Friday, November 30, 2012

Fabulous Friday

Maybe a viewing is in order this weekend...
On my way home from my Thanksgiving trip to visit my family, I found myself on the plane with LOADS of magazines. Usually, I opt for a book to reduce the weight of all that aspiration and guilt, and because magazines are, frankly, a bit of a waste of money. Generally I feel entertained by most magazines for about 15 minutes, and then I'm done. But, I always look forward to Christmastime magazines because I love the gift guides, and I've always had a special place in my heart for Real Simple. So, I checked out at the newsstand with all my goodies (and checked out behind Kate Bosworth no less--yes, really--who in person is not quite as glam as she is on the big screen), and I settled in my seat enjoying Real Simple when I came across this most fabulous quotation that I just had to share in the spirit of Fabulous Friday. It is from the fabulous Nora Ephon's "What I Wish I'd Known" excerpted from her book I Feel Bad About My Neck.

She writes:
You can't be friends with people who call after 11pm. | The last four years of psychoanalysis are a waste of money. | The plane is not going to crash. | Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five. | Write everything down. | Take more pictures. | You can't own too many black turtleneck sweaters. | The reason you're waking up in the middle of the night is the second glass of wine. | If the shoe doesn't fit in the shoe store, it's never going to fit. | There are no secrets. | Back up your files. | Overtip. | Never let them know. | If only one third of your clothes are mistakes, you're ahead of the game. | You can order more than one dessert.

I love Ehpron's writing; one of the only movies I've ever owned is When Harry Met Sally. This list made me laugh and say "Oh, for real!" at the same time.

Maybe this weekend, even though I know I don't need it, not even a little bit, and not before that upcoming wedding, I'll still order dessert. After all, one of the pieces of advice Ephron gives that was omitted from this list is "You never know." And that might be the truest one of all.

Happy Friday

Thursday, November 29, 2012

For The Guys: Gift Guide

If you let have to let them all! The younger of my two brothers gave us his picks for fall, but I thought we should see what the other Whitehouse man has to say. So, he put together a gift guide for the men in our lives.

Geoffrey works at a small medical research company in Manhattan. He is a total fashionist-o (is there such a thing?), and he has used his upcoming wedding as an excuse to beef up his already impressive wardrobe. In case you can't tell, he has a particular obsession with watches, and he had an agreement that when he got engaged, he would buy his fiancee a ring, and, in exchange, she would buy him a watch. Nice negotiating...

Below he shares some of his favorite things that might be terrific treats this Christmas.

Geoffrey says...
I just purchased a Large Maratac Pilot Watch. While my fiancee recently gave me an amazing watch, I feel like ever since I switched out the strap to black alligator, the watch is too nice for casual wear. The Maratac comes with a black nylon strap, but I plan on buying a brown leather band for it. The Worn & Wound has great reviews of relatively affordable men's watches if you're in the market.

You can't beat L.L.Bean for quality classics. I particularly like the style of the L.L.Bean Signature line. The Downeaster Sport Canvas bag is a great weekend bag at a great price. I frequently get compliments on mine.

The Tie Bar is a great option for ties, pocket squares, and (of course) tie bars. I love the idea of this wool tie, this pocket square, and this tie bar. I think the ensemble would would look great with a navy blazer.

I love my Belstaff Qulited vest. It is perfect for the fall and winter. It looks great over a sweater or under a jacket (although I am a little skeptical of this ultra mod metrosexual styling it above). It has been cold in NYC, so I wear mine (much more masculine-ly, I might add) under my Mountain Parka from Uniqlo.
Stocking stuffer, anyone? Origins Fire Fighter aftershave. It makes all the difference when shaving.

Lucky for us, Geoffrey has agreed to do a regular feature. Hooray! Stay tuned for more of his curated picks!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

For the Host & Hostess: Gift Guide

Look at this tree of goodies! I want to host a party so someone can bring me some of this loot!

