As the store progresses each year, it becomes more and more important to me to source merchandise from people with a story to tell. 90% of our selection of paper goods, art, beauty items, and gifts come from small businesses and artists from around the country. All of them are women. At first, it happened organically and almost accidentally but as I get older and understand how important it is to all support each other’s businesses and dreams, the more it’s a requirement for what we sell at A Lovely Universe.
For our first spotlight, I will be featuring Claudia Masco. A Monmouth University graduate who has a fantastic eye and clearly not a fear of heights! We’ve been selling her beautiful aerial photo prints of the New Jersey shore all summer long and we now have her just released Long Beach Island collection as well.
A bit more about her below:
“Chloe Masco, owner of Claudia Chloe, uses photography as a tool to accentuate and simplify the beauty that surrounds her in her travels.
Studying photography where she was born and raised, at the Jersey Shore, she is heavily influenced by the playfulness of the beach-goer lifestyle. To her, there is nothing more visually satisfying than the interaction of vacationers and their umbrellas along the shoreline.
Her goal is to bring the beauty & simplicity of the world as the sky sees it, into her customers’ homes.
All aerial photographs are taken from the side of a doors-off helicopter.
Chloe currently lives and works in Asbury Park, New Jersey, where she prints, packages, and ships all paper prints herself in her home studio.”
Shop our selection of Claudia’s art here or stop in the shop or head straight to her website.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a thoughtful gift for a pal or just want to add to your fun book collection, we’ve got a sweet little selection of items. As the shop grows into our new location next year, expect to see a lot more books in stock. So pleased to see that they sold better than ever this summer. Although clothing and jewelry are the top categories, one of my favorite things to buy for the shop = paper goods of all kind. Obviously we’re not a book store so serious readers and bookworms will need to head somewhere else to stock up on serious novels and biographies. However, I love that our collection just inserts a bit more life into the store. Here are some of my current favs:
shop the whole collection here!
It’s almost the end of September and we’re in the midst of that weird middle ground period. You know – when it’s just too hot to wear sweaters but too close to chilly weather to keep buying tank tops and sundresses. This is always an interesting time in the store as things are calming down after Labor Day and the days are a bit slower but people still want to make thoughtful purchases for the upcoming season. This is when our fall transitional items come in to play. You can’t go wrong with these purchases! Here’s a round up of my favorite pieces that are in stock now.
shop the whole collection here
It’s easy to get super overwhelmed or skeptical about the topic of essential oils. With so many choices out there and various degrees of quality, it’s hard to know not only what’s what but what is best for you. I’ve been really into the healing powers of essential oils for about a year now and have found many ways to seamlessly incorporate them into my daily life. AKA: Many of these oils can come in handy for any sleep issues or any pesky 3pm feelings of low energy. It’s amazing what these lil babies can do!
Here are a couple of my go-tos that have helped me make some otherwise boring life moments feel as relaxing as a spa:
1. Majestic Pure Lavender Oil, Therapeutic Grade, 4 fl. Oz
2. 2017 ASAKUKI 500ml Premium, Essential Oil Diffuser, 5 In 1 Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Fragrant Oil Vaporizer Humidifier, Purifies The Air, Timer and Auto-Off Safety Switch, 7 LED Light Colors
3. Aromatherapy 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Basic Essential Oil by Wasserstein (4oz, Eucalyptus)
4.NOW Foods Essential Oil, Grapefruit, 4 Ounce
5. Autumn Set of 6 Premium Grade Fragrance Oils – Brown Sugar, Apple, Harvest Spice, Vanilla, Forest Pine, Snickerdoodle – 10ml
6. Sweet Orange Essential Oil 10 ml. 100% Pure Undiluted Therapeutic Grade Citrus Sinensis , Cold Pressed From Fresh Orange Peel, Great for Aromatherapy Diffuser, Relaxation and Calming, Natural Cleaner.
7. Real Bamboo Essential Oil Diffuser Ultrasonic Aromotherapy Diffusers Cool Mist Aroma Diffuser with Adjustable Mist Modes, Waterless Auto Shut-off, 7 Color LED Lights for Home Office
8.Indigo Wild Zum Mist Aromatherapy Spray, Rosemary-Mint, 4 Fluid Ounce
Over the past few years, podcasts have becoming a major part of people’s lives – especially for commuters. It took me a bit of time to jump on the bandwagon but as I grow older, the more I truly love the whole concept of “talk radio” and podcasts totally take it to another level.
