Currently: August + September 2015

I know we're all head over heels for fall at this point, but there are still days in North Carolina that feel downright summery. Were I back in London, I would've been wrapped in long sleeves for months now. But here, in The Old North State? We're only now getting to the point where you need a little something extra for warmth in the mornings. Afternoons are still firmly reserved for bare legs, short sleeves, and light layers.

We've been taking advantage of what the late summer has to offer (last weekend's hurricane weather definitely not included) and spending as much time outdoors as possible. That includes a late August beach trip, and a return to the beach this weekend. Because really – if you haven't been to the beach in autumn, you need to make a point to go. There's just something about being at the beach when there's a slight chill in the air and that shocking, crisp light that only happens at this time of year that's pretty breathtaking. It's also just 2.5 hours away by car, so who can complain?

That's where I'll be if you need me over the next couple of days. In the meantime, here's a look at what we've been up to currently – loving, doing, experiencing, and the rest – in our little pocket of North Carolina:

looking for a quieter mind via meditation and accupuncture, which i'm trying for the first time tonight. all of your wonderful recommendations for meditation have led me on the hunt for a teacher or studio in the raleigh-durham area. i've done some cold research, but if anyone has a recommendation please let me know here. thank you!

loving stowaway's genius tiny makeup which, thanks to its size, means that you'll never keep your mascara or blush for longer than you really should. (hello, bacteria.) bonus: this eyeliner is legitimately the best i've tried in a while.

embracing the very great and very easy life hack of putting smoothie ingredients in the blender the night before. not exactly a game changer, but definitely a time saver.

(finally) jumping on the mindy kaling bandwagon and loving every second of it. after reading "why not me?" for a virtual bookclub with one of my london girlfriends, i began watching "the mindy project" and am now about to start "is everyone hanging out without me?" and genuinely lol-ing across the board.  now, i just want to be friends with her. 

finetuning my copywriting skills and loving it. my background is in magazines and lifestyle journalism, but over the last year i've been doing more copywriting work and found it to be pretty great.

adding turmeric to my warm drink routine and feeling the benefits, especially when used sparingly and paired with raw honey. yum.

smelling pretty good, and working to calm my settling-in-a-new-area anxieties with help from woodlot's lavender + bergamot refreshing mist (love a good mist!) and little barn apothecary's lemongrass + mint body oil.

appreciating the support we've received for monday monday! this is a small side project i've been working on for the last couple of months and it's been so nice to finally share it with others. and if you'd like to buy those lovely striped shirts you see in the picture above, you can do see here.

trying my hand at gardening and almost failing. i recently brought a zebra plant, four succulents, and a sturdy leafy green tropical plant with a name i've already forgotten to our room. embracing bright light, misting, and prayers for their survival. 

enjoying seeing the south, my home region, through the eyes of someone brand new to the area. makes you give things you'd normally pass a second glance, and a deeper look.

obsessing over california, still, and hoping to plan a trip back to l.a. this winter to satisfy my cali-crush. (people who live there: is it as cool as it looks?)

hanging out with beloved family (both here, and visiting from south africa) and feeling grateful. also, feeling thankful for technology (whats up, whatsapp) for connecting me with the ones i love who are far away.

wearing my sailor pants, the product of some serious slow shopping, and my someware lace-up sandals. the two together, paired with long sleeves as needed, are making my north carolina warm fall wardrobe something special.

meeting lots of lovely people in the raleigh-durham area and thanking my stars yet again for the beauty of instagram and the blogging world. my 'network' is ever expanding thanks to this blog and social media and i'm so appreciative of it.

 

what are you up to, currently? anything you're particularly loving, eating, drinking, thinking about, obsessing over lately? even the most mundane things are welcome – i'd love to hear!


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/

Barbican Centre, London

Whenever I'm asked about my favorite place to visit in London – hidden gems, must-visits, that sort of thing – my answer is always the same. It's funny, because my favorite "hidden gem" in my former town is actually right out in the open. It's a museum, gallery, theatre, event space, and a place most Londoners have at least passed by on a bus, if not visited.

My favorite place in all of London is the Barbican – that giant cement block of greatness in East London.

