CLASSIC STYLE: SUMMER TUNICS



There's nothing easier than a tunic... They are festive, colorful and easy; my instant wardrobe staple in warmer temps. I have always loved the silhouette; timeless, flattering on everyone. I've worn them as coverups, tops and dresses to the beach, barbecues, on boats and cocktail parties. I just can't seem to get enough! Tunics were considered fairly exotic before Tory Burch became one of the first designers to bring the tunic into western mainstream fashion. Since then, the tunic has remained an effortless symbol of style and many designers have created embellished, embroidered or just simple versions of the classic shape. More recently I've become obsessed with Sail to Sable for their extremely classic and clean designs in every imaginable color. A few of mine are from Caylpso St. Barth but unfortunately the stores are no longer. Fortunately for us, the brands might die but tunic will continue on forever as a classic ensemble for any summer or vacation related activity. These photos pictured are from my recent trip to Charleston, when I scouted this perfectly cool toned home and immediately pulled out this cornflower blue tunic to pick up the color. It's a lovely embroidered tunic by Tory Burch from a few years back. It's old but here's a link for it on Poshmark, where I found mine and many other great things! Of course I've linked a bunch of my favorites below that are ready to shop. Enjoy!












-MGN

Photography by Gladyxa Mari

CLASSIC STYLE: FIVE SUMMER STAPLES I'M OBSESSED WITH


I'm officially calling summer on Los Angeles; for whatever that means. The June gloom continues to linger but we've had a few mini heat waves and at some point the sun has managed to peek its stubborn head out in Santa Monica everyday for a few good hours. The summer for me has always been an exciting time, however, this one is full of major moments, my upcoming wedding being the biggest, turning 30 years old and being on the verge on completing our full condo remodel topping the cake that is summer 2019! So along with all this craziness going on, I'm letting myself breath in the most effective way. Online shopping. I've narrowed down quite a few of my lust worthy splurges into this mini summer staple guide. As you likely already know, I don't like spending a lot on fashion, hence my continued obsession with Forever 21 and Zara. However, there are a few things here and there that I consider an investment in my closet. These Celine tortoiseshell sunnies are the nicest sunglasses I have ever purchased and I have been so absolutely careful with them that I am starting have anxiety about loosing the case and therefore forgoing all protection possible, ruining my chances of keeping them longer than 6 months. I'd been eyeing them for quite some time, after my beloved Forever 21 thick rimmed glasses went missing, to which my friends said "oh the Celine pair" and I quickly realized how the fashion industry tends to work. Since then I have been very happy with the frame thickness, which as the salesman pointed out to me is 100% Celine and the classic tortoiseshell I will absolutely never tire of for the rest of my life, I am certain. I linked this exact pair, as well as some much more reasonable priced items below, in addition to the other summer things I am currently obsessed with. This dreamy Onia bikini by We Wore What, being my second best purchase yet. Enjoy!





-MGN

CHIC PLACES: GRAY MALIN'S ITALY COFFEE TABLE BOOK


Italy will always hold a special place in my heart. I studied the Italian language and culture for three years in high school and it was my minor as an ungraduate in college. I spent a semester abroad living and "studying" in Verona, Italy; which will forever remain my favorite place in Italy. Obviously my love affair started with the food, I could live on pasta, bread and cheese for the rest of my life if it didn't kill me and it's no surprise my love for Spritz, a drink I can honestly say I loved before it became so basic. Next love was obviously the beautiful language, then the movies and of course, the amazing Italian people, who are known for many things, the most important to me (next to pasta) being how to spend a summer well. Gray Malin has captured some of these moments perfectly through his photography series La Dolce Vita, a perfect set of inspirational images that will instantly make you lust for sun, Spritz and a colorful beach umbrella. When my fiancĂ© and I went to Positano I had to show him Gray's lovely series at the fabulous La Fontelina Beach Club to lure him into a day trip to Capri. Hint, hint- it worked- and he even said that it was his favorite beach club out of all the ones we ventured to in the South of France and Amalfi Coast. Next time I think I might just completely skip Positano all together and just venture to Capri and Ravello themselves, they are so beautiful! 

