Blue Striped Top + White Skirt in Sutton Place

Best Products for Travel, What to Buy for a Long Haul Flight // Pearl Girl

Striped Top // I bought it at a sample sale and it’s one of my favorite finds. It’s from J.Crew but I don’t remember seeing it in stores before. I linked a top with a similar vibe.
White Fluted Skirt // Old but similar here and here.
Pearl Bow Earrings //
Block Heel Sandals // Also available here and these are only $50.

Hey there, Monday! Sharing a much overdue look today that I shot all the way back in June and never got around to posting here. This is the last summer-y look I’ll share before I move on to more fall-ready outfits, and I am so, so ready.

Instead of talking about this outfit, which though I love, is filled with a fair amount of sold-out items, I’m instead going to share five things I’ve been thinking about/loving/obsessing over lately.

1. Fall!!!!!

Like every other human in the northern hemisphere, I have fall on the brain. It was in the high 80’s in New York this weekend, but the forecast looks like it’s supposed to gradually drop. I can’t wait to break out my sweaters, jeans and coats. I love love love it: The changing leaves, cooler temperatures and then Thanksgiving and Christmas. September until New Years is really my favorite time of the year and I can’t wait to embrace it (with the appropriate weather.)

I’m also truly convinced that I’m part vampire because I’m really over the BRIGHT sun. It makes me squint and I hate squinting. I always say the best weather is when it affects you least: You’re not too cold, or too hot, sweaty or shivering. You’re just at peace. That’s what fall is to me.

2. Nancy Meyers movies.

I saw Reese Witherspoon’s new movie, Home Again, a few weeks ago, which is directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, the daughter of Nancy Meyers — who directed movies like It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give. Though Home Again wasn’t quite as good as her mother’s movies, it had the same amazing interiors that Nancy Meyers is known for. Her movies are serious design porn and have me wanting to plan an immediate move to wherever the film is set.

Since seeing Home Again, I’ve been making my way through all of Nancy Meyers’s films (most of which I’ve already seen.) I’ve watched The Parent Trap, It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give, and What Women Want. The first two are my favorites. I’m dying to move into Meryl Streep’s Santa Barbara house. What Women Want was my least favorite, though it’s set and filmed in Chicago and definitely made me feel a bit homesick!

The Intern and The Holiday are up next — I’ve seen both before and love them!

3. My upcoming European trip.

I don’t think I ever made an official announcement here, but I’ve mentioned my upcoming trip to Europe a few times. I’m headed to London, Belgium (Brussels and Bruges), France (Paris, Lyon and Annecy) for ten days at the end of October. It’s been almost a year since I was last in Europe, and I can’t wait to get back to some of my favorite cities + experience four new ones.

Of course, I’ve been thinking about what I want to pack for the trip. I bought a new suitcase — a midsized check bag, because I don’t want to lug my huge one around Europe for ten days, especially since I’ll be doing so much city hopping. Lots of sweaters, sneakers and coats, too. If you have any recommendations or guides for these cities, please share them in the comments! I plan on making Google Maps with all the spots I want to hit up.

4. Leather protectants.

I’ve made a few investments recently — in particular, my Mansur Gavriel bag (which is notoriously sensitive to scratches and water marks) and my Everlane day heels (which I spilled water on before wearing them outside — from my steamer.) I ordered this leather conditioner and it really works wonders. Though it didn’t completely get out the water marks on my Mansur, it did on the day heels. It did do wonders for the scratches on my bag, too. Highly recommend this if you have some leather products to clean. I then sprayed them both with this to protect them and it didn’t change the color of either my shoes or my bag.

5. A new rug.

I got my rug shortly after I moved into my apartment, and I didn’t take care of it as I should have. Read: I had it for two years before getting a vacuum. I know, I’m an idiot. I cleaned it with a dustbuster, but it just didn’t do the job in the same way. I then sent it out to get cleaned and they ended up kind of ruining the rug. It’s still useable but the top and bottom parts are detached. It’s also a big, bold stripe, which I like, but I want something that looks a bit more traditional. I’m looking for one that’s predominantly blue with a few other color accents. I’ve found a few I like that are a bit too pricey. The hunt continues!

