Top 5 Awesome Things About Kate Spade And Her Mini Empire

I think we can all agree that Kate Spade is pretty cool.

Second Floor Flat—Kate Spade
Aside from the fact that she's a baller fashion/lifestyle designer, she also grew up in Kansas City and that makes her cooler. Yeah, it's awesome to have been born in Paris or grow up in lower Manhattan, but those of us who didn't had to move to these cities and learn about them and therefore, we also have to stick together.

Another thing that's awesome about Kate Spade is how clued up Kate and her crew are on the blogosphere. This group of gals and guys clearly get how important blogging, social media, and overall community* are in today's fashion world.

It's nice to see a designer conquer this in a non-forceful way which shows that if a product is good enough, it sells itself. Kate Spade's blog is genuinely interesting, relatable, and is also super-duper well designed which makes me want to read it every day.


Here are my favorite things about the Kate Spade mini media empire:


1. They get straight to the point: Before you even have a chance to look around, the Kate Team is giving you the only two options you really need: SHOP + BLOG 

Second Floor Flat—Kate Spade

  2. They make you feel included: The blog is called Behind the Curtain; they have a column called In The Office. I've worked in the fashion industry for five years for magazines, retailers, and online sites, and I still feel like I'm going to be treated to something I haven't seen.

Second Floor Flat—Kate Spade


3. They vary their content: We all love fashion, but it's important to remember that fashion is influenced by tons of stuff outside of the industry. The KS Team knows that, and recently included posts about Ray and Charles Eames, dinner recipes, and geometric patterns.



4. Their branding is super consistent: If you leave and don't understand their vision as a company, then something is wrong with you.



5. Kate Spade's husband is Andy Spade: Who does loads of cool stuff like this. I want to be them so bad.




Life goal: be Kate Spade.




All images taken from Kate Spade and Partners & Spade!

 *Lamest word in the world when used in this context


5 Things To Be For Halloween

Ah, Halloween....what's not to love?

From the costumes to the candy to the crunchy sound of your hair the morning after you've crimped, dyed, and teased it until it's basically falling out.

My Halloween costumes growing up included Lucille Ball, a cowgirl, and Fran Drescher (Do the laugh for us!).

When it comes to costumes now, the stakes are both higher and lower: no one cares really if you dress up, but if you do then it'd better be good. And to that point, the most well-received costume I've ever seen was done by my friend Krista two years ago when she went as Gap's failed new logo.


Last year, I was Rayanne from My So Called Life:

Second Floor Flat—Top 5 Things To Be For Halloween


The year before I was one of my cats:

Second Floor Flat—Top 5 Things To Be For Halloween

This year? I have no freakin' idea. Derrick's going as Walt from Breaking Bad, so it's been suggested that I go alongside him as blue meth. That could happen, but if it doesn't, here are some options:


1. Julian Assange—When in London, eigh?

2. Lena Dunham—dream girl

 3. Reverse Commuter—Since this year I completed the Pilgrim reverse commute (full disclosure: I did not come up with this phrase)

4. My teddy bear, Bowtie—Currently winning the race

Second Floor Flat—Top 5 Things To Be For Halloween

5. Someone from Downton—SPOILER ALERT: dead Sybil? Too soon? Baby Sybil?

Other ideas:

6. Rob Brydon

7. Rebecca Brooks

8. A hashtag




Top 4 Things To Do This Weekend (No Matter Where You Live)

F-in right it's the weekend, and there's something about weekends during the in-between seasons like fall that makes everything seem kinda' perfect. The weather's not too hot but not too cold, you've got a lot of room for flexibility when it comes to outfits, and there's tons of seasonable activities to be photographed doing while you're wearing your new fall coat.

The bad thing about fall? It's generally pretty short (like, two months short) so you've got to take advantage of it while you can.

Here are some things you can do to enjoy short-lived fall no matter where you live:


1. Go Outside!

Second Floor Flat—Top 4 Things To Do For A Fun Fall Weekend

No matter where you live fall's pretty freaking beautiful, so you should take the time to leave the house and enjoy the scenery.

Is it still warm where you are? Go camping.

Is it chilly? Go for a walk in the park/woods/on your street/in your yard, wherever, as long as your outside long enough to enjoy the middle of the road weather and the scenery that comes with it.

Is it already cold? Read the next weekend suggestion.


2. Watch a (Good) Documentary

Second Floor Flat—Top 4 Things To Do For A Fun Fall Weekend

Watching a documentary just makes you feel good. Maybe it's because they make you think, or because afterwards you'll feel like a super intellectual type who just drops documentary references in everyday conversations. Either way, it's a nice break from your normal television + movie routine.

