Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Countdown: What To Wear & Last Minute Gifts

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Kirsten Beeksma Morse

Christmas is a week away and the next seven days are proving to be a jam packed one for most of us, including me. One of my favorite events is the annual Nutcracker evening with the Wick girls. Gracie and I have been friends with Madi and her mom, Amy, since the girls were babies. The four of us have been attending The Pacific Northwest Ballet Nutcracker since the girls were five years old. They are now both 16, and still as enchanted as ever with going to the ballet. I love the tradition and the fact that even as teens, they look forward to time together.  It is such a festive thing to do, please go if you can. It will really get you in the holiday spirit.


The rest of the week includes: a birthday breakfast for a dear friend, a Christmas cookie exchange party, a family outing, decorating our church for Christmas and a movie and dinner date with the Roberts girls, another lovely pair of mother/daughter friends, then Christmas Eve Mass, dinner and two neighborhood parties, with a finale of hosting Christmas dinner. I look at these events as a calendar chocked full of major fun, each needing their own outfit. :)
While some events are dressier than others, you can keep yourself looking festive and reduce stress if you plan ahead just a little. Wear the same pieces you have in different ways throughout the week by evaluating what you own and doing your outfit planning ahead of time. Not only will it prevent you from panicking about your favorite blouse still being at the dry cleaner, you will look lovely with minimum effort.

Here are my picks and tips for a fashion plan and gift ideas for the busy week ahead!




WEAR A STATEMENT PIECE

There are a lot of fabulous faux fur sweaters and sweater coats again this season. My favorite is this Opening Ceremony Faux Fur Front Coat that I got on sale at Nordstrom. I have been wearing it with distressed denim as much as dressed up with skirts and dresses. The back is sweater material, making it unique and versatile. I also love the British brand Shrimps, which make really cool coats that are really fun to wear. They can be pricey, but you can catch them on sale and remember they will last forever. Nordstrom and Shopbop carry them as well. Last year I found a great blue faux fur one at Zara, and this year they have quite a few. My favorites this year include a Shrimps inspired one, a leopard one, and a cape with a faux fur collar that prove to be just as fabulous. The best thing about these cozy pieces? They are super versatile and make the outfit. Boom, done. Don't have a big faux fur coat? Find a favorite piece from your closet, like that sparkling top you keep meaning to wear or those velvet pants and get them in the mix for the week. Day or night, wear what you love and you will feel as great as you look.



BOOTIE CALL

No, not that kind of bootie call, silly. This is a fashion blog! The kind that makes gives your look a super chic appeal and keeps those toes warm and toasty. These Alexander Wang Kenze oxblood suede boots have a cool block heel and silver buckle detail that make them stand out from basic black. Booties not only look good with denim, they can give your dress or skirt a major edge. If you don't have booties yet, get on it, girl. These shoes are the workhorses of any closet, and come in a million heel types. From high heels to flats and everything in between, the bootie is here to stay.




WEAR A SKIRT

I love wearing a dress, but my collection of skirts are my go-tos for getting ready and looking instantly chic. A skirt is universally flattering and can change personalities almost as quickly as a teenage girl. ;) This anthropologie glinted sweater fringe Cecilia Prado skirt was a find from last year as well, but this year the company has another beautiful collection of fringed skirts here. The cozy sweater style is perfectly on point for the season and into the winter months ahead. I added sweater tights because it was a chilly day, but you could certainly do an over the knee sock for an edgier look.




ACCESSORY ESSEMBLY

Having your details in order is key. Locate that velvet handbag or pair of vintage bracelets prior to heading out to the next event. I am a list maker,  and I also hate tearing apart my closet looking for a last minute item. Since you have planned your looks for the next few days, (right?), get your details together as well. Plan your accessories ahead of time, tuck the jewelry inside that handbag you want to carry, and you will have it all in one place. It is so worth the time to put it all together ahead, then you will be ready to go quickly rather then causing chaos in your closet last minute. I have always been a big fan of J. Crew jewelry and have worn these Petal Cluster Drop Earrings (featured above) a lot this season. They look as good dressed up as they do with my favorite gray cashmere sweater and denim, so they are the perfect accessory. The Bouquet Drop Pair are equally as stunning and I got a ton of compliments on them. And a bonus: they are lightweight! 

