Louie Loves: Imogene + Willie

We’ve been obsessed with Imogene + Willie for a while now. From afar that is. The jeans always looked super cool but denim must be seen in person. We finally got the chance to visit the Nashville store recently and immediately wanted five pairs of jeans and ten t-shirts. And also everything in the store – it is packed with cool vintage finds. We managed to walk out with just one perfect pair and a cool vintage patch. Seriously though it took us a few minutes to get to the jeans because we were busy fondling the extra soft shirts. Perfectly worn in like that one t-shirt you still have from high school, or the one you wisely stole from your Dad years ago, but in very cute, easy cuts. When we were ready for denim we said we were looking for something dark with a medium rise. We only had to try on one pair. When does that happen??? The staff picked out just what we were looking for, in the correct size no less and we now wear our Josettes almost daily. They waist is just high enough to be super flattering and the ankle is slim but not super skinny – also extra flattering and good with all shoe types. What we really love about them is the denim – thick and dark with just a hint of stretch. They will break in nice and slow and only get better with age, but the stretch makes them instantly wearable. Of course there are many other styles and washes but this seemed like a great first pair. Lucky for us (and all West Coasters), Imogene + Willie just moved their headquarters to LA and the Arts District office includes a retail store. Hooray! We’ve already been. Of course. And picked up our fave Josette cut in stone white, which is not surprisingly a spot on slightly creamy shade that looks fresh but not too preppy. The men’s stuff is even better if that is possible. So your new fave jeans, amazing tees – basically your new everyday wardrobe. Done.

Check out their website right here.

Louie Loves: Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber De-Tox Hydra-Gel Eye Patches

You know we don’t do too many beauty related raves and reviews here but these things are killer. To start – here are the things they target: puffiness, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles. Uh, yes help with all of those please.  Now.  They are instantly cooling so they feel like they are working right away. Let’s not under estimate the importance of this. Because this mini fifteen-minute spa break should feel relaxing shouldn’t it? The gel aspect is essential. Not only do they feel amazing, but they actually stick on your face with out sliding around. This is key if you are looking to multi task. You can put them on while you are brushing your teeth, blow-drying your hair, what ever other morning or night time things you do. They even stay on in the shower, which is a small miracle. They seem to contain ALL of the ingredients ever mentioned as being helpful for the eye area. Number one being cucumber of course – both detoxifying and hydrating. There’s also aloe and chamomile to soothe and soften, and hyaluronic acid and collagen to plump plus arnica and caffeine to get rid of dark circles. Hooray! What more could you ask for. They also smell amazing and are expertly packaged for easy removal. Wonderful.

Get them in two days from Amazon or pick them up at Sephora.

Louie Loves: Hugo Guinness

We’ve been obsessed with Hugo Guinness’s prints for years. All it took was one visit to the John Derian store and we were hooked. He specializes in lino cut prints which are basically woodcuts but with linoleum. They sorta look like they were done with a very large very cool rubber stamp – obviously a very technical description…. He has done illustrations for The New Yorker and Vogue and worked with Wes Anderson on several movies – they wrote grand Budapest Hotel together – so yah, he’s cool. He’s also worked with Coach and J.Crew. The prints are mostly of everyday objects, words or phrases. A comb, a safety pin, a typewriter – maybe a bulldog puppy, or a knight. Instantly all of these simple things become special. And there is definitely something for everyone. They are mostly black and white with red making an occasional appearance which also means they look good pretty much any where – whether your home is ultra modern or filled with wallpaper and antiques. The prints come in three sizes, which makes them easy to fit in to any gallery wall visions you may have. The smaller ones fit nicely on a bookshelf. Our only problem is deciding which one we want next and how many is too many to own. Luckily the prints are almost even more fun to gift so we’ll just starting giving them out if we run out of room.

Shop for them at John Derian.

