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Monday, December 5, 2016

The Perfect Red Christmas Dress

The Perfect Red Christmas Dress

Chanel Bag (similar)
I've said this a few times in the past year, but I used to loathe the color red. I mean, I had no red whatsoever in any part of my wardrobe. But in the past year, I've really warmed up to the color. I find myself buying more and more red pieces and really love the way it compliments my coloring. 

I also love that the shade is especially appropriate and fun around this time of year, so when I saw this gorgeous red lace dress, I knew I had to have it for the holiday season! It's the perfect Nutcracker dress-- really, I'll take any excuse to get dressed up!

I had originally paired it with simple stud earrings and black pumps but decided to go full-on holiday with the outfit and wear red pumps and red earrings! The monochromatic look is totally appropriate around this time of year, right? As far as sizing for the dress, it runs true to size. I am wearing a size 2 for reference!

As always, I carried my favorite cashmere wrap. It's truly one of my favorite things in my closet and something I always recommend to anyone and everyone. It's pricey, but the amount of use you will get out of it makes it well worth it. Not to mention, the quality is unparalleled! It would definitely make a wonderful gift to give someone special!

More of my favorite holiday dresses:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gift Guide 2016: Best Gifts for Guys

Over 100 of the best gift ideas for men, guys, boys
Today we're talking all about guys... what a fun subject, right? Unfortunately, I find that they're a bit hard to shop for! Whether you're looking for a great gift for your dad, brother, uncle, boyfriend, finacĂ©, father-in-law, or husband of 20 years, I think this gift guide should cover all of your bases! 

You may also want to check out my 2014 and 2015 guides. All of the items are still relevant-- which just goes to show that choosing a classic, quality gift is always the way to go when it comes to guys! You'll see a gift collage below, and then I talk about each gift below that.... but I've also included many other options in many of the categories so be sure to scroll all the way down to see all of the ideas! There are over 100+ ideas (yes, this post took a reallllly long time). 

Sunglasses// Two of the most universally flattering and classic pairs: The Clubmaster and the Wayfarer.
Accessories// Whether it's a cozy scarf, a sharp pair of driving gloves, a custom wallet, or even something as simple as collar stays, these are all 'safe' gifts because you can never have too many! A lot of these items also make for really great stocking stuffers!
Ties// To me, a tie is so unoriginal... a snoozefest, really. However, many men have to wear a tie to work every single day, so they actually need them. I love the classic repp stripe ties the most, and I always prefer a bow tie over a regular tie! To make this a little more personal, I love that there are ties with sports teams. Helloooo Pittsburgh Steelers tie (that's quality and classic, not yinzer-y, if you know what I mean!).
Books// This New York Times custom sports book is a really cool gift. I want it for myself, ha! You basically pick any team (NFL, MLB, etc.) and it pulls New York Times articles about the team from the archives. It's handsomely covered in leather (you can choose from 3 colors) so it looks great sitting out, too. Scroll through the widget above for some more books guys are sure to love!
Watch// I've long pined over Omega's Seamaster watch since George Clooney wore it in The American. If you are on a budget, this watch is a classic and under $150. Bonus points if you get the watch engraved (my tank watch has my initials handstamped into the band, too!). Honorable mentions: Cartier Tank, Cartier Ballon Bleu, Rolex Submariner, Tag Heuer Aquaracer., Patek Philippe Calatrava, etc.

Clothing// I think unless a guy specifically asks/wants clothing, you should stay away from this because he can probably buy what he wants/likes for himself. Or you can always steer him in the right direction. However, for the fashionable guy, this makes for a great gift!
Outerwear// Whether the guy in your life is preppy or rugged, you can't go wrong with this Snap T fleece pullover. A major plus is that you can 'borrow' it becuase they're so cozy oversized! Basically any Patagonia piece is fair game. I've also rounded up a bunch of other classic outerwear pieces from dressy to casual! Another must? A Barbour jacket. If this is for your boyfriend/fiancé/husband, it's cute (cheesy, albeit) to make a tag that says something along the lines of 'you've got my love to keep you warm'.
Sports Gear// Whether he's into football, hockey, baseball, etc. there are SO many great gifts for the sports guy. I love the Mitchell and Ness brand of clothing- it's a bit higher end than your typical sports gear and has a vintage vibe to it. You can see me wearing a steeler's version, here (it's really for guys, but totally works for women, too). I really want this Superbowl IX sweatshirt! Also, something I saw on Pinterest that I just love is gifting your guy a ball (in the sport of his choice) and then writing a note on it in lieu of a card... on Pinterest they had things like 'reaons why you are a catch' (get it?). I just love that! 
Grooming Kit// I think this is something a lot of men don't really spend on, so it's fun to give them something new that they never knew they needed! The Art of Shaving kits are always really nice, but something like a Clarisonic would be great for your brother who may have troubled skin!

