chic or geek

a mildly aspirational blog of my life, times, and taste


want: The Laundress X Le Labo Santal 33

lifestyle, shoppingAnna KellerComment
le labo santal 33.png

Living in Vermont, we are woefully late to most major trends. Some may consider this is a positive thing, as we’re protected from consumerist whims, but I, as a futurist by trade and an early adopter by choice, feel left out from major trends that pop up on the streets of New York and in my Discover page on Instagram.

I have to get on a plane to participate in the latest meal-in-a-bowl craze, and scour the deep links of the internet to find a trendy shoe at a manageable price point. We don’t have many retail options up here, even in the “city” of Burlington, and we only get to participate in a major trend if it stands the test of time.

Trends are interesting beasts. the cycle from niche > aspirational > accessible > oversaturated is faster every year, and since it’s my job to seek out rising brands and products for work, I find myself lusting over niche products but having a hard time accessing them up here. I find myself wanting things as they shift from niche to aspirational, but can’t source a site with it in stock fast enough. Then an item moves into the accessible and oversaturated phases way too fast, and suddenly it’s on to the next thing. Or so the internet tells me.

About two years ago, I had my first experience with the intoxicating woody notes of Le Labo perfume. I was entranced by it, initially thrown off. In Vermont, you get called out for wearing overt fragrance. If you don’t smell like a combination of maple sap, Dr Bronner’s, and the great outdoors, it makes you different, a little uppity, and certainly vain. I’m perfectly fine being labeled any of those things, but the Le Labo fragrances are so pervasive, I knew that I wasn’t ready in to what I considered my first very adult fragrance decision.

I couldn’t shake the idea of it, though, no matter how hard I tried. Le Labo started popping up in Top Shelves and Instagram posts everywhere I looked. Walking down the streets of Soho, I would be hit by frequent waves of something I later identified as Santal 33. I loved it. it smelled so good, so expensive, and so different from my every day.

Maison Louis Marie candle at the OV Austin flagship store

I settled on Glossier You as my daily perfume when it launched, mostly because of the comparisons many made to it as a much more subtle cousin of a Le Labo fragrance. I picked up the Maison Louis Marie No. 04 Bois de Balincourt candle for the same reason (they were burning it in the Outdoor Voices Austin flagship store when I visited and immediately needed it).

Now, Le Labo Santal 33 has been declared basic. It’s hit mass saturation, and has lost its cult appeal the more popular it became. I even caught whiffs of it at my boyfriend’s company party. I was impressed and immediately wanted to be that wearer’s friend, mostly because it meant she and I had common scent preferences all the way up here in the fragrance-free Green Mountain State.

Since I yearned for it for so long, I’m not quite ready to let my dreams fade and say goodbye to it, even if I should be looking for the next thing. It’s how I feel about Ugg boots, or AirPods. The heart wants what the heart wants.

As a compromise to myself, I think I’ll purchase it in a slightly more unique format: as a laundry detergent. Spending $45 on a Tide-alternative isn’t basic, right? And maybe that’ll give me the push that I need to do laundry a little more often in 2019. With Santal 33 waiting for me in our linen closet, I can’t see myself waiting for my hamper to overflow too aggressively before solving the dilemma of dirty clothes with one chic bottle of detergent.

cutting the cord

shopping, lifestyleAnna KellerComment

When Apple got rid of the headphone jack, I, along with most of the rest of the first world, groaned in disbelief. We need that! We all thought. How are we supposed to function without a headphone jack?! The reality, it turns out, is that I'm now much better off than I was before this life altering change, since it got me to start Googling "cute bluetooth headphones" and led me to these gems - Urbanears Plattan Wireless Headphones.

I was a little hesitant about getting them in millennial pink at first, but then I decided to go for it - I think this color is here to stay. They're large enough so that people know I'm wearing them (which isn't the case when my hair hides my earbuds), but not too obnoxious. They have decent sound quality for bluetooth headphones, and have held up well even while being tossed around in the bottom of my Cuyana bag on one of my exhausting day trips down to NYC and back. I don't like to wear them while exercising, although you can remove the soft padding and toss it in the washing machine if you do get them sweaty.

So far, I think they're worth the $99 price tag, and I have to say that my newfound freedom from wires is actually pretty priceless.

farewell, 2016

lifestyleAnna Keller
my top 9  Instagram posts  for the year

my top 9 Instagram posts for the year

oh, 2016 - what a year! 

It's easy to fixate on the bad that has transpired over the last 365 days, but I can absolutely say that 2016 had more ups than downs for me.

It gave me a new job that has given me the opportunity to travel and pursue a career track that I can actually get passionate about. I moved into a new apartment with a washer & dryer (LIFE CHANGER). New job = more money as well as a pledge to myself to manage it better. I continue to have a healthy cat, family & boyfriend. There's no shortage of so much (maybe too much?) good food. 

So long, 2016. We're ready for whatever comes next.

NYE FOMO? Not here.

lifestyleAnna KellerComment
see this and other  festive decoration inspiration  on my Pinterest

see this and other festive decoration inspiration on my Pinterest

There are few events that can give people more FOMO than New Year's Eve. As a society, we're hooked on the idea that an elaborate evening of shaken champagne bottles, fireworks, and reflective outfits will ensure that the best year yet is on its way. However, anyone who has woken up with one hell of a champers headache on 1/1 will tell you that the hype isn't real, and that a dress covered in sequins is actually more scratchy and uncomfortable than festive.

So if an over-the-top celebration isn't the best way to usher in 2017, what is? In my opinion, it's a small party at home with some of my nearest and dearest. You don't have to pay a cover to get in, the drinks are almost free, and you can spend the evening in your slippers if you want to.

Here are my tips to throwing a small, at-home bash for NYE - I'm ready for you, 2017:

  • Add a little bit of sparkle via decorations. While there's no need to get messy with confetti that will stick around for months, a well-placed garland and a few metallic balloons will give the night a party vibe.
  • Keep the guest list small. Invite people that you genuinely want to spend the evening with, and keep in mind people who might not otherwise have plans for the night. Not everyone wants to spend the evening at a crowded bar, but I bet far fewer people want to spend the evening solo at home.
  • Encourage people to BYOB, but have champagne and beer on hand to toast at midnight. You could even plan a signature drink if you're feeling creative, but keep the recipe simple and something you can easily prepare in bulk ahead of time. You don't want to be tied to your kitchen all night!
  • Turn the TV on mute and keep an eye on the clock for midnight. I love watching the ball drop at midnight, but also want to keep people entertained with games and music (grab a top 2016 playlist from Spotify) over the course of the evening.
  • Have snacks on hand. People should have eaten dinner before heading over, but your guests will inevitably get the urge to snack as the night gets later. I like to stock up on Trader Joe's frozen goodies (mozz sticks, lemongrass chicken sticks) for when the buzzed munchies strike.

And that's it! Don't be afraid to make a mess, get a little loud, and enjoy being warm and surrounded by friends as you welcome 2017. 2016 was a little rough (especially towards the end), but a fresh start in the new year will definitely help us all be a little more optimistic.