Sign up below to receive the latest news from The Steele Maiden:

2022: HOLIDAY BOOKS TO READ THIS SEASON

Another one of my favorite posts to write each year! Around 3 years ago I realized that by the time I get to December, my brain is just mush. And instead of giving up on reading because I don’t have the same type of focus/bandwidth I figured, why not give a fun holiday rom-com a try? Spoiler: I loved it. And so began my yearly tradition of stocking up on holiday books and reading with absolute joy. Since then I’ve expanded to other genres – historical fiction, fairytale re-telling, essays, etc. They just have to be light and not make me think too hard to qualify.

I’m excited to dive into this year’s list and hope that you find something joy-inducing for your own stack this season!

And a friendly reminder – I’ve linked these to Amazon so that you can easily see what they are – but independent bookstores need your support, especially at the holidays.

ON MY READING LIST THIS YEAR:

All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox: Set in Nashville, two rising country music stars are forced to fake a relationship for the media. I expect that holiday spirit and sparks fly.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb: An epistolary novel (written through letters) that follows a couple in the aftermath of WWI. I’m excited to switch up the more modern romances of the other things on my list with this one. And Paris.. swoon.

You’re A Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky: Rich boy forced to leave the city and spend the holidays in charming small town, meets small town boy who is unimpressed with said rich boy. I presume, love ensues. I like that this is a new take on a Hallmark classic trope.

Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar: I was hoping to find one this year that had a fairytale type element and this dark re-telling of The Nutcracker feels like it will perfectly fit the bill.

The Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish: A ‘The Holiday’ type location swap story set in New England and New Orleans, two friend and an LGBTQ romance. Sounds cute!

Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss: One of my favorite authors in this genre, this one stars a small bookshop owner in London who encounters her childhood enemy at a school reunion in the English countryside. I love an enemies to lovers story.. and this feels like the perfect holiday setting!

FAVORITES FROM THE PAST FEW YEARS:

One Day in December by Josie Silver: The one that started it all. I read this 2-3 years ago and was instantly hooked on this genre. It’s a classic girl meets boy, girl loses boy to girl’s best friend story. It takes place over the span of almost a decade and I couldn’t put it down.

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis: A blizzard traps two people together one night and then fate keeps bringing them back together. Feels a little like Serendipity which is one of my all-time favorite movies.

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva: A reimagined tale of what Charles Dickens life looked like as he wrote his beloved Christmas Carol. I loved going back in time to 1800s London and reading this fictionalized account of how his family and friends (and mainly himself) might have showed themselves in his famous work of literature.

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris: I’ve mentioned it many times but Sedaris on of my favorite authors. This compilation of his holiday-themed essays is a short, funny read that includes reflections on his time spent working as an elf in Macy’s Santa-land.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory:  I loved that the main couple in this book was in their 50s roughly, it had a Royal storyline (the daughter is a stylist for a Kate Middleton type Duchess) and was diverse (all of the main characters are Black) – and a fun trip to London too! A nice book if you’ve had your fill of the usual 20-somethings falling in love.

A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire: From the author of Wicked (that inspired the award-winning musical), this book is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Wild Swan’ fairytale – and takes place in New York City at Christmastime in the 1960s. I really liked reading this last year.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss: This was one of my favorites that I read a couple of years ago. The main character is reluctantly seeking love after focusing on a career that she loves and balancing relationships with her family and friends. She felt really well-rounded and realistic. Spoiler – love ensues.

1 Comment

MY 2022 HOLIDAY GIFT WISHLIST

I stopped doing traditional ‘gift guides’ a few years back when I ran out of energy amidst an already chaotic time of year for me – but this post is one of my favorites, so it stays. I’m grateful to say I really don’t need anything this year.. I mean I already snagged Taylor Swift tickets for god sakes, what more could I want?! And because Adam and I booked a trip for ourselves (leaving the day after Christmas!) we won’t exchange anything more than a few tiny stocking stuffers. But the holidays are a fun time to make a wishlist anyway and so here are a few things I wouldn’t mind finding under my tree.