Housewares// This is great for a bachelor that just moved into his own place, or a guy that needs a little help in the decor department. I've also included some fun things like this homeplate doormat and something a little more practical like this espresso machine
Shoes// I think shoes can be somewhat of a personal thing, so leave this gift for someone you know really well. But I've rounded up allllll of the classics that are high quality. These loafers, in my opinion, are a must-have. The price for the quality is amazing and a shoe that works for so many occassions. Also, shoe kits can be a great gift, too (and something they may have never known they needed). I love this sneaker cleaning kit and this leather shoe kit.
Portable Speaker// This is for the avid traveler or the music obsesed. I have this UE Boom speaker and it's the best! It connects to your phone via bluetooth and you can play anything you'd like! I especially love that it is wireless so it's great to take on trips/on boats, etc. For someone who's looking for great sound in their home, this Bose Wave speaker is awesome. I have it in my bedroom and it serves as a clock and is connected to my bedroom TV so it acts as a better speaker, too.
Travel Bags and Accessories// Whether he travels for work or play, he'll always be in style! I love this leather weekender-- it's definitel a splurge, but wow! I have this one, which is still a splurge, but half the price of the one I featured. I love, love, love it. I use it as a weekender but also as a carry-on whenever I travel! Also, can we talk about this amazing spinner bag? Your phone can track its location, it has two USB ports to charge your devices and is sleek and simple. I. Want. This. Now they just need to invent one with your own built-in WiFi hotspot... one day! And lastly, this travel cocktail kit is genius. I would also love this! Honorable mention: Yeti Cooler

Honorable Mentions: A DSLR camera, drone, computer, phone, Kindle, Alexa, curved TV, GoPro, Tablet, fitbit, bike. 

Experiential gifts, not actual things, or 'things that you can't put a price tag on' are my favorite for guys like your dad, boyfriend, or brother. I think they mean more and show you pay attention to what they like/enjoy. It's fun to get your boyfriend a sweater you think he'll look great in, but does that really show him that you are paying attention to his passions and interests? Probably not. For example, I've started to take my parents/sister to DC for the weekend every Christmas season as my gift to them. We did this as a family when I was in college at James Madison, but since I graduated, we had stopped doing it while my sister was at Kentucky. So I decided to bring it back! It gets our family together for quality time and is something everyone enjoys. The memories are worth so much more than any 'thing' I could give to them.
  • A weekend trip
  • A season ski/snowboard pass 
  • Tickets to a sporting event 
  • A special edition bottle of their favorite liquor (Johnny Walker Blue label can be engraved with the guy's initials!)
  • A subscription (Magazine, Netflix, Blue Apron, gym, etc.)
  • Sports equiptment (skis, golf clubs, tennis racket, etc.)
  • Concert tickets
  • A custom suit or tux 
  • Signed Sports memorabilia 
  • Spa day (massages!) 
  • Tool Kit (bonus for you so he can fix things!) 
  • Experiential Date Ideas
See More Gift Guides:

Friday, December 2, 2016

Holiday Outfit for the City Girl

Sweater// Vest (converts to a dress!)// Skirt
Last night, my building had our holiday party and then I got into my plaid Christmas pajamas and watched Home Alone. There's no doubt I am in full-on December mode and so excited about it! This is my first year living downtown, but certainly not the first time I've enjoyed all of the gorgeous Christmas and holiday decor that downtown Pittsburgh has to offer! 

The city is just bustling with people and has an infectious energy about it, you can't help but to be in a great mood! Between tea at the William Penn Hotel, the holiday market in Market square, the beautifully lit Horn's tree, or the Creche at the Steel Tower (it's the world's only authorized replica of the Vatican's Christmas creche that's on display in Rome!), there is always something to be doing to celebrate the season in the city!

I shot these photos in front of PPG Place's ice skating rink and massive tree! I tried to capture the grand size of the tree in the photos. It's truly something to be seen. Not to mention, it's the most beautiful sight at night when it is all lit up and skaters are flying around the base!

