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STYLE IN SUPPORT OF WOMEN + BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

Every 2 minutes someone is handed a breast cancer diagnosis. It’s likely been someone you know. It’s been my late Grandmother and my late Aunt. And while there are so many causes worth supporting these days (it honestly can be a little overwhelming), breast cancer remains one that’s close to my heart. And if there’s an easy way to make even a small contribution towards the fight to end this disease, I’m all for it.

To that end, I’m so proud to be teaming up with Talbots again this year for their Art of the Scarf campaign. These limited edition silk scarves, with 6 unique designs all by incredible female artists, are on sale through the end of October with 20% of the proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen foundation. I picked the scarf by illustrator Libby Vanderploeg – who I’ve actually been a fan of for awhile now. I love the imagery of a diverse array of women all helping one another climb up the stairs.

I think there’s this dialogue in our culture that pits women against each other a lot of the time. Teaches us to be fearful of mean girls and that we have to fight our way to the top (implying, rightly or not, that there just aren’t as many places for women up there). I had a teacher in college that told me when I got my first job in fashion “my boss would love me, my co-workers would hate me” – because I did really thorough work. In fashion, my co-workers were bound to be 90% women. And I think I entered into my career with that in mind. My guard up. Turns out – at every job I’ve been grateful to find amazing female mentors that were above my position who were willing to help guide me and lead by example. Essentially pulling me up the stairs with them. I can only hope that as I advance in my career I have the chance to reach back for someone else’s hand that’s a little further down the steps.

And if we all get up the top and there’s not enough space for us? Well, we’ll make room. We’re women, we’re clever that way.

SHOP THE LOOK:

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THE STEELE MAIDEN BOOK CLUB: CHAPTER ELEVEN

It’s taken me two months to get through my last round of book club picks, with some that I loved and one that I couldn’t even finish (which almost never happens to me!). Below – my thoughts + what’s stacked up on my shelf for the month ahead.

SHOP THIS MONTH’S BOOK CLUB PICKS:

My Year of Rest & Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh – While I can’t say this book was a feel good read (perhaps the exact opposite).. it was definitely interesting. Okay it was depressing. But interesting too. It’s essentially a cautionary tale about a younger generation becoming disillusioned and out of touch with reality and follows one girl’s desire to escape it all. (2.5 out of 5 stars)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – This one isn’t a feel good book either (apparently that was my accidental theme here), but it’s a book that speaks to trauma, loneliness and human connection. There are definite moments of humor in here too and overall I really enjoyed it. I’m going to a book club meet-up in a few weeks that discusses this and I’m interested to hear what everyone thought of it. (4 out of 5 stars)


Leading Men by Christopher Castellani – Historical fiction based on Tennessee Williams and his real life, long time partner Frank Merlo, the story flashes between the 1950s and present day – following a group of characters that met while traveling through Southern Italy in the 50s. Overall I really enjoyed this story for the American literary cast and the fact that all of the “love stories” were less conventional than popular fiction usually focuses on. That being said, I definitely found some parts to be slow and it took me more time than expected to get through this. (3.5 out of 5 stars)


Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi – Ahh. I really wanted to love this. The concept is so interesting (set in modern day London, but following the mythical story of three generations of women who bake magic gingerbread and are essentially from a fairytale land. In the first chapter I was so full of hope and loved the writing.. but somewhere around the middle I couldn’t keep going. The writing style became more and more scattered to me and I just had to set this one aside. I’d say it was just me but I had two friends who tried the book and felt the exact same way. (1.5 out of 5 stars)


Three Women by Lisa Taddeo – There has been a lot of hype surrounding this book which usually makes me feel cautious, but this was an incredible work of non-fiction that was unlike anything else I’ve read. It follows the true lives of three women and their honest accounts and feelings about their love lives. I heard some critics of this book that said they found the situations extreme and the details cringeworthy + wanted the hear the men’s side of the story. I couldn’t disagree more. I found the honesty to be so refreshing and thought that there’s so much relatable truth in each woman’s story – the common theme I think was that we’re all just seeking acceptance and love, no matter the circumstances. (4.5 out of 5 stars)

