Life + Links

Happy weekend! It’s been a few weeks since my last Life + Links post so this one will be a little bit longer.

Reading and Shopping Picks, US Open Photos and more // Pearl Girl

I had such a busy week — to the point where, by Thursday, I was just so exhausted. Tuesday I went to the US Open for the first time (you might have seen on my Insta Stories!) and had so much fun. Unfortunately, it was raining, which isn’t ideal as the whole complex is really cool and it would have been nice to walk around and explore a bit more. But the event is so elaborate and well done: There’s tons of amazing food options (I had Neopolitan Express, and my friends got Melt Shop), a Ralph Lauren store, etc. I also had to try one of the Honey Deuces, the Open’s signature cocktail with the melon “tennis” balls. Actually really tasty — I had two!

Reading and Shopping Picks, US Open Photos and more // Pearl Girl

Natalie and I also showed up wearing pretty much the same outfit, LOL.

Labor Day weekend was spent at my roommate’s house in Mystic, Connecticut. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, and we usually make it out there twice a year — once for a girls weekend, and the other for a big group getaway on Labor Day. The weather wasn’t quite as good as it’s been in years past, but it was still such a fun weekend, with lots of good food (lobster rolls and so much grilling!) and of course, good friends.

Reading and Shopping Picks, US Open Photos and more // Pearl Girl

The last few weekends have been spent at home in NYC, which has honestly been really nice! Two weeks ago a few friends had a get-together on their roof, and it really felt like fall  which was amazing! (Sadly it no longer feels like fall at all.) The view was great, too.

Reading and Shopping Picks, US Open Photos and more // Pearl Girl
With my roomies!

I attended an event at MZ Wallace’s Soho store with Caudalie a few weeks ago, where I had the chance to meet Limairy and Lauren! I’ve talked about how much I love MZ Wallace products before, but they are seriously my favorite. Their Metro Tote is the best bag for traveling or carrying all your stuff around all day. I use it as a gym bag, too! Caudalie products are so luxurious and make my skin feel amazing. Such a fan of both brands.

Reading and Shopping Picks, US Open Photos and more // Pearl Girl

I caught a gorgeous sunset in Chelsea last week.

Reading and Shopping Picks, US Open Photos and more // Pearl Girl

And stopped by the Facebook office for dinner and drinks. (And pool floats, naturally!)

Reading and Shopping Picks, US Open Photos and more // Pearl Girl

Last weekend I finally had a chance to check out the new Sezane store in Nolita. It’s so cute. I didn’t buy anything but just stopping by the store is such an experience. They even have tables and free coffee near the front.

Reading and Shopping Picks, US Open Photos and more // Pearl Girl

This week I honestly had no plans, and it was so, so nice. I can’t tell you the last time that’s happened, and while I wasn’t nearly as productive as I should have been (and didn’t make it to the gym once — oops!) it was definitely relaxing. I also got a new phone — the 8 Plus — and am patiently waiting for my case to arrive. The first one was either lost/not delivered/stolen out of my apartment building. Ugh.

This weekend I’m headed home for 48 hours to celebrate my grandma’s birthday. She’s turning 87! Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s lovely.

What I’m Reading

Katie’s photography tips are a must-read for any photographer who is looking to learn the ins and outs of DSLR cameras.

A really interesting article about Vogue and its place in the current media landscape.

Dying to visit these spots for fall foliage.

I’ve been obsessed with Younger recently and I love this interview with Miriam Shor, who plays Diana Trout.

Racked is one of my favorite websites on the internet. I loved this piece on the politics and meaning behind sorority style.

Another Racked piece: The story behind those sassy beach hats.

Lauren’s Saint Tropez guide has me dying to plan a trip to the South of France!

And Carly’s Positano guide makes me want to go there, too!

Alaina’s greystone is serious interior goals!

Put this one on my list a while ago, finally getting around to sharing it: Graydon Carter is leaving Vanity Fair (along with three other top magazine editors!)

I’m not a full-time blogger and I highly doubt I ever will be, but I enjoyed reading Cathy’s take on the downsides.