We paid a visit earlier this summer before leaving for the States and it was perfect. See, aside from all of thoes things I mentioned above, the Barbican is also a public park designed in the Brutalist style. I posted a few photos of it here, but had to share a few more – it's just too good: 

Any favorite "hidden gems" in your city? Favorite place in London, or otherwise? I'd love to hear!

Photos by D Watterson III


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/

Barcelona, Spain

Hey, remember that time we went to Barcelona?

It was only in April but it feels like a lifetime ago. A whole country ago, if you will. 

Needless to say, having film developed wasn't at the top of our list when we first got to the States. (Getting cell phone numbers and re-learning how to drive were.) 

You see, D is a big fan of photography.  This is lucky for me because he documents everything we do which means I don't have to. We struggled to find anywhere that would develop film in Durham at first...and then we found the holy grail of a real, genuine camera store in nearby Carrboro. We now go just about every week to get film developed, and on a recent trip we picked up the shots from our trip to Barcelona.

Barcelona.

It was an incredible city and one I'm dying to visit again, though I knew that would be my reaction before even visiting. I said this at the time, but the best way I could think to describe it was like a tropical Paris: The incredible, romantic architecture, that feeling of history and standing in a place where things, big things, once happened, combined with its location right along the Balearic Sea, along with the desert climate made it feel like paradise. 

Here are a few of my favorite shots from our trip – many, many more can can be found here.

All photos by D Watterson III


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/

Currently: July 2015

Well, things have certainly changed since last month's Currently, haven't they?

It's been almost a month since we arrived in the States but it feels much longer than that. It's so odd how your perception of time can warp depending on a current situation.

We've gotten tons done in the last month (bank accounts, phone numbers, social security stuff, that all-important mattress) and are also allowing for plenty of time to explore the city and try out all of the markets and restaurants – Durham has a killer food scene, and it's a much easier, more affordable experience eating out than it ever was in New York or London (obviously). That's been nice.

Overall, we're loving exploring our new city and settling in to our slower, greener way of life. I've been sleeping so well, thanks to either the release of such a big stress, quieter surroundings, or maybe it's just that giant mattress. We definitely miss London and our friends and family there, but for selfish reasons it is very nice to wake up either naturally or to an alarm, rather than the sound of double decker buses driving by your window at 5 AM. 

Anyway. Here's a look at what we've been up to, Currently, for our first month back in the States:

hunkering down with my mom (and borrowing her car) as we get things settled. to come: our own place, a car, a dog – which is probably the most exciting part of our entire move/maybe the point?

unpacking, albeit intentionally. since we'll be moving to our own place at some point, most personal belongings are staying in the 13 cardboard boxes that surround me as i type this. the very fact that we're able to do that makes me wonder if we even need what's in those boxes. maybe i need to read my own post on minimalist moving tips?

feeling completely obsessed with california after my quick trip to l.a. that i definitely haven't stopped talking about.

looking for new ways to embrace wellness. on my "to try" list is this yoga studio (thanks to sasha for the recommendation), kombucha and kimchi , and maybe this and this.

(finally) wearing summer clothes in all forms, from sandals to sundresses. it's been 3 summers since i needed hot weather clothes, and i've arrived just in time for all of the sales. so far, i'm stocking up on comfy cotton everlane tanks.

drinking all of the iced coffee thanks to the leftovers from my morning chemex, which makes the best homemade iced coffee ever. if you really want to live dangerously, consider adding a dash of chocolate milk. 

cuffs are my go to when it come to bracelets, but i'm currently having a thing for thin, delicate wrap bracelets. this began when i started wearing this one from jukserei and this one from miss balader that i won in a (super sweet) giveaway.

enjoying the flowers that dear june letters sent over, as well as the discovery of my new favorite local flower shop. (thank you!)

minimizing my bug bites with this natural bug spray that also smells pretty great.

reading this book and enjoying the description of brighton and another (very different) expat experience.

eating all of the mexican food in the southeast, because combination plates.

hoping to fit in a last minute trip to the beach next month (!). i haven't worn a bathing suit in two years, y'all, so it's about damn time that happens. (also: the wood paneling in this beach cottage is pretty great.)

