Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween - party time!

Enjoy these helpful reminders from entertainer Diane Gottsman when throwing a monster bash!

A beautiful illustration from pve design.

Start with the perfect invitation
 From e-vite to hand delivered card, invitations are a great way to let everyone know what type of fun to expect. Make sure and include all of the information guests will need. You don’t want to leave your guests questioning if they should or should not dress up in costume.
Be clear about the kids. 
When you are making your guest list, do a “kid count”. If you come up with a large number of little goblins, consider having a kid friendly party to make it easier for parents to attend. With interactive games, yummy treats, great party favors, and a fun neighborhood chaperone (a.k.a. responsible high school students supervising the children in order to make some extra cash), the children won’t want to leave.
Good taste and smart judgment. 
Choose your costume and decorations based on who is on your guest list. Kids may be frightened by the sight of fake blood and spooky ghosts and your boss may not appreciate your choice of French maid costume 
Clare's PSA - the 'skank' factor is my least favorite part of Halloween. 
Make good choices, keep it classy or creative, and respect yourself & others!
Download music to your iPod – not just scary noise. 
Limiting the party to spooky background noise will start to drain the energy out of the celebration. Once the mood is in full swing, mix it up with great dance music. Make sure to open up space in your living room for people to move freely without knocking over your lamps and picture frames.
Set lighting carefully. 
Make sure there is appropriate lighting in the parts of the house with high traffic. The restroom, kitchen or spare bedroom where coats and purses are kept will need to be adequately lit. You don’t want your guests feeling as if they are in a dark, haunted house.
Finger food. 
When hosting a Halloween party it’s important to offer food more substantial than candy and sugary treats.
Halloween games. 
Incorporating games into the evening is a great way to involve guests in conversation and encourage new friendships. Make sure to organize it before hand and have concise directions; nothing kills a party game faster than a confused and bored guest.
Don’t forget the Trick-or-Treaters. 
If you are doing something at home, you don’t want to ignore the doorbell. Since your house is decorated and the lights are on, people will assume that you are offering candy. Enlist a high school neighbor to help hand out treats, or leave a cute sign by a basket or cauldron full of candy saying, “Excuse our absence, ghoulish party underway: Please help yourself to one handful of candy.” Leave a bag of candy inside close to the front door allowing you to easily replenish the basket throughout the evening.
Party Favors. 
When it’s time to say goodbye, send your guests home with a cute goodie bag to remember the night.
Relax and have fun. 
It’s your party and you should enjoy it as much as your ghoulish guests! Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, toodles!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to drink champagne like an expert

Tuesday toast!!
Here's how to drink your bubbly...dancing on tables is optional :)

From the editors of Town & Country Magazine, Winemaker and Champagne expert Elise Losfelt of Mo√ęt & Chandon shares 10 tips to drinking champagne like a bubbly enthusiast. 

1. The glass - The best way to enjoy champagne is in a white wine glass. A white wine glass's larger bowl enables the wine to open up in the glass, allowing you to better enjoy all the aromas and to savor the complexity of the champagne. Traditional champagne flutes are perfect for showcasing champagne's stream of bubbles, but their narrow share limits the drinker's experience of aromas and flavors. Coupe glasses, on the other hand, create the opposite experience; the glass's extra-wide mouth amply exposes the champagne in the air allowing the bubbles and aromas to escape quickly.

2. Best way to open - When opening your bottle, make sure you keep the cage on. The cage helps you control the cork so it doesn't fly out when it pops, and also gives you leverage to help separate the cork from the bottle. When removing the cork, hold the top of the cage with your thumb to keep the cork in place and untwist the wire six times. Then, hold the cage and cork together in one hand while using the other to twist the bottle's base in a circular direction away from the cork to slowly work out the cork out. Twisting the bottle instead of the cork allows you to more gently remove the cork and have more control.

