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First C. Wonder and now this! Gap said it will be closing its online concept Piperlime in coming months, which is sad news to many. We loved Piperlime because it was really well curated, but at more reasonable price points than other online retailers like Net A Porter and Shop Bop. They also ran great sales and free shipping, two added bonuses. We also loved when they invited celebrities and fashionistas in to do designer edits (Especially the Olivia Palermo and Shay Mitchell ones)

While we’ll have to bargain hunt elsewhere, there is a silver lining for those of us with a smart retail eye. We anticipate giant sales in coming weeks as Gap looks to liquidate its inventory. We’ll follow up with the best of the sales. New Yorkers — their Soho store, pictured, will also get the boot.

 

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Despite visiting London every few months over the last couple of years, I only recently made it to visiting Notting Hill for the first time. Waiting so long to spend a day there was a big mistake given that it’s got a little bit of everything us fashion-focused chicks look for. Oh, and it might be one of the most Instagrammable parts of all of London.
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The neighborhood is storybook London, with pastel-painted townhomes and pristine, windy roads. If you make a visit I suggest a few things: Bring a nice camera as it’s super picturesque, clear 3-4 hours so that you can meander and shop and lastly, but most importantly, take out cash so that you can buy from the local vendors.
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To shop, you’ll want to head to the famed Portobello Road, which is a beautiful street lined with purveyors of all things pretty on both sides of the streets. The stalls carry everything from vintage mismatched tea cups, to antique books, 70s fashion, you name it. For me, Portobello Road gave me a bit of sensory overload and caused me to feel like a kid in a candy shop. Literally everywhere I turned had items that I wanted to buy, and being that most of the wares are vintage, it felt like it was now or never.

I wound up buying some vintage china and a Tale of Two Cities, second edition. After, I stumbled into a great café where I got pressed green juice, which made me feel like I was back in New York.

 

Here’s what we are currently obsessing over.
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I stumbled upon Essie’s “Topless and Barefoot” at the nail salon and am now hooked on this sand-colored shade.
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Top Shop’s Moto line of jeans, which are super affordable and have great cuts. The ones pictured are $80.
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Mac’s perfectly matte fire engine red shade, Ruby Woo.

 

Model/Designer/ British It girl Alexa Chung’s new collaboration with AG Jeans just hit stores and while pricey, we find some of the items worth the splurge. We’ve curated our top picks.
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This pixie denim dress is $325. We love the cut of the dress and the wash of the denim. but, if you’re looking for something similar for less, this $25 Forever 21 dress is very similar.
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Perhaps our favorite piece from the collection are these ankle legging ripped jeans, for $235. The fit is pretty perfect on these bad boys and the price is in the same range as J Brand and some of our other favorites.
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This denim pinafore is $275. Asos has a similar version for $34.

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Seemingly ever fashion blogger and celebutante has been flaunting the same arm candy these days, and that’s Chanel’s boy bag.

This purse is an edgier take on Chanel’s iconic flap bag, and the large version costs $4,600.The bag comes in a surprising range of colors, from classic black caviar to bright green and even a rose gold toned version. In addition to the quilted pattern, there is a chevron version.

We love the design, but our take is that if you are only able to afford one very expensive purse, the Chanel Flap bag is better value even though it has a higher price tag. The classic look has never gone out of style and will likely wind up an heirloom.

 

Planning a tropical vacation? Then we are officially jealous but can’t blame you, since winter sun is the best kind of sun. There’s something almost sinful about soaking up the rays while your friends and coworkers freeze away back home, and if you’re going to go all that way, you may as well look good.

The resort collections are out and we’ve gone through them, at length. Here are our top picks for a winter getaway.
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We are living for the bold, colorful patterns in Mara Hoffman’s bathing suits. This Reversible Maillot suit from Mara Hoffman is at the tippy top of our summer holiday wish list, and we think for good reason! It’s $224.
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We’ve also jumped aboard the long-sleeve bathing suit trend, and are lusting after this Mara Hoffman number for $260
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How incredibly which is this chrocheted caftan from Miguelina? It is $265 here.
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For shoewear, these Schutz lace ups are super versatile and can take you from day to night. They are $200 on Shopbop
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We love this L’Agence striped maxi shirt dress which will imbue just the right amount of nautical into your holiday. It’s $295 on Intermix.

 

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If you’re preparing to make the rounds on the festival circuit and are dejectedly browsing through your wardrobe, rejoice. H&M has teamed up with the Coachella festival to introduce a festival line that will give you the perfect boho vibe. The collection, called “H&M Loves Coachella,” hits stores on March 19th and will also be available on line. The pieces are super affordable, between $5 and $50, meaning you won’t break the bank on your lace crop tops and cutoff shorts.

The collection will have both men’s and women’s items. We’ll follow back with more details on the collection once they become available.

