the beautiful things

{things i learned} jingle all the way

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[an adorable tabletop decoration]

 

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[it's that time of year: williams-sonoma peppermint bark]

 

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[the always stunning christmas tree and neapolitan crèche on view at the met]

 

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[my favorite holiday decorations--shopping under the stars at the time warner center]

 

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[garlands, lights, and gucci--some of my favorite things]

 

It's the final countdown (I've been waiting a while to say that!)–Christmas is literally around the corner! This year has been hectic, hectic, hectic–but I'm hoping to catch up this weekend with the best parts of my holiday to-do list: gift sorting and wrapping, final-touch decorating, Christmas-themed TV-watching, and baking cookies. There are not enough exclamation marks I can use and still look relatively normal for that last one–it's literally one of my favorite things to do all year round. It's so hard to believe things are actually underway but tis' the season! I hope your traditions are just as exciting for you in the next few days.

 

 

 

 

{things i shopped} get it by christmas

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This year more than ever I feel like online retailers are really stepping up their game. The sales have been phenomenal–Nordstrom price matching? J.Crew an additional 30-40% off for days?–but moreover, they've been promising late shoppers a Christmas Eve delivery. It's hard to believe you can still order things with only a week to go till the holiday, but it's true. So if you're a procrastinator (or a perfectionist, like me), top off your shopping with these great deals!

 

J.Crew12/20/2014 Last Day to Order for Standard Holiday Delivery

Ceramic Ornament, J.Crew  [$16.50 $12.99 30% off with code JINGLE] // Roxie Glossy Leather Pump, J. Crew [$278, 30% off with code JINGLE] // Pajama Set in Plaid Flannel [$95, 30% off with code JINGLE] // Collection Ribbed Cashmere Scarf in Heather Nickel, J.Crew [$27530% off with code JINGLE] // Cashmere-Lined Tech Gloves, J.Crew [$98, 30% off with code JINGLE] // Merry Card, Sugar Paper via J.Crew [$5]

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Nordstrom - 12/21/2014 Last day to Order for Free Standard Shipping

'Gold Lace' Clear iPhone 6 Case, Sonix [$35] // Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm Travel Set, Clinique [$29.50] // 'Path of Life' Wire Bangle, Alex and Ani [$28] // Geo Stitch Blanket Scarf, Topshop [$44] // 'Cambridge' Diamond Quilt Boot, UGG Australia [$169.95] // Ladder Stitch V-Neck Sweater, Vince [$345]

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Bergdorf Goodman - 12/21/2014 Last day to Order for Free Two-Day Shipping

Vetyverio Eau de Toilette, 1.7 oz, Diptyque [$90] // Truffles on Cake Stand, Pancracio [$50] // Cashmere Skull-Cap Beanie with Fox Pompom, Inverni [$425] // Oscar Confetti Acrylic Clutch Bag, Silver/Golden, Edie Parker [$1,495]// Stag Decanter, Asprey [$3,350] // Personalized Passport Cover, GiGi New York a Graphic Image Company [$75]

 

And there's more!

Macy's12/22/2014 Last Day to Order for Free Shipping with $99 Purchase

Neiman Marcus12/19/2014 Last Day to Order for Free Rush Delivery 

Target – 12/20/2014 Last Day to Order for Christmas Delivery 

Blue Fly – Free Two Day Shipping if You Use Visa at Checkout

Overstock12/22/2014 Last Day to Order for Two-Day Shipping 

 

 

{things i learned} holiday party dressing

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I'm always amazed by the amount of invitations that roll in this time of year–there's just so much to celebrate in such a short amount of time! Even a small, simple party has a dress code, unspoken or not, and I enjoy get-togethers most when I'm dressed to suit them. Here are some helpful pointers I've picked up over the years while digging through my closet–chose one and build your outfit around it for a flawless and festive look that can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion. 

