Gift Guide For The Ladies!

If you haven’t bought gifts by now, your only chances are local stores as the ground transportation has basically slowed down so much that it can take weeks for something to arrive. Shop local, support local! Here’s our beautiful and practical gifts for the women, affordable and more significantly,  special items she’ll fa-la-la-love, I guarantee there’s at least one thing here you’ll love to wrap up for her.

Next best thing to a big warm hug would be this stylish and warm vest from Snappy Gator. Great for paddle, tennis or hiking your dog. Cute with workout leggings but chic enough to be worn with white shirt and jeans. – this one is a no brainer. Comes in black and light blue camo. I also loved a cashmere sweater which has Love Wins embroidered on it. They’ll wrap the gifts and run it out to curbside for you. $178 Phone: 203.761.773


I’ve played tennis off and on for two years and I am not alone, it’s an increasingly popular sport and since Covid even more so – tennis racquets sales have doubled. My husband doesn’t know this but he is gifting me this monogrammed Oliver Thomas tennis bag from Signature Style. It comes in black, green camo, blue camo, and gunmetal. $175 includes monogramming. www.signaturestyleshop.com

 

 

There’s nothing more relaxing and stress reducing than a soothing massage by Amy Tobey at Amy’s Healing Arts. She is also incredibly great at working on overworked muscles and sprains. I wouldn’t mind receiving a gift certificate for a massage there. Wouldn’t mind at all. $100 for an hour. Gift cards available at www.amyshealingarts.com

A few years ago my bestie gifted me a beautiful photo of my girls that I framed and still treasure. I also received a cute photo ornament of my puppy! Tiffany Shelton from RSKS Photography takes absolutely stunning photos and she is currently running a holiday 20 minute special for 5 digital images for $150. https://rsksphotography.com I would get them printed (at home or at CVS) and pair with these chic faux crocodile frames from the Open House Gift Shop, prices vary from $55-$95. http://openhousegiftshop.com/

Nod Hill Soaps has an array of goodies, my favorites are her fragrance diffusers (I have two dogs and would love for the house to smell nice, thank you) and lotions. My fave scents combos are Nantucket Breeze (smells like summer, the kind you have in Nantucket), Oranges and Roses (holiday-esque) and White tea and Jasmine (sophisticated Park Avenue vibe). You can online order and do a quick pickup from her store across from CVS. Holiday gift box including soap, lotion and bath salts $58. https://www.nodhillsoapwiltonct.com

I’ve been really into layering oversized sweaters and cardigans this winter as I am always cold. This cute poncho from the Local Soul would be great for all your Zoom calls, throw it over anything really and you’ll look pulled together in 2 min flat. Loved the soft warm color and it comes in grey also. $65 https://localsoulwilton.com

I also liked these cute booties and those shearling sneakers!

Monday Musings

It is sort of cruel to have 66 degree weather in January as it makes you feel like spring is around the corner but next week it will be back in high 20s, low 30s. Le sigh. I am ready for spring on January 1. I hope you all made it through this week on the wake of news that apparently shocked the world – 33 year old man in England is moving out of his family’s home and stops taking alimony. Am I an only one who could care less??? I am so sick of seeing all these headlines of news about royals. Why do we care???

1.I came across this interesting but sad article on loss of fashion related jobs. This woman was a very successful modeling agent, knew everyone, went everywhere, had a sparkling career and now lives with her parents, works as a sales associate at J Crew, making minimum wage with few if any benefits.

Digital technology, shopping from home and the demand for “see now buy now” fashion has dramatically changed the industry. Magazines are closing, so are the large department stores. There’s less need for models, modeling agents, editors, printing offices, stylists, photographers etc. Do you still read actual magazines? I do, but have shifted to more home design ones and less fashion, I just couldn’t relate. Who can afford $4000 coat or get all these spa treatments for thousands of dollars. Or why would anyone want to wear this outfit from pre-fall collection of Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini.

or this?

