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Second Floor Flat follows an American expat and magazine writer living in London. Expect travel, fashion, design, lifestyle, and photography.

Tradlands Fall/Winter 2014

It's like this: You know that Lincoln quote, "Whatever you are, be a good one"? San Francisco's Tradlands basically embodies that idea. They're a quality-focused womenswear brand, and they are a good one, producing menswear-style button-downs that are made for lady bodies.

The shirts are well made, well-fitting, and all produced in the USA in small batches. Tradlands also focuses on decreasing their environmental impact and, in my experience, go to great lengths to connect with and be kind to their customers. 

Several weeks back I saw that Tradlands had paired with Cali Vintage for a $250 giveaway.

And when it comes to giveaways I've always been big on entering. After all, I figure someone has to win so heck – why not enter? (Side note: When I lived in New York, I once won a first-class round-trip ticket to London + a night in a fancy hotel. Isn't that crazy?)

Perhaps needless to say if you've read this far into the post, I entered the Tradlands x Cali Vintage giveaway and won...really won!

The two pieces I purchased with my winnings arrived a few weeks back all the way from San Fran and I am pleased as punch with both of them. 

I went for two styles in the Tradlands Fall/Winter 2014 collection, the Robie and The Northampton. Be sure to take note of the detail that goes into each shirt – from the mid-weight cotton fabric to the relaxed fit, right down to the 8-button closure which = no gaping. FINALLY.

rings by kendall conrad and catbird

earrings by Maya Magal, available at formula

You can get yer own Tradlands pieces here, find out more about super-sweet Sadie and Jeremy of Tradlands here, and check out their full Fall/Winter 2014 lookbook here

Thanks again to both Tradlands and Cali Vintage for the baller new shirts. You guys are the best.


Sunday Objects | 12

In today's Sunday Objects I'm sharing favorites old and new, including my travel bag, the hat that's keeping me warm lately, and a shampoo that's made my hair look like an adult's hair rather than a messy child. 

  • black and white photograph: Of West London, taken by my husband. This photo currently lives in our living room. 
  • beanie: Given to me by my talented friend Sam of Dolores Haze. This pup has been keeping me warm on these cooler fall days and evenings. 
  • brass bangle: That I've had for years and wear every single day. Handmade by In God We Trust, which was located just around the corner from my Greenpoint apartment. 
  • army duffle bag: Because this mini army bag has gone with me on many-a-trip, and will definitely be along for the ride when we head to Berlin in a few weeks. 
  • shampoo: This shampoo has changed my hair for the so much better this past week. 
  • pen pal letter: From Maris – my pen pal in Queens!

Have a lovely Sunday and, by all means, share your #SundayObjects with me! I'd love to see.


Good Reads: 17 October 2014

Actually can not believe that it's already Friday. I've been working a lot, so between that and Mercury Retrograde, I've been super focused lately and that's about it.

With that in mind, I'm very much looking forward to not being online this weekend. I spend a lot of time on the Internet and while I love it, a gal needs a break sometimes.

Here are a few Good Reads to kick off the weekend:

In love with this online shop which features the work of April Brimer. 

Excited to be closer to these guys come December. 

Got my eye on this hat... 

...and this scarf.

I've been incorporating more oils into my beauty routine to combat the cooler weather. Thinking about purchasing Sweet Fennel + Cypress oil next. 

Hypnotizing photos

Just love this sweet Baltimore home, and the quietness of the bedroom.

This important reminder that plans can only take you so far. 

Hugely proud of my friend Kate who followed her dream and is now a legit organic farmer

Ace & Jig's Spring/Summer 2015 video is the cutest. 

This cat house DIY is amazing.

New Instagram feed I started following this week: @carolynmisterek of MATINE, because her pieces and feed are beautiful, simple, and clean. 

 

What are you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy it!


Botanica Workshop Spring/Summer 2015

Sustainable, organic underwear line Botanica Workshop first came to my attention a few weeks back through the blogosphere.

I was immediately taken by the lookbook. The pieces are feminine but simple, and modern with fun, boyish elements that maintain their sweetness. They also have striped undies so, that was basically enough for me. 

The debut SS15 collection, called clearwater, was inspired by the Japanese technique of natural dyeing known as kusaki-zome. All of this comes together thanks to the super smart gal behind Botanica Workshop, Misa Miyagawa. She's lovely, has a killer name, and used to live not too far to where I am in London, so she gets tons of bonus points.

All the more reason to love this new line of organic lingerie and underwear separates:

Stockists for Botanica Workshop will be announced soon. In the meantime, make sure you're following them on Instagram so that you don't miss out on any new product releases or updates.


The Case For Consumer Culture

My recent flirtation with the world of minimalism has been brought on by many things. As I've talked about in other posts (here, here, here), my interest in consuming less partly has to do with my move abroad, partly with my growing interest in supporting independent designers, and mainly – most likely – it has to do with my age.

But based on conversations I've had recently with friends, I can't help but wonder if my surroundings have had any sort of influence.

When I lived in New York, I felt a pang to buy something new nearly every single day. As soon as I would leave my apartment and hop on the G, I was overcome with a desire to buy new booties, just like the pair the girl four seats over was wearing. Off the train and walking down Broadway or 2nd Avenue to work, I'd want to buy something at 6 out of the 10 stores that I passed. I even tried listening to the audiobook of "Walden" to shake this feeling, but it didn't work. 

American culture in many ways is built on consumerism, but that's something I was never fully aware of until I moved out of the country, and out of the culture. We're a nation that loves its holidays and celebrates any and everything we can. And with each celebration comes a myriad of accessories, door decorations, food stuffs, and so much more.