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I never had sensitive skin until the last few years, and dermatologists say it is something you can develop overtime. My skin is especially sensitive in the winter, when the humidity drops and my skin dries out. Combine that with a cold or flu, and my skin looks like a war zone.

Luckily, I’ve managed to find the right products to keep my skin moisturized and prevent peeling. My winter skincare regime differs drastically from the rest of the year. Here is my secret weapon:
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The biggest trick to combatting cold weather and protecting the sensitive skin under my nose during a cold is Body Shop’s Vitamin E night cream. This moisturizer is $20 a bottle and has a really unique consistency that almost feels like a petroleum jelly. I apply it liberally once I’ve removed my makeup at night and concentrate a lot under my eyes and below my nose. At night during the winter, we sleep with a humidifier, which I think is key.

In the mornings, I apply my normal daily moisturizer, as well as a daily serum to lock in moisture.

 

It’s that time of year where we give you the best and worst dressed of the awards shows. This year, metallics were a huge trend, and paid off well for the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Chrissy Teigen. We loved that the old Hollywood curls made a comeback, but felt letdown by Lupita’s dress this year. In our Golden Globes recap, we chronicle the good, the bad and the ugly. Here are our top picks for The Golden Globes Best Dressed:
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Zahair Murad is having a great night. Jennifer Lopez looks radiant in this number.
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Here’s Diane Kruger in Emilia Wickstead (and Joshua Jackson, who will forever be known to us as Pacey)
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Chrissy Teigen gets our best dressed of the night in Zuhair Murad. Effortless and stunning.
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Amy Adams has really stepped up her red carpet game. Here she is in Versace looking beautiful.
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Jessica Chasten looked beautiful in Versace Atelier.
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Salma Hayek in Alexander McQueen. Silvers and sparkly beiges were huge on the red carpet.

And now, our nominations for worst dressed go to:
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Yet again Lena Dunham makes our worst dressed list. She just doesn’t find the right cuts for her figure.
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We aren’t feeling Dakota Johnson’s sequined dress.
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We loved Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl, but we do not love the cut of this Vera Wang dress.
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We love Kerry Washington, but this dress? Not so much.

Who were your favorites and not-so-favorites from the night?

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To celebrate its 60th anniversary, Italian lingerie brand La Perla pulled out all the stops, including a bra made of.. gold. I know, it hurts thinking about putting webbed gold on our boobs, but the special bra is made of spun 24 karat gold thread, which is soft to the touch. And while it might be easy on the skin, it is hard on the wallet at $10,000. The bras are made to measure at select La Perla boutiques.

For those looking for a more practical way to celebrate their favorite designer’s anniversary, we suggest you take a look at Louis Vuitton’s collection this year to celebrate the iconic LV monogram. The designer teamed up with Christian Loubouttin and others such as Karl Lagerfeld to get their interpretations of the monogram, which we covered here.

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Target announced its newest high-end designer collaboration and it’s a whole lot of meh. In April, the masses will be able to afford clothes that will help them resemble a Florida retiree clad in pink and green.
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Safe to say we’re nonplussed, but for those of you who are fans of the preppy looks Lilly Pulitzer creates, the collection will have around 250 pieces with the vast majority of them priced under $30. In addition to apparel, the collection will have accessories and home goods.

 

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Tory Burch has something to celebrate this week. The fashion designer’s ex-husband’s retail concept, C. Wonder, is shuttering its doors after less than four years of business.

C. Wonder sells trendy but very affordable items from sweaters and shoes to home goods, and while the store concept opened to lots of fanfare at the time, it irked Tory who thought the designs looked all too familiar. The two squabbled in court about C. Wonder ripping off Tory’s designs.

This year, C. Wonder will close its remaining stores. On a lighter note, now’s probably a good time to snag some sales at C. Wonder. We especially love their Monogram items. Right now most goods are 50% off!

 

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Every once and a while I crave the distinctly British traditions about the UK. Our frequent trips there have left me with a major appreciation for wellies, British confectionery, Pimms and other little treats. One of the most quintessentially British treats I’ve grown to love is afternoon tea complete with scones, clotted cream and jam. So, the boyfriend and I set off to find a taste of afternoon tea in New York city, which is easier said than done.

Luckily we came across the Crosby Street Hotel, which has a delightful afternoon tea on the weekends that will make you forget for a bit that you’re in the middle of the hustle and bustle of NYC.
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There are two menus for afternoon tea, with the more expensive one including a glass of champagne and more premium tea sandwiches. Naturally, we opted for the more luxe version and we were so happy we did. At $48 a head we each had our own pot of tea (I opted for peppermint) as well as a glass of Ruinart blanc de blanc champagne. To nibble on we had a beautiful three-tier tea tray. Let’s start at the bottom, shall we? The last tier had two tiny quiches, salmon and mascarpone cheese sandwiches, cod croquettes and amazing roasted veggie sandwiches. Now onto the main event, also on the last tier: the most delightful scones, both plain and a fruit version that was filled with raisins. Cue the top tier of the tray which was decked out with clotted cream, raspberry and orange preserves. So let me put these scones in context — I usually avoid carbs at all costs and I committed carbocyde eating not one, but two full scones decked out in cream and jam.

