the beautiful things

{things i did} apple & pumpkin picking

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There is nothing better than a clear, cool (but still warmish!) fall day spent outdoors. I love everything about them–the quality of the light, the colors of the earth, the constant changes to the heavy sky. If you've been following along on my Instagram then you've already had a sneak-peek into last weekend's excursion, but here are a few more snaps from the trip to an absolutely gorgeous farm, orchard and pumpkin patch in rural Pennsylvania. Hope your upcoming weekend is just as autumnal and festive! 

 

on me: Outfit Details hereOriginal Hunter Wellington Rain Boot, Hunter Boots in Aubergine [$148]

on him: Pima Cotton Jersey V-Neck T-Shirt in Tornado Blue, Lacoste [$49.50]; ​Classic Full Zip Cotton Fleece Hooded Sweatshirt in Navy​, Lacoste [$115]; Slimmy Slim Straight-Leg Jeans, 7 For All Mankind [$178]; Ledge Hill Buckle Boot, Rockport [$165, similar]

 
 

{things i shopped} red nail polish cheat sheet

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Essie has been my go-to brand (big three free!) for about four years now, with red polishes my color of choice for most of that time (why? I wear a lot of black and it matches well, plus I find it's the easiest formula to apply, which is important since I do all of my own mani/pedis). There have been many hits and misses along the way, but below I've run through my favorites only, in categories based on their subtle differences in shading. 

 

clambake 

[buy here - see my manicures]

what essie says: "a creamy red-orange" // what i see: a neon red with lots of orange perfect for spring or summer

lollipop

[buy here - see my manicures]

what essie says: "a candy cane red" // what i see: a very bright red with a gel-like finish, great for the holiday season
 

really red

[buy here - see my manicures]

what essie says: "an award-winning truly rich red" // what i see: a classic but somewhat flat deep red that dulls slightly over time

russian roulette

[buy here - see my manicures]

what essie says: "a classic bright red cream with subtle orange undertones" // what i see: my favorite of all essie's reds, a bright red with a rich, shiny finish that's ideal for everyday wear
 

fishnet stockings

[buy here - see my manicures]

what essie says: "a spicy dark creme red" // what i see: a deep red with slightly purplish undertones that's prone to pooling

dressed to kilt

[buy here - see my manicures]

what essie says: "a seductive red" // what i see: a subtle, magenta-like burgundy that's great for fall
 

skirting the issue 

[buy here - see my manicures]

what essie says: "an exquisite, fashionable burgundy wine" // what i see: an elegant velvety oxblood with lots of rich purple tones

wicked

[buy here - see my manicures]

what essie says: "a deep and dark creamy sinister red" // what i see: a burgundy so dark that it's almost black, especially when layered in many coats

 

{things i covet} felt hats

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Felt hats are to fall what straw hats are to summer–effortlessly stylish, fun and functional.  I recently picked up a wide-brimmed version in black and am itching for a chance to wear it now that temperatures have dipped and it would serve as more than just a fashion statement. Above I've rounded up some of my favorites–from fedoras to floppy versions, I wish I had enough closet space for all of them!

{clockwise}

Felt Hat in Olive Mix, Bailey for J.Crew [$98]; Jimmy Wool Felt Hat, Janessa Leone [$248]; Rabbit Hair Felt Hat, Eric Javits​ [$390]; Chanteuse Felt Wide Brim Hat, Superduper [$485]; Kate Boho Felt Hat, Swell [$34.50]; Floppy Felt Fedora, Biltmore & Madewell​ [$75]; Tiffany Dramatic Fedora Rabbit Felt Hat in Camel, Eric Javits [$390]; Packable Felt Hat, Orvis [$69]; Julia Wool Felt Hat in Natural Blend, Janessa Leone [$170]

 

{things i made} pain-perdu

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I love French toast–it always was one of my mom's favorites so we had it quite often as children. It's of course most worth making when a good, thick bread is involved, which is why "pain perdu" (literally, "lost bread," but referencing stale bread) always held so much appeal to me. After a good soaking in milk, vanilla, and egg (this recipe uses orange–zest and liquor–instead of any cinnamon for flavoring) and a quick fry on a griddle, the end product is a soft, custard-y center enrobed in a crispy, sweet shell. It's dessert-for-breakfast at its most hearty and indulgent, and it's phenomenally good.