Foiled Dot cocktail napkins add a little whimsy to any party.
Harney and Sons Holiday Tea and an Anthropologie mug are "must haves" for winter nights.
These citron and basil candles smell delicious in the kitchen.
A Kate Spade thermos is a perfect accessory for any commuter.
Rum and Lime hand wash by Malin+Goetz smells positively divine.
The Votio Red Currant candle reminds me of Christmas's sweet scents.
A home can never have too many throws, especially in classic colors.
Who doesn't want this pillow by Society Social?
I have given these glasses as a gift before they got these marvelous Santa hats. Now they are even better!
Trays are (in my opinion) perfectly fabulous in every size and shape: in gold stripes, zebras, bamboo, or candy cane colors.  

Don't head to a party empty handed!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's On Your Vanity?

The Wedding Edition
Photo by Melissa Koren
Sukey Murphy is a wedding guru. She is sharing her story of her own wedding day beauty woes today along with some tips for how to make your day a glamorous one. Sukey is a wonderful bloggie friend, and I am dying to try out some of her recommendations!

Sukey writes:
I write the wedding styling blog Dress For The Wedding, and I was introduced to Meredith by our mutual blog friend Jen, at The Elizabeth Letter. Meredith and I soon found we had a ton in common. We're both originally from New England, we are both now adjusting to life in other states, we embrace any show on Bravo, and we love chevrons! I love how the blogging world brings new friendships!

One reason I think of my wedding so frequently when I'm doing my makeup is because I have one of my wedding photos on my vanity counter. It may sound hokey, but looking at it each day reminds me to try to carry out each day in the same spirit of love that was so present on my wedding day. On the more superficial side, I still think of wedding-related things while I'm at my vanity because I turned to many of the products I use now after my own wedding beauty experimentation and resulting disasters.

It's Those Darn Wedding Checklists!

I'm usually a kind of low-to-medium-maintenance lady, but when I got engaged I was goaded by those pre-wedding checklists into participating in what I consider moderate-to-high maintenance activities: bi-weekly manicures, highlights, and an official dermatologist-prescribed skin care routine. Sadly, through this process, I learned I'm actually lowish-maintenance for a reason. I'm highly sensitive to the chemicals and smells that sometimes accompany these routines.

Here were my pretty dismal results: The acrylic nails made my nailbeds turn red and itch. The trip to the dermatologist and her fancy salicylic acid peel, resulted in an allergic reaction that made my eyes swell shut.  I stopped plucking eyebrows so the makeup artist could reshape them, so I went through my engagement photos and shower with stray hairs everywhere. Somehow one of my otherwise subtle highlights ended up looking like a skunk-like streak that revealed itself in certain angles when exposed to camera flashes. It also rained on my wedding day, so my makeup and hair drooped after about 15 minutes never to return to its intended glory.  I've probably looked better on some trips to the grocery store than I did on my wedding day.

I took all of this as a lesson that I should not attempt a high maintenance beauty lifestyle. I also later realized how silly it was that I felt justified in shelling out a lot money to attempt to look perfect for a few hours at my wedding, but on an average day I would feel guilty spending that kind of money on products for myself.

I now remind myself it’s good to take care of my skin and general health everyday, even if it means spending a little more, and I’ve realized that it’s okay to surround myself with things like flowers, nice stationery, and good food even when 150 people won’t be there to witness it all coming together. Through all my wedding beauty disasters, I also realized that the allergic reactions I encountered were really my body's way of saying "Hey - there's something unnatural in here - stay away!” Since then, I've really tried to buy natural, organic, or holistic products as much as possible. It has taken a little trial and error, but here are my favorite "can't imagine life without them" products that currently on or in my vanity.

Want the low-down on Sukey's vanity?  Continue reading after the break.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Musings

 I would like to start this week with a little apology. I was so busy with travel and whatnot that last week's posts were not my best work! But, I am back and I have so many wonderful and jam packed posts waiting in the wings.

This weekend provided me with some much needed family time. During the past few years I haven't gone home for Thanksgiving simply because it is such a short little jaunt, it comes right before Christmas, and traveling at that time of year is always mayhem. But, we managed to fit a lot of events into that little weekend. It was my sister's twentieth birthday, then Thanksgiving, followed by a bridal shower for the ladies, and a bachelor party for the gents. So, we made the most of our few days! Now, we are back in work mode until Christmas.