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When I first moved in with my boyfriend, it was I moving into his place and let’s just say that the décor had much to be desired. It looks like an advertisement for Ikea, he had virtually nothing hanging on the walls, and it felt like an empty, sterile apartment, not a home.

As I moved in, I started to slightly fix things up. I added a vase of flowers here, some wall art there, and it began to feel like home. Earlier this year we got our first apartment together and the transformation continued.

Today, I’m sharing with you a few of the key apartment pieces that will go a long way in making an apartment feel more homey and sophisticated.

One of the things that irked me the most about the living room were these white, wooden side tables he had on both sides of the couch. Instead, I opted for these Terrace Side Tables from West Elm for $249 each. The gold trim really worked in our space, and the terrace means that you can make it a place to showcase books, vases, objects of art, lamps and other touches.

These West Elm golden picture frames totally transformed our living room and created a nice gallery wall to display our travels.

Fresh flowers have become a must in the apartment and bring a nice pop of color to the living room. I recently ordered this Owl vase from Lulu & Georgia for $40.

Our apartment has a bit of a gold-accent theme, so we opted for a vintage-inspired gold trimmed bar cart from One Kings Lane for $499.

Lastly, pick up easy but feminine accents — like fashion coffee table books, Fornasetti candles, items from your travels, a quilted headboard, and voila — frat pad be gone.

 

As a lifelong New Yorker, I often become jaded from living in NYC and take the city’s great shopping, restaurants and sites for granted. Luckily, my BF and I have a lot of visitors, and get to see the city through their eyes from time to time. I’ve assembled my must-see, eat and shop list for fashion-focused visitors to NYC. Keep it handy for your next long weekend.

Shop:

Where to start? NYC is full of amazing flagship stores for big retailers as well as quirky one-off boutiques. My top shop list includes:

Barneys: The flagship store is super well curated with a selection of high-end and newcomer designers. It also often has interesting displays, especially around Christmas. Be prepared to drop a lot of dough. Added bonus: Fred’s, Barney’s café, is super delicious and has a high tech ordering system where the tables are made of giant electronic tablets.

260 Sample Sale: here is a New Yorker’s best secret. Want to look great and not spend a fortune? Check out the sample sales run by 260 fifth Ave. Each week, the designer changes. We have snagged some serious steals, with most products marked down between 70% to 80%. Our favorites so far have been for J. Crew, Elizabeth and James, Zadig & Voltaire and Equipment. Go here for a calendar of events.

Liquor Store by J. Crew: have your man in tow? You’ll want to be sure to visit J. Crew’s Liquor Store. It’s a men’s concept from J. Crew in a really cool setting. In addition to its own brand, they’ve done a great job curating men’s accessories and clothing from other designers. While you’re at it, take him to Suit Supply to check out their vast array of suits.

Century 21: another secret is Century 21.
Go to the Lincoln Square one for deals on designers like DVF, Equipment, Marc Jacobs and others.

Shopping by Area:
There are three major areas for shopping in NYC: Fifth Ave., Soho & Meatpacking District. You’ll want to spend a few hours on Fifth Ave. mostly for tourist purposes, to see Tiffany’s, the Apple store, Harry Winston, etc. But, this isn’t really the place to shop. My favorite area is Soho where you’ll find tons of cool boutiques and concept stores. You can walk a few block radius and hit up Top Shop, Bloomingdales, French Connection, Rag & Bone, Mackage etc. In Meatpacking, stroll down the cobblestone streets and check out Diane Von Furstenberg, Scoop, Christian Louboutin etc.

Eat:

We adore Mercer Kitchen in Soho for lunch & brunch. It’s a great ambience and full of celebrity sightings. The location is just perfect – in the heart of the shopping district of Soho, meaning you can hit up the surrounding stores such as French Connection, Bloomingdales’ All Saints & Top Shop (all walking distance) before and after brunch.

Smorgasburg: Want to venture to the trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn neighborhood? If you’re visiting in the spring or summer, visiting Smorgasburg is a must do. This outdoor food festival every weekend features hundreds of local restaurateurs’ and food purveyors selling their signature dishes. You can find everything from tacos to ice cream sandwiches to gourmet macaroni and cheese and macaroons. Come with an empty stomach, because you’ll want to save as much real estate in your tummy as possible. Bring a camera, there are amazing views of Manhattan.

Buddakan: Great dinner spot in the Meatpacking district with Thai and Asian food. The décor is breathtaking. Make sure to make a reservation.

Bobo: If you’re heading to NYC with the girls, add Bobo to your list of dinner spots. Bobo is located in the West Village in an old brownstone building. Its multilevels and the décor is just amazing with elaborate candelabras, antique books and all the pieces you wish were in your apartment.