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1 large brioche or challah loaf
3 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
​1 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
3/4 teaspoons salt
Oil, for pan
Confectioners' sugar, hulled strawberries, and/or syrup, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Slice the bread in 3/4-inch slices.  
2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, honey, sugar, orange liqueur, vanilla, orange zest, and salt. Pour the egg mixture into a large shallow plate and soak a few slices of bread for about 5 minutes, turning once.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Take each slice of bread from the egg mixture, and place in pan. Add more bread to the egg mixture to soak. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until browned. Place the cooked bread on a baking sheet to keep warm in the oven. Wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel, add more oil, and continue to cook the remaining bread. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve hot with syrup and/or fruit.

 

 

{things i wore} open-knit sweater

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It's hard to believe that this sweater was warm enough for a day spent outdoors this weekend considering how chilly it is today–winter I remember you well and we are not friends–but the weather was mild enough to make it work. It was truly a gorgeous fall day, and I love pumpkin and apple picking when autumn skies are their most blustery and beautiful. It seemed as good a moment as ever to break in my newest handbag, this gorgeous luggage-colored leather and gray felt Boxer Tote from Reed Krakoff. I buy most of my investment bags in black–it's the safest color for me because I wear it the most often–but I really think this style looks best in a variety of colors and materials. 

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Open Mesh Crew in White, c/o Margaret O'Leary [$330 similar]; Roxane Cropped Skinny Jeans, 7 For All Mankind [$178 $81]; 'Boxer' leather and felt tote, Reed Krakoff [$1190 similar]; Emmie Flats in Bourbon​, Lucky Brand [$59]; Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44]; Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; 14k Yellow Mini White Diamond Evil Eye Ring, Sydney Evan [$465]​; Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400]; 'Dressed to Kilt' nails, Essie [here] 

 

{things i learned} from the bottom to the top

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[feta & watermelon salad with a fall twist: grapes, honey and walnuts]

 

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[couldn't agree more with this sign]

 

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[sparklers make surprise desserts even better]

 

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[technicolor installation + sky in lincoln center]

 

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[macarons in fall hues]

 

I couldn't be more excited to be going pumpkin picking tomorrow. Every year I worry we won't be able to fit it in before Halloween. There have been as a result some rushed, last minute trips (this one, the day before Sandy struck New York City comes to mind) so I'm looking forward to being outdoors and selecting fall treats relatively stress-free. I also can't wait to cook and bake with the haul–I've been spending less creative time in the kitchen, which always gets me down. Any good recipes I should give a whirl?

 

 

{things i shopped} moisturizer guide

 

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I've always had dry skin–it pretty much soaks up whatever I slather on and then asks for more. It's nearly impossible for me to get a dewy makeup application and by the end of the day, my skin often feels tight and rough. I've tried more products than I can count, and to alleviate the stress on my wallet, I love to swap out pricey formulas for more affordable ones. Here's what's currently on rotation for me–I always use two products, one for an all-over application and another stronger one on any problem spots to keep the bottles full longer. I love each one that I've included (no hating here!) but wonder, do you have any secret weapons in your cosmetic case? 

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GOOD: Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15, Aveeno [$12] + Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20, Clinique [$47]

BETTER: Hydrating Boost Skin, Seventh Generation [$10] + Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+, Clinique [$26]

BEST: Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator, Clinique [$38.50] + Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum Fragrance Free Moisturizer, Olay [$20

{things i covet} shopbop friends and family sale

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Who-hoo! Shopbop is having its "Friends and Family" sale. Just enter code FAMILY25 at checkout and save 25% off site-wide, plus still get their unbeatable free three-day shipping and free returns. Everything I've included above I own (and adore)–and it all came from Shopbop! Though there are some designer exclusions, click around and see what works for you. It's the best time of the year to snag what you've wanted for ages. But hurry: the sale started yesterday and ends tomorrow!

