Valentine Fancies

Due to the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, it’s become one of my favorite holidays over the years. Greeting cards, heart motifs, the color pink, candy, and other sweets all come together on this festive day, so naturally I can’t get enough. In honor of this beloved occasion, here are a few last-minute fancies to browse for a special someone (or yourself!).

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The maroon color, velvet material, and sweetheart cut of this Kimchi Blue dress make it perfect for Valentine’s Day. Can be dressed up or down, depending on shoes and jewelry. Velvet is extremely trendy this winter, but I predict that its window for popularity is very narrow, so wear it while you can!

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Is there anything better than cute, cozy socks in the winter? I am loving this J. Crew pair, with its reindeer print and wool blend. Fun and functional!

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You can expect to see more Urban Outfitters on this blog because I recently moved near one and they always seem to have great dresses on sale, including this Kimchi Blue number. Semi-sheer with a slip lining and adjustable cutout back. The ruffle-trim sleeves and floral pattern also make this a nice option for V-Day.

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Candles make excellent gifts for any occasion, especially when they’re made by Henri Bendel, the ultimate gift shop. Burns evenly, and the “Cashmere” fragrance has a hint of sweetness without overpowering the senses.

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Nothing says “I love you” like a gift that’ll help smash the patriarchy. Every woman and man should read this essay, We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, based on her famous Tedx Talk of the same name. It impeccably defines and illustrates feminism and gender issues in a way that is approachable, relatable, humorous, realistic, thought-provoking, and with brilliant prose. Only takes 30 minutes to read, but the impact is lasting. My copy has been on constant loan since I finished it.

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2016 Holiday Gift Guide

I was too busy watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, followed by the entire Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life series, to do any shopping on Black Friday. And I had no intention of participating in Cyber Monday, until I thought I’d take just a quick peek at the online offers… And now here I am at 4:30 a.m. on the night before returning to work after five days of vacation. Yes, that escalated quickly.

Anyway, as I’m making a wish list for my birthday and Christmas (and, to be honest, things I’ll “gift” to myself), I thought I’d share it here, for anyone who’s interested in today’s deals or would like ideas for holiday gift shopping.

j crew top.jpegThe summer version of this J.Crew top sold out before I could snag one for myself, and I’m determined not to let that happen again this season. The cut and fit are quite elegant, with the festive bow preventing the tank from seeming too formal. Also available un-patterned here.

bootie nordstrom.jpgThese Marc Fisher booties are almost half off at Nordstrom this weekend. Simultaneously classic and trendy, these can easily be dressed up or down. As an added bonus, the pointed toe gives the illusion of a longer leg. Other than attempting to choose from the many color options, these are a no-brainer!

abercrombie-sweaterEver since Abercrombie & Fitch completely overhauled its style last year, its look has become less self-proclaimed “preppy” and more boho-inspired trendy (which makes sense, as its Design and Creative teams now include big names from Lucky Brand, Lucky magazine, and Club Monaco. The entire A&F website is 50% off this weekend, and most of its sweaters, including this split-back pullover, look fashionable, yet equally comfy.

kate-spade-earringI’m a little late on the reversible earring trend, but my enthusiasm might make up for that. It’s actually a mild obsession. But who could resist these Kate Spade reversible earrings? The bow paired with the pearl is simply charming.

tory-burchMajor PSA: The Tory Burch Jolie riding boots have dropped to $207 for this weekend, which is the lowest I’ve ever seen (and I’ve considered getting these for the past five years). I’ve never been a huge fan of riding boots for everyday wear, but I’m not sure if I can pass on such an amazing deal.

amazon-echoIt’s been fun playing with a friend’s Amazon Echo this past year, but it’s probably time to get my own to boss around. (Another great present for someone who doesn’t already own one is a Kindle, which is only $50 this weekend! One of few gifts that keeps on giving.)

