I have Brooklyn on the brain. Last week we went for lunch and wandered around a bit afterwards. I am toying with getting a place in Brooklyn Heights (reminds me of Beacon Hill in Boston, my hometown) and this story from Vogue may be the thing that sways me.
We lived for years on the Upper East Side, right on the park. My country-loving family needed to see greenery every day and this worked, for a while. Now we live on the water minutes from the city, but the commute is a bore.
So, we have started to rethink our living situation (keep the cottage for weekends) and Brooklyn is on the list. When I saw what my old Vogue colleague, landscape designer and Vogue Contributing Editor Miranda Brooks, did with her Brooklyn brownstone, especially the outdoor spaces, I am seriously hooked on this borough.
If this is what we decide to do, Miranda will have a new project and neighbor.
Amanda and her adorable husband, architect Bastien Halard.
Matias ruffled broderie anglaise-trimmed cotton-poplin blouse
Charlotte leather ankle boots
Silvery Crepe printed dress
Collection gold, silver and diamond ring
Eyelet-embellished intarsia merino wool turtleneck sweater
Mid-heel suede knee-high boots
Beirut 18-karat rose gold diamond ring
Camilla one-shoulder textured-organic cotton maxi dress
medium Trunk shoulder bag
Gold vermeil hoop earrings
Priscilla Woolworth photographed at home by Agnes Baddoo for Keep it Chic
It is no secret that I am focused on creating a more eco-friendly home. So, when my friend (and Style Setter) Agnes Baddoo suggested we cover her friend Priscilla Woolworth, I jumped at the chance. Although born in New York City, Priscilla spent much of her childhood in the south of France. It was there that she developed a deep appreciation for a simple, eco-centric, yet stylish lifestyle. Summers in Maine at her storied family’s retreat, Clearview Farm, (Priscilla is a descendant of one of the founders of F.W.Woolworth of the “five and dime” stores), solidified her commitment to the environment. These days, Priscilla lives in Los Angeles where she runs priscillawoolworth.com, an online general store and monthly almanac she founded that offers eco-friendly and socially responsible products, and advice and information about living a sustainable lifestyle. It’s a truly modern version of the famed Woolworth stores and legacy.
The mother of two daughters with Cassian Elwes, Arielle, 22, and Lucie, 20, Priscilla is an inspiring KiC profile.
Photographed by Agnes Baddoo for Keep it Chic
How did your childhood help form your dedication to the environment? Growing up in the south of France exposed me to such a gorgeous way of living by my French family who really knew how to create a lovely quality of life by making a simple yet beautiful environment at home. We all enjoyed what nature brought during the different seasons, the foods and flowers in particular. Spending my summers in Maine opened up my eyes to the beauty of trees, dragonflies and wildflowers and it was there that I realized how vital it is to protect nature. Living in California made it all come together; the indoor life and the outdoor life. They can be lived in a way that is environmentally responsible. All you need to know is how easy it is to do.
What are 3 things everyone could do easily to help the environment?
1) Buy food packaged in glass jars you can reuse for food storage or other uses, reducing the amount of trash you make and saving money on buying food storage containers. 2) Buy school or office supplies made from recycled paper or materials. 3) Use non-toxic suntan lotion at the beach, which is better for you and also for the water you swim in to cool off. Suntan oils and lotions pollute the water and endanger the sea creatures.
Tell me about composting… Composting rocks! I keep a compost pail, one from my store, by my kitchen sink and fill it up with veggie kitchen scraps. I empty the pail into my Valentina composter. After a few months, it breaks down into nutritious compost material, which I add to my vegetable garden, where I grow the vegetables that I pick, etc. The cycle comes full circle and starts up again. I love that.
Whose style do you admire? Jane Goodall for her kindness towards animals and her simple chic.
Which eco-friendly designers do you like? Stella McCartney for her all around earth friendliness and Liya Kebede for her activism and humanitarian work with her brand LemLem.