3. Where to store - A common misconception when storing champagne is to leave it in the fridge. If you're planning to enjoy your bottle of champagne immediately (within three or four days after buying it) storing it in the refrigerator is fine. But if it sits there for a week or more the cork can dry out, as there is no humidity in refrigerators. As corks dry out, the seal between the bottle and the cork loosen up and the champagne will oxidize faster, changing its aromas. Instead, keep it in a cool place in your home, away from any light, and where the temperature is consistent.

4. The ideal temperature - Once you're ready to enjoy your champagne, the best way to chill your bottle is to fill an ice bucket with ice and one-third water and allow your bottle to cook from around 15-20 minutes.

5. Pouring - When pouring champagne, only fill your glass about one-third of the way full. If you over-pour, it will warm up too quickly.

6. Hold the stem - Remember to hold your glass by the stem and not by the bowl because your hands will warm the champagne up too quickly. And, holding the glass by the stem will make you look more sophisticated!

7. The stopper - In between pours, don't forget to use a good champagne stopper to preserve all the delicious bubbles! A stopper will keep your open bottle fresh for about one day - in case you don't finish in one sitting :)

8. Drink champagne with your dinner - Many people think they should only use champagne as an aperitif, but that is not the only way to drink it. Champagne pairs beautifully with foods like fish, meat, grilled vegetables, and risotto, and can bring out new flavors you've never tasted in these foods.

9. Best foods to pair with bubbly - Also, don't be afraid to experiment with food pairings. Oysters and caviar are fantastic with champagne, and more casual foods like truffle fries, fried chicken, and cheese are equally as delicious with champagne. Champagne loves oily, salty, and fatty foods, as they bring out the wine's frutiness and freshness, so foods like burgers, tacos, BBQ sauce, and lobster (who would have thought?!) are exciting new pairings to try that champagne connoisseurs have been enjoying for years.

10. Celebrate every day - If you have a bottle of champagne in your refrigerator, don't wait for a special occasion to enjoy it. You will see that by opening the bottle, the special occasion will come to you. Celebrate life everyday!

Write-up via Harper's Bazaar.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

What a preview...

From Sunday evening to Thursday afternoon I sampled the life of a superhero. And by superhero, I mean, a full-time working mom. 

For the second half of my aunt and uncle's trip (grandma covered last week), I watched my 10, 15, and 16 year old cousins. It was a really good "preview" of what might be my reality one day. 
There is no denying that I totally lucked out on a lot of fronts. The kids were well-behaved; transportation was taken care of, thanks to a licensed driver, carpools, and grandma; my office wasn't too far away; dinners were flexible (a couple at home, a couple out); and I still remembered long division!
But there were a fair share of less than perfect moments...
after school detention, traffic on the way to school = late slip, alarms not going off, not understanding the purpose of a planner to write down homework assignments (we had to ask people what the homework was every night...not even kidding),  cancelled after school yoga class, evening basketball practice, after work client meetings...yes, there were a number of far from ideal scenarios. 

I didn't have time to read, write, jog, or even shower...if I really wanted to get everything done, there really wouldn't be any time for sleep.
-- I really don't know how moms do it, they are truly wonder women. I am officially in awe --
If I ever become a mother, 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. will have to my magic 'productive' hour. (I still have a hard time waking up at 7:00, so thank goodness having to factor that into my routine is a loooong way away...) If Hermione decided to share her time turner, that would be a slightly different story. Alas, the life of muggles. 

 I have always been so charmed by this kate spade advertisement. Not only is it seasonally appropriate, but it captures an entire maternal lifestyle in one moment.
Modern & Traditional. Cosmopolitan & Suburban. Professional & Domestic. Organized & Fun. Stylish & Casual. 
Effortless Motherhood (with a kate spade tote).

