The Best Travel Accessories

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Travelling can be an ordeal, especially if you're not doing it right.  Yes, I believe there is a right and wrong way to travel.  The first time I flew on an airplane alone, I was 5 years old.  Granted, my family could meet me at the gate back in those days, but my point is that I've been at it a while.  Below are some of the practical travel accessories that I've found make any trip a whole lot easier.
ONE: mobile charger - the days of relying on power outlets to charge your electronics are far behind you.  Make sure you never lose a charge with this fun portable charger.
TWO: Target Sonia Kashuk beauty organizer - keeping your cosmetics all in one place is a must when travelling.  This cute palm print will make packing a little more fun.
THREE: Clare Vivier luggage tag - a bright luggage tag will help you spot your bag in the sea of lookalike luggage that is baggage claim.
FOUR: Always Rooney passport case - I don't know about you, but my carry on always starts off super organized, but as soon as I get to the airport things change.  This cute leather case will help you keep track of your passport so you can easily grab it when you need it.
FIVE: Mini travel steamer - this doubles as a home AND travel must have.  For those of you who hate ironing use this mini steamer and keep wrinkles from ruining your otherwise fabulous outfit.
SIX: Colgate wisps - for any longer plane ride, I love using these disposable mini toothbrushes (no water required!) to keep your teeth fresh and clean.
SEVEN: yes to cucumbers face towelettes are perfect to freshen up your face without having to wash it.  The cucumber scent is also very soothing!
EIGHT: ElizabethW sleep mask - make sure you can fall asleep and block out light with a pretty sleep mask.
NINE: Gotoob travel bottles - don't worry about your shampoo bottles exploding everywhere anymore; these silicone travel bottles are flexible so you can squeeze every last ounce of product out.
TEN: Honest hand sanitizer - I carry this around in my bag whether I'm travelling or not.  It's always good to have in a pinch, and smells wonderful.
ELEVEN: Bose headphones - good, comfortable headphones are a must when travelling.  I'd recommend splurging for the noise cancelling ones to better your travel experience even more.  If you're travelling with a friend, you might also consider a headphone splitter to watch/listen together.
TWELVE: 4-1 travel adapter - for the world traveler, this all inclusive adapter has you covered no matter where you're going.
THIRTEEN: Mini dual voltage curling iron - the mini and dual voltage are key here, especially if you're travelling overseas, you don't have to worry about frying your tools with the wrong voltage.  This mini curling iron probably won't cut it if you have really long hair, but is great for shorter lengths.  These days, most hotels have blow dryers, but depending on your styling needs you can get a mini straightener or travel hair dryer (all dual voltage).  If I know I'll be blow drying a lot, and need a nozzle, I travel with my regular Harry Josh pro dryer which, while pricey, is hands down the best beauty investment I've made. 
FOURTEEN: Luggage scale - okay, who's tired of rearranging your packing situation at check in?  I am!  Scoop up a luggage scale and never unpack at the gate again.
FIFTEEN: In transit spray on moisture - most people are prone to dry skin while travelling, especially with recirculated air.  This spray moisture doesn't clog pores, and you can use it on your face and body to stay hydrated.
SIXTEEN: Travel laundry bag - this nylon bag is ultra compact (fits in the palm of your hand) and will keep your dirty clothes properly sequestered from the clean.
SEVENTEEN: Kate Spade shoe bag - don't let the shoes you wear outside get your nice clean clothes dirty.  Kate Spade also makes cute intimates bags as well.
EIGHTEEN: Memory foam pillow - things that can be stuffed into tiny bags are what make travel accessories convenient.  This pillow will support your neck on long flights and become compact when you're done using it to save space.
NINETEEN: Minimergency kit - this tiny studded case holds tons of things that come in handy like a sewing kit and double sided tape.

image source

In the Bedroom: How to design a relaxing space with style

Friday, April 3, 2015

When you think about your dream bedroom, what do you think of?  I find that I am drawn to those ultra serene, calm and relaxing rooms - the mostly white ones with minimal furniture.  But when I think about my style, and what I am drawn to, as a lover of design I'm forced to ask the question: where is the personality?  I believe that a room should have soul, and your design choices should reflect your personality and personal style.
image via Decorative Bedroom
This bedroom is beautiful in it's own way, but who lives here?  What story does this room tell?  I love how calm this room is, but if this room was a person, I don't think I'd like to sit next to them at a dinner party.  There are definitely elements here that I can appreciate, but it feels more like a hotel room rather than a home to me.

