I’m here, I’m here!

Hi everyone, Shaye here.

The last month or so has been a whirlwind. I was home in New York for my 25th (!!!) birthday mid-September, I landed a new gig with an incredible mission-driven company, and I moved into a new apartment in a new city. From Long Beach on the east coast to Long Beach on the west coast… who woulda thought?

It’s a Spanish style 2-bedroom, with orange tile in the kitchen and dark wood throughout the rest of the apartment. It’s been a little “October spooky” due to echoes caused by lack of furniture, but last night we finally committed to a vintage rattan set (as seen below). Not only am I in love, but now I can set up shop somewhere other than my bed to read and write and do gal things.

I can’t wait for all the gal adventures to come~ stay tuned.

Your Gal, Shaye

 

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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.


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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


REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE S’well Bottle 25oz
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.

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SPEAKERS 
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

food for thought

words to carry with you today

“The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything:
the better you are with your loved ones,
the better you are with your enemies,
the better you are your job,
the better you are with yourself.”
– Bill Murray

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+.

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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. 

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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.

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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

zero-waste journey: reusable straws

At this point, the issue surrounding plastic straws has hit the mainstream- literally and figuratively. Ditching the single-use poly-plastics and opting for reusable straws is a simple way to reduce the waste that is having an unprecedented impact on our environment, specifically our oceans. There are over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean.  Investing in these tiny suppers is not only inexpensive but also responsible. We use over 500 million (!!!) straws per day, many of which make their way to our oceans and end up in the stomachs of our marine life. Reusable straws seem like the obvious alternative.


For my introductory reusable straw, I went for glass. Being a “glass-over-everything” girl, it was a natural choice. My first glass straw was by Simply Straws, which was included in my To-Go Ware reusable utensil kit. Despite my cautious efforts whilst using it in public, it was accidentally tossed after I left it in my water glass at a local breakfast joint in my hometown.

It was an emotional day,  but I jumped right on Amazon to reorder; this time I got a set of four: two bent and two straight, a straw for every occasion. I liked ’em, but not nearly as much as my Simply Straws straw. They are wide, making them a great smoothie companion, but they’re a little uncomfortable to enjoy with any regular bev.

With luck and coordination against me, I lost another trusty straw after it took a fall and shattered. I figured it was time to rethink my purchase, considering my clumsy tendencies. Time to bring in the big guns- the mighty stainless steel competitor.

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Despite my usual glass preference, I’m really digging these straws so far. Iced and/or chilled beverages taste super refreshing from the stainless steel’s cooling effect. They were inexpensive, they’re fool-proof/drop-proof, and very easy to transport. Perhaps I’m a biased pro-reusable straw gal, but compared to plastic straws, there are virtually no “cons”.

Reusable straws are one of the “first stops” on my zero-waste journey, and I haven’t looked back once. It brings major personal and public awareness to the plastic issue at hand. So far, I’ve gotten tons of positive feedback and inquiries regarding where I purchased mine. It’s the best kind of snowball effect. When it comes to saving the environment, the most powerful first step is being the change. Cutting back (and ultimately eliminating) your plastic consumption is a great start.

Your Gal, Shaye

 

 

through my lens: summer in the beach cities

delighting in the little things.
snapshots of my week (and those things) // the South Bay, Southern California.

1. Spotted this mural in Manhattan Beach. Couldn’t help but oooh and aaah at those colors.

2. This plant with its blossoming flowers. Still working on figuring out the species.

3. I stopped in a new coffee shop this week in an effort to switch things up. Breaking routines every now and then helps me with my productivity. I’ve found my new spot. These pretty things pieces were on each table. I went for a vanilla latte and a plain croissant, both of which were mouth-watering good. The place: Pursue Coffee in Redondo Beach.

4. Although I don’t necessarily condone defacing public property, this sidewalk sketch is a sweet reminder that surf culture is alive and well in Southern California.

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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.

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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.

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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