Recipes: Warm Up With My Favorite Hot Cocoa...

{image via}

{image via}

Ohhhh, hot cocoa. Don't you just love it? It's the only time marshmallows actually taste appropriate to me. I love my cocoa dark & rich and most certainly made with whole organic milk. Trust: this is some of the best cocoa you'll ever enjoy this side of the Alps. 

The method? Brace yourself for my under-a-minute recipe. 

WHAT YOU NEED

Williams-Sonoma Hot Cocoa Mix // Set of 4 White Mugs // Breville Milk Frother (or my trusty Nespresso Aeroccino frother) // Acrylic & Brass Tray // Tatte Bakery Biscotti

WHAT TO DO

Honestly, the real secret here is the high quality cocoa flakes and the milk frother. I personally love my Nespresso Aeroccino but there are other frothers on the market making it just as easy (see the rumored-to-be-awesome Breville above). Fill the frother to the recommended line with milk, turn it on & let it heat the milk. It takes less than a minute and creates a rich, amazing foamy drink you will LOVE. Just as the frother is finishing foing what it does best (the milk will swell and the mixing will appear to slow down), toss in a tablespoon of Williams-Sonoma Hot Cocoa Mix (my tip: choose CLASSIC formula). Let it mix just long enough for the flakes to melt.

The rest is easy.... Simply pour into a pretty mug of your choice. Garnish with a pinch of cocoa flakes for extra rich topping.

Repeat the process for as many mugs as you have guests. Place these rich, chocolatey creations on a tray, pair with biscotti (a personal weakness) & serve with a smile!   

Bonus points: If you are of the Eddie Ross, Danielle Rollins variety and never met a creative task you didn't want to take to a new fabulous level... look no further than these adorable gingerbread house mug toppers. Yes, this festive creation is edible and will be the center of much pinterest-worthy love. These are so, so cute. Be forewarned: these baked creations are sold individually. For a more efficient (read: less pricey) option, consider baking up some gingerbread cookies instead. If you're throwing a holiday fete and want to go the extra mile to make your guests feel festive, don your best reindeer ear headband, put on your sparkly holiday sweater & bust these out on your glamorous mug of hot cocoa. Instant Polaroid moment.  

Boutiquing: Kendra Scott Steps Outside the Jewelry Box...

You may have missed that Kendra Scott quietly launched a collection of elegant products for the home this season. From elegant stone trays to sleek acrylic & brass jewelry stands, the home accents allow the Texas jewelry designer's modern feminine style to find spaces in your home far outside the jewelry box. 

At first glance the collection reminded me of Aerin Lauder's collection, due to the strong use of brass and clean lines. Upon closer examination though I fully appreciate Kendra's collection as featuring artisan pieces in keeping with her established brand styling. Semiprecious stone, stunning filagree metalwork and the "choose your stone" options are hallmarks of the Kendra Scott brand aesthetic. These lovely new pieces have all the hallmarks of Kendra's detailed jewelry designs while still firmly placing her (high heeled) feet into the interior design space. Kudos to her for this stunning premier group of accessories. I can hardly wait to see what she dreams up next. 

We stopped by the Plano location on Sunday afternoon to have a spin around the boutique and see the glistening goodies in person. Here are a few standout pieces I love for dressing up your ears, wrists, vanity, tables or bookshelves. Thanks to Kendra, the choice is now yours. 

KENDRA FAVES INSIDE + OUTSIDE THE JEWELRY BOX

  1. ACRYLIC + BRASS JEWELRY T-STANDS
    Seriously up-level your close organization with these two remarkable pieces. Can you imagine a dreamier way to display your own jewelry? Note that I'm getting both sizes for myself and encouraging all of my clients to add them to their vanities as well. Available in small & large.
     
  2. GEMSTONE INSPIRED NAIL LACQUER
    Brilliant idea on Kendra's part. The gemstone inspired nail colors (think: shimmery druzy & iridescent shimmer) take at-home mani's to glamorous new heights. Choose from dozens of colors.
     
  3. ISADORA ROSE GOLD EARRINGS
    Dazzling in person, these statement earrings are just as fierce with denim and leather as they are with a lace top & tulle skirt. You'll reach for them all the time. Your ears deserve these. .  
     
  4. STONE + BRASS TRAY
    Such an elegant way to organize your perfumes and whatnots. I love a glamorous tray and this amethyst one is anything but ordinary. Choose from a variety of stones.
     
  5. FILAGREE LIDDED BOX
    Perfect for storing anything you choose, I LOVE a good lidded box. This one has ornate geometric filagree sides giving it exotic texture. The quartz point handle at the top is absolute perfection. Choose the stone type of your choice on top and select from a few various metals. I love gold, of course! Available in square & rectangular.
     
  6. MODERN GOLD CUFF
    Hello, lover! I love the slightly edgy vibe of this sculptural cuff. Notice the pave crystal embellishment here & there giving it a rawness that keeps your look fresh and modern. Shop it here.

SHOP THE POST

Glamorous Gifts: The Perfect Presents for Everyone On Your List...

