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SNOW DAY STYLE

The Steele Maiden: Snow Day Style - Apres Ski Sweater, Red Beret and Plaid Skirt

Still humming ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ after Saturday’s snow. There’s just something about the first snow day of the season in New York City that’s pure magic. Especially when it falls in December and the whole city feels like it’s a Christmas snow globe come to life. I was originally saving this ‘Aprés Ski’ sweater for, well, actual post-skiing attire… but it just felt like I needed to break my own rules and break it in early over the weekend.

SHOP THE STORY

To be completely honest, these photos were hard to take. My hair was getting soaked, Adam was trying to hide the camera lens underneath an umbrella while also dodging cars in the middle of the street and we were both freezing after a couple of minutes. But even though we only got a few good shots, I love that we’ll look back on these photos and remember that day. Laughing and slipping our way through the streets and taking cover in our favorite neighborhood restaurant afterwards to share a drink while the snow blanketed the city outside. While this blog hopefully serves as inspiration for all of you, for us – it reads like a diary. Thanks for reading.

Talbots Après Ski Sweater | Lands’ End Down Jacket | Red Beret | Plaid Skirt – similar | Marc Fisher Boots

The Steele Maiden: Snow Day Style - Apres Ski Sweater, Red Beret and Plaid Skirt The Steele Maiden: Snow Day Style - Apres Ski Sweater, Red Beret and Plaid Skirt The Steele Maiden: Snow Day Style - Apres Ski Sweater, Red Beret and Plaid Skirt The Steele Maiden: Snow Day Style - Apres Ski Sweater, Red Beret and Plaid Skirt The Steele Maiden: Snow Day Style - Apres Ski Sweater, Red Beret and Plaid Skirt

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A TRAVEL GUIDE TO LONDON, ENGLAND

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London

London! Where do I start? I suppose at the beginning – or in this case, a decade ago when I studied abroad there and fell in love with this place. I’ve been dying to go back ever since and getting to experience this time with Adam in tow was even better than I had imagined. I love London for a million reasons, but mainly because of the amazing mix of history alongside the modern pulse of a major international city. While I could spend years in London and still not see everything, I’ve done my best to showcase a highlight reel here in the case that you’re planning on hopping the pond yourself. And if you are.. can I come with?

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London

TOURIST SPOTS WORTH VISITING:

As someone who lives in a place where I avoid ‘tourist traps’ like the plague – London’s tourist destinations are full of such incredible history that dismissing them all together would be a mistake. You’re going to want to see Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben (although as of November 2017 was nearly completely covered in scaffolding thanks to ongoing restoration). Picadilly Circus (London’s version of Times Square) is worth walking through – if only on your way to Oxford Street shopping (locals call this ‘high street shopping’) and Trafalgar Square deserves a stop. All of this allows you to get a real sense for the heart of the city.

And if you’re a New Yorker looking for a Central Park equivalent, you’ll find it in Hyde Park. One of my favorite spots in all of London, Hype Park is an expansive bit of calm amidst an otherwise bustling city. Be sure to walk through Kensington Gardens and visit the Princess Diana Memorial and Peter Pan statue.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to LondonThe Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London

HOW TO GET AROUND:

I usually prefer to see cities by foot, but due to the sheer scale of London, you’ll want other options. The Metro (or Tube as the Brits call it) is incredibly easy to navigate and about a million times cleaner and more organized than the NY Subway. Likewise, buses are great for flexibility and there’s the added bonus of getting to jump on a red double-decker.

And lastly, the most fun way to see the town is – hands down – by water. On our last night there, we took a boat tour of the Thames and were rewarded with a pretty incredible sunset. While you may not get quite as lucky, you’ll still get a great view of both side of the river and in half an hour will have taken in most of London’s skyline.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to LondonThe Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London

Now for the good part – the food and drink. Once you’ve exhausted yourself from walking all over town, you’ll want to pop in somewhere for an afternoon cuppa (tea that is) or pint at the pub. Below a few of my favorites from the trip:

Biscuiteers: The cutest little Notting Hill cookie and tea shop.

Cafe Murano: I tend to think New York has some pretty great Italian, but this place gave it a run for it’s money. A small spot with beautiful interiors (and an awesome wine and craft beer list), we nearly went back for a second time in a single trip.

Churchhill Arms: A classic pub in the front, a crazy greenhouse of a Thai restaurant in the back. And the outside reads like a botanical garden gone wildly British.

Granger & Co: Our best breakfast of the trip by far. Fresh ingredients, delicious takes on the classics and located in the cutest area of Notting Hill. Get the Ricotta hotcakes and never look back.

