playlist: Septiembre

Hi, guys!

So I know we’re more than halfway through *my numero uno month*, but I figured when it comes to music, it’s better late than never. My apologies for flying under the radar lately — I just returned to LA after a much-needed trip back home to New York. The week was comprised of tons of guilt-free lounging around, lots of munchin’ out (so many new restaurants have popped up around town!) and catching up with loved ones. It was the perfect way to close the 24th chapter of my life.

While I was there, I turned 25. A quarter of a century on the 13th. It’s a bittersweet feeling. I’m not where I thought I’d be at 25, but I’m okay with that. I did things differently than most; I followed the path less traveled and I’m finally beginning to find my way. Proud moment!  I guess the point I’m trying to get to is that it’s okay to go against the grain. It makes you stronger, braver, smarter, and more frankly, interesting.

To tie this existential rant in with this month’s playlist, these are songs that make me happy… it is my birthday month, after all 🙂 ! Some are sweet, some sting a bit, a few are slow while others are more upbeat. They’re all good…give ’em a whirl.

Your Gal, Shaye



a peek inside: my beach bag

We’ll blame it on being a Virgo, but I have designated bags for everything and the beach is no exception. Living on the coast of Southern California, I’m a frequent beach flyer. My fair-skinned complexion is absolutely no competition for the sun’s brute strength, specifically its UVA and UVB rays, so whenever I hit the shore I make sure I’m stocked with all the necessary tools for a safe and pleasant beach day.

Two of the most important items in my tote are my facial and body sunscreens. Crucial. We rarely see cloud coverage down here but even if we do, clouds block as little as 20% of UV rays. So the bottom line is that sunscreen is critical to skin protection.

There are a few criteria that skin products must meet before they get the green light from me. Organic, sustainably made, and cruelty-free are all musts. Through my product research, I was introduced to another checkbox which applies exclusively to sunscreens: reef safe. Sunscreens that are manufactured without Oxybenzone or Octinoxate are legally classified as “reef safe” — another simple way to limit your environmental footprint.

The sunscreens pictured above are my most trusted lotions. I was using Sun Bum on my face for a few months until it began to sting my eyes whenever I got out of the ocean. Since it was doing a great job shielding the rest of my body, I figured I’d just look into a new sunscreen for my face. I narrowed the search down to Badger Sport and Coola Sport but ultimately went for Coola. It’s been about 2 weeks and I can honestly say I’m thrilled with it. No drips, no tears, and no burns. Plus, it meets all of my requirements. It’s the stuff, people.

For the face: Coola Suncare Suncare Citrus Mimosa Moisturizer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
For the bod: Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

My water bottle and I have been in a strong committed relationship for almost 2 years. We’ve been everywhere together. Since I bought the bottle back in ’16, I can honestly say I have purchased less than 15 plastic water bottles. Aside from that, I’m able to measure my water intake and ensure that I’m staying hydrated in the hot summer sun and/or year round. It’s looking pretty dated these days, but it still keeps my water fresh and cold. I prefer the tinier mouth compared to other reusable bottles that have a wider mouth; I find that it makes drinking easier and less messy… I’m known for spilling. As for cleaning: I rinse my bottle out every day and soap every other.

SHADES Ray-Ban Round Metal
Admittedly, the time for me to invest in a solid pair of polarized sunglasses has come and gone but I’ve been slacking and still wear the American classics, Ray-Ban.  They do a decent job of protecting my eyes from the sun, but I’ve gotta step my game up and get a pair of shades that are built for high sun exposure. Will report back.

OontZ Angle 3 PLUS Portable Bluetooth Speaker
If you haven’t noticed from my monthly playlists, I’m a big music buff. Whether you’re solo or with others, speakers help liven things up. Again, there were a handful of criteria that the chosen speakers had to meet before I settled on them: sand-proof, water-resistant Bluetooth,  long battery life. Check, check, check, and check. They’re lightweight and the sound quality is spot on. Never hit the beach without them.

