Shine Into 2019

New Year’s eve is right around the corner and I’m just getting around to thinking about what to do and, of course, what to wear! Even though I grew up in New York, I’ve only seen the ball drop in Times Square from the TV screen, and I’d like to keep it that way.

My favorite ways to spend New Year’s Eve are with family or out dancing into January 1st — there’s really no in between for me. This year I’m leaning towards the dancing and if you are too, keep scrolling, because I’ve got some New Year’s lewksss for you below — all under $150!


Now & Later: The 5 Bags You Need on Rotation

Fun fact: I use to be a tomboy. From puberty up to high school I only wanted jeans, t-shirts, and cool sneakers, but my mom (who hated jeans) always had the upper hand and going to Catholic school didn’t leave much time for me to shine in my Baby Phat / Rocawear / Timberland’s prime.

I started getting into handbags when my father got me a Louis Vuitton Damier bucket bag for my 13th birthday (don’t ask, I don’t know what he was thinking either). It’s funny to me how I loved it and didn’t know it’s value at the same time. It wasn’t’ until high school, when those Murakami Louis Vuitton bags were all the rage that I figured out I had something special and got me curious about designer bags. Since bags were one of the few ways to infuse any sort of style into my daily life I got really into them.

After college, my love of handbags somewhat waned, but lately, I’ve been back on the train with a lower emphasis on designer names, so I decided to write a post for you all. I want to retire sooner than later, so no Louis Vuitton picks in this post, however, there is a range of picks from mid-range investment pieces to fast fashion based on what I own right now. Plus, for any bag over $100, I put in similar-looking under $100 options.

The Convertible Backpack

Last year I was on a quest to find the perfect work bag — something that held a lot, didn’t get dirty easily, and would be convenient to carry. I was initially drawn to the Henri Bendel convertible bag, but the leather one that I wanted was sold out for weeks. I ended up getting the Lo & Sons O.M.G., but weeks later, and I’m sure because of crazy ads targeting, I saw an Instagram video for a 5 in 1 convertible bag from a Swedish brand called Bukvy.

I’m usually skeptical of Instagram ads for brands I’ve never heard so I did some research and still couldn’t find much in terms of reviews. During my internet sleuthing though, I did find an Indiegogo page for the company and decided to take my chances and order the bag at a reduced price, even though I would have to wait MONTHS to see it.

It was a great decision. This bag is an investment piece (depending on the color, it retails for $579 – $696), but completely worth it for the quality and versatility.  Made in Portugal with European calf leather and goat suede, it can transform into a backpack, laptop case, tote bag, shoulder bag, or clutch. It suits so many lifestyles and transitions in life, so anticipate using this for years to come.

Under $100 options:

The Transparent Purse

The clear/transparent bag is on the trendier side, so if you’re like me, you spend less on pieces that will go out of style in a year or two. I got an orange transparent faux croc version from ASOS similar to the more expensive Staud version. I will say, I’ve already gotten my money’s worth. It’s more versatile than I was expecting and makes a statement without being overpowering. It’s also ripe for customization — change the inside purse out to whatever you’d like, whether it be another purse, a photo, or just your random assortment of favorite knickknacks. Plus, I’ve discovered that security loves it more than I do.

The Neutral Classic

I first spotted the Polène Numéro Un on the late and great Kyrzayda Rodriguez last year. I instantly loved the classic look and wanted to place an order right away, but couldn’t justify spending $400+ on a purse without seeing and touching it in person. Fast forward to a trip to Paris last month where I got to do just that and fell even more in love with the bag. If you’re looking for quality and craftsmanship in an everyday bag, this is it.

Under $100 options:

The Belt Bag

The festival favorite fanny pack is all grown up. I love being able to give oversized dresses both shape and pizazz with a double accessory. Keeping those pickpocketers away, the belt bag is perfect for concerts and traveling. My absolute favorite is from Zara, and yes, I got it in both black and red. If you’re ready to step this look the way up, the Gucci Marmont belt bags are absolutely exquisite.

The Metallic Cage Purse

I actually haven’t seen much of this around, but I get a ton of compliments whenever I use mine. Cage purses are a uniquely whimsical evening bag alternative. And even more than the clear bags, everything’s on display. Unlike the clear bags, I think these also double as jewelry. My favorite is this round one from ASOS that you can wear around your wrist like a bracelet. Amazon has a similar reasonably priced pick in different finishes, and if you’re looking for higher-end versions, both Anndra Neen has lovely ones to choose from.

Transitions: Midi Skirts

  It’s that time of year again – the days are subtly getting shorter, school buses are slowing down your commute, and you can count the amount of Summer Fridays left on one hand.

While it’s hard to see summer go (seriously, where did it go?!), there’s a different type of warmth that comes with the fall — colorful leaves and family bonding holidays are on the horizon.