Continue Reading

The Credit Cards I Use + What I Like About Them

The Best Credit Cards for Millennials, Chase Sapphire Preferred Review

Happy Tuesday! Did anyone else watch the Emmys on Sunday? I was happy about all the love for Big Little Lies, but I also adored Feud, so was sad to see it shut out! (Also, would have appreciated some more love for The Crown.)

Talking about something a little different today — and only fashion related in the sense that you use credit cards to make purchases. I’m reviewing the cards I use, and sharing what I like about them, and what I don’t like. I have three, and I feel like each represents the “stage” of life I was in when I got them pretty well.

Nowadays, I use my credit cards for every single purchase I make, because I figure why not get cash back? But I want to preface this by saying that if you are going to get a credit card, you need to treat it like a debit card. Only buy what you can afford. If you’re not in a place to pay off your statement balances in full every month, don’t get a credit card. Missing credit card payments and accumulating interest can be catastrophic for your credit score and overall financial health.

For that reason, I won’t be talking about interest rates and APRs and such, because, to be frank, I don’t really understand them. When you pay off your card in full every month they aren’t a factor, so I can’t really speak to that aspect of the card. What I will speak to is what I know and what I like about each of these cards.

Discover Cashback Bonus

A lot of people’s first cards are Discover, because they’re easier to get when you’re young and haven’t built up much credit yet. My mom encouraged me to apply for this one during my sophomore year of college and just starting putting a meal or two on it every month in order to start building up some credit. It’s definitely a good starter card and an easy way to get into the credit card game. However, if you’re a little older you might you want head straight to a Visa or MasterCard.

As for cashback, they choose different categories every three months, but you get 5% back on each. Right now it’s restaurants, and starting in October, it’s Amazon and Target. They also usually have other various deals going on (10% cashback at Macy’s, etc.) but it can be confusing to keep track of all the deals and what you get the cashback on.

To be honest, I hardly use it anymore. I actually keep it in my nightstand drawer just in case I lose my wallet or get mugged, so I won’t be without a form of payment. I used to keep my Spotify on it, but now I get 50% cashback on that on my Capital One card, I don’t use it for that anymore, either! There’s no annual fee, however, so it’s no skin off my back.

Capital One Quicksilver

When I graduated from college, I wanted a card that wasn’t a Discover since they’re often not accepted abroad (and even some places in the states.) Also, since I frequently travel out of the country, I wanted a card that had no foreign transaction fees. And because I was a recent college graduate, I wanted a card without an annual fee.

The easy answer was the Capital One Quicksilver. All Capital One cards come without foreign transaction fees, so it was the first company I looked at. It also has a great cashback policy — 1.5% on everything — which is a pretty good percentage, and it’s nice that it’s universal, so you never have to think about where you’re using it.

I also like the Capital One tech features. They have a “wallet” app that sends you a notification every time you make a purchase, which I like for security purposes. You also can request credit line increases online, which is so easy compared to making a call or actually visiting a branch.

This was pretty much the only card I used my first 2.5 years in the city, and it’s a good one! I’d say it’s a great card to have for the everyday. You know you’ll at least be getting 1.5% cashback on each purchase, so you can always feel like your purchases are benefitting you.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Earlier this year, I realized for the amount of travel I’m doing, I should really have a travel benefits-specific credit card. I was debating between the Capital One Venture card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and ultimately with the Chase card after reading several reviews about how great the signup bonus is.

The signup bonus is great. You get 50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months, so I’d recommend opening the card before you know you have some big purchases coming your way. (I bought my flights for my trip to Asia later this year within a week of opening the card.) I’d also recommend covering dinners out with friends or show tickets and having your friends Venmo you. If you cover enough of those purchases, plus put everything you buy on it, you’ll get the bonus in no time.

