Thursday, December 31, 2015

Deck the Halls

Kelly is an amazing interior designer, so I always enjoy seeing how she decks the halls for Christmas or any other holiday.  I didn't have the chance to decorate much this year (teething puppies and trees don't go well together), but I got to enjoy the Christmas decor and tree at my in-laws' Christmas party.  Christmas trees are a good way to SPRUCE up a room (who doesn't love a good tree joke), and this tree was beautiful.  For the party I went with a versatile white blouse and jeans and paired it with sparkly earrings.


I continued with the Christmas light looking tradition when we went down to Texas for the 2nd half of our unseasonably warm Christmas celebration.  I used to think snow was so beautiful and dreamed of having a white Christmas.  Then I lived in the northeast for a few years, walked to class in a blizzard, and shoveled out a car that was completely covered in snow.  Snow quickly lost some of its luster.  This year we had a pretty warm Christmas, and I didn't miss the white Christmas at all. This ombre coat was great for a night out light looking.  It can be dressed up or down and will be perfect for the light winters we have in the pacific northwest.


Merry Christmas, y'all!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Punta Cana or Bust

Beautiful flamingos at our resort
View of Punta Cana taken from our catamaran tour
I love to travel, see different parts of the world and experience different cultures. Me and my husband's last vacation was two years ago when we spent three weeks in Malaysia and Singapore for Christmas and New Year's before baby. This year as an early Christmas present to ourselves, we went on our first post-baby vacation to the Dominican Republic.

Unlike past trips, this one was centered around doing nothing. No alarms. No schedules. No interruptions. All things we hadn't experienced in 423 days (but who's counting). The setting was gorgeous, and it was the perfect place to unwind.

Like everything in my life these days, this trip snuck up on me out of nowhere. As the queen of over packing, I always convince myself I need 'options,' packing half my closet and wearing only a third of what's in my suitcase. Here's what made the cut for our five-night beach vacation.



I'm always cold so I layered a basic tee with my favorite gray and navy cape. This cape has been one of the most-worn pieces in my closet this winter (same one worn here) and it's now a steal under $30. When we arrived in Punta Cana, I threw it in my carry-on bag and was dressed for the warm weather.


I can't tell you how many times I pack 'day outfits' that never get worn. On a beach vacation, you're going to wear your swimsuit. All day. I packed two swimsuits, a few cover-ups for layering and a pair of boyfriend shorts.   



Every night was date night - this was one of the best parts of the trip. Great food, wine, conversation, scenery. I opted for rompers paired with flats because they're comfortable, easy and fun, and a great alternative to dresses. There's something about having pockets that I just love!

This vacation was a great reminder of how important it is to have 'us' time. Our son had a great time with his Papa and Bunsie, and I don't think he missed us one bit! When we came home, he was all smiles and giggles - melted my heart.

Xo, Jenn

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Break from the Big City - Holidays at the Farm

My in-laws own a farm outside of New York and it has become my husband's favorite retreat from the city.  It's quite lovely and very quiet; however, I have concluded that farm living is not the life for me.  While I'm not quite the fish out of water that Eva Gabor was at Green Acres, I definitely don't thrive in this environment.  Last Christmas, we found a badly injured deer on the property and I stood six feet away from it as my brother-in-law ripped a bullet into his head -- Bambi and my Christmas- joy died simultaneously.  This year, I went out to see the chickens that we'd been raising for the past two years, only to learn that they had all been killed due to some absurd farm rule that you can't keep chickens for more than two years (my father-in-law states that he HAD to kill them because they no longer make eggs -- at 32, I recognize that my egg producing time is similarly dwindling).  Imagine my inner turmoil when I learned last night that my father-in-law was finally going to purchase the fainting goats I have been requesting for the past several months (do yourself a favor and google them - ENDLESS amusement) -- while initially thrilled, I have to wonder how long these timid and uncoordinated creatures can survive on this farm of death! Aside from the whole "circle of life" issues I have with the farm, I also find myself in a near state of panic due to the lack of cellular and wireless service.

