The Insider: Libby Callaway
We’ll tell you what: Nashville is so ridiculously lucky to have a resident like Libby Callaway. The former New York Post fashion editor headed south and totally took the city by storm—girlfriend seriously knows everybody and everything happening there. On top of doing a slew of cool projects for the likes of Billy Reid and the very-new hotel The 404, she launched an art-slash-music-slash-food pop-up series along with Susan Sherrick called Joint that we’re itching to check out. Get to know Libby right this minute. —monica derevjanik
Q: What’s the one place you take everyone to when they visit you in Nashville?
A: One place I tell everyone to go—and it doesn’t matter if you like country music or not—is the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s like a pop-culture experience. I learned a lot about the United States just by visiting it. And they have loads of Nudie suits, the spangly stage outfits that all the country musicians wore with all the rich embroidery and rhinestones.
Q: How about for tasty food? And great shopping?
A: I looooove Mas Tacos. My friend Teresa Mason first opened it as a taco truck, and now she has a brick-and-mortar location. It’s just great food, and you always run into everyone you’ve ever met when you’re there. For shopping, Imogene + Willie on 12th Avenue South is a beautiful store with wonderful product. And, for vintage, I love this chain called Southern Thrift. First of all, it’s the best name ever, and it has the best stuff. Sometimes you go into a Goodwill, and it just feels so edited—but there’s no editing going on at Southern Thrift.
Q: What’s the most incredible piece you’ve found while thrifting?
A: That’s reeeeeally hard! I especially love finding handmade pieces. There’s a chain in Boise called Deseret Industries where I found a gray-and-pink woven poncho with fringe at the bottom and 3D fabric work at the top. I love finding weird stuff like that.
Q: The Selby did a pretty amazing tour of your home, and we need to know: What’s the story behind those awesome portraits hanging all over your walls?
A: I have about 80 lady paintings. I first bought a quartet of them, my first batch, from a thrift store about 20 years ago, and they were 97 cents each. None of them are great—some of them are pretty bad and weird, but that’s kind of the beauty. I set parameters about buying them, like I try not to pay over $20 for them.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your time in NYC.
A: When I got started in New York, I managed to fall into a group of really smart women. Laura Brown at Harper’s Bazaar is one of my best friends—she was living with me when she first moved to New York. Janet Ozzard and Kerry Diamond are both pretty incredible, too. Kerry’s magazine Cherry Bombe blows my mind. I knew it was going to be good, but it’s even better than I expected.
Photo courtesy of Heidi Ross.
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The Insider: Nora Sherman
If we had to pick just one blog to read from now until the end of time, we’d choose Nora Sherman’s Thought for Food in a heartbeat. She posts crazy-charming stuff about food and drink and pop culture and design and, well, EVERYTHING. Which makes sense considering that, by day, she’s the communications director at CUNY Building Performance Lab (which is all about sustainable real estate), and after hours, she and her BF have a cocktail consultancy Evoe. Basically, she knows a lot about a lot—and shares some of that here! —monica derevjanik
Q: Do you have one recipe you always use to impress a group of people coming over?
A: Oh, yeah. There are a couple of recipes I just think are failsafe. One of them I based off of Jamie Oliver’s pasta puttanesca, which is full of tomatoes and olives and is deliciously briny. And I used to always make that for guys I was dating. I actually made it for a guy who was kind of a melodramatic person, and afterwards, he wrote me this email that said something like, “…and I remember when you made me the pasta puttanesca. I was already filing it away for the next girl I would date.” It cracked me up, but I was like, “Yeah, it’s a really impressive pasta!” I also make a really good chocolate mousse cake.
Q: Is there one cocktail ingredient that you’re totally in love with?
A: Everybody should have maraschino—not like a maraschino cherry, but the liquor. And Luxardo is the brand that you want.
Q: Ok, officially salivating. Let’s switch gears: Which Of a Kind pieces do you own?
A: I have so many! I wear Unearthen’s Furies ring with the Herkimer diamond every day. I visited my cousin, who told me that this kind of stone is supposed to be very powerful. I then realized that the night that I got it, I wore it to an incredible Bob Dylan concert. So I like to think that Bob Dylan infused my ring with power. The great thing about Of a Kind is that my boyfriend knows that I love it. So whenever he’s in the doghouse, he can just get me one of the editions.