I am loving this gorgeous, festive outfit from J.McLaughlin. They're one of my favorite brands and are continuously coming out with show-stopping, quality pieces. The skirt is the piece that originally caught my eye and what I built the outfit around. It has the most amazing texture thanks to the tweed pattern with lots of metallic gold accents! I then topped it off with this simple, but lovely angora/wool black sweater and then this unique vest! The black accents really help to make the skirt pop! Also, the Pittsburgher in me loves that it's black and gold ;)

I love that each piece of this outfit can be styled on their own, but when put together, it makes for an elegant party outfit! Not to mention, you could even wear the sweater/skirt to work and then off to wherever your night takes you! And the best part? The vest can also be converted into a dress...it's made of wool for great warmth but with a touch of cashmere for a super soft hand. You can also see a different way that I styled the vest, here.
Also, something super exciting from J.McLaughlin is that they just released sunglasses! I love all of the styles available. They're classic but updated for a sleek, timeless look! Check out my instagram to see the Ace sunglasses in action! Thank you to J.McLaughlin for partnering with me on this post!

More favorites from J.McLaughlin:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lately 12/1/2016

It's the first day of December and this is the first 'official' holiday Lately post! Who else is SO EXCITED?! This really is the best time of the year!

Pittsburgh-ing: All of the holiday decor is up around the city and it couldn't be more beautiful! It reminds me of how lucky I am to live in such a wonderful city! Can't wait to go ice skating on this rink soon!
Gifting: I have a guide to gifts for the guys coming up on Saturday, so keep an eye out for that! This will be a big guide with lots of ideas not just limited to 'things', but lots of experiential ideas, and cute/cheesy ideas, too! In the meantime, I've added 25 gifts on the right sidebar (and above) to get you started!

Reading: This article on everything you need to know about Netflix's new offline mode!

Wishing: You guys, Pickerings Gin released gin-filled ornaments. It's like my dreams came to fruition-- but really, I find that to be so fun. Sadly, they're already sold out! Maybe next year I can make a gin and tonic themed tree... I kid, I kid.

Loving: Londontown sent me their Lakur Nail Polish to try out and I am so glad that they did because I love it! The formula is actually made so that the polish strengthens your nails, which is what I definitely need in between my gel manicures! I typically get a gel manicure every 2 weeks, but ever since I moved, I've been going less because it's kind of a pain to get to the salon I go to. So since I go less, I've started to paint my nails here and there. These colors are awesome but my favorite part is the gel top coat and the drying drops! The polishes are available on Amazon, too, and are prime!

Loving II: Did you hear that Lilly Pulitzer partnered with St. Tropez tan to create a really cute gift set? I'm sooooo pale in the winter, and other than bronzer, I haven't really tried anything. Has anyone tried the St. Tropez tanner? Do you like it? Does it work?! I'm thinking now might be a good excuse to test it out!

Drinking: Nespresso released their newest flavors just in time for the holidays. I got to sample the banana bread, gingerbread, and pumpkin spice cake! My favorite is the pumpkin spice cake but they're all delicious! It's definitely the perfect thing to sip on throughout the season, especially on Christmas morning! One thing I love that my aunt and uncle do is gift us with really cool things for Christmas morning breakfast on Christmas eve. It's a fun surprise and always makes brunch extra special. I think if you are to do something like that for someone, these sleeves would be a great addition!

Eating: We're one week past Thanksgiving, so basically what haven't I eaten?! But really!! There are a few new restaurants that have been opening up around the city that are on my list: Pork and Beans and Social House 7 are the two at the top right now, so I'll report back!

Watching: This ad for H and M was directed by Wes Anderson, and as you can imagine, it's amazing.  It's visually stunning but also a cute storyline, too!

Wanting: A Saks Off 5th Just opened near me and I stopped in the other day. I wasn't expecting much, but wow, I was impressed! I have shopped online before and typically find great deals, but was really blown away by their affordable cashmere selection (there's a huge selection online, too, and many great basics are just $60!)! I got this sweater and the quality for the price is insane-- I know brands like Eileen Fisher make something similar for 4x the price! Also, how incredible are these bow heels and these velvet bow flats.

Listening: Last week, I embedded my Christmas playlist, so check that out if you don't have Spotify! If you do, you can find it here. I haven't been listening to a ton of other music, but just updated my November/December playlist. Since November's was kind of pathetic, I just merged Nov/Dec. There are about 20+ songs and they're all really good. I'm currently loving this Dancing on My Own remix-- I loved Robyn's version (especially because it was in one of my favorite Gossip Girl scenes, please tell me someone else remembers this episode?! #ChuckandBlair4Lyfe). I've also been loving Robyn by Lawrence Taylor and if you're looking for a great song to just turn up and belt out, check out One Republic's Let's Hurt Tonight.
Quoting: See more of my favorites, here.