In reality, my style and what I am striving for in my bedroom is serenity with personality.  I think there can be different scales of this - from a more subtle showing of your tastes to a more colorful and noticeable expression of personality.  
image via Eye Swoon
What you find to be serene can mean something entirely different than what I think is calm and soothing, but nevertheless, serenity comes when you're comfortable and being true to yourself in your decor and design choices.    
image via 100 Layer Cake
image via Elle Decor
So - how does one go about achieving a serene bedroom with personality?  I recommend starting with good quality, simple basics, and layering in elements of personality as you go.

ONE: Parachute Home bedding - Good quality bedding is the most important foundation you can start with in the bedroom.  Parachute Home has a great concept - they design their bedding in Los Angeles, manufacture in Italy, and sell directly to you, enabling them to create a higher quality product at a reasonable price point.  They also cut right to the chase - their 'venice' bedroom set includes a duvet cover, fitted sheet, and pillow cases only - no pesky top sheet which makes it much easier to make your bed in the morning.  With two fabric choices: percale or sateen, you can choose which feel you like most; a cool, soft, and breathable texture, or a more luxe, slightly warmer sheen on your sheets. 

TWO: West Elm mid-century nightstand - I admire people that can live with no storage nightstands, but my reality is different.  I need drawers to keep things like moisturizer, lip balm, etc. out of sight for a less cluttered surface.

THREE: CB2 swing arm brass wall sconce - Great, soft lighting is a must in the bedroom.  I just got these sconces and love the sophistication of the brass with the modern shape.  The swing arm means you can direct light where you need it and as a wall mounted sconce these save precious space on your nightstand.

FOUR: Quay zigzag pillow - a subtle contrast of green is the perfect accent to the whites, blues, and grays in this room.

FIVE: West Elm Mongolian lamb pillow - this neutral pillow adds great texture to this combo.

SIX: Urban Outfitters dabu printed pillow - this faded look is perfect for mixing patterns and complements the other hues of the room quite well.

SEVEN: West Elm nailhead upholstered storage bench - this is a great addition to the foot of the bed.  I have this in my bedroom and love the simple design that also doubles as great storage.

EIGHT: Herringbone tassle trim throw - I love clean, white bedding, but also like to add a little contrasting color and subtle pattern to a bed with a pretty throw blanket and fun tassels.

NINE: Surya denim rug - I love the look of denim jute rugs; the pattern is subtle but present and the denim adds a subtle texture without the look of a high pile rug.

TEN: Harry Stooshinoff print - No room is complete without artwork, and this print with blurred lines and muted color palette adds intrigue without being overpowering.

ELEVEN: Ikea Malm dresser - this simple white dresser is a furniture piece that will stand the test of time and transition well with changing styles or trends.  You can't go wrong with simple, clean, and white. (image via happy interior blog)

TWELVE: Nate Berkus for Target basket - store extra blankets, magazines, etc. to keep clutter out of sight for a peaceful state of mind.

THIRTEEN: Crate & Barrel lila curtains - this subtle pattern on airy fabric adds a playful touch, while still blocking out some light.

FOURTEEN: Schoolhouse Electric brass planter - little touches matter, and plants are a great way to bring nature into a space.  Not only are they great for the air, but are like a present for your home

FIFTEEN: Maison Louis Marie No. 09 Vallee de Farney candle - Part of creating a serene space is making sure that you can relax in it.  Subtle things like a wonderfully scented candle will help you achieve that calm and relaxing atmosphere.