Q: What blogs are at the top of your list?
A: I love Food52 for their friendly approach to food. I have a huge girl crush on the site’s founder Amanda Hesser ever since reading Cooking for Mr. Latte. Tom and Lorenzo always make me laugh—I read every word they write. My fellow Tumblr Emphasis Added has got this blogging thing down pat, and she’s an inspiration in so many ways—and I adore A Cup of Jo for much the same reason. Frites and Fries has such a unique approach to food blogging, as does the impossibly beautiful Manger. And, finally, Smitten Kitchen will never let you down.
Q: The last thing that made you cry?
A: Hmm. That Google commercial with the daughter and the dad? Oh, man, it gets me every time. My birth-mom died when I was very young, and though I’ve had a wonderful adopted mom for more than 20 years, I can still relate to that feeling.
Q: What was your favorite holiday present when you were a kid?
A: Probably my first Capsela set that I got from my dad when I was about eight. He has a philosophy of raising smart and powerful girls. When anyone said that my sister or I was adorable or beautiful, he’d immediately say “and smart and powerful, too” to remind us that we were so much more than our looks. Of course, I immediately used it to build an electric car for my Barbie. But, hey, I built it.
Q: If you suddenly got the next week off, where would you go on vacation?
A: My big fantasy is an eating trip through Mexico. From high-wire modernist cuisine to some of the world’s best street food, Mexico is where it’s at right this minute, and I need to experience it for myself.
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The Insider: Bradley Agather
Spend about five minutes chatting with Luella & June fashion blogger Bradley Agather, and you’ll wanna pack your bags, move to Dallas, and schedule a weekly lunch date with her—we’re for real. Hear some of her stories here—like the one about that time she hung with Tim Riggins. —monica derevjanik
Q: What other Southern girls have styles you’re really into?
A: I love Hannah Seabrook of Gad-A-Bout. She is sweet and has this classic Southern style about her. I had the chance to meet her in April when she was in town, and she’s just the whole package. And, she’s not Southern now, but Taylor Tomasi Hill is definitely on that list. She’s from Dallas and was actually my first boss at Teen Vogue. She takes risks and always seems to succeed with them.
Q: What’s one thing in your closet that you could never, ever give up?
Q: There’s more than one, huh?
A: Uh, yeah, of course there is! I have a denim jacket that I’ve had since I was 11. One of my best friends gave it to me as a birthday gift, and it was too big for me at the time. It fits me perfectly now, 15 years later! It’s definitely on my in-case-of-fire list. And then also my black Chanel bag, which was my mom’s very first Chanel bag. It’s from the eighties, and it feels like it has a lot of life in it. I always think of her when I wear it.
Q: What it your favorite thing over at Of a Kind right now?
A: I love that big Anna Lee cowl scarf, but of course it sold out. And I love those Marilyn and Yoko earrings from Bing Bang. It’s so cool to get to mix and match those pieces and have a different look each time.
Q: You have such a good-looking home-slash-office.
A: To be honest, all the pics you’ve seen of my office are probably from before I was married and had to share an office with my husband. Nowadays, pink and white doesn’t fly in our house anymore. But I think with any space, make sure you surround yourself with things that you LOVE, especially if you spend a lot of time in there. I have a John Derian zebra-print paperweight and a little vintage hand that I found at a thrift store that now holds my business cards that both make me smile.
Q: Ok, tell us your Friday Night Lights story.
A: Well, I love Friday Night Lights so much that when I was a senior in college, I auditioned to be an extra. They asked if I had any extra skills, so I said I was a cheerleader in high school—and they cast me. I wasn’t a Dillon Panthers cheerleader, which was annoying, but I was an Arnett Mead cheerleader in season three. I spent about 12 hours on set, and I think you can see me for like half a second. I was also in a sorority at the time and had to film during rush—so I ended up paying all of these rush fines—but it was totally worth it.