  1. Black Top Handle Bag: I have a black crossbody bag that has been an absolute workhouse for the past 7 years, but I like the idea of a slightly dressier black bag that could still work day or night. I have two other bags from NY-based sister owned brand Neely & Chloe and the quality is so nice. I have had my eye on this ladylike one next.
  2. Cashmere Socks: I’ve never tried cashmere socks but doesn’t it just sound like the sweetest little luxury?
  3. Tout est Magique’ Print: I’d like to make a few updates to corners of the apartment in the coming months and this print (which translates from French to ‘everything is magic’) would be perfect to swap what I currently have in our kitchen.
  4. Clean Beauty Blush: I have had the same cream blush for yearrrsss and desperately need to replace it. I’ve heard rave reviews of this Merity Beauty option.
  5. Otherland Candle: I keep wanting to try this candle brand (they just opened a store downtown too) and I love the look of their new gilded collection for winter.
  6. Champagne Ornament: I always try to pick up an ornament that is symbolic of the year we’ve had and this sparkly bottle reminds me of a favorite moment from our trip to Paris in May, eating fancy desserts and drinking champagne in the Tuileries Garden.
  7. Plaid Smocked Dress: Part of our upcoming travels has a very cozy element and this dress seems like it would be perfect for cozying up by a fire with a warm drink.
  8. Muji Pens: It’s silly but these minimalist Japanese pens are the only ones I write with (0.5 tips or nothing). I’d happily take a 6 pack in my stocking.
  9. Running Sneakers: Probably the only thing on this list I do actually need is a replacement pair of running shoes. I’ve heard great things about Brooks brand and would love to try this pair.
  10. An American in Provence book: Photographer Jamie Beck left New York for a year in Provence… and never moved back. If you’re not familiar with photography it’s stunning and I’d love to hear more about her life in the south of France.
  11. Jewelry Travel Case: It’s sort of shocking that I don’t own a proper jewelry travel case but after losing a pair of earrings on our last trip I want to make sure I have one before our holiday travel.
  12. Hair Dryer: Another practical item, my old hair dryer is yearsss old and definitely not doing my hair any favors. I’d love to go to something more compact and higher tech like this one.
  13. Lucite Flower Earrings: I certainly don’t need more statement earrings but these Lucite flowers are like little works of art.. and with my employee discount I just might go for them as a gift to myself.
  14. Prescription Sunglasses: I bought a pair of prescription sunglasses this year and I’m not exaggerating when I say they changed my life. It’s the reason every photo you see of me I’m wearing them. Now that I know what a difference they make I want to get a second pair so I can change up the style a bit from time to time.

SHOP THE POST:

0 comment

THE BLACK FRIDAY SALES I’M SHOPPING: 2022

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that these past couple of weeks (as usual with a career in Fashion/Ecommerce) have been peak stress. I’m at my desk working again today but in mini breaks I’ll be taking advantage of quite a few Black Friday sales I’ve had my eye on. While I definitely don’t *need* more clothes or accessories, we booked a very fun trip for the holidays and I want to pick up a few special pieces to take with me. It’s also a great time for me to grab a new wool winter coat on sale that I do in fact need and get started on a few gifts on my list!
Below – the best sales I’ve seen and exactly what I’m shopping or what I already own and love that might be of interest. Happy shopping!

THE SALES I’M SHOPPING:

FAVORITES I OWN, NOW ON SALE:

  • These jeans are the absolute best – there’s 0 stretch though and a high waisted fit so expect them to fit tight at first or size up. 25% Off right now and I’m considering buying a back up pair I love them so much.
  • This clean beauty mascara – now 20% off. A perfect time to restock.
  • I love this classic cashmere sweater and own it in about 4 colors already and they hold up well for years. 40% off this weekend!
  • These knee high black leather boots are such classics and SO comfortable. I’m talking 10 hour work day, commute to the office and out to dinner after, kind of comfortable. 30% off right now!
  • 30% off these gold and crystal simple hoop earrings at least twice a week.
  • One of my favorite purchases of the fall (and will be so good for holiday) – these suede Mary Jane Pumps are 30% off right now.
  • I live in these pajamas in the winter, not too heavy and so comfortable. They’re 50% off right now.
  • 30% off this fir & firewood scented candle that I burn all December long.

