Sunday, December 27, 2015

An Unusually Warm Winter


The headlines have been saying it all...the weather this winter has been quite crazy across the entire country to say the least. If you live on the east coast, you are familiar with this very warm December that is quickly coming to an end. I believe in my area, there was one day in the entire month that came in average/below average. Christmas Eve day was 30 degrees above normal...shorts anyone?

With the warmer than normal weather, the heavy sweaters and jackets have stayed in the closet. Forget the big parka or ankle length coat, the weather calls for, perhaps, unconventional winter jackets. I am loving this quilted front, sweater back piece from Ralph Lauren Black Label. The piece is heavy enough for the 50-60 degree days we have been having, and the mixed media styling makes the piece fresh and modern.

While it may not be the normal coat that you will show up to a December meeting in, it certainly does fit the bill. I paired it with cotton pants (rather than wool) and classic suede chelsea boots. The modern Balenciaga bracelet adds of touch of interest while remaining subtle.

How are you adapting to the weather in your area?





Jacket: Ralph Lauren Black Label // Pants: Ralph Lauren Black Label // Bracelet: Balenciaga // Boots: John Varvatos



Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide for Her: Luxe selections for the Jetsetter



Have that special someone on your list that is the quintessential definition of a jetsetter? The below is a selection of a few items that may fit the bill for the female on your list that just has to have the best of the best.

Who said jet setting was cheap? While these selections are on the pricier side, a lot of them are simple and classic and will last your gift recipient for years to come. The selections seem to be dominated in black, yet from Paris to Milan and New York to Los Angeles, black is universal and just what the jet setter is looking for.

A Bottega Veneta Eye mask? Check. The perfect bag for touring and running around their favorite city? Check. Only 6 days left until the big day!



1. Saint Laurent Leather Shoulder Bag- $1,990 Net-A-Porter

2. Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Lipstick -$36 Neiman Marcus

3. Loewe Black Leather and Metal Sunglasses- $380 Editorialist 

4.  Le Labo Travel Tube Kit- $145 Barneys

5. Bottega Veneta Leather Eye Mask - $250 Barneys

6. Rimowa Deluxe Cabin Luggage - $595 PORTMANTOS

7. Hermes Silk Twill Scarf- $700 Editorialist

8. Stuart Weitzman Hijack Suede Boots -$479 *sale Bergdorf Goodman



HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDES:




Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holiday Cocktail Ideas for any Occasion



The holiday season is a great time to try new cocktail recipes, whether you are hosting or taking to the host, below are some holiday cocktails that are good for any gathering this season. Each recipe is quite simple, and the punches are great for sharing.

I personally love the St-Germain recipe below. I mentioned St-Germain as being a great ingredient for spring cocktails, however, it is great year round. As a side note, if you do not love cocktails, try adding a splash of St-Germain to a simple glass of champagne... you will not regret it!

The Carlyle Punch is one of the acclaimed beverages served at the New York Carlyle Hotel's iconic bar,  Bemelmans Bar. The cocktail is available on location through the festive season, but enjoy the recipe for the punch below at your holiday gatherings this year.

Grab the bottles, mix up, and enjoy!

The Carlyle Punch (pictured above)
1 ounce Southern Comfort
1 1/2 ounces Raspberry Vodka
1 1/2 ounces Cranberry Juice
1 ounce Orange Juice 1 ounce ST-GERMAIN
1 ounce Simple Syrup 1 to 3 dashes of Bitters
Splash of Champagne

 Method | In a shaker, combine ice with the Southern Comfort, Stolichnaya Raspberry, St. Germain liqueur, simple syrup, orange juice, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice. Pour in a cognac glass over-ice and finish with 3 dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of Champagne. Garnish with blueberries and raspberries.

Winter Flowers Punch
 1 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1 cup Superfine Sugar ½ cup ST-GERMAIN
¼ cup Honey
½ cup Cognac, Tequila. Bourbon or Gin
16oz Chilled Brewed Chamomile Tea
2 bottles of MARTINI Prosecco
Orange or Lemon Slices

 Method | Combine the lemon juice, sugar, St-Germain, honey, spirit, and tea in a non-reactive bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the prosecco and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Pour into a decorative bowl or pitcher. Garnish with orange or lemon slices and fresh strawberries, if desired. Serve in champagne flutes, wine glasses or punch cups.