Favorite books and movies: Books: Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck; Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder; Interpreter of the Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, … Movies: My Man Godfrey; Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring; Seraphine; Nowhere in Africa; Whale Rider; The Chorus.
Summer essentials: Ray-Ban Sunglasses , Odacite moisturizer, handcrafted Barbara Shaum sandals, white shirts by Ronaldus Shamask, jeans by J. Brand…and my reusable glass water bottle goes with me whenever I go.
Favorite summer dish: Salad Niçoise in a bowl or stuffed inside a crusty piece of bread like they do in the south of France, called a Pan Bagnat.
A day with your daughters is…Doing a project together that involves us staying home and having a great time, then cooking dinner together, eating it by candlelight in the kitchen, sharing stories and laughing the night away.
A perfect day alone is…Not being in a hurry and staying in my pajamas until mid-morning, having breakfast and pottering around the garden, going for a swim, lunch out somewhere yummy and beautiful, taking photos while I’m out and about, catching up on my New Yorkers, The Week and English Elle Decoration back at home while drinking a cup of tea…
Keeps me sane…My cameras because I love shooting images every day and then sharing all my news in my monthly Almanac blog.
A few of my favorite products from Priscilla’s online store: Outdoor wooden compost bin- the Valentina, Priscilla Woolworth Market Bag in cotton- blue, Stainless steel compost pail, Reusable organic produce bag, Reusable glass bottle, Olive soap, Paine’s Balsam Fir incense cones, Odacite Organic skin care products, Home garden Bee House, Stainless steel lunch box, Natural moth repellant sachets, Long wooden matches.
I have always wanted beautiful monogrammed bed linens. So, when I got an invitation from Mark Badgley and James Mischka to meet Leontine Linens owner, Jane Scott Hodges, at interior designer (and KiC profile) Meg Braff’s shop, I went right over. The quality and craftsmanship is extraordinary. And I confess that I am a bit of a monogram nut. Whether your taste is traditional or modern, I think these linens would personalize any home.
Last weekend the Wall Street Journal ran an article on a couple who, at Mick Jagger’s urging, bought a grand house just outside of London. Gael and Francesco Boglione bought Petersham House in 1997 and a few years later purchased the nursery next door. What makes the story so inspiring is that the Boglione’s are not gardeners, yet they transformed the run-down nursery into an enchanting destination where you can buy plants, homewares, furniture and have lunch in the cafe or tea in the teahouse. The restaurant, which started in a shed, can now handle hundreds of diners.
As we move into summer and move our lives outdoors, I am drawn to places like Petersham Nurseries– places that encourage me to create a welcoming and stylishly bohemian outdoor living space. Forget the expensive furniture from the fancy garden center, found and reclaimed pieces with cushions in fun, all-weather fabrics are the way to go. And maybe a few chickens for good measure.
Blair at home by Marko MacPherson for KiC
Have you ever met someone only to realize you have a million friends in common? That is precisely what happened to me and Blair. We would cross paths frequently, but did not really connect until a year ago when she ran into us shooting KiC on the street outside her apartment. A jewelry designer with an eponymous line, mother of three and Best Dressed List topper; Blair is a stylish profile.
Although based in New York, Blair was raised in North Carolina and travels extensively. Through her travels, a broad range of cultural influences have come into play as inspiration for her work. Numbers are also important, because as she says “everyone has a number that means something special.”
Blair Husain Jewelry was first on my radar when I saw a lot of friends wearing her one-of-a-kind Roman numeral pendants and bracelets to honor special occasions. But it is her new pieces, especially the “rock” rings, that I think are gorgeous and fun.
Blair on the street courtesy of Quest Magazine
What inspires your jewelry: Architecture, the gemology department at the Museum of Natural History and the Zodiac rotunda in the NYC courthouse at 1 Centre Street.