Gray Malin has been such an inspiring artist for my generation, the content he creates is effortlessly chic and timeless. He shoots at some of most well established swoon -worthy destinations for leisure and in some ways is the Slim Aarons of our time. So when my friend Adele invited me to a book signing for Gray's latest book, Italy, I was beyond thrilled. The signing was held at the perfect venue, Serena and Lily, the home store of my beach house dreams. We arrived to a lively little party with Gray signing books and an abundance of Aperol Spritz's to go around. After getting our copies signed we sat for a minute and went through some of the pages, a few of my favorites below. I immediately decided I must visit Lake Como, Sicily and the beach cities of Tuscany I somehow didn't think existed. Overall, It's a wonderful collection of Italian summer escapes and I am excited to have it on my coffee table! Enjoy. 

Gray's Italian Summer Inspiration 











-MGN

WEDDING: MY BRIDAL SHOWER AT IVY AT THE SHORE


This past weekend some of my closest friends in Los Angeles threw me the sweetest lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Ivy at the Shore. I can't imagine a more beautiful setting, the facade alone is enough to steal my heart, the abundance of pink bougainvillea spilling over a pretty pale pink and green trimmed Spanish style building. It was a perfect backdrop for the millions of pictures we took and coordinated well with my unintentional, but very Carrie Bradshaw-esque, all white ensemble (links to shop below). The table was stunning, the cocktails as delicious as they were pretty, and quite potent to be honest. The food was amazing, my friends brought a fun and not too cheesy game to play. The girls and I had a really lively afternoon in Santa Monica, to say the least. It was a perfect celebration and I was so incredibly touched by the sweet gift they created for me, despite my request for no gifts. Overall, it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me and reminded me of how important these girls are in my life. 

So I’m almost embarrassed to admit I was completely touched by a celebration that I didn’t exactly want to happen. I had originally said no to the whole bridal shower idea from the day I got engaged, in addition to my choice to have a sister weekend in lieu of a bachelorette party. I think almost anyone, let alone the people who know how much I cherish any reason to get people together and celebrate, would be surprised to hear I wouldn’t want to partake in some of the most arguably common traditions we have celebrating American brides. And to be honest, I didn't exactly know why I felt this way after getting engaged, why I felt so much distance from the idea of celebrating myself and this special time in my life. I certainly had a ready response for inquiring minds, but it really wasn’t until this weekend, when I sat with these ladies, reading the loveliest book with messages from each of them and even a few who couldn’t be there, that I started to notice what my hesitation really was about.

To start, I’d like to be candid about my initial block. I identify as a feminist, a position that is not always popular, but for what it’s worth defending, to me means equality between all people, women and men and everyone in between. More on that here. Obviously I believe in marriage, but it’s always frustrated me the amount of pressure I’ve felt as a woman to be married, and the priority of attracting and maintaining a marriage, above everything else. And so as much as I LOVE attending and planning these celebrations for my friends, I suppose there was some deep rooted guilt about spreading a message that this is the main ways to be celebrated as a woman. I know we all have birthdays and other life moments, but haven’t you rolled your eyes a few time at the friends that do “birthday weeks” or want to do something fancy and expensive for themselves, with their friends? Have you ever shamed a friend’s splurge on nice shoes, aka that episode of Sex and the City, or questioned why a female would travel by herself? I’ve always seen these subtle, but powerful messages about what’s more important, missing a friend’s wedding or birthday party? The weddings always seem to rank higher, despite the fact that divorce rates do too. So I suppose I thought that if I didn’t partake in these celebrations, I’d be silently pleasing this part of me that often questions the status quo. 

