Friday, November 28, 2014

{GIFT GUIDE 2014} SIMPLE, STYLISH, & WINTERY IDEAS...


I figured there was no better way to kick off my gift guide series than with the kinds of things I'm often tempted to buy for myself as soon as those Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals start kicking in. Traditionally, these kinds of flash sales and such frantic commercialism give me a lot of anxiety—the inundation of promotional emails can turn me off shopping altogether. 

But, here we are. It's Black Friday, I'm happily stuffed with Thanksgiving dinner and gearing up for a little leftovers party this afternoon. I'm feeling contented and excited for the start of the Christmas season. Plus, I love gift guides. I love scouring the Internet for cool, unique, affordable (sometimes) and special ideas for treating the people you love. 

*Have you seen the guides I've been creating each week for Style Girlfriend? No? Well they are awesome. Check out guides themed to red, orange + yellow, green and light blue gift ideas—with more to come in the next few weeks!

Anyway, back to this gift guide... The theme is kind of random, no? I was just thinking about unfussy, slam-dunk gifts for women who like nice things, enjoy a trend or two and hate looking schleppy in the winter. It's a mix of accessories, beauty, a dash of jewelry and naturally, a few cozy pieces to get any New York City woman through a Polar Vortex in style.

I'm particularly obsessed with a few things:
  • These Scalamandre Old Fashioned glasses are stylish and playful—but meant for a serious cocktail. I have come to favor an Old Fashioned (or a Manhattan) above just about any other cocktail, as have many of my most stylish friends. These would make a charming addition to any bar set up.
  • I can't get through a commute without music (or an episode of Serial), so I truly appreciate the genius of these rabbit fur earmuffs that double as headphones. Take that, winter!
  • A portable phone charger in gold? Yeah, I need that, and so does any woman who is constantly out and about—whether she's an Instagram fiend, constantly checking work emails or looking for love on Tinder...
  • The name is perhaps a little over-the-top, but this Better Than Sex mascara creates dramatically full (like, very dramatically) lashes that hardly require the addition of eyeliner. Perfect for going from work to happy hour or a date and feeling like you barely need a touch-up.
  • When it comes to the ultimate cool girl stocking stuffer, it has to be this Jacquie Aiche single ear jacket. Singular, special and unique, it's meant to be worn with a mis-matched stud on the other side. 
Scroll through below to shop all my picks:
*BLACK FRIDAY SALES: Tons of sales kicked off earlier in the week, but in case you (like me) are kind of lazy, here are the ones I'm just taking note of today...
  • SHOPBOP: Use the code GOBIG14 to save 15% when you spend $250, 25% when you spend $500, and 25% when you spend $1000 or more.
  • MADEWELL: Use the code GIFTON to save 25% on your entire purchase. (I used it to get this cozy lambswool turtleneck for myself in black.)
  • NORDSTROM: They've got major sales going on in the moment, up to 40% off lots women's products. 
(It has tons of extra picks that won't make it onto the blog)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

MID-WEEK MUSIC MOMENT: HAERTS


{ An electric reaction in me
It's not a choice to dance dangerously }

My friend Alli introduced me to Haerts a few years ago, but for most of that time, all I've had to go on is a 4-song EP that includes their most well-known songs, "Hemiplegia" and "Wings." Then just last month their first full album dropped, and I realized that they were the opening act for St. Lucia at Terminal 5—to which I had purchased tickets back in August. Serendipitous, I must say.

The concert was last week, and it was phenomenal. I don't love Terminal 5 as a venue, but both Haerts and St. Lucia were able to fill the place with sound, and really own the crowd. Plus, there were confetti cannons. Anyway, I re-fell in love with Haerts, and especially this song (their new single), "Giving Up." (You can watch the music video here.)

Take a listen below and let me know what you think.



A lot of people critique Haerts because their songs tend to sound the same. And while I'd agree, I happen to be okay with it, because I love how they sound. She's got a great voice (she reminds me of a happier version of Banks and Lykke Li), an upbeat vibe and an emotional core that I really dig.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

THANKSGIVING IN NYC: MAKING THE MOST WHEN YOU CAN'T GO HOME


When you decide to move to the opposite side of the country from your entire family, there are certain things you learn very quickly: traveling home is expensive, traveling home for the holidays is more expensive, and when you cannot, you're never the only one. As New York is a city of transplants, it's a guarantee that at least a handful of your friends will be here, too. 

I've been fortunate enough to take up with a group of friends here who are from all over the place—Memphis to Indianapolis, Newport Beach to Paris, and Seattle, of course. Each year, I've stayed here for Thanksgiving, gathering with friends and visitors and friends of visitors for a rag-tag feast delicious enough to rival those prepared by my (much-missed) family.

The crowd varies by year, but one thing is consistent: It's always a great weekend to be in New York. It's the first truly festive weekend of the holiday season, the non-touristy parts of the city empty out, and the touristy things feel more fun than torturous.

On that note, click through for my recommendations on what to do on Thanksgiving weekend in New York City. Not surprisingly, most of them have to do with drinking and eating...

Monday, November 24, 2014

{STYLING NOTES} WHAT TO WEAR ON THANKSGIVING...

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea


I have but two words for you when it comes to Thanksgiving attire: fancy sweats.

This is my mantra, my ideal, and my plan for Turkey Day. A couple of weeks ago I picked up a great pair of shiny black joggers from Zara (very similar to these, from J. Crew, which come in a rainbow of wearable colors) that sort of feel like baggy spandex. If you don't know the feeling, I really recommend it. As you can imagine, a pair of pants with a relaxed silhouette but a sort of dressy sheen are just the ticket for "dressing up" something super comfortable for a holiday that centers around eating. This is the easiest way to look nice, feel amazing, eat everything—what more could you want?

