Life + Links

Holiday Gift Guides, Reading Picks // Pearl Girl

Y’all, life lately has been insane. Over Thanksgiving week, I spent an absolutely incredible six days in the Cotswolds in England and in Scotland for work. It was a seriously unforgettable trip filled with amazing moments — like visiting the Cheltenham Racecourse, pictured above.

I’ve had a week at home since then, which turned out to be an incredibly busy one due to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement!! I’m so excited for a royal wedding and a royal baby in the same year! Speaking of, I also started watching Suits and I’m really into it! It’s a good show and it’s cool to see Meghan in action. I also had a chance to check out the Downton Abbey exhibition in NYC. If you’re a fan of the show, you must see it! The attention to detail is really incredible. There’s intricate set replicas as well as tons of costumes and other tidbits from the show.

Today I’m off again, this time, on my biggest trip of the year: Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, with my family. I’m so so so grateful for the opportunities to travel, and things just sort of worked out this way this year, but remind me not to do quite so many international vacations basically back-to-back next year. As amazing as it is, it gets exhausting! I have no idea how bloggers who are constantly on-the-go handle it.

I’ve somehow still managed to crank out a few blog posts while I’ve been away, including a few gift guides! I’ve done gifts for an acquaintance, gifts I’d like to receive and gifts for the homebody. I’m hoping to post a few more in the weeks before Christmas, which are quickly dwindling!

Hope you have a lovely weekend, and wish me luck as I embark on this 16-hour flight to Hong Kong (where I’m meeting up with my family, before we fly to Vietnam the next day!)

What I’m Reading

I’m a constant clothing reseller, so I enjoyed this article about the embarrassment of reselling your clothes. It is a little shameful to walk into a Crossroads with a bag of stuff and walk out with everything!

Love this: Single women are the fastest growing group of home buyers!

Jenna Lyons’s new home tour is just as envious as her last one!

As a fellow single lady myself, I adored Grace’s post on how to be single. Single or not, it’s a MUST read.

I adored reading about Mackenzie’s Nantucket wedding. It seemed like the perfect weekend!

I need to get better about sticking to a consistent workout schedule, so will be trying some of Julia’s tips in the new year!

Aspiring pet owners should read Jess’s post about adopting a pet. Great tips.

Loving Jess’s (another one!) capsule wardrobe remix series.

What I’m Shopping

Kicking myself for not getting this Fair Isle turtleneck over Black Friday and hoping it comes back in stock in my size!

I also hope this white sweater comes back in stock in my size too!

Call me crazy, but Abercrombie has some seriously cute sweaters.

So happy these blackwatch plaid pants are back! I love love love them!

I love this Burberry bag — and it’s on sale!

What I’m Writing

Gifts for the homebody.

How I spent a weekend with friends in London.

Gifts I want.

Gifts for the acquaintance.

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Red Sleeveless Sweater + Striped Skirt

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sweater (comes in navy and white, too!) | skirt (size down) | shoes | bag | sunglasses | earrings | gold ring (on sale!) | ring

Hi all! Hope you are having a good start to the week so far. Mondays are never the best, but usually there’s either some version of the Bachelor franchise on, or Dancing With the Stars. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love them both! Haha.

Diana Pearl wears red sleeveless sweater from J.Crew and striped skirt from Banana Republic on Pearl Girl

New York really is a diverse city. Beyond just the people, but on one block you might see a line of gorgeous townhomes like this one, and then walk a few more steps and someone’s peeing in the street. Yes, this really happens.

Diana Pearl wears red sleeveless sweater from J.Crew and striped skirt from Banana Republic on Pearl Girl

Luckily Natalie and I didn’t encounter any of the latter while we were snapping some photos up near her apartment. I love the area around East End Ave on the Upper East Side, but rarely make it all the way over there (it’s up and pretty far east from where I live.) The neighborhood is filled with stunning houses — the red door on this one is amazing!

Diana Pearl wears red sleeveless sweater from J.Crew and striped skirt from Banana Republic on Pearl Girl

It’s hard to talk about fall clothing when it’s still pretty hot out, but luckily for any autumn lovers like myself out there, the temperatures are finally starting to drop a bit. I was lusting after this J.Crew sleeveless sweater since July, but waited for it to go on sale before picking it up in August. I think it’s even better suited to this time of year than when I first saw it!