This card uses “points” instead of cashback, which is a bit less clear-cut in terms of what you get back, but still great. The Sapphire Preferred really is a card for travelers, so your points are worth the most when you’re redeeming them for travel versus Amazon purchases or something else. I used mine for direct flights to London and back to NYC from Paris, which cost about 35,000 points, or $450. The one thing is you have to book your flights through the Chase travel rewards website, which I’ve found to have even better deals than Google Flights does. (There was no $450 direct flights on British Airways on Google!) Best of all, I still had nearly half my points left.

You get two points for each dollar spent on travel or dining, and one point for each dollar spent on everything else, so if you buy a lot of food, Ubers, and that sort of thing, you can accumulate points pretty quickly. There is also no foreign transaction fees, making it an even better choice for travelers.

Perks this good don’t come for free. The card does have a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. To me, it’s worth it, as I’ve already saved $500 on flights, which more than pays for the card. This was the first card I really researched before applying for.

A note on travel cards: I thought about getting an airline card, but honestly, I’m not at the place yet in my life where I can turn down the cheapest option, like Norwegian, to fly my airline if it’s a bit pricier. As such, a more general travel benefits card seemed to fit me better.

I hope this was helpful and informative if you’re in the market for a new card! What credit cards do you have? Should I add another one to my repertoire? 

Continue Reading

An Outfit for Brunch in Central Park + Mini Adult Milestones

 Basic Invite Stationery, Endless Rose Off the Shoulder Top, Mansur Gavriel Lady Bag // Pearl Girl

Blue Eyelet Off the Shoulder Top // Also available in white and pinkAnd on sale here! Runs very small. I’m typically a small in all tops, and even the medium is a little tight on my wrists.
White Skirt // Runs large.
Blush Suede Mules // TTS.
Pink Sunglasses //
Mansur Gavriel Lady Bag //

Every so often, I’ll have these moments where it really hits me that I’m an adult. I have a job. I have an apartment. The vast majority of the time, my parents have no idea where I am or what I’m doing. (Well, I guess not, because every weekday they know I’m at work!) I plan my own trips and I decide what big purchases to make. It’s been three years since I graduated college, so while being a “real adult” definitely feels like normal now, at the same time, I have moments where I’m sort of in disbelief about how fast time has gone.

And with all this adulting comes some big responsibilities, like paying rent, as well as the little ones, like remembering to send a card on your mom’s birthday, or a thank you note for gifts.

I’ve always associated beautiful stationery with being a true adult. It’s a little thing, but something that takes an extra effort but makes such a nice touch when you’re wishing someone a happy birthday or sending out holiday cards. It’s also something my mom drilled into me when I was younger, (rightfully) insisting I write thank you cards after birthday parties and the holidays. And when your parents do something, it automatically seems more grown-up, right?

In the past, I’ve often just gone to Walgreens and grabbed something out of the card aisle, but thanks to the internet, there are so many more options when it comes to creative cards. Like Basic Invite, an online retailer that carries custom party invitationsinvitations for a birthday partykids invitations and more. They even do wedding invitations and stationery for all sorts of events.

Basic Invite Stationery, Endless Rose Off the Shoulder Top, Mansur Gavriel Lady Bag // Pearl Girl

Their stationery is completely customizable, with tons of different colors for both the invites and the envelopes. And you can get custom samples (so you can see your stationery IRL before you place your whole order) mailed to you, too. But my favorite thing about Basic Invite is the address collection service. You just send your friends a link, they fill it out, and then Basic Invite prints the envelopes for you. Honestly, not having people’s addresses is one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to not sending snail mail. With Basic Invite, there’s no excuse.

I’m planning on placing an order of these monogrammed notes, which are so perfect for everyday letters and other notes. And I’m hoping I can convince my roommates to do paper invitations for our annual holiday party later this year!

And of course, a word on these photos: I’m so in love with each of these pieces, including this eyelet top that I lusted after all summer before it finally went on sale last month, my first pair of mules, a go-to everyday skirt, and these $15 pink sunglasses. Natalie and I snapped them on her birthday a few weeks ago during a walk in Central Park. This bridge is right outside the entrance to the reservoir. We also got brunch at the boat house, which I had never done before. It’s such a cute NYC spot — and would be beautiful for a bigger birthday celebration!

