Monday, November 11, 2019

The Best Faux Fur Vest

Faux Fur Vest (comes in several neutral colors)

If you follow me on Instagram, then you might know that I boldly called this faux fur vest the best thing I've bought in 2019. I'm here to declare that statement on my blog today! It really is the best thing I've purchased in 2019!! 

It's a bit pricey, I know, but it's so incredibly made and the softest you'll ever feel. You can use code TOGETHER to earn a $25-$600 gift card depending upon your total checkout price. It also truly looks real. I had a few angry DM's when I first shared the vest of followers thinking I was wearing real fur!! Also, there is a vest by the same brand available for a bit less. It looks very similar and has a hood. I still like the one without the hood better, but it's a nice option if you are looking to save a bit! And there is another hooded version that looks identical to the one I have- use code CHILLY for 40% off. 

I love faux fur vests and there are so many options out there each winter season. I have owned a lot because I love the look so much but there are SO many cheapy options. This is a classic piece of clothing, so for me, I was OK with splurging a little.

In the photos above, you can see I styled it 2 slightly different ways. One is an everyday look and one is a bit more elevated with heels. 

Here's why I love it:
- It has a very flattering A-Line shape that gives you room to layer but also looks fabulous with any type of pant. 
- It's longer in length. This means you can wear it with leggings or whatever you choose! 
- The quilting is so elegant and makes it look so expensive. 
- The faux fur has the look of real fur. The company calls this 'faux real'. 
- It is SO soft. Seriously. I wore it the other weekend and my fiancé said, 'wow, I wish Henry (our dog) was this soft', hahah!!!
- The collar stands upright and it's high! This makes it look SO sophisticated and truly elegant. 
- It comes in many neutral colors. I think black seems to be the most dressy and versatile for me personally, but the other colors are beautiful. 
- It looks good buttoned up or left open. A lot of faux fur vests don't look good buttoned up (in my opinion). 
- It's lined in a satiny material so it looks and feels high quality (and that's what real furs are lined in). 

The Fit
I got my usual size small, but I would say this runs generously and you could easily size down a size (or even 2).

Seriously, you will not regret it. It's the most fabulous and elegant thing in my closet right now and I have already worn it a handful of times. I know it is going to come in handy as we get closer to the holidays!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Service Sunday: GiGi's Playhouse

Today's Service Sunday, we are introduced to Isabella and we will learn about her volunteering with GiGi's Playhouse. This organization spoke to me because it has so many locations all over the United States. This is an organization that is likely in your city so it's easy to get involved! Isabella sent me the cutest photo of her and her student and I would so love to share it, but unfortunately, I don't have full photo rights from the student, so I decided against sharing it here. But it was seriously SO cute! Here's what Isabella has to say... 

Meet Isabella
Hello Summer Wind readers! My name is Isabella and I am from Chicago. I am a Quality Engineer who has always had a passion for giving back to the community. Over the years I have volunteered at local food banks, assisted refugees through St. Vincent de Paul, and so much more. Currently, I am involved with GiGi’s Playhouse-Chicago as a math tutor.

What is your role at GiGi's Playhouse?
I am currently a 1:1 tutor for math at GiGi's Playhouse-Chicago. The goal of this program is to help increase independence in schoolwork, community, and the workplace. I work with students on telling time, subtraction, money, shapes, and so much more. The student I am currently working with loves food, art, and singing songs by Adele! When I discussed shapes with her, I drew a house talking about what shapes each object was (windows are squares, the roof is a triangle, etc.). Since we both love food, we have also played restaurant and grocery store to help understand the price of items and how to pick out the correct money needed to pay for the items. At the end of our sessions, we sing (I was way out of tune haha) 'Hello' by Adele and the smile on her face could turn any gray sky blue!

