Sunday, December 10, 2017

Christmas Wrapping Scheme 2017

Hello! Still alive over here! One of my 2018 goals is to stop apologizing for long bloggy breaks, but since it's 2017 — here's your apology. Jumping right in here with what I believe might be the most anticipated annual post of the year: my reveal of my Christmas Wrapping Scheme!

I've been choosing a theme for my wrapping every Christmas since I graduated college. It makes the entire process more fun, more creative and removes the "chore" aspect of wrapping presents. I truly love it!

This year's theme is WOODLAND!

I was inspired by the pretty wrapping papers I was seeing at regional craft fairs from two of my favorite local art brands: The Wild Wander and Morris & Norris. I added in a faux bois pattern from Paper Source to bring it all together.

I picked up papers from each of them and supplemented with leather cord, rose velvet ribbon, soft peach ribbon, green vine ribbon, mustard satin and a faux bois ribbon.

I hit the scrapbooking/craft aisles and scored wooden feather stickers, glitter deer stickers and wood slice tags. I threw in some solid copper paper from a previous scheme to round out the selection.

As of last week, we had NO Christmas decorations up and it was making me itchy, so I'm very grateful to have finally started to feel some Christmas spirit up in this piece. I'll be sharing a peek at this year's little Christmas touches around the house soon!

See previous wrapping schemes:

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fashion Review: Emmys 2017

We'll pretend I haven't been taking a summer-long sabbatical from blogging and just jump into my favorite season: awards season! We're living in a truly amazing age of television, with an overwhelming amount of creative storytelling and quality shows to watch. So, with all these amazing shows happening, it means the red carpet game has been stepped WAY up from just 15 years ago. Let's revel in the fashions, shall we?


Queen of the game right here! Nicole Kidman has been slaying red carpet fashion longer than most of these hoes have been alive, so it's no surprise she sauntered down the red carpet at the Emmy's in a Calvin Klein fit for Grace Kelly (who she once played...sorta terribly). The silver drawstring was a surprising and fun touch that gave the look of jewelry. She likely had a hunch all eyes would be on her and she delivered. The silhouette is elegant, but her carriage and dancer-like poses are what really sell it.

Priyanka Chopra continues to delight every time she hits the red carpet! I love how much fun she has with fashion, and her team always nails her make-up looks for every vibe she sends. We saw a lot of silver sequins and ostrich feathers this year, but this Balmain gown was by far my favorite combo of the two. I especially liked how the mirror sequins sparkled on camera, and how the sequin florets subtly hints at traditional Indian block patterns, perhaps a nod to her heritage.

Lea Michele looks like a fall princess in this oxblood-meets-aubergine Elie Saab. The color is unique, the cut and pattern are eye-catching and the pairing with emerald earrings was a great choice. I'd argue this is the best she's ever looked at an awards show.

I love thinking back to Sarah Paulson starring as the truly awful-for-women lead character on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and appreciating how far she's come, not only professionally, but sartorially. At some point, she decided she never met a huge shoulder or sequin she couldn't master and this Carolina Herrera fits the bill. Few people could pull this 80s-tastic Homecoming look off, but she's killing it.

I must admit I was not in love, at first, with the combo of this gown color with Debra Messing's hair, but it grew on me throughout the night. I'm just really into the futuristic couture vibe of the Romona Keveza gown. It's like a superhero gown. I've already seen it on some worst-dressed lists, but I have to give credit to her for still being adventurous and never boring.

This Ralph & Russo gown is arguably the best dress Jessica Biel has ever worn. It sparkled beautifully on camera, and had gorgeous movement. Her makeup and hair were also slam dunks. It looks like the best of Halston in the 70s, ready for a night at Studio 54.

It's like Jane Fonda heard J.Lo wasn't going to be attending and said, "Alright, alright, I'll do it," called her up to borrow her extensions and dubbed herself J.Fo. This lady don't give AF about your ideas of how a 79-year-old woman should dress and why should she? She's a damn walking advertisement for the benefits of starting a rigorous home exercise routine in your fifties. Her simple, but elegant and interesting Brandon Maxwell dress popped in the sea of red, silver and black and white, and her accessories game was on point. Extra extra points for the fun surprise in the back:

Jennifer Lawrence wishes she could make the reverse necklace look work this well.

