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The New Year’s Eve Dress Checklist

December 23, 2013

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New Year’s Eve is easily my least favorite holiday. The expectations to have the most epic time of the year are unreasonably high, it’s a pain to get around town, most things end up costing a fortune, and all the eve really brings me is a hangover to kick off the new year. And yet each year I find myself fully immersed in the holiday, right down to the festive party outfit.

I don’t wear sequins or feathers all that frequently — though this is something I’d like to change (Hello, resolution!). But New Year’s Eve seems almost incomplete without at least one of the two ornaments, especially given the Studio 54 theme party that I’m hosting this year. Did I mention I don’t like this holiday? Hard to believe, right?

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And so, instead of stressing to find an outfit in the few post-Christmas why-did-I-eat-so-much-cheese? days, I rummaged into the very back of my closet — I swear I was getting close to Narnia I was so far in there — and pulled out an old dress that I’ve never worn but happens to have all the things I look for in a New Year’s Eve frock.

Sequins? Check. Feathers? Check. Short hemline? Check.  And then there were  check boxes that I didn’t even know existed! Lace? Check! Cleavage flattering? Cha-heck! Comfortable for dancing? Checkity check check!

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You can call me superficial, but now that I have my outfit sorted out, I’m not as concerned about whether this New Year’s Eve is a total bust. If I fall asleep before midnight, so be it — at least my feathers looked good. If I trip and fall on the dance floor, who cares? At least my sequins sparkled under the spinning disco ball. If I get lipstick all over my face, that’s fine. My boobs are the focal point here, anyway. You see sometimes, I think, it really is all about the outfit. Goodness knows I’m not going to have a good time if I hate what I’m wearing. But maybe that’s just me, in which case, as I said, feel free to call me superficial.

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Cynthia Rowley dress | Boy. by Band of Outsiders blazer | Moschino heels | Lucky Star necklace | Zara clutch | Cartier ring
// photos by Emily Malan

Because it’s Friday: ‘Tis the Season

December 20, 2013

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“My stomach looks like a lowercase b.”

“I ate the cookies like they were carrots.”

“Maybe I should put down this burrata.”

“I’m losing sight of my ribcage.”

“Oh, I’m fat, there’s no getting past it.”

What do all of these self-deprecating statements have in common with one another, you ask? They’re all quotes from the mouths of me, my friends, and family in the past seven days. The holiday season is here and our waistlines are so kind to remind us.

If I look back a few days and forward a week, I see a calendar that is full of hors d’oeuvre cocktail parties and dinners. I see me making valiant efforts to go to the gym so that maybe I can enjoy at least one of the eight upcoming cheese plates guilt free. I see my scale phobia grow tenfold. But in the midst of seeing the button of my pants flying off, I also see laughter. I see family time and hanging out with old friends. I see decorating the Christmas tree with my mom. I see celebrating those last final hours of 2013 with some of my closest friends. The holiday season is here indeed, and it is wonderful.

But let’s get back to the eating, shall we?

While talking with my friend about my rapidly growing fupa the other day, she told me to,”Lock it up,” and rightfully so. “It’s the holidays,” she continued, “We’re all in this together.” And that’s when I finally relaxed. The Holiday 8 — aka the month long period of excessive eating and inevitable weight gain — is something we all experience, or at least it is in my family and friend circle. And maybe this makes me a bad person (sorry, Santa), but I take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone when I zip up my skirt and find that it’s a wee bit tighter than it was just a few weeks ago.

So should you find yourself cursing your mirror or breaking out the elastic waistband or smashing your scale with the rolling pin you used to make a double batch of sugar cookies, rejoice in knowing that I’m right there with you (no, not literally, because that would just be creepy). My pants are feeling tighter. My jackets a little snug. Even my socks seem to have stretched out. But you know what? I’m going to go and enjoy a slice of Bouche de Noël because it’s the holidays and that’s what they’re (kind of) about.

