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The Blog

Approachable inspiration for a stylish life. 


Forget Gold and Platinum – Your Next Watch Should be Made of Wood

Kristen Berry

When big, chunky, menswear-inspired watches came back into fashion a few years ago – largely popularized for the mainstream by the comparatively affordable Michael by Michael Kors range – I was immediately hooked. However, I didn’t love seeing my exact same watch on so many other wrists.

Cut to this unique, gorgeous, rich wood watch from JORD. Full disclosure, the fine folks at JORD reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in giving one of their terrific timepieces a spin. I only try/write about products I actually love – and this watch is one of those pieces.

The second I saw this particular watch – the CORA Purpleheart and Mother of Pearl watch – I knew I had to have it. The color is so unique. Despite its name, it isn’t an obvious purple – my favorite color, BTW – but more of a deep dark wood with plummy undertones, making it an incredibly chic and versatile shade. It adds a nice pop of color to a subtle neutral outfit.  And hues of pink, purple and blue accentuate the purpley hue. This moody shade is also totally perfect for the fall/winter months.

The wood also feels a bit more reflective of the largely laid-back style of my new L.A. home. A big gold watch feels wrong on the beach, but this baby works just as well with cutoffs as it does with a chic sheath.

Watches are also one of my all-time favorite gifts to give for the holidays – they’re substantial, and personal, and something the recipient will remember you by every time they wear it. JORD offers a variety of unique wood watches for men and women, meaning there are tons of options that will be perfect for your peeps this holiday season.

Between now and Nov. 20, you can enter for a chance to win a $75 voucher towards a gorgeous JORD watch of your own. Even if you don’t win the grand prize, you’ll get a $20 e-gift code just for entering. Just visit to enter!

Happy shopping :)

- Kristen

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches

So Long, San Francisco

Kristen Berry

For the last five years, I have been lucky enough to call one of the most beautiful, exciting, creative, iconic, and singular places in the world my home. San Francisco.

Of course, I never actually lived in San Francisco. That would have been far too expensive.

Instead I had the best of both worlds. I’ve lived south of the city in the Peninsula and South Bay areas, where the weather is warmer, the rent is ever-so-slightly cheaper, and every stop on the Caltrain (light rail) has a charming downtown district (usually with a farmers market). Meanwhile, all that SF and Oakland have to offer were just a stone’s throw away.

New York is the American city most commonly associated with endless possibility – you know, the whole “if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” thing. But having lived here, it’s hard to believe that anywhere in the world is more abundantly stocked with possibility than the Bay Area. Here, side projects are known to become companies valued at over a billion dollars. Here, it is common for people to take sabbaticals from their jobs for weeks on end to travel the world, climb mountains, and embark on volunteering missions. Here, it is entirely feasible to have breakfast by the bay, a lunchtime glass of wine in a vineyard, and dinner overlooking the snow in the mountains, all in the same day.

When I moved to the Bay Area five years ago – nearly to the day – I was a different person in many ways. I'd actually been plotting a move to LA at the time, but when the company I worked for offered me a position in the SF area, I was drawn to it for a number of reasons. Besides being a terrific career opportunity with wonderful people – many of whom are still dear friends – it provided me the chance to start largely fresh in a completely new place. To challenge myself to grow in ways I never knew were possible.

It was only after living here that I ran my first half marathon. That I found the joy in traveling solo – first within California, then to Hawaii, then to and through Italy. It was here that I launched this blog, along with one my my very best friends, and my confidence in my voice began to crystallize. And I owe a great deal of this to the energy of this magical place. This place full of dreamers and doers and phenomenal talent and incredible intelligence and wanderers and wonderers and people who are entirely unafraid to develop their very own drum beat, type a bit of code into a computer to play it in a loop, and then boldly march to it.