STILL NEED A GIFT OR TWO? 




With the busy week ahead, it is important to have some gifts ready ahead of time for last minute stocking stuffers and hostess gifts. Last post I chatted about Rosanna and how much I love their beautiful home accessories gorgeous glassware and cool decor pieces. I ended up making another trip back to the Rosanna Warehouse Store to purchase a few more gifts, including this coffee commuter. I also fell in love with these gorgeous Jazz Age Flutes, which I ended up buying for a friend and myself! The outlet store is open M-F from 9 am to 4 pm, and remember it is next to their actual warehouse, so wear a warm coat. It is so worth the trip. If you order online you can get 10% off using the code LASTMINUTE10 at checkout, and all shipping has been upgraded to 3-day Express, with free shipping on orders over $50. 
Aesop Gift Package

Over in Madrona, the store Hammer and Awl has a perfect selection of curated things for men. I found a cool engraved money clip, a unique tie and a perfect pocket square to round out my last minute gifts. Also, I am completely obsessed with these Winkylux lip glosses from Queen Anne Dispatch. I like adding them to the top of a package because of their beautiful floral packaging, and I love them so much that I have been back three times to buy more of them. The Aesop store in Fremont, located where Starbucks used to be, has fabulous gift sets that are beautifully packaged as wells. This line is stellar--you and your gift recipient will be hooked. Check it out here. 

Winkylux available at Queen Anne Dispatch

Have you had a memorable trip or family event this past year? I went online and made a custom book from iPhoto of our trip to Europe last summer as a gift for my family and it arrived in three days. It was a perfect way to gather up all my photos sitting on the computer and turn it into a book that we can all look at again and again. And speaking of books, I always give books from Queen Anne Book Company every year. The staff is lovely and they gift wrap. It is what shopping small and local is all about. There is just something so personal and lovely about giving an actual book. 

Finally, I wanted to say thank you to my friend and photographer Krissi. We have spent the past year and a half on an adventure that has been amazing. We are both busy mothers, trying our best to keep our personal passions in sync while loving and caring for our families. Krissi is a tireless giver, the kind of person that always thinks of others before herself. She is also an incredibly talented photographer who has a keen eye and endless creativity. I am so lucky that I get to work with her, I am incredibly grateful for all her time and talent. The greatest gift of all really is friendship and I am lucky to have hers. 

Happiest of holidays to everyone and Merry Christmas from my house to yours. xx













Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Making The Season Merry & Bright: Good Gifting






Photo by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

Gift shopping is really one of my favorite things. Granted, if I get my 84 year old Dad's name for Christmas (we trade names on my side of the family for Christmas) it is a bit more challenging than finding something for my friend Kacy. But when it comes to hostess gifts, gift exchanges and thank you gifts it is always fun to do something creative to say "happy holidays". Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate the holiday season and say thank you in a lovely and festive way.
Chez Elle Tray Champagne S'Il Vous Plait . Image courtesy of Rosanna Inc.

Last week I was invited down to Rosanna Inc. and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. I have been buying things from Rosanna since I first moved to Seattle in the late 1980s, and I still have a big beautiful pasta bowl that I cherish and use weekly. It is time for me to gather gifts for a holiday gift exchange, hostess gifts and of course treasures for friends, so I couldn't wait to see the latest at Rosanna. And I didn't leave empty handed. 

Rosanna Bowles, the founder and President of Rosanna Inc, began her company out of her Seattle home in 1982. Bowles' life long passion for beautiful tableware and objects for the home and her hands on approach as art director make her company stand apart. The company flourishes with gorgeous unique pieces that are the perfect combination of form and function. 
Chic Happens Commuter Mug. Image courtesy of Rosanna Inc.

