#103: Coolstuff.nyc

Anna & Garrett drop in to tell us about HAY Rice Paper Lanterns, Pons Sandals, 50/50 Martinis, Belgian Shoes, and more.

Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked Anna Brettschneider & Garrett Albury to come on Perfectly Imperfect & redistribute their good taste.

I, like many of us, subscribed to far too many newsletters in 2020…but Anna & Garrett’s coolstuff.nyc is on the shortlist of ones I actually open each week. They have a real knack for distilling the latest events, restaurants, art shows, and shops that I should care about, along with neighborhood guides and “Cool Friend” Interviews (pshhht, check out mine from last week), into a digestible and well-designed no bullshit newsletter. When they’re not working on their ‘sletter Anna is a Textile & Rug designer who freelances as an Interior Stylist & Content Creator, and Garrett is a Product Designer and a co-founder of Where are the Black Designers, a volunteer-run, nonprofit design advocacy organization aiming to heal, support, amplify, and make space for the entire spectrum of Black creativity. Garrett and Anna have great taste and lucky for us, they’re here to tell us what they’ve been into.

Without further ado

Anna Brettschneider (@hello_anna_b, @color_connoisseur)

🪴 Begonia Maculata (aka the Polka Dot Begonia)

I found out about this gem of a plant in January and immediately went out and brought one home from GRDN. I truly feel like I discovered both the easiest and happiest plant to grow inside of an NYC apartment. For reference - here is my begonia on my bedside table 7 months ago, and here it is today...WILD right?! Also it occasionally sprouts little white flowers which is insanely cute. Go get yourself one and put it in a spot with filtered light so it can sunbathe all year longggg.

🧼 Bathing Culture Body Wash

This is seriously the best body wash to possibly ever exist? It has an herby-earthy-sandal-woody smell that I wish they could put in a candle. It’s super concentrated so one pump goes a long way, which means more bang for ur buck. Plus! Refillable glass bottles!  V eco friendly! I love it so much that I also have the face mist which is perfect for summer when you just need a little SPRITZ.

💡HAY Rice Paper Lantern

This is the item I recommend the most to my interior styling clients who are looking to switch out their rental lighting fixtures in an easy way without breaking the bank. It’s the perfect rice-paper lantern that gives you all the Noguchi vibes you are looking for. I also love that they have different shaped and sized lanterns depending on ceiling height.

🫒 Aperitivo Hour (at home)

One of life’s greatest pleasures in 2021 is leaving work (from your living room) and heading to the kitchen at 5:02pm for aperitivo hour. My ideal cocktail hour includes a negroni and lots and lots of small bowls of snacks. The best aperitivo bowls are: Claudia Frolova’s olive bowls, anything from Crow Canyon Home, & little East Fork Pottery Bowls. The best aperitivo snacks are: sesame taralli, cavaltrano olives & cured meat. 

🩴 Pons Sandals

I wear these sandals basically every day during the summer and never tire of them. They put up with the tough NYC streets and are the only sandals I’ve found comfortable enough to wear during a full day of bopping around the city. The royal blue is truly the perfect blue, but looking at these again, should I also snag a pair in the berry color yes or no?

Garrett Albury (instagram)

🍸 50/50 Martinis

All the pomp and circumstance of drinking a ‘tini, with a little less bite. 1.5oz of Gin, 1.5oz of Dry Vermouth, and a few dashes of Orange Bitters — stirred until ice cold and served in a (chilled!) glass with a twist of lemon or a few olives if that’s your thing. The only rule: never vodka - it doesn’t bring much to the party.

🥿 Belgian Shoes

Have you ever lusted over an object to the point of obsession? For some ungodly reason, this has been my relationship with Belgian Shoes: the dainty, bowed loafers only available at their single Midtown storefront (closed on Sunday’s). They’re whimsical, aspirational, and have a way of completing a look — from formal to casual. In a sense, perfectly imperfect.

🥪 Club Sandwich

Tomato season has arrived, and finally I feel justified in my love affair with a classic sandwich: The Turkey Club. I think it’s only appropriate for lunch, BUT it makes a great pairing for a lunch time 50/50 ‘tini (see above.) Oh, and I’ve never actually had one at a club — your local diner probably makes a perfectly good one.

👔 Tony Shirtmakers

Sometimes you’re lucky enough to stumble upon something great entirely by accident and at exactly the right time. This is how I feel about Tony Shirtmakers. Tony is a one man powerhouse who designs and makes (mostly custom) shirts & shirt jackets out of his home / studio in Maine. I am impatiently awaiting a beautiful brown-olive shirt jacket I commissioned a few weeks ago that should arrive right around the time this newsletter drops. Tony also just launched a small collection ready-to-wear at No Man Walks Alone — grab a top before they’re all gone!

📕 Like Art: Glenn O’Brien on Advertising by Glenn O’Brien

I don’t really like to read fiction, it’s just not my thing. When I look for books, I’m usually just as drawn to the authors as people as I am to the work. If you’re not familiar with Glenn O’Brien, he’s kind of a New York City legend. Glenn got his start as one of the first writers at Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, bushed elbows with Basquiat, and for a few years hosted TV Party on NYC public access television. Later in life, Glenn became GQ’s first Style Guy.

While I’m not yet finished with Like Art, it’s been a really great read. It’s a collection of columns written between 1984 and 1990 and originally published in Artforum. It’s witty, hilarious, and brings to life an important character after he’s gone. It’s also published by Karma in the East Village which is pretty cool.


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