St. Agni

Her Swim, Hunter The Label, Carpenter's Daughter.

Australia has some of the freshest design talent out there, and to that list we can now add the endlessly beautiful St. Agni.

This Byron Bay-based footwear, accessory, and home goods line feels incredibly clean and necessary. St. Agni is supple leather, blonde wood, classic and comfort, over and over again. It's familiar but fresh, beautiful, and – my lord – so wearable.

It's currently scorching in New York (hello, mid-90s F), but the sleek NAO Mules are certainly on my late summer wishlist. Soft leather, a peep toe, and a low wooden heel?

Yes. Please. Here are a few more favorites:

St. Agni Hina Slides

5 Books That Will Change Your Mood

After the last few weeks, I've been craving a bit of a mood change. Call me crazy, but with everything going on lately I've wanted – needed – a wee bit of an escape. 

(Can you blame me?)

After reading "My Name Is Lucy Barton", I couldn't stop thinking about what it was that made the book so special. The writing was nice, the story was beautiful – heartbreaking, even – but all of these elements together took me to another place. Temporarily, of course, but another place still the same. 

And really, isn't that what we're all looking for with reading? A temporary journey to another place. An escape of sorts.

"Lucy Barton" is a beautiful story and a book that I consumed quickly and enjoyed reading. Thankfully, it's not the only book that I've loved for reasons I cannot name – these are books that transported me or made me feel just plain different, and I love them for that. Here are a few:

5 Books That Will Change Your Mood | Second Floor Flat

1. "The Girls" by Emma Cline

No doubt you've heard of this book. Actually, you may even be reading it right now. Or perhaps, like me, you read about it on Cup of Jo (or another favorite site of your choice), pre-ordered it, and consumed it as soon as it arrived. If you have, I salute you. If you haven't, let me fill you in: "The Girls" follows Evie Boyd as she gets through life as a 14-year-old (officially the worst) and fumbles in and out of a cult-like Northern California group. It's glorious and seedy and Manson Family-esque, but the most important thing about the story is the girls it surrounds – their obsessions with each other and themselves; their desire to belong.  I can't wait to read this again  and rejoin 14-year-old Evie's fantastically strange world.

 

2. "My Name Is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout

Lucy Barton quietly takes you and holds you close. The story takes place almost entirely in a hospital room and in this case, that's plenty. This is a subtly powerful read that will stay with you and make you want to cry for reasons you can't quite figure out. 

 

3. "Letters To A Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke

In what was one of the better birthday gifts I've ever received, a friend took me out to tea and gave me a copy of this book. It's plain, simple, and perfect – a must for any young creative, or really anyone at all. I read it, underlined almost everything, and have returned to it time and time again. 

 

4. "Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth" by Warsan Shire

Feminist poetry,  you know? Sometimes it just really hits you. Though I'm typically not a poetry type (whatever that means) this short collection of poems from now-famous, oft-googled, Beyonce-tribe member Warshan Shire is for real. Grab a copy or for pete's sake, at least borrow mine.

 

5. "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I recommend this book to people almost more than anything else. Reading this while living abroad taught me about loneliness, leaving family, and what it means (it was referenced in more than a few of my expat-related posts) but more than that, it gave me a different perspective on women, race, countries, cultures; our differences, and our similarities. Just read it, k? 

 

Whether you're looking for an escape of sorts or just a good-old fashioned summer read, I'd recommend picking up one of these, getting a little carried away, and then letting me know what you think. I clearly love talking about books, and would love to hear what you think as the smart, intelligent, interesting gal or guy I'm (pretty sure) you are. Happy reading!


Robin Reetz

I’m an expat currently living between London and North Carolina. I'm the Home & Living Editor at Clementine Daily, handle partnerships and more at DesignGood, and create content for folks like Teen Vogue. Also, I love independent designers. Find out more about me here: http://secondfloorflat.com/about-me/

Good Reads: 3 June 2016

Not so long ago, we got a dog. And now, we are officially dog people.

"Those people", even.

I'm trying hard to not be the girl (slash woman) who forces others into scrolling through pictures of her dog on her phone, or who tells boring stories about her dog's adorable habit of wagging her tail in her sleep, etc. But it's really, really hard not to. I can't even imagine how people with kids must feel.

That being said, recommendations for training, treats, and the rest are appreciated. And we'll leave the dog talk at that...for now.

This morning, I worked on something great with the ever-inspiring Rachel of The Style Line. Check her and the entire community out when you can – she showcases a lot of inspiring, creative, all around A+ women. Tonight, I'm hoping for some wine and good food under the stars (aka an outdoor table at a local restaurant) and tomorrow, I'm meeting the new beb of one of my long-time friends. So weird and great when your friends start having kids, right? Aren't we still in high school? (No? Ok.)