GLAMOROUS GIFT IDEAS FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST

There's always reason to celebrate, and one would never want to arrive empty handed to a fabulous fête. Find the perfect present for every occasion using the ultimate gift guides below.


TEN GLAMOROUS GIFTS FOR HER

This recipient might not own everything she adores, but she does possess superior taste. Honor that by selecting carefully chosen gifts that appeal to her glamorous feminine preferences. Pro tip: stick to tried and true colors for this this discriminating girl. Black and white are her go-to colors but you can never go wrong with a bit of gold and a bit of blush pink.


1.  Bagatelle de Gabrielle Parfume via Omorovicza to ensure she smells dreamy // 2.  Jimmy Choo Shoes for her dancing feet // 3.  Dyson's impossibly sleek hair dryer (also here in fuchsia) // 4.  Saint Laurent's timeless matelasse monogram shoulder bag takes her from desk to dinner (also here & here & here)  // 5. Saint Laurent Croc Embossed Wallet serves double duty as chic clutch// 6. Dyptique's Baies candle is positively intoxicating & essential// 7.  Burberry's rose-hued lace trench because beige is boring // 8. Diamond stud earrings are timeless (also here & here) // 9. Slip's silk pillowcase in pink to keep her skin & hair fabulous forever (also here & here) // 10. AERIN x The Super Elixir double-up on glam & powdered greens in this limited edition caddy


TEN PERFECT GIFTS FOR HIM (ALL $150 OR LESS)

Like all men, he's a bit difficult to shop for due to his mysterious qualities. Strive for quality over quantity and select thoughtful items that will prove just as useful as they are attractive.


1. Cire Trudon Josephine Scented Candle to make the mood magical // 2. Dents Cashmere-Lined Leather Gloves to protect strong hands // 3. Jasper Brass Cufflinks for more festive affairs // 4. Tom Ford Portofino Shower Gel because... Tom Ford // 5. Engraveable London Brick wooden catchall for watches, keys & what-nots // 6. Cut-Crystal Cocktail Shaker for getting the party started in style // 7. Brass Rollerball Pen for all things business // 8. Tortoiseshell Rake Comb for seriously polished grooming // 9. Tom Dixon Cube Brushed Desk Caddy for keeping it neat // 10. Tom Ford Noir Extreme Eau de Parfum is not to be missed


DREAM GIFTS FOR THE BOOK LOVER

Forget the New York Times Best Seller list, these are the hardbacks that are truly in demand. From out of print iconic works to much anticipated new releases, these beautiful coffee table books are what the fashion & design lover in your life truly covets.

1. Christian Dior's retrospective book features over 150 of their stunning haute couture gowns // 2. Swans is another out of print book I dream of owning. A decadent look into the belles of the ball of high-society // 3. Manolo Blahnik's Fleeting Gestures & Obsessions book is a fashion girl's dream & an illustration lover's delight (also here & here) // 4. Major dream book here: Valentino: Mirabilia Romae celebrates their feminine designs with a look at Rome's influence on the house's style (also here & here & here) // 5. A rare copy of John Saladino's Villa pretty much tops my list of must-have book cravings (also here & here)


TEN MIRACULOUS GIFTS FOR MIND & BODY

The wellness-minded person on your list is striving for excellence and balance in all areas of life. Glowing skin, a healthy body, restful sleep and radiant energy are just a few of the hallmarks of harmony between the physical and the spiritual. These unique finds for mind & body will delight the senses & awaken your recipient to the boundless possibilities the present moment has to offer.


1. A scoop a day for glowing skin, sustained natural energy, mental fitness and overall wellness. Super Elixir powdered green superfood supplement makes living the alkaline life a breeze. // 2. Create a relaxing daily ritual with the gentle flavors of Teavana's Serenity Tea featuring calming chamomile, rose hips and orange blossom petals. // 3. This cult classic is legendary for good reason. Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish transforms your dull, dry body revealing glowing, silky skin (also here) // 4. REN Moroccan Rose Oil makes relieves stress & deeply hydrates skin // 5. Byredo Flowerbomb Rollerball: Revive energy anytime, anywhere with scent is inspired by the fragrant flower crowns adorned by the bride and groom at traditional Indian weddings // 6. Did someone say Gold Bodyism Yoga Mat? Yes they did. // 7. Enjoy that post-yoga glow without risking a breakout. CLEANSE wipes by Lauren Napier are infused with aloe & chamomile to hydrate & energize the skin effortlessly // 8. Like pilates for the face, NuSkin's microcurrent device is FDA-approved to tone & tighten facial muscles at home in just 5-minutes // 9. This $20 body brush is so good I've gifted it to friends time & time again. The Mio Skincare body brush is by far the best dry brush I've used // 10. Enhanced cognitive activity and reduced mental stress? Thank you, Moon Dust. I'll have some of that.


BRILLIANT GIFTS FOR THE BEAUTY OBSESSED

Let's face it, we are living in a world obsessed with lip kits, flawless skin and enviably sleek locks. For that person on your list (which may very well be you!) always on the hunt for the dream cream and perfecting her no-makeup makeup look, I've found a few treasures sure to give her that lit-from-within glow.