Louie Loves: Have’a Chips

These are the best corn chips ever. Ever. They are not traditional corn chips in that they don’t seem to have anything to do with a tortilla and claim no connection to Mexico. Also they involve soy sauce. This is clearly the secret as the other ingredients are corn, soy bean oil, and ‘a dash of lime.’ Soy sauce is salty and delicious and once you taste these you’ll realize the question is not ‘why is there soy sauce on these corn chips?’ but ‘why isn’t there soy sauce on all corn chips?’ Seriously, they are perfect. So crispy, with little air pockets that keep them extra light. They are thin, but not so thin they cannot support a substantial scoop of dip. A bag of Have’a Chips and a of bowl of fresh salsa is pretty much heaven. But they are versatile enough to pair with any dip like snacking treat – hummus, beans, queso, pimento cheese perhaps? Go nuts. But you do not NEED a dip. Have’a Chips are truly the only corn chips that are tasty enough to eat on their own. We asked for a case for Christmas. Best gift we’ve ever received. They are currently being hoarded in a cupboard, out of sight of guests that might think our stock pile means they could take a bag home with them.

Order up a case for yourself here.

Or you can find them at most Southern California grocery stores.   Bristol Farms always has them.

Louie Loves: Love & Lemons Pistachio Goji Berry Granola

Making granola is one of those things that sounds nice like a nice, charming domestic hipster sort of thing to do but then you think, oh wait I could just buy it. This version from Love & Lemons however, takes only 15 minutes and doesn’t require you to turn on the oven, so it may even be quicker than going to the store. Plus it is full of delicious superfood type things – goji berries, pistachios, coconut flakes – yum! And no hidden bad for you stuff – it is vegan and gluten free and there is just a bit of cocnut oil to make things extra rich and toasty and some maple syrup to sweeten things up. It is addictively delicious and also super pretty. Because it is so easy and also Christmas-y colors, this was a favorite holiday gift of ours. But of course, it is a treat year round and perfect thing to show up with if you’re being hosted for a weekend away. Because it’s vegan and gluten free pretty much everyone can eat it and your hosts can put it out with some fruit and yogurt for an easy breakfast or just keep it all for themselves. Either way, you’ll be a hero.   We usually make two batches at once – in separate pans unless you have a giant one.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
⅓ cup pistachios, chopped
¼ cup coconut flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⅓ cup goji berries

Here’s what to do:

1 – Heat a large skillet over low heat. Ad the oats and let them toast for a minute or two. Add the coconut oil and salt and stir to mix everything together. Let toast for another 5-7 minutes.

2 – Add the syrup, one tablespoon at a time, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn.

3 – Add the pistachios, coconut and cinnamon and let toast another 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

4 – Remove from pan and stir in the goji berries. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Louie Loves: Grandma Josie’s Molasses Cookies

These may be the only cookies that could compete with a classic chocolate chip. So so good. Soft on the inside but with a nice crust, they taste rich and comforting. We remember making this recipe when we were little and they always seemed like a very grownup cookie to us and they still seems a bit sophisticated. They only take around 20 minutes to make and they are oh so delicious. A perfect not too sweet treat – pair them with an afternoon latte or cup of tea. These have always seemed festive and Christmas-y, so with the holidays approaching, there is no better time to make them. They also make a great gift for neighbors, friends, teachers etc. They are so easy to make and only go in the oven for ten minutes so you can churn out a ton all at once and it still won’t take you all day. You basically just dump everything into the bowl of a your mixer and you are good to go. Rolling them into smooth little balls and coating them with sugar adds a bit of extra time but they will come out uniform and look very professional. Plus it’s a great job for any little ones who want to help out in the kitchen.  Enjoy!

Grandma Josie’s Molasses Cookies

You’ll need:

¾ cup shortening or oil (we used canola oil)
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves (or nutmeg)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

What to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine oil, sugar, molasses and egg and beat well. Add all the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Roll dough into small balls and roll in sugar to coat on all sides. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Louie Loves: Nike Roshe One