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The Insider: JJ Goode
Not only is JJ Goode probably the nicest person on this planet, but he also has one of those jobs you probably thought only existed on sitcoms: food writer—cookbook writer, specifically. He’s worked with the likes of April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and, most recently, Andy Ricker of Pok Pok. Check out his and Andy’s just-published creation—filled with northern Thai dishes that we never even knew existed—here, and dive into some of JJ’s restaurant picks (and best/worst culinary ideas) below. —monica derevjanik
Q: Your name sounds fake. Is it real?
A: The part that you think is fake isn’t actually fake. The real part is Goode—but my first name is Joshua, and my middle name is David. I grew up in very Jewish New Jersey, so everyone I knew was Josh. And then I really liked drawing J’s in script when we first started learning cursive, so people were like, “You should just call yourself JJ.” It sounded like a good idea at the time, but I’m worried that it might sound a little creepy when I turn 50.
Q: Jersey, eh? When you go back home, where do you love to eat?
A: There’s a place called White Manna in Hackensack. It’s right across the street from this huge, gleaming McDonald’s, and it fits like five large truckers or 10 normal-size people. They have these tiny sliders on potato buns with cheese and onions. It perfumes you when you enter this place—you smell like melting cheese and beef for a day afterwards.
Q: What would you say the most ridiculous meal you’ve ever had was? Not good, not bad, just ridiculous.
A: I have two! I was once assigned a story on sushi right before the recession and received an expense account of $700. I had always wanted to try Masa in the Time Warner Center, so I made a reservation for myself. The bill came out to $577. Every time someone came in, I turned around because I wanted to see the clientele—like, I wanted to know if Bill Clinton ate there. This one guy came in and asked if they had a table. He probably thought to himself, “Should I get pizza? A sandwich? Or go to this place and drop $600 on sushi?”
My other was in Thailand with Andy Ricker. A lot of people think Thai food in Thailand is weird, and Andy hates that word because it suggests that what we eat in America is not weird. But we had a soup at a restaurant that was a bowl of raw pig’s blood seasoned with herbs and crunchy pork skin. I’m pretty open to eating stuff like organs, but I had a hard time with this one. It was…weird. It’s hard to get past your prejudices about it.
Q: If you’re cooking a dish to impress friends, what’s your go-to?
A: If it’s my man friends, it would be carnitas. It just makes you feel like a champion and is relatively easy to make. That, with a side of nice salsa.
Q: Say someone gives you the chance to open up your own restaurant. What would it be like?
A: I once had this horrible idea for a restaurant. It was called Tres Brazos, which means three arms. I would open it with my friend Matt. I was born with one arm, so I thought it would be cute to call it that. It would be a Mexican restaurant with three giant pots every day, and each would have something different. Like one would have mole, another with adobo, and then maybe one with some carnitas. It’d be really simple, with cafeteria-style trays, and you’d get ladled this stuff from the pots.
Q: I don’t understand how this is a bad idea…
A: Oh, the bad idea came because then my friend was like, “Yeah, you could serve that during the day, and at night, I’ll serve Vietnamese food.”
Q: If you didn’t get to write about food, what would you want to write about instead?
A: I think maybe politics. Like Danny Concannon, the schlubby red-head from The West Wing. I wanna be that guy.
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The Insider: Michelle Gattenio
When we started looking around for the perfect Of a Kind production assistant to manage every drop of content that goes on our site in our newsletters, we landed on Michelle Gattenio because we heard a rumor that she’d be willing to dress up as VMAs Miley in a flesh-colored bikini. Kidding! We hired her this summer because not only is she really good at her job but she’s also one of the most enthusiastic, upbeat, and charming people, like, ever. Proof below. —monica derevjanik
Q: Tell me about what really goes on in the Of a Kind offices…
A: I’m convinced that our operations assistant Keely and I should have our own reality TV show. There are just too many good one-liners coming out of our office.
Q: One-liners, eh? So if you had an “Overheard at Of a Kind” blog, what would be the most ridiculous post on there?
A: Ridiculous? I’m not sure. But the most common phrase would be “I can’t even.” I’m also fairly positive that Claire and Erica bought the domain name ICantEven.com [Ed: We in fact own ICantWith.com and CanYouEven.com].
Q: Is there a designer you’ve fallen in love with since starting at Of a Kind?