TOWEL Slowtide Haven Tassel Beach Towel
Towels on the beach are for both comfort and functionality. We nap on them, dry off using them and sometimes use it as a hold-all for our belongings. My current beach bud is my Slowtide beach towel. First of all, it’s beautiful. There’s way more to Slowtide than meets the eyes, though. They follow slow manufacturing processes and are transparent when it comes to their responsibilities as a company.  As someone who’s always keeping an eye out for a solid sustainable brand, this one was a home run.

Happy beaching.

Your Gal, Shaye

through my lens: taking on Salt Lake City

delighting in the little things.
snapshots of my week (and those things) // Salt Lake City, Utah

The secret about one of my favorite cities, Salt Lake City, Utah seems to have gotten out. My family’s roots run deep in SLC — they’ve been here for over 100 years. Growing up in New York, it was hard for my parents to get us out to visit often; flying six kids out west comes with a not-so-pretty price tag. So, as an adult, I’m making up the lost time. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend 5 days with my family, soaking up the breathtaking beauty — and prime shopping, specifically thrift/vintage — that the Wasatch Front has to offer.

1.  This framed photo of my great-grandmother, Bonnie, and her boys.

2.  If this quirky little flask was made to hold a glass of wine, I’d be sold. The store I found this in was massive; a hybrid between a retail shop and a barbershop. It was an interesting (and very trendy) concept shop.

3. The gilded age. This mailbox, which is in the lobby of my grandfather’s office building, stopped me in my tracks. I’m a sucker for gold, letters, and most objects that are 50+.


4.  This cup of morning espresso with this peaceful backdrop was a dream. My grandparents have an impressive collection of pottery (see blurry mug), which piqued my interest in the one-of-a-kind pieces. They also have an impressively magical garden oasis, which is quietly tucked away in their backyard. Oh, and that Kokopelli piece. 


5. Last but certainly not least, Bonnie Lodge. Originally built somewhere in the early-1900s, it was rebuilt around 1920 after a fire burned it down. It has been shared by my family for generations and was my great-grandmother, Bonnie’s, sanctuary (hence the name). It oozes old-time charm and is essentially a time machine that takes you back to the days when Brighton Mountain was speckled with only a handful of cabins and overrun with wildlife. Being there slows the time down… until the spiritual presence makes the hairs on your arms stand up, that is. But I suppose knowing the spirits are those of my silly and loving ancestors takes the eeriness out of it.


playlist: August!

A few days late but… happy August peeps! It’s tune time.

As I say with each new month- where did the last month go? These playlists have become an unintentional measure of time for me and I can’t believe I’m already on Auguste. I feel like August is the golden hour of months. Golden locks, golden skin (well, as sunkissed as you can get while wearing SPF 50), and golden energy. Behind September, it’s my favorite. The dog days of summer- when we start to focus on appreciating each day a little bit more.

This might mean soaking up the sun beachside, taking more outdoor walks, or maybe even a candlelit bath. Regardless of the activity, tunes are crucial. These are the tracks on my current rotation. A combination of pop, hip-hop, and alternative- all on repeat.

Favorites of the month:
Eastside (with Halsey & Khalid)– benny blanco
Don’t Matter to Me (with Michael Jackson)– Drake
4AM in London- Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Better Not (feat. Wafia)- Louis the Child


Your Gal, Shaye

playlist: Splashing into July

The strawberries are bursting with flavor, the sunsets are exploding with the warmest of colors, and suns position in the sky acts as our wristwatch. Everything is okay.  If your phone runs out of juice, you don’t care, because you’re nestled under your umbrella with the sounds of waves crashing in the background. You are present. You are content. The summertime is in full swing. This is July.

It’s tough to say which month is my favorite because they’re all special in their own right, but July has hosted some of my fondest memories. Mainly block parties and beach parties. Both of which had lots of laughs and killer music.

Featured on this playlist are a few tracks that take me back to my summers at home (think classic Springsteen & the Stones) and some other newer songs that just make you feel good.

During this seventh month, take things slow. Take it easy. Breathe, smile, repeat.

Favorites of the month:
Floating (feat. Khalid)- Alina Baraz
Move- Milo Greene
Do Without- Angus & Julia Stone
Summer of ’69- Bryan Adams (had to!)