Of course, this area isn’t without its challenges. The San Francisco Bay Area is abundant with wealth, but also with poverty and homelessness. And no matter where you fall in that spectrum, the cost of living is astronomical. It is incredibly difficult living in an area where, in my early thirties and with a good education and a strong career, I know that I will probably never be able to afford a house. Where even in the less fashionable suburb of Sunnyvale, I’ve found myself contemplating taking on a roommate to help mitigate the costs of my small apartment. For perspective, if I re-signed the lease on my 900-square-foot, one bedroom apartment, that doesn't even have an in-unit washer or dryer, I would have been paying $2400 each month. Not including utilities. Imagine what it’s like trying to survive here on a “blue collar” salary. Or on minimum wage. There’s also the surprising degree of segregation in many neighborhoods (I’m always surprised when I see another black person at my local grocery store). And the level of drive here can sometimes feel manic, and obsessive.

But it has been a good home to me. And I have truly loved it – especially all of the wonderful friends I’ve made who have truly made the Bay my home. So while I am incredibly excited to start my next chapter in Los Angeles, and all of the new experiences, memories and growth that will come with it, there is a lot about this area that I will miss. In case you find yourself in this gorgeous neck of the woods, here’s a rundown of some of my favorite places, spaces, and things to get into. It would be impossible for me to cram all that the Bay Area has to offer into a single post, but consider these my highlights, and the things that I’m already looking forward to enjoying again on my next visit.


  • Brunch in SF:

    • Plow – Get the namesake breakfast. The lemon ricotta pancakes are downright heavenly. Arrive super early or super late, though, because they don’t take reservations and the wait gets insane. Or, put your name on the list and grab a coffee down the street at Farley’s.

    • Presidio Social Club – Delicious locally-sourced food (and tasty cocktails), located in a charming former military barracks in gorgeous Presidio National Park.

    • Brenda’s French Soul Food – Two words: beignet flight. Okay a few more words: options include Granny Smith apple, crawfish, and chocolate-filled pastries.

    • Zazie – Cozy French spot where the lengthy lines are worth it. This restaurant also has an adorable garden patio out back for when the weather is nice.

    • Foreign Cinema – Perfect for a truly memorable brunch, dinner, or any meal. The food is incredible, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more romantic restaurant in the city. As the name suggests, the restaurant also projects classic movies on a large screen in its outdoor space.

    • Off the Grid Presidio Picnic – Every Sunday during the warmer months, the Off the Grid folks (awesome roving food truck party) converges on the Presidio, where folks can plop their picnic blankets on the green, sample delicious food, sip a mimosa, and listen to live music while taking in sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

  • Peninsula/South Bay Places:

    • Calafia Cafe – (Palo Alto) California fare in a warm, friendly atmosphere, just a hop, skip and a jump from Stanford’s stately campus.

    • Lure + Till – (Palo Alto) Rumor has it that this restaurant is slated to become a new Nobu location, but stop by while you can for the squid ink and lobster campanelle, and other regional flavors in this handsome restaurant.

    • Joya – (Palo Alto) Tasty modern latin tapas and a creative cocktail menu in a festive, vibrant location.

    • Nola – (Palo Alto) This place offers a great taste of New Orleans, from the cajun/creole/southern menu to the fun atmosphere to the design and decor of the restaurant and bar.

    • San Pedro Square Market – (San Jose) This great food hall provides something for everyone, including a variety of eats, drinks and outdoor seating.

  • East Bay Places (an area I spent an unfortunately limited amount of time in, hence the abbreviated list):

    • Beauty’s Bagel Shop – Amazing breakfast sandos, an assortment of delicious bagels and toppings, and a lively, colorful coffee shop vibe.

    • Mua Oakland – Love this place for dinner. Great drinks and small plates in a seriously fun atmosphere. DJs spin while you eat in this renovated industrial warehouse, covered in pieces from local artists.


  • Hayes Valley:

    • Noir Lounge – Warm, jazz era-inspired wine bar with classic movies playing on big screens on the walls.

    • Fig & Thistle – This charming, adorable, neighborhood wine bar is excellent for a sweet and intimate first date or catching up with a couple of girlfriends. Imbibing here feels like grabbing a drink in a large, bright, warm living room.