I'd recommend The Imposter (which I saw at the Full Frame Festival in Durham earlier this year and am still obsessed with) or Capturing The Friedmans which is both creepy and wonderful.

3. Drink Some Local Fall-Themed Beer, or Apple Cider

Top 4 Things To Do This Weekend (No Matter Where You Live)
Last Friday, we went to a Columbian restaurant in Brixton Village (which I am now obsessed with). Afterwards we bought some local beers and strolled around* Brixton in the chilly fall air. It was perfect.

If fall does one thing right, it's drinks. Whether you're after the alcoholic variety or prefer some warm apple cider, it's the perfect time of year visit an orchard, brewery, or a supermarket to get something yum yum yummy to drink.

*I'm still not used to the whole idea that it's legal to drink in public here, so I was super duper nervous carrying the beer. I keep waiting for a cop to get mad at me, or for a teacher or some other authority figure to look at me disapprovingly.


4. Eat Candy

Top 4 Things To Do This Weekend (No Matter Where You Live)

It's Halloween, for pete's sake.




From here, here, here, oh—and here!


Top 5 Books To Read This Weekend

Well folks: it's the weekend, it's chilly out, and it's time to make the most of all of those fall activity Pinterest boards and blog posts you've bookmarked.

It's nice to imagine yourself packing a sturdy canvas bag with a warm thermos of tomato soup—plus grilled cheese sandwiches for good measure—a wool tartan throw, and what's sure to be your New Favorite Book and heading off for an afternoon at your local park. This park is not only picturesque but also happens to have plenty of dry, comfortable, and unoccupied places for you to sit and enjoy your afternoon of quality reading time. 

Second Floor Flat—Fall

If you're anything like me you won't make it to the park or (maybe) even out of the house. Instead, slip on that baby pink Victoria's Secret fleece bathrobe of yours, curl up on the couch, and try out one of these:


 1. I Am An Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran

Crazy good short stories that are absolutely not boring. The first story is told from the perspective of a lion who's in love with his keeper so, there's that.


2. Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss

This is one of those technically YA novels where your age doesn't matter. You won't want to put this book down and will relate to its lead character in every way even if you've been out of your "young adult" years for a really (really) long time.


3. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

This book has actually made me slow down (kind of) and appreciate the small things in everyday life, which I already told you about. A pleasant read that's absolutely worth your while. And on another note,  I was lucky enough to win a copy of Gretchen's second book which I'm excited to start soon. Thanks guys!

4. Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking  by Susan Cain

You know when you see a movie or read a book that describes exactly how you feel? Now, imagine that you then find out that one out of every two-three people also feel that way. That's how this book was for me. And if you're too lazy to read the book, here's a TED Talk from the author.


5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

I read this in the New York Times Magazine when I was home last weekend, and now I can't wait to read this book again.



Looking for a place to buy one of these books?

If you're in Brooklyn, go here. If you're in North Carolina (and more specifically Durham) go here. If you're in London, go here.


And if that's not enough to keep you occupied this weekend, Ira Glass was on Reddit on Friday.


From here!





Top 5 Fresh Air interviews to listen to this weekend

If you know me or anyone in my family, you'll know that we are big, fat, giant Fresh Air* fans.


When I lived in Atlanta, I'd listen to Fresh Air in the car while driving to and from class.

When I lived in New York, I'd listen to a replay of Fresh Air on my laptop while I was getting ready for work.

Now that I live in London, I make a habit of streaming the Fresh Air podcast so that I can listen while I'm tidying up our flat or walking around town.


So much of my daily conversation stems from this show that Derrick, who has never lived in the U.S. and therefore never really listened to NPR, knows Terry Gross by first name.

Whether you're a lifelong fan or have never heard the show, here are my top five favorite Fresh Air interviews in no particular order:

Second Floor Flat—Top 5 Favorite Episodes of Fresh Air

The Fresh Air Dream Team

1. Joan Rivers "I was smart enough to go through any door that opened."

2. Phyllis Diller  "He got up to go to the toilet; when he came back the bed was made."

3. Jay-Z "I would run into the corner store, the bodega, and just grab a paper bag or buy juice — anything just to get a paper bag... And I'd write the words on the paper bag and stuff these ideas in my pocket until I got back."

4. Maurice Sendak "There's something I'm finding out as I'm ageing...that I am in love with the world."

5. Jimmy Fallon "I interviewed my mom. ... She was an awful guest. She kept wanting to cut to a clip. And we have no clip. She's not in a movie. She's my mother."


*If you're not familiar, Fresh Air is a radio program on NPR where host Terry Gross interviews a variety of people—celebrities, non-celebrities, authors, critics, etc.—about a variety of topics. It's about an hour every day, and it's wonderful. It's also where we got all of the photos used in this post!