St-Germain Cocktail
2 parts MARTINI Prosecco
1 ½ parts ST-GERMAIN
2 parts Sparkling Water

Method | Fill a tall Collins glass with ice. Add MARTINI Prosecco first, then ST-GERMAIN, then sparkling water. Stir completely and garnish with a lemon twist.








Photos: St-Germain, Martini



Sunday, December 13, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: Selections for the Stylish Guy



Eleven shopping days left until the big day- are you ready? In my series of gift guides, I am presenting a few selections for the stylish guy on your list. He may be at the cutting edge of fashion, seen sporting the most recent trends and modern silhouettes. He may not have a dress down moment, always running around town looking dapper. 

Below find selections that may fit into any aspect of his wardrobe from cold weather accessories to cufflinks for his cocktail soirées. These selections include on-trend items that are both classic (camel overcoat) and trendy (Fendi Monster Gloves) so you can tailor your selections to his unique preferences. Finally, every stylish guy has a signature scent, and I highly recommend Royal Oud from Creed...it is absolutely one of my favorites so I have included it with this curation.



1. J.Crew Ludlow Slim-Fit Wool and Cashmere Overcoat - $450 Mr. Porter 

2. Fendi Monster Knit Gloves- $250 Bergdorf Goodman

3. Givenchy Embroidered Bouclé Blazer- $1,650 Mr. Porter

4. Ralph Lauren Mother-of-Pearl Cufflinks- $395 Ralph Lauren

5. Creed Royal Oud- $385 Creed

6. Club Monaco Jacquard Knit Sweater- $150 Mr. Porter

7. Burberry Cashmere Check Scarf- $575 Saks Fifth Avenue



HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDES:




Friday, December 11, 2015

5 Sweaters for the Holiday Season

Whether it is a yearly tradition, or you are just getting into the "holiday sweater" trend, do not be afraid as not all holiday sweaters are created equally. With that being said, your holiday sweater does not have to be "ugly" and end up in a social media post with hashtag #uglysweater.

The seasonal sweater has evolved over the years, with many iconic brands offering refined intarsia and winter jacquard prints that are perfect for the office work part or a seasonal open house party. Below are five sweaters that are sure to carry you through all your holiday season functions in style while still remaining festive at the same time. 

Happy Shopping....and being festive!





Beam Plus Suede Elbow Patch Intarsia Sweater - $180 Mr Porter

Polo Patterned Sweater - $245 Ralph Lauren

Gant Rugger Cotton Jacquard Knit Sweater - $165 Mr Porter

Vineyard Vines 1/4-Zip All Over Fair Isle- $185 Vineyard Vines

Club Monaco Fair Isle Jacquard Crew -$149.50 Club Monaco



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Holiday Gift Idea: Glassware that Wine + Travel Lovers will Adore




It is hard to believe it is the holiday season already. Yes, I am one of those people that says this every year, however, it seems like just a bit ago we were wearing shorts and complaining about the extreme heat. With that being said, as soon as the calendar turns to December, it is always a great time to start checking people off your list for holiday shopping...you simply cannot start too early.

I have curated a few gift lists at Skimbaco, such as selections for the well-groomed man as well as the new Eleven James Holiday Collaboration. I am excited to share with you some of my favorite finds this season here as well. To start out my selections at Life Through Preppy Glasses, I thought what goes along with the holiday season hand-in-hand? Wine!


The folks at The Uncommon Green have created a beautiful line of glassware that is truly like works of art as the collections feature etched maps of U.S. and global cities. The unique aspect of these glasses make it the perfect gift for the person on your list that loves wine and that loves to travel. Personally, I find that traveling and wine go hand-in-hand as you can always experience new wines that are indigenous to the area of your travels.

