Maj Anya DeBear, this week’s Guest Hunter. Maj Anya is a textile designer and artist based in New York City. She launched her line of luxe printed scarves, Ursidae, after finding out that her father was dying of cancer. The prints are based on a series of tessellation drawings made by him in 1975, and his last wish to his family had been that they help share his designs with the public. She considers Ursidae a family company, hence the name, which translates to ‘the family of bears’ in Latin. All of Ursidae’s scarves are named after members of the DeBear family, or Maj Anya’s close circle of friends.
Maj Anya grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, but is half Danish and spends time in Copenhagen whenever possible (she will happily give you a whole other list of favorite things for that city, if you ask nicely). She collects vintage scarves and kimonos, and hopes that her pieces will be coveted and then passed down from generation to generation, just as her father’s prints were passed on to her. As a Dane, Maj Anya’s ultimate style icon is Karen Blixen, and Maj Anya is occasionally known to don one of her scarves as a turban in an attempt to emulate her.
When she isn’t working, she enjoys board games, fantasizing about time travel and listening to music with a good string section. Read on to find out her super cool picks and some local spots we can’t wait to check out!
There are a number of Dyptique candles that I absolutely love (Oyedo, Baies, Jasmin) but my currant favorite is Feu de Bois. It smells like a fireplace in the winter, or a pot of Lapsang Souchong tea. It immediately adds warmth and coziness to any room.
Dyptique 377 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014
These are my go to Christmas and birthday gifts. Literary classics dressed in the most gorgeous leather bindings. On my bookshelf: H.G. Wells Seven Novels and the Complete Sherlock Holmes (amongst others).
A friend of mine recently showed me this book and I immediately ordered one for myself. It’s a series of delicate colored medicine plates – anatomical drawings paired with botanical illustrations that give insight into old remedies from the early 1800s.
Pavel and Zach, aka the Loftmen, are old friends of mine from high school. They make the most beautiful custom cabinetry and bespoke furniture, in addition to designing retail spaces. Stay tuned for a collaboration with Ursidae.
I’ve been a massive McTega fan since I met Kristina and Sarah, the girls behind the resin-based jewelry line, on a trip to L.A. a few years ago. I’m almost always wearing one of their pieces – they remind me of space crystals and make me feel like I have magic powers.
End of Century 237 Eldridge Street New York, NY 10002
I love decadent, tuberose heavy fragrances and this is my absolute favorite. Expensive, but it stays on all day. Plus it is meant to evoke Aztec summer festivals from c. 1400 a.d., which as a history nerd I enjoy.
Barneys New York 660 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10065
I’ve sworn by Ruby Woo for years – there is always a tube in my bag. It’s become the go-to red lipstick for many friends as well. Matte without being flakey, and it looks perfect on everyone.
Shameless self promotion time… Of the scarves I’ve made, the Bobby is my current favorite. The silk/bamboo is deliciously soft – lightweight but cozy. I love how dynamic the horse and jockey print is and the emerald green is super flattering.
My rule for men’s fragrances is that I have to be able to wear them too. This one is bold, sexy and sophisticated and I love the combination of woody and floral notes. It’s masculine, but soft.
It’s so hard to find beautiful bags – for boys or girls – that aren’t overbranded or overworked. I came across the Oscar Mix Shoulder Strap Briefcase from Steve Mono at Opening Ceremony recently and fell in love with its classic but eye-catching combination of leather and dark green canvas.
Opening Ceremony 35 Howard Street New York, NY 10013
SNS Herning has been making the classic chunky sweaters for Danish fishermen for almost 100 years. Timeless and practical. *Note to the ladies – they do amazing women’s knits as well.
Henrik Vibskov Boutique 456 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013
My dear friend Kat West worked in the fashion industry for years but only started making kids clothes after becoming a mom. The clothes are amazingly chic while still being sweet and sandbox friendly. I especially love the signature harem pant.
Littlebits have been hailed as “the next generation of Lego.” My friend Paul Rothman introduced me to these cool modular toys – he designs the awesome library of circuit boards that snap together with magnets and teach kids about electronics in a simple and fun way.
Maurice Sendak was one of my heroes and this is almost always my first gift to a new kid in my life. I love Sendak’s understanding that children can handle dark and scary stories. The Nutshell Library contains Pierre, the ultimate cautionary tale about a boy who is eaten by a lion.
My sister started making these amazing murals after our nephew Ben was born. They are gorgeous reproductions of your favorite children’s illustration or artwork. For her own daughters she recreated N.C. Wyeth’s The Giant (pictured)
BREAKFAST 5 Leaves – Get the ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter. Insanely delicious. They do a big fruit salad for a good price too.
5 Leaves 8 Bedford Avenue Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY 11222
LUNCH Picnic in Central Park with goodies from Zabars. My basket would include Spanish olives, Belvoir Elderflower Presse, and Zabar’s own cinnamon babka. Upper West Side pride.
Zabars 2245 West 80th Street New York, NY 10024
DINNER Ethiopian food at Ghenet – I used to frequent the NoLiTa location, but there’s still a Brooklyn outpost serving up yummy Injera bread with various fixings. Also be sure to get a bottle of the honey wine.
Ghenet 348 Douglass St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
DRINKS The Drink – My favorite bar at the moment. It has the rustic feel of an old ship, a great back yard, and fantastic cocktails. Also, pickles and other house made snacks for midnight munchies.
The Drink 228 Manhattan Avenue, New York, NY 11206
Spacastle’s remote location has kept it tourist free. It’s a multi-story Korean spa with multiple themed saunas, outdoor and indoor hot tubs, even rooms devoted solely to napping. You could spend all day in the women only section (as long as you’re comfortable in the nude), but the theme park feel and gender specific shorts and t shirt uniforms required in the co-ed upper levels are worth experiencing.
Spacastle 131-10 11th Avenue College Point, NY 11356
The downstairs portion of NY Vintage is well curated and worth a trip on its own, but the upstairs will have you shooting hearts out of your eyeballs with desire. It houses centuries worth of garments and accessories worthy of a place in a museum or on the red carpet. Only catch is it’s appointment only and reserved for businesses and stylists.
NY Vintage 117 W 25th St, New York, NY 10001
I grew up on the Upper West Side so AMNH has a special place in my heart. When I was a kid I could spend hours gazing at sparkling gems or, more likely, playing hide and seek in the hall of minerals. As an adult I still love to go and sketch the animal dioramas.
The American Museum of Natural History 200 Central Park West New York, NY 10024
Best movie theater in NYC. Nitehawk plays a well curated mix of old and new releases, preceded by themed shorts instead of trailers, and paired with dinner and cocktails instead of coke and popcorn.
Nitehawk Cinema 136 Metropolitan Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11249