Wishing you guys a lovely weekend full of ice cream trucks, summer sandals, warm breezes, welcome AC blasts, good books, and better company.

these girls and their style are way too much in the best way possible.

warm weather means that i can't get these shoes and these shoes (and these and these and these) out of my mind.

and speaking of the warmer weather, i've been wearing my tantuvi culottes like it's my job.

weekend plans: hopefully making it to this exhibit tomorrow. 

other weekend plans: catching up on this collaboration between gloria steinem and viceland

currently reading this powerful book, which pretty much everyone should read.

three words that made my week: hot-dog princess

going to beyonncee on tuesday (I KNOW). what should i wear/buy/do other than keep freaking out?

 

favorite independent designer/retailer finds of the week:

a.m. thorne / bliss and mischief / st. agni / cocodune / ceri hoover / fair season / luz ortiz / mother's daughter / about arianne / gravel & gold / ozma


Robin Reetz

I’m an expat currently living between London and North Carolina. I'm the Home & Living Editor at Clementine Daily, handle partnerships and more at DesignGood, and create content for folks like Teen Vogue. Also, I love independent designers. Find out more about me here: http://secondfloorflat.com/about-me/

Young Frankk

There's a lot going on in Virginia these days.

From NA NIN to perpetual favorite and not-so-guilty pleasure Need Supply Co., it's clear that from Richmond outward there's something good cooking up in that lovers' state.

Young Frankk is no exception.

This handmade jewelry line by Christine Young also calls Virginia home. I've been following Young Frankk for awhile, and after grabbing the Bar Necklace I've become even more of a fan of the line and its aesthetic. I was checking out the new homeware section the other day and couldn't get over how on point the styling and overall presentation was for all of Young Frankk's pieces.

Because I'm a perpetual oversharer (and because this is my blog, after all) I had to share a few:

These shots have such an atmospheric, lookbook feel and I love it – it makes each piece look that much more interesting and covetable. Feel me?

So: Any thoughts? Favorite pieces? I love my Bar Necklace, and am eyeing the cuff to match – because really, what's better than a cuff? For more Young Frankk goodness, follow Christine here and sign up for their newsletter on the homepage.

Meet Virginia indeed.


How To Live A More Balanced Life

Any writer, painter, illustrator, fine artist, whatever will tell you about the difficulty that comes with starting a new project. The newness and possibility of something new can feel overwhelming, large, and just plain scary.

It's similar to the fear that comes with public speaking in that when given the amount of space and time we need to really express ourselves, we (or at least, I) often can't speak at all, because we don't know where to start and are overwhelmed by possibility and the potential for power.

The same thing happens when it comes to managing personal health and wellness. Try starting on a new diet or exercise regime, making a wellness practice part of your daily or weekly habits and you're meet with that same quiet, giant space. It's overwhelming and since it can be hard to know where to start, we usually just don't start at all.

For me, the only way to achieve any sort of balance is by keeping things extremely uneven – basically to "go hard or go home." All or nothing. An entire pint of ice cream or not even a bite. Regular workouts or pure relaxation.

Finding balanced in the unbalanced.

A podcast once told me it had something to do with my personality type and I'm sure that's true. Regardless, it works great for me.  And so, with this behavior in mind, I've put together a little guide to living a more balanced life – with a very important emphasis on health and wellness. 

Here's what's worked for me:

Make it a lifestyle, not a one-time practice

Whatever you're trying to achieve (lower sugar intake, more workouts, more personal or meditative time, etc.) the only way you can make this new behavior part of a regular routine is by thinking of it as an entire lifestyle. You're not eating healthy today, you're changing the way you approach food and eating overall. You're not trying out a new yoga class once, then again in 2-3 months. You're practicing yoga, and making it a part of your weekly schedule. Accept your new health-focused behavior as a part of your overall lifestyle, envelope it in your existing routine, and soon (soon) it will become a natural practice.

Eliminate the idea of "good" behavior 

Don't applaud yourself for living a healthy, balanced life. Just like the idea of turning a behavior into a lifestyle, once you decide to eat healthy/exercise/get more sleep/read more/meditate, etc., know that this is now normal behavior for you – not "good" behavior. "Good" behavior is looked at as an exception to the norm that can be rewarded with bad. Make your "good" behavior the new norm and let that be the reward in itself.

Phone a friend

This is an oft-repeated piece of advice when it comes to working out or going to the gym, but the same principle of routine and accountability applies to any sort of wellness practice. If you're trying to cut down on junk food, ask a friend to join you in the practice and keep tabs on each other. Then really follow through with your plans, and continue. If you don't have a companion or would rather go it alone, write things down in a journal, find a weekly podcast that you love and with a regular publishing schedule that will inadvertently hold you accountable, and stick with it.