Allie’s look here is so inventive!

Adore Grace’s video on her pieces of advice on her 36th birthday. Definitely worth a watch!

Mackenzie’s wedding looked absolutely gorgeous. I have been following her blog for over five years so it almost felt like one of my friends was getting married!

I’m long out of college (tear!) but I enjoyed watching Fran’s video about her experience transferring schools. Definitely worth a watch for any college students out there.

What I’m Shopping

I love these stripes!

Love this suede jacket, and it’s currently 20% off!

This sweater is so stinking cute.

I love this coat so much. It’ll definitely be making my way into my closet at some point this year.

Shopbop is offering 20% off almost everything, and 25% off if you spend more than $500.

What I’m Writing

Five things I’m loving lately.

All about the credit cards I use + what I like about them.

One of my favorite outfit posts to date.

How I travel often without spending a ton of money.

What I learned from a month of no shopping.

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

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

Book Club No. 3

Best New Chick Lit Books, Reading Recommendations for Millennial Women // Pearl Girl

image

It’s been quite a few months since my last round of reading recommendations, which I blame on a reading rut around March, and then wanting to have ample books to include in my list. I think now’s the time though, as I have done a bit of reading lately and want to share what I liked and didn’t like, as those are equally important, so you don’t waste your time on them. To help in this, I rated each book 1/5 at the end of the description. And links to purchase each books are on the title!

And of course, I’m always looking for recommendations if you have them, so please share in the comments!

Rich and Pretty // Can’t say I loved this one, as I never finished it. (My library loan ran out before I was able to, and I didn’t bother to re-borrow.) It’s about two lifelong friends, Sarah (Rich) and Lauren (Pretty) who are going through some changes in their lives, a la marriage and career changes. My problem with this was there was just NO PLOT. Sure, things happen, but they weren’t really working towards anything major and I kept waiting for the major plot device to drop. 1/5

The Hating Game // Another one I just didn’t love. It’s about two assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing house that recently went through a merger. (One is the assistant to the CEO of one of the old publishing houses, the other to the other.) They hate each other, but of course, there’s some serious sexual tension between the two. Honestly, this one just bored me. I wasn’t that invested in either of the characters, and their “romance” was almost comical in its cliche-ness. I also wasn’t sure where it was set, which made it hard to be connected to the book as well. I got about 25% of the way through and ended up putting it down. 1/5

Secrets in Summer // After my trip to Nantucket in June, I wanted to read a Nantucket-set novel. Luckily, I got this one at work, so I immediately picked it up and started reading on my return. I really loved it. Such a fun, quick summer read, but there was depth to the characters. It’s about a woman named Darcy, who leaves her life in Boston after her divorce to become a librarian on Nantucket in her grandmother’s old house. Her life gets thrown for a loop when her ex-husband moves in behind her for the summer. My only complaint about this one was that all the characters had unusual names. It’s fine, but you will just never meet this many people with unusual names in Nantucket, Massachusetts, haha! Other than that, great read, especially if you’ve been to Nantucket. 5/5

The Island House // Yep, another Nantucket-set book. This one is about a woman named Courtney, who has been summering on the island since college in her roommate’s family’s house. She’s been in love with his brother since forever, so she goes back for one last summer to confess her love. There’s all sorts of other issues happening in the family, and with Courtney’s roommate, Robin. Honestly, the family seems lovely. I didn’t like this quite as much as Secrets in Summer, but it was still a nice beach read. 4/5

The Identicals // Another Nantucket novel, but this one is half set in Martha’s Vineyard. It’s about a set of sisters who were split up Parent Trap-style after their parents’ divorce, one on Nantucket and one on the Vineyard. Now, they’re both nearly 40, and after their father’s death, they switch places once again, with romance and other exciting developments, as well mending their relationship after it was incredibly fractured 14 years prior. Loved this one, the characters were real, relatable and not perfect, but you still wanted to root for them. 5/5