Après Ski

December 19, 2013

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It’s come to my attention that people do this thing called skiing. Though I’ve tried the sport once, maybe twice, my ex-ballerina tendencies had me turning my skis out into first position instead of in like the shape of a slice of pizza to bring myself to a full stop. As you can imagine, this led to me falling hard on my butt on more than one occasion, and since I was around the stubborn age of seven, maybe eight, I decided to stop and take up shop in the lodge with a steaming mug of hot cocoa. I haven’t worn a pair of skis since — though 20 years later I’m not opposed to the idea, especially the part involving a post-ski lodge hangout.

While sitting in the doctor’s office Monday morning, I couldn’t help but listen to two college girls fussing over what they were going to wear during their winter break, après ski. “I want to be comfortable but like look cute at the same time,” one of them said. “I know, I think I’m just going to bring a bunch of leggings and my Northface,” said the other. Halt. Stop. What? Leggings and a Northface? Sacrebleu!  I didn’t dare chime in and tell them they had better options — I hate when people do that — but it did get me thinking about what I might wear were I ever to find myself in an “après ski” situation.

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I began by considering the requirements as dictated by Girl #1: comfortable and cute. This obviously meant something spandexy — like Girl #2′s suggested leggings — on the bottom. But with so many elastic waistbands on the market today, why be boring with a standard pair of cotton leggings when you can wear something leather and get the same roomy benefits? Next I approached my top. I find few things more comfortable than a soft, worn in t-shirt, but since we’re talking snow here, I needed something warm too. I opted for a chunky-knit cardigan which offers a bit more breathability than your standard pullover — a required credential if you happen to be roasting in front of the fire place.

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After that it was all about the accoutrements, and given Tuesday’s post, it should come as no surprise that I went for something ultra furry. Since ski apparel is usually waterproof and puffy, I decided to switch things up with an oversize shearling coat that can easily double as a blanket for two. To top off the entire look and amp up the glam or should I say “cute” factor, I added a pair of mirrored aviators which I consider to be the most universally flattering and glamorous set of shades.

Now, I have no intentions of going skiing anytime soon — in fact I’m leaving snowy NYC for foggy San Francisco tomorrow. But were I to find myself in a post-ski hang session, this is what I would wear. It’s also what I would wear on a cold Monday in Union Square, which is exactly where Emily and I took these photos. End scene.

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Searle shearling coat | Topshop cardigan & t-shirt | Paige leather leggings | Doc Marten’s boots | YSL ‘Muse’ bag | Max Mara scarf | Ray-Ban aviators
// photos by Emily Malan

Holiday Gift Guide • Under $25

December 17, 2013

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As we get deeper and deeper into the holiday season, I find my pockets growing shallower and shallower. Where did all them funds go?! Ah yes, Christmas parties, gifts, takeout because it’s too cold to think about going to the grocery store. The holidays are expensive, but there are ways to give your loved ones something special without having to sell an egg or rob a bank. For my last gift guide, I’ve gathered a series of gifts from comfy pajamas to a nice bottle of olive oil, all under $25.

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1. Rachel Roy Safety Pin Earrings ($22) – I’ve seen a lot of pricey safety pin earrings out there. This led to discouragement which led to putting a real safety pin in my ear which led to an infection. But I could have avoided all that had I known these affordable Rachel Roy earrings were around, so now I’m telling you in the hopes that you’ll bypass my mistake and go for the real deal.

2. Eastern Collective USB Cord ($14) – How often has someone gone sneaking off with your cord? This brightly wrapped cable prevents that from happening and makes that whole detangling situation a no brainer.

3. Classic Striped PJ Set ($20) – PJs are rarely something I buy myself, but I’ve always enjoyed giving and/or receiving them. This matchy-matchy pair is just the kind of girly update I need from my usual oversize t-shirt and boxer shorts.

4. Zara Quilted Clutch ($25) – Solve your friend’s NYE purse problem with this bright pink quilted clutch.

5. World Map Necklace ($20) – You’re giving your friend the world, is there anything better than that?

6. Creatures of Comfort Rose Bike Bell ($23) – Biking is huge right now, it’s like the bacon of 2013. And while gifting your friend a helmet shows you care about their safety, why not give something with a bit more spunk like this rose gold bike bell that’s practical too.

