Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide: The Frequent Flyer

Most of my Christmas shopping is already complete, but there are still a few hard-to-shop-for people on my list. This week, I'm posting holiday gift guides to help you with your own difficult gift recipients.

I'm sure many of us have a friend or relative who is ready to jet set at a moment's notice or is planning her next international excursion. For the frequent flyer, opt for luxe travel items or charming souvenirs to inspire her next vacation plans.

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Splendid, Two Pocket Cardigan, $72
Royce, Leather Passport Wallet, $59.99
Laura Ashley, Brittania Pillow, $57.76
Banana Republic, Lightweight Cashmere Scarf, $70
Pan Am, Orion Carry-On Bag, $75
Rau's Country Store, Russian Buildings Nesting Dolls, $69.98
Simply Ooh La La, Eiffel Tower Key Chain, $15.95
Kate Spade, Par Avion Stamp Small Henrietta Make-Up Case, $60
Kate Spade, Perry Street Clock, $40
Crate & Barrel, Decorative Globes, $5.95 - $6.95

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Black Friday!

The turkey is banished to the refrigerator, only to be reincarnated in the form of many poultry sandwiches. The only remnants of pumpkin pie are a few orange-tinted crumbs. The holiday cocktails have subsided into an epic headache. And yet the festivities continue in the 2 a.m. line outside of Best Buy.

I wish I could say I avoid Black Friday, but I can't help taking part in the twisted ritual. The flurry of people and intoxicating discounts kick off the holiday season. But when I watch someone yank a coveted DVD from another's hand, I vow never to do it again. Yet every year, I'm ready to go when the alarm sounds at the crack of dawn.

I didn't realize, however, that I'm taking part in a 28-year-old tradition. From a Detroit News article:

But few shoppers know that the sense of urgency that now rouses them to the pre-dawn hunt was manufactured here in Detroit, to spur sales during hard times in 1981.

The notion of an early bird sale to kick off the holiday shopping season was born at J.L. Hudson's, when the department store unlocked its doors at 9 a.m. -- half an hour earlier than usual -- and held a one-hour "doorbuster" sale.

Are you taking part in the chaos today? What deals have you scored?

And, please, don't trample anyone.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

photo via Martha Stewart

Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!

P.S. I've severely neglected my blog roll over the months. I'm planning on revamping it in the next week or two and adding many more wonderful blogs I've fallen for. If I'm on your line-up, please let me know! I don't want to miss anyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recent Purchase: F21 Ring

It's official: I'm pathetic. I thought I'd be content to just post pretty jewelry this morning. Nope. A few hours later, I found myself sifting through the cheap thrills of Forever21. For a menial investment of $4.80, this ring makes quite a statement.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wish List Wednesday: Jewelry

Today is officially the beginning of my Thanksgiving vacation. I feel slightly guilty for ditching the office in favor of cozy sweats and daytime TV - especially because I'm not actually traveling until tomorrow morning. But, this does give me the perfect opportunity to scour magazines and the Internet in search of fantastic holiday gift ideas (for myself and others).

Next week I'm planning a series of holiday gift guides, but I'm dedicating today's post entirely to jewelry. Costume baubles are one thing, but I rarely purchase fine jewelry for myself during the year. I leave that to my boyfriend and parents to splurge on the contents of a tiny, perfectly-wrapped little box.

Here's a collection of faux and real jewels to add to your wish list.

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Asha by ADM, Crystal and Lemon Quartz Earrings, $495, Diamond and Tiger's Eye Necklace, $225
Fred Flare, Dangling Paper Airplanes Necklace, $68
Alanna Bess, Smoky Quartz & Pyrite Necklace, $48 (on sale), Diamond and White Gold Ring, $295
Jean Paul Gaultier, Pendant Earrings, $389
Betsey Johnson, Large Snowflake Studs, $55
Kate Spade, All Wrapped Up Idiom Bangle, $78
J.Crew, Shadow Facet Necklace, $150
Guess, Avery Triple Hoop Rhinestone Earrings, $58
Banana Republic, Glam Leaf Earrings, $50
Daphna Simon, Large Silver Log Ring, $340

Win It!

Few things are better than free jewelry! Head over to Savvy Mode's giveaway to win a trendy little pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs stud earrings.

Holiday Dress-ing: Realist Edition

Yesterday's post left me fantasizing about layers of chiffon, yards of silk and piles of sequins. I've since wiped the drool from my keyboard and came to terms with my bank balance. Owning a dreamy Marchesa dress isn't exactly in my foreseeable future, so I've sought out affordable options for holiday cocktail parties. Each dress below rings in at under $150.