A: Oof. Well, to start, I’m obsessed with the Lizzie Fortunato girls. Claire and Erica each got a bag from the fall line and they are freaking amazing. I am also obsessed with the Morgan Carper cape that came out last winter. I think I literally have asked Keely 45 times, “Are we doing another cape this year? Do you think we’re going to do another cape? When can we pick out a pattern for the cape? Am I going to be able to model the cape and just keep it? How is this going to work?” [Ed: Watch your inboxes!]
Q: What does your desk look like?
A: WELL. Starting off, the rug is probably completely rolled under my chair. I am the only person in the office who can’t sit like a normal person—I’m constantly switching positions, so the rug always gets pulled under. There are about 15 different yellow, purple, and blue Post-its around my desk and a pencil holder full of Sharpies and highlighters. I also have a snack drawer that Claire just found out about a month ago, so that has become a beloved area. And now it needs to get replenished. But mostly just Post-its.
Q: What’s your current favorite YouTube video?
A: Embarrassingly enough, I am in a Miley Cyrus phase currently, and any kind of YouTube video pertaining to Miley Cyrus gets sent around the office. Everyone’s like, “Ok, Michelle, we get it, we get it.” So the Miley Cyrus/Jimmy Fallon/Roots thing is definitely high on the list.
Q: Which website just totally sucks you in?
A: Jak & Jil has the best photos ever. And I’ll always go on Buzzfeed just to see where it takes me—like “21 Sexy Halloween Costumes That Should Have Never Been Made.” There were things like a sexy taco, a sexy hamburger, a sexy corn-on-the-cob…
Q: Yikes! Speaking of Halloween, what are your plans this year?
A: I did suggest that we have Halloween in the office and floated the idea that I would be Miley Cyrus. Erica was like, “I mean, you’re going to be the one wearing nude underwear to work that day, so whatever floats your boat!” Katherin, our customer relations manager, suggested that we all dress up as each other. Every time Claire and Erica walk in the office, we’re like, “Oh, you’re so cute” and “You’re so pretty.” Actually, now that I think of it, they both probably think we’re being really creepy.
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The Insider: Karen Mordechai
The moment you walk into Karen Mordechai’s Williamsburg loft, you know you’re in for a treat: From her rad, airy space, she runs Sunday Suppers, which is all about cooking delicious meals with (often brand-new!) friends—and often walkin’ away with some new skills, too. Dig into her pro-tips on eating and serving good food. —monica derevjanik
Q: You seem to know how to throw a seriously cool dinner party. What are your tips?
A: I think simplicity goes a long way. We sometimes tend to overthink things, and the event starts to snowball. Keep things simple; focus on good food and good friends.
Q: Which recipes are your favorites to try out at Sunday Suppers?
A: It’s fun to think of activities that work well communally, like pasta-making and shucking oysters. That way, everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets their hands dirty. Plus, there’s a great sense of satisfaction for those who learn to do this for the first time.
Q: Which snacks do you have ready to go for any occasion?
A: Always some olives, great bread, butter, and nuts.
Q: What’s your favorite under-the-radar restaurant right now?
A: There’s this place called Moto—it’s a small restaurant under the JMZ train in Brooklyn. The menu changes up a bit, but it’s always about warm, comforting meals. The artichoke is fantastic, but, to be frank, it’s all about dessert. The date cake is incredible, and if you’re lucky, there’s often a great little jazz band or trio playing in the background.
Q: Game-changing ingredient. Go.
A: A fantastic sea salt. Maldon makes a great flaky one, but I also love playing with others like Himalayan, black, and grey salts.
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The Insider: Patti Pao
Patti, second from right, with Of a Kind co-founders Erica and Claire—and Patti’s mom!
Patti Pao is a FORCE. The Harvard Business School grad is a beauty-tech whiz who created and launched over 400 products while working with brands like, oh, I don’t know, Elizabeth Arden, Guerlain, Peter Thomas Roth, LVMH, and Avon. In fact, she’s credited with introducing glycolic acid to the beauty industry—for reals. Now, she’s making waves with her very own anti-aging skincare brand Restorsea, built around the crazy-powerful enzymes released when baby salmon are born. Basically, you just need to listen to everything she has to say. —monica derevjanik
Q: So, wait, what’s this thing about salmon enzymes and how they makes your face look like an airbrushed Sephora campaign?