I simultaneously find this time of year to be the most wonderful and the most difficult. It is the most wonderful because it is Christmas, and how can you not be happy at Christmas?! It is the most difficult because it is the time I am most sad not to be near my family. It seems like holidays can really only be joyous when spent with the people you love. Last year we didn't get a tree in our place because we knew we'd be leaving for Christmas, and it didn't seem practical. But this year, we are here until the 23 of December, so I say we need to deck our own halls, and bring the Christmas spirit to California! I also feel like I need to hit the gym a little more seriously with my brother's wedding coming up on the heels of the holiday. The plan is get a tree and pump some iron. That should keep my endorphins up until I can get home again!

In news of the strangest variety, my sister got a dog off eBay. No joke. She really did. I thought she was bat-s**** crazy. First of all, she lives in a dorm and is not allowed to have a dog. Secondly, it is a small dog and those things last forever, so highly likely she will have ten year old children before the dog bites the dust. Lastly, she left the dog with her roommates about five days after purchasing it to go visit her boyfriend. So, this did not indicate to me that she was taking her pet ownership as seriously as she should. But, little Ollie did come and spend Thanksgiving with us. While we all decided we are just going to call him a girl because it seems much cuter to have a tiny girl dog, and while he did poop pretty much everywhere there was an area rug in my parents' house, and while I generally find dogs repugnant (as I explained here), I am surprised and shocked to say that I rather liked the little guy. What, you say? Cruella De Ville herself cavorting with a pup? You are as shocked as I am. Perhaps my cold heart is thawing in my old age.

This week get ready for the beginning of the gift guides and makeup tips fit for a wedding! Happy Monday!

images are from my Pinterest (card from Sugar Paper, Los Angeles)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fabulous Friday

Today is probably one of the most fabulous Friday's of the year. It marks the official beginning of the Christmas season. It is officially okay to put on those carols, ring those jingle bells, wear your Christmas sweater, and shop, shop, shop! Not only does this day mark the beginning of my month long celebration of Christmas, but it is also Black Friday, which means deals, steals, and crazy mall madness! Does it get any better than this? I think not.

Some of my favorite places to shop are offering you (yes, YOU) amazing opportunities to stock up!

J. Crew: 25% off total purchase (COLOR25) or 30% off if you have the credit card (CARDMEMBER).
Kate Spade: Free tote with 250 purchase!
C. Wonder: 30% off total purchase of $100 (automatically applied at checkout).
Cole Haan: 20% off total purchase with code THANKS20.
Madewell: 25% off total purchase with code TREAT.
Bauble Bar: 35% off site wide!

Happy shopping and Happy Friday! See you next week!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I am so thankful...

Happy Thanksgiving. May your day be filled with many things to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


My good friend was looking for some pajamas that are appropriate for all the family time coming up around the holidays, so this one's for her! You cannot be hanging out with your in-laws in a lacy negligee or the booty shorts you usually wear to bed (ah-hem, you know who you are). Unacceptable! I am personally a huge fan of the cute flannel sets that always pop up around the holidays. Here are some modest and affordable options.

J.Crew always delivers at holiday time with a new collection of deliciously delightful jammies. This year is no exception. Target has the most amazing deals, and I am a huge fan of their pajamas. This polka dotted pair had me at hello. Seriously. They spoke to me. Jesse Steele has the cutest, girliest prints. Who doesn't want to sleep covered in cupcakes? L.L.Bean never disappoints when you're in the mood for a classic.

I'm ready to curl up in some cozy flannels. What about you?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's In My Bag?

Next Tuesday, we'll be back with a special wedding edition of What's on Your Vanity, but in the meantime, let's check out What's In My Bag as I get ready to head to Connecticut for the holiday!

Look who got a Photoshop tutorial this weekend! Bam!