0 comment

BEST OF: HOLIDAY ACCESSORIES

Most of the year, I don’t go too wild with accessories.. but when it’s comes to the holidays I can’t resist a fun oversized earring or faux fur earmuffs or feather bag. You get the point. This year the selection feels particularly good out there. Why not grab a black dress already in your closet and make it feel fresh with one or two of these? As a $14 hack – I’m planning on buying these crystal bow shoe clips and spicing up my favorite pair of black pumps. See you under the disco ball.

SHOP SHOES:

SHOP JEWELRY:

SHOP ACCESSORIES:

Comments Off on BEST OF: HOLIDAY ACCESSORIES

LET’S CATCH UP 10.24.22

I can’t believe we’re closing in on the end of October! Overall it’s been a busy, but good month and I’m hoping to try to savor the last week of it while mentally preparing myself for the couple of months ahead. Below – what’s been on my mind, on my bookshelf and in my shopping cart.

ON MY MIND:

  • Taylor Swift’s Midnights album. That’s all. Okay, okay, not really but you all know I’m a Swiftie so this past weekend’s new album release was a real October highlight and it’s been on repeat ever since. Not surprisingly, I bought the vinyl.
  • We’re hopinggg to book a trip between Christmas and New Years. I’ve never traveled during this stretch and while I know it will likely be a little hectic travel-wise, I’m excited at the thought of getting away for a few days after what is always a whirlwind couple of months for us both at work.
  • On a more serious note, November elections are so soon – make sure you’ve checked your states cutoff dates to register (if you’re not already) and that you have a plan to get out and case your vote.
  • Are you dressing up for Halloween? I’ll have to be pulling together something last minute at this point, but those are always the best anyway. I was Ruth Bader Ginsberg a couple of years ago and Midge Maisel (with Adam as Susie) from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel the year before.

ON MY BOOKSHELF:

  • I hate to admit that I’ve been in a little bit of a book rut lately. I keep picking things up, reading 10 pages and then just not feeling hooked. Alas, the last thing that I flew through was The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling (the follow-up to last year’s The Ex Hex) – a very cute romcom of a book that’s like Practical Magic meets Gilmore Girls with a little extra heat thrown in.
  • My book club is meeting this week to discuss Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angress, which I read earlier this month (pre-book rut) and really liked. A little bit art/academia, a little bit coming of age in New York City.
  • I’m hoping to break the book rut curse with one of the following – all of which have been sitting in my TBR (to be read) pile for ages: Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates, Matrix by Lauren Groff or Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen.

IN MY CART:

  • I’m unapologetically starting to feel excited about the promise of holiday dressing right around the corner – it’s just the most fun! I love how versatile (and comfortable) this velvet jumpsuit would be.
  • I can’t stop thinking about this poodle sweater. It feels just kitschy enough, you know what I mean? I’d wear it with a kicky little mini skirt and tights for a mod look or jeans and mary jane heels.
  • I’ll let you in on a little secret – these $15 tights last long and hold up better than any other pair I’ve ever worn. They’re semi-sheer with a great shaping (but not suffocating top). I’m stocking up as the weather turns cooler.
  • I bought this 60’s inspired faux fur jacket before our Fall road trip the other week and while it’s only really been cool enough to wear it once – I’m still swooning over it. I just noticed that it’s 25% off right now too.
  • I love the look and shape of these high waisted, wide leg corduroys. All of the colors are good but I think I’d get loads of wear out of the black and would be a nice alternative to jeans at the office.
  • Just for fun this holiday season: These sheer opera gloves, this oversized rose party dress and these crystal strap heels. Not all together. Although.. maybe?

SHOP THE POST:

Comments Off on LET’S CATCH UP 10.24.22

1 2 3 276

The Steele Maiden © 2012

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.