This image may contain Coat Clothing Apparel Transportation Vehicle Car Automobile Wheel Machine and Motorcycle

 

2. The cold weather also puts me in the mood for baking and cooking. I made these delicious English muffins over the weekend and they were all gone in a flash! It’s not a complicated recipe but it is time consuming. You mix the batter, put it in the warm place to rise for 1.5 hrs, then mix in 2 tsp of salt diluted in 3 tbs of warm water and then let it rise again for 1.5 hrs. You’ll need English muffin rings available here. I recommend buying 2, these rings are good for cooking eggs or baking individual cakes also.

Disregard the recipe that comes with the box and use this recipe here by Kevin Lee Jacobs. Dont try to baking these, I did and they ended up too chewy without any of the nooks and crannies a good English Muffin has. You can make these in a pan, I used an electric griddle. You basically fry these up, couple of minutes on each side. My only regret was not doubling the recipe as I think these will freeze well.

3. While I am doing some cleaning up in the garden in these warm temps and pondering Sunday night menu, my Pinterest fashion boards are seeing lot of traffic. I love fashion but am always cold so I pretty much wear Uggs and leggings and lots of sweaters. Have 2 of these J Crew sherpa pullovers in constant rotation. 30% off with a code BUNDLEMEUP

j.crew: snap collar sherpa sweatshirt in polartec® fleece, right side, view zoomed

Here are the most pinned outfits for January from my Pinterest boards.

Red Carpet Watch: Reese Witherspoon - NYTimes.com

So many people pinned this outfit. Renee always looks cute.

casual outfit for chic moms (id change the belt size though and the bag)

This outfit is probably one of the most popular ones ever.

Jason Wu RF14 0948

All black but in different textures, love this one so much.

Shop for Mackage Adali Coat with Asiatic Raccoon Fur Trim in Red at REVOLVE. Free 2-3 day shipping and returns, 30 day price match guarantee.

I keep thinking I should get a puffer coat in something other than black. Clearly I wasn’t the only one who loved this Mackage coat which has now sold out.

Gigi Hadid in Blue Jeggings - Denimology

All you really need is a good coat to pull your look together. Love this.

 

Monday Musings – last one of 2019.

It’s actually Tuesday but who cares. Grab some coffee – it’s a long post!!! I meant to do a blog post on our Christmas dinner but  shockingly was very busy. Finally got the Christmas cards out! Im very lucky to have a talented photographer close by, if you live in Fairfield County, I highly recommend Katie Kinsley Photography. 

I had originally planned on doing a Norman Rockwell-esque photo but got voted down sadly.

 

Got these gifts for clients ready and delivered at the very last minute. I wanted to find something local and I knew my friend Tammy makes delicious preserves on her Ward Family farm here in Wilton, so these ended up as HDS Design company gifts.

One of my very sweet clients ended up bringing me a gift – a beautiful glass Simon Pearce snowman ornament, I was so touched!

I hosted my 5th Christmas Coffee – a little get together with my girlfriends before Santa comes. It was a little hectic but nothing like guests coming over to get your house decorated and sorted out fast. I thought I had the best shoes but got outdone by a very fashionable friend of mine.

 

My oldest daughter Olivia is obsessed with tigers, cheetahs, wolves etc. I had bid on a tiger print on an online auction and couldnt get to Bridgeport where the auction house was to pick it up for weeks. Luckily the lady was very accommodating and allowed me to come in later. We surveyed the warehouse, talked business and family and she ended up telling me how she has 2 sons, one of whom has severe autism and will never function as an independent adult, her 55 year old husband was just diagnosed with IBM, a form of ALS, where your muscles atrophy, she struggled to understand why this was happening to her and what to do with her business and her life. I hugged her, that’s all I could do. There’s no upside to autism or ALS, it will never get better. So all I had was a hug. While I am not a religious person, I prayed in the car that my life wouldn’t change. Not to get too preachy here but how good we all have it…

I love how in the midst of this horrible personal tragedy, she had still decorated this vehicle outside her warehouse.