A: While I was in Norway, I convinced a client of mine to take me to a salmon hatchery instead of on another hike up the mountains. He took me to, like, the Chanel of hatcheries. I noticed that the workers hands there looked like those of 20 year olds, but they were all 40-plus. Turns out that Mother Nature is quite amazing—when a baby salmon is about to be born, they release an enzyme that has two parts: an exfoliant and a protein. What this enzyme is able to do is give you constant exfoliation without any side effects—while also nourishing and strengthening the skin. And that’s why their hands looked so good.
Q: Besides magical fish, what were some of the other cool things you got to see in Norway?
A: So, I’ve been there 59 times—
A: Yep. I went there once a month for four years, so I know it very well. There’s a restaurant called Julius that you must go to. You take a steamboat from Bergen to the restaurant, which is on a fjord. It’s all seafood that the owner catches in the fjord. I would also recommend going to Vigeland Park in Oslo. This man spent 30 years of his life creating all of the sculpture in this park. It’s magnificent and terrifying because of all of the force and energy in the sculptures. And Oslo has so much natural beauty.
Q: Amazing! So what do you do for your own beauty routine?
A: It’s actually very basic because I believe that less is more. I wash my face using our cleanser, I use the Clarisonic Mia three times a week, and then I put on our day cream, eye cream, and tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 from Laura Mercier. And then I use our revitalizing scalp spray [Ed: Comin’ May 2014]. I got my skin looking good, but then my hair looked middle-aged! So we created this product to help it grow and look healthier.
Q: What’s one beauty trend you would never buy into?
A: I would never buy into lasers and botox. It’s not that I’m against them, I’m just a big coward! Like in the fifties when people were popping Quaaludes because that’s what their doctors recommended, and everyone knows how bad it is for them now. I feel like in 50 years that’s what we’re going to be hearing about botox. And lasers are basically just poking holes in your skin.
Q: Who are your real-girl icons?
A: I love Lauren Sherman [Ed: US TOO.]. She’s so practical in her approach to things. I also love Eva Chen. We just need to be friends—we’re both Chinese girls who are late-bloomers. And also Anna Wintour, Alexandra Parnass at Harper’s Bazaar, Emily Dougherty at Elle,and Ying Chu at Glamour.
Q: What’s the one beauty tip that anyone can follow?
A: Start good habits early. Every woman in her thirties is beautiful, but when you’re in your forties, you get the things that you deserve. When I was in my twenties, I went to bed at 3 A.M. and got up at 6 A.M., but I always took care of myself. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun, but you just have to be mindful.
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The Insider: Jamie Shupak
The best way to start your morning in NYC? A big, fat cup of coffee paired with NY1’s Rail and Road Report, hosted by the utterly delightful Jamie Shupak. She might have to deliver some crappy news about how the N/Q/R is going to totally eff up your morning, but somehow we just can’t get angry with her. And she wakes up in the middle of the night to get this info to you (seriously!), so there’s that, too. —monica derevjanik
Q: How on earth do you even become a traffic anchor?
A: Well, I always thought I was going to be a serious, hard-news reporter. After college, I sent my tape everywhere, and a station on Long Island said, “We love you, but we need a traffic reporter.” And I was like, “Well, that’s cute, but I don’t even know any roads in New York!” But they literally drove me down every road in Connecticut, Westchester, the five boroughs, Jersey, Long Island…I tried to do hard news a year or two later, but everyone told me that I smile too much and that I was too happy to be standing in front of a burning building. It broke my heart at first, but reporting on traffic turned out to be the best thing for me.
Q: You have to wake up a 3:30 A.M. every morning to get to work. How do you get yourself out of bed? Any secrets or rituals?
A: My life is a ritual. The only way to survive on this schedule is to have a serious routine—everything is minute-to-minute. I wake up, do my crunches, get in the shower. My clothes are picked out for work already, I go to work to do my hair and makeup, and I drink my protein shake that I made the night before. I am done at noon and take a nap every day like a toddler. I try to go to a work out class, then cook dinner. This schedule is my security blanket.