SIXTEEN: Terrafirma oval plate - I love this dish for corralling jewelry and other trinkets to keep your nightstand essentials looking intentional rather than like obligatory clutter.

What sort of style do you like in the bedroom?  

Style Steal #7: Playful Pop Living Room

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Christine and Steven Visneau of the online shop Veecaravan have created such a fun and happy space in their cozy modern cottage (see the full home tour here).  Check out how to get their look below:
// one: white chair // two: blue pillow // three: road print // four: yellow blanket // five: blue watercolor pillow // six: eye pillow // seven: black ikat pillow // eight: grey sofa // nine: jute rug // ten: moroccan rug // eleven: raffia tray // twelve: arc floor lamp // thirteen: gold vase // fourteen: blue vase // fifteen: banana leaf pouf // sixteen: coffee table //

Closet Cravings #3: The Basics

Thursday, February 12, 2015

As I settle into my 26th year, my style has become so much more about being comfortable with the added bonus of simultaneously looking presentable.  I hear my 13 year old self chastising my mother for embarrassing me by wearing men's cashmere sweaters and loose fitting clothing, yet I find myself wearing only vintage cashmere men's sweaters and considering brands like Eileen Fisher [GASP].

I mean, wouldn't you wear that outfit?  Maybe you saw this coming, but that is straight from the Eileen Fisher website.  In any case, I'm all about the basics these days.

1. Alessandra Rivera Chloe hat - I don't know about the rest of the world, but if you're going outside these days in LA you must have a chic hat.  It is absolutely obligatory and if you don't no one will like your selfies on instagram.

2. Rebecca Minkoff Finn convertible clutch - I know fringe is kind of trendy, and usually I splurge on basics rather than trends, but this bag makes me want to do the opposite.  Plus, it'd be perfect for COACHELLA.  If you're into that sort of thing.

3. Julian & Co arrow necklace - A staple dainty necklace that you can wear alone or layered is a key piece that any jewelry lover, nay, woman, should own.

4. Rag & Bone skinny jean - distressed is the way to go these days, and I am seriously needing the perfect pair of black pre-destroyed denim jeans.  Because who wants to go to the trouble of paying less money and ripping them yourself over the years?  Instant gratification is not overrated.

5. Zara multicolored ethnic scarf - IS THIS SCARF FOR REAL?  We all know how obsessed I am with kilim...and now I can swathe myself in it!  This finally fulfills one of my life long dreams from childhood.

6. Madewell slub v-neck pocket tee - I can't say I've found the perfect 'basic t-shirt' brand yet, but these are super soft with a looser fit and don't cost $85 like some other t-shirts (I'm looking at you Alexander Wang.  But if you want to send me several "prototypes" I'm totally open to converting.)

7. DV by Dolce Vita Caden boots - These are the perfect winter-to-spring-to-fall booties.  If you can wear something more than half of the seasons, it's definitely worth it.

8. Free People turtleneck pullover - This sweater is the perfect accouterments when you want that 'I just threw this on and didn't try to look this good' look, which is what I go for basically every day.

What are you guys wanting in your closet right now?

Inspiring Spaces: Stacy London's Brooklyn Apartment

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I simply had to share this gorgeous tour of Stacy London's apartment featured here on Refinery29.  I'm crushing hard on her 'Modern Minimal Edgy' style (why yes, I, Megan Martinez, am an interior decor guru that can coin one-off terms like Modern Minimal Edgy [MME], much like what Stacy London is to fashion) and love how simplistic she is with her decor.  Her pieces and design are like the popular girl in high school who only surrounded herself with a few other popular girls that all had different color hair and looks but dressed in similar styles so that each one stood out but you could totally tell they were part of the same group.  Each piece she has is totally beautiful and the minimal aspect of the decor gives them enough room to breathe so that each can shine without your eye being overwhelmed.  Hope you enjoy her space as much as I do!