1. Moon Juice Beauty Dust stimulates collagen production from within to create plump, bouncy effortlessly (also here & here) // 2. Oribe Gold Envy Luminous Face Mask boasts peptides, flower extracts & real gold for a radiant complexion // 3. Givenchy Le Prisme Suerstellar eyeshadow palette is as instagram-worthy as it gets and offers three classic shimmery shades // 4.  Lumee Illuminated Smartphone Case is the not-so-secret secret to perfect selfies & snapchats // 5. Wander Beauty's On-the-Go Lip & Cheek Color + Illuminator is the ideal toss & go beauty companion // 6. Slip Silk Eye Mask gives beauty sleep a whole new meaning. I suggest one for travel & one for home. (black is also a smart option) // 7. Christian Louboutin Satin Lip Color in Delicanodo is kissable pink at its best and the ultra-luxe gold packaging is squeal inducing (also here & here) // 8. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Feminin Pluriel Parfum is a heady mix of iris, rose, violet & Egyptian jasmine guaranteed to make any woman stand out & feel gorgeous (also here) // 9. Cire Trudon Giambattista Valli Positano candle is an aromatic escape to the Amalfi coast & can eventually be a chic way to store makeup brushes // 10. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Treat & Transform Cream is available in a limited edition gold 5 ounce pot of the genius cream (also here & here)


CHIC HOSTESS GIFTS THAT WOW

Useful. Beautiful. Tasteful. And sometimes tasty! These are the hallmarks of truly successful hostess gifts. Demonstrate your great style and recognize theirs as well with any of these ten tantalizing options. Never show up to a fête empty-handed again.


1. If your host is not yet amused by the lavish life of Karl Lagerfeld's cat Choupette, she will be once you gift her this book celebrating this high-flying pampered pet  2. Waterford is always welcome. This classic "Lismore" dish will be appreciated forever // 3. Normally a fragrance-filled gift is too specific to be appreciated, but Nest's Grapefruit Candle is universally adored and marvelously packaged. (also here & here) // 4. This trio of luxurious pineapple guest soaps arrive in their own tidy gift box. Simply adorn with a bow and you're all set to dazzle. // 5. It's hard to resist the allure of this gold-plated corkscrew. Up the ante by pairing i with a choice bottle of their favorite holiday beverage. // 6. This classic glass art orb is strikingly simple. Your host will know just the spot for it as soon as you present this ever-chic gift.// 7. Two dozen Parisian Macarons showcase your savoir faire and are sure to please the hostess with the mostess (also here) // 8. This elegantly wrapped Tocca handsoap arrives in an equally fabulous gold-rimmed fluted shell dish. A small gift that easily finds a home on their vanity immediately. (that is, if you find it in your heart to hand it over to them at all.) // 9. Appeal to their sweet tooth with a box of Gourmet Toffee. Just don't be surprised if they keep this one to themselves. (also see these here & here) // 10. A brass croc-embossed frame is a stunning gift, especially if you can plan ahead and place a meaningful photograph inside ahead of time.

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Gift Guide: My Personal Holiday Wish List...

wish.png

My husband finds the practice appalling, but for as long as I can remember I've given myself dreamy Christmas gifts. It's so practical and self-explanatory in my opinion. Why place the pressure on others to give you exactly what you want when... well, when you yourself know exactly what you want! When you play the role of gift-giver to yourself, you eliminate the typical hiccups of the tradition. There's no need to exchange for a different size, no undue stress about color choice, no unsure purchases. Thus, I feel no shame in sharing this annual ritual with you and perhaps encouraging you to begin (or continue) your own similar custom.

If you've seen my gift guides you will have seen many items I adore. Below I'm sharing my top five "wants" which perhaps will become your coveted acquisitions as well. Happy wish list making, everyone!

 

 

 

 

                                    Also available here & here

                                    Also available here & here

 

The best part? Four out of five of the items (that would be everything except the Lumee) are via Net-a-Porter which ships for free via UPS and (and here's the lovely part) each item arrives wrapped in a elegant black box with black and white grosgrain ribbon and a gift card. Free of charge. If you're going to treat yourself, really treat yourself, right?

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Feeling Bookish: Kelly Hoppen Authors the Definitive Interior Design Companion...

Interior design books written by top talents within the field are interesting. Some are authored with educating and sharing among fellow designers in mind, others are intended to be consumed by fans, amateurs and enthusiasts as inspirational tools. The best of the bunch are squarely targeted at both audiences, serving up crisp, clear, perfectly illuminated photographs of award-winning interiors and (here's the key) digestible content that teaches anyone (pro or not) how to even begin to achieve such a marvelous result.

Kelly Hoppen is among the class of designer that unites all of us as lifelong learners in the quest for better design skills. Her advice and expertise is delivered in a way that places her along side us in the universal challenge of "what exactly do I do with this space" and "how can I work around the quirks of my floor plan?" And I love her for it. There's no haughty schooling happening here. This top design talent is at the drafting table with us solving design dilemmas and working through decorating challenges.

