DINNER DIARIES: REVIVING THE ART OF THE HOSTESS BOOK

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August and September have been exceptionally good months for books. From the French Riviera to Claiborne Swanson Frank’s new book, there has been no shortage of page-turners in my shopping cart. One of my favorite arrivals so far (though, trust me, it’s hard to choose just one) has been Dinner Diaries: Reviving the Art of the Hostess Book. Published by Assouline, the glossy tome follows the same format as their Proust “questionnaire” books (Wine Questionnaire, Fashion Questionnaire). This one focuses on the art of the dinner party and features questions such as “What was the greatest dinner party you ever attended?” and “What makes for a great guest?” You’ll find handwritten answers from expert hostesses around the world, including Ivanka Trump and chef Alex Hitz.  They cover every topic you can think of, too – lighting (candles or votives?), good hostess gifts, flatware preferences…everything! My favorite question is the topic of seating arrangements.  As someone that loves to entertain, I find seating arrangements to be one of the trickiest parts. It’s a crucial part to a any good dinner party, and it’s something every hostess strives to get right.

Throwing a good party is an art form. If you love to entertain, this book is a good one for your shelf. Or, even better, gift it to your favorite hostess.

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ELBOWS OFF THE TABLE

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You know those times where you really want to remind somebody to use their manners (“stop chewing with your mouth open!”) but you feel awkward doing so? Well, why not let your napkins do the job for you? These embroidered napkins from Straw and Gold are embroidered with all kinds of cheeky little reminders. Talk about keeping your guests’ manners in check. (I know the “Sit Up Straight” one would be a really good reminder for me at the dinner table.) Regardless of social graces, these napkins would just be a fun set to have – not to mention, a really cute gift for your hostess at your next dinner party.

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All images via Straw and Gold 

THE STRIPE BIB TUNIC (+ ON SALE)

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I love it when I can share that one of my closet staples has gone on major sale. Today is one of those days: my favorite stripe tunic from J.Crew is now under $100. I bought it earlier this summer and it quickly became a mainstay in my wardrobe (not surprising, of course, considering that it’s my favorite combo of blue/white stripes). It’s one of the things from summer that will definitely be sticking around for fall and winter. Here’s why: the silk amps it up and makes it just a bit fancier than my usual cotton stripe tees, and since it’s technically a “tunic,” the length lends itself nicely to layering underneath sweaters like this one. The best part? (Besides the fact that it’s on sale along with this adorable thing.) That neon trim, obviously. It adds a touch of whimsy to an otherwise classic – but a bit serious – top. Neon + stripes + on sale? That’s a winning combination.

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Photos by Molly Miller

HAPPY WEEKEND + LINKS

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Thanks to Moda Operandi, I’ve been introduced to a new artist: Justina Blakeney. Have you seen her Face the Foilage  jewelry series she created for the retailer? They’re incredible. It’s magical (especially Twiggy’s). It’s jewelry like you’ve never seen it before.

Summer may be over but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop my reading list. I’m still in the midst of reading this book and listening to this audiobook, but as soon as I’m finished with those, I’ll be on to something new. With the help of Vogue’s Fall Books Guide , I’ll be able to pick a new read in no time.

Mango’s first shipment of fall is in – and they’re really, really good. From super-chic coats (under $150) to tailored blazers to sweaters in the perfect shade of winter-white, the new collection is one that will carry you through the fall season. (If you’ve got your heart set on a print for your fall coat, there’s only one to buy and it’s this one.)

What do you get when you combine Rice Chex cereal, dark chocolate, caramel and marshmallows? These delicious Millionaire’s Chex Bars. Talk about a yummy weekend treat. Yes, please!

There’s nothing like a beautiful film to inspire wanderlust – especially when Paris is involved. Here, 15 movies that will have you wanting to book your flights to the City of Lights. Or at least give you a list of movies to add to your Netflix.

What’s shiny and gold and leopard all over? C. Wonder’s appetizer plates. Pretty fantastic, right? You can score a set of four for just $48. (I’m going to go ahead and buy two sets.) Talk about a perfect addition to cocktail hour – especially for the holidays!

