Top 5 Ways to Get Your Daily News

Image credit: Chris Ozer for the NYT Now campaign.

The morning ritual of reading the news was always a romantic notion in my mind. A luxury, even.  I imagined a quiet scene, daylight streaming through the window, a beautiful newspaper unfolded on my kitchen table.  Dressed and coiffed, I would sip a coffee and graze the paper – an act that would set the tone for my success. I would arrive at work savvy on world events and sharp as a tack.

In reality my weekday mornings looked the exact opposite. I pressed fast forward as I got myself together, onto the New York subway, and through the office door. At work, there was barely time for coffee let alone the news!  What about reading during your commute, you say? I sure as hell never figured out how to snap a newspaper into neat bite-sized folds; I was the idiot on the subway wrestling to contain the giant pages, elbows flapping, flustered and ink stained.  I longed for a lifestyle in which I could establish that romantic newspaper-consuming, coffee-drinking, mind-expanding morning ritual.

I am happy to announce that modern technology has solved my conundrum. Ladies and gents, I present to you the top 5 ways in which I now get my daily news fix.

1.  NYT Now (App) – If I had to reduce my list to one, this is it.  I think it is the best news app around that still preserves the content, look and feel of the paper.   Editors pick key stories that are delivered to you as digestible headlines that you can choose to expand. I adore the daily briefing (6am), the reporting is world class, photos and videos are stellar.   The variety of formats keeps my attention.  I love the experience, so I open this app multiple times a day.  Cost: the app itself is free, but subscription services cost about $2 per week (and there is a free 4-week trial).

2.  NPR News and NPR One (App, Website) – My favorite for listening to, versus reading, the news.  I have NPR news and radio programs streaming in my house pretty much all day long.  Save Spotify for dinner parties; educate yourself hands-free while you clean house, work, and browse the web. Cost: free.

3.  The Skimm (Email Newsletter) – I am a new subscriber to this email newsletter, but so far I very much like the concept.  A team of editors skims the news, boils it down, and neatly bundles & delivers key stories to their readers in an email format by 6am EST. Its audience is the “busy working woman” (see the logo) and their brief summary of the daily news is useful for water-cooler conversations and socializing. Cost: free.

4.  Google News (Website) – I find Google News to be the best news aggregator, especially helpful for researching multiple reports of the same news incident.  Stories are organized by topic and the publishing time stamp. Cost: free.

5.  Twitter (App, Website) – News often breaks here first, and is delivered in 140 characters or less.  Warning: there is relatively little editing (hence the speed at which it hits the wires) and there’s a higher risk of mis-information! Cost: free.
 
Honorable Mentions

Related: How to Save Articles to Read Later

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Image credit: Chris Ozer for the NYT Now campaign.

Image credit: Chris Ozer for the NYT Now campaign.

Image Credits: Chris Ozer for the New York Times NYT Now campaign.

The Perfect Puppy Present

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A few weeks ago, I was invited to a soiree of the furry variety. The occasion marked the birthday for a sweet little puppy named Callie. After much contemplation over what constitutes as a suitable gift for a four-legged friend, I took my domesticity to depths unknown and presented the birthday boy with homemade peanut butter dog treats and I packaged them up nicely in brown craft take out boxes and baker’s twine. Voila! The perfect puppy present! 

Peanut Butter Puppy Treats

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup corn oil
2 eggs
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup oats
Steps:
1. Blend wet ingredients together.
2. Whisk dry ingredients together.
3. Add wet mixture to dry mixture to form a ball of dough.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface.

4. Roll out the dough and use bone shapped cooked cutters.
Use dog bone shaped cookie cutters to punch out dough.

Use dog bone shaped cookie cutters to punch out dough.

5. Put onto a non-stick lightly greased cookie tray.
6. Cook for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
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Package doggie bones in a small kraft box and tie up with string.

7. Turn off oven and allow the biscuits to cool in the oven until they are crisp and hard.
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Using cellophane bags, package extras for the neighborhood dogs.

Friday Link Love

Flower Market Link Love

Happy Friday everyone! This weekend I am planning a little bit of me time to reset and recharge. The jet lag from my London trip has overstayed its welcome, so I am planning a spa day and scheduling a few yoga classes to get me back on track! Do you have any fun plans? I hope you all have wonderful weekends, and keep reading for a few of my favorite links from around the web.

Lena Dunham gives great advice

Hermès makes beautiful wallpaper, and this cute little module also lets you create your own computer desktop background using the different wallpaper prints!

Haunting photos of a 70 year old traffic jam.

Jenna Lyons shows you how to perfectly cuff your button-down shirts in this new web series

Gorgeous alphabet made with natural flowers.

Bar Cart Essential: Homemade Rose Syrup.

The perfect gold stacking rings.