And let's talk about her work... it is absolutely exquisite. Commercial, residential, retail or yacht - you name it, she serves up absolutely flawless designs for her worldwide clientele. Working from a largely neutral base, the interiors are at once lush, full, inviting and somehow quiet, soothing and understated. It's a line we all attempt straddle, but this London designer has nailed the sumptuous vibe. It is a keen reminder that all of us have much to learn. Her monochromatic spaces are stunningly sexy and dramatic but completely calming. Ivory cocoons begging to envelope you. When someone with this much talent offers a how-to guide, you pay attention. Especially when you have been invited behind the veil of "professional design" to be taught key foundational guidelines for basing all future design decisions. That's the essence of The Art of Interior Design.

The iconic ‘Kelly Hoppen look’ combines clean, precise lines of the East with opulent textures from the West, harmoniously layered on top of neutral tones producing elegant, dramatic & immaculate interior that is world renowned. Asserting your personality on to this, Kelly guarantees interior that is impeccably tasteful & bespoke every time.
— KELLY HOPPEN INTERIORS

This isn't Kelly Hoppen's first rodeo (peruse her portfolio for proof), nor is it her first book. Fans know she's penned quite a few books on the subject of interior design, but this particular volume is a master class that offers an opportunity to raise your level of knowledge of design principles to the level of a much more seasoned expert. It doesn't hurt that the projects she has chosen to share in the pages (328 pages, to be exact) are downright gorgeous. Spanning the globe, brace yourselves to now have your design standards raised considerably. This, dear readers, is what top talent can create. And perhaps now we can as well.

Designers: prepare to be inspired to design even more remarkable spaces for clients. More well-appointed interiors. More detailed vignette. More thoughtful spaces. Design fans? This beautiful book will not disappoint in style, substance or Instagram appeal. Home design enthusiasts & those in the throes of a top-to-bottom renovation? You've found your project companion to guide you through what can often be an intimidating process of difficult selections. 

Kelly, you've wowed us again. Congratulations on another "must have" book for all of us.

THIS & OTHER FABULOUS KELLY HOPPEN BOOKS

Beauty: Vegetarian, Cruelty-Free Makeup Goes Ultra Luxe...

While I've long been a fan of their legendary body butters (bye bye, dry winter skin), The Body Shop has now stepped up to the makeup plate to delight those of us seeking toxin-free, cruelty-free options. Their collection of color products for eyes and lips just arrived and I had to give it a try. I must to admit... the quality impressed me.

LET'S TALK PACKAGING

Ladies, you know packaging matters. It's often where well-meaning brands fail. These eye shadow quads (I tried two) are housed in glossy black clam shell cases with interior mirrors. Sleek closures. Nice weight and scale to them. The shadow pans are very generous. The twist-up eye color stick tips are rounded like Laura Mercier's caviar sticks and the packaging is somewhat similar. The matte lip color is in a more modest black matte tube with silver interior sleeve. The packaging isn't going to be an Instagram star a la YSL or Dior's gilded lippies, but the ultra-smooth twist-up mechanism and elegantly shaped product tip definitely impress. 

SURE, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PRODUCT?

So let's talk about the color products themselves.  The day my products arrived it was dreary and blah, so naturally I i was attracted to the the hot pink lip color. Hello, mood boost in a tube! As soon as I began to swipe it on I realized I hadn't exfoliated my lips. Much to my surprise it didn't matter. Even with the matte finish, the product is infused with Brazil nut oil and beeswax for a supple, full-lip finish. Very pretty and already tossed in my on-the-go makeup bag.

Next, the shadows. The plum palette is truly spectacular and was really drawn to those shades with my current winter skin tone. It is very difficult to find a matte ivory shadow (a makeup drawer basic, in my opinion) and this palette has a superb version. The three additional shadows are an array of shimmering plums that veer towards super-neutrals. Super sultry shades. The shadows were shimmery without being glittery and the texture was velvety smooth. Pigmentation was exactly as I hoped and I loved that texture was smooth during application. Did I mention the pans are very generously sized? I think these quads will last me quite a while and are easily used day to night. Will be dabbling in the brown quad (which houses warmer clay tones) next.

The eye gold shadow stick? I found it ideal for adding a pop of sparkle to the center of the top lid. Smooth, shimmery but not glittery. On dash & go days this would be a pretty color to use as an all-over lid color with a swipe of mascara & gloss. Very versatile. (Note: I have got to get my hands on the purple & bronze versions. I love the idea of mess-free shadow application that leaves lids looking glam!)

SO... THE VERDICT

Going in with no expectations, I was impressed by both the texture and feel of the makeup and the packaging. Compared to my normal color lines (Chanel, YSL, Tom Ford) these still read as elegant options. Sophisticated colors. Luxurious packaging (not quite as opulent as my normal quads and lip color packaging, but definitely in luxe territory). Vegetarian ingredients. If you're looking for a cruelty-free option for your makeup arsenal, this well-priced collection should absolutely be high on your list. See the full holiday collection

BODY SHOP MAKEUP FAVORITES

Beauty: Secrets to Healthy, Shiny, Bombshell Hair...