Café Cluny: Another great spot for a girls trip. Go for either brunch or Dinner. Quaint restaurant with smaller portions and frequent celebrity sightings.
Felix is a great spot to see, be seen and eat. One of our weekend brunch go-tos. If you can’t get in, Cipriani is just down the block and has a very similar feel.

Costata: New York has many wonderful steak houses, but many lack the intimate ambiance that Costata has. It is a restaurant from chef Michael White, one of the most esteemed chefs in town, and the food is phenominal. It’s in a cool part of town where you can go for drinks after. Going purely for the food? Then check out Del Frisco’s or Quality Meats, both in the midtown area.

 

Winter weather presents the perfect conundrum: trying to look chic without freezing. But luckily, retailers have been innovating to give us cold-weather looks we’d actually wear. Here are a few of our favorite picks that we’re sporting this winter to work, the ski slopes and out at night!
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How amaze are these snow boots by Stella McCartney for Adidas? These Nangator boots are snow and water proof and are insulated to keep you warm. I love that they aren’t bulky and are fashionable, incorporating camo colors. They are $240.
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We are giant fans of Canada Goose’s range of jackets. Owning one, I can attest to how warm they will keep you and they’ve managed to nail the fashion part as well. This Victoria Parka above cinches in at the waist and is form-fitting, giving you a nice shape while protecting you from the elements. Get is for $695 at Bloomingdales.
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Hunter is known for its welly boots, but their range of jackets is pretty impressive. This down nylon jacket is currently on sale for $438.

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Made a resolution this year to get fitter? So have we. And for us, there is no better motivation to burn some calories than cute workout gear. With the number of new companies that have cropped up in recent years to make workout gear functional & pretty, there is no shortage of looks you can pull off from yoga class to brunch with friends. Here are some to get you started as you hit the gym.

Lululemon’s Wunder Under pants are a staple in our gym wardrobe, and for good reason. Try as we may, we just haven’t found the fit of these babies anywhere else (And I swear, no other pant will make your butt look as good). They’ve recently started to have a little fun with their pants, adding bold colors and prints, like this paradise grid number for $92.

Sweaty Betty is a UK export that has been gradually gaining fans in the US. I first learned about Sweaty Betty at brunch with a friend in London and she raved about the company’s sports bras, which have lots of support but also come in pretty colors. The Stamina Sports Bra pictured is $55.

I can’t think of a pair of workout pants more perfect for meeting the girls for brunch post Soul Cycle. These Koral metallic leggings are badass. Change out of your workout tank after class and throw on a chunky sweater and you’re good to go. They are $94 at Shopbop.

I live in my Lululemon zip ups in and out of the gym. This Race with Grace 1/2 zip up is $98.

We are huge fans of Stella McCartney’s line with Adidas, and this performance tank is no exception. The fit is fab, and it’s on sale for $63.

 

As 2014 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on some of year’s the biggest fashion moments, from Cara Delevingne taking over the fashion world, to the tragic death of Oscar de la Renta in October.

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January 2014: Lupita Nyong’o Becomes Star of the Red Carpet
In January, Lupita Nyong’o burst onto the scene as a red carpet darling at the Golden Globe awards in a stunning red Ralph Lauren dress. The 12 Years a Slave actress well relatively unknown on the fashion circuit, but this look, and subsequent numbers, made her the most anticipated star on the carpet in 2014.
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2014 was the year of British model Cara Delevingne, who was seemingly the face of every major fashion house. Cara was a breath of fresh air, with a wacky personality and striking eyebrows. Burberry, Mulberry, Chanel & other brands jumped to sign the Brit up.

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June 2, 2014: Rihanna’s See-Through Dress
When Rihanna wore a see-through sequined dress by Adam Selman to the CFDA awards this summer, it sent shockwaves through the fashion community. The jury is still out whether the dress was a hit or miss, but it was definitely a noteworthy ensemble.
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October 20, 2014: Oscar de la Renta dies
The fashion community lost legendary designer Oscar de la Renta in October. Mr. de la Renta, 82, was renowned for dressing American first ladies including Jackie O.

 

As we head into a new year, it’s appropriate to bid good riddance to some of the most perplexing fashion trends that managed to spread around the globe like a nasty STD. We’re looking at you, overalls. 2014 gets my vote for one of the biggest years in bad trends. You know, the type that in 20 years you will look back on photos and cringe, saying “yep, that was 2014.”