Snow White
(left to right)
BCBG Max Azria, Satin Halter Dress, $135.90 (on sale)
Topshop, Brocade Tube Dress, $90
Cynthia Steffe, Floral Clip Cotton "Fatima" Dress, $130 (on sale)

Bright Night

(left to right)
Banana Republic, Twist Wrap Dress, $125
J.Crew, Silk Taffeta Strapless Sanglé Dress, $59.99 (on sale)
Ralph Lauren, Shannon Silk Ruffle Wrap Dress, $119.99 (on sale)

Black Tie
(left to right)
Rachel Rachel Roy, Belted Matte Jersey Dress, $129
Maggie London, Matte Jersey Sheath Dress, $98
BCBGeneration, Metallic Tiered Ruffle Strapless Dress, $112

Nip & Tuck

(left to right)
Max & Cleo, Pleated Taffeta Strapless Bubble Dress, $107
Arden B, Taffeta Shine Bow Tube Dress, $78
Blondie Nites, Strapless Dress, $139

Sparkle & Shine
(left to right)
INC International Concepts, Sequin Sleeveless Stripe Dress, $99
Arden B, Bow Front Sequin Tube Dress, $88
INC International Concepts, Open Back Sleeveless Sequin Sheath, $99

My favorite is the black
Rachel Rachel Roy dress. Which one(s) do you like?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Dress-ing: Fantasy Edition

I've come across many gorgeous cocktail dresses in my search for holiday attire - and have become heartbreakingly aware that many of my favorites will never hang in my closet. Each of the frocks below are out of my price range, but a little Monday morning eye candy has never hurt anyone.

Snow White
(left to right)
Jason Wu, Embroidered Chiffon Drape Dress, $2,350
Marchesa, Organza Jeweled Strapless Dress, $1,980
Temperley London, Mini Bea Silk Dress, $1,795

Bright Night

(left to right)
Mark + James, Strapless Beaded Bodice Mini Dress, $485
Notte by Marchesa, Ribbon-Trimmed Silk-Chiffon Dress, $695
Vivienne Westwood, Rill Silk Asymmetric Dress, $1,100

Black Tie
(left to right)
Marchesa, Sequined Strapless Dress, $4,620
Alice + Olivia, Bustier Satin Dress, $525
Matthew Williamson, Jewel Detail Black Dress, $2,217

Nip & Tuck

(left to right)
Preen, Fountain Cotton-Jersey Dress, $350
Marchesa, Embroidered Silk-Organza Dress, $1,725
Marc Jacobs, Duchesse Satin Zip-Embellished Dress, $1,900

Sparkle & Shine
(left to right)
3.1 Phillip Lim, Silk Sequin T-Shirt Dress, $895
Alexander Wang, Draped Pailette Dress, $1,152
Hervé Léger, Sequined Bandage Dress, $2,300

What's your fantasy cocktail dress for the season?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hangover Helpers

I apologize for being such a lame blogger this week. I've been busy with networking functions and social gatherings that left me a little exhausted and a little hungover - and there's a good chance that holiday parties will leave me sluggish for much of December. Fortunately, even a holiday hangover can be a little glamorous.

Choose loose garments in calm colors, like this silk slip and oversize cardigan, and give your tired feet a rest in a pair of chic cable knit slippers. When you're ready for a nap, block out the morning sun with a satin sleeping mask and cozy up with a plush throw. Use an eco-friendly glass water bottle to wash down a few pain killers. Once your stomach has begun to settle, order a pizza or head to the nearest Arby's for my favorite hangover cure: a non-diet soda and curly fries.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wish List Wednesday: Springcart Designs

I recently stumbled upon Springcart Designs and found an online boutique filled with a well-edited selection of affordable home goods and accessories, including charming tea towels and jewelry. Here are my favorites:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweet Feet

I love sequins as much as the next gal and I'm sure I'll have plenty of sparkle-infused posts before the holiday season is over. But right now, I'm fixated on a rainbow of deeply saturated hues after falling in love with my new candy-apple red pumps. I'm sure any of the brightly-colored pairs below will also guarantee a cheerful holiday season.

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Stuart Weitzman, Jumbo Evening Slingbacks, $325
Ras, Dress Flat with Bow, $109.39
Wet Seal, Satin Bow Pump, $24.50
Bourne, Eva Pump, $244.95
Kate Spade, Gracious Pump, $263
Kate Spade, Fiona Flat, $95

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Recent Purchase: Party Shoes

I spent most of this morning and afternoon running errands around the city, including a stop at DSW. I had a $10 coupon and had planned to pick up a pair of tights or socks - just to use the credit before it expired. Instead, I found the prettiest pair of candy-apple red satin pumps by Nina. I can hardly wait to wear them to holiday festivities.

Happy Weekend!

In case you missed it:
It's been an exhausting week. I'm looking forward to some much-need R&R this weekend with a pile of DVDs and a new book. I'll also be scouring old issues of Domino to find inspiration for our bathroom remodel. (Pictures of our progress coming soon!)