I had to opt for the Paris Map traditional wine glass as it is one of my favorite cities in the world. Additionally, if you are looking for more contemporary silhouettes, stemless options do exist. It is fun to select cities that the person you are gifting has been to or loves. I can see the glasses being a great conversation piece over a nice bottle of wine, sharing stories of travels near and far. 


Be sure to browse all the different cities that are available from The Uncommon Green. If the person on your list is not a wine lover, there is a full line of bakeware styles available to match whatever libation they might prefer from whiskey to beer. 




Monday, November 30, 2015

Five Timeless Bags for Men


Some things become overdone when worn too frequently- sunglasses, shoes, a jacket- but a great bag is something that, when done in a classic silhouette, can be worn day after day and season after season. A bag was essential when living in the city for carrying around a full days worth of "stuff", however, I continue to use a bag daily even while living in a more suburban setting. It just becomes very practical and easy to grab and go on my way out the door, knowing that everything I should need while at work is inside.

If you purchase a bag that is built upon craftsmanship and designed for timeless style, you will be able to enjoy it year round and season after season. Perhaps you pack it away one year and pull it out the next, still as "in" as it was the day you purchased it. From attaché to holdalls, the below are a few curations that are classic and timeless from brands that are known in the leather goods arena. Invest in one of these, and you will enjoy it for years to come.




Prada Saffiano Leather Portfolio- simple, whether for running around town or transporting documents for work and meetings - $1460 Neiman Marcus

Bottega Venta Woven Shopper- iconic of the Italian marque, this tote is great for work, travel, or play. - $3850 Bergdorf Goodman

Coach Bleecker Backpack- a slight rugged tone makes the backpack a versatile silhouette for many different individual styles- $698 Coach

Ralph Lauren Suede Weekend Duffle- whether you are going near or going far, a great holdall is a must. - $1250 Ralph Lauren

Globe-Trotter Attaché Case- reminiscent of James Bond, this handmade attaché will turn heads for decades. - $2250 Mr. Porter

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Bespoke Menswear from Knot Standard


Bespoke or custom menswear from online retailers is nothing new in the world of men's fashion. In fact, I have tried some of these companies and additionally have seen presentations from companies in this area of the menswear market

In a time of men's fashion trends where silhouettes are becoming ever more tailored and refined, I think the need for affordable custom or bespoke products that are easily accessible is ever increasing. I know that I have a challenge finding shirts that do not balloon or pants that fit at both the waist and legs appropriately. While high-end designers tend to have superb fits, sometimes we are not always looking to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new piece for our wardrobe. 

I was introduced to one of the fastest growing custom menswear brands, Knot Standard, and thanks to them, was able to experience their product and experience firsthand. Let me start by simply saying, if you are in the market for affordable, quality menswear, whether for work or play, and a great fit, Knot Standard meets all of these needs!



 The company was founded in 2010, and I love the entrepreneurial spirit behind it. It has evolved to one of the fastest growing companies as ranked by Inc. Magazine, with showrooms in New York, Washington D.C.,  Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Dubai. Additionally, spaces are slated to open in Chicago and Los Angeles in the coming months. 

Personal designers are on-hand in the showrooms to assist with fittings and selections, but the product is also available online. With that being said, what is the online experience like? In one word, I would sum up my experience as effortless. 

There are two major aspects of the online experience, namely selecting your garment and inputting your measurements to ensure the perfect fit. I, of course, find the first part to  be the hardest as I want everything! In the end, I opted for a classic blazer in an iconic herringbone pattern. 



After selecting your piece, there are two choices for getting your measurements into the Knot Standard system- building a 3D body scan using the computer's camera, or following a guided process of taking key measurements of your body so the computer can generate an image of your body, and as a result your pieces will be made to fit your exact measurements. I opted for the latter, and must say that the measurement process was very simple!



I really enjoyed the customization options Knot Standard gives you. For $375 you would not expect to be given the option to select the lining color, have a monogram, or working buttonholes; however, these are all options during the online customization process!



I received my blazer a few weeks after placing my order. It arrived in a nice garment bag, and when I opened the package to try on the piece, I was shocked. I have to be in honest in saying that I was a little skeptical of inputting various measurements and ending up with a blazer at this price point that would fit appropriately. Needless to say, when I slipped on the blazer, it fit like a glove! The fit truly rivals some of my $1,495 sport coats. 