Since I'll be celebrating with friends here in the city rather than at home with my family, it's definitely a "come as you are" feast—but I want to look at least a little bit festive. My go-to with a pair of joggers like these is usually a silk (or just silky) blouse with a relaxed fit that I can give a little half-tuck in the front and be done with it. For cooking I'll go barefoot, and for dinner I can just slip on my favorite pair of black suede pumps from Aldo (they have a really good vamp). Bracelets and rings are cumbersome for cooking, so a fun pair of earrings or my fav new Lulu Frost necklace should do the trick.

If tradition has anything to say about it, Thanksgiving will be freezing. Personally, I'll be wearing my new Tibi coat that I scored at their sample sale last week. But, all you really need is a great overcoat you can throw on and be cozy after your big meal. (Here's a similar style from ASOS, btw.)

It's not a terribly complicated formula, kind of like stuffing from a box: Easy, comforting and still good the next day for leftovers.

Friday, November 21, 2014

{YOUR WEEKEND PLANS} COZY UP & LISTEN TO 'SERIAL'

A curious phenomenon is taking over pop culture this fall. People all over the world have become obsessed with—wait for it—a Podcast. It's called 'Serial,' and I am among the hooked.

Produced by the team from This American Life, the show is narrated by Sarah Koenig. She takes listeners along with her through a (true) story she unravels in weekly episodes. She's reopened a murder case from 1999, in which a high school honor role student, Adnan Syed, was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend. He's been serving a life sentence ever since. 

I have never been much of an NCIS or SVU watcher, crimes shows don't particularly interest me. However, for me, Serial is gripping. It's fascinating and entertaining and incredibly detailed. It's also complicated and filled with emotion on behalf of the convicted, his family, his friends and also those who believe he is guilty. Not to mention Koenig, who's excellent storytelling pulls us into her own conflicted feelings about the case, the further she digs.

I'm no stranger to listening to stories: My parents and I listen to books-on-tape read aloud on our way to Sun Valley all the time. But, to have a story broken down into episodes like a television show adds this element of suspense and fuels speculation and chatter on behalf of the audience. Serial has inexplicably gotten huge throngs of people (to the tune of about 5 million downloads) excited to sit and do nothing but just listen.

But that's part of what makes it great. You can take the story in while you're out doing other things—which you can't exactly do with, say, Netflix. Suddenly, you find yourself wishing your commute was just a little bit longer.

I began episode 1 on my commute to work yesterday. I arrived at my desk before it had ended, and just sat there with my headphones in, unable to begin working or do much of anything at all until it had ended. I listened to episode 2 and 3 on my way home and at the grocery store, and then broke into 4, 5 and 6 as I made and ate my dinner. Though it was designed not to be binged upon, playing catch-up has caused me to do exactly that. I'm anticipating that I'll be fully caught up by the weekend, and left to wait impatiently for more—along with everyone else.

Serial releases new episodes every Thursday, and with the exception of Thanksgiving, they will apparently continue into mid-December with the conclusion of the season. All I can say is, pour yourself a glass of cider, cozy up and catch up! There are nine episodes out so far, but we have to wait until December 4 for the next one.

[Read a much more detailed and articulate case for listening to 'Serial' from the WSJ. And thank you MEGHAN  for turning me onto this!]

Thursday, November 20, 2014

{CELEBRITY STYLE} JENNA LYONS AT SOLANGE'S WEDDING...


Drama. Feathers. Fur.

These are the feelings I have about the ensemble that J. Crew's creative director, Jenna Lyons, wore to Solange Knowles' wedding in New Orleans over the weekend. I am obsessed with this, and have now began to deeply consider the sartorial power of a white wedding. Except in this scenario, I would wear something like this, not the (equally cool, to be sure) cape-and-dress combo Solange wore for her big day.

Ms Lyons is no stranger to the dramatic maxi skirt + shirt combo, and I believe this is the same skirt she wore to the Met Gala (with a casual cashmere sweater) in 2011. (She actually wears a shirt and skirt to the Met Gala every year, I am pretty sure.) She is also a master of the brunette-and-red-lip combo, as well as the casual-coat-as-cape move. She has a lot of go-to moves, and a lot of hyphenated styling moments in her arsenal. Here, she uses them all in one dramatic, fantastic outfit. I love it.

*Image credit: The Observer

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MID-WEEK MUSIC MOMENT: GEORGE EZRA



{ My friends and family - they don't understand
They fear they'll lose so much - if you take my hand }

This song was sent to me by my friend Lauren, and I haven't been able to stop listening to it since. I had never heard of George Ezra (nĂ© George Barnett), but I think he's got the potential to seriously blow up in the coming months. This song, "Budapest" was something of a hit earlier this year, and it totally escaped my radar at the time. It's fun and lovely and a great toe-tapper for the desk on a frigid New York Wednesday. The video is great, and reminds me very much of my morning commute on the L train. 

For more of his music, you can check out one of his EPs on Spotify—but I'm kind of dying for his full album (you can find more of his music and videos on his YouTube channel. His voice is deep, gravely and soulful, and seems to bely more emotional damage than a person that young should have experienced. All the same, he's an extremely enjoyable blend of folk and pop, so I hope you like.

ALSO, for a real treat, check out his video for "Listen to the Man," which features your man Sir Ian McKellen being awesome.