I still have a lot to learn about Photoshop, and this is clearly my amateurish attempt at collage. But, I'm learning. Oh I am so tech savvy! Recognize, ya'll!
Be back tomorrow from the east coast!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Musings

Just this past week, two of my colleagues commented on how much they hate blogs. I understand why they think that. They both, separately, said that blogs are rather self-indulgent. No debating that. They are. But, one of the reasons I love blogs is because they provide a way for us to feel less alone in our experience of the world (which is also one of the reasons that I love literature). One of the things that this blog has given me is a sense that most of the things that I've felt or done are not unique to me; the experiences I've had are experiences lots of people have. The posts I have been most hesitant to write are the ones that have generated the most responses. Sometimes we need someone else to say the things that we're thinking in order for us to feel "normal." I love reading and looking at blogs, and I love writing a blog. I have made virtual friends, and the way that I express myself in writing has also made me closer to my real friends. It has been the start of an amazing community, and so what if I am indulging myself in all the things that I love? Seems like there are some other people out there who love them too!

Happy Monday!

I have this poster over my desk. Get yours at MadeByGirl!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fabulous Friday

I think her back hurts too.

I'll tell you what's not fabulous...back pain. When did I get old enough to have back problems? My back has been bothering me for the last few weeks. I blamed it on my pillow. I blamed it on stress. J. blamed it on my undeveloped abs. (Him: If you worked your abs more, it would help your back muscles.) He says this out of concern, I'm sure... But, this week it went from bad to worse. The dull ache turned into a massive knot of throbbing pain. So, contrary to my usual form, I actually went to the doctor. She prescribed pain killers, muscle relaxers, and a massage. What a nice lady. I think I will go to the doctor more often.

What is fabulous is that it is almost holiday time! This is my absolute, hands down, no contest favorite time of the year. On Tuesday, I'll be flying back to Connecticut to celebrate Thanksgiving and to shower my future sister-in-law. Hooray! The whole Whitehouse clan will be back together again for fun and games. I am planning to let you take a peak inside my suitcase, so stay tuned. I also have some gift guides in the works to roll on out after Thanksgiving. I, like Nordstrom, am trying to celebrate one holiday at a time.

Here are some things that were fabulous this week:

Scoring these pants on major sale.

A quiet moment to read a book and drink tea.

Being very productive at work.

Video chatting with my sis. (She is obsessed with her new dog...notice he is wearing a necklace.)

Taking advantage of Veteran's Day sales to do some early Christmas shopping. 
(Just to clarify: That is not me. I wish.)

Have a fabulous weekend! See you next week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Get Glowing

Beach days are now a distant memory. 

Not that I have ever been a "tanner," but the winter pasty pale is upon me. Even in the summer I don't sit in the sun because 1) it really doesn't do anything except burn me to a crisp and 2) it is really horrible for your skin! But, I also prefer not to glow with a ghostly pallor all year round. All of us, even those bronzed gods and goddesses among us, have to face the long winter, and what can you do but fake it til you can bake it! Here are some winter alternatives that will keep all of us glowly all year round.

Jergens Natural Glow: This is a terrific cheap, drug store product that gives you a subtle natural looking color. It builds up over time, so it starts out nice and light and allows you to customize your color. This is a great option for winter because it is just a touch of sun. I recommend the Medium/Tan color even for very pale skin. The lightest shade doesn't give much of a glow.

St. Tropez: I have not personally tried this product, but my sister, the tan-orexic, says it is amazing. She swears it instantly made her look ten pounds lighter. I say, sign me up for that. She also says that it is imperative that you purchase the tanning mitt for even application. Obviously, this is more expensive than the Natural Glow, but it will give you a darker shade of tan and will do so with one application.

Versa Spa: This is a spray on tan that is applied via a machine. You strip down, step in, strike a pose, and get sprayed. It is super quick and easy. One application lasts for about a week. You can choose how dark you want the color to come out, and you can also choose whether or not you'd like an application of bronzer on top of the tan. The bronzer shows up immediately. The tan develops over about eight hours.

Professional Spray Tanning: I had this done recently for a wedding I attended. On the down side, I had to get naked (so as not to have tan lines) in front of a complete stranger under fluorescent lights. Horrors. I actually chose to wear underwear because I was not going to be wearing a swimsuit, but you can decide just how few lines you want to have! The tanning professional applies the spray, which is custom blended to your skin color and preference. Because an actual person is applying it, the color is very even. You can even get muscles sculpted onto your abs! (I skipped that option). This, like the Versa Spa develops over about eight hours. My tan lasted a full week if not a bit longer. I was amazed. If you live in San Francisco, I highly recommend G-O Glow.