The transitioning weather also means its time to transition your wardrobe. There are so many ways to do this, but the one I know I’ll be rocking the most in the next few months is midi skirts. Not only are they the perfect length for work and making sure your thighs don’t touch that subway seat (city girls know what I’m talking about), they make transforming a look from summer to fall super easy. Use them to move effortlessly with the cooling temperatures from sandal to boots, crop tops to sweaters, all while looking casually put together.

This particular skirt is from Zara, but I’ve added a few more of my picks under $100 at the end of this post.

Outfit detailsZara skirt BB Dakota top Zara bag | Nine west pumps, similar here

Seville, Andalusia, Spain

Traveling through the Iberian peninsula for nine days was absolutely amazing. I hit up Barcelona and Seville in Spain, and Lagos and Lisbon in Portugal. I will admit, I tried to fit a lot in a short period of time and if I were to do it again, I would either do one longer trip or split it up into two shorter ones. Regardless, I think leaving a place wanting to see and do more is a great thing, and it’s probably impossible to fully explore places rich in culture in just one trip with the serious dearth of American vacation days.

But let me get to my favorite city on the trip — Seville or Sevilla as the Spaniards call it. It’s small but absolutely beautiful. Here are some highlights of my trip that I recommend if you find yourself there.

Alcázar of Seville: AKA the Dornish palace in Game of Thrones, it’s actually a Moorish royal palace. It does not disappoint — intricate arches, amazing 16th-century tiles, and an expansive otherworldly garden make it an architecture lovers paradise. Europe is full of castles, however, few are in this style (the other Moorish castle in Europe that I can think of is the Alhambra in Granada). So I made the mistake of not allocating enough time for the gardens — they’re huge! The inside was so enthralling and that’s where I thought I should be spending most of my time, until I stepped into the amazing wonderland of artfully manicured bushes, towering palm trees, and quaint fountains! Give yourself at least a half day here.

Plaza de España: A gorgeous plaza rich in history, it was built in 1928 for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. The style is a mix of Art Deco, Renaissance, Moorish, and Spanish architecture, visually combining the region’s influences. It’s pretty lively, but expansive enough that you can find a serene corner to read a book, people watch, or just chill. You may have spotted it in Lawrence of Arabia or Star Wars.

Zara dress  |  Zara belt bag

Casa de Pilatos: Another beautiful palace away from the super touristy sites. 16th-century Sevillian architecture with Gothic Mudejar style similar to the Alcazar, Renaissance touches, and scattered Roman statues. With all the different architectural styles, there are so many details to take in and enjoy.


Flamenco: Do it and do it right. What’s right you ask? Well, flamenco is about more than just dancing, it’s about the emotion, so always choose a small intimate venue over a large theater. The large theaters are tourists traps. You want to see the faces of the dancer, singer, and guitarists — that’s how you get into it and feel it. I sat in the second row of a small venue for the flamenco show I attended and despite my limited Spanish, I was moved by the raw emotion that went into every step, strum, and note. I can’t remember the name of the venue, but it was part of this Airbnb experience. Our guide was super great — she explained the history of the dance and all the origins behind all tapas and drinks that we had before and after the show.


  • Spend at least 3 – 4 days. Since Seville is a small city, I thought that 2 days would be enough. I was wrong. There’s so much to take in at places like the Alcazar and Casa de Pilatos. I left without checking out so many places, many of which I added after taking a walking tour, which leads me to my next tip..
  • Take a walking tour on your first day there. This was extremely helpful for learning a bit about the history of the area and getting the lay of the land to figure out the most efficient way to hit all the places I wanted. There were a ton of free walking tours (just Google “free Seville walking tour”). My friend and I couldn’t find the one we originally planned to do and just joined another group. Just remember to tip at the end!
  • Plan your day before you leave your hotel or Airbnb. Unlike most European cities, Seville DOES NOT have free wifi at every cafe and restaurant, so it was essential to map the day out in advance. And even our hotel wifi was pretty shoddy.
  • Save your maps on Google, but also take screenshots of the step by step directions. Google maps kept getting confused by the many winding alleyways, so it was helpful to also have the step-by-step directions with street names.
  • Buy your ticket online ahead of time for the Alcázar. The line is LONG, especially in the morning. Get a timed entry slot online (there’s a separate, shorter line for this) and go in the afternoon when the crowds are dying down.

Winter Whites

You know how the saying goes — don’t wear white after Labor Day and before Memorial Day. But do you know where it comes from? Apparently it was one of the hundreds of silly fashion rules that old money women made to distinguish themselves from the “vulgur” new money families after the Civil War.

If it sounds ridiculous to you, it is.

Obviously, it was propagated into pop culture and promoted by the fashion world, or you and I wouldn’t still be talking about it now. However, rules are made to be broken, especially when it comes to fashion.

I love wearing unexpected colors in the colder months, and white is no exception. I found the coziest knit ensemble at Zara a few weeks ago and couldn’t resist turning it into my go-to weekend brunch outfit.

For winter, the perfect way to pull off white is with a heavy knit fabric to be weather-appropriate and chic. Check out the outfit details and some of my favorite knit white pieces below.

Zara Sweater | Zara Skirt | Zara Bag (similar here and here)