f9344_wq0066_mThere are few things I love more than a nice pajama set. I’d been looking for the ideal short-sleeved set for a while. But as soon as I spotted these Madewell flannel pajama shorts and top, I knew my search was over. (I also bought ten other things at Madewell… There is a ton of good stuff on sale right now, such as this top, this silk dress, and these insanely discounted jeans!)

sephora lip.jpgSally and I once split this Fresh Sugar Lip Seduction set, but as it turns out, we should’ve each gotten our own. This perfect tinted lip moisturizer, which I first blogged about three years ago, is still the only “beauty” product I use regularly.

free-peopleI would love to just dive right into this Free People turtleneck sweater. Alpaca wool is light, yet warm, and there are plenty of colors to choose from. The length is optimal, as well.

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And finally, for the discerning reader, an unparalleled gift would be a monthly subscription to Persephone Books, a publisher that reprints neglected works by mid-20th century women writers. There is no Black Friday sale for this because Persephone Books is, in fact, British.

New York To-Do Listicle 2

Leaving later this morning to spend Labor Day weekend in New York City with my family. Haven’t been to NYC in almost four months, the longest it’s been since I moved back to DC last winter. Obviously couldn’t sleep until I’d made a list of things to do:

  1. Order a Black Tap milkshake. If you haven’t seen these on social media yet, you must not be on any social media. Beth just moved next to the SoHo location, which means she’s also near Dominique Ansel Bakery
  2. Visit the Statue of Liberty. I’ve been to New York at least a dozen times now, but have yet to see this iconic symbol of the American dream. We’re planning on taking a ferry and possibly climbing up to the crown. When I was in the fourth grade, I read the entire Dear America series, including the diary of Zipporah, a Russian Jewish immigrant who found hope in viewing Lady Liberty from her ship… Before her family was subjected to humiliating physical exams on Ellis Island and, later, her friend burned to death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. (The epistolary form truly can convince kids to read anything.) I’ve wanted to see the Statue ever since.
  3. See the Roof Garden Commission at the Met. Of all the items on my previous NYC to-do list that I didn’t get to accomplish, this is the most important, in my mind.
  4. Participate in Sleep No More. This immersive theater experience features scenes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which take place over four floors of a Manhattan warehouse transformed into a 1920’s hotel. Audience members wear masks and can “choose their own adventure,” exploring the different rooms and possibly even interacting with the characters. Every detail of the 1920’s-themed sets is immaculately designed. I’m especially looking forward to finding the room that is supposedly dressed up as a candy shop–complete with actual candy! Also, I had to stop at the library today to brush up on Macbeth, since I haven’t come across the play since high school!
  5. Visit the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. This new WTC subway station looks like an architectural wonder in photos. There’s a good chance we’ll also visit One World Observatory, since my parents really enjoy seeing cities from obscene heights.
  6. Order bubble tea at Meet U. This new bubble tea place in Chinatown has those Insta-worthy cups shaped like light bulbs, as well as knotted bendy straws. Presentation is everything.
  7. Shop. With my family, not to mention Labor Day sales, I imagine we’ll do a fair amount of shopping. Fairly certain I won’t need anything to wear this fall other than this cape, but half of the shopping in New York is for the experience. I at least want to stop in the Club Monaco on 5th, which has a Strand bookstore attached.
  8. Attend The Upright Citizens Brigade‘s ASSSSCAT 3000. I’ve seen shows by this improv troupe (featuring tons of famous comedians, including Amy Poehler) on tour twice and would love to see the full cast on their home turf. The show is free on Sunday nights (and really cheap every other night)!
  9. Find tickets for the Museum of Ice Cream. This pop-up museum dedicated to what I love most in life sold out immediately and ends next weekend. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. (Currently combing through Craigslist for reasonably priced tickets.)
  10. Win the Hamilton lottery. “I am not throwing away my shot.”
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View of Manhattan skyline from Smorgasburg in Brooklyn