So, if you have a holiday party, a wedding (I do!), a special event, or a romantic evening coming up, get your glow on!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Style

The holiday season is almost upon us, and Thanksgiving is rarely a holiday that attracts any style attention! That is probably because most people eat gluttonously and end up wearing stretchy pants and groaning on the couch. But, if you are thinking about what to wear to ring in the winter holidays in style, here are two options: one if you prefer a more casual look, and one if you are feeling fancy! Both of these are centered around an awesomely preppy piece from British company Jack Wills

Will you do it up?

Jack Wills Dress - J.Crew Bow Coat - Aldo Boots - J.Crew Tights

Or dress it down?

Jack Wills Sweater - Madewell Button Down - J.Crew Toggle Coat - J. Crew Matchstick Cords

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

You've Been Waiting...

The chevron wall never appeared, and some of you have been asking about it. So, without further ado...

My husband, the artist. 

Please excuse the television. I hate that it (along with the light switch and thermostat) is in the photo, but that is the wall we painted!  Getting the right color was a challenge. The first color I came home with was too light because the wall is actually cream colored, and I had thought it was white. Then I had some pigment added to the paint, and it came out darker than I intended, but overall I like the finished look a lot. Some alternate views...

Interested in what the artist himself had to say about this endeavor? He weighs in:
As a chevron survivor, I thought I'd offer some pro-tips for those looking to try it themselves.

The painting is probably the easiest part of this project. Before we even picked up our brushes, I made 68 measurements, chalked 34 lines, laid down 288 strips of tape, and cut 144 edges. (Note: This is when being an engineer will come in handy.)
Use a chalk line to mark off a grid on the wall - it's the easiest way to make straight lines over long distances. Just be sure to use only white or blue chalk. The red and yellow varieties are permanent.

FrogTape painting tape is the only way to go. It may be more expensive, but it will give you crisp, clean edges.

Get the color right before you paint. It's one thing to repaint a solid wall if you don't like the color, but you will not want to repaint your chevrons.
Lastly, purchase plenty of beer to keep you hydrated. It's the key to survival. 
Thank you, dear. You're the best. 

Thinking of doing this yourself? If you want any more specific or practical tips drop us a line:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Musings

The Voice

Singing shows are taking over my life. 

'Tis the season for all of America's undiscovered talent to emerge from this country's small towns, back woods, alleys, and Shreveport (which I just now realized was not a made up town from True Blood) to become stars (sponsored by Pepsi). If you don't watch for the singing, watch to assure yourself that the American dream is alive and well. No one has anything to go back to. No one even has a house. Everyone has children out of wedlock (that they had when their were teenagers, which seems to be a prerequisite for an appearance on these shows), and everyone is unfulfilled by his or her full time job as a burrito slinger/postal worker/Nashville hopeful. It's everyone's last chance. Except the people who were on last year. They know you can go home again.

Lil' Carly Rose Peach Bud Sonenclar Smiles & Jason Brock

There is one exception to this rule. Young Carly Rose Sonenclar is from Westchester, NY, and boy did the producers have a hard time making a montage of her "story." She misses her brother, who is eighteen. That was the best they could do? Carly will actually have to rely on her INSANE voice because she ain't getting any "sob story" points in this round.

Attack of the wayward nipple
I come home every night and there is literally hours worth of singing, judging, and hosting to be watched. Oh the hosting! The Voice has it going on. Who knew Carson Daly was such a peach! I thought his star had risen and set, but he's baaaaaack... The X-Factor, on the other hand, is just a train wreck. I honestly thought it would be impossible to make me miss Steve Jones. But then they hired Khloe Kardashian. I have tried to stay in Khloe's camp when the local radio DJs perfected their guttural, masculine impressions of her. I tried, people, but her hosting has turned me into a hater. (Put that nip away, Khloe. Have a little discretion. This is a family show. Letting your tits hang out is Christina Aguilera's job.)

Boobs 1 - Boobs 2 -Boobs 3

And after all the boobs and the singing, and the tears and the stories, there are the losers. So heartbreaking. Except the wonderful Jason Brock. After being told that it was "not his time" (a favorite line of mentor Demi Lovato), he proudly exclaimed, "Well, I did it for the gays and Japan." Okay. Way to keep your head held high. Or to come to work high...Either way, it worked for me.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fabulous Friday

 I am S.A.D.