My little "working mother" preview ensured me that it definitely looks easier in a kate spade ad :) 
Have a nice weekend, toodles!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Celebrating 75 years of Madeline

Madeline, one of my favorite characters, turned 75 this year.
I have always enjoyed the books, in fact I think I love them even more now, than I did as a little girl. The presentation of twelve little girls in two straight lines running through Paris is marvelous. With beautiful illustrations, charming rhymes, and a fantastic depiction of a young girl's adventures through one of the most fabulous cities on earth - who wouldn't envy Madeline? 
She finds a way to get into trouble wherever she goes, but with a yellow coat and Eiffel Tower in the background, a fiesty red-head couldn't look better :) 
This past weekend, The CBS Morning Show had a wonderful segment on the beloved story books, that I have shared below. 

While researching the segment, I came across a couple wonderful articles that I would recommend checking out if you're interested in the history of Madeline, author Ludwig Bemelman and Madeline's legacy. 

I took bits and pieces of an excerpt from The New York Times piece by Edward Rothstein for you to read below:
"Could anything be more steeped in the order and orders of the Old World than those 12 little girls leave an old house covered with vines, in two straight lines, in rain or shine? It has been 75 years since they made their appearance in Ludwig Bemelman's classic Madeline with their hairbows and yellow hats: models of propriety being led through the gradeur of touristic Paris (the Opera, the Place Vendome, Notre Dame, the Tuileries). Except, of course, for Madeline, who never quite stayed in place. 
"Many readers under the age of 95 have Bemelman's images and words inscribed in their consciousness: Madeline daring to 'pooh-pooh' a tiger in the zoo; Lord Cucuface thinking it disgraceful for 'young ladies to embrace a dog of uncertain race;' and, of course, Miss Clavel, the only woman in children's literature, who, when afraid of a disaster, could run fast and faster, and give the black habit of a nun the sweep of a superhero's cape. 
"Yet there are many particular aspects to the first and best of these books...Here is a tale about Paris by an Austrian immigrant to the United States, who began writing it on the back of a menu in Pete's Tavern on Irving Place in Manhattan. Madeline first appeared in Life magazine in September 1939, the same week World World II began, but she is immersed in a sacral, almost antique world...
This Paris certainly didn't exist at the time, and was doomed to become an even more distant memory in a matter of months...
"In fact, the books have not found a French audience the way they have found an American one. They show an imagined France, not an experienced France. The only hint of disruption in their fantastical vision of an old order is Madeline herself, whose spunky individualism is a mark of modernity, and whose mischief just manages to shake Miss Clavel's equanimity without the more serious consequences history was about to provide...
"Even the final lines of Madeline are meant with a wink, as we learn 'And that's all there is - there isn't anymore'...and though you aren't left deeply moved by the fascinations of this show, by the end, you feel an urge to applaud." 
read more here.

If you happen to be in New York, this weekend is the last opportunity to visit "Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans" at the New-York Historical Society. The collection honors the 75th anniversary of Madeline's publication, with an exhibition of more than 90 original artworks. Drawings from all of the Madeline books will be featured, in addition to Bemelman's drawings of the old Ritz Hotel in New York, murals from a re-discovered Paris bistro, panels from the Onassis yacht, and cache fabrics based on an early picture book, as described by the New-York Historical Society's exhibition announcement. 
Enjoy your weekend, toodles!


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Friday, October 10, 2014

Old School Cool

My dad sent me this article last week. With as much time as our society spends trying to be "cool," it's amazing how many people still totally miss the boat. 
Why? Too many people forget about being classy

very/highly stylish and elegant
a deeper, more meaningful word for 'cool'

I am sure it wouldn't shock any of you, that I value "class" over "cool" any day. I've found when the former is established, the latter tends to follow. It's a different kind of cool, but the kind worth having.
Below are dozens of pictures showing old school cool, at its best. 
(I put an asterisk* next to my favorites!)
Happy Friday, toodles!

Teenagers, 1950.*

Brigitte Bardot visits Pablo Picasso at his studio in Antibes, 1956.

Sean Connery relaxing.*

Scooter girl, 1969.