Embrace rituals

To really nail it home, associate your new wellness behavior with another sense – be it a scent you smell when meditating, a song you listen to while working out, or a podcast you play while cooking (healthier) food. Choose practices that will accompany your practice and before you know it, you'll be living your new, healthier life.

 

This (un)balanced behavior has helped me to live a much healthier, more balanced life than I did several years ago but obviously these practices are always easier said than done.

Case in point: I just finished doing yoga right now. If I'm honest, I really didn't want to practice even though I love doing yoga. But you know what? I love my Outdoor Voices yoga pants and knew I'd feel better after I was done practicing, so I lit a candle and did the damn thing. And now, I feel so much better for it.

Checkmate. But really, what works for you? 


Robin Reetz

I’m an expat currently living between London and North Carolina. I'm the Home & Living Editor at Clementine Daily, handle partnerships and more at DesignGood, and create content for folks like Teen Vogue. Also, I love independent designers. Find out more about me here: http://secondfloorflat.com/about-me/

Megan Huntz SS16

Moving often and going through so many changes over the past few years has made me think and rethink (and rethink some more) about the word home – what it's meant to me in the past, and what it means to me now as one half of a pretty nomadic couple.

While I've always felt a certain (cliche) ache and pull for New York and feel in many ways that it is my home as it is the place where I feel the most me, Atlanta also feels like a home for me. It's where I grew up, after all, so I feel a closeness to it. A kinship, if you will, plain and simple.

Even now, being back in New York, I still and always will root for my Atlanta hometown heroes. In this case it's Megan Huntz – the beautifully talented Atlanta-based designer who also happens to be a fellow nomad and spent time living in New York, Italy, and Spain.

Megan's SS16 line is stunning to say the least, and I'm so excited to show off these pieces here, in my new Brooklyn home.

I'm wearing two pieces from Megan Huntz's latest collection, and aren't they just something else? Both are silk and feel light, feminine, beautifully modern, and – a little like home.

Paired with Martiniano Glove Flats, Natalie Joy's Arc + Line Earrings, and featured is a cameo from my Ferm Living plant stand from beautiful Port of Raleigh.

Shop Megan Huntz here, and follow her here and here


Good Reads: 8 April 2016

As much as I hate to say it, I'm afraid that the delays between blog posts will be regular from this day forward. Having just started a new job, I just don't always have the time to update as much as I'd like – though know that you are most certainly always on my mind, you lovely blog reader you.

All of that being said, this blog is going nowhere and I'm super excited to bring you both some home decor thoughts and something from the lovely Megan Huntz in the coming days. You know Megan – she's the glorious, Atlanta-based designer who is as talented of an artist as she is charming of a gal. Yep, that's the one.

Until then, I've included a few favorite reads of late along with new submissions to the independent design directory.

Happy weekending, all! We've certainly earned it.

Empire State Building | Second Floor Flat

these clean, good-smelling, and (wait for it) effective cleaning products are rocking my apartment/world lately. (the all-purpose tea tree is a favorite.)

have you guys heard about thrive market? i might give it a try.

and speaking of good smelling things, this recently came into my life along with a palo alto bundle. both have been game-changing.

full on, crazy-person level obsessed with "the people vs. o.j. simpson" after finally giving in and watching it. who's with me?

dalmation jasper and pink pearls? you had me at "dalmation".

was so thrilled to share a #lessonimalwayslearning on girl gift gather recently. (thanks for having me, gals!)

bernie and hill will debate within half a mile of my apartment next week! currently taking tips from that charming little bird on how to attend said debate.

gorgeous handmade shoes.

on my must-read article list.

obsessed with the whole vibe of this new online shop from solange.

(finally) reading some nora ephron after (finally) reading the vacationers. now that i'm back on a commute after working from home, i'm going through my books at lightning speed. any recommendations?

loving this new organic skincare line.

shopping in tokyo with david sedaris. (lolz for real)

looking for some new smoothie ideas outside of the whole "spinach-strawberry-banana" thing. anyone have a go-to recipe or pairing they'd recommend?

boarded the glove shoe train, and i'm oh-so-happy that i did.

my mom recently saw this documentary and recommended it – sounds like such a crazy story.

really, really liking all the things on the lovely waiting for saturday shop.

 

favorite independent design/retail finds of the week:

la ligne / one six five / article& / rugbygur / conifer / carla colour / sophie bille braehe / kowtow / all birds (wool sneakers! via cup of jo)


Robin Reetz

I’m an expat currently living between London and North Carolina. I'm the Home & Living Editor at Clementine Daily, handle partnerships and more at DesignGood, and create content for folks like Teen Vogue. Also, I love independent designers. Find out more about me here: http://secondfloorflat.com/about-me/