My daughters wanted to learn how to make Estonian potato salad and honestly, that was probably my favorite part of the holidays. Gary, my husband, always wonders which masochist dreamt up this crazy salad where all ingredients are chopped up into even small cubes. LOL. It has potato, boiled carrots, eggs, baloney, cucumbers, dill pickles and canned peas in a mayo-sour cream dressing. Some people add apples and/or onion.

We always celebrate on Christmas Eve and had some folks over who had no other plans. One of them dubbed our meal a Teutonic feast (Estonia was occupied by Germany a few times, so there’s some culinary overlap): pork roast with crackling, potatoes, sauerkraut, potato salad, blood sausages, headcheese etc.

Girls made placecards with little wishes written on the card for that individual. 🙂


 

Gary carved the pork with Sailor keeping a close watch on him.

It’s the last day of 2019, good bye and thank you! Thank you for my really amazing friends, the old and new, thank you for my clients that allow me to do what I love for living, my family and our puppy, thank you for the lessons learned and memories made in 2019. Happy New Year!

Monday Musings

Hi all! Hope everyone had a great weekend! Kids are almost done with school!

1.I have been reading this book called We Made A Garden – a well known English gardener Margery Fish’s story on how she and her husband bought this dilapidated home on a former farm site and went on to create a classic English country garden.

Image result for margery fish garden

East Lambrook Manor Gardens

It doesn’t have any photos which really annoying, it would have been really helpful to see some photos and progression of the gardens. I also get a feeling her husband was a bit of an ass setting rules what she can and cannot plant, forbidding certain plants and colors and assigning certain jobs to her, he deadheads the roses, she has to pick up the petals?! Anyhuu, my point being that her tireless work in the gardens, literally moving rocks and soil etc inspired me to get in the back of my garden and finally clear that area of weeds. And bam, I have poison ivy all over my legs and it ITCHES. I’ve tried everything, might be time for a quick urgi care visit.

Image result for poison ivy rash

 

2. I made this dessert for Father’s Day. It’s called Vacherin and while the proper one is made of merengue disks and ice-cream filling, ours was made with vanilla whipped cream and macerated strawberries and it was heavenly!!!

Vacherin – merengue dessert

3.Revolve tends to be geared toward more younger audience but I am really liking some of their stuff!

Love this Sundry dress, I’d probably have to size up but love the pop of color. Hurry though, I am clearly not the only one who likes it!

SUNDRY Sleeveless Dress in Pigment Neon Pink

I love this dress too but I am not buying it. There’s no way you could wear a bra underneath, it’s too low cut in the back. It looks like such a pretty casual summer dress, don’t think I would be comfortable with my nipples sticking out! I don’t understand this type of design, you need to build a bra in for this to work w that back. Ugh.

Line & Dot Lora Dress in White

And I adore this one but will pass on the account that you can see her thong. Does it need to be this see through? Can you not being the SEXY every singly time?

Tiare Hawaii Ryden Dress in Casa Rose Mauve Tie Dye

I like Norma Kamali dresses, they are usually very comfortable and flattering. This Diana gown is no exception plus this color is to dye for, it will literally work for every skin tone.

Norma Kamali Diana Gown in Berry Blue

Love the colors of this Yumi Kim dress also.

Yumi Kim Class Act Dress in Westview Moon

I tend to go monochromatic in dresses but I can resist this adorable print on LPA Fiamma dress.

LPA Fiamma Dress in Sabina Floral

Mother’s Day Jewelry Gift Ideas.

I have found that my husband will buy great gifts if told explicitly what they should be and where to buy them. I like jewelry because it has some permanence unlike clothes or candles or spa trips which are all great also! I got a beautiful locket one year and both my daughters are obsessed with it, they always ask to see their photos in it. Hope you’ll find some ideas here for your self.