A peek inside SJP’s home (that’s currently up for sale) while she answers 73 questions for Vogue.

If you haven’t already heard of Class Pass

How to make perfect boiled eggs.

Emma Watson’s empowering speech about gender equality is a must-see.

A few street style highlights from Paris Fashion Week.

Home office inspiration.

How to throw a stress-free brunch!

DIY: Sea-Salt Spray for beachy waves…

Duo for Dewy, Soft Skin

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This past weekend I hosted Jenna and Hallie at my London apartment. We spent an incredible weekend together, jam packed with birthday champagne and cake, memorable meals around town, and trips to visit iconic London sites. When we weren’t pounding the pavement, we relished our down time at home – especially the morning hours. As we got ready for the day, coffees in hand, we studied each other’s getting-ready routines and learned a few new tricks. One of the most useful for me was Jenna’s one-two punch for skincare that leaves your skin dewy and soft.

My skin is classically combo (the skin on my cheekbones and forehead is always dry, but my t-zone is oily). As we transition to cooler weather, I know I need major hydration and this duo is my solution. Do you have any skincare secrets to share?

Face oil:  Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil
Crème:  Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
Method:  Squeeze a pea-sized dollop of crème into your palm.  Drop 1-2 beads of the face oil on top of the crème and swirl to combine.  Massage into dry areas around the face.

Rx for different skin types…
Dry: Apply the duo morning and night after cleansing.
Combo: Apply the duo at night after cleansing. If you need a boost to the morning routine, skip the embryolisse and add 1 drop of oil to your daytime moisturizer.
Oily: Apply the duo 1-3 times per week at night after cleansing.

The combo mixed in the hand resembles a tiny fried egg! No?

The combo mixed in the hand.

I apply this duo each night.

I apply this duo each night.

 

Fall To-Do List

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There are very few things I adore more than Autumn. The change in weather lends itself to cozy weekends with loved ones, hot apple cider and layered fashion. Trips to the pumpkin patch lead to hours of baking pumpkin breads, pies and cookies in the kitchen and the coming of fall means that the holidays are a mere hop, skip and a jump away. Since Monday marked the first official day of the season, here is a list of things I’m planning on doing this year. What’s on your list?

1. Make apple cider donuts.

2. Host an outdoor scary movie night (and by “scary” I mean “Hocus Pocus” or “Beattlejuice”).

3. Visit a haunted house.

4. Host a game night with friends – think Scattergories, Charades and Cards Against Humanity exclusively.

5. Visit an apple orchard and make apple pie and candy apples.

6. Clean out my closets and donate to Good Will.

7. Master an Autumn appropriate cocktail.

8. Organize a game of flag football with friends.

9. Go for a hayride.

10. Host a chili bar night for my girlfriends.

11. Make pumpkin butter and package in jars for hostess gifts.

Reflecting on our Twenties

Reflecting on our 20s

This weekend we celebrated Hallie and Jenna’s 30th birthdays together in London.   As we spent time reminiscing, we couldn’t help but reflect on how much we’ve all grown in the past decade.   Here are some of the most impactful lessons we learned in our 20s.

 

Hallie: Sometimes the childhood friendships that you thought would never falter or fade, do. Honor and cherish the memories and don’t spend too much time worrying about what changed. Some of the most meaningful and remarkable relationships are made later in life.

 

Jenna: Always trust your instincts. I learned this the hard way and now when I have a strong feeling about something, I rarely question it.

 

Brooke:  Find a good therapist; you are your best investment.

 

Hallie: Your parents can be your strongest allies. They are seasoned in life’s trials and there is much to be learned from their mistakes.

 

Jenna: If you want something badly enough, there is nothing that can stand in your way from getting it.

 

Brooke: No accomplishment is too small to celebrate. Treat yo self.

 

Hallie: It is never too early to start using eye cream. Those pesky fine lines will sneak up on you overnight. And no matter how great you think you look with a tan, DO NOT GO TO TANNING BEDS!!!

 

Jenna: Step outside your comfort zone. Try to do one thing a day that scares you. Big risks = big rewards.

 

Brooke:  Start and maintain a wellness routine for your mind and body.  Yoga, running, meditation…find activities that you truly enjoy, do them frequently, and establish good habits now.  The longer you wait, the harder it gets as you fight your slowing metabolism.

 

Hallie: Your 20s are the time to lay down your foundation at work. Say yes, arrive early, stay late, ask questions, volunteer, and exhaust your potential.

 

Jenna: No experience is a waste of time.  In every situation there will always be an opportunity to grow and learn something new.

 

Brooke:  Spend less time on things / people that are low quality.  I keep my inner circle small.  Quality over quantity in all aspects!

 

Hallie: Surround yourself with strong, independent, smart, and funny women who “get you.”