 

so: what have you been up to? traveling, camping, trying to stay cool, avoiding bugs, eating mexican food, drinking iced coffee, starting new projects? i'd love to hear!


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/

Currently: June 2015

Recently it came to my attention that, despite the fact that I love getting personal on this blog and writing introspective pieces about anxietybody image, and the like, I don't really talk about my day to day life. Not a lot of details on my dinners or heavy product-focused content. I'm kind of the opposite of one of those people who does shopping haul videos, and I'm fine with that. 

It's just that all of that stuff is regular and everyday to me, and so I feel like no one really cares to hear about it. But in the spirit of trying new things, I'm attempting to make myself realize that it's not everyday for you – because it's my life, and not yours. You don't know what magazine I bought the other day, what flowers are on my table, what I did on Saturday night (hint: sweatpants). Maybe you're curious and maybe you're not but either way, I figure it's time to start sharing a bit more of the everyday. Yeah?

I'm introducing a new column of sorts where each month I'll share a few things that I'm doing, eating, trying, or loving, along with some recent shots around town. Let me know if you like this, or if it feels boring. (I don't want it to feel boring!)

And because I want to maintain some element of internet coolness, I'm calling it Currently. Without further delay, this is what I'm currently up to:

living in a half-empty flat after we shipped all of our stuff to the states via a container freight last month. our piles of books and clothes are currently in the middle of the atlantic. the whole process of shipping a large amount of items internationally started out feeling extremely stressful and ended up being...kind of easy. basically, a mover shows up at your house and makes sure you have nothing in your pile of belongings that could potentially cause a fire. the mover then wraps everything you own in the craziest amount of bubble wrap you've ever seen and sticks it in a box that's as tall as you. it's kind of cool, and  felt freeing to suddenly have all of our belongings gone, just like that. it's a sign of progress and made my head feel a heck of a lot clearer. (also, if you need an international moving recommendation i've got a good one for you.)

using olive oil as a body moisturizer and kind of loving it. i first got into oils via coconut oil, like most people, and as much as i love it, i've gotten a little tired  of smelling like a macaron. the thing is, using olive oil now makes me want a fresh loaf of bread. next on the list to try is almond oil and jojoba oil, as well as the very magical sounding unicorn oil for a solid dose of aromatherapy.

and on the beauty note, last weekend i tried an avocado mask on my hair for the first time. it was messy for sure, but left my hair super soft to the point that i kept asking my husband to touch it.  then, i spent (a long) time flipping my hair around like a pantene commercial. (ps – this was saturday night. i'm very old.)

loving solid white tote bags, which feel surprisingly chic. apiece apart told me to do it, and now i'm hooked.

feeling a wave of appreciation for the incredible female podcasters out there. i finally gave "stuff mom never told you" a chance, and i'm hooked. the one on the history of vegetarianism is so interesting and full of facts like this: only 5% of americans identify as veggie, and only 2% of folks in the uk. isn't that much lower than you would've thought?

wearing my new handmade bracelet nonstop. i took one knitting class in college and have had a huge respect for the knitters of the world ever since. get your own bangle here!

consuming these flax energy bites like it's my job. (see? and this was 2 weeks ago)

wearing only mom jeans and flares, but in the mood for some short, straight skirts – a la this, and sort of like this one and this one

beyond obsessed with amy schumer and watching this video from glamour uk's women of the year awards on repeat. who's watched all of inside amy schumer, and, are you as obsessed as me and the rest of the world?

squeezing in "before we go" things in london, like last weekend's trip to the barbican and a recent trip to columbia road flower market. for those of you who don't know, the barbican is a giant art center – theater, performance hall, galleries, restaurants, that sort of thing. but my favorite part about it is the architecture. the area was left in ruins after the war, and so it was rebuilt in this crazy style of architecture – brutalist, i believe it's called – and it has a minimalist, japanese feel and also feels a little sci-fi. i promise to publish more photos of it soon, along with photos from barcelona! (what? it's only been two months since we got back...) anyway, we made sandwiches in the morning then spent the day wondering around the barbican without even going in – we just enjoyed the architecture and the feeling of being in a super modernist, strangely empty park in the middle of an enormous city. my mission was to get as much sun as possible, so most of my time was spent sitting on benches with my face to the sky. heaven. 