 

{cold weather essentials}

Gisele PJ Set, Eberjey [$115]

Original Tour Boots, Hunter Boots [$148]

Tofino Cate Boots, Sorel [$150]

{everyday essentials}

Rosa Triangle Bra, La Perla [$72]

Slim Flip Flops in Light GoldenHavaianas [$26]

18k Gold Thin Diamond Ring, Jennifer Meyer [$175]

Delicate Heart Silhouette Ring, Ariel Gordon [$161]

{designer crush}

Rocco Duffel with Gold Tone Hardware, Alexander Wang [$925]

Fumo Continental Wallet, Alexander Wang [$345]

Classic T Shirt with Pocket, T by Alexander Wang [$85]

Lovisa Ankle Strap Pumps, Alexander Wang [$495]

 

{things i made} angel food cake

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There isn't a lot to hate about angel food cake. Light, airy, and sweet, the name plays on its dreamy qualities. Science explains how the sponge cake bakes so perfectly–the eggs whites get stabilized with cream of tartar and they climb the steep pan slowly as they bake. Cool it upside down to prevent collapsing and cut with a serrated knife so as not to compress the slice, and with some freshly made whipped cream and macerated fruit the cake will be a little slice of heaven.

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1 cup flour with ​2 ​-​1/2 tablespoons cornstarch​, ​sifted after measuring
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites (fro
about 9-10 large eggs), room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 

1. Clean your mixing bowl, beaters, and utensils thoroughly. Preheat oven to 350° F. 
2. Spin sugar in a food processor for 60 seconds, or until finely ground b
ut not powdered. Add half of the sugar to the flour, and set the other half aside.
3. Sift together the flour, half of the sugar, and salt at least 2-3 times to ensure it is evenly mixed.
4. Begin whipping egg whites at medium speed. Once they become frothy, add the cream of tartar and increase the speed of mixer to high.
5. Once the egg whites start to look fluffy and white, sprinkle in the reserved sugar two tablespoons at a time while mixing. When all of the sugar is added, the meringue should look glossy and billowy. Continue to whip until medium peaks form. In the last couple minutes of whipping, add extract.
6. Sift about third of the flour mixture over the top of the meringue, and fold gently with a flexible rubber spatula so as not to deflate the meringue. Once the flour is just barely incorporated, stop folding. Repeat two more times with the remaining flour, folding until just barely incorporated.
7. Gently pour batter into ungreased angel food or tube pan. Gently twist the pan back and forth to settle the batter to ensure that the batter contacts the sides of the pan. Do not drop the pan against the counter.
8. Bake on the middle-lower rack for about 35 minutes, or until the top is evenly golden brown. Do not open the oven door during the first 30 minutes of baking, as it may deflate the cake.
9. Once done, immediately invert the entire pan over a bottle (some pans come with metal feet and can be flipped on the counter). Let the cake cool completely while suspended.
10. Once cool, use a thin knife to cut around the edges of the pan. Remove the cake from the sides of the pan, then cut underneath to separate it from the bottom/tube part. Slice the cake with a serrated knife, and serve as is or with fruit and whipped cream.

 

{things i wore} strappy sheath

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Roland Mouret really hit it out of the park with his capsule collection for Banana Republic this summer. I stalked the release and happily took home every piece I had wanted–with no regrets too, each fits, looks, and makes me feel like a million dollars. With its strong shoulders, high waist and long skirt, this dress was the closest to his iconic Galaxy Dress that everyone wore back in the day (throwback!), but he updated it enough so as not to make it seem too dated. Love, love, love–seriously, if you think you can find your size, pick one up online.

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 Strappy Sheath, Roland Mouret x Banana Republic [$140 $130 or similar]; Frederique Black Patent Leather Platform Pump Heels, B Brian Atwood [$325];​ Tonda Printed Basket-Weave Cotton Clutch, Diane von Furstenberg [$325];​ Venetian Link Bracelet, Tiffany & Co. [$185]; Elsa Peretti Color by the Yard Bracelet in Black Jade, Tiffany & Co. [$175]; Diamond Ring with Yellow, White and Rose Gold Diamond Overlap, Trio by Effy Collection [$2850 $1596]; Round Cut Studs with Tension Back and Filigree Setting (0.84 cts. each) in White Gold, c/o Diamond Nexus [$249]; Dressed to Kilt nails, Essie [here] 




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