 

Jenna:  Work hard. Remember that the quality and result of your work is a reflection of yourself (not only the company you work for).

 

Brooke:  Figure out what makes you happy and do more of that.  My husband taught me this by example.

 

Hallie:  Your heart may get broken, and by someone you would have never expected. You will learn that you are more resilient than you ever could have imagined. Trust that there is a plan greater than yours and in the meantime, nurture yourself.

 

Jenna:  Don’t worry about what other people think about you. Always act with honesty and integrity and be true to yourself. The people who mind don’t matter and the people that matter don’t mind.

 

Brooke:  Tell the truth.  Don’t be afraid to disappoint people as long as you are being authentic and kind.

 

Hallie: Never stop educating yourself. Read, travel and immerse yourself in experience.

 

Brooke:  Plan for your financial strength and be money savvy.  If talking / thinking about money scares you, enlist someone qualified to help you learn the basics.   Now is the time to understand how to set yourself up to achieve your life goals.

 

Outfit: Back to Black

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Since moving to London my style has taken on more edge than ever before.  Flat-heeled Chelsea boots, black denim, leather jackets, and tees have become outfit staples.  The New Yorker in me has always believed that black is a color, and I feel best dressed in shades of black, navy, gray, and white. This fall I’m going back to black.

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Outfit details:

denim (similar), pointed-toe chelsea boots, leather jacket and tee, crossbody bag, silver ring, gold rings

 

Dry Skin Brushing

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As I venture into my thirties, I have grown acutely aware of the importance of tending to my skin. I never fall asleep without removing my makeup, I use under eye cream religiously, and every night I apply vitamin E oil to my neck and décolletage.

But I quickly realized I wasn’t properly caring for the skin on the rest of body. Sure, I moisturized after showers and applied SPF before sitting in the sun, but I wanted to be more proactive about protecting and nurturing my body’s largest organ.

Through my yoga practice, I was introduced to the ritual of dry skin brushing. Not only was it a simple and painless addition to my daily beauty routine, but the benefits extended far beyond skin deep, offering a world of benefits to my health.

Dry skin brushing stimulates your lymphatic system, removes dead skin cells, increases circulation, reduces cellulite, aids in stress relief, and improves digestion and kidney function. Not to mention, it feels amazing and is totally invigorating! I am completely addicted to it and within a month of dry skin brushing, I noticed my skin was tighter, glowing, and as soft as a baby’s tush. Follow the directions below and thank me later.

Dry Skin Brushing 

Tools:
One high-quality dry brush. Look for one with bristles made from natural materials. I use this one.

How To:
1. When brushing, always brush towards your heart. This is best for circulation and for your lymphatic system.

2. Using your brush, start at your feet and work your way up your legs, arms, chest, back and stomach moving in circular motions towards your heart.

3. Apply enough pressure for it to be firm but not painful. Be extra gentle when brushing your neck and décolletage, since the skin is thinner and more sensitive in these areas. Avoid your face altogether.

4. Brush for as long as you would like. I usually spend about five minutes to complete the process but I have friends who spend up to 20 minutes on their dry skin brushing routine each day.

5. For best results, brush once to twice daily and avoid doing your brushing too close to bedtime, as it can leave you feeling energized. I do it every afternoon after I complete my workout – just before jumping in the shower.

Layover in Paris

Layover in Paris!

I regularly fly to Paris for work, and through the years I’ve become well acquainted with this magnificent city of light.  I generally must keep a tight work schedule packed with meetings and events, but I always build in time at the end to explore new areas and visit my old favorites.  Here are my personal highlights for how to spend a few hours in Paris.

When I only have a bit of down time, I will high tail it to the Le Marais in the 3rd + 4th arrondissements (Rive Droite) and soak in this neighborhood’s artsy, relaxed vibe.  Once an aristocratic district and the location of one of the main Jewish communities, this area is packed with important architecture, the best boutiques, and hip cafés + restaurants.

Le Shopping:  No trip to Paris is complete without a few hours’ spent in Merci, a gorgeous multi-level store that brings together fashion, design, housewares, and a cafe.  While Merci is a commercial enterprise, I appreciate that some proceeds go toward funding an endowment to pay for educational projects and development in south-west Madagascar.

Merci
111 Boulevard Beaumarchais
75003 Paris

The iconic cherry-red car parked outside the entrance of Merci.

The iconic cherry-red car parked outside the entrance of Merci.

View from inside Merci.

View from inside Merci.

À Manger:  If after shopping you are looking for a place to grab a cappuccino and a bite to eat, linger at Merci for their in-house library-style cafe.  For a lunch on-the-go, Le Marais is home to one of the world’s best falafel stands, L’as du Fallafel (who has won endorsements from the NYT)! If it’s nearly cocktail hour, consider my new find Le Mary Celeste. Never one to turn down a margarita, I ordered the El Curado with mezcal, lime, a kick of pimento and a smokey sel gris rim.  Amaze.

