travel in style: istanbul shopping guide

istanbul blue mosque-shoppingsmycardio.com

| Blue Mosque, Istanbul. // All photos by me or Mr. SMC |

Second only to an ill-conceived, 24-hour adventure in Tangiers in my 20s (buy me a couple of drinks sometime, and I’ll tell you a tale), Istanbul is bar none the most “foreign” place to which I’ve ever traveled. By which I mean I don’t speak the language, don’t know the culture, the food, the traditions…did I need head scarves? Long sleeves? Was I allowed to wear jeans? Because, let’s be honest, inadvertently botching a cultural norm in a country I’ve already admitted was utterly foreign to me (in every sense of the word) sounds like an intimidatingly easy thing to do.

And yet. Once I arrived, much like my time in Morocco, I knew immediately I’d worried for nothing. I found the people in Istanbul to be unfailingly, overwhelmingly friendly, helpful and welcoming. On the rare occasion someone didn’t speak English, they either found someone who did, or we successfully (and cheerfully!) mimed to each other until we sorted it out. The 3 Turkish phrases I frantically committed to memory on the plane elicited so much appreciation from locals that you’d have thought I mastered the language. It is busy, and crowded, and…well, foreign, but I didn’t see a single act of protest, let alone violence. Some people wore head scarves (you do need one to visit mosques), but my tour guide showed up the first day in a tank top.

I honestly don’t know whether this is a case of low expectations being exceeded or whether I really loved Istanbul as much as I think did, but truly – it was unforgettable, and I’d recommend it heartily to anyone at all! Read on

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friends & family: shopbop + saks

[This F&F duo has expired, alas. Luckily, most of these goodies are on sale now!]

No matter how totally insane and overwhelmed I’m feeling, I still consider it my sworn duty to make sure you know about any sales worth your time. And friends, this morning, my inbox runneth over.

First things first: Take 25% off sitewide at Shopbop with code INTHEFAM25 (through 10.15). Me, I’d buy a new black blazer since I just KonMari’d the sh!t out of my closet and realized I didn’t like a single one I owned. I also got rid of all of my white tees, so there’s room to grow there too. Oh hell, let’s just slideshow it, shall we?

Next up is Saks…also 25% off sitewide, with code THANKYOU (and then you inexplicably have to use the code FREESHIP to get your free shipping). More basics and more brands we love, but more exclusions, which is frankly a little aggravating. Still, plenty of trouble to get into. See e.g., basically everything from Vince’s fall collection. Also, I need a new wallet something fierce…alas, I’m pretty confident the Prada I’ve had my eye on is excluded. But I will say this: occasionally, if you call a store, they’re a little more…open-minded about what’s on F&F. I may, for example, be making a call like that about this bad boy.

Speaking of shenanigans, as always, I’m sure Nordstrom will price match all of this. But honestly, I can tell I’m getting old and impatient because I just don’t care that much about jumping through all those hoops just to be loyal to one store. Plus, Shopbop has that lovely free 2-day shipping, which is quite compelling.

So, tell me friends: what are you buying? I have an ancient Shopbop credit burning a major hole in my pocket this morning…want to help me spend it?

 

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a little belated birthday treat…

| via Instagram |

They’re here, they’re here! I finally broke down and splurged on a pair of dreamy custom Zoe Chicco studs. Because…well, sometimes you just need to #treatyoself, amiright?

Check out the rest of my Zoe crushes right here:

That Zoe…she’s awfully hard not to love, isn’t she?

 

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decisions, decisions

house-inspo

| Frank Muytjens home, Elle Decor, Oct 2012 // via my overflowing Pinterest board |

Hi, friends. Remember me? I know, I know. I was such a tease with my “Hey, guess what? Bought a house! Can’t wait to tell you all about it!!”

[…RADIO SILENCE…]

All I can say is this: those joyful people on HGTV, blissfully renovating their homes without a care in the world? They LIE.

I’m trying, really I am, to find the joy in this process, but honestly? The best I can come up with is chanting, “It will be worth it when it’s done. It will be worth it when it’s done. It will be…” over and over to myself in moments of crisis. Which seem to come about three times a day.