Diana Pearl wears red sleeveless sweater from J.Crew and striped skirt from Banana Republic on Pearl Girl

I really love wearing red, as I’ve shown with these shoes before. I have far too much white in my wardrobe, so I’m always trying to buy more color — red’s usually the first one I reach for!

Diana Pearl wears red sleeveless sweater from J.Crew and striped skirt from Banana Republic on Pearl Girl

Hope you all have a nice Tuesday!

Diana Pearl wears red sleeveless sweater from J.Crew and striped skirt from Banana Republic on Pearl Girl

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5 Books I Loved This Summer

I read a lot this summer, between the flights, the train rides, and of course, the daily commute on the subway. I love reading, but sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle of a social life and social media. About a year ago my office moved from being a 20 minute walk to a 35 minute commute on the subway, and having that hour a day has done wonders for my reading habits (though I really miss walking to work!) Here’s five books I loved this summer.

brooklyn by colm toibin reading recommendations on pearl girl

Brooklyn | I saw this movie last December and absolutely adored it. The book was just as good. For those of you who haven’t experienced either, Brooklyn tells the story of a young Irish girl who moves to Brooklyn for a new job. You watch her deal with homesickness, falling in love, and the pull of what’s familiar. To be honest, this book (and movie) really struck a chord with me. As someone who does live farther from their family and where they grew up, a lot of the emotions Eilis feels are ones that I’ve definitely felt before myself. I won’t give away the ending, but for anyone who’s ever left home, it’ll definitely make you cry.

I know I broke a cardinal rule by not reading the book first, but I enjoyed both so much, I don’t think it truly detracted from the experience. If you get a chance to read or see it, I highly recommend both.

 reading recommendations on pearl girl

The Singles Game | I had the chance to speak to author Lauren Weisberger, of Devil Wears Prada fame, about this book for my day job, and after the interview, I was so excited to pick it up. If you loved DWP, you’ll probably like this. It’s about a young tennis player who gets a new, tough, real asshole of a coach (sound familiar?) It also made me really want to start playing tennis again! Or at least, go to a tennis tournament. Unfortunately, I missed this year’s U.S. Open — maybe next year?

big little lies by liane moriarty reading recommendations on pearl girl

Big Little Lies | I’ve heard good things about Liane Moriarty books, but this was my first. Well, everyone was right. This book is amazing. It’s got twists and turns, but manages to stay pretty light-hearted throughout. It focuses on the stories of three mothers and their relationships with their families and other parents at their school. At the beginning of the story, you learn there was a murder at the school’s trivia night, but you don’t know who died, how, or who killed them until the very end.  I could not get enough — and luckily, there’s going to be a Big Little Lies miniseries on HBO next year, with a star-studded cast: Shailene Woodley, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, to name a few.

the girl on the train by paula hawkins reading recommendations on pearl girl

The Girl on the TrainLots of books are called the next Gone Girl, but no one has gotten that title more than Girl on the Train. And while I’ll admit I enjoyed Gone Girl more than this, Girl on the Train was really, really good. This is a book that had been on my list for a long while now, and with the movie coming out in a few weeks, it was time to start. I ended up finishing it within a few days, and while the twist wasn’t quite as OMG-out-there as GG (or Big Little Lies, for that matter), it was definitely freaky.

first comes love emily giffin reading recommendations on pearl girl

First Comes Love | I love Emily Giffin books. Absolutely adore. She is without a doubt my favorite author, and I’ve read each of her books more than once. Her latest, First Comes Love, was just as incredible as all the others have been. She has a knack for telling the most compelling stories about people’s lives, and making you root for the thing you “shouldn’t” be rooting for. This one is about two sisters who are still dealing with a family tragedy over a decade later. If you’ve never read an Emily Giffin book, run, do not walk to your bookstore. They’re all incredible. 

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White Romper + Espadrille Wedges

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white romper (now on sale!) // espadrille wedges // earrings (similar) // ring

It pains me a little to say that this adorable romper is now on sale (for $60 off the original price!) But since I’ve worn it so much since purchasing it back in May, I can deal with it. Slap a bow on it, and chances are, I’ll want to buy it.