While the clothes are not "farm attire," I will be sporting my Ralph Lauren overalls in the next post -- get excited!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's a Family Tradition


Christmas is steeped in tradition for our family, and Christmas light looking is one of my favorite traditions.  We pile in the car, turn on the Christmas music, and drive around looking at Christmas lights. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and Christmas lights are no exception!  The lights are pretty fabulous.  My husband and I extended the Christmas light looking tradition (minus the Mariah Carey sing-along) to our local zoo’s WildLights night display.  This zoo does it right:  600K Christmas lights, hot apple cider, and REAL REINDEER.  For a Texan with no real reindeer experience, it was thrilling to be in a cold enough climate to see reindeer (caribou) in person.  I went with a furry vest and comfy booties to keep me warm while we wandered around the zoo exhibits.

Christmas cookie decorating is another great family tradition we enjoyed with my grandmother.  She’s an amazing baker, so I look forward to those cookies every year. I got to volunteer this week at a local shelter decorating Christmas cookies with the kids staying there, so that was a good proxy for missing the decorating at home.  One of my favorite little guys taste tested every single jar of sprinkles, and his cookies were just a mound of icing and sprinkles.  He was a pretty happy camper, but I’m guessing he didn’t get any sleep that night.  Knowing I'd end up covered in icing, I wore my festive ugly Texan's Christmas sweater (Jenn would be so proud).

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas full of family and traditions!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Night at the theatre, aka breaking out of my style comfort zone

I am fortunate to work next to a wonderful, local boutique and the store owner always helps me to push my style limits.  Just one more reason I love to shop local!  She's got my back.  I tend to gravitate towards solids, and a little loose fitting, so when she pulled a patterned tight fitting dress I thought - no.  Lucky me though, I have really put this to use!  If I put it on - it's date night, a bachelorette party, or some other occasion to bring out my fun alter ego.  I surprised my husband with theater tickets, threw on that dress, gold hoop earrings (hallelujah the 70s staple is back in!), mixed in some solid gray ankle boots and a solid brown clutch and away we went.  Nice to sneak in a little alone time before we turn fully into the Griswolds next week. 

Here I am about to leave and standing next to an old family portrait - I love these, a reminder that style changes, but who you really are remains the same.  So, get out of your fashion comfort zone!  Plus, the crazier the outfit, the less you have to worry about your hair. 

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sunday Night Football


My husband and I live for football season. We are that couple (now family) on Sundays that are all decked out in our Houston Texans gear. Our ideal 'Sunday Funday' consists of breakfast tacos, tailgating, Texans game, post-game fajitas and ritas, nap, Sunday Night Football, bed.

This past weekend, we came in town for the New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans game on Sunday Night Football. Even though we lost miserably to the Brady bunch, we had so much fun tailgating and being at a primetime game with old friends.

I'm all about showing team spirit. I like to mix and match one team branded item - a T-shirt, sweater or hat - and pair it with accessories in team colors that are already in my closet. Sunday's game was cold, windy and wet so I threw on a navy cape over a Texans T-shirt. It literally felt like I was wrapped in a blanket all night - so cozy! This cape is warm, reversible, and comes in four different colors.

And I always wear red lipstick when my outfit allows. There are only two occasions that I wear red lipstick - formal events and football games - and I go to a lot more football games than formals these days!

We have one more home game to go this season and are hoping (praying) to see our team make the playoffs. Go Texans!

Xo, Jenn

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Other Texans items I love

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sweater Weather and Yoda

After a sunny summer and fall of hiking and exploring the outdoors, we have hit the cold and rainy season in the pacific northwest a.k.a. "Sweater Weather".  Sweater Weather is that magical time of year when I throw on a comfy sweater and boots and enjoy the indoor activities that this part of the country has to offer.  Think:  sitting by a fire with puppies (who would rather play than take pictures), trying new restaurants, visiting museums, and (my favorite) touring the impressive Gingerbread Village.  Each year chefs and architecture firms from around the city design and bake elaborate gingerbread houses, and the exhibit benefits a charity.  This year the Gingerbread Village benefited the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the theme was Star Wars "May the Holidays Be With You".  I saw all my favorites like Yoda, R2D2, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and there was even a gumdrop starship.  Basically I was in nerd-heaven and loved every minute of it.  Winter isn't this Texan's favorite season, but seeing a Christmas tree decorated in lightsabers helped to make the season bright!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Aging Gracefully - A Grown-up's Guide to Santacon