Your Gal, Shaye

wedding season: make a splash on a budget

Weddings are expensive. For the newlyweds, obviously, but for the guests too. Lots of planning–and dollars–go into attending a wedding. There are the travel expenses, the gift, and the (also very important) look for the night. There isn’t any way of getting around the first two, but as far as your outfit, there are ways of beating a triple-digit price tag.

When I got invited to the wedding of one of my lifelong friends back home, I couldn’t wait to see everyone but I also couldn’t wait to piece together my get-up. I hate to admit it, but I initially turned to Nordstrom. I found [what looked like] an awesome dress for only $40. When I received it in the mail, I was so disappointed with the quality and the poor fit. At this point, I had less than a week til my flight back to New York. So I thought when in doubt hit the thrift shop. And that’s what I did.

The thrift shop we found is called Granny Takes A Trip and is strangely inside of a mall, which doesn’t seem fitting. I was judgmental and my expectations were low but once we got inside, I was really blown away. Such a hidden gem. The dress selection was minimal, so I didn’t think to look through them at first. I scored two pairs of awesome denim shorts, so I was fine with just ruling it as a Levi’s stop. But, then I figured I might as well check ’em out because you never know.

I sifted through the rack, which was cluttered with an eclectic collection of frocks, kaftans, and sundresses. Nothing tickled my fancy. I was on the verge of dismissing it as a lost cause but just before I walked away, a chiffon maxi with long-sleeves and a floral pattern straight from the 60s caught my eye. It was huge and I’d certainly need a belt with it as to avoid drowning, but I gave it a shot.

There was no price tag… minor red flag. The sales associate had to send a picture to her boss, which made me more skeptical– seemed like a whole lotta of trouble for a little dress. I figured it’d be expensive and not worth the inconvenience I was putting them through. I was wrong. It was $22. Only twenty-two dollars. I was in disbelief… the deal was sealed.

I already had an idea of which accessories I wanted to wear based on what I had planned for my last dress. To my pleasure, they paired perfectly with this one, too. My dates for the night were bold clip-on gold earrings (as seen below), which I found at a shop in SLC for $12, my tooled leather clutch (as seen here), and this “look at me” chunky yellow leather belt courtesy of Kami’s closet. It all came together for under $100. I felt fabulous, especially knowing how little I spent.

You don’t need to splurge to make a statement. Quite the opposite, really. It just requires a little patience and some optimism to be a vision in vintage.

Your Gal, Shaye

playlist: but wait, it’s June?!

Summertime is officially in the house. *insert dancing GIF here*

We all know what this means; lots of sunshine, even more sunscreen, and tons of feel-good music. I curated this playlist with lots of me-time in mind. Warmer weather allows for lots of quality time with… yourself! As someone that lives in a studio with two other people, I speak for all three of us when I say it’s crucial to your sanity. It allows you time to reflect, think, and re-group. Don’t get me wrong, I love hangin’ with my roommates, but I also love being alone with myself and my thoughts.  Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

There’s no better time to do so than when the sun is shining and the weather is sweet. Go for a hike, post up in a beach chair by the shore, or shack up under a willow tree in the park with your newest read. Whatever the case may be, allow the June playlist to set the tone.

Favorites of the month:
Moonlight in Atlanta – Russ
On the Loose (slenderbodies remix) – Niall Horan
Autumn Gray – Boy Willows
California Dreamin’ – Amason

Here’s to you and to a healthy summer filled with happiness!

Your Gal, Shaye


the endless summer car show: a drive down memory lane

Let’s take a walk, shall we?

To reminisce is to indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events. Nostalgia. Reflecting on the bygone days can evoke a wide range of emotions. Laughter, tears, tears of laughter– whatever effect it has on you, you can almost certainly count on it warming your heart. In the November 2013 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a group of scientists conducted a study that suggested that nostalgia can play a beneficial role in people’s lives. Specifically, it may actually make people more optimistic about the future.

Often times, we’re told to stop living in the past. It’s easy to dwell on mistakes we’ve made or kick ourselves for staying in a toxic relationship for too long. In these cases, yes, you shouldn’t punish yourself for decisions that can’t be changed. But what about the times that made us happy? There’s nothing wrong with daydreaming about that crisp fall beach day spent with your family or your first date at that hole-in-the-wall sushi restaurant. If it brings a smile to your face, keep reminiscing. That 2013 study also said that when people used their positive memories as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ during a hard time, it helped them pull themselves out of their rut faster than those that did not. Sounds about right.