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We snapped these photos after celebrating Natalie’s birthday with breakfast at Union Fare, home of the famous birthday cake croissant. I personally was a huge fan, but they have other flavors (like matcha and red velvet) if birthday cake isn’t up your alley.

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Gramercy is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city, especially the immediate area surrounding Gramercy Park. All the townhomes and apartment buildings are beautiful. Life goals? Have a key, haha! For now, sneaking a peek from outside the gates will have to do.

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More eyelet rompers I’m loving (for next year!)

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Iceland’s Ring Road

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

While Reykjavik is great, the real sights in Iceland are outside the city’s borders — and most are off the country’s famed Ring Road. We set off heading west on the Ring Road after a day at the Blue Lagoon.

You could hit a lot of these sights on one of the many, many group tours offered in Iceland, but we opted to rent a car and do it ourselves, a route I highly recommend taking. It’s cheaper, totally do-able on your own, and allows you to set your own pace.

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

Our first stop was at Seljalandsfoss (foss is Icelandic for waterfall.) You can see it while you’re driving, so it’s a hard one to miss. What’s special about this fall is that it’s easy to walk behind it, giving you the opportunity for photos from the one above.

There’s also a sandwich shop and bathrooms at the base of the falls, which is very useful. And yes, they take credit cards. Everywhere does in Iceland — even the tiny sandwich shop in quite literally the middle of no where.

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

Wearing: barbour jacket // scarf // striped shirt // hunters // pants // bag (similar)

Another great thing about Iceland? Even the things you didn’t expect are other-wordly beautiful. We were driving to Jokulsarlon, a glacier lagoon four hours outside of Reykjavik, and happened to find another glacier that wasn’t on our itinerary.

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

On the way to Jokulsarlon, you’ll pass a tiny town called Vik (although in Iceland, it’s practically urban.) This is where we spent two nights while exploring around the Ring Road. I couldn’t recommend our AirBnB more. Our host, Hrund, provided breakfast every morning, the room had a beautiful view of the Atlantic and the famous Vik rock formations.

She also brought us fermented shark and shots to wash it down. It’s an Icelandic speciality, and about as gross as it sounds. (Even Anthony Bourdain won’t eat it!)

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Iceland

Next up on our drive was Jokulsarlon. We got amazing weather with plenty of sun while we were there, but since we were visiting in June, there were less glaciers and icebergs than you’d have if you were visiting in November or March (although it would have been much colder!)

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

The really incredible views came later on when we drove to the other side of the lagoon. It was absolutely breathtaking. You can do whale-watching and boat tours from here, too.

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

Across the road is one of Iceland’s famous black sand beaches, with, you guessed it, even more ice.

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

The next morning we headed off from Vik to the nearby Skógafoss, another waterfall.

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

This one, you can climb to the top, where you can see the “thumbs up.”Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

And yes, this is the waterfall you see in Justin Bieber’s “I’ll Show You” video.

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Wearing: windbreaker // t-shirt // sweater // hunters // pants (I live in these come fall and winter!) // bag (similar)

We left there, and drove a bit to reach one of the many outdoor pools in Iceland, Seljavallalaug. To get there, you have to drive on a dirt road and then walk a bit, but in my opinion, it’s well worth it! We were the only Americans there — it felt like a very local experience. There’s changing rooms and ladders to get into the pool, but be warned, you are in nature: It’s a little (very) muddy.

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

Another Bieber spot is the abandoned plane. Be warned: You are no longer allowed to drive up to the plane, so you need to park your car and walk. It’s probably about a mile or two, but after a day of exploring, it felt like much longer.

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

The wreckage is of a United States Navy plane that crashed in 1973. Thankfully, there were no fatalities in the crash. You can walk inside, too. It’s eerie.

Iceland Ring Road Travel Guide on Pearl Girl

Our last stop was close to our AirBnB: Vik’s famous black sand beaches! These are the rock formations I mentioned earlier. I wouldn’t, however, recommend dipping your toes in this beach: It’s very, very cold.

Those who have traveled to Iceland before are probably thinking — wait, where’s the Golden Circle on this list? Since it’s such a huge attraction, I figured I’d save it for its own post, which will be up on Pearl Girl soon!

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