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

Good Reads: 24 October 2014

Hurray for the weekend!

I've had the lamest crick in my neck all week, so this weekend I'm breaking my el-cheapo ways and going for a very-needed massage tomorrow. Doughnuts are also on the weekend agenda (because shouldn't they always be?), as well as a crisp walk in the park and plenty of time offline

What are you kids up to?

Like, actually everything from this collection is beautiful.

Love the simplicity of this Honeycomb Studio apothecary bottle

5 ways to disconnect and rest this weekend. 

Melanie Griffith grew up living with a lion

Got my eye on this sculpted bangle from CACTO, a Madrid-based jewelry shop that features the work of local designers and artisans. 

As I get older, I'm beginning to appreciate and pine for the finer things in life more and more – like a good pair of sheets. Definitely want to try some sheets from this bedding line. 

My friend Lisa is going on her 100th first date this weekend. (!)

Love this illustrated map of Shakespeare & Co. in Paris

Added some new finds to my Greatly shop! This desert print, these earrings, and this notebook

The campaign for a much-needed Joan Didion documentary

And on that note, a beautiful Joan Didion quote: "[New York] was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself. To think of 'living' there was to reduce the miraculous to the mundane; one does not 'live' at Xanadu."

Over the moon for these new Ben Fiess vases.

Have admired Sezane for a few years now, so am so excited to see their brilliant new collaboration with Madewell

So this is why the Emirates flight attendants always look so polished. (Includes some great in-flight hydration tips.)

The Georgia pendant from Atlanta jewelry designer Crafts and Love is on my wishlist. 

And a few more things:

affordable, eco-friendly fashion + $200 gift card giveaway (double !)

8 Perfect Early Fall Jackets

Deciding what to wear this time of year is tough, but deciding which jacket to bring (or not to bring) is pretty much impossible. Do you bring a lighter coat and throw a scarf and hat in your bag, or a heavier coat and pray the cool weather lasts?

Nowhere is this greater felt than in London, where the weather can (literally) change in the amount of time it takes you to walk down the stairs from your flat to the street.

Regardless, one way or another those shoulders need warmin'. And if there's anything I've learned this year after becoming (somewhat) minimalist and rethinking my views on shopping, it's worth it to invest a large portion of your wardrobe budget on a quality coat. 

I did some research, and found 8 perfect early fall jackets that will make an A+ addition to that wardrobe of yours. These coats and jackets are all high quality, good looking, and made by independent manufacturers.



coal waxed warbler jacket by bridge & burn, available via of a kind

coal waxed warbler jacket by bridge & burn, available via of a kind


dale coat by hackwith design house

dale coat by hackwith design house


beacon parka by KULE

beacon parka by KULE



cora kimono by hackwith design house via parc boutique

cora kimono by hackwith design house via parc boutique


alvord grey waxed jacket by bridge & burn

alvord grey waxed jacket by bridge & burn


Valentine Gauthier Castletown Jacket via ethica

Valentine Gauthier Castletown Jacket via ethica


mollusk mac by mollusk surf shop

mollusk mac by mollusk surf shop

NOTE: This is an edited version of a post  that originally ran on Second Floor Flat in October 2013. Products and retailers have been updated.

How To Take A Break From Technology

It's rich for me to write a post on this topic. As I type, it's 6:30 p.m. and I'm sitting on my bed.

My lower back isn't supported, the light in here isn't great, I'm sitting with my legs bent in a weird way, and I'm in the middle of two text conversations as I write.

Self obviously included, taking a break from technology is something we all seem to struggle with and the stream of articles on this topic is never-ending. We're overworked and overwhelmed with all-things tech, and it's ruining our families, our lives, our bodies, and sometimes our creativity. But you knew that already.

It's not a generational thing but a finger is often pointed at millennials for their obsession with all-things tech and their new ways of working. 

And of course, that's a little bit true. When I take a step back and look at my friend set of Generation X and Y-ers, I realize that I know very few people who work a standard job and then leave their work at work.

Most are freelancers and entrepreneurs, or currently have a 9-5 and are aiming to become freelancers or entrepreneurs. Personal projects and side hustles tend to fill their evenings, which I love. The problem is, all of these extra projects take up extra mental space and make it difficult for us to ever completely turn off. 

This has never bothered me even though I'm a freelancer working from home. Between that style of work combined with the addition of my blog, I never really turn off from technology. But I gain energy from this, I enjoy the community aspects, and have made plenty of internet friends. It's great.

But last week, I hit a wall of sorts. I sat down at my laptop in the morning and suddenly just wasn't feeling inspired. After a few days of producing a lot of content (not to mention Mercury in retrograde) it just wasn't happening for me. 

I made a commitment to spend less time online over the weekend. I read a lot, made some necklaces, went on a few walks, and it felt amazing. 

When we move to North Carolina in the coming months, I plan on doing this a lot more. I'll still blog and be glued to the internet in a lot of ways, but I'm looking forward to going on weekend road trips, doing yard work, babysitting my niece, and not being on my computer all weekend and every evening. (Though let's be real – I'll be Instagram-ing along the way.)

To help me along the way, I recently started a new evening routine.

Because I'm helpless and pathetic and for some reason always find myself reading stories about death and listening to podcasts about murder as I fall asleep, I've begun literally handing my phone over to my husband before I enter the bedroom. Now, rather than filling up every quiet moment with some new form of content, I'm going to start giving some of my senses a break. By reading, lying in silence, and that's it. 

Since my version of taking a break from technology requires both an international move and literally handing my phone to someone else, I'm curious how (the hell) you disconnect...from work, from technology, from everything.

Would love to hear your experiences! Share them below, and then get the heck offline.

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.