Jazz Cafe: An otherwise simple bar up front, that opens into an awesome and intimate concert venue. We saw a jazz tribute to Van Morrison and it was one of our best nights in London.

Sketch London: Sure, it’s become Instagram fodder, but honestly it lived up to the hype. A serious feast for the eyes, ever detail of this incredible space has been considered. The main dining room is a lavish dream straight out of 1920s Paris. The bar where we got drinks was like an actual enchanted forest.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London

And – because it wouldn’t be The Steele Maiden without a pause for cute stoops – I thought I’d share some of my favorite places for Instagram-worthy doors.

Notting Hill: Anywhere and everywhere – from the pastel lined streets to the tucked away alleys (like St. Lukes Mews shown below).

Kensington: For grand white architecture and beautiful tiled stoops

Marylebone High Street: This gem of a little street is actually where my University was located when I studied abroad – lined lots of photo-worthy storefronts.

Queen Anne’s Gate: A tucked away street along the path from Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, well worth the detail.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London

THINGS TO DO:

You’d be hard pressed to be bored in London. And depending on your interest there’s really something for everyone. Here, a few of my personal favorites.

Daunt Books: My favorite bookshop in all of London. They organize the sections by location in the world – so aside from guidebooks to London, you would also find the work of Dickens and Austen in the ‘England’ section.

Portobello Road: You don’t have to be a fan of the movie Notting Hill to enjoy Portobello Road – this outdoor market includes amazing vintage clothing and antiques stalls on the weekends meaning you’ll likely want to carve out a few hours for wandering.

British Library: Housing everything from the Magna Carta to original works by Shakespeare to Beatles lyrics scribbled on napkins to Harry Potter tributes – if you’re a library lover this one is kind of a holy grail.

Victoria & Albert Museum: London’s museums are largely free (amazing, I know) and while I love the Tate Modern or the Natural History – the V&A is far and away my favorite. With the best historical clothing display I’ve seen anywhere in the world but lots of other rotating exhibits ranging from industrial design to classic art – even Adam liked this one.

London Eye: If you get a clear day in town, the London Eye is essentially a huge ferris wheel and offers a unique perspective to the city below.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London

Until next time London!

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to London

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BEST OF: WINTER DATE IDEAS IN NYC

Winter Date Ideas in NYC - What to Wear and Where to Go

I get it. It’s cold outside and your Netflix subscription feels like a safe bet. I’m guilty of it too. But don’t let Winter be an excuse to forgo date night. New York (and honestly every place if you get creative) has a million awesome options worth leaving your couch for. Here – my top 15 Winter Date Ideas in NYC plus an outfit idea that is date-friendly but also warm (shivering is not sexy).

Winter Date Ideas in NYC - What to Wear and Where to Go

  1. Museum Hopping – There’s no shortage of options here but our favorites are the Met for room to roam and the MoMa or Whitney for modern art. Perfect for a freezing cold afternoon.
  2. A Night at the Theater – Going to the ballet is one of my all-time favorite special date nights. Use it as an excuse to get dressed up and head to Lincoln Center.
  3. Go Sledding – Wait for the first big snow and head to Central Park. Even if you don’t actually go sledding, snow ball fights and a long walk through a freshly blanketed park is a pretty memorable day date.
  4. Hot Chocolate Crawl – Skip the bar and hop along a map of the city’s best hot chocolate spots instead. Max Brenner in Union Square, Serendipity on the Upper East Side and City Bakery in Flatiron are all great.
  5. Arcade Challenge – Stock up on quarters and hit up a classic arcade. Go head to head in Pacman, Pinball and the rest while you drink cheap beer. Barcade in the East Village and Two-Bits Arcade in Lower East Side are my favorites.
  6. Grand Central Glamour – Turn back time by taking a trip to Grand Central. Take in the beauty of this classic New York architecture and then grab oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar.
  7. Star Gaze – Twice a month (weather permitting) Columbia University opens their observatory for star-gazing. Is there anything more romantic?
  8. Skyline Gaze – If you’d rather stare at the skyline then the stars, then you need to head to the roof. While most aren’t quite as good in the Winter, 230 Fifth has plenty of heaters, cozy blankets and unbeatable views of the Empire State Building. It can get crowded/touristy on weekends and is on the pricey side – but for the views and a drink or two it’s a pretty awesome weeknight date.
  9. Comfort Food – Winter is perfect for getting your comfort food on. We love S’mac, Ivan Ramen, Meatball Shop, or Spaghetti Incident for a hearty meal that’s an alternative to take-out when it’s cold.
  10. Indoor Blooms – While the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is tough to beat in Spring, there are plenty of greenhouses that are worth visiting in Winter too.
  11. Ice-Skating – There are several outdoor rinks in the city but my absolute favorite is Wollman Rink in Central Park. Pro tip – wait for an evening with light snow. Most people don’t think to go but the rink stays open and skating hand in hand while snow falls against the backdrop of the city skyline is pure New York magic.
  12. Catch a Movie – First of all, get MoviePass. It’s only $9.95 for unlimited movies and nearly every theater we go to is included. Including places like NiteHawk in Brooklyn where you can get dinner and drinks while you watch the movie or the Angelika and Film Forum in the city that play awesome independent films.
  13. Find a Fireplace – There are quite a few cozy bars downtown that have a roaring fireplace. Order a hot toddy and snag a seat by the flames. Bowery Hotel in the East Village is a good standby.
  14. Have a Staycation – You all know, I’m all about a hotel staycation in your own city. If it’s not in the budget, you should at least head to a hotel lobby for a drink (case in point: Bowery Hotel in the previous suggestion). They’ve always got great decor and even for a couple of hours, you can feel like you got away. I love Gramercy Park Hotel, Soho Grand and the Standard.
  15. Live Music – There’s honestly amazing live music everywhere in this city, but two of Adam and I’s favorites are Jazz Standard in Gramercy for incredible classic jazz or Arlene’s Grocery for dive bar bands.