How can we get involved?
GiGi’s Playhouse has a total of 46 locations in the US and Mexico that offer free educational,
therapeutic-based and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community. This organization offers numerous resources, too, for many people. It is a chance for individuals with Down Syndrome to grow and to be in a safe environment. It is a chance for the families to connect and help each other grow. It is a chance for people like you and me to help change someone’s life even a little bit. There are so many ways to get involved with GiGi’s Playhouse and show support! From volunteering to monetary donations to hosting a supply drive. Any commitment you are able to make will help children and adults with Down Syndrome succeed by greatly improving speech and literacy skills, by combating low muscle tone via wellness programs, and by expanding real-world career skills. The GiGi’s Playhouse website is such a great resource to help you figure out what is the best way for you to get involved.

Past Service Sundays:
- Introduction
- Plaid Pajamas Project

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Saturday Shopping

Last night we enjoyed a night in. We cooked an Italian dinner, drank delicious wine, and lounged in our cozy clothes because it was insanely cold yesterday! Today, we had to be up early to head to our Pre Cana class at a church here in Pittsburgh. Pre Cana is a class that prepares you for marriage and getting married in the Catholic church. It is 7 hours long. Some of them are once a week for 6 weeks, so I'm glad we got to do it all in one day! 

Scroll through the widget above to see what I have been loving this week. Still so much holiday goodness coming out!!! 

Friday, November 8, 2019

Wine Recommendations For Hosting or Gifting

Wine Recommendations For Hosting or Gifting
Tartan Top c/o// Coated Denim (50% off)

Wine Recommendations For Hosting or Gifting
'Tis the season to be hosting and toasting, am I right?! I love a good glass of wine and you all know I definitely love my bubbly!! I have my personal favorites but also feel like I know enough about wine that I am able to recommend solid wines to all of you this holiday season. 

There are two categories in today's post. First, we'll chat about wines that are very inexpensive but drink well and liked by many and are easy to serve to a crowd or bring as a hostess gift. Then, we'll chat about pricier wines (still all under $100, though!!) that are also delicious but will impress your audience or your host/hostess if they really like/know their wines. 

I tried to pick really popular labels so you are all able to find these wines wherever you may live! Pennsylvania has really weird/strict liquor laws (our Trader Joe's and Costco, etc. don't sell alcohol), so my prices are based on the prices I typically see, but I find these prices vary greatly from state-to-state. 

So first let's chat about the inexpensive bottles! 

Chandon Brut Sparkling Wine ($20ish)// I should probably make a disclaimer that for bubbly, I also love La Marca prosecco and it's a really inexpensive but solid bottle of bubbly, however, I wanted to highlight Chandon instead because I feel like that's lesser-known and also one of my all-time favorite affordable sparkling wines. I truly believe this sparkling wine can hold its own against bottles triple its price. This has such a good flavor and truly tastes like French champagne (it's not- it's made in Napa). It's very drinkable, filled with lots of small bubbles, and crisp and dry. Chandon also makes a sparkling rosé which is also delicious and a blanc de noirs, which is also delicious and has a little more full-bodied flavor. 

Duckhorn Chardonnay ($30ish)// I don't really drink chardonnay, but I like to keep this on hand at my house in case I am ever hosting chardonnay drinkers. This is a little bit oaky and has a hint of citrus to it. It's dry and an easy crowd-pleaser for those who like Chardonnay. I also didn't have this on hand at the time, but another crowd-pleasing white is Kim Crawford's Sauvignon blanc. It's super light and fresh plus inexpensive, but again, I am just not a huge white wine person (even in the summer). 

Meiomi Pinot Noir ($20ish)// This is my favorite affordable pinot noir. I prefer Cabernet when possible, but do love a glass of Meiomi every once in a while. Overall, pinot noir is just a really easy to drink red wine. So it's great for those who don't know their red wines that much and just want something smooth and dry. I call this 'pizza wine' because in my opinion, it's best paired with pizza and pasta. I usually always have at least a few bottles of this on hand. 