During the summer months, I’m in the car a lot going back and forth to the shop and having my car stocked with episodes of my favorite podcasts is the best way to pass time and also learn a lot and LOL. Here are my favorites lately:
- Bitch Sesh – If one of your favorite guilty pleasures is all things Bravo, this is the podcast for you. Hosts Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider are the best and their banter back and forth and in-depth critiques of almost every Bravo show is so hilarious. I feel as if they’re my actual friends? Is that sad? I don’t know if I care! A few of my girlfriends and I took our love for this podcast to the next level and saw one of their live shows this summer in Philadelphia. Highly recommend this.
- Glowing Up – This podcast combines three of my fav things; loling, beauty products/wellness trends and pop culture. Esther and Caroline are hilarious and insightful. Again, it has a “I want to be friends with these two NOW” vibe. They discuss everything from French beauty brands to silly food trends to their relationships to making fun of celebrities – basically everything I need.
- Pardon my French with Garance Dore – Hosted by one of my favorite lady crushes, the talented and chic Garance Dore and her team of creative ladies that work with her. They interview a variety of different interesting people and discuss so many topics under the sun that are relevant and refreshing to the modern woman.
- GirlBoss Radio – The original founder of Nasty Gal and the writer of best seller GirlBoss, Sophia Amoruso hosts this brilliant non-pretentious podcast that focuses on interviewing strong, accomplished women with an interesting point of view. This is one of my favorite inspiring podcasts to listen to in the business realm. It’s more laid back, honest and not as stuffy as other biz podcasts.
- Pod Save America – Definitely a more serious podcast but totally necessary in this crazy time we’re living in. Each week they delve into what’s been happening in the world, especially in the world of the current presidency and what’s taking place in the white house. Sometimes when I turn on the news (ok not sometimes..always), it’s hard to keep up with everything happening each day. It often feels like a Bravo show itself! But this is a great resource to truly break it down in an intelligent, focused and realistic way.
- Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations – For those who miss the days of coming home from school and turning on the Oprah show at 4pm, this is a small dose to hold you over. Oprah takes you on a journey with her guests and asks them all the good questions you’d expect her to ask and as usual, she really gets you thinking and feeling all the feels.
If you’re anything like me, you need a great cup of coffee to start any day and feel remotely human. I constantly feel like a Cathy comic when I say it but it’s true – don’t talk to me before coffee if you want me to be a nice lady! 😉
We have been super spoiled this year more than ever with excellent coffee options. In fact, we’re lucky enough to have the most beautiful coffee spot (Coastal Coffee!) on the island right next door to us! However, it’s super fun to jazz up the selection every day before (and sometimes during) the work day in the shop by grabbing a cold brew from a handful of different spots. Here are our top four favs in Beach Haven. Make note next time you’re headed this way for some beach and shopping time and need to fuel up first!
- Coastal Coffee 412 N. Bay Avenue – as I stated above, we are super lucky to count this spot as a neighbor of ours. Not only is the decor gorgeous (you probably have spotted their statement palm tree wallpaper all over instagram this summer!) and the beverage selection top notch, the owners and staff are the coolest. Bonus points for their super addicting and delicious acai bowls – the perfect refreshing seaside treat.
2. Coffee Nest 100 N. Bay Avenue – Located inside of ultimate treasure chest of a shop Artifacts & Co., the Coffee Nest is one of the newest spots to grab something delicious to drink while you shop or walk the boulevard. Their cold brew is amazing and you can’t help but want to go redecorate your whole home after leaving.
3. Side Door Donuts 1501 Long Beach Blvd – Warning: this place is addicting. Like, I have to pull myself away from going there nearly every day. Not only is their coffee wonderful and keeps me goin’ all day long – their donuts are out of this world amazing. Located in the back of a cute bicycle shop, Side Door Donuts just completed their first season in biz on the island and I am so so happy they are here!
4. Foster’s Market 400 N. Bay Avenue – Another neighbor we’re lucky to have? Fosters Market! A family owned farmer’s market and deli that serves up not only freshly prepared food but also packaged gourmet sauces, smoothies, desserts, etc. My top favorite thing to get there this summer is their nitro coconut cold brew on tap from Sea Bright based Coffee Surf Co. Amazing.