Romancing the Throne // Something you may not know about me is that I have a deep love for the British royal family. And this book is pretty much royal family fanfiction. It’s about two sisters (a la Pippa and Kate) who go to a posh English boarding school with Prince Edward, the heir to the throne. The Pippa character, Charlotte, dates Edward first, but then things go awry when he develops a friendship with Libby, the Kate character, too. It really explores that sisterly relationship and is just a fun, quick read. I finished this in a day. 5/5

The Rules Do Not Apply // After reading the New Yorker article Thanksgiving in Mongolia I knew I wanted to read Ariel Levy’s memoir, about her life, loves, relationships and loss. It’s definitely heart-wrenching, but beautifully written and a powerful story. 5/5

My Not So Perfect Life // I’ve been a Sophie Kinsella fan since her Shopaholic days, so I’ll pretty much read anything she writes. Her first book in a few years, My Not So Perfect Life, follows a country girl named Katie who is trying to make it big in the world of branding in London. She has a seemingly-perfect boss named Demeter, who doesn’t seem to know she exists. And her dad wants her to come home to the country. I can’t give away too much more, but this book really captured that feeling of being a little underwater in the early years of your career. It’s also just a fun, unexpected story. It also takes place in London so bonus points for that. 5/5

Sweetbitter // I thought I would love this one. I worked as a hostess for three summers and two winters, and I love the atmosphere of working in a restaurant. I’ve heard so many people say this book captures that perfectly. But honestly, I just was not feeling this one. I felt like we never really got to know the main character, and she was honestly just SO unlikeable that I found it hard to root for her (and root for what?) This is another book that I felt didn’t have much of a plot. Stephanie Danler, the author, can definitely write. And I know others were into it — but the story was just so meh for me on this one. I did finish it though. 2/5

I Had a Nice Time And Other Lies…: How to Find Love & Sh*t Like That // This one was more just for fun, as I love the Betches’s website and think they’re hilarious. Their book was similarly laugh-out-loud funny. And while I’m not sure how much I learned about dating, it’s a really relatable read for anyone living the single life in a big city in their 20s. Which like, hello, me. 3.5/5

Continue Reading

Life + Links

Shopping and Reading Picks, Taylor Swift New Single

It’s been quite a few weeks since my last Life + Links post, which I guess is a testament to how busy life has been. The big highlight was two weeks ago, when my roommate and I went to Montreal for a long weekend (with a day trip to Quebec City!) It was a great weekend. Both cities feel like a slice of Europe on our side of the pond, which I obviously appreciated. There’s a travel recap post to come, hopefully next week!

As I mentioned, my mom was in town this past weekend, which was great. This week I had some anger over the delayed episode of Bachelor in Paradise (for PRE-SEASON FOOTBALL!) on Monday, drinks + lift chat with a group of awesome women on Tuesday, and finally getting back to the gym on Wednesday. (I’m also going on Saturday, and it’s been way too long since I’ve gone to the gym twice in one week. Where has my motivation gone?!)

Hope you have a lovely weekend. I have three birthday celebrations for three good friends, so it’ll be a busy one!

What I’m Reading

I’m obsessed with BuzzFeed’s Tasty, so I loved this article about their rise and creative process.

I love the Cup of Jo series about parenting in other countries, and Croatia one is a great read.

Also, Joanna’s Brooklyn apartment is so cozy + the perfect family home.

Julia’s trip to Nantucket has me wanting to plan another trip!

I always love hearing about Danielle’s story, and she wrote it so eloquently for the Everygirl.

I love Lauren’s neighborhood guides to London — Hampstead is so charming!

Monica shared a money-saving travel hack.

Lots of new books on my to-do read list, courtesy of Katie’s post.

Totally agree with all of Erica’s travel must-haves.

Love love love Dana’s post about the importance of saying no.

Also listening to Taylor Swift’s new single! Thoughts? I don’t know what I think!

What I’m Shopping

I’m still not shopping! But if I were, I’d buy:

This will be the first thing I buy in September. If it’s restocked in my size.

A puffer vest in Liberty print!

I love this top, it’s so chic and fun for end of summer.

What I’m Writing

A perfect pink shirtdress.

My Paris photo diary.

An eyelet skirt.

My 25th birthday.

 

Continue Reading