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

 

Each year we scour retailers and the Web for the best presents for every person in your life. You can thank us later for taking the hard work out of gift giving. Stay tuned for gift guides for the traveler, the beauty obsessed, the foodie, the homebody, the man in your life and great stocking stuffers.

First, we start with a gift guide for the creature we know intimately — the fashion obsessed women in your life who already seem to have it all. Here are our top picks of what’s sure to please. As a bonus to you, we’re keeping each gift at $200 or under.

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The D’Orsay flat made a big splash this year when Jenni Kayne’s creations were spotted on seemingly every fashionista’s foot. To give the look but at a less steep price point, we love these D’Orsay flats from Madewell which are just $79.

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The fedora has become a year-round look and we love it. This Rag & Bone floppy brim fedora is a perfect option. Extra bonus: You can wrap it in a hat box. It’s $195 at Barneys. On the hat front, we also love this Hat Attack floppy hat.
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I live in my Hunter Wellies when it’s raining. They are an elegant solution to an inelegant situation: pouring rain. These silver rainboots are just perfect as a holiday gift and even have some festive holiday bling. They are $155 at Intermix.
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Tom Ford’s lipsticks are legendary and for a reason. I live on his Nude Vanille shade, which happens to be part of this gift set featuring his four top best sellers. For $200 you will get Nude Vanille, Spanish Pink, Pink Dust and True Coral. This might be a good idea to gift yourself. We won’t tell.
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This J. Crew Firefly necklace is under $50 and really versatile. Get it here.

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Rizzoli is the definitive coffee table book and we love how the company chronicles the history of a brand and provides gorgeous photos along the way. Their Louboutin book is written by the man who brought us red soles himself and has stunning photos that would make a great addition to any fashionista’s coffee table. It’s $87 here.

Read our other Gift Guides:
Gift Guide: The Hostess
Gift Guide: The Traveler

 

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Let’s be real – vacations are just another excuse to shop and wear cute outfits. As the boyfriend and I plan for a trip to Napa Valley to go wine tasting at the end of the month, I’ve already begun assembling cute outfits.

I’ve tried to strike a balance between rustic and chic for the daytime wine tastings while packing cute dresses and heels for the night. (Oh, while trying to fit everything into a medium-sized suitcase rather than overpacking for once in my life)
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Here are my pieces that I’ll be working from: For the tastings, I have two pairs of J. Brand jeans, which are pretty much the only jeans I wear. The first pair is J. Brand 620 eyelet jeans, pictured above. I love my pair in black and it has become a staple in my wardrobe. The second is a pair of 811 skinnies in a natural wash. I also am packing these Club Monaco leather paneled pants (Bonus — they are on sale right now for $69.)
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For tops, I’m packing a few plaid Rails shirts and some sweaters and cardigans. I love the versatility of these Rails flannel shirts which are on trend but also have a good fit. I’ve been wearing them on their own and also under a fur vest.

As for footwear, I’ll be packing my trusty black Louboutins, tan Jimmy Choos and Thigh-high tan boots.
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Lastly, but not least, I will be bringing along my Ray Ban mirrored sunnies and my new favorite: a Brixton black Wesley hat.

Stay tuned next week for our travel guide to all things Napa.

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In my teens and twenties, I spent minimal time working on my skincare regime. Minimal my be putting it lightly, actually. I actively damaged my skin by taking the sun, a lackadaisical approach to washing my face before bed, and little to no moisturizing. I know, I cringe now thinking of all of the abuse. Now, in my 30s, I’ve become much more obsessed with skincare and have tried to repair the mistakes I made early on with a daily regimen that I’ve seen pay off. Here are the products and secrets I swear by on a daily basis.
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My morning routine is pretty simple. I wash my face with Amala face wash once I wake up. I then put some Thayers witch hazel on a cotton round to wipe away any residue and help tighten pores. Once my face is completely dry, I apply a daily moisturizer with SPF to my entire face, followed by under eye cream to diminish lines and wrinkles. A few times a week I use face oils as well, which took me a while to warm up to since I’ve spent most of my life avoiding an oily looking face. Well, my skin drinks the oils in and it does not leave an oily residue. My preferred one is by Jurlique.
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An addition to my daily routine is my water intake. I’ve upped it to 90 ounces a day and have seen dramatic differences. The puffiness I sometimes experienced under my eyes are gone and my skin is clearer.