I was so taken with the chic and stylish appeal to everything, even the things that had a playful side, like the "Chic Happens" commuter mug that I am told is one of their most popular and blogged about pieces. If you want to get personal with this cool coffee holder, you can find brightly colored Hanky Panky undies rolled up and tied with a ribbon at Queen Anne Dispatch. Just tuck a pair or two inside the mug for a cheeky little surprise. I also like giving favorite beauty products to play off the word "chic" and usually am gifting these Chanel Glossimers this time of year. So much more fun than tea, but you could do that as well if you know your audience. ;)

Good Cheer Merry Santa Mugs. Photo by Lisa Cole

There is such an array of stunning glassware, beautiful platters, cool bags, and chic home decor that I was in heaven. Rosanna has come a long way since I first bought my cherished pasta bowl. The special occasion pieces for weddings, girlfriends and holidays are fabulous, and all of these lovely things come in equally lovely gift boxes. Even better. The Good Cheer Merry Santa Mugs come individually in their own printed boxes and I plan on filling them with a gift card and of course a handful of sweet chocolate. Give these gifts early so that the receiver can enjoy using the holiday mug all season long.

The Fa La La Dish is equally fun and perfect for a hostess gift, and comes in a beautiful box as well. Instead of fighting the clear cellophane on a roll, head down to Packaging Specialties (a block from Rosanna Inc.'s outlet store by the way) to stock up on all your gifting needs. The place is out of this world packaging heaven. At PS you will find clear cellane bags in all sizes, making it easy to pop your Rosanna gift box inside a clear bag along for extra flair and add a beautiful scented soap or Christmas candies to go with the Fa La La Dish. 

Sole Society Shoulder Duster Earrings. Photo by Kirsten Beeksma Morse
The Chez Elle Tray Champagne S'Il Vous Plait would be a perfect match with Le Reve Bakery macaroons or other French treats your hostess can pop on the tray. Or add a wrapped piece of jewelry to show the receiver of your gift that the tray would be perfect to hold jewels on a dresser or night stand. These Sole Society Shoulder Duster Earrings would be a gorgeous addition to the chic tray, plus you can buy a pair for yourself to wear to the next holiday party since they are now 40% off at Nordstrom!

Fa La La Pieces. Image courtesy of Rosanna Inc.


I loved the Rosanna Fa La La wine bag and put a bottle of my favorite pink bubbly, Antech Emotion Cremant de Limoux Rose to gift, which I always buy from Ken's Market on Queen Anne or from Pete's Market near Eastlake. Champagne is my favorite thing to drink this time of year, and rĂ³se champagne is just that much more special. Add a teaspoon of pomegranate seeds to your champange flute and watch the seeds go up and down in the glass with the champagne bubbles. Delicious, fun and good for you too! 

Rosanna Ladies Choice Collection Gusset Tote. Photo by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

What do I love to wear when shopping for gifts? Well, I hate being cold so the warmest coat I own is key. I bought the Trina Turk "Scarlet" mohair coat pictured at the top last year at Nordstrom and it is the coziest and chicest coat I own. It looks good with party clothes and it can fit thick layers inside because it has a generous cut. And speaking of layers, this Endless Rose Exaggerated Sleeve Sweater from Revolve Clothing is the perfect update to my gray sweater collection. It looks and feels way more expensive than it's $83 price tag, plus I don't have any guilt about adding a fresh new style. The cropped body and layered sleeves make it a really beautiful piece.

Topshop Floral Jamie Jeans and Fa La La Wine Bag
Photo by Kirsten Beeksma Morse


I am really a FRAME denim girl and wear a lot of cropped flare jeans. On our recent trip to New York City, however, I was on a mission to find an embroidered pair of denim. While perusing Topshop on 5th Avenue with my daughter I spotted these Floral Jamie Jeans with a high waisted fit, and they have become my new favorites. The fit like a glove and are super comfy and show off my Valentino Rockstuds on warmer days, or fit perfectly into boots. I highly recommend them. May be getting the black pair too...

Rosanna Ladies Choice Collection Gusset Tote. Photo by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

Whether you need hostess gifts for parties or want to say thank you to that awesome delivery person or hairdresser, or perhaps a merry wish for a neighbor, making the effort with a special gesture is always worth it. Have the happiest of holidays this season! 

*This post was not sponsored and all the opinions are my own. Cheers!