  • Ferry Building Marketplace – Yes, you can actually catch a ferry here, but it’s also home to an awesome food hall and a fabulous farmers market. You can sample the wares from some of the best food merchants in SF here – Cowgirl Creamery, Acme Bread Company, Boccalone Salumeria, Blue Bottle Coffee, Humphry Slocombe, Miette Patisserie, Dandelion Chocolate and more. There’s also an awesome bookstore, Book Passage.

  • Azalea – I have a particular love for the Hayes Valley location of this highly-curated boutique, which offers a fantastic collection of totally current, cool girl (and guy) fashion, jewelry and beauty/skincare products (the other shop is in the Mission).

  • Books Inc. – I love this local independent chain of bookstores. The locations are always super warm and welcoming, with an excellent selection of books and magazines alike. I can always linger in these stores for hours.

  • Lavish Boutique – Yet another awesome Hayes Valley find :) This is perfect location to pick out a lovely/funny/witty greeting card, a gift for a friend, or your new favorite coffee table book.


  • Golden Gate Park – Whether you want to visit the de Young or California Academy of Sciences listed below, or are up for a stroll through a Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park is a wonderful place to spend a day. Even though you’re in the middle of the city, standing in this place transports you to a completely different world, full of culture and natural beauty.

  • Hiking Yoga – This awesome program gave me an entirely new perspective of my new home upon arriving in SF, and introduced me to one of my dearest friends. Imagine meeting at the clock tower of the abovementioned Ferry Building on a weekend morning, after grabbing a cup of Blue Bottle coffee. An instructor leads your small group of workout-cloud women and men through the hilly sidewalks of San Francisco at a comfortably brisk clip, pausing at beautiful gems of city parks to guide you through a a few blissful minutes of yoga before you continue on your way. I’ve taken in incredible views of the city that I’d never otherwise witness thanks to this group. The session culminates at a beautiful SF landmark, typically either Coit Tower or Grace Cathedral, before you head off to enjoy brunch in the city. It’s awesome.

  • The Museums:

    • SFMOMA – This newly renovated museum is a must-visit for all modern art fans.

    • de Young – Located in the center of Golden Gate Park, this fine art museum boasts an incredible, diverse collection and has hosted some of my all-time favorite exhibits, including the recent Oscar de la Renta exhibition.

    • California Academy of Sciences – Check out the adults-only, Thursday night Nightlife events. It’s a great way to revisit your inner child without worrying about tripping over actual children. But seriously, these weekly themed events featuring food, music and cocktails offers a unique way to enjoy this incredible museum, which sports a planetarium, aquarium, rainforest exhibit, and a natural history museum beneath a living roof.

  • Running “The Dish” – I love this paved walking/hiking/running trail in Palo Alto, named for the two prominent satellite dishes visitors pass along the way. The hilly trail offers beautiful views of the peninsula and Stanford, and you might even spot a few deer if you’re lucky.  

  • Explore all of the Charming Downtowns on the Peninsula – Burlingame, San Carlos, Palo Alto...they’re all adorable, and offer lots of food, drink and shopping options.

I think this post calls for a part two :) There’s way too much awesome in the Bay Area to fit into one post.

See you in LA!

- Kristen

Sweater Weather

Kristen Berry

Okay, so truthfully the weather isn’t exactly sweater-y yet.  But the second I saw this cozy knit dress draped on a mannequin at H&M, I knew I had to have it for when the temperature starts to dip.

And this hat – it was a lucky clearance find from the Who What Wear x Target collection. I love the flat, contrasting brim.

Open toe, lace-up sandals are perfect for the transition between seasons, and a denim jacket is the ideal lightweight layer. In a month or two, I’ll pair this dress with opaque tights, booties and a leather jacket.

Which pieces are you excited to wear this fall?

  • Dress, H&M, $35 at
  • Sandals, Forever 21, $35 at, though no longer available in this color.
  • Hat, Who What Wear x Target. No longer available online, but I found it in-store on clearance for $8!

