Off the action of bustling Atlantic Avenue, which is a shopping destination in itself, sits an unassuming, postage-stamp sized boutique called A Lovely Universe. This charming setup is chockfull of Parisian-inspired girly delights, featuring one of a kind jewelry and vintage inspired items for lady, baby and home.
Like happening into Narnia’s closet, or through a secret (albeit: fashionable) portal, the shop is nestled neatly onto Bond Street in Boerum Hill. You can almost miss it!
Upon entering, I saw the young owner, Sarah Cunningham, sitting cozy at the front desk, surrounded by delicate necklaces. Later we began to speak once she complimented my choice in a recently arrived Fair Isle sweater with side slits. Exceedingly open and charming, the shop matches Sarah’s approachable personality. No pretense; just happily curated wares!
If you’re looking for the perfect compliment to a Sunday stroll with warm coffee, and a hot croissant, visit A Lovely Universe. This quaint, perfectly decorated shop will have you “oohing” and “ahhing” (or painting your lips or nails a classic red) in no time.
‘listen: there’s a hell of a good universe next door; let’s go’ — E.E. Cummings
Aunt Flo; Riding the Crimson Wave; My Moon; The Cotton Pony; Checked into the Red Roof Inn; T.O.M. Time Of Month; Shark Week; The Rag. Whatever nickname you use to address your period (ahem; menses), give it up and give this special cycle the honors it so deserves! A woman will spend approximately 3,500 days of her life menstruating, so we better learn to love it, or else we’re in for some doom and gloom.
As the inimitable feminist, activist and philosopher Gloria Steinem once wrote, “What would happen, for instance, if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not? The answer is clear – menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event: Men would brag about how long and how much. Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood, with religious ritual and stag parties. The US Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea to help stamp out monthly discomforts. Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. (Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of commercial brands such as John Wayne Tampons, Muhammed Ali’s Rope-a-dope Pads, Joe Namath Jock Shields – “For Those Light Bachelor Days,” and Robert “Baretta” Blake Maxi-Pads.)”
So, let’s all exit the Red Tent, shed the taboos (like our uterine lining), and embrace this awesome time which signifies womanhood and more importantly, fertility and the continuity of humanity. It is not awkward, it is not gross (womb blood once nourished YOU), and it is not foul. In fact, in many ways, having my period is the only time I feel like a kind of X-(wo)Man whose superpower is that of lunar cycles, friendship syncing and tidal waves. Why do some men get to brag about natural bodily functions like ejaculation, burping and farting yet, us women cannot discuss our most basic of reproductive rites?
Lace during your period! The Victorians would have never imagined it.
I will, however, admit something, even after my pro period rant; sometimes menstruation really is inconvenient, even messy. So for that we have Dear Kate! Protective, leak-resistent, stain resistant lingerie for women. Throw out the granny panties! Dear Kates were invented for those days when the last thing you want to worry about is an embarrassing mishap. Rock those white pants, and quit soaking and scrubbing, Cinderella! Rather than having an underthing with the express purpose of “attracting a mate” why not empower yourself with a garment made for your needs, while still being cute?
Dear Kate’s founder utilized her chemical engineering background to create the patent-pending fabric lining each pair of underwear. Comprised of two luxurious microfiber layers and a thin, breathable outer layer, this is revolutionary fabric to the rescue. These clever and washable garments will save about 730 panty liners a year, think about it – that’s a decent chunk of change ($$) and a few trees. Not just for the monthly gift; Dear Kate also comes through in a pinch for gym sweat, bladder leakage and discharge. Trust me, it’s love-at-first-wear.
As Dear Kate CEO and founder Julie Sygiel explains, “We can’t reschedule your time of the month or train your unborn child, but we can make life safer for your favorite dress.”
Look from the 2013 sneak preview of the new Saturday brand from the preppy meets mod folks at Kate Spade New York is. Slated to launch in March, the line will have a lower price point than previous Spade iterations while retaining the whimsical graphic nature of its beloved aesthetic. Everything about the designs embodies the weekend – relaxed, fun, carefree – with the brand mantra that “Saturday is escaping plans, Saturday is no alarm clock, Saturday is never soon enough”. Live everyday like it’s Saturday:
Jack Wills – The Shrewsbury Cushion adds an instant pop of color and typography to any space. Like a neon Boggle board, the cool print will keep visitors entertained for hours wondering, “What does that spell?”