Someone on the outside could easily look at this as America the forever-consuming. In some ways they're right – we definitely love decorations, new school supplies, a wardrobe for the new year, a flag for fall, another flag for Halloween, another for Thanksgiving, and so on. The list of items available to purchase to celebrate traditional holidays is wide and deep. But after living outside of that crazy consumer culture, I've come to realize that I kind of really like it.

Before I go any further, let me explain. It's true that the only place I've lived outside of the U.S. is London, a place that's highly influenced by American culture. It's also a city that's arguably as obsessed with shopping and consumerism as any large American city might be. I've also only been here 2.5 years – not long enough to make a real statement about consumer culture.

But I have my experiences and those experiences are enough to inform my opinion. So here's what I've found, plain and simple:

Without the huge store displays and over-the-top celebrations, for me, holidays don't feel like holidays. For those of you who aren't from or haven't lived in the UK, here's what you should know: Easter and Christmas are huge here but celebrated differently than what a consumer-focused American might be used to. Other holidays? Not really a thing. 

 

What to expect:

For Easter – four-day holiday with a big focus on the all-important chocolate egg.

For Christmas – lots of time off, a focus on Boxing Day, gorgeous light displays, and a serious love for the company Christmas party. (Spouses are usually not invited, planning begins as early as spring.)

 

What you shouldn't expect:

Halloween as you know it. Door decorations of any kind, anywhere – at least in London. Aisles of candy.

 

What's funny is, without the consumer-crazed focus on holidays, it almost feels like they don't really happen. It's as if the year all blends into one from the holidays in December to the next holidays in December. Who knew that the candy aisle at Kroger was serving as my life's time marker?

Earlier this year in the World Food section

I'm sure that a lot of folks reading this might find it sad that I'm even dedicating blog space to talk about consumerism, or that I, in a way, "need" the decorative fan fare to give a holiday its real flavor. Shouldn't it be about the experiences you have with your loved ones, and the memories you create from those experiences, rather than a new Halloween costume?

Yeah. But the thing is – it is about the experience. I have memories of shopping for Christmas trees with my grandparents in a giant lot, picking out pumpkins and matching pumpkin carving kits with my parents, buying new Halloween decorations, and maybe even grabbing some Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes (the best) as a special treat to celebrate.

All of those activities are consumer driven. And if some Mad Man hadn't originally told me and my family that we needed to do them then we maybe never would have. But the thing is, I don't really care – even if these memories are associated with consuming in some fashion, it's consuming that I did with my loved ones, and that formed our memories. 

Talk to me again in six months when I'm back in the U.S. and making my way through Target the week before Halloween (or Valentine's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, Columbus Day, etc.) and I might have a different opinion.

But for now? I've seen the other side, and have decided that I'll take my holidays with a bit of over-the-top consumption. It's who I am and if you don't like that, well, I'm keeping my extra large bag of candy to myself.


Shopping List: South African Designers

Oddly enough, my South African husband wasn't the one to introduce me to my many favorite South African designers.

Though really maybe that's not odd at all. After all, my husband is a dude who's interested in history, photography, and movies, and not a gal like me who's obsessed with small, independent designers with a sharp focus on ethical business practices.

Either way, over the last few months I've become more and more aware of the incredible creativity coming out of South Africa. Many of these designers are already internationally known – which I would assume is not an easy thing, when you think about the challenges that come with distance and differences in season. (Southern hemisphere, how do you do it?)

I figured I'd share a few of my favorites today because I love them and want to support them as much as I can – South African husband or not.

And actually on that note: If there are any great designers that you know of in South Africa, or wherever you are, let me know! I'd love to hear about 'em.

ceramic cat bowl ($45) and spots coin purse (23) by zana

stripy ring ($20) and diamond brass bangle ($45) by dear rae 

table runner by skinny laminx ($50)

cha chaing monochrome #4 bag by missibaba ($132)

strappy sandals by take care ($53.29)

clara necklace by kirsten goss (£145 / £232) - kirsten is a south african designer with stores in cape town, durban, and london

heidi shirt dress by jane sews ($63)

riohacha bag by miss mochila - all miss mochila pieces are handmade by artisans in SA

eritrea necklace by pichulik ($112)

 

*NOTE: Some prices were converted from ZAR into U.S. dollars by me, so actual price may vary.


Sunday Objects | 11

This one is kind of random, I know, but bear with me here – all of these simple, everyday objects have a lot of meaning.

The book has been arguably the most important everyday object this week (because I'm obsessed with it), but these other pieces are important for other reasons. Read on:

  • not that kind of girl: Because it came in the mail this week, I've started reading it, and have laughed out loud so many times. I am so glad that Lena Dunham is as popular as she is. 
  • soy candleBecause this candle kept me company on several rainy days this week. It also smells delicious.
  • tambourine: When my husband and I first met, I told him that in another life I would love to be a tambourine girl. I was living in the West Village at the time, so he went over the Bleecker Street and bought me a tambourine. This is definitely one of the most important things I own. 
  • brooklyn charm necklace: I was super homesick when I first got to London, so my darling friends would send me care packages. Included in one was a custom Greenpoint, Brooklyn necklace (complete with two cat charms) that I still wear almost every day.
  • oilve oil hand balm: New this week because hello, chilly wind.
  • schoolboy blazer: I bought this at a charity shop near our flat. It's a boy's school blazer, complete with crest and all. I wear it a lot and always get a wide variety of comments when I do.
  • mango: Thrown in for good measure. I became obsessed with mangos over the summer and am pretending that they'll never go out of season.

 

Show me your #SundayObjects either via post or tagging on social media. I'd love to the small items that were important to you this week. 

Have a lovely Sunday!