At night, I wash my face again with the Amala wash and then I turn to one of my secret weapons — Retin A. This cream is known to reverse the signs of aging. I apply a thin layer to my entire face, let it set in, and then I apply a moisturizer since the Retin A can dry your skin out.

Is this a lot of work? Perhaps. But skincare is something you need to actually work on to see changes. For our younger readers, here’s the advice I wish someone forced onto me at a young age. Always wear sunscreen, and start using face moisturizer day and night.

 

There are fewer things I like more than a crisp night with a glass of wine in hand and candles of my favorite scents blazing. But, let’s be real. We’re a discerning crowd, and we expect our candles to look as pretty as they smell. Here are some of the best ones across a variety of price ranges that will be lining our mantle and bar cart this fall!19851559_071_b
I love this Jar Candle from Anthropologie, which is only $28. The distressed look of the tin gives it a vintage feel.
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My absolute favorite gift to give my girlfriends for housewarmings are Fornasetti candles. They have a Renaissance Italy feel to them along with a mysteriousness. Every time I’m in Barneys I find myself perusing their selection. They retail for around $165 here.
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I crave sweet smells in the fall that bring a certain heartiness. I love this Oatmeal cookie pancake from Anthropolgie.

 

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Now how’s this for a match made in heaven? To celebrate its iconic LV monogram, Louis Vuitton invited 6 creative geniuses to create their own spins on Louis Vuitton.
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The roster of talent included Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Louboutin. Each added their own flair to Louis’s look, and the results are available for sale in select Louis Vuitton stores. Our favorite is Mr. Louboutin’s take, which has the monogram print on one side, Louboutin red on the other and studs. It’s $5150 at select stores.

 

While the colder months conjure an onyx , deep browns and oxblood color palette, we’re loving a different look. One of the most sought after pieces this winter is a powdered, pastel pea coat (How’s that for alliteration?) Sold? Here are some of our favorite picks to get you started:
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We love this powder blue Coast Soho coat from John Lewis.
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Looking for an affordable way to get in on the trend? Try this Double-cloth lady coat from J. Crew, which is $378 (plus 25% off!)
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This Tibi coat does the powder trend with an edge. It’s $509 on Nordstrom.

 

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Call it the year of the D’Orsay flat. These asymmetrical, delicate ballet flats are finally getting the respect they deserve. Jenni Kayne arguably put these puppies on the map with her iconic shoes that retail for $450 a pop.
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But, more recently, others have followed the look creating more affordable versions. For those looking to get in on the trend without investing too much money, opt for J. Crew’s version, for just $88. We also love their suede version, here.

 

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One of my favorite places to visit when I’m in England is the Cotswolds. And tucked away in this beautiful farm town is Daylesford Farm, which is owned by Lady Bamford who is also owner of The Wild Rabbit, which we reviewed this summer (here).

Capturing Daylesford in words is a hard task. This beautiful functioning farm brilliantly mixes fresh ingredients with luxury. On the premises is a wonderful, but casual, restaurant with a menu full with organic ingredients. My boyfriend and I were impressed with the food, and surprised at the low price points.

Before you get to the restaurant, there is a terrific market where you can shop for everything from fresh burrata cheese to rose wine to beautiful kitchen gadgets. I always spend a food hour or so perusing the handmade pastas and pestos and fresh-baked brownies on sale in the market. You can either buy products to bring home and enjoy, or pack a picnic to eat on Daylesford’s wonderful, sprawling premises.

Make a left on the way to the restaurant and you will find Daylesford’s cooking school where classes on everything from Classic British Cooking to a course on Artisan Bread Making. Note: we haven’t done a class yet, but am privately hoping that the boyfriend will buy us one as part of my Christmas gift this year (hint, hint).

Behind the hotel is Daylesford’s spa. Lady Bamford is known for a high-end range of personal and spa products which are found at the spa. Stop on in for a treatment or for some yoga.

Daylesford is always a highlight of my trips to England and is a wonderful place to eat great, wholesome food and relax while taking in the wonderful scenery. Everyone I’ve recommended it to has reported back with similar feelings, and I know you will, too!

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Two of our favorite things are coming together in what is sure to be epic. Beyonce is launching an activewear label with London’s cheapchic retailer, Topshop.