5 Spring Essentials:
Valentino Rockstud flats
Any art from the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, she has such a good eye
Naeem Khan cocktail dress
AG jeans in white
Ralph Lauren Ricky bag in purple croc
3 Beauty Musts:
Gold shimmer elastic hair ties at Zitomers
Fresh Twilight Face Glow Cream
A smile… it makes you look prettier!
A perfect day is: Sleeping late, having coffee from Sant Ambroeus in their beautiful salmon-colored disposable cups, going for a walk around the reservoir , meeting my family for a big brunch at Le Magnifique, watching my kids scooter in the neighborhood while I window shop, going to SLT for a workout, getting my hair blown-out (such a luxury) then reading stories to my children (listening to them laugh, watching them smile) and hearing them say their prayers…then off to dinner with my husband to T-Bar where they have the best lamb burger and banana dessert! Bliss!
Being a mother is: What I am most proud of and feel very blessed to experience.
Next destination: A family reunion in Jamaica for my brothers 40th!
Jill photographed by Marko MacPherson for KiC
Perhaps the best way to describe author and mother of three, Jill Kargman, is to compare her to Wednesday Addams (of the Addams family)–albeit Jill is the grown-up version, who lives in a classic Upper East Side apartment and has a far more enviable wardrobe. (Style, and success for that matter, run deep in her close-knit family; Jill’s father was president of Chanel for many years, her mother is insanely chic, and her art consultant brother, Will, is Drew Barrymore’s fiancé.).
Jill is elegant, girlish, and goth, an unusual mix that would make Tim Burton swoon. But it is her sublime, sharp-as-a-tack wit that is her most disarming characteristic; a conversation with her is filled with zingy one-liners that leave you breathless with laughter. Her honest, off-beat humor is the reason her novels are such as success. (The Washington Post dubbed her “Queen of the Beach Read”.) Her 10th book, The Rock Star in Seat 3A, hits the shelves May 22nd. Here, a peek into her latest obsessions and fashion must-haves.
What I love most about writing is….That I get to work from home. Even though I am not in PJ’s but in full dress and heels!
Five Spring essentials: Marc by Marc Jacobs flirty dresses, a vintage Chanel gray leather jacket cause I’m always cold, Valentino strappy sandals that don’t kill my feet, Chanel camellia sunglasses to avoid more squinty crow’s feet, and water.
Designers with the most hanger space in my closet: Marc by Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Phillip Lim 3.1
Three beauty musts: Pounding water, slathering Chanel Sublimage moisturizer, and Biotin by the handful. Think Valley of the Dolls handfuls.
Next destination: Disney World. AKA Orlandon’t.
A perfect day is…. No kiddies waking me up, a big vat of coffee, arriving at Soul Cycle to miraculously find the person before me had all the same bike settings, scalding shower, yummy brunch with my family, a massage, a nap, an early Mexican dinner, a Broadway show, and a yellow cab that happens to be right there when we exit the theater.
Favorite authors: Woody Allen and David Sedaris
Latest obsession: Planning book tour for The Rock Star in Seat 3A, my forthcoming summer beach read.
Keeps me sane: Working out, my best girlfriends, sleep.
With this sublime, unseasonably warm weather, I am not sorry we skipped Palm Beach and are happily at home. It’s so nice, that we bailed on skiing too. Every window is open and the dogs come and go freely. The longer days and extra daylight in the evening, courtesy of Daylight Savings, are also welcome.
I pinched the above image from one of my favorite blogs RduJour. The post, aptly entitled “rooms to inspire”, did just that. Here the pink and green is not so much preppy as pretty and fresh. Peonies are my absolute favorite spring flowers. And the matching Gracie wallpaper panel and seat cushions is something I am seriously considering copying.
Lauren photographed at home for KiC by Marko MacPherson
We have known Lauren for years beginning when we were all at Vogue in the 90s. We love Lauren for her irreverence and devil-may-care attitude, her feminine, grown-up style (she loves fashion but is no slave), and her warmth and generosity. These days she juggles being a mother of three, wife of artist Richard duPont, serving as the Creative Director at Jack Rogers and a creative consultant to Aerin Lauder’s soon-to-launch line, AERIN.
