up and bought real tickets. I’m so, so glad I did. The show was really beautifully done — who knew Jake Gyllenhaal could sing?! The story is a fictionalized take on the life of Georges Seurat + his famous painting, Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte. I’d say go see it but it closes on Sunday! (Fitting, right?)

On Thursday I saw a new show, Bandstand, with a group of of my fellow theater-loving friends, which was totally different than Sunday but really fun. It takes place just after World War II + has lots of fun swing music and a really talented cast. A two show week was such a treat, but I don’t think I’ll be making a habit of it. A. Finances. B. It’s exhausting!

And another fun piece of news: I’m headed to Charleston! Really, would I be a blogger if I wasn’t? Haha, only kidding. My mom and I have been trying to plan a trip for months, and she was going to come visit me in May when I suggested we just do our Charleston trip then instead! I can’t wait, and have been poring over all my favorite bloggers’ guides to the city — if you have any recommendations yourself, please share!

Not a ton in store for this weekend, celebrating a few friends birthdays on Saturday and hopefully getting in some much needed R&R. Hope you have a lovely one!

What I’m Reading

I’m obsessed with Amy Stone’s Instagram, so it’s no surprise her apartment is super chic.

Briony’s super smart post about caring about style + politics, and being fashionable + smart.

I love how authentic and genuine Carly is.

Grace’s new apartment looks so amazing! THOSE FLOORS!

Adding the spots on Maggie’s NYC workout guide to my list.

I can’t see myself ever running a marathon — but if you want to, Leslie has great tips.

And speaking of working out – I loved Brooke’s post about her fitness journey!

Love Blair’s question posts. Where in the world do you feel happiest? It’s a tie for me between my childhood home and London.

Loving The Cut’s series on popularity.

Can’t wait to watch the Girlboss show on Netflix!

What I’m Shopping

People loved the scalloped flats from this week’s post!

Tell me I don’t need this pretty white dress for Charleston.

A classic shirt dress for summer.

This summer’s staple earring (the multi-tasseled one!) — for $9! I ordered two pairs.

The Cult Gaia Ark bag is back in stock — order now, before it goes again!

What I’m Writing

What I did in Los Angeles, part one!

A bell sleeve top for spring.

I carried nothing but a clutch like Princess Kate for a week.

A royal hand-me-down!


Continue Reading