For those of you unfamiliar with NYC's annual SantaCon, it's a massive pub crawl where the participants dress as holiday characters and stumble their way through the city, leaving trails of their costumes and vomit behind.  I'll admit that there was a time in my life when I would have enjoyed these festivities, but I'm 32 now and I no longer enjoy binge drinking cheap beer in a crowded bar where drunk Santas spill their beverages on me.  I'm simply too old for SantaCon, and while I'm generally okay with that, there's also a small part of me that looks longingly at those very merry 20-somethings.  For this reason, I created the "Holiday Sampler" -- it's essentially a more sophisticated bar crawl that includes some of the nicest hotel bars in the city.  On the same Saturday as SantaCon, my husband and I were joined by another couple and we hit up the following hotels:  The Four Seasons, The King Cole Bar at the St. Regis, the rooftop bar of The Peninsula, The Jade Bar at The Gramercy, and the lounge of the Marlton Hotel.  At each location, we ordered some type of seasonal cocktail or champagne while enjoying the beautiful decorations and holiday music.  We visited 5 bars in the course of 7 hours (this included travel time) so that we could actually enjoy sipping our cocktails and nibbling on delicious appetizers like the sophisticated adults that we're trying to become.  We had a wonderful time -- it was both merry and age appropriate!

Kicking things off at The Four Seasons

Have fun with the details


Singing Carols in The Peninsula Hotel Lobby

Rooftop of the Peninsula Hotel

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas Shopping in New York

I don't actually enjoy shopping at all, which is probably surprising seeing as i contribute to a fashion blog. While I love clothes, I find buying them to be extremely stressful. I think my anxiety stems from two factors: (1) I don't enjoy spending money, and (2) I refuse to make returns (the latter is due to the emotional scars I still carry 15 years after my dad chastised me for spending $200 on cosmetic brushes and subsequently made me return them to the very intimidating Saks -- my high school me was mortified).  The result of these two traits is that I painstakingly analyze each purchase; in fact, I have a series of questions I ask before each purchase: (1) Can I think of at least three occasions within the next year when I will wear this piece, (2) does this piece fill a niche that I don't already have clothes filling, and (3) does my husband approve (it's not that I need my husband's constant approval, but I often find clothes he doesn't like mysteriously missing after he's conducted his seasonal purge of our closets). I perform this routine because I need to be 100% certain that I really want the article of clothing since I know I won't return it.  Unfortunately for the sales people, I also verbalize these thoughts and force them to witness my entire analysis -- I once had a saleswoman tell me as I was leaving that she hoped I would enjoy wearing the dress to the wedding in California, the cocktail party I planned to attend later that week and the engagement party. She had actually recalled all three of my requisite events, though I'm pretty sure she was mocking me. 

I went Christmas shopping this weekend in Soho and purchased the ivory coat featured below. I listed the three occasions I would wear it, mentally surveyed my closet and noted that I did not have an ivory/cream/tan/oatmeal colored coat that filled the same niche, and finally, I received my husband's very enthusiastic encouragement (he does not suffer my aforementioned anxieties over shopping).  The whole ordeal only took an hour.  I wore the coat the very next day to church and holiday sightseeing on the Upper East Side. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hunt for the perfect tree

Ah, it's that time of year.  Time to break out the ornaments and the eggnog, cozy up with all those incoming catalogs, and listen to Bing Crosby.  After the pumpkins are put away, I just can't wait to buy a tree. Every year, I wear a red plaid shirt for this excursion, and I have grown a little nostalgic about it. Now my children see red plaid and know - it is officially the Holiday Season.

 To avoid feeling like a lumberjack, I like to soften the look with unexpected pieces.  This year, I chose over-sized black sunglasses, a soft vintage fur wrap passed down from my grandmother, and my favorite jeans and boots. Tree day becomes an occasion for family to come over and hang ornaments, so the juxtaposition of casual and traditional evening wear works.  I consider a beautiful (a teeny bit over the top) piece akin to the star on the top of the tree; the Holiday outfit isn't complete without it!

I love the idea that my children will remember these days as fondly as I do.  My mother and grandmother always made the start of the Season an occasion worth celebrating, not just Christmas itself, and as a result I still feel like a little girl when I hear those first jingle bells.

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