Q: Do people ever ask you for traffic advice in real time?
A: Alllll the time. It’s one thing when I’m at work and I’m sitting at my computer looking at my maps and database. But then it’ll be 4 P.M., and someone will be like, “What’s happening on the BQE?!” or “My 6 train is all messed up!” And I’m just like sorrrrrry…
Q: Are there any roads you tell people to avoid at all costs?
A: I always say that the Cross Bronx is probably one of the worst roads that I’ve ever experienced no matter what time of day or what day of the week. And the BQE is pretty bad as well.
Q: What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened on set?
A: Things are pretty tame at NY1. But when I worked at the Fox affiliate in Philly, Gordon Ramsay was in town promoting his show Kitchen Nightmares, and he was sort of taunting me during my live traffic report. I called him out on it and told him I’d give better traffic news if he kissed me. And he did! Just on the cheek, nothing R rated or even PG-13.
Q: If you weren’t restricted to your TV wardrobe and could wear any one designer for the rest of your life, who would you pick?
A: I’m going to give you three: Rag & Bone, Isabel Marant, and Alexander Wang. I live in boots, and those are my three favorite boot designers. And head-to-toe, they all do great jeans, dresses, and everything in between. I almost can’t wear any of those designers on TV, except for the boots!
Q: As if you weren’t busy enough, you’re coming out with a book in November! Tell us about it.
A: It’s called Transit Girl, and it’s a novel based on the year of my life when I was single. I was with a guy for 10 years, and we were engaged—but then I found out he was sleeping with his assistant. It was the worst thing and the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
Q: And you used to write a great dating column over at Complex! But what’s the worst dating advice you’ve ever heard?
A: I think setting parameters on the type of person you date is a pretty bad idea. I only say that because my boyfriend now, who is the love of my life, is four years younger than I am, he’s bald, and he didn’t know anything about sports before he met me—and these were all things I could have promised you my future boyfriend would never have. And here I am madly in love with him!
Q: Speaking of relationships, what are you favorite date spots in NYC?
A: Well, my second date with my boyfriend was at L’Artusi, which is fantastic. And then one of my favorite spots ever is Fat Cat. We play ping pong there all the time. It’s super dive-y, and you have to be in jeans and ready to drink a beer.
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The Insider: Grace Bonney
When the Brooklyn design scene was juuust starting to get interesting, Grace Bonney knew that she had to find a way to talk about all the amazingness she was seeing. So she started Design*Sponge—which, as you probably know, is now THE home décor hub of the whole internet. We’ve got mad respect. And Grace has all sorts of interesting stuff to share here. —monica derevjanik
Q: Who are some home designers you think we should be paying attention to right this minute?
A: I’m a pretty intense lover of ceramics, so I’m following Helen Levi closely right now. I love her kind of quirky brand of tabletop designs. Molly Hatch is phenomenal as well. Her Delft series is gorgeous.
Q: What’s the last thing you made with your two hands?
A: Scrambled eggs. Really good ones! Design-wise, I made a pretty great iPhone case using leftover pom-pom strands and paint samples from Martha Stewart’s collection.
Q: Speaking of the great Martha Stewart, it looks like you get to hang out with her a lot. What’s that like?
A: Does she know about these hangouts? I feel fortunate to have met her a few times during our book tour and for some speaking engagements, but I wouldn’t say that I hang out with her. But, man, is she an inspiration! People talk a lot about her being too perfect or too demanding or too anything. Honestly, she is my gold standard. Without her drive and pursuit of perfection, I wouldn’t know what standard to hold myself and my business to. I think the key is to aim for some version of perfection but to be totally ok with the result you get.
Q: Have you had any great, big design mishaps?
A: Too many to list! My biggest fail was probably the kitchen of my old Park Slope apartment. I thought navy blue was a great idea for the walls, but it just ended up feeling like a cave. Then I thought bright red, but it was bad on top of bad. I settled on a bright orange that ended up working, but it made me feel like my paint color skills—which I weirdly prided myself on—were completely shot.
Q: Do you ever feel like you’re constantly changing your tastes, or has working in design helped you define what you like?