For those following closely, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Beyonce has been spotted out and about wearing Topshop a number of times (We’ve even caught her wearing a $12 crop top in a blog post, here) That’s what we love about Topshop, while its price points are affordable, it nails trends and its inventory is constantly changing.

Details about the new line are a bit sparse – the collection doesn’t even have a name yet. The line will have an athletic feel, which we can’t get enough of. The line will have clothing, accessories for dance and exercise and footwear. We’ll keep you posted on timing of the launch and first looks at the pieces!

 


Piece 6: Black Ponte Cigarette Pants

One of the pieces that will pull together an entire look and take it from day to night is a slim cut pair of ponte pants. These pants have two benefits: they are sleek and look sophisticated, but feel like you are wearing a comfortable pair of leggings. You can wear these pants with a button down, a cami with a tank, a sweater — you name it. The ones pictured are from Saks Fifth Avenue and have a great tuxedo finish complete with studs, to make the look a little edgy. Link here.

Piece 7: A Tailored Blazer
One cold-weather must have is a fitted blazer. Here’s a piece you can have a little fun with. You can go with a solid color to wear on a regular basis, or for a colorful or bold print, to add some life to existing outfits. We love this Acne Studios blazer from Net-A-Porter, which instantly adds another dimension to jeans and a shirt or a pant outfit.

Piece 8: The Black Shift Dress
I have to say that this is the most essential piece for any wardrobe, and a piece I wear at least once a week, in all different ways. My coworkers would never guess that I’m recyclying the same dress by pairing it up in different ways. All you need is a sleeveless black dress and aforementioned pieces that are part of this post and the previous one. Take the Gucci dress pictured above, for instance. In the summer months, you can wear that on its own with a pair of pumps. Once the weather gets colder, however, the combinations are truly endless. I often pair a crisp, white button down with my shirt dress, and wear the button-down underneath the dress with the color sticking out. I also pair it with a silk button-down with a sweater layered on top of it. You can then add a colorful belt to spruce it up. This look also looks great with a blazer.

Piece 9: The Perfect White Dress Shirt
This is one of the most quintessential pieces every woman should own. Now, it will take some research. White dress shirts comes in all shapes and sizes and cuts, and the quality ranges from everything from Forever21 to Valentino. We suggest trying on a number of white shirts before committing to the one. And when we say committing, we mean it. This will be your go-to white shirt for the next dozen or so years. I’m so committed to mine, that I buy several at a time whenever it goes on sale since I will lose one or two a year to stains and wear and tear. For those new at this, a good middle of the range white shirt could be found at J. Crew. My shirt is the Theory Larissa 2 shirt, pictured above, which retails for $215 when it isn’t on sale. (Hint: stock up when they go on sale)

Piece 10: Leather Pants
Yes, this look is not for the faint of heart, and true disclosure, it doesn’t look great on everyone’s figure. But, if you have it, flaunt it. Leather pants are truly an investment piece, so be prepared to pay up for a great pair that will last you years. We love the look of the leather pants pictured above by The Row. Are they pricy at $1,950? Yes. But the cut is just perfect and it will be a great addition to your wardrobe and a great way to instantly vamp up some of your looks in your closet.

 

Fall weather is all about layering and mixing and matching. Try being creative this year, and we have a way of doing so without breaking the bank. Here are our picks that will be appropriate for work and play, and will give you an endless number of outfit options. Below, are the pieces, and we’ll give you pairing ideas as well.

Piece 1: A Great Cobalt Blue Sweater

This cable crewneck from J. Crew is an absolute wardrobe essential. Confession from the editor: I own it and am wearing it as I type with a pencil skirt and tights. But, I’ve also paired it with a pair of jeans, and on top of a button down white blouse with cigarette leggings, giving me three very different looks. It’s $88 at J. Crew.

Piece 2: Fitted Blue Jeans

Jeans are the perfect staple item to build an outfit off of. The key here is to splurge on a nice pair that has a great fit and wash and will last you several seasons. My go-to jean is J. Brand’s 811 close cut skinny jean. It’s got a sleek fit that is good for daytime, with a ballet flat, or at night paired with high heels.



Piece 3: The Silk Button Down

A nice silk button down shirt is super versatile. I love Equipment’s button downs, pictured above. This one could be paired with your pair of J. Brand jeans, or you can put your sweater over it for a preppy layered look and then pair it with jeans. I also wear mine with a pencil skirt with or without a sweater, or under a blazer.