Blackish's Yara Shahidi is insanely gorgeous and stylish, and I thought this ethereal Prada gown hit all the right notes for an ingenue starting to make a name for herself. It's not earth-shattering, but it is interesting and I especially love the sleeves.

Laverne Cox showed up in this Naeem Khan gown and I was blown away. I called it Blade Runner couture, my friend Bret compared the look to Tina Turner in Thunderdome and it also gives me strong Chrysler Building vibes. She always gets it right.

DAMN GINA! Gina Rodriguez had Shemar Moore basically catcalling her on the Emmys stage when she strode out in this sexy Naeem Khan gown that seemed designed to remind all casting directors she can play more than a virgin. Her confidence was the sexiest thing about it.

I'm not 100% sold on some of the sleeve action of this Vera Wang gown, but Issa Rae's megawatt smile and elegant stature made me so happy. I love her show, I think she's uncommonly gorgeous and I thought this was simple without being boring — a real feat!

Gabrielle Union is basically flawless and has been for more than 20 years, and I thought this Zuhair Murad was one of the best looks I've seen on her. It does give off slightly sexy nun vibes, but I'm willing to overlook.

Millie Bobbie Brown essentially took a page out of the Hailee Steinfeld Child Ingenue playbook by donning a ballerina-inspired cloud of tulle by Calvin Klein. It's a perfect look for a young actress, but was made even more fun by the inspired accessorizing of a white bandana around the waist. 


I really want to 100% love Tracee Ellis Ross's Chanel couture, but I'm struggling a little with the volume on the bell sleeves and with the ostrich feather hem. This is always a really challenging hemline (and you'll notice it appears to be "in" — no hope for us mere mortals). I loved her confidence, the accessorizing and the boldness of the look.

I really loved Shailene Woodley's Ralph Lauren green velvet gown, which is one of the better things I can remember her wearing to an event. It's a great, flattering cut that's draped beautifully and is on trend. I was not 100% on board with her new blonde look, and I was definitely not interested in her explanation that she doesn't watch TV because she prefers to read books. Oh yeah? Then go write books for a career.

Viola has never met a bright color she couldn't rock, and this orange Zac Posen was no exception. The cut and drape are gorgeous, and she just glows in this shade of pumpkin. Bringin' that pumpkin spice!

Allison Janney, you glorious princess! This lace Tony Ward gown should spawn hundreds of bridal copy cats. She just looks better every year, I swear.

I love the casual classy cool of Kate McKinnon's black and white gown. The top had the shiny look of leather and it is a very classic Narcisco Rodriguez design. She'll never regret it, but I would like to see her have a touch more fun on the red carpet.

I've loved watching Kiernan Shipka (formerly Sally Draper on Mad Men, most recently on Feud) evolve into a style star, and I thought her princessy Miu Miu gown was age-appropriate and ethereal.

Whoa, hot mama! Leslie Jones did not come to play in this perfectly fit Dynasty-worthy Christian Siriano gown. She's a fun fashion risk-taker, and I love that the fashion designers are ready to have fun with her!

I will tell you this is Natalia Dyer and you'll probably say, "Who?" and then I'll tell you she's the teen girl from Stranger Things and you'll say, "OHHHHH." If you're Natalia, the fastest remedy to your relative anonymity is to steal some attention for yourself in an impeccably tailored gown the shade of green apples (or Shrek) by Vera Wang.

Laura Dern's delightfully kooky Proenza Schouler gown is a little madcap for the Emmys, but I liked that she took the risk, and the piecework is really interesting. Her beachy waves kept it grounded.

Michelle Pfeiffer had the distinction of attending as a nominee and as the wife of a nominee. Actresses who can now be classified as "older" have a tendency to become a little boring in their tastes, but I thought Michelle's sheer floral Oscar de la Renta struck the perfect note between elegant and inspired. Also, #aginggoals.

It seems Evan Rachel Wood is strictly doing Marlene Dietrich (or Vogue-era Madonna doing Marlene Dietrich) cosplay now, and I'm here for it. Why not be comfortable and look great doing it?