14 Hands Cabernet ($12ish)// This is a newer one for me but it's SO inexpensive and the taste for the price is really 'wow' to me. It tastes much more like a $20-$30 bottle of wine. It's smooth, full-bodied, and has very subtle fruity notes (but still dry). Another crowd pleaser and so inexpensive!

And this is a bonus because it's my #1 favorite inexpensive red wine and I normally have lots of bottles on hand. We had just drunk our last bottle the past weekend before I took these photos and when I realized I needed more, I ran out to the closest liquor store and they were literally out of it. This actually happens a lot, I've noticed, and that's because I think so many people are finding out about how good this wine is (for the price). It's Estancia's Cabernet ($15ish). So that's why there is no photo of it, ha! It's rich, full-bodied, dry, slightly oaky, peppery, and a little bit fruity with notes of cherry. It has a long finish and is just so smooth to drink. I think this truly tastes like a $50 bottle of cabernet and even people I know who are total cabernet snobs agree that this is a darn good cab. Most of the time, this is what I'm drinking and this is what I'm bringing to parties (other than bubbly, of course).

And lastly, another honorable mention would be Whispering Angel Rosé ($20ish). We did a rosé tasting last summer at the lake and I just realized that I don't really enjoy rosé... shocking, I know. I'll have a glass here and there in the summer, but I'd much rather champagne/sparkling wine/prosecco. However, in the tasting, Whispering Angel definitely stood out to me as the best and I think that's the reason it is so popular- most people love it. I find it to be a more summery drink, but people do drink it year-round, too. 

Wine Recommendations For Hosting or Gifting

Wine Recommendations For Hosting or Gifting

Wine Recommendations For Hosting or Gifting

Now onto pricier bottles of wine. I'm not one to spend a lot on wine unless it's something I absolutely love. So that's why you don't see any pricey white wines here. It's just not my thing and you wouldn't want my advice on that. But pricey bubbly is my love language. 

These wines would be nice to bring to your boyfriend's family or in-laws over the holidays if they know their wine and you are looking to impress while not spending hundreds. I would imagine any cabernet drinker would be pleased to receive a bottle of Caymus! And I'm a huge champagne snob- I collect nicer bottles of champagne, so have it all and I really tried to pick champagnes other than super popular ones like Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, and Moet and go with ones that are still popular but just not as much! 

Caymus Cabernet ($100ish)// This is a really popular higher-end cabernet and is truly delicious. I don't like it when higher-end cabernets have an overly earthy taste (a lot do) and this does not. This is full-bodied and smooth with hints of toasted vanilla, dark fruits like black cherry. This is the kind of wine that I love to just savor on its own but also pairs so well with steaks or a chocolatey dessert. The brand Caymus is very well-known, so it's kind of like Tiffany jewelry- even people that don't love jewelry know Tiffany. 

Duckhorn Cabernet ($60ish)// This is a little 'dustier' than Caymus in my opinion. So for those of you who like that super dry, musty taste, this is for you. It's not strong by any means, so I still really like it. It's rich, complex, full-bodied, dry, and has notes of dark berries. 

Perrier Jouet Grand Brut ($55ish)// This is fresh- it kind of feels like you are drinking 'spring' (which makes me sound crazy, I know). There are lots of fine bubbles, it's smooth, a bit floral, and very pleasant and easy to drink. This is dry and flavorful and a true champagne from France. This is a wonderful gift and I really think the bottle is beautiful, too. 

GH Mumm ($40ish)// I think a lot of people confuse this with Moet because of the similar colors and 'M'. But I love this one (it's harder to find in PA state stores) and it's rather affordable for the taste. This is fruity (dry, though) and smooth, and easy to drink. I find this to drink similarly to the Chandon I featured above but with a little more body to it.

Wine Recommendations For Hosting or Gifting
Just tie with a ribbon and you're all set to head off to a holiday party or gathering! I got this plaid ribbon from Hobby Lobby and it was very inexpensive. You could also slip it in a very cute sleeve like this tartan one (SO cute). 

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