I’ve always been the first one to get on the “remember when…” wagon. I find myself chasing places, people, and even things, that have stories to tell. I want to hear ’em all.

So when The Endless Summer Car Show parked in Hermosa, needless to say, I made sure to check it out. Car enthusiasts from all corners of the region gathered to show off their rides, which were in pristine condition. Woodies, t-birds, you name it. They lined the perimeter of the plaza and glistened with classic greatness as their owners stood proudly next to them. As they should. The car collector niche is alive and well in Southern California and it is impressive.

These racers have been around the block and back… a few times. Is anyone else curious about who had their first kiss in that one or what this one has seen? Maybe a square off between the Greasers and the Socs (hint: The Outsiders). The possibilities. You can really let your mind escape you when you start to think about it. It’s like reminiscing, but on someone else’s treasured memories– which has the potential to be more fun, depending on how creative you allow yourself be.

A pleasant stroll down memory lane…always reliable for a no-charge pick-me-up.

Your Gal, Shaye

the importance of listening to your body: my story

Hi, all-

The last month I’ve been MIA so I want to apologize for being off my game and fill you in on the happenings, which taught me to pay closer attention to the warning signals the body sends when things are out of whack.

It all goes back to Wednesday, April 11th, 2018. My stomach started feeling funky midday but as a gal who frequently suffers from benign stomach-related issues, I waived it off as nothing. By midday the subsequent Friday, I was in the ER awaiting my fate, which turned out to be an emergency appendectomy.

Say whaaat! But Doc, I’ve never had surgery. I eat well, I’m generally healthy and I showed no signs or symptoms up until two days ago. Doesn’t matter kid; sometimes this stuff just happens.

Okay, so let’s backtrack again to the minimal symptoms I did show.

Wednesday 4/11, 1:30 pm: crampy internal gas pains begin.
Wednesday 4/11, 6 pm: all pressure, bloated ness, and pain has subsided. I went about my life and paid no mind to the pains that cramped my style that day. I must be better, right? Wrong.

Thursday 4/12, morning:

As mentioned, sporadic stomachaches are no stranger to me so I figured these were par for the course. While at work as a waitress, the pain gradually came again. Not only was it worse, but it felt different, which led me to think the two weren’t related. I ran through all potential causes– or so I thought. I wasn’t expecting my period so I ruled out hormonal cramps and I hadn’t eaten anything other than an Rx bar and a clementine so it couldn’t have been something I ate. The time seemingly crawled by. The pangs turned from unpleasant to excruciating. This time they were migrating throughout my abdominal region. “This is new,” I thought. “WTF is going on.” I was growing more and more concerned.

My shift was over at last and I limped home. I felt fatigued, feverish, and scared. This wasn’t like anything I had ever felt. Upon my arrival at Studio 3, I took a hot shower, doused myself with lavender oil, and jumped in bed in hopes of sleeping it off. Wishful thinking.

Thursday 4/12, 9 pm:

Matt got home from dinner with one of his buddies who was visiting and by this point, I had been rolling around in agony for the last 6 hours. To be frank, I have the tendency to dramatize so I couldn’t tell whether or not I was blowing the whole situation out of proportion. With my stomach bloated and rock hard and my trio of roommates as my witnesses, I concluded it was not normal. 

Friday 4/13, 6:30 am:

After the sleepless night, I decided it was time to call home. I fought back tears as I explained the symptoms to my dad, who passed the phone over to my mom. In the calmest way possible, she told me I had to go to the hospital. We agreed that my symptoms were almost certainly those of appendicitis. As per her demand, Vikki and I left for the ER. The timing couldn’t be worse as Matt was heading to Atlanta for his lacrosse season the same day and had to finish packing before leaving for the airport.