 

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support Pearl Girl.

Continue Reading

How I Travel Often Without Spending an Absurd Amount of Money

How to Save Money While Traveling, Travel Money Saving Tips // Pearl Girl

London, October 2015

I truly believe that travel is one of life’s greatest joys (and privileges.) I’m lucky enough that I was raised in a family that valued travel, so I’ve been going on trips and vacations (I wholeheartedly believe they’re different) since before I can remember. As I’ve grown up and become a “real adult” with a real income, I’ve prioritized traveling on my own — and on my own dime. And along the way, I’ve been able to pick up a few tips and tactics on how to travel as much as you can on a budget.

I think a lot of people shut down the idea of traveling in your early 20s because they believe it’s too expensive and unobtainable. Though it is definitely an investment and something you need to plan and save for, it can be done — on the cheap, too! In fact, I think your 20s are one of the best times to travel. Most likely, you don’t have kids keeping you home, and you’ve got the stamina and (lack of) standards to rough it a bit. You just need to be a little creative. Here are a few ways how.

New Orleans Louisiana travel guide from fashion blogger Diana Pearl of Pearl Girl

New Orleans, September 2016

 

Go where your friends are.

This is my biggest tip, for obvious reasons. When you visit a friend, you’ll most often be able to stay with said friend for free. Removing the cost of a hotel or AirBnB is HUGE for savings, and sometimes, you can remove transportation fees, too, if the person you’re staying with has a car. And of course, the bonus of this method is that you get to spend time with a friend you don’t see quite as often, and you get to have a local as a tour guide!

Though most of my friends from college live in NYC, which doesn’t lend itself to visits, I’ve tried to take advantage of visiting people where I can. Last fall, I went to Arizona, where my aunt and uncle live, for Thanksgiving. And two of my best friends from high school live in Boston, so I’ve been there three times in the past two years, too.

Sometimes, it’s worth waiting to visit a destination, too. People move around and you never know when one of your good friends will arrive in a place you’ve been wanting to visit. For example, I’ve wanted to visit Los Angeles for the past few years. But it just seemed so pricey: Hotel, renting a car, etc. But when my step-sister moved out there last fall, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to finally get out to LA and get to spend time with her, which only made the trip more fun.

Charleston, South Carolina Travel Guide, What to Do in Charleston South Carolina // Pearl Girl

Charleston, May 2017

Take opportunities when they arise.

Similar to the above point, I think it’s important to sort of let your destinations be dictated by circumstance. An example: Last fall, Barcelona wasn’t super high up on my list of places to visit. I had already been, but just for two days when I was in high school, so while I knew I wanted to go back one day, it wasn’t my number one destination. But when my friends invited me to join them on a trip, I didn’t hesitate. We ended up having an amazing time, and I truly felt like I experienced Barcelona.

One thing to note is I am single, and while I have a ton of great friends, I don’t have that go-to travel partner in the way something in a relationship does. (Of course, there are friends — like my roommate and Natalie — who I travel with more often, but you know what I mean) So when a friend says “Hey, want to go to X?” I’m likely to say yes. It’s a great way to spend time with people and sometimes, be introduced to new destinations. Like when my roommate and friend Katie invited me to go to Iceland with them, I said yes because I wanted to go on another big trip that year and had no plans to do so. I had never really considered Iceland as a destination. I ended up absolutely loving it, and now am dying to go back and see more of the country.

It’s also worth mentioning that family vacations are a great way to go on subsidized trips. Nowadays I just go on a few, usually one big one every other year. Of course, this totally depends on your family situation and I recognize that I’m very lucky to still get invitations from my mom and step-dad to join them on some of their adventures!

Paris, April 2016

Stay in an AirBnB.

Y’all, I cannot express how much I love hotels. I love them. The beds, the lobbies, the plush robes and fluffy towels. But nine times out of ten, AirBnB is the more affordable option, so that’s what I go with. It also gives you more options when it comes to staying with a larger group, or if there are couples in the mix, etc. You also usually have a kitchen, so you can elect to cook some meals at home rather than constantly paying restaurant prices.

