Give Thanks!

It’s not like me to step off the grid completely, even at our cabin, but this past week I did. I even stayed up there by myself with Bowie for two nights — a first! I thought about my family, my life today, and my intentions for tomorrow. No Black Friday shopping! Though I did happily do some some Shop Local Saturday shopping in Keene. I’m sure you’ve been bombarded by both other bloggers and company emails. I don’t think you need me adding to the din. If you did get some holiday shopping or decorating done, I say good for you.

THANKFUL! For my family, from my husband who juggles it all and provides so much for us all. For me three sons, who are now men of 25, 23 and 22. And for my two sisters and their husbands and children — my nieces and nephews. And for Bowie, our little furry guy who brings so much joy. And mischief.

THANKFUL for the feast we prepared together and shared together. It was a lot of work, as so many of you know, but also a lot of fun.

THANKFUL! For leftovers!! From deep dish apple pie that tastes better Day 2. Or Day 3. And when you tell your husband to buy 5 pounds of mushrooms (by mistake!), and he makes delicious mushroom, potato and leek soup. And when reality sets in and you realize you haven’t weighed yourself in 9 days. And done nothing but eat. And drink wine. And not work out. Yikes! I am going hardcore starting tomorrow. Christmas, and Christmas cookies, are coming!

THANKFUL! For clothes I’ve purchased and truly love. And that are now on sale! Sharing just a few options with you. Hope they inspire!

Puffer: (JW Anderson for Uniqlo, sold old) but love this vest and this jacket

Hat: (old, Kate Spade) but super cute here and here ( I know…not on sale…but…)

Sweater: (Ann Taylor and my nod to red, this season’s hottest color and 50% off with code BESTMONDAY) cute here and here, too

Jeans: (Madewell, sold out) but love their jeans and these and these are on sale with code DONTSTRESS

Boots: (Stuart Weitzman, old) but buying these at 40% off!

Photos by MP Allegaert & April Cross

 

Leopard Love!

This fashion cat can never get enough of animal prints and embellishments, especially leopard. For me it’s really a neutral, albeit one that can take a tame outfit to wilder territory. For this look, I doubled down on the leopard with two of my new wardrobe loves — this adorable cat-eared hat and tailored jacket. Both are oh-so-cozy. Throw in a favorite pair of OTK boots, and you’re ready to take a walk on the wild side!

When it comes to leopard, my love knows no bounds. I also have my eye on some new block heel booties, as well as a stunning (and expensive) belt. We shall see. In the meantime…this outfit. I got to test drive the jacket at a recent shoot. It was part of the production wardrobe and after a couple of early morning hours on location on the streets of Brooklyn, I was pretty well frozen. Luckily our stylist is a doll and let me borrow this jacket. If I could have kept it I would! So I did the next best thing…and bought it on sale! With its fitted silhouette and lapel collar it’s a classic I’ll be happy to cuddle up in year after year.

Even though I’m a “dog person,” I could not resist this hat! How cute are the ears. Honestly, it made people smile and compliment me on it all day. It’s warm without being heavy, and perhaps best of all, did NOT give me hat hair. It’s actually so cute I’d wear it on a “bad hair” day and just keep it on. Definitely a mood elevator.

For the rest of my look, I went with slightly distressed, high-waisted skinnies and a dark floral popover blouse with smocked detailing that I’m also pretty obsessed with. While it dressed up my jeans (perfect for tucking into boots), it would also look great with a black leather skirt or black velvet jeans. I’m thinking it has to go to at least one holiday party! My OTK boots are not new and were definitely an investment a few years back, but they are so sleek, so flattering, so still in style, and so comfortable I could almost wear them every day. For a winter date night, I’d pair them with black tights and an LBD. The floral embroidery on this fun black bag was the perfect nod to my top. Not matchy-matchy, more a complimentary pop of color and pattern.

So what about you? Are you going to unleash your inner leopard?? Let me know!

Coat: (Aqua, 30% off!) but LOVE this and this ( a SUPER deal at under $40)

Hat: (Kate Spade) so cute here and here, too

Top: (Ann Taylor) other great options here (cheetah!) and here

Jeans: (Madewell, at 5′ 9″ I bought Tall) similar here (want!) and here

Boots: (old, Stuart Weitzman) For me SW OTK boots are worth every penny and then some. You will have them (and love them!) for years. I cannot recommend these boots highly enough. New versions here, here and here. (Lots of color options. And yes, I will be adding a new pair this year!)