 

MEET THE VERONICAS + THEIR PERFECT JACKET

 

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It’s certainly not even close to fall weather here. It’s hot, hot, hot and that shows no sign of changing any time soon. However, that has no bearing on my preparation for the cooler temperatures to come. I’m in the mood for fall clothes – sweaters, lots of leather, and my boots. I may not be wearing any of it right now but that doesn’t mean I can’t shop for it. At the top of my fall shopping list? A jacket from Veronica Beard. The sisters-in-law (both named Veronica Beard, both Cancers, and both adorably chic) have created an oh-so-perfect jacket for the season. It’s not new. In fact, it’s become their signature style. I, however, am late to the party. I eyed a couple of them last season but never followed through on a purchase. I knew it was a mistake when I continued to think about the jacket long after it had been sold. I’m not going to make that error this year. Sign me up for this one.

Why is it so perfect? First of all, there’s nothing more classic than a single-button blazer. It’s something you wear forever – and ever. It never goes out of style. It’s timeless. This one, though,  is extra special because it has the cable-knit dickey that comes with it. It’s removable and simply zips in our out of the blazer. That means you can wear the blazer now and when the cold-weather season rolls around, add this cozy layer. It’s layering without actually having to layer. You know what I mean?

It comes in several colors combinations, including bordeaux with gray and black with black, and gray with gray. But I’m partial to the navy with white. It’s always been my favorite. The new, longer version is really interesting, too. If you’re looking for something a little more casual, then take a peek at this one. I love the material combo and the sweatshirt hoodie is such a cool addition. Like I said, I’m not going to miss the boat on this one this year. This is one jacket that’s definitely worth the splurge.

(Side note: The jackets aren’t the only amazing VB things. The entire collection is pretty fantastic. Think super-chic classics like this peplum top and this tiger-print dress that would be perfect with tights this fall. It’s all worth a look.)

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Images via Tory Burch

OLIVIA PALERMO x AQUAZZURA

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I think we can pretty much all agree that when it comes to personal style, Olivia Palermo has it in spades. I find myself pinning look after look of hers to my board. This girl just knows how to put together an outfit, and she rarely ever gets it wrong. You can imagine my excitement when I found out that she was teaming up with one of my favorite shoe designers for a capsule collection. Talk about a match-made in shoe heaven. The Olivia Palermo x Aquazzura collection (available in just a few stores in the US and exclusively online here) includes what the duo referred to as the “essential styles” every woman should have in her wardrobe. There’s a really fab ankle bootie, several different sandals (this pair is definitely an upgrade from your basic black strappys), and a classic pump.

I think they’re all pretty wonderful but my favorite pair by far is the mirrored ankle-strap sandals. I already bought a pair over the weekend and they’re currently on their way to me (free next-day shipping! hooray!). With so many weddings, I was in need of a great, metallic sandal that will work with a number of different dresses. This pair certainly fits that bill. I just love the shape (it’s the kind of sandal that makes your legs look longer) and metallic color they chose really allows it to work as a neutral. In other words: it’s a perfect party shoe.

Shop the collection:

SO LONG, SUMMER

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Here’s one thing I know about Labor Day: it’s not actually the last day this year I’m going to wear my white jeans. I don’t technically follow that rule. But it is probably the last time I’ll wear flouncy, colorful tops like this one, and while my Loeffler Randall sandals are never far from my reach, it’s probably best to retire those, too (at least until I start packing for my holiday in Harbour Island.) I’ll be embracing the new season in all its cozy glory with marled-knit sweaters, turtlenecks (in creamy colors like this one) and a tailored coat. I’ll be swapping out my sandals for ballet flats and boots. And, while my white jeans will be sticking around for a little while, I will start to make the transition to a more ecru pair like this one or this one. (Bright whites really don’t do anything to flatter my ghostly-pale skin in the dead of winter.) My bright bags (especially this sunny yellow tote I can’t seem to stop carrying), on the other hand, aren’t going anywhere.  There’s nothing like a touch of color to complement all gray or black look in the dead of winter. My vote: embrace a bright tote.