With that being said, I encourage to move at a fast pace to check out Knot Standard!



Sunday, November 8, 2015

Diptyque Fragrances for Personal and Home

While I do wear colognes throughout the entire year, I find myself consistently wearing fragrance throughout the fall and winter months. Perhaps this is because I'm attracted to more musky, woodsy scents that are nice compliments to these seasons. I also find myself burning candles regularly starting around this time of the year as well. 

With recent additions to my home and personal fragrance collections from one of my favorite perfumers, Diptyque, it is needless to say that good scents are on my mind! You probably will not open a magazine and see an ad for Diptyque or even glance up at a billboard with their name, however, this iconic French perfumer has been crafting quality fragrances since its inception in 1961. The brand has evolved to include a large olfactory range and products for both personal and the home. It is quite popular among the fashionable crowd as the highly recognizable "oval", unique to the brand" mixes well with an minimal interior designs.




As the fall season is underway and we will begin to slowly enter winter, seasonal scents come to mind such as the small of a warming, wood fire. I love the scent of a woodsy candle burning in the home on a chilly fall day. Needless to say, Diptyque makes one of the best fragrances of this nature. You can find their classic "Feu de Bois" burning in my house throughout the season. One of my reasons for loving Diptyque is the sheer array of fragrances that they offer. From relaxing "Feuille de Lavande" to the Feu de Bois described above, there really is something for any personality to love.




Fragrances make a great gift as the holiday season approaches as well. Do you find yourself burning more candles during the fall and winter seasons? What are your favorites?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Prepare Hair + Skin for Fall with American Crew



Perhaps it may not feel like fall just quite yet where you are- I know temperatures are going to be over 70 all week here; however, it is important to prepare you hair and skin for the dryness that comes with the fall and winter seasons.

 I am excited to share some great men's grooming tips provided by Patti Davenport, Shave Director at American Crew, that use a few key products from the American Crew line. I know my skin dries out from the hot air heat at home and at the office as well as the brutal temperatures that creep in during January and February.

Below are Patti's tips for getting your hair and skin ready for the dry season featuring three American Crew products that I use frequently, namely daily moisturizing shampoo, moisturizing shave cream, and molding clay.

Daily Moisturizing Shampoo:



"
Start off with American Crew Daily Moisturizing Shampoo, which contains botanical ingredients that are suitable for all skin and scalp types to nourish, calm and prevent the skin from over drying. Additionally, this product is a great cleanser for the face/beard as well as the scalp/hair. Helping to cleanse dead skin cells, debris, oil and environmental pollution from the surface of the skin and beard without over drying."

I use this shampoo on a daily basis, starting in the fall and it leaves my hair soft and refreshed. The product has a nice, light scent featuring key ingredients such as Rosemary and Thyme extracts as well as Chamomile extract.

Moisturizing Shave Cream:



I switched to this shave cream about a year ago, and have been very pleased with it. A good shave cream is essential. American Crew's cream features powerful antioxidants that protect and moisturize the skin. I found the cream to be pleasant against my skin and allowed the razor to slide smoothly over the skin. I love the scent of the eucalyptus oil...it is very refreshing!

For added protection, Patti recommends using Post-Shave cooling lotion, saying "Once you jump out of the shower, apply American Crew Post-Shave Cooling Lotion to the face, beard and any skin that is regularly exposed... nape, ears, etc. The ingredients of this lightweight moisturizer help to nourish, prevent and treat any minor skin inflammations, as well as maintain the correct PH on the surface of the skin.

Molding Clay:



Do you have a hairstyle that requires you to using styling clay daily or often? This may be the product you have been looking for. I found it to have a great hold and to not be too heavy like some other products I have used in the past.

White clay from the Paris Basin naturally heals and stimulates the scalp, making it good for men with sensitive skin and scalp. Other key ingredients include all-natural essential oils such as orange, peppermint, and spearmint.