Here are the trends we’re most eager to leave behind as we head into 2015.
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1. Ombre Hair: Ladies — why did it become cool in 2014 not to retouch up our roots? This dark hair fades to light hair trend caught on with celebrities, teens and then eventually commoners. The only person who effectively pulled it off in my opinion is hair God, Jared Leto.
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2. Overalls: As we head in 2015, let’s leave overalls where they belong — the ’80s. Unless you are a toddler sporting Osh Kosh, there is no good reason for you to be wearing these horribly unflattering onesies. I mean, not even Jessica Alba pictured above could pull off the look.
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3. Goth Lipstick: No matter how hard you try, you just aren’t going to make the vamp lip look sexy. Stick to your fire-engine reds and pinks. (Sorry, Spencer Hastings!)
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4. Peplum: Here’s an idea, let’s add MORE inches to women’s waists with super unflattering folds of fabric! Really, how did this one catch one. Kim K is a double offender on this list.
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5. High-Low: The mullet’s fashion twin, high-low cuts, became a popular look in 2014. The unanswered question is WHY? The skirts have a juvenile look to them, so unless you are 6 years old or trying to coordinate with your mullet, let’s leave these in 2014.

Did I miss any? Let us know.

 

Santa didn’t bring you everything you hoped for this year? No problem. The week after Christmas is one of the best days to shop for deals. Retailers often over order and need to clear out inventory, meaning you can snag some of the items on your list for a fraction of the cost. Here are some of our favorite deals:

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These Hunter Welly socks are $18 with free shipping, marked down from $30. They come in a range of colors.
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This Nocturne Aden necklace is $163, down from $233.
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These Stubbs & Wootton flats are on sale for $315, marked down from $450.
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This card case from Barneys is on sale for $21.
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These Finds sunglasses from Net-A-Porter are $92, marked down from $305.
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These Clear Leg Hunter Welly boots are half price — $125!

 

I was recently on a trip to Los Angeles to visit friends and was really impressed by the culinary scene in the city known for eschewing carbs and calories in favor of juice cleanses.

Here are our top picks for lunch and dinner in the city of Angels.

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The Ivy isn’t just for celebrity spotting, although chances are that you’ll spot a celeb or two if you dine here. This Robertson Blvd. institution is impressive on a number of levels. Let’s start with the decor, which in a word was simply charming. The restaurant feels like you are walking into a friend’s home. Brightly colored bouquets adorn the entire restaurant and beautiful mixed pattern china hangs on the wall and is used to serve tea and coffee. I had dinner at The Ivy and was greeted with a glass of champagne — it was like they knew me!
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Surprisingly, the food was just as lovely as the atmosphere. I opted for an amazing grilled vegetable salad with grilled shrimp and it was absolutely delicious. Added bonus: The Ivy is on a great street for shopping, so save some time before or after your reservation for retail therapy!
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Craft Los Angeles: From the owners of New York’s Colicchio & Sons, Craft LA is a bright and sleek restaurant with great eats. My girlfriend and I had lunch here and were really impressed by the fare. The restaurant is apt for dining out with friends or for a business dinner or lunch. I opted for a delish salad with roast chicken and my friend had the avocado and tomato salad. Don’t worry, we did splurge a bit with brussel sprouts and bacon and mashed potatoes.
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Cut: A trip to LA wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Beverly Hills and the famed Beverly Wilshire. Here you will find Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, Cut. Cut attracts a sexy clientele who flood their banquettes. The food and wine is absolutely delicious, and added bonus, the night I ate there, Wolfgang was on the premises making the rounds. The star of the show here is steak, but the menu had other great options and sharing plates.

 

It’s that time of year where invitations and evites are arriving seemingly every day and panic starts to set in about what to wear. We’ve taken the hard work out of it with a variety of dresses that could work for an office party to a client party to an evening celebration with friends. The looks above offer options for each setting and come in a range of sizes up to plus sizes. Happy shopping!
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You can never go wrong with a black dress, nor can you have too many of them. This sequin black dress from Roamans has a professional but classic look in the front, and gorgeous sequined detail on the back, that glams it up a bit. It starts at $98.99 at the link above.
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This Press dress from Piperlime Has an embroidered brocade look that comes across as really festive. It’s $69.97.
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This printed mesh dress is perfect for a work holiday party. It can take you from the workday to the evening. The shape of the dress is form fitting but appropriate for a night out with colleagues. It is $109.99 at Roamans.
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The holiday party is the perfect excuse to wear a little sparkle. This Ark & Co dress delivers on all fronts and is perfect for a friend’s holiday party or if you are hosting your own! It is $89.97.

 

Picking restaurants to eat at in Napa Valley is almost as daunting as picking which wineries to visit. The area is known for farm to table dining, and there is no shortage of amazing places to eat. After extensive research (thanks friends!) here were our favorite places to at in Napa.
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Located in the picturesque town of Yountville is Redd, which was one of the culinary highlights of our trip. Yountville is a quaint but beautiful little town and is where the famed French Laundry restaurant is. It is all but impossible toget a reservation at French Laundry, so we opted for Redd and were not displeased. The restaurant has two seating areas, and being that it was a beautiful sunny day, we decided to sit outside on the patio.