{image credits via & via}

A few months ago I had my doubts. My color-treated hair (thanks to a pernicious highlighting habit) had my hair dry, brittle and angry. There were moments I wondered if my gorgeous mane would ever return. As a long-hair devotee, these golden locks are as much a part of my identity as my smile. So rather than throw in the towel (more on that topic later) I opted to do more research and work to repair the damage.

First things first. Dehydration of all varieties takes a toll on the body. Texas is known for its dry climate, and my hot yoga sessions likely contribute to the excess torture on the hair. So upping my water intake was the first and most obvious step in the repair process.

Then the research began. What products, habits, hacks and changes would I make to bring these dull strands back to life. Was it even possible? A candid conversation with my stylist resulted in him reassuring me he'd seen far worse. That said, the switch to sulfate-free products was crucial. Stop stripping the hair with harsh detergents. Next? A reconstructing conditioner would rebuild broken chemical bonds in the hair. Somewhat reversing the damage we do each time i frame my face with blonde. And a thermal protection product is a must before drying, curling or otherwise "doing" your hair. Even air-dry experts benefit from a smoothing product to coat strands and smooth the follicle. 

And about those tools... if I was still rocking a basic hair dryer I was missing out on an opportunity to achieve hair nirvana and causing deep damage each time I blow dried. And styling tools? Skip them all together unless you're willing to upgrade to the newest ceramic and tourmaline versions.

fast forward to today, this hair-lightening, heat styling enthusiast can assure you: Shiny, bouncy Victoria's Secret model tresses are not beyond your reach. With a few key shifts in your get-ready routine and a few hardware upgrades, a glossy many can once again be yours.

  1. SULFATE-FREE IS YOUR HAIR CARE SAVIOR
    Stop using anything with sulfate. Even your corner drugstore has a bevy of great options (I'm looking at you, L'oreal!) to hydrate, smooth and soften your hair. If budget allows, Kerastase Bain Therapiste is legendary for its uncanny ability to revive and rescue too-far-gone locks.
     
  2. PROTECT & PERFECT
    After showering, a pump of Wella Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir on damp hair is a keratin treatment that restores the shine you've been craving while rebuilding lost protein structure. Before drying, use Tresseme's Keratin Smooth Heat Protection spray to keep unwanted damage at bay. (Note: this is magical, extremely affordable & widely available.)
     
  3. BLOW IT OUT LIKE A BOSS
    The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is all the rage right now, but I really love the ion producing dryers. The T3 professional dryer is better for your hair than air drying. Let me repeat, better for your hair than air drying. Yes. So if you dry your hair ever and live on planet earth (all of us should be raising our hands) this is a technology we need to adopt. It is clinically proven (yes, there were studies) to improve shine, volume, manageability and style retention all while reducing frizz, dryness and static. So get on that, sister.  
     
  4. STYLE IT UP SAFELY
    You'll be hard pressed to beat the runway-worthy bounce and volume of hot rollers. If you plan to roll (and I'm a HUGE fan of this effortless hair styling method), you mustn't resort to cheap curlers. Opt for high quality, larger rollers that pamper your hair. I love the T3 Voluminous Hot Rollers  (via Nordstrom also) for the busy-girl's guide to bombshell hair. More of a beachy waves fan? T3 (again) is the one you want. This version does the spinning for you, requiring absolutely no pro skills at all. More on my "everyday bombshell" styling methods here.
     
  5. KEEP IT GLOSSY, GIRL
    Regular readers know where I'm going with this... you need a silk pillowcase. Why go to all of this effort and expense only to undo months of effort while you sleep? A silk pillowcase allows your hair to glide over your pillow without pulling, bending, breaking or roughing up the texture. Say bye-bye to bedhead (and wrinkles) with this small but wise investment.
     
  6. COMMIT TO YOUR HAIR CARE (AND YOUR STYLIST)
    Why the sudden damage to my hair? Three factors. Well, four, actually. Texas heat, hot yoga and daughter #2 all contributed to the overall dryness of my head full of hair. But as a result of the addition of my littlest one I "cheated" on my longtime hair stylist for about a year and had a girl coming to my home for cuts and color. It was fast, easy and (curiously) less expensive than the salon. Did I mention she offered to do this at my home? I was hooked on the idea of convenience with a newborn in my house.

    As a decade-long Aveda color user, the switch to traditional harsh bleaching techniques took its toll. Quickly. My long hair became brittle, broken and damaged. I was saving time and money while ruining my mane. Turns out those plant-based coloring techniques Aveda built its reputation on are more crucial to hair health than I imagined.

    My point? Stay loyal to what (and who) works in your life. If you are in a committed relationship with a stylist and a brand and it works for you, stay the course.