I love these earrings, had pinned those to my wishlist awhile ago. Julie Vos $185

best Statement Earring

Julie Vos Medici earrings

These Viola earrings are so beautiful, such a classic look. Originally $319, now $132.

best jewelry picks

Smoky Quartz Pear Drop Earrings

These crystal lily earrings are adorable.

Lele Sadoughi Crystal Lily earrings $185

 

Lulu Frost classic bracelet

Power Bracelet, GOLD, hi-res

Gold Link Bracelet $225

 

This is such an interesting and fresh way to wear pearls. To be fair, while handmade, these are imitation Japanese pearls but they look beautiful. Beck Jewels $195

BECK Jewels Blauw Drop Earrings - Earrings - 505905504

 

Monday Musings: what do we hide?

I hope everyone slept well and is fully ready to take on this week! We had a lovely weekend of gardening and fun get together with friends but I am awful sore from all the digging we did in preparation of planting the roses I ordered!

1. I was at a ladies luncheon and while chatting with a group of them somehow the talk went to who does what to their faces (Botox, fillers, laser) and they all said they hide it from their husbands. I feel like mine wishes he knew less than he does! Do you hide your purchases from your partner? I was a little taken back. My husband doesnt regulate my spending but he has complained about all the Christmas stuff. Oops! Well let me take that back, I guess I do hide some stuff from him!!!

Image result for hiding purchases from your spouse meme

I like to go to estate sales and thrift stores, I love the hunt of it and more often than not, it will be holiday purchases! I have snuck some stuff into the basement w/o him knowing! Hubs and my daughters just needed to get me out of the house so they could bake my birthday cake. I had full permission to go get something nice but I ended up buying this culinary Santa, brand new but bike is broken. I haggled it down to $20 and need to get to jewelers so they could solder it together. LOL.

2. Lord&Taylor put together a fashion show of spring trends and one of my biggest pet peeves was front and center: ankle boots with dresses.

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I see it all the time.

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Unless you are unbelievably skinny and tall, this trend is guaranteed to make you look heavier and shorter. Look at the visual lines, even in the light color it cuts off the line of you leg and makes visible bare leg look shorter. If you absolutely must do this trend with dresses, pick booties or sandals that are lower on the side.

ankle booties with dress

Fancy Ashley

3. Do you have your Easter decor out yet? I have done nothing! We are in the midst of getting some furniture in, house is a mess and it snowed the other day here in Connecticut. But I better get to it. I think my planters in the front still have old holiday stuff in it. I am totally obsessed with this planter from Serendipity Refined – how gorgeous is this!!!

Easter-Outdoor-Decor-Ideas-8

or this also from her

 

Deborah Silver is an uber talented landscape designer and her planters are so unique, I love how she combines different colors and materials.

#spring #urn

Love these too, easily customizable to your favorite color.

Let’s talk about eyelash extensions!

I have decent eyelashes but they are straight and kind of light at the ends so they look shorter. I tried tinting and curling which wasn’t bad but it wasn’t until I had to do an event and got a strip of lashes applied that I thought wow, I love this. I had seen some really bad extensions so I was a bit nervous. I didn’t want to look like Kardashians, not throwing shade here, it just doesn’t work for a suburban mom who normally wears little to no makeup. Heavy duty lashes look little silly, imho, unless you do your whole face up which wasn’t something I wanted to do on daily basis.
Súper Naturales The eye lash extensions are PREMIUM SILK or MINK. This technique is the classic look (one by one) Alexia's Nails have an SPECIAL $100 dlls For The eye lash extensions is MINK or PREMIUM SILK. This technique is the classic look (one by one) These are NOT the clusters...And NOT $70 PLASTIC (Is not the Chinitos regular eyelashes) Citas al 310.713.5144 #eyelashes #eyelasextension #onebyone #individualeyelashes #alexianails #alexiasnails #eyelashesworld #eyelashes #eyelasextension

The tape under the eyes is my least favorite part, they need to get it really close to lower eyelash line and it’s pretty uncomfortable if you have sensitive eyes. Once that’s done you pretty much just lay there for an hour.