For awhile we didn’t get these shoes. People said they were so comfortable but aren’t all sneakers comfortable? And we had some trouble with the sole at first. So thick and white. Why? But eventually after a few trips that involved us running the entire length of JFK airport in ankle boots, everyday sneakers seemed like a pretty good idea and we would never/could never bring ourselves to wear our actual running shoes with jeans. Just no. (Even though they are also Nikes and not hideous.) So we caved and picked up a pair of Roshes and instantly realized that everyon else was right and we had been idiots. They are in fact INSANELY comfortable. That thick white sole is a like a bouncy pillow. They weigh nothing. And the inside sole has little ridges on it that are somehow like some mini foot massage. This is probably not intentional, but we love it. So the lesson here kids, is of course, that you need Roshes too. And now they come in 100s of color combos and of course you can design them yourself with Nike iD (love us some customization). They have a FlyKnit version now and an amazing fleece line made of fluffy sweatshirt material. Pretty much the only thing that could make these even more enjoyable to wear. Hooray! And now you can change the sole color too – tons of options and you can even make it color blocked or marbled. Go bold, go all black, keep it clean with just a bright swoosh – the options are endless. We want ten more pairs.

The Nike Roshe One – shop here for women, men, girls, boys.

Louie Loves: Mexican Train

We’ve done some nerdy Louie Loves before but telling you about our favorite domino game may take the cake. But with the holidays on the horizon you’ll likely be spending large amounts of time with relatives you only see once a year. This game is perfect for killing time and really works for people of all ages. Pretty sure the box says age six and up.   That said, some of our relatives view this as a game of intense strategy and skill (at least when they are winning). In reality it is probably 95% luck and 5% strategy. Or maybe that last 5% is just paying attention. Either way it doesn’t require so much focus that you can’t chat and enjoy some drinks and snacks while you play. But when you win, you feel entitled to a bit of bragging. You can play with any set of double twelve dominoes but we highly recommend purchasing an official Mexican Train game because then the dominoes will be color-coded. This means they are pretty but more importantly you don’t even have to count! Woohoo. Just match the colors. The game works with just two players or up to eight. Another bonus, each round goes pretty quickly and you can play as many as you want so opening it up doesn’t mean a serious time commitment. New players can join in any time. The only thing that would really prohibit children from playing is how much your family tends to swear when playing only mildly competitive games. It’s really fun and highly addictive. Also good for weekends with friends and naturally a perfect gift to bring with you on such trips. You’ll be a hero.  And yah, no idea why it is called Mexican Train.

Buy our preferred full size version here. And travel set here.

Louie Loves: The Quoddy Ringboot

Allow us to introduce you to the best slippers ever made. They are made in Maine. And made to order just for you. Quoddy makes lot of shoes. Mostly manly boots and other outdoorsy items – they come from Maine after all. The boots are amazing and would be a fabulous gift for the gent in your life, the topsiders too. For the ladies, they offer a slightly smaller range or styles, and the clear winner here is the ring boot. It’s called a boot and totally acceptable to wear outside, BUT you can/should/obviously will get it lined with the fluffiest sheepskin ever which means this ‘boot’ is really the best pair of slippers you will ever own. And you will own them for years. They last forever, and Quoddy will loving resole or repair them for you should anything go wrong. Very nice people up there in Maine. When we purchased our cozy pair, there weren’t many options – you could choose lined or unlined and maybe pick the sole material. Now there are SO MANY CHOICES. You can customize your whole boot! Soooooo made in the USA, customizable, and made to order? Hmmmm yes, definitely ideas we support here at Essex. As we said, the sheepskin lining is really not an option; you must get it. But as far as the other things are concerned – there are now twenty-one different leathers to choose from for the upper, and three sole varieties. You also select the colors for the sole, thread, and hardware. So fun! And the lining now comes in black too. We seriously might have to design another pair – maybe all black – even though ours are perfectly worn in and in great shape. So what you should do immediately is design your dream pair and then very unsubtly hint to everyone around you that you need these for the holidays. Because you do. We pretty much never take them off when we are at home. And actually we even travel with them. Chilly feet can really ruin a vacation right?

*If you want yours to look like ours go with – Whiskey leather, dark crepe sole, natural thread, antique brass hardware, white sheepskin lining.

Click here to customize.