The food at Redd is delicious and they take a lot of care in the presentation. We had a pork belly appetizer to start, followed by an apple and goat cheese salad with chicken and duck confit with lentil puree (both pictured above). We found the price points for lunch to be very reasonable. Be sure to make a reservation.
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One of the best dinners we had while in Napa was at Auberge du Soleil. Arrive early for pre-dinner drinks, as the view here is spectacular. We did a three-course tasting menu, and it was very clear that the menu changes often to incorporate seasonal flavors. At the time of our visit, pumpkin was a main ingredient in many of the dishes. I ordered a pumpkin soup that was really rich and tasty, followed by prime beef and a pumpkin dessert that had a mousse texture (pictured above). The boyfriend started with the pork belly, which he said was the best he’s ever had. He also ordered the spiced local lamb with medjool dates followed by a chocolate dessert.

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Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch is the definition of farm to table dining. This restaurant grows everything on its premises — from the kale salad to the beef. The result is an amazingly fresh meal that was perfect for lunch after a long morning of wine tasting. I opted for the salad pictured above, while the boyfriend dug into their burger. Make a reservation ahead of time on Opentable, as the restaurant tends to get packed.
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One of our favorite spots for lunch is Napa’s Oxbow Public Market, which is a great, open area with a number of casual restaurants, vendors and bakeries. It’s the perfect place to pick on great fare from a number of local spots in one area, while sipping local wines, of course. We wound up buying lunch from Five Dot, which is known for their meats, getting wine from the wine merchant there to drink with our meat, and then we topped off lunch with tiny desserts from Kara’s cupcakes (Pro tip: get the carrot cake cupcake)
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There are fewer combinations better than red wine and steak. Press is the place to go in Napa for mouth-watering steak. The ambiance of the restaurant models a restored barn, and the steaks were well-seasoned and big. We paired them with large glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon.

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The boyfriend and I recently went on our first trip to Napa Valley in California, and the sheer number of winery tours and visits can make planning a trip quite overwhelming. With more than 400 wineries in a relatively concentrated area, we wanted to make sure to spend our time at the best ones. After a great trip, we wanted to share those wineries with you all. Be sure to check back for our restaurant guide for the region!
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Our absolute favorite vineyard visit was with one of our go-to wines, Silver Oak. (Photos from our visit above). Silver Oak is a delicious vineyard solely dedicated to my favorite wine, Cabernet Sauvignon. After drinking their Alexander Valley and Napa Valley wines for years, it was great to see the company’s location and especially how well the company preserves its history. One of the rooms we entered had walls lined with news clippings and memorabilia from the company’s start.

Silver Oak’s production facilities were spotless and state of the art. I especially loved the area where they have their American oak barrels, which let off a beautiful oaky smell the second we stepped inside of it. It was also very charming to see the water tower that is displayed in Silver Oak’s logo on its bottles actually exists on the lovely premises.

We wound up leaving the tour with 6 bottles of Silver Oak to enjoy at home this holiday season and share with family and friends. You can find some great gift sets on their website as well if you’d like to try it out.

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Nickel & Nickel came highly recommended from a number of friends so we booked a tour of the winery in Oakville. The premises are stunning, located in an old plantation home that is decorated in the  Queen-Anne period that the house was built. In the sitting room where you are greeted with a glass of Chardonnay, there are black and white photos of the residents and workers that once ran the farm.

Our tour guide, Walt, grew up in the region so he was well acquainted with the evolution of Napa Valley and its rebirth after Prohibition. He was equally energetic and knowledgeable, making for an entertaining tour. After walking around the premises and learning about the climate in the area and the factors that go into creating the flavor of Nickel & Nickel’s wines, we sat down in a tasting room and tried some delicious wines paired with cheese and compared the flavors of each wine.
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Our experience at Joseph Phelps was unlike anything else we did in Napa. I’ve been a huge fan of Joseph Phelps’ Insignia blend for years. Insignia is a premium bottle of wine and the blend of grapes changes each year depending on a number of factors including the weather and the quality of different grapes.

We had the pleasure of signing up for an Insignia blending class that was so informative and fun, and allowed us to flex our vino muscles after a few days of tastings. Walking inside the classroom is like an adult chemistry class. There are empty wine glasses and small beakers that you use to measure out different flavors to balance your blend. After trying each of the wines that we would have the opportunity to use in creating our blends, we began mixing, and let’s just say it is easier said than done. My first batch was so-so, but the second one was really delicious. Of course, at the end of the class we sipped some of Joseph Phelps’ Inginia blend and neither of our blends could hold a candle to it.

This was a great class to do with a significant other or a group of friends and is a nice change from the more traditional tastings.

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Darioush is truly unique winery in the Napa region and has a very distinct point of view. The grounds of this winery are stunning, with Persian influence depicted throughout. We loved the enormous columns out in the front that contrasted with the bright blue skies in Napa.

When you walk inside Darioush, it is a stunning venue that is so well curated for a younger, hip audience.I was so impressed by their collection of objects for sale throughout the tasting room, which effortlessly blends their wines and retail. For instance, they had Want Les Essentials leather bags, Fornacetti candles, Kelly Wearstler wine stops, etc. It was wine and retail, so pretty much it was my happy place.