In many ways, this hair care failure is what led me to a more long-term view of hair health and necessary upgrades. The simple shift in shampoo & conditioner resulting in a major change in smoothness and scalp health. The tools? Painful investments, but realistically they were purchases I'd been putting off for many years. The new me has a new appreciation for heat styling, weekly masks and (yes) essentials like silk pillowcases.

My message? Bouncy, glossy, Victoria's Secret fashion show hair can be yours - even without a Ken Paves or Jen Atkin to tame your mane (although that helps). With the right care and a few cool tools you too can have the tousled curls of your dreams and enough shine to stop passers by in their tracks. You can do it. I believe in you!

Shopping: This the Season of Savings...

I love a good discount, don't you? See what sales I'm continuing to monitor this season for the best best brands at gr very best price. Starting at the top, here are the sites boasting great savings...

NEIMAN MARCUS: Up to 70% off + free shipping 

SAKS: Up to 40% off designer sale

BERGDORF GOODMAN: 40% off men's & women's fashion + save up to $200 during their BEAUTY EVENT 

HORCHOW: 25% off

WILLIAMS-SONOMA: Buy more, save more - up to 25% off ALL WSHOME orders

BARNEYS: 40% off select designer items

ANN TAYLOR: 50% off EVERYTHING

JCREW: 30% off many festive items + 30% off sale

KENDRA SCOTT: 20% off every single thing

JIMMY CHOO: DESIGNER SALE HAPPENING HERE

TRINA TURK: 30% OFF SITEWIDE

LULU & GEORGIA: 15%-25% off ORDER (buy more, save more)

SERENA & LILY: 25% off absolutely everything

Overwhelmed? Read my tips on shopping like a boss. Not sure what to look for? I've developed a gift guide for everyone on your list.

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Shopping: Deep Designer Discounts at Neiman Marcus...

As you likely know, I sale stalk. When Neiman Marcus marks down their designer duds, bags & shoes, it makes sense to pay attention. Right now the luxe finds you want are included, so jump on that while you can.

A GREAT FEW GREAT GIFT IDEAS FOR YOU, HIM & THEM




Di you know, you can also shop my Instagram feed? Tap the pix below for details and be sure to follow me on Instagram and be sure to say hello. I'd love to follow you as well! 

What to Wear: Modern Luxe Cocktail Party Dressing...

Fashion rules may change, but good taste transcends all trends. For those of you with important holiday events to attend, the type where your sartorial know-how and table-etiquette will be judged, consider the no-fail combination of black and gold. Start with a statement dress and let it be the true star of the show. Black lace with burnished gold sequins in a flattering sleeveless silhouette make this a frock that dazzles. Pair with classic gold heels and a matching clutch. Just to make things a bit less predictable, I love the idea of adding a bold leather cuff and cut black glass earrings. Walk in wearing this (and a mani-pedi in the most pure shade of ballerina pink polish) and all questions about your impeccable taste will be answered instantly.

SHOP THE POST

Gift Guide: Ten Perfect Gifts for Him...

TEN PERFECT GIFTS FOR HIM (ALL $150 OR LESS)

Like all men, he's a bit difficult to shop for due to his mysterious qualities. Strive for quality over quantity and select thoughtful items that will prove just as useful as they are attractive.

1. Cire Trudon Josephine Scented Candle to make the mood magical // 2. Dents Cashmere-Lined Leather Gloves to protect strong hands // 3. Jasper Brass Cufflinks for more festive affairs // 4. Tom Ford Portofino Shower Gel because... Tom Ford // 5. Engraveable London Brick wooden catchall for watches, keys & what-nots // 6. Cut-Crystal Cocktail Shaker for getting the party started in style // 7. Brass Rollerball Pen for all things business // 8. Tortoiseshell Rake Comb for seriously polished grooming // 9. Tom Dixon Cube Brushed Desk Caddy for keeping it neat // 10. Tom Ford Noir Extreme Eau de Parfum is not to be missed


YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Shopping: Reach for the Gold at Tory Burch (and save 30% or more doing so)...

Tory does a great job with her 30% off deals. The holiday sale is kicking off right now, so shop while you enjoy Love Actually & hot cocoa! Don't miss my Black Friday deals page for regular updates.

A FEW PRETTY TORY SELECTIONS

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Gift Guide: Ten Miraculous Gifts for Mind & Body...

The wellness-minded person on your list is striving for excellence and balance in all areas of life. Glowing skin, a healthy body, restful sleep and radiant energy are just a few of the hallmarks of harmony between the physical and the spiritual. These unique finds for mind & body will delight the senses & awaken your recipient to the boundless possibilities the present moment has to offer.