Le Mary Celeste
1 Rue Commines
75003 Paris

L’as du Falafel
32-34 Rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris

Inventive cocktails at Le Mary Celeste.

Inventive cocktails at Le Mary Celeste.

Cafe at Merci.

Cafe at Merci.

Au Repos: One must retreat into nature to clear the head every now and then.  Without leaving Le Marais, I head to Place des Vosges, a beautiful small park inside a 17th-century square lined with grand houses from the reign of Henri IV.

Place des Vosges
75004 Paris

Brooke and I together inside Place de Vosges.

Brooke and I together inside Place de Vosges.

L’Architecture: For a bit of culture, just keep your eyes peeled because Le Marais is a historic district chock full of architectural masterpieces.  For something a bit more iconic, walk south from Le Marais toward the Seine, and stop along the Voie Georges Pompidou near the Pont Marie for a postcard-worthy view of  Cathédrale Notre-Dame.   I discovered this secret spot on my last trip to Paris in July; this perch is tourist-free.  If you have time, cross over to Île Saint-Louis, a very tiny island in the middle of the Seine where you can stroll the sweetest cobblestone streets. You’ll feel unmistakably in Paris.

Île Saint-Louis
75004 Paris

 Cathédrale Notre-Dame
6 Paris Notre-Dame Place, Jean-Paul II
75004 Paris

Walking Le Marais south toward the Seine.

Walking Le Marais south toward the Seine.

Street scenes in Le Marais.

Street scenes in Le Marais.

Architectural gems abound.

Architectural gems abound.

Interior Design Inspiration: Budapest

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I flew last night from Budapest to London, the final leg of a nine-day exploration of Eastern Europe.  As I slid into the airplane seat my body went slack but my mind began recounting all the details it absorbed over the past week.  I thought about the brilliant gold bursts of light that radiated from statues and cathedrals in Vienna; the red umbrellas that bobbed along the goth bridges in Prague; the dried peppers and burnt-orange paprika we cooked with in Budapest. I imagined the deep leafy greens of parks and rivers, cerulean blue porcelain wares, and the gray-black cobblestone streets.

The last accomodation we chose was in Budapest, a beautifully restored 1920s villa I found via AirBnB.  I fell in love with the interior décor and location, which was nestled at the foot of Gellért Hill on the greener and quieter Buda side of the Danube.  Upon check-in, our warm host Kriszta excitedly took me from room to room explaining the ins and outs of the home.  It was evident that she and her husband Gyula had poured intense effort, time, and thoughtfulness into the space.

Looking back through my photographs I realized that the aesthetics of this incredible villa wove together all of the colors and character I recalled along the trip.   I am looking forward to bringing some of these design ideas back with me to London; they are the best (and most unexpected) souvenirs I could have hoped for.

Here is a visual tour…

The living room, complete with deco ceilings, hand-painted mural, and french windows that open to a tiled terrace.

Blue and white teacup, and piano.

Blue and white teacup, and piano.

LIving room, left side with piano.

LIving room, left side with piano and contrasting yet complimentary green wallpaper.

The sunny tiled terrace, accessible through the living room's French doors, is perfect perch for morning coffee.

The sunny tiled terrace, just off the living room, is a perfect perch for morning coffee.

Master bedroom; cherry-blossom branch wallpaper, silk duvet, and period lighting.

Master bedroom; cherry-blossom branch wallpaper, silk duvet, and period lighting. See how the blossoms are reflected again in the oil painting? And the gold frame…

Master bath with claw-foot tub, orb lighting, and golden accents.

Master bath with claw-foot tub, orb lighting, and golden accents. Actual thermal baths are a highlight in Budapest.

Moi in the master bath.

Moi in the master bath.

The second bedroom.

The second bedroom and leafed wallpaper.

Late morning light and sounds of birds singing.

Late morning light and sounds of birds singing.

Entranceway to the kitchen; master bedroom is accessible through the etched-glass paneled doors.

Hungarian-tiled entranceway to the kitchen; master bedroom is accessible through the etched-glass paneled doors. The orb lights are divine.

The comfortable, cottage-feeling kitchen.  Note the left wall's white and metal-foil swan wallpaper.

The comfortable, cottage-feeling kitchen. Note the left wall’s white and metal-foil swan wallpaper.

Standing in the kitchen looking back toward the entrance.  Love the diamond portal detail in the door.

Standing in the kitchen looking back toward the entrance. Love the diamond portal window detail in the door.

Approaching the villa.

Approaching the villa.

The gate.

The gate.

Stairway to Gellert Hill park.