Bag: (Zara, can also be worn as a crossbody) and as usual Zara killing it with this, this, this (dead ringer for designer!) and this (3 in 1!) (Stop me!)

Photos by Chris Allegaert

 

Kinder, Cleaner Beauty

OK, so I’m not the most makeup-y person, but I do wear it every day. Not much, because I think as we get older, the less makeup the better. That’s what works for me. But beyond that, it’s what’s in our makeup and it’s how it’s made. Certain ingredients that we’ve all taken for granted are pretty darn scary when you really think about it. And I for one don’t want anything to do with products that are needlessly and cruelly tested on animals. So I’m sharing a little test I did this past weekend. See what you think!

These are the kinder, cleaner makeup options I swapped out for my tried-and-true go-tos. Truth be told, I did not see one difference in look, touch, performance. In fact, I did a test to truly compare them side-by-side which you’ll see at the end of this post. So about these products…

Juice Beauty: (Last Looks Blush, Lengthening Mascara) Love her (I do!) or hate her, but this brand is a favorite of Gwyneth Paltrow. So favorite she has actually designed a makeup collection with them. Juice Beauty was masterminded by a California team passionate about healthy lifestyles and organic products backed by powerful science. Its entrepreneur founder, Karen Behnke, developed a keen interest in personal care products after becoming pregnant with her first child at age 40. (Sound familiar?!?) She was astounded to find that although your skin absorbs over 60% what is placed on  it, there were few available products that married organic and natural formulations with a luxurious, high-performance experience. Juice Beauty does! I particularly love their mascara. It is 86% organic and not formulated with the ickies most other mascaras are, including coal tar dye — with risks that include severe allergic reaction, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, loss of concentration and nervousness. It’s also linked to an increased risk of Hodgkin’s Disease, non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Yikes! These chemicals are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the tiny pores around your eyes. I say… try this mascara! You will not miss the one you are currently using.

Beauty Counter: (Tint Skin, Touchup Skin Concealer, Color Pinch Cream BlusherOK, did you know that the USA has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care (women’s!) products since….drum roll…1938! (WTF!) Over the past two decades, the European Union has banned more than 1300 chemicals in the formulation of personal care products…but not our country. Beauty Counter has gone beyond that and banned the use of more than 1500 questionable or harmful ingredients. They are lobbying Washington to do more and do it now. But back to their products which really deliver on a luxurious, lasting experience. And their packaging is really tip top. (Used Color Pinch on Lips!)

Hourglass: (Mineral Veil Primer, Arch Brow Sculpting PencilHourglass says they exist at the intersection of  science, beauty and luxury. They are an almost exclusively vegan brand. Their primer goes beyond traditional formulations, even concealing rosacea. For brows, the formula combines powder, pencil and wax to create the look of naturally fuller, defined brows. And wow does it! Love!!

So…I think I’m going over to the kinder, cleaner side. Why not? I can only imagine the chemicals my skin has absorbed over decades of wearing makeup. All basically invented by men. Hmmmm….

But let’s end on a positive note. I won’t diss my day-to-day makeup products. They perform. But are they good for me? Or you? It’s never too late! There are lots of kinder, cleaner brands out there. You can find them at Target or your favorite department store. But best of all  you can find them directly online — when it works for you. That’s a win win in my book.

Please let me know what you think, what you try!

So…I super hate Selfies…and my wrinkles. But this is me with half my face in old school makeup and the other half in kinder, cleaner makeup. Can you guess which is which? OK…my right is cleaner, kinder. I didn’t do any special blending. To me, it’s amazing how seamless the comparison is. Which means you don’t think you have to sacrifice finish and performance for safer beauty. Sounds good to me.

Photos by MP Allegaert

A Few of My Favorite Fall Things

It finally feels like Fall, so here a few of my favorite new things. I think the bold white booties are probably my newest obsession….for many reasons. First of all, the quality is so stellar I almost couldn’t believe it as I unpacked them. So pretty I was almost sad to hit the streets in them. They are the perfect combination of kid soft leather with a slight sheen. With a super walkable block heel. Even the soles were leather so pale it looked white. And they felt perfect the second I put them on. So yes, count them as my new #1 obsession. Thank you, Loeffler Randall!