We had such a laugh while shooting her picture, reminiscing about the (sometimes) good old days as struggling editors and discussing kids’ camps and other issues that are now forefront on our minds.
4 Essential wardrobe items: A printed Dries Van Noten I bought at Barneys that I can wear for evening or during the day, a long printed Elizabeth & James skirt that is long and flowy and looks great with a boyish sweater, and two Comptoirs des Cottoniers dresses that look like sweaters with a skirt but are actually one piece–one is black sweater on top with polka-dot skirt, the other all plum. They are great and make getting dressed idiot-proof, great for weekends or work.
Rediscovered in my closet: A Pringle camel hair v-neck sweater that my Dad gave me when he was cleaning out his closet a few years ago. It’s big so it looks good with jeans and long skirts. I’ve also been pulling out my old fishermans sweaters that I used to wear back when I was a teenager. An Ann Demeulemeester black oversized boyfriend jacket that I bought in the late 90s (looks great with skinny pants and jeans). A Martin Margiela denim jacket with knit collar and denim skirt. Both timeless but until recently, shoved to the back of the closet.
What inspires you: Art, interiors, vintage fairs, estate sales and my crazy friends.
Home obsessions: William Morris wallpaper. I just wallpapered two bedrooms in my house in Connecticut in them. I could have done the whole house! I am obsessed with glass wear. I honestly can’t stop myself. The best finds are in Maine at the auction that comes to town and estate sales in Connecticut. Fabric is my other obsession, vintage and current. I buy bolts of things I love, even if I have nowhere to use it. One day I will use them, by then those fabrics will probably be discontinued.
Holiday hostess gift: Sweet Revolution caramels and the Alberto Pinto book on table settings. These are go-to gifts for people who have just about everything.
Holiday hostess outfit: To be honest, I am rarely a hostess. I have three children and entertaining makes me nervous.
Favorite holiday tradition you do with your kids: Opening boxes of ornaments and decorating the tree together. Last year every ornament and garland was felt (last year I went a little bonkers at the gift show).
Where will your next trip take you? Hopefully to the Mayflower Inn in Connecticut for a quiet weekend with my husband.
An image from Katie’s new book Rooms
Interior designer, KiC Style Setter and dear friend Katie Ridder has a new book Rooms which showcases her impeccable design sensibility and extraordinary use of color. Katie told me “this book shows that decorating can be fun, hard work, but fun.” I especially love the bird prints and bright green in this dining room. I love color in my homes and will follow Katie’s advice “always remember that around the corner there lies another color, more patterns, and design to explore and relish.” Words to live and decorate by!
an old picture of Aerin Lauder’s dressing room
I cleaned out my closet. Nothing was spared from my scrutiny and I ruthlessly tossed things that I had been holding onto for far too long. There may be less in there, but I wear everything I have.
Goop has closets on the brain too and posted a great newsletter last week about spring trends and how to organize and maintain your clothes. But what are closet essentials, the things that make a closet fully functional?
Here is my list.
1. A mirror, 3 way would be ideal
2. A chair
3. Good light
4. A rug (so you can try on shoes at home)
5. Hooks or rack to hang outfits being considered
6. A steamer (I have a Rowenta Precision Valet)
7. Padded hangers and skirt hangers with clips (toss or return all wire hangers from the cleaners).
8. Shoe racks. I do not like my shoes in boxes because I forget I have them.
9. A small table to put out accessories being considered
10. Bowls for odds and ends, a trash can and a laundry basket
11. A push-pin board with pictures of inspirational outfits, list of clothing needs, etc.
I love this big mirror leaning against the wall
I like to be able to see what I own and have belts hung on hooks on the wall and handbags are on shelves. My shoes are on open shelves too. The downside to having everything out is you need to dust frequently.