Five Things: Effortless Ways To Look Polished During the Holidays

I met a friend for lunch the other day, and she commented that I always seemed to look put together, even during the holidays. What a lovely compliment!! But, the truth of the matter is that I stick the basics that I know work for me. I’m just like everyone else – and I have those days where I’m wearing wrinkled clothing and my jacket is misshapen with everything I’ve stuffed in my pockets. Over the years, I’ve discovered that these 5 things during the hectic winter months are the best way to feel and look a little more polished.

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Number One:: A sophisticated scarf. I tend to gravitate towards the large cashmere scarves that are a single color. I like the oversized nature of the one I’m wearing here. It wraps beautifully around my neck, and I can just as easily wear it as a shawl. Similar here, and really loving the colors here.

Number Two:: Statement earrings. A little sparkle during the holidays is key to looking a little more polished. I stay away from anything that is too heavy since I’m often running around for the entire day, and choose pieces that can transition between day and evening well. I often keep a spare pair in my bag, in case I need a little sparkle on the go. I bought these from J-Crew several seasons ago, but there are plenty of amazing options at every price point. (Like these or these).

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Number Three:: Tote Bag. For occasions, I tend to opt for the tiniest of bite sized bags, but for every day during the holidays I grab a trusty tote or carryall bag in a polished or interesting leather. This one was a chance buy from Cole Haan (the men’s department!), and I adore the character of the leather. I can toss everything in here without a thought and maintain a put together look without stuffing things into pockets and looking scrubby. I adore this and this from the Cole Haan women’s collection this year.

Number Four:: Ear Muffs. Ear muffs serve a dual purpose for me. First – they keep my ears warm and my hair style intact. Second – they look absolutely adorable hanging around the handles of my tote. These are the exact pair I have.

Number Five:: Glass Water Bottle. It’s an unusual pick, but I feel my best when I’m well hydrated and I feel more put together when I have water in my bag. This is my favorite water bottle for on the go. You can find the entire range of sizes at the LifeFactory website (and on Amazon)

 

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Thank you for visiting! Tell me in the comments what your tricks are to staying put together during the holiday season!

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Saoirse Lou

 

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I remember when I was a child, I saw magic everywhere. When mushrooms would bloom overnight in the shade of the trees, I imagined that a fairy or elf  had deposited them to enchant me. I think, as we get older and more mature, we forget about the magic around us… we learn more about science and practical things, so the magic begins to elude us.

Saoirse, yes – her name is just as magical as her illustrations, manages to capture that whimsical magic that we all believed in as children. When I first saw an illustration that Saoirse had posed on Instagram, I was enchanted. I had the opportunity to ask a few questions, so I thought I’d share a little bit of her inspiration here and a few of her beautiful illustrations.

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What inspires you, Saoirse? 
I am inspired by magic and nature. I remember growing up feeling so peaceful and a sense of awe in the woods, imagining my own worlds. In my artwork, I try to recreate that feeling of whimsy and peace from my childhood.

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How did you get into illustration? 
As I grew up I was utterly transfixed by animation, characters and books – I was always collecting interesting books and getting lost in the illustrations. I would copy pictures from the books and animations, as I got older I developed my own style and realised how badly I wanted to put my own illustrated world down onto paper.
Tell me a fun fact about you and your art! 
In school I used to hide drawing paper inside a revision book so it looked like I was being studious when really I was doodling.
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You can visit Saoirse on Instagram or at her Etsy shopI hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Saoirse. Tell me in the comment: Do Saoirse’s illustrations take you back to childhood too???
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Perkins Memorial

A few years ago, I saw this dress…. Unfortunately, my size was nowhere to be found. A few weeks later, I saw the dress again on the sale rack. Despite the dress being several sizes too large, I gleefully took it home. I cinch the volume of the dress down to my size with a wide belt, and it gives a little extra swing in the dress. It’s a long time favorite, especially during the hot months when I want to be comfortable, cool, and put together.

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I’m standing at the top of this beautiful mountain –  Perkins Memorial. Perkins Memorial is a beautiful drive or hike in the middle of Bear Mountain and it has some fantastic views of Hudson Valley. I visited on a cloudy day, but it was still absolutely breathtaking to see the entire valley in bloom and green. The tower is open seasonally, and the view is even more stunning from the top.

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Thank you so much for visiting! Tell me in the comments if you’ve visited this part of Hudson Valley before, and what your favorites are!