Next, we tried some of Darioush’s wines paired with pistachios. My favorite of the flights were the Cabernet Sauvignon and their Shiraz, but everything we tasted was amazing. I would absolutely recommend a tasting here if you make it to the area.

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We recently visited Napa, California to indulge in some wine tasting and wanted to share our travel guide with our readers, starting with where to stay. We were fortunate enough to stay at The Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa and it perfectly suited our needs.

The Meritage is a really impressive resort that sits in the middle of wine country surrounded by vineyards, even those on its premises. It is in the style of an Italian villa, with warm yellow, gold and burnt orange making up its palette. Let’s start with the facilities before we get to our room.

What appealed to me about The Meritage is that its location is pretty central to the areas we wanted to visit and that it had so much to partake in on its premises. The resort has a beautiful spa called Spa Terra (more on that later), several restaurants and bars, activities such as bowling and bocce ball, a sports lounge, two beautiful pools and a free shuttle that takes guests to the restaurants in downtown Napa.
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The decor throughout the hotel is very Mediterranean and relaxing. Our room was spacious, with a giant bathroom that had his & hers sinks, a separate toilet and great shower. I loved the tile in the bathroom, which was a warm gold color. The bed was extremely comfortable and the focal point of the room was a balcony that opened up onto a vineyard just across the way. It was a great way to wake up each morning. Each room also has a complementary bottle of wine as a welcoming gift.

If you book a stay, a visit to their spa is an absolute must. It is built into the rocks off of a cliff and is underground in a cave, which gives it a really rustic feel. We opted for a couple’s deep tissue massage that was just what the doctor ordered. Any treatment will give you access to the full spa for the whole day, so get their early to take advantage of the facilities. The men’s and women’s locker rooms have a wonderful steam room scented with eucalyptus and a whirlpool. Each room in the spa is named after a different region in Italy, fitting with the theme in the hotel.
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We only were able to eat at the restaurant for breakfasts as we were out the rest of the day and evenings, but breakfast was an essential start every morning The Siena restaurant had delectable dishes like french toast with mascarpone and chocolate chip pancakes, both of which lured us off of our carb-counting. There are also healthy choices on the menu.
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The Meritage is only a 20 minute ride to other parts of the Valley such as St Helena and Yountville.

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Stuffing a Stocking is a bit art, a bit science. You need to find cute and thoughtful items that are small enough to fit in the stocking and not too expensive that you wind up with a $500 worth of kitsch. Here are some of our favorite picks for the all-important Christmas stocking:

When I think of the smells of the season, peppermint immediately comes to mind. This Amala roll on peppermint concentrate is a great way to carry the season’s scent with you and also refresh yourself and awaken the senses. I particularly love having it in my travel bag. It is $20.

Love the bright colors of this passport cover from J. Crew, just $35

Kevin Aucoyn’s Holiday Lookbook Palette has all of the makeup essentials you need for $45.

Having people over and want to remotely control your playlist? These Sol wireless Punk speakers are the perfect fix. They come in a variety of bright colors and are don’t take up much space.

West Elm’s set of four Mid-Century bottle stoppers are a wonderful stocking stuffer and addition to any home bar or wine cart. They have a vintage look to them and the set will only set you back $34.

Pure Ice nail polish is a cute way to add some bling to a stocking without shelling out too much cash. These polishes cost less than $2 each!

Read Our Other Gift Guides:

Gift Guide: For the Fashion Obsessed
Gift Guide: The Hostess
Gift Guide: The Traveler

 

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A few months ago, we wrote about one of our new favorite apps, called Piccing. The app was a simple yet brilliant concept– allowing the social media consumer to shop for clothing, accessories and other products in a steady stream of beautiful photos right from the app. Given the amount of social media we consume today and how visual our generation is, we were surprised it took so long for someone to create it!

Now, Piccing has transferred the same experience to its new website Piccing.com. The user experience is simple, create a free account or use the one from your app and then follow people that have similar interests be it shoes, vintage jewelry or home decor. Your photo stream will be populated by these people and others with a similar aesthetic, and when you see pieces that catch your eye, you can click on them to find the price, brand and even purchase them yourself.

I love that this app allows you to crowd source your fashion and other purchases. Before Piccing, I often found myself frustrated by trying hopelessly to find outfits that my favorite celebrities or bloggers posted on their Instagram accounts. In most cases, the searches were in vain, but this site solves that problem and has an easy and beautiful interface to boot. I especially like the website because you can view the photos a little larger than on a mobile device.

Let us know what you think. Happy Piccing!

