December dressing is all about making a statement while staying warm! Whether I’m wearing a chunky turtleneck sweater, a puffer vest, a bow-tied beanie, or a colorful coat, I always aim to incorporate a little bit of cozy chic into my outfits during December. Tis the season!
Secret Santa is one of my favorite holiday traditions! Ever since high school (or maybe even before that..), a group of my girl friends and I have always done a Secret Santa exchange. We randomly exchanged names, shopped for our secret assigned friend, and met up to have a fun little gift exchange. I think the whole premise is awesome — it’s all about quality over quantity. And I don’t just mean price! With Secret Santa, you only have one friend to shop for. So, naturally, you’re less stressed to find the most amazing gifts for each and every single one of your girlfriends… you just have to find one perfect present. I feel like I put so much more thought into finding something that my particular friend will absolutely love. And then the culmination is seeing what everyone chose for their partner in a fun & festive setting! (And you spend way less money, too, since you’re only shopping for one friend, which is always kind of a plus around the holidays! If you’re not already doing a Secret Santa exchange, it’s such a great gift idea for a large group of friends.)
To me, gifting your girlfriends is almost as easy as gifting yourself. You know her favorite brands, you know what she hates, you know what she loves, you know her pet peeves, you know her favorite type of vino (hence, which wine glasses to buy her), you know her must-have shade of lipstick, you know what she needs, and you most certainly know what she does not need. Am I right?!
One place that I’ve been finding a ton of fabulous gifts is Zappos! A few weeks ago, Zappos put together a Secret Santa exchange for a few bloggers. Naturally, Hallie and I had each other’s names. I had so much fun scouring the site to find a few gifts that were perfect for her. I ended up getting her a juicer, a travel coffee mug, and a pair of rain boots. If that isn’t the most random assortment of gifts, I don’t know what is! However, she had been talking about wanting a juicer for months and randomly mentioned that she didn’t have a travel coffee mug a few weeks ago. Done and done! The rain boots were a different story… Every time it would rain, I would still see Hallie still running around the city in her Tieks. The girl needed a pair of wellies! So a pair of wellies is what she got. Hallie got me this watch and this candle in my favorite Archipelago scent. She knows me too well!
See this full outfit post here. And below is a little peak at my windowsill that doubles as a nightstand..
Here are a few more gifts that I’m loving from Zappos…
I’ve slowly been making my way through my holiday bucket list in NYC! This stop, Bryant Park. The tree is giant and gorgeous, the shops are bustling, and the ice rink sparkles in the middle of it all. While I wasn’t able to ice skate on this particular day, it was fun to be in the Christmas spirit for a morning before work!
I’m constantly on the lookout for shoes and booties that will easily take me from sunup to sundown. I always prefer to wear some sort of a heel, but when you’re running around NYC all day, comfortable shoes that are easy to walk in are an absolute necessity! Thankfully, I’ve found a few go-to pairs of heeled booties that I’m able to wear all day, without worrying about my feet.
Is it just me or does life feel like it’s sped up over the past few weeks? Since the holiday season is pretty short, I feel like I try to cram way too many things into my days. If I could get a speeding ticket on the sidewalk, I probably would. I’m that girl who is essentially running from point A to point B. Rushing around to get my apartment decorated for the holidays, rushing to get together with friends right after work, rushing to get gifts purchased on time, rushing around to holiday parties, rushing to the gym to try to burn off some extra calories… Rush, rush, rush. (And then there’s the whole work and blog thing..) It never seems like there’s enough time in the day! (And that, my friends, is why I am working on my patience!)
When I feel like I’m flying all over the place, I really rely on a few basic wardrobe staples to get me through. You’ve got to cut corners where you can and I would much rather cut out the minutes that I stand in front of my closet trying to remember what’s jammed in there and what I should wear for the day. Wardrobe staples save time and sanity during crazy mornings!
A wear-with-anything black blazer and a classic black blouse have been my workday go-to’s. Since both items are black, they pair with just about everything in my closet. I love how the black blazer has a fun pop of white along the lapel. It spices up an ordinary wardrobe staple in the best way! The burnout dot blouse is incredibly functional, too. There are countless ways to wear this versatile piece — under a blazer or denim jacket, tucked into a skirt, with a pair of jeans and sneakers on the weekend, etc. The bow-tie neck is an added bonus, too!
If you hadn’t noticed, I’m a teensy bit behind on my gift guide series. (Sorry!) Life has just been kind of crazy lately. Don’t worry, though, I’ll definitely squeeze in the rest of the 25 before the holidays arrive!
Today is one of my favorite gift guides yet… It’s all about PARIS! Ever since my trip to Paris in October, I’ve been absolutely dying to go back… without a return ticket. I say it kind of jokingly probably as a defense mechanism because it’s super scary, but truthfully, my goal is to move to Paris before I’m 30. Not longterm, but I would like to spend 6-12ish months living there. I never studied abroad in college so I’ve only ever lived in the US. Who knows when it will be time to branch out, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to make it happen. Any who… Back to holiday shopping!