7. West Elm Heart Mug ($8) – When I was little my babysitter gave me a giant mug with a raccoon face on it. Inside the mug were candies and a matching mini raccoon stuffed animal. It was such a creative container for other gifts and I love that I still think of her every time I drink out of it.

8. Brooklyn Slate Cheese Board ($24) – My friend gave me one of these for my birthday and I get excited at every opportunity to break it out. Not only can you write the types of cheeses in chalk on said board, but it makes for a much prettier display, even if the cheese is devoured in under ten minutes.

9. DaVero Olive Oil ($24) – Little kept secret! My family makes olive oil! And though it may seem like a shameless self-promotion, I can assure you it’s not. Though we’ve been making olive oil for as long as I can remember, I’ve waited until now to tell you that it’s absolutely delicious and a fantastic gift for anyone with tastebuds.

10. Portable Mobile Power Supply ($22) – This is one of those gifts that everyone enjoys. I know I’m not alone when I say the battery life on my phone is pathetic, and this little portable power supply is just the kind of thing any girl could throw into her purse for a busy day of meetings and/or errands.

11. Vintage Remix Coffee Table Book ($25) – Ah, coffee table books. As surefire a gift as a yummy smelling candle.

12. Diamond Double Ring ($10) – The design of this ring is refined with a twist.  I can not only imagine it on my own middle finger but also the fingers of many of my friends. And for a price as reasonable as ten bucks!? WHY NOT!

13. Astrological Jewelry Stand ($20) – This jewelry stand sits on my vanity and I look at it every day. Whether displaying some of your favorite jewelry pieces or just standing there on its own, this gift is bound to get you a high five and a hug from whomever you’re giving it to.

14. Indian Bazaar Camel Tassel ($25) – This is one of those gifts for the more creative person on your recipient list. Though these colorful tassels are marketed as luggage tags, I would use them as everything from a keychain to a charm draped on a chain around my neck.

 

Furry Accoutrements

December 17, 2013

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Sometimes I think that giving a person a link to my Pinterest account would tell them more about me than a list of likes and dislikes. A simple scroll through my various pins would tell you that I like ocean creatures, am obsessed with pasta and avocados, and have a fairly unpredictable and eclectic sense of style — at least for most of the year. You see, while recently sifting through some winter pins for inspiration, I noticed an undeniable theme in my cold weather style ideals: furry accoutrements! There is hardly a photo in that board of “Cozy for Winter” pins that doesn’t feature some kind of luscious fur draped around the shoulders of a stylish lady.

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Aside from the old Hollywood glamor of fur (there’s a reason why some of the best furs are vintage), I realized that the reason I am so attracted to these pelty additions is that they do exactly what you want an accessory to do;  they add oomph. Take the above left image for example. A pretty standard outfit: camel blazer, blue button down, leggings, converse and a hat. But then pow! it’s suddenly not so standard because there’s a lime green fur stole hanging around her shoulders.

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What’s more is that a simple draping of fur adds a sense of lavishness to winter looks, which let’s face it, can often be Bland Town USA. As pro puffer jacket as I am, I’m not afraid to admit that they frequently take the stylish element down to a zero. But even a fur stole can make a floor-length sleeping bag coat look fashionable. Just take a gander at any Canada Goose jacket and you’ll instantly be turned on to parkas. You know why? Because they’ve added a maleable wire into the hood so that you can keep that furry trim perky and voluptuous up around your shoulders. Am I talking about breasts or fur trim here? Good question. I’m talking about latter, but I consider fur to be the Jessica Rabbit of sartorial accoutrements. There’s just no way you won’t feel sumptuous or sexy.

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Shop a selection of voluptuous furs below! Go ahead. Don’t be afraid. It’s time to get your Jessica Rabbit on.

// all photos via Pinterest