 

winter white // fulll post here // shop: cashmere sweater, Burberry Prorsum [$995]

party dress // full look here // shop: strapless duchesse-satin dress, Lanvin [$3495]

suede footwear //full post here // sleekkk over-the-knee boots, Steven by Steven Madden [$259 $169.99]

all black // full post here // shop: Gwen dress, J.Crew [$198, 30% off with code JINGLE]

color pop // full post here // shop: willow necklace in silver/multi/Italian olivinDannijo [$845 $591.50]

 

{things i made} christmas cookies

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I can't believe it's that time of year again–Christmas cookie baking! My tradition for a while has been to make twelve different types of perfect little treats–for the twelve days of Christmas–but truth be told, that's a bit indulgent (we might scale it back just a bit this year, though I tend to go overboard once I get some baking-momentum). All that practice though has left me with a stuffed recipie-box. Check out this group for inspiration–and there are even more in the blog's archives!

 

Butter Horns - Fig Moons - Baci di Dama - Coconut Cookies Crinkle Cookies Lemon Knots - Amaretti Cookies - Peanut Butter-Filled Chocolate Cookies -  Biscotti Regina - Lebkuchen - Italian Wedding Cookies - Double Chocolate Chip Cookies - Almond Biscotti - Lemon Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies - Pistachio Lime Cookies - Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies 

 

 

{things i wore} appliqué cardigan

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Thank goodness I didn't spot this sweater at full-price, because I would have had a very hard time leaving on the rack. Marked-down it was a no-brainer. It's unique, iconic (for the brand at least), and so much fun–It never fails to bring a smile to my face (maybe I'm being silly, but it's just so cute!) and I've gotten compliments on it when wearing it. My wallet-on-a-chain has been getting a lot of Christmas-shopping use as of late. I love handbags a lot but nothing's better than going hands free while braving the holiday hordes.

 

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Stace Face Cardigan, alice + olivia [$396 similar]; Favorite Tank, J. Crew [$18]Boy Jean, American Eagle [similar]; Saffiano Metal Oro Chain Wallet, Prada [shop here]; Emmie Flats in Black, Lucky Brand [$59]; Catbird Jewelry [$44]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400]; Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; Gold & Pavé Diamond Tiny Disc Ring, Sydney Evan [$375]; 'Russian Roulette' Nail Polish, Essie [here]; "Coral Kiss (matte)" Colour Crush Lipstick, The Body Shop [$13]

 

{things i learned} it’s the holiday season

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[an unlikely pairing that works: sparkly + rustic decorations]

 

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[upper west side architecture against a cold december sky]

 

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[imported chocolate-covered marzipan]

 

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[it may be purely practical but i love city planters filled with pine and fir branches]

 

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[a festive red and green bouquet]

 

Less than two weeks to Christmas? It seems unreal (and exciting)! I'm making so many lists–and checking them more than twice–because when it comes to holidays, I'm a planner. So far, I think I've selected the cookies I want to bake and am almost done with gift shopping. But I still have decorating, wrapping, and, of course, outfit-planning left to do. This weekend's an important one (the last one before the final one), so I hope to make the most of it–and that you do too!

 

{things i wore} alpine sweater

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It’s been chilly, chilly, chilly as of late, with a dusting of snow falling last night and still clinging to surfaces today. I’m living in cozy sweaters lately, and with their comfort factored in they’re probably my favorite piece of late fall/winter fashion.  This one was a Forever 21 find last year. I love luxe knitwear as much as anyone, but if I find an affordable sweater that doesn’t itch I make sure to get it. I love that this one buttons—a soft, warm jacket substitute is always a good thing.

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Alpine Sweater, Forever 21 [similar]; Artist Crop Jean in ‘Bright Indigo Destroy,’ American Eagle Outfitters [$49.50 $35]; Emmie Flats in Platinum, Lucky Brand [$59]; Donna Washed Hobo in Ginger, Alexander Wang [$900 similar]; Threadbare Ring in Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400]; Gold & Pavé Diamond Tiny Disc Ring, Sydney Evan [$375]; Essie "Carry On" Nail Polish

 

{things i covet} holiday gifts for her

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I always have struggled with my own personal Christmas list–I absolutely love buying and putting together gifts for others and while I do love receiving them, for some reason I always feel guilty this time of year expecting or wanting a whole lot, especially all at once. That being said, I do love collections of beautiful things, time of year excluded! Here are just a few items I–or any other special lady I think–wouldn't mind finding underneath the tree on the big day.

