Reflections of a Coffee Addict

Reflections of a Coffee Addict

It’s 8:46 a.m. as I sit down for breakfast and take a sip of my coffee. I cringe. It’s my first day back home, and I already feel like a snob. American coffee is terrible.

When I moved to France for a year, I expected culture shock and other unusual societal norms. What I didn’t expect was to be shaped by something as small– literally and figuratively– as their coffee. I’ve been a coffee enthusiast for quite some time now, and I thought going to Europe would simply help me appreciate the art of coffee even more. Little did I know, it would reveal much to me about society as a whole.

The culture surrounding coffee in France is much different from here in the United States. Much of American coffee culture consists of waiting in line for 20 minutes only to run out the door with our venti mocha frappuccino or vanilla non-fat soy latte or whatever other various sugary concoction it may be. When we do have time to sit down for coffee, it’s usually only for a 30 minute job interview or an easy first date with a potential partner. Unless, of course, you are invested in the hipster side of coffee. That subculture, if you will, contains multiple forms of coffee-making that often seem a bit redundant (I mean… do we really need a drip coffee, pour-over, and cold brew of the day?).

France is a completely different scene. You are strolling dans la rue when you stumble upon a tiny corner café. Little striped chairs and small circle tables are staggered along the awning, piquing your curiosity. A waiter comes outside to offer you a menu. You sit down. Upon ordering un café, a tiny espresso with an equally tiny spoon appears in front of you. You proceed to sip it for the next hour or two while divulging into political or philosophical conversation–and maybe snacking on a croissant– with your fellow French citizens.

Though this may be a bit exaggerated, the point remains. For the French, it’s extremely important to set aside this time. Coffee isn’t just a drink to keep you awake throughout the monotony of your day. It’s a form of true connection; it allows you to have time for the important people in your life. The practice of afternoon coffee is essential for maintaining the sanity one has in the midst of a busy schedule. Unlike the American guzzling their 32 oz. coffee while running late to work, the small and bitter espressos of the French clean the palate and energize the person for the remainder of the day.

Now that I’m back home, I realize that American coffee culture is definitely improving. (But we could definitely still learn a thing or two from the French.)

P.S. For your entertainment here are some photos of me consuming way too many espressos in France.

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USA brand brings European style to the West Coast

USA brand brings European style to the West Coast

If you look at her Instagram, you might think she’s a travel blogger. But she’s actually at every fashion week to get inspiration for her newest collections. From Portugal to Paris, fashion designer Brittany Correy is always on-the-go.

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Correy is the name and face behind the lady & the sailor, a simple clothing collection based on a solid fashion philosophy. “Good basics are the foundation to creating beautifully uncomplicated style.” With three boutiques in L.A., her brand is bringing European fashion to the U.S. one classic piece at a time. 

How did you become interested in fashion?

“I wouldn’t say there was one pivotal moment. I come from creative roots; that was my upbringing, art. It was just the natural progression. Fashion is just a daily form of art to me. It’s unique to the person. Each day you choose colors and textures. It’s like everyday you wake up and say, “Who am I today?” Such a fun form of expression.”

How did you start the lady & the sailor?

“With a set of ideas and long hours! I built the idea for the collection initially on my need for certain things. I would get dressed and feel like I was missing certain “building pieces.” For example, a tee refined enough to wear to a nice dinner. Or a tank long enough to layer under a specific sweater. The brand was built on the five pieces I always thought I was missing to complete an outfit.”

How would you describe your brand?

“Feminine with a nod to boy.”

What’s your favorite accessory?

“Hands down my favorite vintage Levis! I wear them endlessly, and they seem to fit the bill for almost any occasion in LA. Daytime with a sweatshirt or striped tee. Nighttime with a perfect leather jacket, black tee and heels.”

What’s a typical day like for you?

“I usually start my day at the office and check in with the 3 boutiques. Once they are all situated, I move on to design and production. There’s daily design, playing with color palettes and fabrics. And then fittings several times a week. Fashion moves fast; there’s never down time.”

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

“All my favorite hobbies are not fashion related. This business is so consuming for me, when I get free time, truly the last thing I want to do is fashion related. Sometimes I need to rest my mind so I can be inspired when it counts. I love travel, yoga and it sounds crazy, but organizing! There’s nothing more enjoyable for me than a quiet evening at home organizing my closet or bathroom drawers.”

What inspires you?

“Travel, always. I can’t get enough. I love to see what people are wearing, men and women both. There’s also so much inspiration found in cityscapes, food, everything. I was in St. Tropez this summer and came across this incredible street of pink buildings: each had a different color trim. I wrote down every color combo there was!”

What’s it like constantly traveling? Are there things from home you miss while you are gone?

