VMS Digest: Vol. I

Things to love from July 2016

vms digest vol 1 | a roundup of great articles, sales to shop, and things to know about from @victoriamstudio



THESE DAMN MOSQUITOES! // Have you ever noticed that you’re a mosquito magnet? Here’s why mosquitoes bite some people and not others. Interesting: I would get eaten alive by mosquitoes in Texas, but very rarely have a problem with them in California. Maybe I taste weird to west coast skeeters?

THE COST OF REALITY TV BEAUTY // My girl Alyssa wrote a great piece for Refinery 29 on how much those Bachelor contestants have to spend on beauty treatments and cosmetics to get through a season. Oy.

MDLNY INSPIRATION // Do you watch Million Dollar Listing New York? It’s definitely my fave of the MDL series on Bravo. If you’re a fan, you might know that one of the three cast members, Luis, recently decided to leave real estate and the show. It was a huge surprise. I follow Luis on Snapchat, and he just got back from a nearly month-long European adventure tour. Anyway, he posted this Facebook Live chat yesterday about why he decided to leave and what’s next, so if you’re a fan of the show, you should watch it. It was super inspiring to hear from someone whose career was thriving, but he’s decided to take more time to figure out what truly makes him happy.

MEDICINE AS ART // A cool little video that looks at how pills dissolve in liquid. So random, I know, but mesmerizing to watch.

BREAKFAST TACOS IN NYC // Ok, New York friends, get King David Tacos on your radar. For one thing, Liz is making these tacos legit Austin style. And for another, I went to high school with her, so it’s super awesome to see a classmate bringing the breakfast taco gospel to the Big Apple. If you’re in NY, get your company to order some of these — based on the looks of ’em, these are pretty much gold star, authentic Texas breakfast tacos!

VINTAGE JEWELRY 101 // Do you own vintage costume jewelry, or have you ever searched for it at estate sales and flea markets? Jillian wrote a comprehensive piece on everything you need to know about vintage costume jewelry, from buying it to caring for it.

THIS INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM MESS // When I first heard about the Instagram algorithm, I was intrigued. To be honest, I’ve been able to successfully train the Facebook algorithm to serve me exactly the type of content I want to see about 95% of the time. But I’ll admit, I just can’t figure out the new Instagram algorithm. Have you? My feed is filled with lots of family/kid pictures from people I don’t know, and then the same 10 accounts whose content I always like (so, the algorithm serves me every. single. one. of their images, sometimes one right after the next even if they’re days or hours old). Godspeed to the rest of the accounts I follow, because I have no idea what you’ve been publishing. Is anyone else experiencing this? I get newsletters from Later, an Instagram app scheduling program, and one of their editors cracked the algorithm from the publisher side in a really labor intensive way — get teenagers to like your images. I won’t be taking that route, but I’m curious to know everyone else’s reactions to the new algorithm. I’m going to keep trying to train it, but so far, it appears to need some work. Share your secrets, if you’ve got ’em!

TIPS TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE // One of the first things they teach you in culinary school is how to reduce food waste. So I was happy to see this article sharing many of the secrets chefs passed on to us at school. Food waste is something that drives me absolutely crazy, not only because of its wastefulness (obviously), but in school, you’re also trained to associate food waste with your restaurant’s/kitchen’s money being thrown in the trash. Everything can be turned into something else.

CHAMPS WITH A SIDE OF ICE, PLEASE // In France, it’s totally common to see people adding ice to white and pink wine. But Champagne? This was new to me. Moët came up with this ingenious way to sell off additional wine and get people to drink it in the summer. I have to agree that an ice cold glass of Champagne is the best, so I kinda wanna try this.

THE HISTORY OF RED LIPSTICK // At one point, considered the fountain of youth; at others, well, not so much.

More digest, below!



THE CONVENTIONS // Did you follow convention coverage the last two weeks? Unless you were living under a rock, I don’t know how you could’ve missed some of the biggest headlines. I read more than my far share of articles about both conventions, but if you want a quick digest, I really enjoyed Andrew Sullivan’s live blog updates from both conventions, as published on nymag.com. Check it out if you need an easy to follow summary of what happened each night of each convention. OK, with a little political commentary too.

LIFE SAVING POOP // Before you get too grossed out, let me just say that the Vice episode on fecal transplants was one of the most interesting episodes of the season (I thought). Recently, the Times published this article with more background. Have you ever heard of a fecal transplant? It’s amazing how they’re helping people with GI disorders, and just goes to show that our gut really controls so much of our overall health.

NON-LIFE SAVING POOP // Ugh, the Rio Olympics. Have you been following the coverage of the water pollution issues there (among many other things)? I feel so bad for the athletes that have to swim and sail in this mess.

THE SCOOP ON C.S.A.s // An interesting look at the history of C.S.A.s (Community Supported Agriculture), and how to make sure you’re signed up for the real deal.

THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE ACTUALLY WORKED // Did you hear this week that the money generated from the Ice Bucket challenge two summers ago actually helped fund the discovery of a gene that controls ALS? Pretty cool.



Here’s what’s been happening around the studio…and in real life, too:

+ I shared my latest Spotify playlist on Tuesday. You can listen to it here.

+ Last week, I shared my life/style and work essentials.

+ Client Launches! I was super proud to launch two fab projects: Confetti Kitchen and Happily Eva After.

+ I added a new San Francisco travel recommendations page. If you’re coming to the Bay Area, bookmark it! I’m adding to it and editing it regularly.

+ I updated my Napa Valley recommendations post…so ditto!

+ We booked a week long vacation to Kauai! I can’t wait to visit in the fall — my first time. A lot of you seemed really enthused about Kauai, so if you have specific recommendations of things not to miss, be sure to let me know.