All products available via American Crew

Monday, October 12, 2015

Bring the Café Home with Fall Coffee Recipes from Nespresso



If you follow my posts or social media accounts, you have probably picked up on my love for Nespresso. I was introduced to the world of Nespresso about two years ago when I received and started using my first machine. Since that point in time, I admit, that no other at-home brew system compares to the Nespresso machine.

Recently, I purchased the newer Vertuoline machine which brews rich, foamy, coffees in addition to espressos. I have been enjoying the machine since bringing it home, and I am excited to bring to you some great fall coffee recipes by Nespresso. Whether you use a Nespresso or not, these recipes are great inspiration for your coffee beverages this season. If you do use a Nespresso, share your favorite recipes and thoughts below!

Grab a sweater, cozy up with a good book, and enjoy!

Nutty Reverso Coffee:

This recipes uses the new intenso coffee pods- if you are a Nespresso owner, I highly recommend this new blend!

1 capsule Intenso blend
1/8 tsp. Almond extract
1 tbs. Chesnut syrup
1 tbs. Hazelnut syrup
3 oz. Half-and-half

Pour syrups, extract, and half-and-half into a glass, brew Intenso coffee onto mixture, and enjoy!


Caramel and Chocolate Latte:

1 capsule Caramelizio blend
2oz milk
1 tsp. sweet ground chocolate and cocoa
1 tbs. chocolate syrup

Combine milk and chocolate with heat in a small saucepan, or combine ingredients in a milk frother. Add syrup and sugar into cup, pouring heating milk into cup. Brew Caramelizio blend into cup, stir and enjoy!






Images: My Own, Nespresso

Friday, October 9, 2015

Lacoste Launches Made in France Capsule Collection


Iconic French brand, Lacoste, is revisiting its root with its most recent capsule collection which is dubbed "Made in France." Lacoste's history goes back to 1921 when René won his first tournament followed by a win at the French Open in 1924. The famous croc logo which we all recognize as synonymous with Lacoste came about in 1926, embroidered on the blazer of René Lacoste.

The rest, as they say, is history, filled with classic styles and silhouettes. Lacoste has been one of my go-to brands for years as the brand's simplicity aligns with my style. The Made in France Collection, as the name indicates, features products that are made in France and incorporate stylistic elements that are an homage to Lacoste's heritage. This includes striped sweaters, contract collar polos, and twill chinos.

Below are some of my favorite pieces from the newest capsule collection. Hover over the image to shop the pieces.


Have you been a long time Lacoste fan?





Images: Lacoste

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Autumn is Cardigan Season


The autumn season is in full season with pumpkin spice lattes and decorated porches serving as evidence. Every year I always get caught off guard by the arrival of the season. It seems like just yesterday I was wearing shorts and t-shirts and now the chilly air calls for one of fall's essentials: the cardigan.

I find myself wearing cardigans very frequently during the autumn season as they are the perfect layering piece for the seasonal temperatures. On a brisk morning, a cardigan functions as outerwear and transitions to a great layering piece while in the still air conditioned office environment during the day. 

The cardigan, a true classic, can be dressed up when done in a refined wool, such as this Thom Browne piece, or it can function as a great companion throughout more casual fall weekends. A chunky, shawl collar style makes for cozy studying in the library or a nice piece for running errands.

To step out into the slightly cool fall air, I paired a wool Rag & Bone Cardigan with pinstripe pants that are modern and attention grabbing. For modern, updated look, I recommend pairing v-neck shirts under your cardigans as opposed to crewneck styles. The top of the outfit remains neutral and muted, with Dries Van Noten pants taking the prize. 





Color can still be worn throughout the fall season. Reach for your more muted tones versus the bright hues you might have lived in during the summer. The deeper red accompanies the season well while offsetting the charcoal tones of the cardigan. This look would be perfect for the office as the refined wool elevates the cardigan. 

Styles with pockets make the cardigan even more functional. Whether you are throwing your phone, wallet, or keys into the front pockets, you will find yourself reaching for them often! 