How to Set up your Home Bar: Bar Tools, Glassware, and Booze Essentials

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Last week I covered the first step to setting up your home bar: finding the perfect bar cart.  Now that you have a foundation, we can get into the bar tool accessories and essentials you need to be the best home bartender around!

Step 2: Home Bar Tool Essentials:
home bar tool essentials
1. cocktail shaker: for obvious reasons.
2. jigger: for precise measuring.
3. mixing glass: for when you want it stirred, not shaken.
4. muddler: sometimes you have to muddle.
5. hawthorne strainer: once you mix a cocktail you have to pour it.
6. opener: this one is cute and fun.
7. stirring spoon: you know, to stir.
8. cocktail picks: for your olive, cherry, or what have you.
9. large ice cube tray: so you can have it on a rock (and so your drink gets less watery).
10. mesh strainer: to keep the muddled stuff from getting in your drink.
11. y peeler: garnish anything you like. Bonus points for lighting your citrus zest on fire before rimming your glass to release the essential oils.
12. juicer: this is the mother of all juicers and will get every last ounce.

Bonus points for decanters, ice buckets, sphere ice molds, ice picks, pourers, and swizzle sticks.

Step 3: Home Bar Essential Glasses
Home bar essential glassware
1. old fashioned glass
2. coup
3. champagne flute
4. beer glass
5. wine glass (red and white)
6. martini
7. collins glass
8. shot glass

These glasses will get you by for entertaining guests in a heart beat.  If entertaining isn't really your forte, think about the drinks that you enjoy most.  Are you a beer connoisseur?  Then focus on your beer glasses.  Some of these are multi-purpose as well, you can serve a negroni or champagne in a coupe.  Don't be afraid to have a little fun with your glasses as well - these Sisters of Los Angeles rocks glasses are some of my favorites.  Etsy is also a great resource for vintage bar and glassware.
via Refinery29
Step 4: Spirits (the booze):
Vodka: I like Ketel One best.  Tito's is also a solid choice.  Try making a moscow mule or martini.
Gin: Gin is my favorite spirit, and I have a few favorites.  Blade, Amethyst, and Hendrick's are all solid choices.  Try a gin and tonic, tom collins, or east side.
Rum: We always have a bottle of Atlantico on hand.  Try a dark and stormy, it's one of my favorites!
Tequila: I like Espolon, and Casamingos is a great higher end tequila.  Try a margarita or paloma.
Whiskey: Buffalo Trace is a great every day bourbon whiskey.  I've even done infusions with it before - try figs or cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest; they make great gifts!  Try making a manhattan or sazerac.
via Design Sponge
Step 5: Liqueurs, Bitters, and Garnishes:
Triple Sec: Orange liqueur is an essential in many cocktails.  Cointreau is a great one.
St. Germain: This elderflower liqueur is great in gin and vodka cocktails, and even with champagne.
Vermouth: I don't have a favorite here, but you'll need dry for martinis and sweet for other cocktails.
Orgeat: St. Vincent's is a great quality almond syrup.  Stay away from the cheap stuff on this.  One of my favorite cocktails uses orgeat, it's called a trinidad sour.
Pimm's: For Pimm's Cups, of course!
Bitters: Start with the granddaddy of all bitters, Angostura.  If you like bitters, I'd recommend Orange, Peychaud, and Underberg.
Garnishes: Lemon, lime, orange, and Luxardo cherries should cover all your bases.
via Lonny
Step 6: Mixers:
Tonic: I swear by Jack Rudy small batch tonic.  It's a bit pricey, however, its a syrup, and therefore not carbonated so it lasts much longer.  To mix a drink you use the tonic and add your own seltzer water for the bubbles.  It's completely changed my gin and tonic game.
Seltzer: A must, we just buy it from Trader Joe's.
Ginger Beer: In my opinion, Bundaberg is the only way to go.

Now you should have everything you need to have a fully stocked bar at home!  Don't forget about the first essential piece in building your home bar: the bar cart.  For recipes, bar tools, bar inspiration, and more, visit my bar pinterest board.
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