enjoying spices and herbs for sort of the first time. i am terrible at cooking but luckily i married someone who enjoys it, so together we are slowly wading in to the world of herbs and spices. (particular emphasis on things like cilantro and turmeric)

feeling glad that i discovered oh comely before leaving london. not feeling glad that i discovered it right before leaving london. 

not sleeping past 4:30 or 5 in the morning. the sun rises at 4:30 this time of year in london, and even with great curtains and two sleeping masks the struggle is real. 

and for those of you who are wondering what's going on with our move, the long and short of it is that we hope to be in the states by the end of the month. yes, this month. more news to come very, very soon! 

 

thanks for reading! what have you been up to this month? are you into oils? what spices should i try? are you traveling this summer? i'd love to know!

 


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/

By The Sea

We went to the sea this weekend. Yesterday, in fact, for a little getaway.

It's easy to forget what a difference time away from the regular routine can do for your state of mind. But this weekend, I was reminded. 

We grabbed a Sunday morning train to Brighton and were seaside in less than an hour. I read "The Girl on the Train" on the way, and naturally felt very meta and smug the whole time.

Easy travel is one of the great things about England – everything is so close and approachable, especially if you're coming from a larger place and are used to flying everywhere.

 In England, you're just a train ride away from the rest of the country.

We arrived by the sea and all was well.  

It's quite a little place, Brighton.

It's close to London but feels a world away, though it's consistently flanked by tourists and Londoners looking for a gasp of fresh air. The main attraction is Brighton Pier – built in 1899 and the only remaining pier after the other two were ruined by storms or burned down.  

The pier is ridiculous and cheesy, full of fried food, rickety carnival rides (including a helter skelter) and gambling arcades. It's abnormal and foreign in the way that beachside piers usually are, but fun to see.

And the views from the pier are breathtaking. The English Channel is a gorgeous, albeit freezing, blue-green, the buildings are creamy white, and in the distance we could see the sun shining on white chalk cliffs. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday. 

For a few hours we wandered around the rocky beach, observed the goings-on at the pier, drank coffee, and ate clotted cream fudge. It was such a treat. 

Adding to my delight for the day were some lovely new goodies that Bridge & Burn were kind enough to send me from Portland. I'd been saving them to wear on an adventure, so naturally they came with me yesterday. 

I wore this with a pair of their new pants – the Ellis in Olive – topped off by a sweater I scored at a Saturday market for £5, and a watch cap. Perfect seaside outfit, don't you think? 

Maybe you want to grab a perfect seaside outfit of your own, or are after a good sundress. Either way, consider heading out on your own adventure – even if it's just for a day trip. I think we all need that every now and then. A quick change of pace, of air, and of mind. 

Luckily, the good folks at Bridge & Burn are offering Second Floor Flat readers 10% of all purchases with code REETZ10 through Sunday, April 12th in honor of the launch of their new line of pants – in case you're looking for something to wear on your next adventure.

For our next little getaway, I'm looking at this dress in Pacific Blue, this killer plaid skirt, and maybe – maybe – another pair of pants. These guys, even?

If you do end up getting something, take note: My Bridge & Burn pants fit perfectly (no joke) so if you need any help with sizing questions hit me up.

Happy shopping, guys!

 

Photos by D Watterson III

I received product from Bridge & Burn as gifts, but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own. (But really. I'm a huge Bridge & Burn fan and am very excited to be working with them.) Thank you for supporting the businesses that support Second Floor Flat! 

 


Durban, South Africa

Just wanted to quickly share a few photos Derrick took on his most recent trip to his hometown of Durban, South Africa. I think they're amazing, though of course I'm partial. 

These are some of my favorites – a few of which we'll frame and hang once we, you know, live in a permanent place. The rest of the photos can be found here, and you can read more about the photos in this piece that was published earlier this week. Enjoy!


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/