Winter Date Ideas in NYC - What to Wear and Where to Go

And if your next question is great – but what on earth do I wear that works for cold-weather but also looks cute.. I got you. I love these velvet jeggings as an alternative to jeans (that are super warm!), sleek booties that can withstand a bit of slush and aren’t as treacherous as heels on snowy streets, and a big faux fur coat that feels less boring than your everyday parka.

WINTER DATE NIGHT LOOK:

Winter Date Ideas in NYC - What to Wear and Where to Go Winter Date Ideas in NYC - What to Wear and Where to Go

 

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4 CASUAL HOLIDAY OUTFIT IDEAS

The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - denim, sweaters, blazers and vests

If it’s any indication what November was like at work for me – know that I shot all of these looks over the past month and am only now getting the chance to find time to post them (I’m ready for you Christmas break!). In any case, now that I’m ready I figured I’d compile them since they all have a bit of a common theme – festive yet comfortable. Below, a closer look at these casual holiday outfit ideas:

The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - red sweater and boyfriend jeans

I picked up this oversized red sweater during Black Friday sales and honestly can’t stop wearing it. I’ve dressed it up with heels and a skirt for work, but I like it with boyfriend jeans, fancy flats and a fisherman’s cap too for holiday shopping or weekend errands this month.

SHOP THE LOOK:

The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - red sweater and boyfriend jeans The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - red sweater and boyfriend jeans The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - overalls and metallic sweater

It’s been awhile since I last pulled out my overalls but I quickly remembered why they’re my favorites (spoiler: SO comfy). Dressed them up a bit with this metallic striped sweater and metallic kitten heels and this outfit made going to the grocery store for cookie baking supplies all the more merry.

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The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - overalls and metallic sweater The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - plaid puffer vest and sneakers

I’m calling this my tree-trimming outfit. I love a good puffer vest in the winter – and all the better if it’s in tartan plaid – and I’ve been wearing these sneakers non-stop lately. I spend a lot of time in heels, but sometimes you just can’t beat a pair of comfy kicks. The olive green feels a little Christmas-y too which I love.

SHOP THE LOOK:

The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - plaid puffer vest and sneakers The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - plaid puffer vest and sneakers The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - velvet blazer and plaid heels

This one is a little bit unexpected, but no less festive in my opinion. I like mixing in colors like bright gold or deep navy blue to holiday style and this velvet blazer and plaid heels are just the ticket. Mixed with fun socks just because.. more is more this time of year, right?

SHOP THE LOOK:

The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - velvet blazer and plaid heels

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HOLIDAY BEAUTY FAVORITES

The Steele Maiden: Holiday Beauty Favorites for a Night Out

From the lipstick that will stay put even after a glass or two of champagne to the hair product that rids me of winter static – here are my holiday beauty favorites:

P.S. these would make great stocking stuffers too!

SHOP HAIR + SKIN FAVORITES:

SHOP MAKE-UP FAVORITES

Also – can we talk about how luxurious it is to get ready in a large bathroom? If you have one at home I hope you don’t take it for granted for a single second. This particular one is in a suite at the Omni Berkshire – if you’re in to that sort of thing you should enter my giveaway to win a one-night stay here.

The Steele Maiden: Holiday Beauty Favorites for a Night Out

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The Steele Maiden © 2012

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.