What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hostess with the Mostess

There's still a couple of weeks left before the holiday season is in full swing and party invitations begin to arrive. Of course I can count on my family members to get together for the traditional celebrations, but I can never predict which of my friends (or acquaintances) will host a gathering - making early shopping for unique host(ess) gifts difficult. Here are a few gift ideas to keep on hand for a holiday host or hostess.

Do your part to protect the coffee table by bringing J.Crew's holiday Hostess Coasters ($24.50). Use the reversible coasters to identify drink orders - shaken or stirred?

A bottle of wine is a welcome addition to any gathering. Create a standout gift by tying on a Doorknob Wine Stopper ($10) from Pottery Barn.

I get nervous about attending a party where I only know one or two people. TableTopics Conversation Cards ($29) can help break the ice.

Your hostess has spent hours prepping food and drinks for the party. Treat her to a box of French macaroons ($14 - $23) from Sucre - and don't allow her to share.

If your friend is a seasoned party-thrower, she'll find inspiration in Kate Spade's book Occasions ($15.60) for future gatherings.

What's your favorite hostess gift to give or receive?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wish List Wednesday: Juicy Couture

When Juicy Couture first came into popularity, I swore that I would never buy anything from a brand that splashed its name across the tushes of American college girls. (I normally don't have such a mightier-than-thou approach to fashion, but this trend irked me.) I've noticed positive changes in Juicy's line over the last few seasons and I'm relieved to see even more lust-worthy items.

Queen Anne Watch, $295

Pavé Crystal Stud Earrings, $48

Is there a brand you previously shunned, but are now starting to warm up to?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oh, Deer!

Starting renovations on my boyfriend's place just makes me prematurely excited to decorate - which is going to be a bit of a battle. We have such different aesthetics; I'm a city girl with an affinity for graphic patterns, cream couches and textured layers. He's a country boy with a rural home and a dead animal or two on the walls. We're making small strides by agreeing on subtle paint hues and a deep slate-colored tile for the kitchen. But if he really expects me to move in eventually, the hunting "prizes" have go into storage.

I'm willing to embrace the wild in a more refined way, however. I'm quite taken with regal stag items like these:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Inspiration Board: Cordial Cherries

Cordial cherries are a perennial favorite of mine - even though I limit my indulgence to the holiday season. I blame it on tradition. For as long as I can remember, my dad has received a box of chocolate-covered cherries for Christmas. And every year, my mom and I covertly tear back the cellophane wrapper, forcing my dad to share.

I picked up a box this weekend to kick off the holiday season, but there are other sweetly indulgent ways to enjoy this flavor combination throughout the year:

Cherry Bomb Sundae

Cherry Cordial Macaroons

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Martini

The color combination is much too perfect to leave hidden away in a candy box. Warm hues of chocolate and burgundy are beautiful for holiday dressing.

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Delia's, Janie Crochet Cardigan, $44.50
Kenneth Cole, Drop Stone Pendant Necklace, $40
J.Crew, Silk Taffeta Bow Monde Dress, $225
Kate Spade, Knightsbridge Remy, $225
Nina, Electra Platform Pump, $73.26
Talbots, Beaded Bracelet, $29.99
J.Crew, Cotton Cady Lydia Dress, $195
Bounkit, Ruby and Smokey Topaz Earrings, $320

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sartorial Weakness

Emily's post today at Cupcakes and Cashmere inspired me to share my accessories weakness: vintage jewelry. I've already pilfered costume jewels from my grandmother's jewelry box. And I can't visit an estate sale, flea market or antique mall without coming home with at least one new-to-me bauble like the starburst brooch above - my latest find.

Do you share a love for vintage jewels?

Happy Weekend!

photo via domino

In case you missed it:
This weekend, my time will probably be split equally between Menards and Home Depot. My boyfriend and I are ready to begin remodeling his house. To say his place is "in need of a woman's touch" is putting it lightly. But with some elbow grease (and new fixtures, cabinetry, flooring, ...), it should be a lovely little home. I'll keep you posted on the process - complete with photos.

What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ice Queen

I had never seriously considered shopping at Swarovski before. I always felt my money was better spent on real jewels or that I could find similar costume jewelry for less. It seems I may have been a little hasty in my assumptions. After carefully scouring their Web site for the first time, I discovered many breathtaking statement pieces.

(pictured clockwise, starting with upper left)

Glamour Mocca Necklace, $650
Fantasy Large Necklace, $180
Hyacinth Ring, $240
Highlight Bangle, $425
Ginseng Ebony Bangle, $425
Forever Jet Hematite Ring, $340
Highlight Pierced Earrings, $140
Stonehenge Black Diamond Pierced Earrings, $95
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