No, really. I know that this is Fabulous Friday, but I have to tell you about last night. I have (self-diagnosed) Social Anxiety Disorder. This is something that has haunted me since my young years. It became fairly pronounced in high school and then really extreme in college. I cannot tell you how many parties I sat out pretending I was on an "important call" (thanks, Mom). I have always been shy, and this became almost debilitating for a while there. But, I have spent the majority of my adult life trying to fight my tendency, trying to be outgoing, forcing myself to be the talker. And then last night happened.

Randomly, I got an invitation to go to an event at J.Crew. I thought the event was for anyone who had a J.Crew credit card. Now I am not so sure who was an included and how I got on the list because there was actually a list. Once I passed the woman checking people off said list, I knew I was in for it. The event was co-sponsored by Vogue. There were waiters serving hors d'oeuvres and cocktails (and offering unsolicited fashion advice). I also happened to be surrounded by many of the most attractive people I've ever seen in my life. For reals, yo. These women were sporting sequin leggings like nobody's business. I cinched the wool belt on my peacoat and forged on.

About fifteen minutes later I was experiencing a full on sweat because of which I had to escape to the dressing room, strip down to my underwear, see myself in the horrifying light and realize that cellulite and gravity are not my friends, pile back on the fisherman sweater, and make for the man with the cocktails. The only way to make this right was to drink...and spend money.

After I escaped from all the beautiful people, I met my brother, who promptly told me I was a crazy freak, for dinner. I was still sweating. How is this fabulous, you ask? It wasn't. But, what's fabulous is that I have a great brother, a great husband, a great family, and lots of great people who are happy to tell me I'm great. So I stopped sweating. Lady in sequin leggings who put me into full on meltdown mode be damned. But I still have more issues than Vogue.

Hope you're feeling fabulous today!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

For The Guys

Today brings a little treat for the men out there! 

I have known Chris Heller for years. He was a teammate and friend of my husband's in college and is now a lawyer in his native Buffalo, New York. He offered to share some of the things he's currently liking. He has the added challenge (or luck) of being 6'5". So, his picks are perfect for the tall among you!
 Chris says...
 I don't usually hold myself out as the most fashionable dude: taste issues aside, the range of clothes available for guys with my dimensions is more limited than that of the regular gent.  That said, here are a few things I have bought recently that I like: 
There might not be a strong need for these Palladium boots in NorCal, but they're relatively sleek-looking for warm, waterproof boots.  I also like that they can be snapped down to ankle height, or rolled up for colder days/deeper snow.  Very versatile.
I'm actually on my second pair of these Camper shoes -- I bought my first pair about 5 years ago and finally wore them out.  They're very lightweight and comfortable, and I like the look of the elastic lacing system.
I have these Bonobos pants in a couple different colors.  More than just about any other brand, Bonobos offers pants with flattering cuts for tall guys with athletic builds (most chinos made for tall guys are too loose in the seat).  The gingham lining in the back pockets is a nice touch as well.
On the whole All Saints is a bit too heroin chic for me, but I have a couple of their cardigan sweaters, which are super soft and lightweight.

I received the Jegman "Keys" tie for free with a shirt I ordered from Blank Label and have ordered a couple more of Jegman's designs since then.  I'm not a fan of skinny ties at work, but I like them under a sweater or with a casual blazer.
I ordered this Barbour jacket in navy last year and love it.  Very soft, but warm enough to wear out on chilly nights. 

Thanks, Chris, for sharing your recs with us!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Eye Candy

Today you can find me over at One Fine Day sharing my "Need, Read, Greed," but if you need a little more Mere, then perhaps some visual inspiration will do the trick! When you need a healthy serving of eye candy, what better place to look than the slew of online decor and lifestyle mags whose job it is to make everything beautiful. Take a peek.

Rue Magainze:

Lonny Magazine:

This apartment belongs to the sister of one of my former students. Nice digs, Mary Nelson Sinclair.

Matchbook Magazine Archives: