Winter’s Bone

Daily Scout3 Comments

Scout Sixteen - Saks Fifth Avenue Scout Sixteen - Saks Fifth Avenue Scout Sixteen - Saks Fifth Avenue Scout Sixteen - Saks Fifth Avenue Scout Sixteen - Saks Fifth Avenue Scout Sixteen - Saks Fifth Avenue Scout Sixteen - Saks Fifth Avenue

It’s that time of year again – the holidays have crept their way back into our calendars, which means not only will we need to size up our pants after all the holidays feasts (third helpings anyone?) but we’re also diving head first into gifting season (hooray)!

I’m currently home in Tennessee for the Thanksgiving holiday and gearing up for snagging some deals this Friday (and just about any day) from some of my favorite retailers. I recently picked up this look from one of my go-to stores, Saks Fifth Avenue, to jazz up my traditional holiday wardrobe selections. I opted for white Frame Denim (in the slim L’Homme fit) and a black Baldwin sweater, which might possibly be the softest item I’ve worn. I upgraded the neutrals with an incredible camo-print utility jacket from APC… because, let’s be honest, I’m from the south and I’ll forever love camouflage. It’s in my blood.

I thought it would nice to jumpstart your gifting season with a curation of pieces I love from Saks Fifth Avenue’s online shop. Which piece would you wear most?

SHOP: Baldwin Sweater (similar) | Frame Denim | APC Jacket (similar) | Nike Sneakers (similar)

Whether it’s a gift for your sibling, best friend, or maybe just yourself (shh.. it’ll be our little secret), you’ll certainly find a gift for any personality at Saks this holiday season!

This post was sponsored by Shopstyle. All comments and opinions within are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Shopstyle or featured retailers. Happy holidays, y’all!

Time Machine

Daily Scout3 Comments

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

I wish I had a time machine. I wish I had a way to revisit all of these beautiful memories swirling in my head. Next spring, I’ll be moving to Los Angeles. I’ll be leaving New York City but not saying goodbye. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared to leave. I’m scared as hell, but a path of new opportunities has romanced me and I need to explore.

Last week, armed with the knowledge that my last few months in New York City must be wrought with joy, sentiments, and the kind of excitement only New York City can provide– I started walking. I walked around my neighborhoods, both current and past. I walked around some of my old haunts. I just walked until I couldn’t walk any more. With blistered feet, I sat down on a bench in Washington Square Park and just cried. I cried for the old memories of New York that I’ll never relive. I cried for the new memories I’ll never be a part of, knowing that this City will inevitably go on without me. I cried because this place has given me its best and its worst and I loved both with all my heart (though I could’ve done without the sewer rats).

I can’t help but reminisce on the places that hold the most weight in my mind. Others may find them random, but these spots are so embedded with emotion that I can’t visit them without dusting off its particular sense memory. I recently partnered with Olympus to share some of a handful of these location-based memories as they are now and paint the picture of how they came to be. While I could’ve easily used my smartphone to capture these places, I wanted to see them with perfect clarity and in pristine quality… and the only brand I trust to exceed those expectations is Olympus.

So, tell me, are you ready to take a trip down memory lane?

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2007

Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Memory: It was my first time visiting the Met. I decided to visit my friend Lauren, who worked in the marketing department there. We met up, sat down on this exact bench catching up. It was then she told me she was pregnant. She cried, though I’m still not sure if they were tears of joy or terror.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2011

Where: the F train

Memory: I boarded the train completely exhausted and slightly drunk from a late dinner with coworkers. It was around 2AM. The train stopped abruptly above ground and I split my lip on the seat railing. I still have the scar.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2015

Where: the corner of Waverly & Gay St

Memory: I would stroll down this block at least once a month, it’s just so beautiful. In February I was on this street when I found out my grandfather passed away. I don’t walk down this street any more – it’s too depressing.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2008

Where: Mud Café

Memory: I sat on the bench outside of Mud (which happens to be my favorite coffee and brunch spot) with my then-roommate and best friend Sarah when she told me she was engaged. We screamed so loud, it was embarrassing but I’ll never forget the excitement in that moment.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2012

Where: random East Village stoop

Memory: I found a Yorkshire Terrier walking aimlessly down 2nd Avenue. He wasn’t wearing a collar so I grabbed him and started walking toward my apartment, hoping I could locate his owner through the local animal vet. We only walked about a block before I was stopped in front of this stoop by his distraught owner. Clearly, the pup didn’t get very far.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2011

Where: Veniero’s Bakery

Memory: It’s an East Village institution – the best little desserts you can imagine. My then-roommate Rosa and I would go to yoga class on Sundays and then stop into Veniero’s for something sweet… chowing down on a cache of calories we certainly didn’t deserve.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2007

Where: Lil Frankie’s

Memory: It was the first restaurant I ever ate in in New York City. It’s always been my favorite.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2011

Where: St. Mark’s Place

Memory: On a random Thursday, I found out I had been hired for a position at a company I desperately wanted to work for… it was my dream job. I met up with friends at an apartment in this building where a congratulatory cake was waiting on me. It was red velvet and it was so good that I had three slices.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2014

Where: Café Mogador

Memory: This was my favorite spot to eat brunch with my current roommates and best friends. At one particular brunch, we were sitting outside and a stranger told me I had beautiful eyes. I was so caught off guard that I started choking on my food. It wasn’t my finest moment.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2010

Where: Union Square Greenmarket

Memory: I would wake up early on Saturday mornings to go to the Union Square Greenmarket with my then-roommate and best friend Rosa. We would buy sweet breads, walk around, and spend too long perusing the tables of succulent vendors. I can’t walk through without thinking of her and our cacti obsession.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2008

Where: intersection of 9th Street and 1st Avenue

Memory: A bike messenger ran into me while I was standing in this spot hailing a cab. I broke my finger falling backward. I decided to meet friends for happy hour before heading to the hospital… clearly my priorities were in order.

Scout Sixteen - shot with Olympus PEN E-PL7

Year: 2015

Where: Genuine Superette

Memory: Wandered in here one summer day with my best friend Serena. I had little expectations for the experience but ended up having the best burger ever. Plus, you can’t beat a spot that blasts Heart from a wall-mounted tape player.

This post was sponsored by Olympus and shot exclusively using their Olympus PEN E-PL7 camera with an f/1.8 17mm lens. All content and opinions contained here are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Olympus.

If you’re looking for literally the greatest compact camera, snag an Olympus PEN E-PL7. It is hands-down the most incredible camera I’ve owned and gives me the portability I like in my smartphone but with performance and clarity far beyond anything a smartphone can provide. The PEN E-PL7 graduates my most cherished moments to long-lasting memories with images as crisp and clear as the moment I lived them. Put down the smartphone and pick up an Olympus, your future self will thank you.

Shop it here.

This post is brought to you by Olympus.

Wrap Superstar

Daily Scout3 Comments

Scout Sixteen - How To Wrap a Gift Like a Pro Scout Sixteen - How To Wrap a Gift Like a Pro DSC_9208 Scout Sixteen - How To Wrap a Gift Like a Pro Scout Sixteen - How To Wrap a Gift Like a Pro Scout Sixteen - How To Wrap a Gift Like a ProDSC_9265

Gifting is, by far, my favorite part of the holiday season. Seeing a loved one’s face light up opening a gift that you thought and energy behind is just… the best. This season, I’m thrilled to partner with Urban Outfitters to share a few of my favorite pieces from their shop (that would make perfect gifts) and unveiling my number one holiday tip (spoiler alert: you’ll feel like a millennial Martha Stewart afterward).

Let’s face it, a bad wrapping job can completely devalue even the most thoughtful of holiday gifts. While it isn’t the most complicated of tasks during the gifting season, it’s a struggle that each of us faces. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a holiday party at the Martha Stewart Living offices. During the party, one of the editors led a gift-wrapping workshop where we learned the perfect techniques… and lucky for you, I’m passing this expert knowledge on to you! You ready?

Here’s what you need to know…

  • Always use boxes. If your product is loose or unboxed, put it in a box. This will make your life much easier and your gifts will look envious.
  • Measure your wrapping paper first and cut off the excess. Use a ribbon to find out how much gift wrap you’ll need. Wrap the length of ribbon around your gift, then place the ribbon on the gift wrap an cut it to the required length.
  • Place your box length-wise on the gift wrap, fold one side, and tape it in the top-center of the box.
  • Fold the other side up and over the taped side so none of the box is showing. The wrapping should be VERY tight. The most important part to wrapping is getting those corners/creases perfectly taut!
  • To fold in the side sections, find the shortest edges and fold in from there. Pinch the creases, and fold down to tape. It should look very clean.
  • Never throw away your cut-offs. They will come in handy when you have unwrappable gifts like wine bottles (hint: make a small card using cut-off gift wrap and tie it to the neck of the wine bottle with ribbon).
  • Finish with any sort of bows or ribbons that suit your personal flair. You want you recipient to immediately know the gift came from you.
  • When decorating a gift, don’t limit yourself to ribbons and bows – add the ‘wow factor’ with craft wire and beads, or stones and gems taken from old, broken pieces of jewelry.

Well, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way – let’s take a look at some of the products my pals at Urban Outfitters that would make spectacular gifts!

My personal must-haves are definitely the Men’s Society Shave Kit and the Publish Thermal Teehint hint to all my friends out there. So, which pieces are your favorite? Which would you choose as the ‘perfect gift’?

FEATURED IN THIS POST: Crosley x UO Portable Record Player | adidas Original Track Pants | O’Hanlon Mills Cardigan | Firefly String Lights (used as a prop in photographing this… held close to camera to give it a “dreamy holiday feel”)

#Conrad135, New York City

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Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City Scout Sixteen - #Conrad135 New York City

I like being a traveler, not a tourist. One of my biggest pain points about traveling is that I don’t always get to explore off the beaten path and see my destination like a local. In the past, when I’ve signed up for “exploratory group tours” that offer an off-the-grid experience, it’s rarely an experience I’d want to repeat.

Last week, I had the opportunity to test-drive one of the newest initiatives from the always-chic Conrad Hotels & Resorts called Conrad 1/3/5. The initiative, which reinvents the traditional concierge offering with a new approach that goes beyond the obvious cookie cutter travel recommendations, is just brilliant. Conrad 1/3/5 offers a selection of essential experiences for time-strapped travelers in each Conrad destination around the world (like New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, etc.). It is a complete rethinking of the hotel concierge, with Conrad staff trained worldwide to communicate experiences designed to fit into 1, 3, or 5-hour blocks in a guest’s day, so that travelers can stay inspired even when time is of the essence.

The experiences in each of these cities has been hand-selected by Conrad’s new high-profile Director of Inspiration, Nilou Motamed – and, yes, this is the coolest job ever and, yes, she is as uber-chic as you’d imagine! I had the chance to join Nilou as she guided some of the world’s top media through 48 hours of premium, local experiences in New York City. As a New Yorker, I was eager to see which locations would be highlighted on our excursion. Nilou nailed it with spots that locals love, but tourists rarely get to enjoy. It was so cool seeing my City through an expert’s eyes!

We walked the High Line, noshed at Russ & Daughters, took in million dollar views from the 108th floor of the new Freedom Tower, toured artist studios in DUMBO, and enjoyed a feast of Caribbean flavors at Miss Lily’s in the Lower East Side. As Director of Inspiration, Nilou opened up the “beaten path” with perfect clarity and has given travelers the chance to live like a local, even if just for an hour. Getting to peek into the studios (and lives) of top Brooklyn artists was by far one of my favorite parts of the tour – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never knew how to arrange!

If you’re heading to one of Conrad’s worldwide destinations, I highly encourage you to explore the 1, 3, and/or 5-hour experiences. It was some of the best fun I’ve had in a while. To learn more about the program, visit the Stay Inspired site –or- book yourself a room at the Conrad here.

Thanks Y’all

Daily Scout4 Comments

Scout Sixteen - Express November Scout Sixteen - Express November Scout Sixteen - Express November Scout Sixteen - Express November Scout Sixteen - Express November

Each year as November rolls around, I always find myself making lists of things I’m grateful for. Growing up in my house meant you always knew what mattered most: family, friends, and good health. We were thankful for the air in our lungs and shoulders to cry on. While I’m still thankful for those things (especially being alive, because… obviously) I’m most thankful for you guys. It may not seem like much but your support quite literally changed my life. I’m a better, stronger, happier person than I was three years ago and I owe a vast majority of that to you.

It’s not much but I just want you to know it: you matter to me and I’m so incredibly happy to have you in my life, even if we may never meet face-to-face. Sending you big internet hugs right now – and wishing you all the best things life has to offer. Much love, y’all.

In this post, I’m wearing a lightweight sweater and joggers from EXPRESS. As a fan of neutrals, I opted for a green-and-black combination. Dark colors to slim my frame and cargo joggers to add definition. Certainly thankful to have these in my wardrobe, especially during these “let’s have second or third helpings” holiday dinners!  I’m honestly a bit obsessed with these joggers – they’re a perfect fit… admittedly, I’ve worn them three days in a row! #notsorry

SHOP: EXPRESS Joggers | EXPRESS Sweater | Birkenstock Sandal

Make Your Move

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Scout Sixteen - Merino Wool Woolmark Group Scout Sixteen - Merino Wool Woolmark Group Scout Sixteen - Merino Wool Woolmark Group Scout Sixteen - Merino Wool Woolmark Group Scout Sixteen - Merino Wool Woolmark Group Scout Sixteen - Merino Wool Woolmark Group

I suppose I should mention that I wore a lot of hand-me-down clothing growing up. (It wasn’t that I didn’t love worn-in clothing, I just didn’t like that someone else wore it in). My aunt would come over with winter pieces my cousins had grown out of and I would inevitably get stuck with the chunky wool sweaters.