“First and foremost, my French bulldog, Clyde. After a day, I miss him so much it hurts! Then, of course, my husband and my family. Then it’s the little things, like my favorite coffee and my bed. Also just the luxury of having down time between travels. There’s nothing better than being home on a Saturday afternoon with literally nothing to do. No deadlines, no pressure. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

What tops your bucket list?

“I wouldn’t say it’s a single destination or experience. Rather, I would love to get to a place in the future where I could spend a full summer abroad. Relocate for May or June until August. I’d pick a place that I find the most inspiring at the time. I’d spend the summer absorbing the culture and then of course designing and sourcing. The summer would culminate with shooting our spring campaign, which we shoot every August. It’s our biggest and most important lookbook of the year. The campaign would likely be inspired by my summer.”

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

“I’ve always envisioned the lady & the sailor as a lifestyle brand, comprised of more than just clothing. We’re currently working on branching into accessories, bags, shoes and things of that nature. During my travels, I’ve seen so many beautiful things made by international artisans! There’s so many of these things I’d like to infuse into this realm of the brand.”

 

To shop, visit the website.

Photos courtesy of Brittany.

 

On Self-Love.

On Self-Love.

On February 11, the Sunday before Valentine’s Day, I gathered together to celebrate with a bunch of wonderful women. Celebrate each other. Celebrate ourselves. And you know what I noticed as we went around the room sharing a glimpse into our hearts? Every single person liked something about themselves that is completely and utterly intangible.

Physicality can only lift you up so high before its efforts become futile. Find intangible qualities in yourself and spend your life passionately cultivating them. That is true self-love.

 

Far too often in our millennial minds, we confuse self-love with self-appeasement. We live to indulge our fleeting pleasures in the name of “self-care.” Loving yourself is more than doing face masks or buying yourself new clothes or makeup or trinkets every other day.

True self-love demands self-respect. It requires a deeply rooted sense of self– an awareness. You cannot begin to love yourself until you take yourself seriously.

I’ve recently explored the idea of self-respect. What is it? How do we get it? Is it inherent or learned? One of the most impressive essays I’ve found about the topic was Joan Didion’s 1961 essay published in Vogue. Check out these excerpts.

“In brief, people with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve; they display what was once called character, a quality which, although approved in the abstract, sometimes loses ground to other, more instantly negotiable virtues.”

“Nonetheless, character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life—is the source from which self-respect springs.”

I suppose this is just an attempt at an eloquent reminder to stretch beyond the cultural standard of surface level self-care. Dare to pull back the shimmering veil from your picturesque life and see who you are– who you really are.

 

No, Your News Shouldn’t Be Free.

No, Your News Shouldn’t Be Free.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people complain about their limits with online news. (Don’t worry, I’ve done my fair share of complaining.) But have you considered why you have to pay?

You pay a photographer for prints. You pay a doctor for a diagnosis. You pay an accountant to do your taxes.

You pay a newspaper for their stories. Those journalists work hard to get the interviews they need, compile the stories, edit the articles, and send it to the printer so that you can be informed.

You don’t deserve to get your news for free.

“The truth is a big part of the blame for this industry’s dire straits is on us and our unwillingness to pay for the work journalists produce.” John Oliver couldn’t have stated it better.

Our job is to inform the public. We can’t do that properly if you kick us to the curb, beat us, criticize us, and then demand our work for free.

 

That’s all.

KV

Words I Need to Hear.

Words I Need to Hear.

I feel rather uninspired. And as a writer, it’s easy for me to get in these ruts. However, when I do I often just stop everything creative. I completely shut down. So here’s a little note to myself.

Don’t do that. It’s not healthy. Write even when you don’t feel like writing.

Write when you’re sad. Write when you’re happy. Write when you’re upset and stressed and lazy and every emotion in between.

Don’t let your emotions control you. Writing when you don’t feel like it is what makes you great (I’ve received this advice time and time again from great writers I know and admire).

Oh! And before I forget…

I also have one quick question: what would you be interested in reading? If you were absolutely stuck reading my blog for a solid hour, what are three subjects/articles/thoughts you would want to read about?

Leave your answers in the comments below! I can’t wait to hear from you.

 

KV

(Featured Image taken by me in Bayeux, France)

5 Phrases I Refuse to Say in 2018

5 Phrases I Refuse to Say in 2018

Something I’ve recently noticed is the way in which I undermine myself with my choice of words (or diction, for all you English majors out there). It’s always subtle; I never intend to degrade myself or invalidate my thoughts and feelings. I just do.

I’m not quite sure whether the problem is self-construed, a result of social constructs, or just a giant conglomeration with multiple facets. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t necessarily matter what causes it. What matters is what I’m going to do about it. So, I’m writing it down. I refuse to let these five phrases control me in 2018.

 

1. “… but I don’t know.”