But what I realized was that’s only half the puzzle. The other piece is the guilt I feel about letting people celebrate me. This is weird because I’ve always been extremely outgoing, on the surface it probably looks like I “celebrate myself” everyday. Remember readers, this is a curated lifestyle blog— not reality. But I think it hit me when I walked in and sat down with all these special friends, with the realization that this whole lunch would be about me and felt a tad uncomfortable. What's crazy is that this is something I talk about with my clients all day- do I not feel worthy of this appreciation, love, gratitude for my friendship? Do I lack self-love or the ability to be recognized for my contribution? I am still not exactly sure the answer to these questions —hey Freud please help. What I do know is that I’ve become more aware lately about how I accept praise. How I take a compliment without a funny, albeit, self-deprecating comment. To sit and listen to my clients, co-workers and mentees that I’ve helped them change, learn or grow. Perhaps there is a part of me that hasn’t fully allowed myself to accept praise, even though I do enjoy being appreciated. I’ve also thought that maybe it’s something a lot of people struggle with, maybe we are taught that humility has to equal selflessness. But maybe selflessness is just a deterrent to self love, a healthy confidence is perhaps something we all deserve. I’m still evolving with this one. 

One thing I know, however, is that I am worthy of this and extremely fortunate, to have such wonderful friends, who despite my extreme hesitancy to have a bachelorette-like weekend and bridal shower (she called it a lunch for my sake) strongly encouraged me to be celebrated. 

They say that we learn to love by the people who love us, and I must say, I’m still learning. Being appreciated, being shown attention, being celebrated are all things I know I want and need, and I’m working on accepting just that. 

Enjoy. 



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-MGN

ENTERTAIN: A SUMMER INSPIRED TABLESCAPE


My absolute favorite season is starting... and so big surprise, I found a way to celebrate! Summer will always have a special place in my heart, since my childhood in Chicago I always obsessed over those short three months of bliss; no school, good weather, warm evenings, summer camp. It was a season full of fun memories, the icing on the (always ice cream) cake being my August birthday and the excitement everyone else seemed to feel celebrating in the height of the season before school and work resumed. So even though I now live in a city of endless summer, I appreciate the seasons even more and this time of year still remains the best. Fortunately, I will be adding another great moment to celebrate every summer to come as my wedding is coming up very soon! I'm so excited to celebrate with all our friends and family, but even more excited to have yet another reason to cherish the summer each year. So many fun tables to create, is it weird that I am excited about that? 

So in honor of the upcoming season I was inspired by the festivities and beauty of Europe in the summer, Italy in particular and there the theme was born. For the food I had my fiancĂ© whip up dishes from various European countries; a spiralized cucumber and feta salad (Greece), potato au gratin (France), fish-without the chips- (England), cacio e pepe pasta (Italy). My contribution involved less culinary skill and more fun with my sheep cheese (Portugal), chorizo (Spain) and Aperol Spritz, olives and chips (Italy)

I had a lot of fun setting up this table. I was inspired by the abundance of lemons in Italy and after finding this perfect invitation on Paperless Post, the theme was solidified. I bought about three bags of lemons and spread them all over some green leaf garnish I found in the floral department at Whole Foods. I think I am going to buy a reusable fake version, linked below, since I loved the greenery so much and would love  to use it again. I knew I wanted the lemons to serve as place cards too, but instead of inserting paper into the lemon wedge I decided to assign everyone a European country and see if they could guess which one they were and hence, where they were sitting. Spoiler alert, everyone successfully guessed! I printed out mini flags so that I could have the exact six countries I wanted, but there are plenty of mini flags available online. The leftover lemons went towards my floral arrangements and looked really pretty sliced up against the vase. 

For the rest of the table, I used my beautiful mismatched blue and white plates, natural woven placemats and blue and white linen napkins which all naturally did justice for a summer theme. I found a wonderfully summer colored table linen at Tuesday Morning but linked some similar options you can find online. Last but not least I added my tapered white candles and pretty glass holders from the NYE table I created last December and they added the most simple romantic touch. The easiest way to elevate a table is by adding candles and florals, preferably ones varying in color and size. Overall, it was a truly beautiful start to the many future summer evenings ahead. Have a wonderful first weekend of summer everyone, enjoy! 


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-MGN