Here’s the thing – I used to have a love-hate relationship with wool. It was itchy. It was binding. And it smelled an awful lot like my Uncle Leroy. For the next many years, I would avoid wool like the Black Plague. I loved taking risks with my wardrobe, but wool was just too risky. That is, until I discovered Merino wool and my world was turned on its side.

First things first, Merino isn’t your grandmother’s wool. Merino wool doesn’t constrict you, but naturally moves with you. Because it’s sourced from Australian Merino sheep, which grow the finest sheep’s wool on earth, Merino wool is equal parts soft, malleable, and breathable. (The finer the fiber, the softer the garment is going to be and Merino is about as fine as they come.)

Courtesy of the Woolmark Company

In the last fifteen years, manufacturers (like the spinners, knitters and weavers) have made great strides in wool innovation. The next-to-skin products using Merino wool are made with extra fine fibers, spun into very fine yarns making Merino wool garments that are not only extremely soft, but also practical in use. Unlike synthetic fabrics, which have to be chemically treated to absorb moisture, Merino wool can naturally regulate your body temperature by absorbing the moisture vapor between your skin and the fabric, so gone are the days of thick wintry sweaters causing, well, a sweat.

And, most importantly, Merino wool is natural and biodegradable. To raise the Merino sheep, you just need sunshine, rain, and a lot of really good grass. It’s that simple. When you wear Merino wool, you can rest assured you’re narrowing your carbon footprint by being an eco-conscious (but still very stylish) shopper.

I’m so thrilled to show off just how functional Merino wool is as part of my partnership with The Woolmark Company – the marketing, research and development institute of the Australian wool industry. It truly is fashion that moves you, so whether you’re looking to dance, walk, run, decompress, or just plain “be”, you can do it all in Merino wool.

If you’d like to find out more about the wonders of Merino wool, click here. Or take a look at all the amazing brands that use Merino wool in their collections, you’ll certainly see a lot familiar faces.

Look 1: Kitsbow Tee in Red | Kitsbow Denim

Look 2: Nick Wooster x The White Briefs Tee | QOR Running Pants in Black

Look 3: Nike Henley in Blue | Nick Wooster x The White Briefs Raglan Sweater | QOR Trousers in Grey

Look 4: Kitsbow Button-Down Shirt in Plaid | QOR Half-Zip Shirt in Black | QOR Trousers in Black

Look 5: QOR Full-Zip Hoodie in Blue | QOR Trousers in Black

Image Source: Merino sheep image courtesy of The Woolmark Company

Runner’s World

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Running has been an inherent pastime for as long as I can remember. It’s always had a positive connotation because it’s an activity I genuinely enjoy, but it wasn’t until my twenties that running became a transcendent experience.

Like any American kid, my school years were peppered with an array of run-related activities: P.E., sports practices, chasing potential lovers on the playground, etc. When I moved to New York City after graduation, my relationship with running became rooted in the deepest, most visceral parts of me. For most of my early twenties, I had a weeknight ritual of ‘midnight runs’ – literally, I would give myself one hour (from midnight to 1AM) to completely decompress while running off some of the excess energy from the day. It was, in every way possible, religious for me.

– one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four…-

Counting my steps became a game. I’d see how mechanical I could get. My pace would ebb and flow in response to the soundtrack of the City. Music started to play an important (and now vital) role a few years ago when I found songs that really pumped me up and made getting over those humps, hills, and valleys that much easier. Music became my fuel to push myself harder, faster, and farther.

As many of you know, I’m a (super) fan of Spotify. Recently, Spotify launched Spotify Running, an incredible new feature that lets you choose your favorite music genre and then matches the tempo to your pace. Because every beat matches your step, you’re going faster and farther – but most importantly, it’s helping you think less about running and more about your favorite music. I love that it connects directly to my phone; my favorite go-to is the “Run Wild” playlist – it’s brimming with my favorite hits from the 00s and today.