SHOP NEXT MONTH’S BOOK CLUB PICKS:

I’m so excited about the stack of books I’ve got lined up next – City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love – this fiction story follows 1940’s showgirls in NYC, basically my dream book and several people have already told me how much they think I’ll love this one), Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl (follows the wild world of publishing at CondéNast and Gourmet Mag back when it was all booming), Circe by Madeline Miller (this one is out of my normal lane but I’m excited to dive into the world of Greek mythology), The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King (because who doesn’t love Mr. Rogers?) and lastly – because it’s October and I love a theme Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs (I’m a big fan of his brutally honest and hilarious memoir Running with Scissors so I’m excited for his brand new book). Now who wants to give me 2 extra hours every day to read? 

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LET’S CATCH UP 9.27.19

I know the basic premise of these catch up posts is essentially always just me exclaiming “where has the time gone?!?!” but I mean.. how is it nearly October?!?! I love this time of year but it always feels like I’m trying to hold sand between my fingers from about Labor Day through New Years Eve. So let’s pause and catch up, shall we? Below, a few things on my mind before we head into the weekend.

  1. The last time I wrote on of these posts (in August) I noted that Adam and I had a goal of finishing the living room set-up by October. While I’m not sure it will be “done” by next week, I’m pretty proud of the progress we’ve made since then. This weekend we’re hanging shelves and hopefully picking up some throw pillows for the couch. I like the looks of these… but will they instantly get dirty? Hm.
  2. I visited my best friend from college in Minnesota this past weekend and we talked a lot about how difficult it is to make new friends now that we’re adults. She’s in a new town and a new mom while I’m in the same city that many of my friends from my 20s have since moved away from. Much like the awkwardness of dating.. you really just have to put yourself back out there. To that end, I went to a meet-up hosted by Meghan of Wit & Whimsy on Wednesday that was so lovely and I’m going to check out the fiction book club held every month at Barnes and Noble (their October book is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine which luckily I’ve already read). Any other great advice for me?
  3. We’ve got a wedding to attend in October and I just snagged this very romantic looking dress in the Shopbop sale, fingers crossed it looks great in person. I may belt it for a bit more shape and will definitely be pairing it with a berry lipstick.
  4. I finallyyyy saw the movie Booksmart this past weekend and already want to watch it again. Such a wonderfully diverse cast of young people, sharp comedy and a refreshing break from your typical “high school buddy comedy”. Go watch it if you haven’t yet. In a completely separate state of mind I also saw Hustlers this weekend – if only to see how strong J.Lo’s age-defying body still is at 50, go see it. But also, it’s pretty good as a whole and Constance Wu is great as always.
  5. For the past couple of months I’ve been using this Elemis Plumping Facial Moisturizer at night. I’ve talked about their products here before and while they feel like a splurge for someone like me who doesn’t typically treat themselves to fancy skincare, I 100% see a difference in my skin when I use it vs when I don’t. In the morning my skin just feels brighter and smoother. It also feels like liquid silk when you apply it and makes my nighttime routine seem so much more glamorous. Worth every penny if you ask me.

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ON RELATIONSHIPS: HOW TO FIGHT FAIR

Tie your life to someone else’s, spend nearly every day with them year after year – and if you don’t fight from time to time, there’s a chance that you may be a robot. The trick, of course, is to find a way to fight that doesn’t lead to all out war.

I like to think that Adam and I have gotten better at this over time, and part of that process has been defining our fights. Knowing that not every little scuffle needs to result in a three day grudge or hurt feelings has really helped in the long run. Below, the three types of fights Adam and I have, how we’ve learned to behave ourselves in each, and ultimately how we kiss and make-up.