Louie Loves: Malo’s Burnt Habanero Cream Salsa

We’ve been fans of Malo since our early days in LA and as we tell everyone constantly they have the best Caesar Salad in the city.   But it doesn’t matter what we’ve order, every meal there starts with a huge basket of chips and their Burnt Habanero Cream Salsa. It’s incredibly spicy but impossible to resist so basically we keep wolfing down chips while our mouth is on fire. (Margaritas help with the heat obvs.) We’ve always wanted to recreate this goodness at home but assumed that would involve slow roasting peppers and sourcing hard to find Mexican ingredients. The one day we stumbled on this recipe claiming to mimic Malo’s trademark goodness. We were quite skeptical. It seemed too easy. So few ingredients, just a couple of beyond-easy steps. This could not possibly be all that was required to whip up this restaurant fave at home. We tried this out when making a giant mountain of nachos for a party this summer. We figure the nachos would be delicious on their own so this accompaniment was not crucial. On this first go round we didn’t even have all of the very few ingredients required and it was still incredible. We couldn’t believe how close to the original it tasted. And while we doubt Malo’s actual recipe is anywhere near this basic (and uh probably involves actual habanero peppers), we’re happy to have this filed away for parties. It’s equally great with nachos or just a bag of chips. Perfect for game watching and tailgating and of course any Mexican fiesta.

(Something Very Close To) Malo’s Burnt Habanero Cream Salsa

What you need:
16oz container of sour cream or Mexican crema
1 can chipotle in adobo peppers
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 ½ tablespoons honey
salt

What to do:
Blend everything – cream, cilantro, honey, juice of the lime, and the peppers from the can (but not the sauce) in a food processor (you could probably use a Vitamix too).

That’s it! If you want it spicier add some of the sauce from the peppers.

Louie Loves: Narcos

Because you always need a new Netflix show right? – to ruin any productive weekend plans you may have had. Well here it is! Complete with drugs, murder and international incidents! And mustaches. Lots of mustaches. Its pretty crazy actually because while this is fiction, it’s all pretty close to the truth. Real news footage is spliced in with all the drama to reinforce that this all really happened. The story follows Pablo Escobar’s rise to power and the US DEA agents who are trying to take him down. The immediate takeaways – Columbia was really not a good place to be at the time, no mater who you were, your chances of being shot or kidnapped were relatively high. And, the narcos were making completely insane amounts of money. So much so that they had to bury it in fields. Other takeaways – um don’t trust drug dealers. They don’t really seem to live up to their word much here. Like at all. All of the murders, near misses, and general intrigue make for an entertaining show and if nothing else. Pablo’s wardrobe is hilarious.

Watch it right here.

Louie Loves: White Miso Dressing

We know we just told you that this was the dressing you should be making everyday but we have an even newer obsession with this super easy white miso magic. This takes about two minutes to whip up and is light and but flavor packed. Works well on a simple green salad, grain bowls, fried rice, drizzled over chicken, fish or shrimp. Sold yet? We found this recipe over on Bon Appetit and now truly cannot stop making it. It’s so so easy and once you have white miso, doesn’t require any crazy special ingredients. We had really no clue what form white miso would come in or where to look but it seems it can be found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. At our Whole Foods, it was at the end near the tofu stuff. It’s a paste and comes in a tub. Once that has been obtained you’ll need fresh ginger (we like to keep some in the freezer), garlic, rice vinegar and vegetable oil – all pretty much pantry staples in our book. All you do is grate the garlic and ginger and then whisk everything together. Again – two minutes. It will be slightly thick so you can add a little water to thin it out of you like. We skipped the sugar include in the original because we’re not a fan of sweet dressings. We’ve also made this subbing in apple cider vinegar and sesame oil when we ran out of the actual ingredients. Still delicious every time so feel free to experiment.  Miso has lots of good for you qualities so this is the perfect topper for a big bowl of green things when you need a cleansing meal.

You’ll need:

1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons peeled and grated ginger
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon white miso
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

What to do:

Grate the garlic and ginger into a bowl with a microplane grater (If you don’t have one, chop them up as small as you possible can). Add the vinegar and miso. Whisk in the oil. Add a little water if you want it thinner.