After spending a solid five minutes explaining my perspective on a piece of art, I ended my mini-monologue with this. The problem? I completely nullified everything I had previously said, even though I knew what I was talking about. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I often say this out of the belief that because I don’t know as much as some people, I don’t know enough to speak up. Thus I instantly add this phrase as a way to safeguard myself into not appearing dumb (because Heaven-forbid we appear human, not knowing everything).

 

2. “Does that make sense?”

I’ve been in far too many situations where I am required to “feel out” the other person and make myself exponentially clear, often confusing the point even more. What ends up happening is I make myself look like a fool and usually make them appear unintelligent as well.

If someone doesn’t understand what you are attempting to communicate, it is their responsibility to say so. They need to ask you to specify what you’re saying/thinking/feeling/etc.

 

3. “If not, it’s totally fine.”

This is probably more of a personal thing. I typically say this after making a suggestion or proposing a plan because, honestly, I’m just scared of their response. I’m scared they’ll say no. I’m scared they’ll think it was a horrible idea and proceed to tell me so. Are these fears rational? Probably not. Which is why I’m going to toss this expression out the window in 2018.

 

4. “Sorry.”

Okay, let’s get this straight: I am not refusing to apologize to people. What I am refusing? Saying sorry for things that are 1) completely out of my control or 2) not my fault. I have had people bump into me only for me to say sorry. I have been interrupted by people while I was speaking only for me to apologize for it.

We do not have to apologize for thinking. We do not have to apologize when someone else hurts us. We do not have to apologize for being alive.

Of course I will apologize when I have done something wrong that needs to be made right. However, I refuse to apologize to you simply because you choose to be an indecent human being.

 

5. “I just…”

I’ve noticed a surprising number of women say this to start their sentences.

I just feel like it’s easier to do it this way!

I just wanted to see if you had time to help me with some homework…

I just wanted to check on that report you were working on to see if it was done yet.

Adding this simple word completely changes the dynamic of the entire sentence. The request becomes softer, yes, but it is almost defensive. We need not defend our words. Simply ask if the report is done. If it needs to be done, say so. Ask someone to help you with your homework. Don’t be afraid to be direct with people. This advice is more for myself than anyone else. But it still rings true.

 

 

Many of my New Year’s Resolutions–which I so immensely love–are focused around the ideas of self-reflection, self-awareness, and fully processing my thoughts and emotions. Let this be the first of many strides toward a “better me.”

 

KV

Music Moment: Bleachers

Music Moment: Bleachers

“Your hand forever’s all I want

Don’t take the money.”


After watching a super stellar, informative video about 80s music (my favorite genre ever), I came across an artist named Bleachers. With just a sample of his music in the video, I decided to look it up on Spotify, half-expecting a sad excuse for an indie artist. Instead I listened to his entire album twice in one night and bought the CD the very next day.

I have been absolutely gushing about this album for the past two weeks. With it’s totally 80s synth vibes, the album is artistically complex and catchy. Without further ado, here is my brief analysis and review of Gone Now.

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This is Jack Antonoff’s (aka Bleachers) sophomore album. It was released on June 2, 2017. There are 12 tracks. The greyscale album cover gives an ambiguous vintage feel to the album (as does the royal outfit he’s sporting).

 

The album itself is an absolute whirlwind of emotions. The opening track is a mix of strange voices that reappear throughout the album. In many songs the essential 80s drum beat is very noticeable (particularly in “Don’t Take the Money”). The mellow ballads, such as “Nothing Is U”, are very telling of the deep emotional strain Jack was experiencing while writing the album. “Everybody Lost Somebody” is a surprisingly sad song, despite the upbeat pop sound. He speaks of loss (specifically the loss of his sister at the age of 18) and how it is necessary to keep moving on in life. “All My Heroes” shows how Jack can take a cynical point of view and put a new spin on it. Each track is a very intricately composed song that carries the weight of a new discovery in his life.

I think much of the reason this album resonates so strongly with me is simply because it completely, whole-heartedly channels 80s music. I absolutely adore the synth beats, the sprinkling of electronic trumpets, and the intense drum reverb that is repeated throughout the album.

The themes also make it very compelling, especially with the repetition of lyrics. He continuously speaks of heartbreak, loss, anxiety, excitement, change, and depression. His tendencies toward extreme emotions are prevalent in his songs, and I love that he channels them in bizarre lyrics and funky beats.

 

Fave song: Don’t Take the Money or Goodmorning or Let’s Get Married (there’s just so many great ones I can’t really pick!)

Least fave song: Foreign Girls

 

Overall, I give this album a 8.1/10 for aesthetics, flow, and content. While the lyrics can be somewhat confusing and peculiar, the messages he conveys are strong. I applaud his ability to bring back the 80s with a modern, indie pop vibe. I think it will be interesting to see where his next album leads him.

Bleachers, you’ve earned yourself a new fan.

 

KV