Each month, I share my favorite finds – from fashion trends to music to books to body products, and more (naturally). Weigh in with your own discoveries (or rediscoveries) in the comments!
3. TOMS for Target anokrak, $40 | 4. Curtis Harding’s Soul Power, $11 | 5. Thank you note cards, $17
6. Commodity fragrance, $108 | 7. Black Velvet | 8. The Ferrari Ferrari 458 Italia Spider
Out of the box, out-of-town experiences
I recently had a chance to test drive three amazing cars at the Waldorf Astoria in Boca Raton, Florida, as part of the hotel’s new “Unforgettable Experiences” program. I’ve talked here before about the merits of shopping while on vacation, because whatever you pick out for yourself easily trumps any souvenir trinket you might pick up in a tourist trap gift shop. In the same way, “Only in [wherever]” experiences help you take home a different kind of souvenir—the memory of something fun and amazing that you’d never do otherwise. The next time you travel, see what you can take part in that’s local to the area. Maybe it’s not test driving three super-fast sports cars (a Ferrari 458 Italia Spider, McLaren MP4-12C, and Porsche 911 Turbo, for the record), but rather going for a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque or to a jazz festival in New Orleans. And for the record—no, I didn’t get any speeding tickets, but if there’d been a cop in radar distance, I definitely would have.
A good-looking (and smelling) fragrance
This line of fragrances started as a Kickstarter campaign, and wound up raising $56,602 of its $20,000 goal—a pretty successful start, I’d say. I was first taken in by Commodity’s packaging—a sleek design and substantial feel that would look at home on any well-dressed guy’s nightstand—and stayed for the scents. My favorite, Wool, reminded me of Gap’s Om, a gone-but-not forgotten scent of my first forays into fragrance. Check out the rest of the line, too, with straightforward names like Cloth, Whiskey, and Paper.
When I was in high school, my friend Mark (who I sometimes wondered if maybe we should have gotten married, and then a couple years ago I ran into him at my farmers’ market in Brooklyn and it turned out he became a lawyer and lived like two blocks away from me and then I really wondered if we should have gotten married) took on the responsibility of educating me musically. Thanks to him, I fell in love with neo-soul, rap, and straight-up funk. So when I recently discovered Curtis Harding and his 2014 album Soul Power, the memories started flowing. The mix of soul, gospel, and garage rock ’n’ roll really brings me back. Think Gary Clark Jr. meets Cody Chestnutt meets Jamie Lidell. Mark would be so proud.
A winter drink
A Black Velvet, a very simple Guinness and Champagne cocktail (yes, you read that right), makes for a great drink around the holidays. And it’s so easy: Just fill a glass—a flute works, but if that feels too frou-frou, a Collins glass is just as good—halfway up with Guinness, then the rest with whatever Champagne you have on hand. Wary of this strange marriage? Don’t worry—I was too … ’til I tried it. The carbonated cocktail tastes surprisingly velvety and smooth.
A written “thank you”
Have I ever told you how much I love a good ol’ fashioned thank you note? Actually, I should take out that qualifier, because there is nothing “ol’ fashioned” about expressing gratitude—that classy move will always be in style. I usually hate running out of things, but I love discovering that I’ve run out of stationery because it means 1) I’ve been good about writing cards to friends, family, and work acquaintances, and 2) I get to pick out new and different cards! When was the last time you wrote—or received—a thank you note?
brands acknowledging more body types
Digging into Style Girlfriend’s Google Analytics from time to time always offers valuable insight—namely, how new readers are finding the site. One big way? This article on finding pants for athletic legs. That’s why I’m always pleased when a brand introduces a style specifically intended for bigger legs. In this case, Levi’s Denizen brand, carried at Target. The style doesn’t launch until March, but I had a chance to check them out and was pleased to see the cut offers more room for guys in the seat and thighs but still tapers down to a narrower ankle. Former soccer and hockey players, rejoice.
Designer collaborations for good
I’ve been a fan of TOMS since the “one for one” charity-based business launched in 2006. That’s why I’m psyched that this season, they’ve teamed up with Target for an even bigger opportunity to give back. With purchases from the collection, the two companies are giving shoes, blankets, and meals to those in need, making it easier to justify getting something from the collection for yourself, like this sporty navy anorak ($40).
Sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner
I’m on a never-ending quest for healthy, sustainable grooming products that don’t put anything on or in my body that’s gross and bad for it—AND that actually work AND that don’t cost a million-zillion dollars. So I was happy to find this sulfate-free duo at the drugstore. Infused with a flower oil blend, they clean and condition, without leaving anything toxic behind.