A: I feel like I’m constantly refining my taste to become more and more minimal. Being surrounded by color and pattern all day has turned me from a renter that was constantly turning white walls into colorful walls, into a renter that moves in and changes nothing. White walls are a welcome respite after the visual clutter (which I love and feel thankful to see every day) I work in.
Q: Which Of a Kind piece are you loving right now?
A: Doug Johnston’s cord basket! I’m a huge fan of Doug’s work and love all of the ways he’s making me reimagine humble cotton cording. I also wear the small black diamond/gold studs that Caitlin Mociun made. Every. Single. Day. Literally.
Q: Which designer could you wear nonstop?
A: Rag & Bone. I pretty much do already. I’ve slowly been paring down my closet to a uniform-slash-essentials situation so I don’t have to think as much about what I wear. I’ve always been more of a home design person than a fashion person, so I like to stick to what works for me, which is dark jeans and a sweater or some sort of blazer. If I lived a dream life, I’d wear Oscar de la Renta dresses all day and look like Marion Cotillard. But, you know, you have to work with what you have.
Q: What are the last three songs you listened to?
A: I was in Koreatown for a girls’ night karaoke and sang Monica and Brandy’s “The Boy Is Mine” and “Islands in the Stream” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. The third is “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens.
Q: We totally snooped and found a Vine of you doing the dance from Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” video. How long did it take for you to learn?
A: That was the best birthday present ever! My best friend organized an afternoon of private dance instruction where my friends and I learned portions of the Robyn dance and some steps from a Beyoncé video. In just an hour and a half, we transformed from a bunch of goofs into a pretty coordinated team of dancers.
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The Insider: Marissa Lippert
Yes, Marissa Lippert is a nutritionist, but that’s not the first thing you think about when you dive into the roast chicken with Moroccan spices and rose petals at her adorable West Village café Nourish Kitchen + Table, which opened in July. What you think is DELICIOUS. Marissa herself is so warm and so cool—and she also knows her way around good design (Caroline Z. Hurley made napkins for her restaurant!). So, ya know, read on. —monica derevjanik
Q: We know you’re all about healthy eating, but not-so-good-for-you thing can you not say no to?
A: I would say a really excellent cocktail from someplace like Death and Co., Third Man, or Hudson Clearwater. And amazing french fries.
Q: What are your other favorite healthy-eating spots?
A: I don’t actively seek out healthy restaurants—it’s just not how I like to eat. I just went to Fedora, and my friend and I shared their rice flour dusted calamari salad. In theory, it’s not necessarily the healthiest, but we balanced it out with this beautiful cherry tomato, basil, and avocado salad and shared a small piece of steak and a side of sautéed greens.
Q: Your one secret ingredient that’s a total game-changer?
A: One would be Chinese cooking wine, which sounds really random. It’s like cooking with any other white wine, but it gives any dish a great Asian flavor. I also love sumac, which has this lemony overtone to it. It brightens up any dish.
Q: What’s the most delicious meal you’ve ever had?
A: It sounds odd, but I visited Turkey about three years ago, and we stayed in this tiny windsurfing town on the coast called Alacati. The place we stayed at, Padma Hotel, put out the most amazing breakfast I’ve ever had in my life. It was just an array of pickles and jam and eggs and olives and cheeses. It was so simple, but it was the freshest food with the most beautiful flavors.
Q: Where do you go to for the best NYC brunch?
A: Clinton Street Baking Company. They have the best seasonal omelets. And you definitely need to get an order of pancakes for the table, too, because they’re phenomenal. There, or Public, which is my go-to for great bloody marys and Turkish eggs.
Q: What do you put in your green juice?
A: Celery, spinach, pineapple, grapefruit, mint, and a touch of jalapeño. I was in Tulum for a mini vacation and tried a juice there with similar ingredients. I loved it so much that I had to create a version just for my restaurant.
Q: What’s your favorite way to unwind?
A: If I’m not able to be at the beach, I love having a cocktail with a close friend, running or doing pilates, or weaving in and out of Nolita and the Lower East Side for some window-shopping. Love Adorned, Wendy Nichol, Grey Era Vintage, and Cloak & Dagger are the best.