But none of that is happening today. Nope. Today, I’m pulling out all my summer favorites. One last time. (Or maybe the second to last?)

 

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Photos by Molly Miller

SALE ALERT: THE DRESLYN

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For all those Saturday shoppers, here’s the sale you don’t want to miss. The Dreslyn is offering 15% off any purchase with the code WHITE at checkout. It’s my favorite kind of sale because I can stock up on all those things I’ve been eyeing for fall. Things like coats, the most perfect and cozy, grey turtleneck sweater, and this sexy pair of boots. The essentials (especially in a palette of black, white, and grey) are where The Dreslyn really excels. (Oh, and they have a pretty cool home goods section where you can find some really unique things.) If you’re looking for some great bascis, this is the sale to shop.

For your perusal:

  • On the hunt for a new pair of leather pants? These are a recent favorite of mine.
  • On the subject of leather: how about a jacket?
  • Fall means plenty of layering – which means classic tees like this one are in order.
  • I’ve loved my slip-on sneakers so much this summer that I think it’s probably time to invest in a pair for fall. I certainly wouldn’t mind a shiny, gold pair.
  • Navy is such a classic hue and when it comes to outerwear, it’s one of the best to choose. This one from new-to-me brand Soya is quite good.
  • I know that white dresses aren’t the usual buy for fall, but I’m obsessed with this little dress from Opening Ceremony. The hemline is so interesting and would look great with a pair of flats or heels.
  • I’m in dire need of a new black blazer. Since it’s something I’ll wear often and forever, I’m willing to splurge a little. But 15% off makes this on-sale one all the better.
  • Last but not least: this beautiful pair of agate bookends. I should probably give them to someone as a gift but instead I’m going to gift myself. And my books.

 Shop the sale:

This post was sponsored by The Dreslyn. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

HAPPY WEEKEND + LINKS

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Clearly I’ve been spending a lot of time on Paperless Post this week. In addition to the cheeky and fun Happy Menocal collection I told you all about on Wednesday, there’s also another one to get excited about: Sugar Paper. Cocktail party invitations, baby announcements, save the dates – there’s something for everyone in this one!  I’m already a huge fan of Sugar Paper so having them right there with the click of my mouse is like a dream come true.

“Believing you can fix a shoe is like believing you can fix a man: it does not work.” How many times have you tried to justify a pair of shoes that don’t quite fit but are simply too good to pass up? It’s happened to me… more than once. Joyce Walder’s NY Times article is a good reminder for all of us shoe shoppers.

Summer is my favorite season so I’m sad to see it go, but I’m also surprisingly ready for the fall ahead. (Perhaps my anticipation has something to do with the August heat we’re currently experiencing.) What do I need to gear up for the cool weather ahead? This swingy little coat from ASOS. It’s full shape makes it a little dressier and will lend itself nicely to cocktail dresses. Not to mention, it’s a good deal at $135!

When it comes to being in the know on beauty products, models are some the best. Between fashion shows and photo shoots, they test out more products than you can imagine. (Plus: who doesn’t want to know what Karlie Kloss uses to get that glowing skin?) Thankfully, Vogue has compiled a list of the 10 products every model has in her medicine cabinet.

This weekend I plan to soak up every last bit of summer – and that includes the food! This tomato salad paired with a yummy Thai-inspired vinaigrette sounds like a perfectly refreshing appetizer.

Twenty years. That’s how long it’s been since the pilot episode of Friends. Kind of hard to believe, isn’t it? (I still watch the reruns even though I’ve seen every single episode at least ten times.) In honor of the big anniversary, they’re bringing back the coffee shop we all know and love: Central Perk. It will be one-month pop-up shop in Soho designed to be an exact replica of the one on the show. Oh – and they’ll be serving free coffee. Admit it: you’re dying to take a seat on that big orange couch.