Cardigan: Rag & Bone // Pants: Dries Van Noten // Sungalsses: Randolph Engineering // Fragrance: Creed





Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Last Summer Stripes



Its officially the unofficial end of summer. Labor Day has come and past, and the calendar is raining on your white parade. While many argue you can wear white year round, I stick to white shirts only and save the white pants and shorts for the summer seasons to come. (How many more days?)

This weekend, I donned the last of my summer stripes, in a traditional way. If there is one combination that I think is easy, yet classic and sophisticated, it is navy paired with white. The navy and white combination has a feeling of nautical ease. I paired a traditional and iconic Saint James knit with navy chinos for an effortless Labor Day picnic look. If you are not familiar with Saint James already, I highly recommend checking them out. The brand has its roots in France and is renowned for its striped knits, with a sailing heritage.



Simple accessories completed the look. I paired a red bracelet to complete the Labor Day feel of American colors. Sophisticated Hermes sandals mixed with modern Dior sunglasses finished off the outfit. I figured sandals were appropriate as this was probably the last weekend for running around the yard barefoot.



Shirt: Saint James // Pants: Ralph Lauren // Bracelets: Miansai // Sandals: Hermes // Sunglasses: Dior



While it is sad to see summer leaving us, fall is, perhaps, one of my favorite seasons for dressing...bring on the sweater weather!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer Goodbye with Flutes and Floats



Unless you are an absolute ski bunny, you probably do not enjoy saying goodbye to summer, or it does not top your list of "favorite things to do." Saying goodbye to warm weather, long days, and relaxation is always hard each time the calendar begins to approach Labor Day.

I celebrated the end of summer and the last warm days with a fun party that is easy to replicate, fun, and the perfect way to say au revoir to #endlesssummer. A "Flutes and Floats" party fits the bill with pool fun and glasses of bubbly.



Pool floats have become all the rage the past few summers with the fun designs filling my Instagram feed. We got a variety of floats from Fun Boy, the brand that really started the "float life" revolution with that infamous white swam. The floats became the central idea for a party and what pairs better with sun, pool, and float than a little champagne? Hence the theme "Flutes and Floats" was born.



Preparation was beyond easy requiring the cleansing of some champagne flutes and filling up a few ice buckets to keep everything chilled. The rest was pure fun! We hosted as an early evening affair, so we paired light bites and cheese plates with the champagne and rosé cocktails.



Flutes and Floats made saying goodbye to summer a little bit easier, and I think it will become an annual tradition! How are you celebrating the end of the summer season?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Visiting Villefranche-sur-Mer



Located just around the bend from Nice, situated next to iconic towns such as Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, is the beautiful seaside town of Villefranch-Sur-Mer in the heart of the French Riviera. August is the high season for taking a "holiday" as the Europeans call it, and with my Instagram feed filled with pictures of bloggers and jet-setters alike frolicking around the South of France, I could not help but reminisce about my recent visit in May.

Villfranche is by far one of my favorite towns on the Riviera. If you are staying in a central area such as  Nice, Villefranche is only about a 3 minute train ride! It is one stop from Nice-Riquier train station. Crossing under the hill which takes approximately 2 minutes seems to transform you back in time as you enter a sleepy, seaside village.



The bay of Villefranche is filled with fishing boats and yachts alike, with the crowds enjoying the beach, an aperitif, or people watching. There is one beach in Villefranche and it is public. I recommend getting there early during the high season as the beach can fill up quickly so you will want to get there to stake out some prime real estate. The water is calmer than the neighboring Plage de Nice as it is tucked into a bay, and thus the waves are smaller. There is a snack stand that serves food and beverages (alcohol included) should you feel the need to indulge while catching some Mediterranean rays.

If the beach is not for you, the old town of Villefranche, while small, is simply beautiful. Strolling the streets and small shops is a great way to pass the afternoon. I also recommend making your way to the top of the citadel de Villefranche as the views are simply amazing as you hover over the beach and entire bay. It is a great way to enjoy the azur blue waters for which the South of France is known.



Looking for a great way to end a relaxing day on the beach? I recommend visiting Beluga, situated right along the water, for an enjoyable afternoon cocktail and snack. The venue features plush outdoor seating to continue to enjoy the picturesque views.


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