Frank Sinatra stepping out of helicopter with a drink.*

Queen Elizabeth and Price Phillip at the horse races, 1968.*

Jamaican streets.*

Muhammad Ali

The original way to "text" in class, 1944.*

Audrey Hepburn at a premiere on September 14, 1953.*

Caroline Kennedy walks ahead while her father carries her doll, 1960.*

The gorgeous necklines of the 1950s.*

Ice skating, 1937. *

The Beatles.

Teenagers and their first car, 1950s.

High school fashion feature, 1970s.

Elspeth Beard, shortly after becoming the first Englishwoman to circumnavigate the world by motorcycle. The journey took three years and covered 48,000 miles.

Clint Eastwood with actresses Olive Sturgess and Dani Crayne in San Francisco, 1954.

A family photo from the early 1900s.*

Ernst Hemingway passport photo, 1923.

Girl with a typewriter and a smoke.

Cary Grant, 1950s.*

Children of Chicago, 1941.*

Michael Caine, 1959.

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his cabinet, 1968.

A couple in London, 1963.*

Graffiti Artist. (Love the lady looking on...)*

Ellen O'Neal, the greatest woman freestyle skateboarder in the 1970s.

Marlon Brando's screen test in "Rebel Without a Cause," 1955.

Kevin Spacey. 

Paul Newman boating during a film festival in Venice, 1963. 

A couple dancing in a 1950s "Be Bop" theatre.*

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall Outfit Crush

This is one of the primary looks I am trying to channel this fall. In the past year, I have really become obsessed with the blazer + jeans look. Totally French chic. 
In college, I lived in leggings and oversized button downs. But, since leaving the campus lifestyle, I've decided I need to wear pants. The upgrades when you reach the "real world..." :) Don't get me wrong, I love coming home from work and changing into leggings, but now, they pretty much stay in the comfort of my own home. Good things often come with upgrades (wearing pants = better style!) That said, I am still on the search for the perfect skinny black pants. I used to wear the minnie pant from J.Crew, but they stretch out really easily - a similar problem with the Winnie (J.Crew Factory) and the Pixie (Old Navy). I also find them to be just an inch or so too short, where I feel it's border-line awkward length for too cool of temps. For work, I have a couple of black trousers (J.McLaughlin, Theory, etc.), but they don't have the right "streamlined" look that I'm going for. Black denim might be the next best option, but denim doesn't always have the same "dressy" factor. I'd love to hear if you have any recommendations!
Anyways, back to the outfit...
 A few weeks ago my parents treated me to this leopard clutch from Alligator Purse (the boutique I where I work on the weekends) and I just recently bought these Report black flats. I have decided I really like the ankle strap detail on flats, especially when I wear crop pants. You know how you sometimes find looks that work on you/your body type - well this look is one that is totally perfect for me! Combining my favorite details like black cropped pants (when I find the perfect pair!), a white blouse, gold earrings, Persol shades, and a blazer...well I could wear this every single day and feel like a style queen. 
A lot of these pieces are a little bit pricier, but worthwhile investments, total classics that could withstand for trends for years to come! 
Keep an eye on sales, for example Piperlime is having a 20% off sale this week (where I snagged the shoes). J.Crew has sales quite frequently - I actually bought my Schoolboy Blazer (Navy) this spring for $50! If you are a AAA member you receive 30% off glasses at Lenscrafters, a great place to invest on sunglasses - yes, you can buy eye ware without a prescription!
I don't frequently post outfit looks, but when I do, I want to make sure I'm being realistic about my shopping habits. Props to the girls who can go on shopping sprees, unfortunately bills, budgets, and lots of saving is my reality, so that leaves bargain shopping as the method to my madness :)
I hope you are enjoying the fall weather this week, toodles!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Street Styles

Fashion month is over, phew!
I have a quick round-up of my favorite street style looks from the past few weeks...

See the complete albums on Harper's Bazaar

via Harpers Bazaar albums linked above. All photos taken by Diego Zuko. 

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