Hostels are also an inexpensive option, and one I did take full advantage of during my study abroad days. I honestly am at the point in life now where, most often, I will splurge for the AirBnB or cheap hotel room. However, if you’re traveling alone and looking to make friends, I’d recommend staying in a hostel because it’s a great way to meet fellow young travelers.

Points and miles.

I’m just starting to get into the points game, but I have to say, I love it! Since I grew up in Chicago — a United hub — I’ve been accumulating United miles for years. I try to fly United when I can so I can stock up on the miles. It can take some time to really build these up on your respective airline, but when you can it’s a great way to save on flights.

I also recently got the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which I highly recommend. I’m planning a more in-depth post about my credit cards later, but this one has incredible travel perks and allowed me to book a free trip to Europe this fall — with lots of leftover points to spare! It also has no foreign transaction fees, which is a HUGE plus when you’re abroad.

If you want to travel regularly, you need a credit card with travel points. It’s such an easy to way to slash your travel costs, just by going about your normal life and spending as you usually would.

Iceland, June 2016

Timing.

You likely already know this, but if you’re going on a weekend trip and you want to leave on Friday and come back on Sunday, you’ll pay a premium for those flights. If you’re able to take a daytime Friday flight, or Thursday evening, or come back on Monday, you can save a lot of cash. Hotels are often cheaper on weeknights, too.

Don’t be a snob.

One day, I truly hope that I’ll be able to occasionally splurge on a truly gorgeous hotel room, or business class on a flight to Europe or Asia. But that is just not the place I’m at in life, and that’s fine! I’m 25. I always say you can go up, but it’s tough to go back down. So this is the time in life to stay in the teeny AirBnb, fly the budget airline, and sit in the last row of coach. In the end, you can handle any situation that’s mildly uncomfortable — like a long layover in Lisbon, as I did on my way to Barcelona — as long as you’re safe, healthy and have the end in sight. I always tell myself that a long flight only lasts so long. It’ll be over eventually, and then you’ll be at your amazing new destination.

In order to give a more tangible portrait of how I’ve been able to travel as I often as I do, I’m including a list of how I’ve paid for a few of my most recent trips.

How to Save Money While Traveling, Cheap Travel Tips // Pearl Girl

Quebec City, August 2017

Montreal and Quebec City

I received a gift card to Air Canada as a gift, and convinced my roommate to come with me. We’d both been wanting to visit Montreal for a while. We stayed at an AirBnB that cost $75 a night, so divided between the two of us, it was very affordable.

New Orleans

I booked my flight 100% with miles, so it cost me about $13 in fees. My friends and I — a group of five of us — stayed in an AirBnB, an economical option for the long weekend when divided by five!

Nantucket, June 2017

Nantucket

We booked our flights and AirBnB in February, four months before the June weekend we were going to be visiting. As such, we were able to get flights for less than $200 to a notoriously pricey destination.

Boston

I take the MegaBus and sleep on my friend’s couch. $60 total, without the costs of food and such.

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

Los Angeles, March 2017

Los Angeles

I used United miles to book my outgoing flight and paid for the other. By flying out on a Wednesday and returning on a Tuesday, the prices were cheaper. The one-way I paid for was a little more than $100. I stayed with my step-sister while I was out there, so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel, either. Adding even more to the savings, she let me borrow her car while she was at work, so I didn’t have to rent a car to get around L.A. (which is essential!)

Paris

We stayed at a wallet-friendly AirBnB and we flew the budget XL Airways France to get a good deal. ($700 round trip, compared to $1500 on other airlines.)

Barcelona Spain Antoni Gaudí Architecture Guide

Barcelona, December 2016

Barcelona

Again, we stayed at an AirBnB, and managed to nab some seriously cheap flights — about $460. This did involve some less-than-optimal flights: A three hour layover in Portugal on the way there, and a seven hour layover in London (during which we ventured into the city, because I couldn’t be in London that long and not!) Both travel days were exhausting, but well worth it for that price tag.