This gift guide is for anyone who has a bit of a love affair with the City of Light. (Seriously, though, who doesn’t?) Whether she’s been to Paris and is dying to go back (#raiseshand) or is simply dreaming of visiting one day, these gifts are sure to put a smile on her face!
While macarons from Dana’s Bakery are technically American macarons, they still make for the perfect Parisian-inspired gift. (And they truly are my absolute favorite macarons!) They ships nationwide, too! I placed a few orders last year for holiday gifts and had them shipped and everyone loved the creative flavors.
Back at it with another seasonal guide to NYC! (You can see last year’s holiday guide here and this past summer’s guide here — most of my favorite picks are still relevant!) Only a few more weeks until Christmas.. Can you believe it?! That means I only have a few weeks to get all of these fun and festive things crossed off of my holiday bucket list. From ice skating, to the best pop-up shops, to my favorite hot chocolate, it will be a busy few weeks! Thankfully my parents will be in town for a quick trip this week so it will be the perfect excuse to cross a few things off of my winter To-Do List in New York City!
Visit to the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center! I mean, how can you not?
Shop at the Sorel Pop-Up Shop! Who doesn’t love a good pair of Sorel boots? Especially this time of year! Can’t wait to shop them in person in the Meatpacking district. (Doesn’t close until February 2015!)
Get a drink at Rolf’s! The bar has Christmas oozing from every inch of space year round, but it feels especially festive during the holidays. (Check out some photos here!)
Visit the Veuve Pop-Up Bar at Saks. Apparently there’s an old-fashioned soda shop serving up Veuve Clicquot (and some small bites) on the 5th Floor! I can’t wait to check it out… You can buy bottles to bring home or gift, too! And I’m sure the space is very Insta-worthy. 😉 (Open through 1/3/15)
Go Ice Skating at Bryant Park. I always love browsing their holiday shops, too!
Walk around while it’s snowing. I know this seems kind of unpleasant, but I took a walk through Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park last year during our first big snowfall and it was so unbelievably peaceful and gorgeous. (And that’s when I took the photo at the top of this post!) Just make sure you bundle up with your Bean Boots, a warm puffer coat, gloves, a hat, and a scarf. 😉
I believe the saying goes a little something like, “New year, new you.” We’ve all seen it (and done it)… gyms and workout studios turn into absolute zoos come January. People try to eat healthier, workout every day, stick to these elaborate resolutions, etc. While I’m all for self-improvement, I don’t think anyone should wait to start on their new goals. Why wait a few months/weeks/days until January 1st? Why not start RIGHT NOW? Ya know? If you know you want to do something, what’s the point of waiting? Life is short, get a head start! (Plus, find your way around the gym or yoga studio and find your favorite group fitness instructors before the mad rush hits in January! It’s kind of a no-brainer.)
I think this goes for pretty much anything in life, not just fitness. If you want to take up a new hobby, why wait a few weeks? You’re setting your resolution to keep in touch with college friends more often? Just pick up the phone right now! If you want to become a better cook, stick around the kitchen during the holidays. You want to be a better spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.? Just start today. If you catch yourself saying or thinking that you’re going to start doing something in the future, here’s a little kick in the ass nudge to just start now. Not to get super deep, but you never know what tomorrow will bring. While I’m not encouraging you to make rash decisions, I do think we should all try to better ourselves on the regular and not wait for a new day to do so. I know that the timing may not always be right to make a life change, but you can start taking small steps to achieve your goals. It’s all about making progress! You can always start doing things to live the life you want to be living. Just do it!
Every time I visit Chicago in the fall, I always make sure that my friends and I spend an afternoon in Lincoln Park. I used to live in the Lincoln Park neighborhood when I lived in Chicago and I miss it a lot, especially during the fall! The tree-lined streets, the gorgeous foliage, the cute shops and restaurants… Can’t get enough. The Armitage area is my favorite.. Lori’s Shoes, All She Wrote, Art Effect, Davids Tea, Interurban Cafe, Intermix, BCBG, Bonobos for the boys, Pilates Inc, and more. (Apparently there’s a Dream Dry opening soon on Armitage, too!)
If you catch me on the weekend, especially this time of year, I’m usually in sneakers and a sweatshirt. So many errands, so little time! For the times when I’m dressed down, I’m constantly on the hunt for fun pieces that add personality to your usual basics. When you’re wearing simple items like a beanie, sweatshirt, and sneakers, a little bit of pizazz never hurts. This beanie, for example. I couldn’t resist the bow! And this sweatshirt? I obviously had to have it because of the giant J. (Note: It technically stands for J.Crew, not Jessica, but I like to pretend otherwise.) Tortoise sunglasses with pink mirrored lenses, check. And pink suede sneakers? Why not.