Best-worst is a special category for gowns that on anyone else, in any different time, would be my picks for worst. But inexplicably they come together with the right person at the right moment and I'm left feeling torn between my instincts and my emotions. Is Zoe Kravitz's rainbow Dior gown evidence of a Sesame Street murder, or is it a gown truly befitting the daughter of a rock star and an iconic 80's actress? She's selling it, and I'm buying it.

I love the cut of Vanessa Bayer's Zac Posen gown. I love her hair and make-up. What I'm not completely loving is the floral pattern fit for Liberty of London china.'s fun she's having fun right? could be better, right? Nothing's fine, I'm torn.

Most Improved

Anna Chlumsky has been a well-documented hot mess since she returned to the small screen from the hiatus of a million years since My Girl 2. BUT I'm happy to report, I didn't find anything too objectionable with this slinky disco Sachin & Babi gown. It fits well. It does nice things for her boobs. It's fun! We're getting there!


There's nothing wrong with Elisabeth Moss's Prabal Gurung party gown. It's just....really been there done that. A little off-the-rack feeling, even (my apologies, Prabal). It fits fine, it looks fine. It's fine, really. Just not the thrill I'm looking for from the woman who basically owned the show with Reese Witherspoon.

Sometimes I feel like Julia Louis-Dreyfus decides, "I'm just going to phone it in on this one" because the lady has proven her talent — sartorial and otherwise — so many countless times that why try to reinvent the wheel? Can't blame her! This yellow beading looks a little like coral, a little like a dragon, a little like forsythia. All in all, it mostly looks boring.

More of the same from Sofia Vergara, the reigning world champion of walking and sitting in mermaid gowns. This one is by Mark Zunino.

This Carolina Herrera gown on Mandy Moore feels exceptionally boring. It feels like the filler in a runway show, and although I'm normally obsessed with the color combo of black and white, this just feels silly. I think I'd almost be on board if it just ended after the second layer of white tulle. It's putting me to sleep.

Meh Twinsie #1 Claire Foy wore a kind of fun-ish black Oscar de la Renta jumpsuit with a cool silver knot and classic Old Hollywood curls. It feels a little boring for the actual event; I might have saved this for the after party.

Meh Twinsie #2 Tatiana Maslany wore this very nice, fitted black Reem Acra gown that we've all seen before and will see again. It's fine. It's classic! But it's ultimately forgettable. When you star on a show about unwitting doppelgangers and then you show up to find out you, in fact, are an unwitting doppelganger who is dressed in the more boring outfit, it's time to hire a new stylist.


Ariel Winter actually breaks my heart a little bit. She's had a very troubled upbringing — she actually had to sue for emancipation — and was saddled with a woman's body when she was very much still a girl. But for reasons that escape me, she also seems to have been saddled with very poor taste. This gown truly looks like a Nomi Malone cosplay outfit you'd wear to a Showgirls panel at a camp film convention (is that a thing? I would go to that). I can imagine her telling people it's "Ver-SACE." I don't know if she's trying to tell Hollywood she's not the nerd she plays on TV, but I think she's unfortunately sent that message loud and clear time and time again.

Rachel Bloom is grabbing a lot of headlines for her fantastic red carpet interview, during which she revealed she bought her $3,500 Gucci gown since there was no chance Gucci would make her something or loan her something and she also would not likely fit the sample sizes. I'm all about that speech, and I think designers should be lining up to dress her. What's a bummer, then, is that the dress she bought isn't ultimately worth $3,500. It's boring at best and not incredibly flattering at worst. It doesn't make her shine, which is what I want for her. Designers of the world: Make her shine!

Reese has been making the rounds, telling everyone the same anecdote about how she read a script so terrible a few years ago that it prompted her to start her own production company and start buying book rights. It's amazing, and I wouldn't expect anything less. I can't help but assume she decided she was going to dress for the job she wants — Hollywood power producer — by wearing this rather blah dark teal suit jacket-dress hybrid that just does nothing for me. I can't love it no matter how much I want to like it. I wish she'd gone full suit, like this always-classic Tom Ford for Gucci suit Gwyneth Paltrow wore in the 90s.

I hate hate hate hate having Chrissy Metz on this list. I think she's fantastic and beautiful and I love that Lela Rose worked with her to create something special, but I'm just not feeling the ruffle or the brocade pattern at all. I think it would be so much less fussy if it just had ruffled sleeves. Her eye make-up was gorgeous though.