London/France/Belgium

This trip has yet to occur, but it’s set to be a very affordable one! I booked my flight with credit card points, so it was 100% free. In two of the locations I’m going — Paris and London — I have friends living there, so I’ll be staying with them. I planned my trip so I’ll be spending the most nights possible in the free locations. And when I’m not, I’ll be staying at a cheap hotel or an AirBnB. To get around, I’m taking trains, and they aren’t very pricey!

Do you have any tips on how to travel on a budget? Share in the comments! And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Continue Reading

What I Learned From Not Shopping for a Month

What I Learned When I Didn't Shop for a Month, Spending Freeze Lessons // Pearl Girl

Y’all know I love to shop. It’s the driving force behind this blog — to share my favorite purchases with people. And I know I’m not alone in this love. But in my small NYC apartment, (though I have a great closet), all this stuff can get overwhelming.  So about a month ago, I published this post, announcing that I’d be going on a month-long shopping hiatus. As it’s now September, it’s over, and I have to say, it felt pretty good.

I’ll confess: I didn’t quite make it the whole month. I ended up buying two dresses at the Lilly Pulitzer sale, which I have conflicted feelings about. On the one hand, I really do love both of them, and Lilly is one of my favorite brands. I only buy it on sale, and the sale only happens twice a year. (I usually don’t shop the winter one, just the summer one. Better selection.) On the other hand, it would have been nice to actually have made it the whole month.

Despite my one day of weakness, I did make it (almost) a month. Would I do it again? Definitely. In fact, it’s inspired me to start thinking about what I buy more thoroughly and limiting the intake of stuff into my apartment. Here’s what else I learned.

The less you put the temptation in front of you, the less you feel it.

I have a blog. I’m on Instagram. I live in New York City. I’m also a frequent user of the internet. I literally walk through a mall on the way to work every day. Basically, temptation when it comes to shopping is pretty tough to ignore. But by not allowing myself to shop at all, it sort of removes the temptation altogether. You can’t buy it, so why even look? I set the part of my brain that thought about what I wanted to buy free, and it felt almost like a weight lifted. It helps to tell your friends and family about what you’re doing, so then they’ll resist from sending you links of things you might like, or asking you to go shopping with them.

Resisting sales is hard.

I love a good deal. A lot. So when a good sale comes up, it was hard to resist. After all, in the end, it was my downfall. Resisting 25% off everything at Tuckernuck was one of the toughest moments during the month. (Another favorite retailer with rare sales.) But I held out and I’m glad I did. I found just telling myself that it simply wasn’t an option helped. It can take will power, but it will pass, and then you’ll be happy you resisted.

Not shopping feels good.

I know that buying new things is exciting — believe me, I know. But not shopping feels really good too. You’re saving money, which obviously feels great, and it really did make me think about the clothes I already did have in a new way. I felt like I was a bit more creative with my outfits, and made more of an effort to find the pieces that I haven’t worn in a few months and give them a chance.

The comedown is real.

I can’t lie. When September — and those Labor Day sales — rolled around, I bought a few things. Which I think is only human after a month of holding yourself back from something. Even when it’s an arbitrary timeline you set for yourself, it’s hard not to celebrate the finish line. It felt like the bit of an end of a fast, where you’re feeling hungry by the end of it. And while I didn’t go nuts by any means, I was still definitely feeling that hunger.

However, I am trying to think about these purchases more deeply. The two things I bought after September 1? These heels and this skirt, both of which I’ve wanted for months. If you’ve wanted something long enough, chances are, you won’t regret it. What you will often times regret are spontaneous purchases. Think long and hard before you buy.

You save money. And have less stuff.

Which is really the whole point of this exercise anyway, right? Like I said, I was also inspired to start thinking more thoroughly about every purchase I make. I have a lot of clothes, and everything I add to my closet should have a purpose or fill a void, which is something this hiatus really helped me to realize. I really loved doing this “experiment” and I’ll definitely be doing it again — maybe once a season?! We’ll see.

 

Continue Reading