Piece 4: A Wool Pencil Skirt

A pencil skirt is a great way to instantly add a level of sophistication to any outfit. Opt for a black or camel colored pencil skirt, like this wool one from J. Crew. You can then pair it with a sweater, a silk button down, or both.



Piece 5: A fitted Flannel Shirt
This is the ultimate weekend piece this year. We love flannel shirts from Rails, pictured above. The prints are super colorful, but more importantly, the shirts are tailored at the waist to give you a shape. The one above is on sale for $62, link above.

 

Fall in New York is my favorite time of year. The leaves in Central Park turn beautiful colors, the air becomes crisp, I get to wear fall clothes and it’s Halloween! This edition of favorite things will focus on our fall favorites:

These Renvy Royce Over The Knee Boots. I just bought these bad boys from Gilt and can’t wait to wear them paired with ponte pants and a chambray shirt!

This Tennessee Plaid shirt from CP Shades is super comfy and great with a pair of jeans and boots.

I keep mini pumpkins and gourds around my apartment and office as a festive touch. A gloss of gold spray paint goes a long way on this look.

Loving this DKNY plaid dress, especially the cut on it.

 

On November 6, fashionistas will line up at H&M’s worldwide for a chance to snag pieces from a much-anticipated collection from fashion wunderkind Alexander Wang. We love his runway looks and edgy pieces, but after reviewing his H&M collection we find it… interesting.

In an age where designers and fashion houses are moving away from garish logos and insignia, Wang goes in the opposite direction, blazing his name across many of the pieces. And that, therein, lies the problem. I don’t want anyone’s name on my clothes, especially when the said name is slang for genitalia. Below are some of the looks from the collection. Let us know what you think – will you be sporting Wang?


 

So, we’ll give the British designer this accolade: she’s a great marketer. While we adore Charlotte Olympia’s shoes, the jury is still out at BellaVitaStyle on what we think about her wildly popular clutches. Seemingly every blogger has been spotted out and about toting a Charlotte Olympia purse made to resemble mundane objects such as gummy bears, packs of gum crayons, Chinese takeout containers, etc. Now, these bags are expensive, and many times they are sold out and on backorder. We want your thoughts – if you had $2,000 to shell out on a purse, would you choose one of the ones below? Or, do you find them too childish looking like we do?

This “What a Peach” suede clutch is $1,995.

This Gummy Bear clutch is sold out, and retailed for $1,595.

This Kiss Purse is $495.

 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, autumn clothes are by far the best of all the seasons. Chunky sweaters, boots, button down shirts and sweater dresses, what’s not to love? A look that we are loving for work and for play are midi skirts paired with cropped sweaters.
Here are some of our favorite styles, all from Asos:

I love this blush pink and the A-line style of the Vila Quilted skirt. It’s $56.85 on the link.

I absolutely adore this dark berry color and the high-low effect on this skirt. The texture makes it a bit more dressy. It’s $60.

This Ponte skirt hits the knee in exactly the right spot. I love the fitted waist on it, which you could pair with a cropped sweater or a dress shirt.

 


One of the most polarizing people in Hollywood is following in the footsteps of Victoria Beckham and celebrities before her. Gwyneth Paltrow, best known for her conscious uncoupling from Coldplay’s Chris Marten and for her fashion, homemaking and lifestyle blog Goop, is trying her hand at fashion.

Next year, Gwyneth will launch her own designs that will be featured on Goop. The celeb has dabble dint he world of design before, helping to create capsule collections alongside designers such as Diane von Furstenburg and Stella McCartney.

Details of the brand are sparse, but it seems to be built around basics rather than high fashion. We agree that there is a market for well-made, tailored basics. We’d love to hear from you – will you be lining up for products once the line launches?

 


There’s no doubt that we’ve become more of a visual society. Whether its scrolling Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or other forms of social media, I find that increasingly, that’s where I get my ideas to curate my own personal style. How often do you find yourself in your Instagram feed coming across someone you follow in a great outfit or with a great piece of jewelry only left wondering how to get that item yourself?

Well, there’s an app for that. I’ve recently started to use Piccing, a free app that helps bridge the gap I just described. The easy interface allows you to browse photos by area of interest – my favorite categories are women’s fashion, women’s accessories and beauty, but there are other ones like food, travel, men’s fashion, etc. Above is an actual screenshot of the app from my phone, based on my preferences. You can browse the photos of those in the community, and then click on little orange circles in the photo that mark items in the photo. A screen will then display with similar items that you can easily buy from your smart phone. Essentially, it allows you to shop within an image.