Three Days: Monterey to Big Sur

I arrived in Monterey late on Thursday, and departed Saturday afternoon. I spent plenty of time wandering and enjoying the beautiful scenery. These are my favorite kinds of trips – the kind where you wander and explore organically, without having any plans or deadlines. It’s incredibly refreshing and fun.

Day One:

  1. Arrive in Monterey, check into the Intercontinental Hotel.
  2. Walk from Cannery Row to Lovers Point along the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail… enjoy watching the seals and pups!
  3. Dinner at The Beach House at Lover’s Point. Definitely recommend – excellent service and good food with a fantastic view.

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Day Two:

  1. Drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea
  2. Wander the galleries, and explore the beaches near Carmel-by-the-Sea

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Day Three:

  1. Drive to Big Sur (at least up to where Route 1 is closed due to road closure)
  2. Stop everywhere along Route 1 to take in the view! Pro-tip: Pack a lunch and plenty of water so you can focus on the view and enjoying yourself!

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Thank you so much for visiting! Tell me – what your favorite picture from my short little trip is!

 

Floral by the Sea

I wore this skirt on a day excursion to Carmel by the Sea. I love the bright colors paired with a sweater set – it makes for a perfect outfit to spend strolling through galleries and a quick run into the freezing surf. Tell me, have you been to Carmel by the Sea??

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Floral Skirt: Kate Spade (old, but this one is fantastic)
((((( edit: Just a few more options that I think are pretty fab and have a similar feel as this skirt: hereherehere, here, here, and here )))))
Sweater Set: J Crew
Loafers: Jack Rogers
Scarf: Saks Fifth Avenue (similar here)
Bag: Francesco Biasa
Sunnies: Lacoste (this season’s here)

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Thank you for visiting!!

To Walk on Clouds

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Coyote Hills Regional Park (location)

When I went to this park for the first time a couple years ago, I couldn’t help up stick my head out the window as I drove in, smiling my face off. That smile turned into gleeful skipping as I explored the park, stood on top of the hills and stared down the Bay into San Francisco, and finally slid my reluctant and tired legs into my car that night to go home.  I’ve been back many more times, and each time I feel as if I’m walking on the clouds. Rain or shine, this park is one of my absolute favorites in the Bay Area.

Tell me – what are your favorite parks to visit? Tell me where I should visit next!

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Thank you for visiting!!!!

Stripe on Stripe: Denim

I tend to travel with only a carryon suitcase, so it’s always a challenge to make sure that I have enough wardrobe variety. Comfort and style are paramount for me – so it only makes sense to pack the shoes I love the most at the moment (and a matching bag). I also pack things that don’t wrinkle much – which is where this little jacket comes into play. It’s from ages ago, but it barely wrinkles and I’ve fallen back in love with it on this trip. It’s a little unexpected when paired with the striped denim dress, but I like the harmonious color palette.

I spent a few hours in San Francisco (devouring Beard Papa’s) before heading to Half Moon Bay for a quiet afternoon. It was a perfect day, and this outfit made it that much sweeter. Tell me in the comments what your perfect kind of day looks like!

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Thank you for visiting!!

Pattern Play + Vermillion

Playing with stripes and gingham! I adore how the stripes and gingham play off each other – and how the vermillion shoes and belt contrast with the white and navy. What is your favorite way to play with patterns?

SONY DSCGingham SkirtZara (last seen here, also like this guy)
Stripe Sweater: Banana Republic (similar here and here)
Belt: Found in a shop while traveling (similar here and here)
Flats: Polo Ralph Lauren (similar, and love these )
Sunnies: Lacoste (this season’s here)

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Thanks for visiting!

Artist Spotlight: BongJung Kim

I read, in the Guggenheim Museum, that Peggy Guggenheim bought a painting a day before starting her own museum in  New York. While I can’t quite do the same, I did promise myself to take more time to explore the artists around me and to bring artist spotlights to my blog. It’s my way of showing my appreciation to the artists around us for shedding light on their perspective of our world.

I had the honor of attending the opening for BongJung Kim’s Temptation earlier this month, and was reminded how perspective changes everything. Artist Kim’s gallery opening demonstrates his unique perspective on the electronic age. So, it is with great pleasure that my first artist spotlight is on Artist Kim’s collection. I’ve taken a few pictures to give you a taste of the collection, but I urge you to visit the collection yourself. It is currently on display in the Paris Koh Fine Arts (location) from April 4 until April 22 (flyer below).

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Thank you for visiting! Let me know in the comments if you had the opportunity to view this artist’s collection and what you think!