Dering Hall – The Norell Ottoman with Lucite Legs is made from bespoke vintage scarves. The epitome of glam, use this as a coffee table or a silk cushioned chair. Hidden among the legs is the designer’s signature.
Williams-Sonoma – The Oval Stoneware Bread Basket looks pleasing but it also serves a clever function. Tucked inside this heated stoneware basket, baked goods stay warm at the table. It’s easy to use: Place the basket in a 350°F oven for approximately 15 minutes; line it with a cloth napkin before filling with warm breads or muffins. The thick base will continue to gently radiate heat.
Jonathan Adler – The Capuchine Water Tower is made of stripes of matte cream poured over unglazed brown clay. The studip’s pottery begins its life in a Soho studio, where Jonathan and his team design and sculpt every prototype. Yet, the product you are viewing is produced by skilled artisans at his main workshop in Peru!
Rainbow Darkness – The POW Comic Book Expression Post Earrings are the perfect gift for any geek chic girl who has a passion for super heroes! Remember those dorky yet awesome Adam West batman shows from the sixties? These earrings get the vibe perfectly.
Superette – The Tosca & Salome Skull Candle in pink is a strikingly morbid yet effeminate display. I only imagine it becoming creepier as the wax melts over the eye sockets.
The Prabal Gurung for Target collaboration is a huge success. Armed with a bright arsenal of spring ready looks, the aptly named LOVE collection feels like a flutter of delicate butterfly kisses on one’s cheek. Saccharine but hip. “This collection was inspired by love, and if Target’s guests can feel even a little bit of the love that I felt while designing this collection, then I will consider it a job well done,” said Gurung. Can you feel the amore?
Crate & Barrel – The Kuhn Rikon Green Y Peeler combines the elegance of Scandinavian Design with the irrelevant joy of pistachio green. You can’t “peel” yourself away.
Macy’s – The butter LONDON Sweetie Shop Collection is inspired by the charming colors and silhouettes of the 50’s era. Shades influenced by soft pastels of cotton candy, milkshakes, and macaroons enhance its playful feminine edge. A brilliant sherbet, luxe lemon, and peppy violet are paired with an icy mint, a rich candy pink and a creamy khaki for a statement that’s sweet but chic.
Saks Fifth Avenue – Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo instills one with the elegance of Italian style. The top notes bring the touches of Sicily with sweet freshness of bergamot, united with Frangipani flower, orange blossom, green almond, and star anise. The heart introduces the notes of white peach, coffee grains and white jasmine. The base is composed of velvety and powdery Bourbon vanilla, light musk, cedar and milky warm sandal wood. Notes of orange blend with green Mediterranean almond and ylang-ylang. The base notes blend cedar wood, vanilla, and white musk. Swim in it.
C Wonder – These Monogram Paper Napkins give your table a personal touch with a cheerful monogrammed cocktail napkins, designed in a bright array of patterns. The party-perfect set of 20 paper napkins makes every toast even more fun!
Bloomingdale’s – Bumble and bumble Seaweed Conditioner is a lightweight detangler made with marine seaweed and spirulina. Marine greens are practically ideal for frequent bathers. It Gently detangles, nourishes, softens, and helps to manage freshly-washed hair. The lovely branding doesn’t hurt either.
Pier 1 Imports – Bamboo Tray in Citron Green. I am still amazed at what Vietnamese artisans can do with bamboo. In this case, they’ve spun bamboo fibers into a serving tray complete with handles, then hand-painted it with a brilliant, glossy green finish. The result is very strong, very light and very beautiful.
HORNE – The Marigny Pillow in Atmosphere incorporates colors drawn from the architecture of New Orleans, Marigny is an homage to a vibrant city with a rhythm all its own. Kimberly Lewis pillows are printed on cotton twill made in New York City.
MoMA Design Store – The Sprocket Wall Clock is from the celebrated graphic designer Milton Glaser, whose I ♥ NY rebus is in the MoMA collection, this ultra-thin plastic wall clock, with both a number and a color spectrum, displays time in an unconventional way. A rotating disk with a circular hole reveals the hour, while the red hand denotes minutes.