To celebrate the launch of Spotify Running, Spotify challenged me to fill in this statement: “Will Run For _______” and I immediately knew what I’d say…

“Will Run For Sweet Satisfaction

Hello, my name is Justin and I’m addicted to sugar; I have the most insatiable sweet tooth. Cookies, cakes, candy, ice cream – you name it, I love it. Honestly, there have been many times where I’m running and think, “if you run for 15 extra minutes you can have a bowl of ice cream tonight.” And you better believe I will run that extra 15 minutes because sweet satisfaction is just the best.

So what’s your story? What’s the one reason you lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement? I’m hosting a little giveaway to give one lucky reader the ultimate Spotify Running hookup: One (1) year Premium subscription to Spotify, One (1) pair of Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones, One (1) $75 Nike Gift Card, and some of my favorite healthy gourmet snacks. Want to win? Details below…

To Enter (US only, 18+):

  1. Comment on this post by filling in the blank with your answer to “Will Run For _____”
  2. It’s that easy!
  3. BONUS ENTRY: Check out Spotify Running on your phone and comment below with your favorite playlist.

I’ll randomly pick the winner on 11/25 and contact him/her via email or Instagram Direct Message. Good luck!

“This post was made possible through my partnership with Spotify. The prize was provided by Spotify, but Spotify and its agents and representatives are not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of Spotify or its agents and representatives.”


The N’awlins Way

Travel6 Comments

Scout Sixteen - New Orleans City Guide Scout Sixteen - New Orleans City Guide Scout Sixteen - New Orleans City Guide Scout Sixteen - New Orleans City Guide Scout Sixteen - New Orleans City GuideScout Sixteen - New Orleans City Guide Scout Sixteen - New Orleans City Guide Scout Sixteen - New Orleans City Guide

If there is a support group for homebodies, I need to be a part of it. Few things thrill me more than a lazy Saturday afternoon with nothing but a DVR full of my favorite shows calling my name. But, I’ll be honest – sometimes it’s good not to be home. Let me explain…

I recently joined Hyatt Regency down in New Orleans for 48 hours of bourbon-fueled, gumbo-sated, jazz-loving, ghost-haunted fun. As part of Hyatt Regency’s It’s Good Not to Be Home campaign, I was given two full days of leisure in the Crescent City and – boy! – did I take advantage.

I spent the majority of my two days in the French Quarter, which is only a 10-minute walk from the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, located in the bustling Business District downtown. I nabbed a few tourist-y recommendations from the the front desk’s concierge and hopped around the more historic sections of the quarter. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into some homemade creole cuisine; my personal favorite is spicy jambalaya with Andouille sausage. I found a spot with an award-winning menu… and walked away having had two entrées. When in Rome, right?

On my second morning, I slept in and took advantage of the Hyatt Regency’s incredible room service – which, in my opinion, is by far the best part about being away from home. Nothing quite like being able to binge eat on carbs free from judgmental stares.

I rented on one of the premium movies available and enjoyed a feast of pancakes, bacon, oatmeal, and toast. If it wasn’t already obvious I was in heaven, I knew it right then. I threw on some clothes and headed down to the lobby where I poked around until running over to the Front Desk, where I got to experience the It’s Good Not to Be Home campaign first-hand. The campaign is aimed at connecting the modern “always-on” traveler to who or what matters to them most by offering one-stop experience that surprises, energizes, and makes each Hyatt Regency hotel a place they truly look forward to returning.

Here’s how it works…

  1. Check into a participating Hyatt Regency location on a weekday.
  2. Locate the sign that reads “Ask me why it’s good not to be home” and inquire with the front desk.
  3. The hotel’s front desk associate will hand you a deck of up to six cards: one highlighting instructions and five outlining unique product categories you can get delivered to your room
  4. Pick your favorite card and upload an image of it to your Instagram with #GetCarded, #AtHyattRegency and #ad
  5. Hyatt Regency will deliver your desired box to your room!

Want a sneak peek of the cards? Well here are the categories to choose from….

Sweet Tooth

Game Night

Good Hair Day

Do Not Disturb

Meeting Crusher

I’m so thrilled I got to partner with Hyatt Regency on this campaign, because sometimes it really is good not to be home. I’m honestly more productive (and more adventurous!) when I’m not consumed by chores and duties at home. Planning a trip to New Orleans soon? Be sure to get yourself squared away at the Hyatt Regency and get your hands on one of those #GetCarded boxes (before they’re all gone!). Planning a trip elsewhere? Don’t fret… Hyatt Regency has properties all over the United States, you can view the full list here.