Sustainable and toxin-free living

Sustainable and toxin-free living

How I’m Livin’: Anne Nelson Sanford of LURK Natural Fragrances

Anne Sanford of LURK Natural Perfumes

Anne Sanford of LURK Natural Perfumes

Sustainable living has a tendency to be focused–no, obsessed–with Brooklyn. But Manhattan has its own share of eco-friendly delights, just with a level of sophistication that makes Brooklyn look twee and amateurish. And yes, hipster.

Anne Nelson Sanford, proprietress of LURK Natural Fragrances, proves this point. During the summer, this West Village resident moves her perfume studio “out East” to her summer digs at Sag Harbor (peep her Instagrams of beach sunsets). When she’s not hand-blending fragrances out of pure essential oils and jojoba oil (no chemicals preservatives, stabilizers or additives), she’s plying her sophisticated hand at interior design. Now that it’s fall, you’ll find her living the Town and Country lifestyle with her adorable four year old around the city.

It was hard to pull Ms. Sanford away from her beach life to answer my questions, but she did it! Check out where she meets her friends for cocktails, the musical artist I’m so glad she introduced me to, and where she does her vintage shopping:

What’s your favorite NYC bar?

I don’t have just one, which is a bit odd as I don’t actually drink.. 😉 Little Branch is a stone’s throw from my apartment/studio, so it’s perfect for after work or post-meeting. This place is super chill, comically hushed, and they happily make killer mojitos sans alcohol with a smile. They also use so many fresh ingredients in what seems like absolutely everything, and I love that.

At Orient Express I tend to go with sparkling water, but friends and colleagues love the cocktails. I also love the small menu for little bites, and the atmosphere is fun and a bit cozy. Great place to meet before dinner in the hood.

Describe your perfect Sunday.

A cappuccino, brunch at Rosemary’s in the West Village (love that they have a rooftop garden), a walk or bike ride with my son on the Hudson, a little shopping or a playdate and then dinner at my place with a few friends. I don’t really cook per se, but I can throw together lots of yummy sides with funs things from the Union Square Greenmarket (I like to start my Saturday there) and everyone always brings something as well. It’s the perfect way to end the weekend/begin the week, and my son loves all of the attention.

You can only see one musical artist perform this year–who do you choose?

Twilight Circus.

What’s your favorite place to shop in the city?

DUO and American Two Shot.

Your favorite NYC-made brand?

Titania Inglis.

LURK natural fragrances

You have three days free to get the heck out of the city. Where do you go?

The East End for sure. It’s quick, easy, beyond peaceful and stunningly beautiful (in my opinion), even in January.

Do you vintage shop? Where do you go?

Yes. Duo: I cant walk in there without grabbing something and it’s always from their vintage finds. Wendy and LaRae are amazing, they both have a fabulous eye and the vibe in the store is friendly and fun. And Amarcord in SoHo.

What’s your biggest, unsustainable bad habit?

My car, UGH. I battle with having it, but in the end my propensity toward wanderlust makes it a must. Especially when I’m escaping and adventure-seeking with a four year old.

How has living sustainably change your life for the better?

It cuts down on choices, and I’ve finally gotten to a place where that’s a relief. It also saves money because I keep things for so much longer. It’s fun as well, because a function of keeping things longer means creatively tailoring things to keep them relevant. I also love to rework and re-cover furniture instead of buying new.


Do you ever lecture your friends on their non-green choices?

If the issue is glaring, then I might make mention of it. I tread lightly though–I think lecturing can have the opposite effect.

What do you find most challenging about living sustainably?

All of the “stuff” my son wants and that is so heavily pushed/marketed to parents and kids. It’s insane and it can be hard to balance, but it’s a good place for him to start learning about sustainability, value and moderation. It also annoys him, of course!

When it’s yellow, do you let it mellow?

Depends on if I’m in the apartment alone, if it’s the middle of the night, if it’s Sunday and I have friends over … you get it.

Photo credits: Emily Johnston


  • Alden Wicker

    Alden Wicker is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of To Dye For: How Toxic Fashion Is Making Us Sick — and How We Can Fight Back (Putnam). She splits her time between managing her internationally recognized platform on safe and sustainable fashion,, and contributing to publications such as The New York Times, Vox, Wired, Vogue, and more. She’s made expert appearances on NPR’s Fresh Air, the BBC, and Al Jazeera to speak on consumer sustainability and the fashion system’s effect on people and the planet.

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