– Kristen

Something Blue

Kristen Berry

Do you remember that magical time before Facebook when you could wear the same dress to five separate events without fear of anyone noticing?

Yeah, I barely remember that time either.

One of my closest friends is getting married in a few weeks, and I decided to (finally) spring for a new dress for the occasion. After scouring the usual suspects for a few hours (,,…), I finally found this bold blue little number.

The detail on this dress is beyond beautiful. I love the tactile, slightly fluttery flowers, and the open weave at the midriff and hem keeps things from being too sweet. And the color...the just-bold-enough hue of electric blue makes just the right kind of statement.

I really love the ultra-feminine cut of the dress, too. The slight fullness of the skirt provides a little extra glamour, and the ever-so-low cross-back straps show just enough skin.

This bold pink trench complements the hue of the dress just perfectly.

  • Dress, Lovers + Friends, $198 at
  • Coat, BCBG (old).

- Kristen

The Drugstore Polish That *Actually* Lasts a Full Week

Kristen Berry

I’ve never been the kind of girl who can wear a standard, self-applied, drugstore polish manicure for more than a day or two before it becomes hopelessly, embarrassingly chipped.

Maybe it’s because my nails are dry and brittle and flaky. Maybe it’s because I’m always rummaging blindly in my purse for my keys or my lipgloss. Whatever the reason, I can’t be bothered to paint my nails these days if there isn’t a special occasion involved – not because I like the look of my nude, aforementioned dry/brittle/flaky nails, but because I can’t stand repainting them every couple of days.

When I heard that Essie – my go-to nail polish brand – released a line of lacquer that lasts up to 14 days, without requiring a UV lamp to set it or harsh chemicals to remove it, I had to put it to the test.

Essie Gel Couture Polish in Touch Up, $11.50 at; Essie Gel Couture Top Coat, $11.50 at

Essie Gel Couture Polish in Touch Up, $11.50 at; Essie Gel Couture Top Coat, $11.50 at

I purchased a bottle of the new Essie Gel Couture polish line in “Touch Up,” a beautiful, neutral, pinky mauve shade, as well as bottle of the corresponding top coat. I painted my nails using my typical routine: one layer of a standard clear base coat, followed by two coats of the Gel Couture color polish, followed by a layer of the Gel Couture top coat, with 2-5 minutes between coats.

I painted my nails on a Wednesday night. And they remained perfect through Thursday. And Friday. And Saturday. And Sunday....

I was dumbfounded. I treated my nails exactly the same as always, doing dishes, rooting through my purse, etc. And even when I closely examined my my nails four full days later, I found zero chips or dings or imperfections of any kind. The only other time I’ve experienced this is when I’ve sprung for a pricey shellac manicure at a salon – but they’re not great for your nails, and require soaking your nails in harsh acetone to remove the varnish.

I didn’t spot any blemishes until Monday – one noticeable chip on my right pinkie, and the polish was beginning to grow out slightly from the cuticle under close inspection. By Tuesday, I noticed small micro chips at the tips of some of my nails, though thanks to the neutral color I selected, it wasn’t very noticeable. By Wednesday, I noticed more visible peeling from the cuticle, and additional small chips at the tips of my nails. But this was day 8 – day 8 of my mani with the Essie Gel Couture line looked like day 4 with my standard drugstore polish.

Bottom line – I’m in love. Sure, the range didn’t last a full 14 days on my nails before I was ready to remove it, but the same goes for my shellac manicures. By day 10 my shellac polish is so incredibly grown out that I can’t stand it any more. And when I remove the Gel Couture product, my nails feel just as healthy as when I remove a standard polish – when I remove a shellac manicure, my nails always feel stripped, rough and ultra-dry.

If you’re looking for a long-lasting nail polish at a drugstore price, I highly recommend the Essie Gel Couture system. I’m running out to buy a handful of new shades right now.

– Kristen