Louie Loves: Where’s Karl

So we’ve always been Waldo fans. Love following him around on his adventures. But we can’t really relate to Waldo you know, with his backpack and that creepy wizard friend of his. Karl however, with his trademark white collar and black shades is a much more fashion forward traveler. And his cat Choupette is quite adorable. In Where’s Karl we follow him around the globe to all the chicest places – London, Milan, Paris, St. Mortiz, Dubai and of course LA where he hangs out at the Chateau Marmont pool after the Oscars Duh. He hits up Miami for Art Basel and then heads to Tulum for the holidays. It’s brilliant. Of course his fashionable friends pop up in all these places too – Anna, Grace, Tilda, Gisele and crew are all along for the ride. Bill Cunnigham is there to photograph it all. Derek Balsberg is hanging out, crafting the perfect Instagram caption, and a host of other stylish celebs and even your favorite bloggers make appearances. It’s all very clever and very cute and truly fun for all ages. We’ve stockpiled a ton to be distributed as gifts to everyone we know, for all occasions, in the coming months.

 

Get it here.

 

Louie Loves: Krewe du Optic

We’ve slowly become sunglass hoarders over the past few years. We’ve always been huge Ray-Ban fans, but we really don’t discriminate. We’ll pick up cheap $10 pairs if we’re into the look. But it had been awhile since we were truly obsessed with a pair. Then we discovered Krewe and now we simultaneously want every pair and think each pair they make could be our go to everyday pair. Krewe is based in New Orleans, which made us like them right away. All of their styles are of the moment but have added details that set them not just apart but above everything else that is out there. You can feel the quality right away. They feel secure and sturdy. The packaging is on point too. They come in a very nice (but a bit bulky) hard square case with the lens wipe printed with a New Orleans scene. Even the exterior box they come in is cool. We love all this detail and we love our first pair of shades so much the only question is which ones next. We started with the St. Louis pair in Bengal with polarized lenses. We’re thinking the CL-10 will be next. There are so good. We really can’t wait to see what next season brings. Be sure to stop by their shop if you fond your self in New Orleans. It looks delightful and they even serve coffee. They are going to have to kick us out. Oh and they made regular glasses too – we almost want a fake pair.

Click here to check out their site.

Louie Loves: Solid & Striped

 

So we had been waiting to buy a Solid & Striped suit for what seemed like all summer. Our only hesitation was that we were convinced a friend would have already bought one so we could check the fit in person. When that didn’t happened a 30% off Labor Day sale when we had a trip to Tulum on the books was all we need to pull the trigger. Our Morgan bikini arrived just a few days later and we were instantly in love. To start we love all of the uh solid, striped, and print options. Perfect basics. They come in all varieties of styles, from one piece to skimpy triangle bikini.   Our pick is somewhere in the middle. A sporty bikini with a sort of bra like (meaning not halter fit) and contrasting trim to up the athletic vibe, we probably wouldn’t recommend it for a serious ocean swim but it definitely stands up to casual beach play with no pulling and tugging needed. Already a win. We are usually all for cheap swimwear but the material on these really does seem like a step up so it shouldn’t become see-though after a couple ocean dips. We’re very happy with our initial order and cannot wait to try more styles, particularly the super chic, classic Anne-Marie one piece. They make some rompers, tanks and sweatshirts too. All which look equally simple in a good way and are of coure the perfect toppers for your suit when its time for that happy hour cocktail or fireside s’mores. Oh and they make men’s too.

 

30% off through 9/7 with code LABORDAY30

 

Click here to shop.

Louie Loves: Fort Tilden

This movie is hilarious and will make you so so happy you aren’t these girls. Unless of course you live in Brooklyn and are 25 in which case you will be like UGH this IS my life! The iTunes plot summary is “A comedy about Allie and Harper and their needlessly difficult journey to the beach.” And that’s exactly what it is.   The term ‘needlessly difficult’ is genius and certainly applies to this beach day from hell. But we can all relate as we’ve all had grand plans that didn’t work out. And sketchy upstairs neighbors, and friends in terrible bands. The day starts with Allie ditching out on her Peace Corps orientation meeting (she’s headed to Liberia) to join Harper who’s determined to meet up with the hot guy they met at last night’s party. Stolen bikes, sketchy cab drivers, watery iced coffees, and topless high schoolers thwart them at every turn. It’s all fairly infuriating and seriously funny to watch. Trailer below.  Enjoy!

On iTunes now.