Amanda Crew, from Silicon Valley, left little to the imagination in this transparent gown that reminds me of sparkly snakeskin left behind on the grass. To her credit, she is wearing underwear, but damn if I didn't do several double-takes to try to figure it out. This grabs your attention for all the wrong reasons.

I can only assume Tessa Thompson wanted everyone to know her name after she turned up in this Rosie Assoulin rainbow dress that looks like a Captain Planet-inspired prom gown, or a couture interpretation of the board game Simon. Ultimately, this isn't actually that bad...I just picture it more for the Grammy's or the MTV Music Awards.

I'm baffled by Carrie Coon's gown, which looks like a Project Runway Kids concoction. It's an odd pairing of neon peach, orange and ghostly nude that's rather lazily draped and cinched and makes her look like she doesn't have a figure. It seems like a dream prom dress I would have doodled at the age of six if I only had access to highlighters.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Savannah Summer Adventures 2017

June kicked my ass, and there's no other excuse for why it took me A FULL MONTH to share a peep at the fun we had in Savannah. But, since this bloggy blog is primarily just a record for myself of where I liked to eat and what was good, it's never too late. up the time machine and travel back with me to a month ago, when we were enjoying a few days in the sweet South.

My dear friend Bret's family is sweet enough to let us join in on their summer beach rental, and this year we were basically staying in a house worthy of a Nancy Meyers movie on Tybee Island. I couldn't resist snapping pics of the gorgeous living room, wishing I'd packed my best Diane Keaton white turtleneck to match.

We started our first night at the beach at our favorite Tybee watering hole, the Tybee Island Social Club. Our all-time favorite cocktails: The Scientist and The Socialite. 

The next morning the whole fam packed off to Coco's for fresh seafood.

I fully endorse their shrimp cakes, so much so that I ate half of one before I remembered to document. Ashleigh got their beautiful jerk salmon salad with pineapple. After lunch, we hit the beach and did important things, like make our own Spice Girls videos.

That night, we trekked to Savannah to reunite with our high school buddy Justin and take the town! 

First stop: shrimp and grits tacos and delicious cocktails at Treylor Park Hitch. Try the Baby Doll: vodka, watermelon juice, lemon and simple syrup.

Next up, a round of The Vespers cocktails to go from The Public, then a stop at Collins Quarter, where Ashleigh sweet-talked the bartender to give me this beautiful peony. The night wouldn't be complete without frose for everyone at Sorry Charlie's.

The Collins Quarter folks convinced us to make a return trip on Monday morning because, Y'ALL, they do brunch on Mondays. MONDAYS. Savannah is wild.

Every corner of the interior was gorgeous. I couldn't stop marveling over the perfect decor.

The dishes were equally beautiful, including Bret's Swine Time Beni with pulled pork...

And my pulled pork sandwich with apple slices.

They have an excellent coffee bar and I've been craving their Vietnamese coffee and Iced Lavender Mochas ever since.

If you want to see truly inspiring visual merchandising, you have to make a stop into Shop SCAD, a store carrying the incredible creations of students and alumni of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The vignettes are worth the trip alone.

I mean, how great is this? From there, we stopped into Red Clover, a cute and very affordable boutique where we picked up lots of trendy jewelry for a song.

 No trip is complete without a stop to what might be my favorite store on the planet, Paris Market & Brocante.

Swoooooooooon. I picked up a galvanized planter I'm hoping to use for a pretty fern or ivy, and a vintage Spode blue and white plate.

Only at Vinnie Van Go-Go's can you experience the true joy of a Spodee Odee — red wine with Sunkist (it's shockingly delicious). Fair warning: it's cash-only.

The slices are bigger than your head and incredibly delicious.

On our last day, we walked past some of the prettiest houses in town to eat our traditional farewell brunch at Mrs. Wilkes, a family-style comfort food destination spot that has the best damned fried chicken I've ever had.

A peek at a backyard garden through the gorgeous.

And last, but very much not least, we made a stop at another favorite boutique: One Fish Two Fish.

That leather chandelier has me feeling some kind of way. 

It was another beautiful trip with my bestest boos and I can't wait for our next adventure!