MME MINK ONASSIS TOTE 85. First, let me mention that I am obsessed with the evocative, slightly-retro-slightly-over-the-top Mme Mink brand and its lovely founder, Jan Haedrich. I had the chance to have a long phone call with her a few weeks ago and she is bright, kind, and impressively tenured in the fashion world, having designed scarves for Hermes and Ralph Lauren, among other achievements. One thing she mentioned that really jumped out at me: “My ethos throughout my career has always been: be kind.” This has not only endeared her to colleagues and customers, but also opened doors and facilitated arrangements otherwise impossible. As an example, her bags are manufactured by the same artisans that produce Prada bags, only by virtue of the relationships she has built over her career. Anyhow, I’m a big fangirl. She sent me one of her new Onassis Totes and I am in love with it. It filled a major wardrobe hole, as I previously had no dark, solid-colored everyday totes that could be worn with anything and everything. (My toxic trait is buying impractical, patterned, brightly colored options.) I learned this past week that this tote is the ideal travel companion, as I brought it with me up to NYC for a quick jaunt. It is compact enough to deter you from trying to squeeze a laptop in (my Tumi roll-a-board has a perfect compartment for this but for some reason I always try to squeeze it in my tote and pay the price later, with a sore shoulder) but roomy enough to carry everything else: makeup pouch, sunglasses, wallet, chargers, water bottle, etc. I love that it comes with a detachable strap so I could carry it messenger bag style while navigating Union and Penn Stations, but can also be worn over the shoulder or wrist, and — IMPORTANTLY — it is surprisingly lightweight for the size and quality of the leather. It is chic chic chic, and winningly practical.
ORIBE GOLD LUST HAIR OIL. Fellow bob ladies will appreciate this one. There is always a point at which my long bob gets so long that it starts to flip outward at the shoulder rather than bend under, and I hate that unfinished look. I am going to go for a trim in December, but in the meantime, I finally found a solution: Oribe’s hair oil. After I heat-style my hair, I use a tiny tiny bit at the ends of my hair and then use a round brush to sort of train the hair to bend under the way I like it — and it ACTUALLY stays!!! Wonder of wonders. Oribe nails it again.
MME MINK MINKY TEDDY COAT. Another Mme Mink slam dunk. This coat is just WOW. I could not love the color or bow detail more, and it was fun to throw on over my Zara mini and Gucci tights earlier this week. It runs boxy/big — I took a S and think I will take it to the tailor to see if the arms can be shortened. Cannot wait to style with more casual looks. I’m thinking black jeans and combat-style boots. (I am eyeing these — there is one left in my size and it’s over 50% off. SO good.)
ZARA VELVET MINI. I apologize for being a bit redundant this week; I feel like I’ve blabbed about this dress at least five or six times, but I truly was pleasantly shocked/surprised by this purchase. The fit is interesting — it has some shape/light boning to it that affords a tailored look, and the smocking at the wrist is divine. Sometimes inexpensive velvet can look a bit…like a stuffed animal’s fabric? — but this dress is luxe and I feel like it could pass for HVN or Horror Vacui or something.
MAXWELL AND GERALDINE TARTAN DRESS. (Photo in collage above by Claire Harvey.) A great option for Christmas festivities, but honestly, my favorite kind of thing to wear every day of the week. I have been getting a lot of mileage out of this and my fleet of tartan nap dresses. I have been layering this beneath a chunky cardigan and sometimes over a black turtleneck and pairing with lug sole boots, Chanel flats, or Vibis. This dress is also one of my favorites for travel days (I also own in a summer weight/style and chose this to wear to/from NYC last time I was here). It is lightweight, comfortable, layerable, soft, and always makes me feel pulled together even though I feel like I’m wearing pajamas. You can see me wearing mine over a black turtleneck the day I arrived in NYC at the top of this post! In the photo in the collage, though, I styled with my favorite ivory alpaca sweater from Alice Walk. I am going to spotlight this hero item again soon because it deserves a whole tribute. It is the warmest, best quality sweater I own!