I looked up several salons and read the reviews before I made an appointment. I requested their most natural look to which they said this isn’t really asked for a lot, lol. Every salon has different names, kind of wish it was universal. I asked for natural in the other place and it was not, not to me anyhow. The worst look and unfortunately most common in Fairfield country is a super full set. It looks so bad you guys, so fake, the extensions are supposed to extend your lashes, they are not supposed to all the same exact length. These below are really pretty. I recommend taking a photo with you and making sure that you get single lashes!!!! Clusters look more unnatural though they are cheaper and take less time.
different kinds of lash extensions
I had to lay down while my eyes were cleaned of any makeup, then she applied some moisturizing pads over my lower lashes, I hate that part. They need to get all lower lashes covered so no glue sticks there but it’s an uncomfortable sensation. They tape the corners up as close as they can no nothing shifts. I usually have to ask for some corrections as it bothers my eyes. Then you basically lay there for about an hour while the lashes are applied. Individual lashes will look more natural than clusters. Apparently some people fall asleep, I heard this one woman snore pretty loudly for like 30 min. After the application lashes are brushed through, pads removed, you are given your own brush to take home and instructions to not shower for 24 hrs, no oil based makeup or makeup remover and no mascara. I’ve seen some bloggers say they apply mascara still but not sure what the point is. I loved the look, I just looked done, do you know what I mean. Brush your hair in the morning, get dressed and go.
eyelash extensions

Lashes by Valentina

It’s not cheap, the starting set is around $120+ and the maintenance is every 2-3 weeks, takes about an hour and costs anywhere from $49-79, depending on your area. Mink lashes are more expensive but they are lighter than other options.
Not many noticed that I had longer thicker lashes which I liked but I got plenty of compliments on looking pretty. It’s odd to get them wet, feels heavy (you need to wait till they are dry, then brush through) and in the summer, with more humidity, the lashes fall out faster. Also, when I took mine off after several months, I had lost half of my natural lashes. I know they grow back but it’s tough to go from big lashes to almost nothing. I recently just had the extensions for December/January but it still damaged my own lashes. But if you have hooded eyes like I do, it is really amazing how great your eyes look.
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PS! If you don’t have sensitive eyes, I would recommend Latisse which is prescription only lash growth serum, your dermatologist can help you with that. It absolutely works, I saw a derm who had to cut hers a bit shorter but it made my eyes so red that my hubs was like Please stop whatever it is you are doing. Bummer really. I read some online reviews that it can change the color of your iris, mine are hazel and didn’t change but something to keep in mind. I have tried GreatestLash and RevitaLash but cant say I am noticing anything different.
Let me know what you think in your comments!
xo
-h

How to wear over the knee boots.

Over the knee boots or OTK boots as they are known can be tricky to pull off. I bought a pair a few years ago and it made me look like puss in the boots. I looked awful and thought my thighs were too large for this type of boot. BUT it really comes down to the style of the boot.

The ones that have a slit up top like this Kendall&Kylie pair here will make your thighs look bigger. The top just widens in a way that is really unflattering. Unless you have really skinny legs, I’d avoid this style.

Image of Kendall & Kylie Zanna Over the Knee Boot

This pair by Abound doesn’t have a flap up top but it doesn’t have a lot of structure meaning that as you walk the shaft will slide down and bunch around your leg a bit, making your leg look wider and thicker in some areas. Not a good look.

Image of Abound Madison Faux Suede Over-The-Knee Boot

Last thing to keep in mind is the height on the shaft, it should be over the knee not crotch adjacent. It just looks too Pretty Woman to me. Stuart Weitzman is the kind of OTK boots but these boots by him are kind of blah. I am also not a huge fan of high heels or stiletto heel on these boots as this a strong look on its own, adding high heels really takes it to whole other level. Being 40 and in the suburbs, I stick to flat or small (under 3″) block heel.