“The Debate”

This is when you have a lively debate over say, the greatest band of all time or whether or not you think a random law should be in effect. Aka something that doesn’t really make or break you in the long run. They’re throw aways. It’s okay if you have polar opposite opinions. But “the debate” can be sneaky because at first it’s all fun and games and then suddenly someone strikes a nerve or a friendly jab is mistaken for a real punch and bam – things escalate. Once we actually defined what a debate looks like for us, we can go from having one to being perfectly agreeable the very next moment. The trick here is to make a case for yourself without insulting the other person’s perfectly valid opinion. Meaning, just because the person doesn’t “get” your favorite Rolling Stones song doesn’t mean you should scream “Well that’s because you have horrible taste!” at them. Ultimately, just go ahead and get on with your day.

“The Row”

This is what we call a little skirmish, because it’s a a cuter British way of saying the word fight. “The Row” is still a fight, but like, a baby one. Say your partner hasn’t picked up their socks for the millionth time or you get hangry and snap at them for being indecisive. I believe the little things are important in a relationship, but I’m not going to live and die by Adam keeping his half of the closet tidy. There are bigger issues in this world and certainly in our lives. But if left un-mended, a row can ruin a whole day. So as soon as you see the other person wave a white flag (it could be obvious like “I’m sorry” or it could be them reaching out for a hug or cracking a joke) – just throw in the towel and let it go. Also, reminder to not always wait for them to wave the white flag. You’re on the same team, you know.

“The Real Fight”

When it’s not a debate or a row.. it’s a real fight. The ones about the big picture. The words that really need to be spoken and that really deserve to be heard. Here’s what I’ve learned about really fighting….

If at any time emotions are running too high? Hit pause. Take a deep breath or walk into another room and come back. Even go to sleep if you’re exhausted. Is anything productive ever really said past midnight? We don’t follow the rule of ‘never go to bed angry‘ but we do follow the rule of ‘never go to bed without saying I love you‘ – even we have to say it through gritted teeth. Trust me, a clear head and a new day can make all the difference in a real fight.

Choose your words carefully in a real fight. Those words that you want to just shout in the moment? You can never take them back. Ever. They can be forgiven, but sometimes not forgotten. I have a great memory and Adam knows it – so five years from now, if I want to drum up the pain of something he said during a fight and hold it over his head… I easily could. Which means it’s in everyone’s best interest if he doesn’t say them to begin with. While you’re at it though – don’t drum up things from five years ago to use in a current fight. No one can go back and change history – so focus on the present and creating concrete plans for the future. Keep words like always and never to a minimum (people rarely always or never do anything in reality) and instead focus on how their actions have made you feel or how you intended your own actions to be perceived. Be clear about why what you’re fighting about actually matters in the long term.

And perhaps most importantly – you can still be in love in a fight. I swear it’s possible. And it’s super reassuring to your partner to remind them of that. Reach out to hold their hand even when you’re really angry at each other. A small reminder that you’re not going anywhere. Or say ‘Listen – you know I love you for X and Y, but Z is really bothering me for this reason.’ That way they’re not only only hearing a laundry list of all their worst qualities.

Love is what you got you into this mess in the first place, and there’s a good chance it will get you back out again… if you can remember to look for it. So go ahead and fight. Then kiss, make-up and get ready for another round.

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FALL CAPSULE WARDROBE WITH TALBOTS

I’ve been talking a lot this year about the value in having less quantity in your wardrobe and more quality. I think it’s something a lot of us are craving these days after years of being fed more, more, more. When I thought about how I wanted to approach fall shopping (typically the season I shop the most), I knew I wanted to do things a little bit differently. Filling in with only key pieces and finding ways to mix and match them with the classic items that I already own and love.

Last week I showcased a few stand-out pieces from the new Talbots collection in this post (a pink corduroy blazer, a plaid overcoat and a floral midi dress) and while I love the looks we shot in Central Park – I already know that I’m going to be wearing each of these pieces in a million different ways this season. To emphasize just how far a new piece or two can go – I put together a fun little IGTV video showing 10 outfit ideas and below – details on each. 

My hope is that this helps you find a few new outfits in your existing wardrobe or inspires you to pick up a new item and get lots of wear out of it this fall (and beyond). 

SHOP THE HERO PIECES:

SHOP THE BASICS:

SHOP THE ACCESSORIES:

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