I’m thanking my lucky stars for two things right now: the incredible Mr. SMC, who somehow manages to be calm no matter what is happening (it’s freaky, actually). And the fact that I ponied up to hire a designer, despite my cheapskate, “I can totally do this myself” instincts. {*Scrap that…she was a disaster, and has been sacked.} And honestly, I probably could. But then you’d all have to promise to come visit me in the looney bin, where you’ll find me wandering the halls with my tape measure, muttering to myself about needing to find space for extra storage.

My house is still in a wrecking-ball-grade state of disrepair, but here’s what I know so far: Renovating is, basically, decisions. A constant stream of rapid-fire decisions, some of which matter and some of which, frankly, don’t. Alas, decisions have never been my strong suit. I’ve discussed this with a few friends recently, and we all agree that making decisions for others is much easier than making decisions for ourselves. Whether it’s a new pair of jeans or the hardware for your kitchen cabinets, I can browse the www until my eyes cross, but actually biting the bullet and picking the hardware I’ll have to look at every day? It’s paralyzing. And sure, you can ask your friends, but they’ll all have a different opinion and then you’re more confused than you were when you started. So, for now, I’m sticking with my dream team, and occasionally asking friends to just be kind and validate my choice. “So, orange in the master bedroom? I love it!” Trust me, it’s easier.

Though I definitely feel like I’m in the tall grass more often than not these days, the truth is, it’ll be fine. It’ll all get done, one way or another. And rationally, I know I’ll love it in the end – I have a contractor, a designer and a spouse who will make sure of that. But, ditching those annoying hang-ups that petrify and paralyze us isn’t always a rational thing, now is it?

For now, here’s what I’m trying: taking a deep breath. Trying to get a grip on reality and remember that hey, it’s just cabinet hardware. Stepping away from it for a while if I have to. Figuring out what it is I need in order to be sure. More info? Keep researching. Less info? Ask the spouse to help me cull my options. A better visual? I mock things up in Photoshop almost daily now. And then, at some point, I bite the bullet, make the decision and try living with it. If I wake up in the morning hating what I picked? Well, there’s your answer. And when all else fails, you write a 6-page email to your designer, forcing her to tell you that no, you’re not just missing something. Eight-inch Mission-style drawer pulls in natural brass for under $10 each do not, in fact, exist anywhere on this planet.

And now, to make up for the ranting, a few of the inspiration photos I’m using to try to make this uber-generic 1960s townhouse into something really special. (Want more? My Pinterest page for the casa runneth over…)

living-inspo

kitchen-inspo

bath-inspo

|  MY CASA’S WISHLIST  |
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a good night’s sleep

loom & leaf mattress review

| My Loom & Leaf mattress posing with my world-famous ginger scones. How much do I love those glasses? Quite a lot. |

As most of you know by now, I have a few little health glitches to deal with from time to time. (Said the girl currently rocking a case of hives that would make the Elephant Man hightail it to the nearest exit.) Anyway, the latest in this Lifetime miniseries is a star-studded cast of inflammatory hijinks which generally add up to a pretty uncomfortable life more often than not. Joints spontaneously swell, muscles ache despite my total aversion to physical activity, and pain pops up in the most random of places (who in the world gets sore toes, for Pete’s sake?).

A few months ago, I started noticing that things were remarkably, undeniably worse when I first woke up in the morning. Initially, I blamed it on my pain meds…how dare they wear off! But slowly, I came to terms with the fact that it might be my mattress. Read on

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it’s the little things

topshop bag

| Mini V Panel Holdall, Topshop |

Some days, you just need a pick-me up. A little impulse buy with a big “joy factor” that will make you excited to check your mailbox for a few days.

Doesn’t this wee blue bag just make you smile? It’s $65, if you can believe it. God bless Topshop. Sure, it’s PVC and it will probably only last a few months, and we’re all supposed to be consuming less and making more mindful purchases, blah blah blah. But sometimes, some days, you just need a little something.

Since I just got a pretty adorable pink bag (I’ll show it to you on Instagram, I promise), I probably can’t justify one in baby blue too. But you certainly can!

Whether it’s this, the Greek-inspired necklace I treated myself to this morning or something else you’ve had open in a browser tab all week, I hope you’ll treat yourself to a little something today, friends. You’ve earned it.

 

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