Friday 4/13, 11:30am:

We spent about an hour and a half in the waiting room before I was finally admitted to the ER. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand, or walk. They hooked me up to an IV; my nausea made it hard to drink water so I was severely dehydrated. When I returned from getting an MRI, Matt arrived before he set off to LAX. That helped. After another 2 hours of waiting, the surgeon confirmed what we already knew: appendicitis. The only solution: emergency appendectomy. Okay, so now I was flipping the f out. I was thousands of miles away from the security of my parents and faced with one of my first “you’re-on-your-own” situations. Although I had Kyle and Vikki, the thought of going under the knife so far from home was unnerving. Granted, it’s a common, almost zero-risk procedure that is completed an average of three times a day– in that hospital at least– but any surgery is still surgery. It was an especially big deal for a first-timer like myself. After my 5-minute freakout, I swallowed my nerves because I knew it had to be done whether I liked it or not.

Friday 4/13, 4 pm: went in for surgery.
Friday 4/13 4:45 pm: surgery successfully completed.

According to my surgeon, my appendix was inflamed to the point that it would have ruptured had I waited any longer. Meanwhile, two days before, I was completely fine! So freaky. It was a terrifying experience, but in the end, I feel like I came out braver and stronger. I’ve got the scars to prove it. The recovery process took a month. No exercise, water or sun exposure for 4-5 weeks. I’m all back to normal aside from the fact that I’m appendix-less.

The moral of my story? Some weird shiet goes down on Friday the 13th. But on a serious note, listen to your body. Although there are no precautionary measures you can take against appendicitis, which comes virtually out of nowhere, it showed me to pay closer attention to red flags. Don’t ignore unusual symptoms. If you think something is seriously wrong, trust that instinct.

Your Gal, Shaye

our journey to Joshua Tree, CA

Just 140 miles east of Los Angeles, in the High Desert of California, rests Joshua Tree National Park. Nestled between the towns of Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, and naturally, Joshua Tree. The national park is celebrated for its explosive sunsets, sparkling starry night skies, obscurely beautiful plant life, and hipster-approved shops and eateries.

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Due to its close proximity to the always bustling LA, this desert oasis is the quintessential back-to-basics getaway; close enough, but far enough. We often forget how crucial it is to our wellbeing–and sanity– that we take a step back from our busy schedules and make time to ground ourselves. Ditching the traffic and turning in street lights for stars to guide the way is guaranteed to reduce stress levels. If you weren’t already aware, spending time in nature has proven health benefits. More specifically, the desert provides higher air quality, less light pollution (which is helpful when you’re looking for constellations), and ample sunshine. Interestingly, the dry air in the desert also means less mold and bacteria, which is beneficial when it comes to wound-healing and respiratory problems.


Last month, I was in dire need of getaway in the great outdoors. Initially, Matt and I planned to venture up the coast to Big Sur, but stormy weather deterred us from taking the trip. As desert lovers, we settled on Joshua Tree. We packed our Mitsubishi rental with our two-person tent, not enough blankets, one pillow (which I immediately regretted), and other various necessities and set off.


After about three hours in the car, we rolled through the sleepy trio of towns before we reached the park entrance. As luck had it, there were no camping sites available. This was our fault, we should have known, but thankfully we found a groovy campsite right outside of the park. During the spring and summer months, it hosts various festivals and other creative gatherings. It was sweet. For $20 a night, we secured a spot for our tent and our trusty red Mistu.

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Despite the forecasts’ call for high winds, I was hopeful it wouldn’t be the case. It was. We got our tent up and headed over to our on-the-road go-to, Walmart. I normally hate supporting big box stores like Walmart, but unfortunately, when you’re in small towns your options are limited. Matt and I stocked up on dinner for the night, salmon and veggies via firepit and pan, and drove back to our home for the night. The setting sun doesn’t wait for anyone so we started cooking right away. Matt manned the grill, and fought off the smoke like a champ, while I chopped the veggies. The end results weren’t exactly gourmet and faintly resembled that of toasted marshmallows, but we were hungry and cold, so it sufficed.

We admired the sunset, put out the fire, and retreated to the tent for the night, while the sounds of the whipping winds echoed through the valley.



We rose, we shined, and we hit Mt. Ryan for a hike. Matt and I decided we’d give the first come first served on-site campgrounds another shot, so we packed up all of our belongings before we left.