 

{clockwise}

Good Fortune Evil Eye Leather Charm, Diane von Furstenberg [$48]

Glimmer Lace Print Cell Phone Case for iPhone 5/5S in Silver, CaseMate  [$29.99]

NARCISO Eau de Parfum 1.6 oz., Narciso Rodriguez [$95]

Fox Fur Earmuffs in Beet Root​, Sofia Cashmere​ [$195]

Luna Sonic Cleaning Device For Sensitive To Normal Skin, Foreo [$199]

Eucalyptus Spearmint Pillow Mist, Aromatherapy [$10]

All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage, Clinique [$29]

Suede Double Bag in Ematite- Grey, Prada [$2730]

RMS Beauty Lip Shine In Sacred, J. Crew [$25 

Minnie Sipping Lace, Stretch-silk And Point D'Esprit Briefs, Stella McCartney [$85]

 

{things i made} white wine and manchego asparagus carbonara

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I’ve has some pretty awful experiences with pasta carbonara—from inauthentic tries at restaurants (heavy cream is not a traditional ingredient!) to an at-home attempt that was so rich everyone couldn’t stomach a full plate, I figured it was one of those dishes meant to be eaten once in Italy when everything about it would be local and calories “wouldn’t count.” Then I stumbled upon this winning idea—throwing in roasted vegetables and swapping out the intense Parmesan cheese with slightly more mild Manchego. The result is party-presentable, very tasty, and insanely simple after minimal prep.

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2 lbs penne
2 bunches asparagus, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces​
1.5 cup peas, thawed and drained on paper towels if frozen 
12 large cloves garlic, chopped​
1 cup white wine
200g manchego cheese, grated 
12 oz pancetta, chopped and fried until crisp
4 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
Fresh parsley, to garnish

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Toss the asparagus in olive oil, put it on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on the top rack of the oven.​ After 10 minutes, add the garlic and the peas ​and roast until it ​all ​starts to crisp​, 20 to 30 minutes (check every 10 min and give t​ray​ a shake so that they roast evenly).
2. Meanwhile, add wine to your smallest saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer uncovered until reduced, about ​10 minutes​.
3. Crack the eggs and whisk together with olive oil. Set aside.
4. Cook and drain pasta. 
While still hot, add the egg mixture,​​ s​tir​ring​ constantly to​​ prevent ​the egg​s​ from scrambl​ing​.​
5. Add the wine and cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Add the roasted vegetables and cooked pancetta and mix. Serve topped with parsley, ground pepper and a little extra cheese.

 

{things i wore} floppy hat

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My sister and I do this thing where we go into a store, collect arm-fulls of clothes, take our time in the dressing rooms, narrow down our selections, get to the cashier–and discover that we're basically about to purchase the exact same things, give-or-take a size or color. While it requires some coordination if we go out together–dressing identically as adults is not our thing–it makes me smile (and feel secure in my purchases!) that we have such similar taste. This sweater was a score for both of us, and oversized and comfy, it's easy to wear with just about anything. When I spotted the exact same one on Kris Jenner (here), I couldn't help but laugh that we'd located a style triplet. Also, I'm glad I finally got a chance to wear my new hat–I've always wanted to try a felt, floppy one and now that it's so chilly, it works well with most looks.

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Free People Greenwich Village Pullover, Free People [$98]; Kimmie Bootcut Jeans in Midnight New York Dark Wash, 7 For All Mankind [$198];  Balnit Peep-Toe Slingbacks, Aldo [$110]; Saffiano Lux Double-Zip Tote Bag in Black, Prada [shop here]; Floppy Felt Hat [similar]; Catbird Jewelry [$44]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400]; Gold & Pavé Diamond Tiny Disc Ring, Sydney Evan [$375]; Essie "Carry On" Nail Polish




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