Companies and Places to know:

+ MegMade, a Chicago-based company that can help you transform and modernize vintage furniture pieces, whether you inherited them, bought them on Craigslist, or found them on the side of the street.

+ Armadio, which I kind of think of as the M. Gemi for handbags. They’re making gorgeous, high quality leather bags, brought to you straight from the artisans who create them in Italy.

+ In SF, there’s a new cocktail and snacks bar in the basement of Liholiho Yacht Club. It’s called Louie’s Gen-Gen room. Locals, I really wanna try this place, so if you make it in, tell me how you like it!


Sales & Steals to take advantage of:

+ Serena & Lily’s “Tent Sale” is on, with up to 40-75% off select items, including classics like these embroidered sheets.

+ Take an extra 40% off sale items at Club Monaco with the code KEEPCOOL. I’m liking this beautiful black dress (which would be perfect during the holidays, actually).

+ Take an extra 50% off final sale items at J.Crew, both online and in store, with code SALEONSALE. Always good deals to be had if you know your exact sizing at the Crew

+ Take an extra 50% off sale items at Banana Republic, no code needed. This pretty embroidered cami for $25? Ok!

+ West Elm’s offering up to 40% off and free shipping on bedding, plus 30% off many furniture pieces and rugs.

Happy Friday, everyone!

What is VMS Digest?

A new monthly feature sharing my favorite links, posts, articles and things you simply have to know about. More here.


  1. 7.29.16
    Alicia said:

    So happy you’re going to Kauai! You will love it! Definitely hike the Na Pali Coast, the views on it are spectacular and do a helicopter tour. Totally worth the money! Favorite restaurants: Hanalei Dolphin (Hanalei), Beach House Restaurant (Poipu) make sure you make a reservation well in advance for sunset, Kalaheo Coffee Plantation and Restaurant. It’s my husband and my favorite trip we’ve taken thus far!

    • 7.29.16

      This is amazing Alicia, thank you! We were also thinking about doing a boat or catamaran tour along the Na Pali Coast. Have you ever done anything like that? We liked the idea of seeing the coast from both sea and sky, with the “sea” part also meaning we could get some snorkeling in!

  2. 7.29.16

    So interesting that they teach you about food waste in culinary school – I never would have thought that, but makes a lot of sense. Since you’re interested in the subject, you gotta watch this John Oliver segment on it. So, so eye-opening and informative (and funny) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8xwLWb0lLY

    • 7.29.16

      There’s an entire course/type of cookery that focuses a lot on food waste: garde manger. Basically taking leftovers and turning it into canapes, or spreads, or other little appetizers, while also learning how to preserve things. You might also notice in casual restaurants that the “Soup of the Day” is often a random mix of veggies and leftover meats, and breakfast (if a place serves it) is often chock full of items from the dinner menu ;) That’s how modern restaurants reduce food waste. In school, we had spreadsheets that would teach you the actual cost of a menu, and how you could reduce food costs (and waste!) by moving ingredients between menu items and meals.

      I’ve seen that LWT episode before, it’s great! I like buying the “ugly” produce at the store.

  3. 7.29.16
    Lauren said:

    Your weekly links are always my favorite so I’m a huge fan of this new format! Have a great weekend!

  4. 7.29.16
    Merltle said:

    there aren’t mosquitos in CA, at least not on the coast.

    • 7.29.16

      There definitely are in SF! We get them in our apartment in the summer. I rarely saw them in LA though, so maybe there are more in north central CA?

      • 7.29.16
        Merltle said:

        Weird. Never seen one in SF before, and I’ve lived here my whole life.

        • 7.29.16

          I suspect it’s dependent on where you live. When we were in the Inner Rich, I never saw a single one. I live down by Mission Creek now, and I think the water source equals the occasional mosquito in apartments over here, especially in warmer weather.

    • 7.31.16
      Stephanie said:

      We have them in our neighborhood too. I rarely get bit but my son gets little bites a lot. Maybe we’re just not sweet enough for the mosquitos to bother with. ;)

  5. 7.30.16
    toyosi said:

    Breakfast tacos. In NYC??? What a DREAM. As an austinite born and raised breakfast tacos were what I missed the most when I moved for college (that and whataburger, and chuy’s, and…). My roommate didn’t know what a breakfast taco I felt an immense sadness for her. I hope your friend opens a proper store (or food truck, true Austin style!) soon!!

  6. 8.1.16
    Rose said:

    It’s funny I came over to your blog today and you had an article shared on fecal transplants, because I had just sent one to my mom earlier on how lab-replicated ones are failing right now. Long story/TMI, but I had a too-long and very difficult experience with antibiotics a few years back when they didn’t really know what was wrong with me, so they put me on metronidazole. It screwed up my digestive system and gave me awful, horrible cramps for indefinite periods of time (not to mention the 2+ weeks I was on them I lost 10+ pounds and was sleeping 12 hours a night!).

    Anyway—my mom made me get on this supplement called Epicor recently, which I take with probiotics every day, and things have made a 180 in the last few months (I’d been dealing with GI issues for 4 years). May not work for everyone, but for me it has been life-changing! I’ve been wondering lately why I don’t see more people testing it out/talking about it around the web.

    As always, love all the links you share—you always find the most thoughtful and/or interesting articles as opposed to the same stuff everyone else is sharing :)

  7. 8.3.16
    Annie said:

    Feeling particularly uninspired lately and popped over here to browse old posts. Somehow I missed this one! You always churn out the most awesome (unique!) content. Consistently one of my most favorite blogs. Love this new series – thanks for sharing, Victoria!

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