I’ve been using the app for several days now, and I’ve found that it’s pretty addicting. It’s been a great way for me to easily track down pieces of clothing and accessories that I’m interested in buying without doing the legwork. Instead, now I click on an item I love and the app takes me directly to the webpage that I can order it from.

There’s also a social aspect. You can add your friends or find people with similar senses of style to follow, so that you can draw from their looks to curate yours. Download your app in the app store, and get piccing!

 


Ever find yourself in a situation where you fall in love with the shape of a shoe and its heel height and comfort, but don’t love the colors it comes in? Jimmy Choo is fixing that dilemma.

The London-based shoemaker is letting customers design their own Annouk, Lance, Tite and Xenia pumps. The shoe itself is an instant classic– pointy toe, high heel that you can make work-ready by picking a tame color, or girls night out ready with a bold pattern. You can even add your monogram to the sole! You can even choose what heel height and material you prefer.

Interested? The service will be available from stores this fall for $750.

 


I recently had a big birthday and received this Chanel Classic Flap purse as a gift. I’ve dreamt of having a Chanel quilted purse since I was literally 13. I love the chain link and the burgundy interior with tons of little pockets. It’s definitely an investment piece, but a classic.

My new go-to fall nail color: Essie’s Bordeaux. This deep red isn’t too dark that you can’t wear it to work. I find it strikes just the right balance.

Tulle midi skirts. I love this look above and think it can be worn to work or evening. Pair it with a soft sweater and you have an instantly chic and feminine look to take you from day to night. The one pictured is $114 from Asos.

 


The last stop on our culinary tour of Italy was hotel Il San Pietro’s Zass in Positano. This was the perfect last meal because it satisfied us on so many levels and we can confidently say that this restaurant has well earned its Michelin star. We arrived at the hotel about an hour and a half before our 8:00 reservation, and I am so happy we decided to arrive early. The hotel has one of the most stunning terraces off of a cliff in Positano where you can enjoy delicious cocktails while taking in the scenery surrounding you, with views of both Positano and neighboring Praiano. We enjoyed Moscow mules and champagne while the sky turned shades or bright orange and pink and yellow and the sun set. In the background, two men played instruments that just added to the beautiful ambiance. The terrace is beautifully appointed, I especially loved the colorful ceramic benches that we sat in as we sipped our drinks.

For dinner, we sat at a beautiful table and sipped glasses of Furore wine while the waiter brought out a selection of breads and something so simple yet amazing that I was blown away — a bowl of bite-sized pieces of pizza from the restaurant’s brick oven. Restaurants of the world, I pose you a question — why on earth hasn’t anyone else thought of doing this? These pizza chips were absolutely delicious. Next, our waiter brought us each a slice of pizza to eat. I loved how many of our starters were served on colorful ceramics that are handmade in the region.


We started with a ricotta and spinach pie for two people. I’ve literally dreamt of this starter since, that’s how great it was. The spinach and ricotta were in a delectable pastry, and came with fresh burrata mozzarella on the side, salami and artichokes. It was delightfully rustic, but elevated to restaurant quality.


Next, we split a burrata cheese risotto because the cheese from the starter was so creamy and fresh. The risotto had capers and smoked bonito fish.

For our mains, I had the snapper filet which was cooked in a black olive crust. The crust was a show stopper, adding a level of saltiness to the dish. The boyfriend had roasted lamb with lemon confit, caramelized hazelnuts and artichokes. The fish was extremely fresh and delightfully prepared with such a unique and tasty crust. The lamb was perfectly cooked and the tartness of the lemon played off of the flavors in the lamb.


We ended the meal with a decadent chocolate dessert paired with sorbet and fresh raspberries. The raspberries added some tartness to the dish which perfectly balanced out the richness of the chocolate.

If you’re headed to the region, make sure to book a dinner reservation at Zass. The food is delectable, and I appreciated how they struck the right tone of being authentic to Positano’s rustic nature while elevating the dishes to top-notch restaurant quality. Zass is formal dining, so make sure to dress up and be warned that the restaurant closed at 10 pm. Prepare to arrive around 6 or 6:30 to enjoy cocktails on the patio before dinner.

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