 

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We all have a girl in our life who thinks of Sephora as her “happy place,” was the first to adopt the bold lip and is always raving about a new anti-wrinkle treatment she’s trying. We’ve got you covered on this best gifts for this breed of beauty junkie. Keep on reading for suggestions:

2014 has been the year of contouring. Don’t have high cheekbones? It’s OK, just create some. Nose a little too wide? Add some highlighter down the center and bronzer on the sides to create a narrower appearance. Once reserved for celebrities with glam squads, contouring has now gone mainstream with great kits that give you every tool you need to create the look. We love this contouring kit from Anastasia Beverly Hills that’s just $50.

The Clarisonic PinkMia 1 makes such a great gift. It helps create a flawless complexion, which is the building block of a good beauty routine. It’s also got a great price point at $99.

Sephora does a great job curating holiday gifts sets. Our favorite on this year is their “Give Me More Lip” set which has 17 samplers of lip sticks, glosses, liners, etc. They’ve selected a range of very vibrant colors and the set is just $59.

This Kiehl’s Age-Fighting Essentials set has everything you need from corrective cream to cleaners and eye recovery, and it’s just $96.

We’ve written before about Lady Bamford’s organic farm in England, called Daylesford, and our wonderful stay at The Wild Rabbit. Well, Lady B. has been busy these days, and has a beautiful line of soaps that can give you the feel of the British countryside right from home. This set of three soaps is $45.

We live for Dry Bar blow outs and love that they’ve created sets that can help you replicate the look, and keep your blowout longer. This Curls for Days kit has shampoo, conditioner, 3-day bender curling iron and frizz fighter for $180.


Read Our Other Gift Guides:

Gift Guide: For the Fashion Obsessed
Gift Guide: The Hostess
Gift Guide: The Traveler

 

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One of my favorite gifts to give and receive deals with entertaining. The older I get, the more I love to upgrade items in my apartment and have friends and family over for meals and parties. This gift guide will be dedicated to the women in our lives who love nothing more than sending out paper invites, creating a signature cocktail and hosting soirees.

On a recent trip to California, I came across Kelly Wearstler’s home products and I was instantly hooked. I encourage you to take a look at the whole range, which is very feminine with touches of vintage and edgy metals. The items that I loved the most are her wine stoppers, especially the two shown in the photo. The faceted wine stopper goes for $175 and the Bejeweled spear wine stopper is $195.

Trivets can be so boring. That’s why we love Anthropologie’s take on the traditional trivet. This Agate slice is sure to catch the eyes of your guests. It’s $198.

I’ve become a big fan of mismatched tea cups and saucers. There’s something special about serving your guests from dainty china rather than generic coffee cups. J. Crew recently started carrying Seletti Zora’s line and we can’t get enough of it. The tea cup and saucer is $46.50.

We’ve written before how smitten we are with Fornasetti’s candles and they truly are the perfect gift for a host.

What’s on this entertainer’s gift list? Thomas Fuchs’s marble skull head cheese board, pictured above. I love how edgy it is but pretty at the same time. It’s $358.

Read our other Gift Guides:
Gift Guide: For The Traveler
Gift Guide for the Fashionista

 

We all have that friend who is seemingly on the road more than in her apartment or house. For the wanderlust, we’ve curated the perfect gift list that can accompany her whether she’s on Safari in South Africa or island hopping in Greece. Don’t forget to check out our other gift guides for the Fashion Obsessed and stay tuned for upcoming guides! Have a gift you’d like us to consider? Drop us an email.
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Whenever I travel I come back with a list of my favorite restaurants, museums, sidewalk cars and the like that I can revisit to recall the memories or share with friends. We’ll, Smythson has come up with a much more elegant way of documenting your travels. Their “Places to Remember” leather notebook has tabs to jot down museums, art, shopping etc. for your favorite destinations. It’s $110 and can be personalized.
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Half the fun of traveling is plotting out your adventures. That means turning to a trusted guide that will help you find the best of each city. We love this Luxe World Grand Tour box of travel guides that includes London, Dubai, Rome, New York, Los Angeles and many more destinations. It’s $145 at the link above.
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I love this Everlane weekender bag, which is just $95. It’s a sleeker and more fashionable alternative to a standard duffle. I love the red clay one, pictured, but the bag comes in a variety of colors. It’s the perfect size for a carry on.
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I’m constantly on airplanes and constantly cold. See the predicament? As a rule, I won’t use the pillow, blankets and other handouts the stewardesses hand out because they are covered with germs. That’s why I love this uber luxe cashmere pillow and sleepmask from Theory. It’s $285 on Net-A-Porter.
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This Fill & Fly carry on set from Flight 001 is the perfect stocking stuffer for frequent fliers. Fill with your favorite products and go without any questions from TSA! It’s just $33.
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If the person you’re gifting lives in and out of her suitcase, you need to pick up some Tumi packing cubes. These cubes are nothing short of life changing and allow you to see what’s inside through a window on the front. You can organize by outfit, day and event separate clean and dirty clothing. Just slip them inside your suitcase. They are $45 each.

Read our other Gift Guides:
Gift Guide for the Fashion Obsessed
Gift Guide: The Hostess

 
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