I like this pair here by Stuart Weitzman, its pretty pricy at $798 but if you look around they go on sale, esp as spring approaches. Charles David Gunter boots are much more budget friendly here. I also love these (look better on than they photograph) Steve Madden boots here. 

Brinkley Over the Knee Stretch Boot,
                        Main,
                        color, TAUPE

As far as how to wear them, my perennial fave is over skinny jeans or with a sweater dress. If you want to look skinnier, go monochromatic meaning black boots w black jeans, beige w beige or even white on white.

Devon Windsor Victoria's Secret Stuart Weitzman
Credit: footwearnews.com


why is she so badass.
Credit: vogue.co.uk


over the knee boots.
Credit: shopstyle.com

NYE outfit ideas!

Here comes the jackpot question in advance
What are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve?

I am not going to lie to you, 2017 has been a very, very, very tough year. Maybe the toughest. Or perhaps it was a good year as it could have been worse. Either way, I am ready to say good bye and hope 2018 will be, well, better! We are going to celebrating with a group of dear friends that have made this year bearable and my world would be a darker place without them for sure. Here are my pretty girls.

15826031_10212352356229643_7549240650085842465_n.jpg

I hope wherever you are going, you’ll be spending NYE with the ones you love. And should you feel like dressing up a bit, there’s really no better time.

Love this outfit, festive sequins are balanced with a casual sweater. It looks comfortable, not contrived and totally festive.

 

Or wear tailored pants either in interesting color (red/blue/green) and pair it with white blouse or ivory cashmere sweater. Fitted pencil skirt would work also. If the looks skews toward too monochromatic, do a big cuff or red lips! Cannot go wrong with red lips!

 

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ROKSANDA ILINCIC

Little lace. Little skin. A lot of attitude.

et.jpg

Elie Tahari

And if you are like me and bought yourself a pair of over-the-knee boots which still haven’t come out of the box, you could pair it with a simple dress or sweater dress. Though keep in mind that this outfit only works if you are standing and people can see the boots. If most of your night is spent sitting at the table, you’ll want to wear a top that pops.

sh

Stephanie Hollman, my new favorite housewife. I would actually be her friend, she is funny and solid. Love. 

Have a really happy new year!!!

xoxo

-h

SaveSave

Nordstrom’s Bi-annual Sale

Who’s up for spending some more money after Christmas?

WOMEN

1 Ellen Tracy Wool Blend Stadium Coat $129.90, comes in many colors, the lavender is adorable. 2. Sole Society Juno Faux-Shearling Trim boots $83.96. Love the color and thicker rubber sole. 3. Buy buy buy dresses on sale even when you don’t know where are you going to wear them. Should anyone have a summer wedding, this Cooper St Lily Drape Sheath dress is to die for and a steal for $95.96

MEN

1. UGG Freamon Chukka boot warm, clean looking and practical. $99.90. Love the brown as well. 2. Hugo Boss trim wool suit, love the blue color $536.98 3. Barbour Powell quilted jacket $223.90, a New England classic, love the fit and color.

 

KIDS

1. Am tempted to buy these dresses for next holiday season Pippa&Julie animal print sweater dress $32.40. 2. Wish I hadn’t already bought girls their rain boots as these are absolutely darling, Joules Evedon Bow rain boots $29.96. 3. Fun iScream bubblegum scented pillow $15.60. Might make a cute Easter basket stuffer!

 

HOME

1. I really love this, but I don’t love the price. Its heavily discounted though and beautiful. Mauvel M’heritage 10 piece copper cookware set $1300. 2. Cathy’s concepts monogrammed buffalo check throw $46.90. Blue and white would be so beautiful in the summer, esp on the chillier summer nights. Great gift as well. 3. Dash&Albert rugs are great for small kids and pets, love the patterns as well. Get 8×10, most people get rugs that are too small. Annabelle rug is gorgeous $798.90.

 

x

-haiku