Style We Love: Olivia Villanti

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I was born in Upstate NY and embarrassingly never was able to truly appreciate it until I moved to NYC, where I live now. At one point in my life I thought I was going to be a dancer. Instead I got jobs writing on the web. I worked as an editor for Lucky Magazine & InStyle’s ecommerce site, StyleFind, and now I copy write at J.Crew (and love it). I think you usually end up in the right place if you’re open to it.

Hometown: Originally Rhinebeck, NY, currently Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Favorite neighborhood stores and boutiques?
Word bookstore, In God We Trust (I always duck in here for last minute gifts like tie clips, printed socks, ties, clocks, etc...clearly I’m not the best gift giver because I always wait to the very last moment to shop), The Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg, Kill Devil Hill because they also  have good last minute housewarming/birthday/anniversary/Valentine’s Day gifts. Also my husband and I ride our bikes to Moon River Chattel in Williamsburg a lot, mostly just to admire all their amazing housewares, but every now and then we’ll splurge on something great for our apartment. And when we are over there we always make a stop at Sprout because my husband loves plants and terrariums. My contribution to his projects? Fool’s gold or some random item I see them use at Sprout in their potted plants to give them personality. We’re a good team. 

Favorite Blogs?
I still love Garance, especially her adorable videos. I always look at Fashionologie because I love how comprehensive their coverage is and how they manage to not be snarky, but still totally engaging. Remodelista is where my husband and I got most (possibly all) of the ideas for our apartment. Fashionista keeps me up-to-date on industry gossip. truly impresses me with GORGEOUS photography and their journalistic approach to beauty. Cool Hunting tends to be my go-to resource if I’m traveling and want to know what’s worth checking out that may not have made it to the pages of Lonely Planet.

Olivia is wearing Alex & Lee's Lime Bronze Bracelet- Shop it in the LdL Boutique

Most recent podcast/mp3 download?
The documentary Happy. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. I’ve been obsessed with the concept of happiness recently, which, logically follows after being in NYC for 9 years, I think. Did you read the Times article about the people of Ikaria? They have really long life expectancies and they seem to have a generally heightened state of well being. To achieve that kind of well being, the article points to community, rest, and eliminating stress, which is really reassuring when you’re bombarded by so many warnings about not eating meat, drinking, smoking or consuming caffeine. All those warnings make you think the secret to a long, happy life is discipline and where’s the happiness in that? In Happy, they talk about FLOW which is defined as being in the zone--when your mind isn’t worrying about anything other than focusing on the task at hand. Cooks experience flow, surfers, and writers too I suppose, which explains why I love writing so much when it can be done uninterrupted. So the movie motivated me to focus on doing more of what I really love. (Easier said than done.)

What you love most about your hometown?
I love the blend of this very industrial waterfront coupled with a quaint residential neighborhood. I stumbled upon a rooftop farm, an ice cream shop in the middle of an otherwise waterfront residential building, and a yoga studio with rooftop classes (and rooms for rent!) all in my first week here. Plus, after living with my husband in a small East Village studio for 6 years, we were ready for little luxuries like a washer, dryer and deep bathtub.

What you love most about your home?
It’s hard to choose because my husband is so handy, I love SO MANY things he created in our apartment but either the shelves or our closets. The closets truly changed our lives--prior to this we had a single shelf above it that was overstuffed (and incredibly difficult to access without a footstool). It was a mess.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
God no. How do you know if the person is funny? And that’s the number 1 most important quality that determines if I like someone.

What are your weekend plans?
We’re spending the weekend in Orient Point on the North Fork of Long Island! My parents have a small house out there that we go to almost every weekend, either on our own or with friends. We cook, build fires, knit, and generally have the best time. This is going to sound totally, I don’t know...Portlandia....but on our way back we always stop at a farm stand and stock up for the week.

Any advice for dressing for cold weather / rainy days?
This is a really funny thing my cousin once told me because I complain ALL the time in the winter. I hate being cold. He’s from Norway where clearly they have more dramatic winters but he said “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” Which is so true! Because little by little I’ve given in to the fact that I can’t wear my leather coat and my favorite ankle boots all winter long. My first Sorel purchase was monumental. These boots work, I actually WANT to walk through the snow! And then I bought this long shearling coat which I’d been completey adverse to because...well long coats, I hate to say it, rarely look like anything other than a bathrobe. But boy are they warm.

Fleabags Traveler's Clutch- Shop it in the LdL Boutique

Always on you?
A watch. I rotate between two, both of which are super special to me. Number 1 is a vintage men’s Rolex Guillaume gifted me for our 5 year anniversary. Number 2 is a Cartier my grandmother used to wear. Guillaume cleaned it up and repaired it for me for my birthday this year. It’s so old, you still have to wind it up every day to get it to run. I don’t know the year but it’s amazing. Fancy and ladylike, like my grandmother was.

Best vacation experience?
It’s so hard to choose just one! My husband surprised me with a trip to Paris when he proposed a few years ago and THAT was pretty spectacular. We were only there for three days, ate, drank, and shopped at my favorite, then-not-available-stateside boutique, Maje. Our hotel was right across from the Louvre so the whole trip was completely surreal.

Olivia's Picks from the LdL Boutique:

1) Novus Cuff by Laura Lombardi
3) Lime Bronze Bracelet by Alex & Lee
4) Gold Leaf Earring by Kathleen Whitaker

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