So…the rest of my favorites. This fuzzy, comfy, sparkly sweater. It’s kind of like a shrug, making it something you can layer over lots of things — a button-down shirt, turtleneck or simple white (or black!) tank as I did here. Love love love the sequins for that magic touch day or night. How cute would it be paired with tweed pants or over a velvet slip dress?!? And these jeans. For me, Madewell has hit it out the park this year  as far as denim is concerned. This high-waisted boyfriend silhouette is going to be on rotation weekly, and then some. Love the subtle paint splotch details, too. Guess my “boyfriend” is an artist… Ha ha. Oh…and a cute metallic bag wins for the perfect finish.

Looking at these pics and thinking I’m due for a haircut. Stay tuned…

Boots: (Loeffler Randall, Carter Boot, in other colors too) more affordable here and here

Sweater: (Anthropologie) not white but pretty here and pretty but très cher here

Jeans: (Madewell) Love these from Everlane, too

Bag: (Stuart Weitzman, old) super cute options here and here

Cami: (Nordstrom) a great basic, in black too!

Plush Crush

We finally had a chilly day last week. One. But it was the perfect opportunity to shoot this adorable faux fur jacket. I first spied it online, then tried it on in-store, then finally broke down and ordered it online. And I LOVE it. It is so cute and so cozy I want more cold weather. Pronto. I’m wearing a “borrowed from the boys” kind of outfit with it, but it will look super when paired with a velvet dress or…just about anything.

 

OK…are you in love with this jacket yet? It’s neutral color paired with an eye-catching patchwork design made it a must-have for me. It’s whimsical and chic all at once. And it’s design also helps you avoid the look of a walking, talking stuffed animal. It will look great with everything from distressed jeans to a dressed-up evening out.

The rest of my look is basically a low key, tomboy-ish take on pants and a top. In case you haven’t noticed, check patterns are everywhere this Fall. I wanted a new pair of pants that were on trend but wouldn’t break the bank. And this pair delivered. I’m still jones-ing for a Gucci belt, but this studded leather option with a bold buckle will more than fit the bill until I go for it. If you don’t own a jean or chambray shirt, you should. They are great however you style them — understated here but how cute with a metallic skirt or leather/pleather leggings! To finish off this look, I did shop my closet.

It took awhile for these two-tone booties purchased a couple of years ago to grow on me. But guess what? Now it’s love. And this bag was a crazy splurge 8 or 9 years ago. Then, I used it daily. Hence, it’s distressed look. But guess what…that’s the fashion vibe now. Which means this investment piece more than paid for itself. So… I guess if I’m offering any pearls of Fashion wisdom, it’s splurge on the shoes and bag.

 

Jacket: (Zara) but check out this and this, too!

Shirt: (old, Gap) but great options here and here

Belt: (Treasure & Bond) Gucci obsession here

Pants: (Zara) but love these and these

Boots: (old, Rachel Comey x Club Monaco) but so cute here and here

Bag: (old, Balenicaga) but new here and more affordable version here

 

Photos by Chris & MP Allegaert

Crunchy Chickpea Salad

In my continuing quest to come up with healthy lunchtime options, I decided to shop my pantry and fridge for inspiration. This salad combines some of my favorite things: chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), brussel sprouts, cucumber, radishes, red onion, and at the last  minute…quinoa (not shown). I also added some leftover grilled chicken. Think this would make a nice, light side dish, especially for a grilled dinner. I made it in the morning for lunch later, but it was still fresh and delicious the day after, too. Calorie count? At about a cup and 1/4, 300 calories. With chicken, 420 calories.

INGREDIENTS (Organic, if possible!)

Chickpeas, 1 16 oz. can

Brussel Sprouts, 1 1/2 cups (I used @ 16 baby sprouts, which were delicious but  total pain to clean, peel and chop.)

1 medium Cucumber (remove seeds)

4 medium Radishes

1/2 medium Red Onion

1 1/4 cup Cooked Quinoa

Olive Oil, 2 tsp

1/4 Lemon

2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Sea Salt & Pepper (if you like HOT, add red pepper flakes)

Serves 4-6 as a light lunch or side dish.

Rinse and drain Chickpeas in a colander. Wash and finely chop Brussel Sprouts, Cucumber, Radishes and Red Onion. Combine all in a serving bowl. Add Quinoa. Squeeze in 1/4 Lemon and add Olive Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar. A dash of Sea Salt, lots of Pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight). Toss before serving.

EAT! Let me know if you do and what you think. Or what you might add…cherry tomatoes, cauliflower crumbles…?