After breaking a sweat and scoring some breathtaking views, Round 2 of the campground search commenced. We were pulling out of the last site, Jumbo Rocks, with no sign of a spot, when a fine gentleman waved us down and offered up his spot, as he was pulling out. The Desert Gods were looking down and granted us the authentic J. Tree experience we were looking for.

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The winds had no mercy on us and continued to howl throughout night two. The sunrise made it worth it, though. It was truly magnificent. It was difficult to decipher whether my shivers were from the morning chill or the palette of colors that painted the sky. We finished admiring the colors until our growling stomachs demanded breakfast. The wind was stubborn and was having no part of us starting a fire to cook so we settled on a diner- Carla’s Route 62 Diner. I  was not-so-secretly thrilled.


Although I would have loved to check out more shops, Matt and I went to Joshua Tree strictly for the nature experience, and that’s what we got. We did, however, make time to peek into a few of the gems that lined the main road.

  • The Grateful Desert Herb Shoppe & EcoMartThis spot is just what you’d picture being in Joshua Tree. The apothecary had everything from aromatherapy to chocolate to small knick-knacks. I purchased some loose-leaf chai tea, dried lavender, my cherished muslin tea bag, and an awesome logo sticker.  I use the lavender for tea or sometimes I toss some into a tiny sheer bag and leave it in my purse. Smells delightful.
  • Joshua Tree Health Foods: The store of my dreams. They had everything! I splurged on a lavender and blueberry dark chocolate bar. my taste buds had a dance party.  If anything, check this place out!
  • Natural Sisters CafeMatt and I stopped here on Day 2 for a coffee break. The joe was pretty tasty, but it was their pastries that caught my eye. I was doing a ‘no sugar, no carb’ weekend, so I didn’t try any, but if I go back, I will certainly stop back in.
  • Unity Home Thrift Shop: Your typical small town thrift shop chock-full of hidden treasures. Matt scored a sweet 90s bathing suit here. I wasn’t committed to the cause so I didn’t get anything, but it’s worth a visit.
  • Carla’s Route 62 Diner: This was where we had our last supper breakfast. I ordered huevos rancheros and they were delicious. With that said, we didn’t do too much research and sort of rushed the decision-making process. When I’m traveling, I’m very deliberate when choosing where to eat.
    Bottom line: I would recommend it, but I don’t think I would go back. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, more so because there were healthier, more interesting alternatives.

My perception of what Joshua Tree was before I went was entirely skewed. I originally thought it was just one town (not three) that was adorned with dozens of hip shops. Embarrassingly, I didn’t even know it was a national park! In reality, it’s a quiet strip that oozes desert excellence and boasts a handful of awesome mom & pop shops.

Next time I go to Joshua Tree, I’d switch it up a bit. For starters, I would write up a more thorough plan. I think I’d probably kick off the trip with primitive camping. It’s such a rewarding experience that gives you a real sense of accomplishment. From pitching your own tent to cooking your own food, it helps you grasp what life is like in the wild.

I’d finish off my stay by shacking up in a rustic meets boho mod Airbnb. The one I have in mind: Casa Joshua Tree. It’s the account that introduced me to Joshua Tree and is insanely beautiful.

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When all was said and done and we hopped back in the Mitsu to head home with smiles on faces. Our adventure was a great success. It was just the medicine my body– and mind– needed to decompress. Sometimes fresh air and mountain views is all it takes. If given the opportunity, take the trip!

Your Gal, Shaye

playlist: showering you with April tunes

¡Feliz Abril! I’ve decided not to do playlists anymore… April Fools! The corniest, as usual. Well, wishing everyone a happy April 1st, a happy Easter to those celebrating, and an especially happy new playlist day.

April, as a month, is the equivalent of a bouquet of freshly cut flowers and a breath of after-rain air. This playlist feels the same. Upbeat with a touch of soulful goodness and an alternative flair. If I’m honest, it’s pretty bangin’ and just the stuff you wanna cruise-with-the-windows-down to.

It features a couple songs from one of my current favorite bands, WetIf you haven’t heard them yet, do yourself a favor and start with the two songs on this playlist. You’ll be binge-listening to their entire album before you know it.

All about April.

Your Gal, Shaye