MADE HOTEL. We’ve stayed at this Midtown hotel a few times since leaving NYC, and each time, I am really impressed. Let me first say that I generally would avoid Midtown while visiting — it is crowded and dirty and lacks the charm that makes up for these sins elsewhere in the city — but the last few times, we have been here for work, so we have found practicality paramount: Mr. Magpie can walk to his office from here and we can get to/from Penn Station by foot in under 10 minutes. It is also an ideal jumping off point for getting absolutely anywhere else in the city, as most major subway lines are within a few minutes. It’s also borders on the NoMad/Flatiron neighborhoods, so it feels less Midtown-ish than Midtown proper — and I love the Flatiron area. My daughter attended school in Flatiron and I am irrationally connected to it, and I feel like I know so many of its corners because of its daily presence in our life. (Try Devocion coffee if you’re in the neighborhood!) Anyhow, Made is a relatively new hotel and everything is sparkly and clean. The staff is noticeably friendly and helpful — hospitality is truly a core value there. Each time I’ve visited, the front of house staff have hurried to get me checked in ASAP (well before actual check in time) and have attended to every question and need with alacrity. They also have a really good coffee shop in the lobby (Paper Coffee) and offer free wine during happy hour. I have worked from both my hotel rooms and the comfortable lobby for many hours at this point, and find it an ultra-accommodating place to work from. This is absolutely the place to stay if you are looking for something in Midtown.
BANTAM KING. We tried this H Street Japanese spot late last week and I haven’t stopped thinking about their Curry Snow Fried Chicken since. It was unbelievable. The fried chicken on its own was fabulous (no small feat), but buried beneath a vidalia onion curry?! Mind blowing! And the rice has chicken drippings in it and WOW. We live about 40-60 minutes away from a lot of the trendiest dining corridors in DC (depending on traffic and that damned Mass Ave construction), including H Street, so getting to these spots requires a certain level of commitment on our end. It’s one thing to go out to for dinner and drinks with friends in the evening in Union Market / H St / etc — in those cases, the transit just feels baked into the night, and Mr. Magpie and I consider that quiet time together in the car a part of the evening’s enjoyment. But it’s another thing to make the trek into the city for a casual fried chicken lunch. This is one of those spots worth the travel. We will be making the mecca back with some regularity.
REPLENIX GLY-SAL 10/2 CLEANSER. I mentioned this over the summer, but after battling body breakouts for years and years, my dermatologist suggested this body cleanser and my life has changed. It is so unglamorous to talk about this, but I used to dread open-backed dresses and would even apply concealer sometimes on my back! This cleanser has completely cleared everything up.
TULA VITAMIN C DROPS. You all know I love Vitamin C skincare products — my favorite I’ve ever tried is Biossance’s Vitamin C Rose Oil — but I have been testing these Tula drops and they are excellent as well, and less expensive. I find the Tula a bit easier to apply than Biossance because less runny/oily. You can get 15% off your first order by signing up for emails. Vitamin C is non-negotiable for me — it really turns the lights on in my skin.
MICRO’S HELLY HENSEN JACKET + VANS. One big surprise of having a little boy? How much fun it is to dress him! I mean, I always knew I’d love dressing mini in the sweetest bubbles and smocked dresses, but finding cute items for micro has been equally joy-sparking. Here, he is wearing a great Helly Hensen jacket (still on sale with a few sizes left). It is reversible, so one side has that great pastel mint hue and the other is a lovely eucalyptus green. I would say this coat runs a tad bit small so you can size up if in question. The navy Vans give his outfits (which sometimes can skew towards the more traditional/buttoned up side thanks to me) a fun, slightly sporty vibe. Some Vans are too “skater boy” for my taste (?) but the navy suede is handsome, and I love the mid-high-top height. Cute cute!
BAYBALA MOMMY AND ME DRESSES. I had planned to feature these dresses next week, as I intend for mini and I to wear them (mine / hers) together this week and want to share photos of us in them, but had to mention that Baybala is running a promotion at the moment: orders over $75 are 30% off with code JEN30. This dress is gorgeous and unlike anything else in my closet, and I love the way it coordinates with so many of the sweet little girl’s dresses they have without being too matchy-matchy. I picked this dress for mini, but they have lots of precious options to consider that would play beautifully as well, including pre-bundled sets that are already discounted (and you can apply the 30% off code on top). This is a great brand to keep in mind for family photos! The quality is exceptional, and the lovely founder has a background in textile design that really shines through in the pieces.