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

Good Reads: 31 October 2014


We're going, last weekend in November – that's Thanksgiving to all of you Americans – and have made no plans aside from booking an apartment in what I understand to be a "cool" part of town and buying our plane tickets. (Luckily Berlin is just under 2 hours from London.)

If you've been, have any recommendations or can tell me anything at all, I'd love to hear from you! Note: If your tip is to watch Cabaret before we go then don't bother – that's already on the list.

Other exciting things happening this week: my birthday is next Thursday (!) and we're making DIY chocolate covered pretzels this weekend.

Have a good one, folks!

via Still in Berlin

Lisa Congdon of owning yourself as a creative, and as an artist.

Marais's Autumn collection was released this week. Definitely putting these guys on my wish list. 

Listened to an older After The Jump this week about finding a "uniform" for all aspects of your life. Worth your time if you're looking to simplify.

I want to go to this class

Loving OKREAL and their stories about inspiring ladies who are real

Amy Poehler was on Fresh Air to celebrate the release of Yes Please.

These ceramics!

The NFL looks at bringing a team to London. Wait...what?

I'll have one of these, please.

My pal Randi did a Toronto guide for VOGUE!

Even The Atlantic is taking note of The Bitter Southerner.

Two posts on finding happiness in the act of minimizing: this one via Of A Kind, and this one via Minima.

Gorgeous earrings and some sweats I could deal with.

Shopping List: Independent UK Designers

Though this was not high on the list of "struggles" that I had when I moved to the UK, one thing I realized after arriving was that my knowledge of independent fashion and accessory designers based in the UK was relatively low.

Other American expats have told me the same thing, including Jaime who suggested that I do the same sort of list that I did for South African designers but instead with some folks from the UK.

So here you go – 16 independent UK designers in the worlds of fashion, accessories, and lifestyle that you should know and love:

purism shirt dress (£85 / $137) by house of sunny

blue market scarf (£150 $242) by sarah & sorrentino

baby moon necklace (£60 / $96) by elkin london

landscape bag (£100 / $161) by alfie douglas

pip sweater by lf markey

leopard embossed wallet (£81  / $130) by r. newbold in collaboration with goodhood store

lightweight work shirt (£68 / $108) by carrier company

speck cards (£7 / $12.70) by nib london

skin cream (£40 / $64) by dr jackson's

grey billy pants (£29 / $46) by never fully dressed 

vintage style backpack in tan (£120 / $193) by the whitepepper

hidden coin pendant (£90 / £145) by maya magal, available at formula

meteorite bar earrings (£20 / $32) by matthew calvin

sampler scarf (£50 / $80) by YMC

lyn blouse (on sale for £67 / $108) by riyka

ink'd grey print (£13 / $22) by sketch inc

BONUS: If you're a maker in the UK, be sure to check out Make Works – an organization that's committed to connecting makers and designers with manufacturers in Scotland in an effort to keep the industry alive and thriving.

Hey, Girl: What Do You Like To Be Called?

Girls. Ladies! Women. Gals.

There are plenty of ways to reference a female. The thing is, I'm not sure we know what's right and what's wrong.

Ok – maybe we know what's right. If you're an adult female, you're a woman. Not a girl. But honestly, for this adult female, I hate the word woman – a fact my sister and I wholeheartedly agreed on and recently shared a cringe over on the phone.


It's correct and respectful, but also feels matronly and weird. I'm on the very mature side of 25 and my sister is a working mother, y'all. But neither of us feels like a woman, who sounds like she might own a poly-blend blouse and frizzy hair.

I would rather be referred to as a girl – an idea which a lot of women probably can't imagine. In most, not all, but most contexts, I prefer girl and do not find it offensive.

Within a group of women, I've recently really begun to dig the term ladies. Other ladies have been throwing this around at me for years and now that I've joined in, it feels like I'm part of the club. The fun, lady club.

My favorite word for females? It's casual and comfortable to the level that I like it. It's also hopefully non-offensive, and it's just kicky and fun.


You can't use gal everywhere but I certainly use it everywhere I can. And this gal? She loves it.

So: what female word do you like or hate? Which do you use, and which ones do you avoid? Are you offended when someone refers to you as a girl?

Pinterest In The Morning | 5

Blame it on the late October weather or the chilly fall mood, but lately I've been feeling a real pull to the outdoors. I want to hike, take a road trip, and visit a chilly beach, most preferably in the company of some fleece outerwear, a sturdy capBean boots, and a thermos full of tomato soup. And a dog.

Here are a few of the Pins (and Instagrams) that have inspired my desire to take it outside:

by Ryan Tatar via Topo Designs

by Amanda Greene via The Bitter Southerner

by West Falls via 50 States of Style

via Madison Bosworth

Sunday Objects | 13

This Sunday Objects is centered around a new pair of clogs that I love, and really serves as a testament to the quality of craftsmanship.

I was on the hunt for a new pair of clogs for a few weeks. Didn't want to break the bank, didn't want to skimp on quality, wanted to support a smaller designer or lesser-known maker.

And then I stumbled on Feira de Barcelos – an Etsy shop based in Portugal and curated by a lovely gal named Maria. Everything in Maria's Etsy shop is made by local artisans in her hometown of Barcelos, Portugal. Her aim is bring attention to the work being done by these amazing craftsmen and women.

The proof is in the pudding, folks, and I'm here to tell you that these clogs are dyno-mite. Comfy, high-quality, and completely handmade. And they were only $35. If you're on the hunt for clogs, I urge you to give Feira de Barcelos a look.

On to a few other favorite things this week:

  • handwritten note: favorite thing this week...obviously
  • my mom's turquoise ring: one of her favorites and now I love wearing it and embracing its 70s California vibe
  • striped beanie: for keeping me extra snug and looking A+ despite overuse
  • stitchless wallet: from Romania's Clean Everything. Love the simplicity of this wallet.
  • cuffed jeans: because I love me some high-cuff denim

Have a lovely, relaxing, snack-filled Sunday!

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.