1. A scoop a day for glowing skin, sustained natural energy, mental fitness and overall wellness. Super Elixir powdered green superfood supplement makes living the alkaline life a breeze. // 2. Create a relaxing daily ritual with the gentle flavors of Teavana's Serenity Tea featuring calming chamomile, rose hips and orange blossom petals. // 3. This cult classic is legendary for good reason. Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish transforms your dull, dry body revealing glowing, silky skin (also here) // 4. REN Moroccan Rose Oil makes relieves stress & deeply hydrates skin // 5. Byredo Flowerbomb Rollerball: Revive energy anytime, anywhere with scent is inspired by the fragrant flower crowns adorned by the bride and groom at traditional Indian weddings // 6. Did someone say Gold Bodyism Yoga Mat? Yes they did. // 7. Enjoy that post-yoga glow without risking a breakout. CLEANSE wipes by Lauren Napier are infused with aloe & chamomile to hydrate & energize the skin effortlessly // 8. Like pilates for the face, NuSkin's microcurrent device is FDA-approved to tone & tighten facial muscles at home in just 5-minutes // 9. This $20 body brush is so good I've gifted it to friends time & time again. The Mio Skincare body brush is by far the best dry brush I've used // 10. Enhanced cognitive activity and reduced mental stress? Thank you, Moon Dust. I'll have some of that.


Shopping: Pro Tips for Navigating Black Friday + Cyber Week Like a Boss...

{image credit}

{image credit}

Oh, Black Friday. We have turned this day off work into a massive shopping beast, haven't we? Gratefully, retailers have completely caught up with technology and are shifting their efforts into meeting us where we are: on our phones and in our jammies in bed. Still, navigating the onslaught of promotions like a boss takes a bit of skill. Here are my pro tips for keeping your wits abut you while crossing those must-have items off your list in style.

  1. FIRST RULE: RELAX
    In my experience the best sales truly are online and you can enjoy comparison shopping while sipping coffee in your pajamas from your bed. It truly doesn't get much better than that!
  2. PREPARE YOUR LIST
    Ideally, you have a list of things you've been keeping an eye on for yourself, as well as a list of those you need to buy presents for this year. In my case I need a black tote, loafer pumps and winter boots for myself. Girly gifts for my mini-me's and a gift for my husband. Stumped for ideas? I've made the ultimate gift guide for everyone on your list.
  3. PLAN AHEAD
    Know your goals (tackling the above list, staying under XYZ dollars) and stick to them. If you've established a holiday budget, commit to it and make it work. This won't be the last sale in the world, but be prepared to snap up what may very well be an item that sells out for good. By creating a list (see Step 2) your establishing your budget you'll be ready to pounce when you do discover a Saint Laurent bag on sale.
  4. STICK TO WHAT WORKS
    Now is not the time to branch out. I stick to my favorite brands and retailers for quality items and reasonable return policies. Also, this gives me an informed baseline for pricing and allows me to spy a good deal when I see it because I'm familiar with the items and typical (non-sale) pricing. See my one-stop black Friday roundup of retailers & offers to get your started.
  5. CONSIDER STOCKING UP
    Beauty lovers & cashmere sweater devotees should use this as an opportunity to stock up on our favorites. I love using sale seasons to fill in voids in my closet and grab an extra jar of my favorite nighttime moisturizer. Exercise your right to be a savvy shopper and stock up on those luxury basics you adore. Try not to me distracted by the discount racks full of potential wardrobe mishaps.
  6. KNOCK IT OUT ONLINE
    This is a big one for me. I love to buy everything important online (see my go-to list sources). Retailers like Net-a-Porter deliver in luxurious black boxes tied up with a bow (all year long, not just on the holidays) - and free shipping. Need it now? You can buy online and pick up at Nordstrom or Neimans later the same day - OR let them ship it for free. I use this service constantly and it saves me time, money and stress. Nordstrom will even walk your items out to you curbside.

This is how I personally navigate the holidays like a boss. I absolutely love the power of shopping online and can't imagine showing up at 5 am for an early morning "deal" when I can merely fli open my MacBook and click "order" while sipping my morning coffee. I like to peruse the outdoor shopping centers in person for fun once it gets chilly. It's more fun with family and friends while sipping cocoa and enjoying the bustle of the crowds without any personal expectations of having to find that "perfect" gift while battling long lines.

SHOP THE GIFT GUIDES

CURRENT OBSESSIONS

Gift Guide: Ten Chic Hostess Gifts That Wow...

Useful. Beautiful. Tasteful. And sometimes tasty! These are the hallmarks of truly successful hostess gifts. Demonstrate your great style and recognize theirs as well with any of these ten tantalizing options. Never show up to a fête empty-handed again.

1. If your host is not yet amused by the lavish life of Karl Lagerfeld's cat Choupette, she will be once you gift her this book celebrating this high-flying pampered pet  2. Waterford is always welcome. This classic "Lismore" dish will be appreciated forever // 3. Normally a fragrance-filled gift is too specific to be appreciated, but Nest's Grapefruit Candle is universally adored and marvelously packaged. (also here & here) // 4. This trio of luxurious pineapple guest soaps arrive in their own tidy gift box. Simply adorn with a bow and you're all set to dazzle. // 5. It's hard to resist the allure of this gold-plated corkscrew. Up the ante by pairing i with a choice bottle of their favorite holiday beverage. // 6. This classic glass art orb is strikingly simple. Your host will know just the spot for it as soon as you present this ever-chic gift.// 7. Two dozen Parisian Macarons showcase your savoir faire and are sure to please the hostess with the mostess (also here) // 8. This elegantly wrapped Tocca handsoap arrives in an equally fabulous gold-rimmed fluted shell dish. A small gift that easily finds a home on their vanity immediately. (that is, if you find it in your heart to hand it over to them at all.) // 9. Appeal to their sweet tooth with a box of Gourmet Toffee. Just don't be surprised if they keep this one to themselves. (also see these here & here) // 10. A brass croc-embossed frame is a stunning gift, especially if you can plan ahead and place a meaningful photograph inside ahead of time.


Things I Love: Instagram + Chanel Archives...

This discovery led to an entirely new series title: Things I Love. Item one? The Chanel Archives which have appeared on Instagram and are worthy of your time. Naomi, Claudia, Christy, Linda... the OG's of supermodels are all there and you simply need to check them out.

MORE CHANEL ADORATION


Gift Guide: Ten Gift for the Beauty Obsessed...

Let's face it, we are living in a world obsessed with lip kits, flawless skin and enviably sleek locks. For that person on your list (which may very well be you!) always on the hunt for the dream cream and perfecting her no-makeup makeup look, I've found a few treasures sure to give her that lit-from-within glow.

1. Moon Juice Beauty Dust stimulates collagen production from within to create plump, bouncy effortlessly (also here & here) // 2. Oribe Gold Envy Luminous Face Mask boasts peptides, flower extracts & real gold for a radiant complexion // 3. Givenchy Le Prisme Suerstellar eyeshadow palette is as instagram-worthy as it gets and offers three classic shimmery shades // 4.  Lumee Illuminated Smartphone Case is the not-so-secret secret to perfect selfies & snapchats // 5. Wander Beauty's On-the-Go Lip & Cheek Color + Illuminator is the ideal toss & go beauty companion // 6. Slip Silk Eye Mask gives beauty sleep a whole new meaning. I suggest one for travel & one for home. (black is also a smart option) // 7. Christian Louboutin Satin Lip Color in Delicanodo is kissable pink at its best and the ultra-luxe gold packaging is squeal inducing (also here & here) // 8. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Feminin Pluriel Parfum is a heady mix of iris, rose, violet & Egyptian jasmine guaranteed to make any woman stand out & feel gorgeous (also here) // 9. Cire Trudon Giambattista Valli Positano candle is an aromatic escape to the Amalfi coast & can eventually be a chic way to store makeup brushes // 10. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Treat & Transform Cream is available in a limited edition gold 5 ounce pot of the genius cream (also here & here)


Perspective: Beautify the Small Moments of Life via Glamorous Details...

From my morning coffee to my nightly beauty routine, I've made it a point this year to infuse the smallest of moments with exceptionally glamorous details. Fine china espresso cups, gold leather journals, dreamy moisturizing creams... it's the details in our lives that make all the difference. These outward shifts are the shortcut to the coveted state of being "present" in your daily routine. Surprisingly luxe details wake up the mind and and make what could be a mundane ritual a transcendent experience. How can you enliven your life and shake up your habits? Only you truly know. But below I'm sharing a few of the elements I love infusing in my daily rituals. Join me on my quest to make life magical and the smallest of moments more magnificent.

SHOP THE POST

1. Simple to-do lists become plans for world domination in my Christian Lacroix Paseo Leather Journal // 2. Wedgwood Arris Cup & Saucer makes sipping any morning beverage a special affair (also here) // 3. Why simply shower when you can give your body an at-home skin perfecting treatment? Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish smooths, hydrates & perfects. (also here) // 4. Slip Silk Eye Mask in the prettiest of colors is the key to a blissful night of sleep, regardless of what time zone you wake up in (also here)

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Gift Guide: Dream Gifts for the Book Lover...

Forget the New York Times Best Seller list, these are the hardbacks that are truly in demand. From out of print iconic works to much anticipated new releases, these beautiful coffee table books are what the fashion & design lover in your life truly covets.

1. Christian Dior's retrospective book features over 150 of their stunning haute couture gowns and is a beautifully presented display of the house's unmatched style (also here) // 2. Swans is another out of print book I dream of owning. A decadent look into the belles of the ball of high-society. (also here & here) // 3. Manolo Blahnik's Fleeting Gestures & Obsessions book is a fashion girl's dream & an illustration lover's delight (also here & here) // 4. Major dream book here: Valentino: Mirabilia Romae celebrates their feminine designs with a look at Rome's influence on the house's style (also here & here & here & here) // 5. A rare copy of John Saladino's Villa pretty much tops my list of must-have book cravings (also here & here)

Celebrity Living: Stately Post-White House Living for the Obamas...

It's not Pennsylvania Avenue, but the Obamas will be moving to a stunning home next February. Built in 1928, the 8,200 square foot Washington D.C. home boasts nine bedrooms and lavish details. That kitchen and back yard are enough to make me fall in love. But just look at those leaded windows and expansive, light-filled rooms are enough to make me want to move there myself. {via}