Can you believe the holiday season is here?!? I’m still trying to wrap my head around it honestly, but choosing to embrace it regardless. Especially holiday party season. Our old apartment was not at all conducive to having friends or family over, but now that we’re in a different space that really lends itself to entertaining, I knew I wanted to get my act together enough to host a little holiday cocktail hour this season! This time of year always sneaks up on me, so I was thrilled when Basic Invite (an online resource with over 500 Christmas card and holiday party invitation options) reached out to give me the nudge to print my invites early.
What a week! I always forget how incredibly hectic November feels (it’s the busiest month of my year at my job) plus lots of holiday prep in this corner of the internet and some exciting home projects. All good things in the end, but busy nonetheless. Amidst the madness I wanted to pop on here and share a few things on my mind.
First things first, I hope you all exercised your right to vote this past week. I for one am excited to see that there were a lot of “firsts” this mid-term (first Native American women in Congress, first openly gay man elected as Governor in Colorado, Tennessee’s first female Governor and South Dakota’s first female Senator – the list goes on here). Representation matters and this is a step in the right direction.
I’ve been using Elemis skincare for a couple of years now and stand-by my opinion that they offer some of the very best moisturizers and serums on the market. Their Friends & Family sale starts tomorrow (20% off with code: FF2018 at checkout) and I’m going to be scooping up their Superfood Day Cream and Superfood Night Cream.
As I mentioned, I’ve got a couple of really exciting home updates in the works (follow #steelemaidenathome to see more). I’ve been busy pinning inspiration on Pinterest and swooning over everything at Anthropologie. They’ve got a 20% off sale on their home section this weekend and I’m eyeing these:
My friend Jen of Skirt the Rules wore this same floral skirt and a similar over the knee boot situation on her blog here – but her Fall foliage totally tops mine!
A couple of you asked for the Apple Cider Margarita recipe that I’ve been whipping up lately. Super easy. Shake 2 oz. of tequila, 1 oz. lime juice, 1 oz. agave syrup and 8 oz. apple cider. Serve over ice and (if you’re feeling fancy!) garnish with an apple wedge or line your glass with a cinnamon sugar rim. Cheers!
If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that my hair magician here in New York is Sarah Rappoltand beyond giving me the perfect haircut every time – she also indulges me from time to time in some of her killer hair styling (see what we did last Fall here). This time around we wanted to update the basic ‘hair scarf in ponytail’ look that everyone (including myself) sported all Summer. I’m absolutely thrilled with the results – all taking no more than 5 minutes each and honestly, easy enough that even an amateur like myself can do it. Below – 3 new ways to wear a hair scarf this Fall. Hope you try!
And if you’re in the NYC area and are in need of a hair cut/style yourself – Sarah is generously offering my readers 15% off. Just mention ‘The Steele Maiden.’
SHOP THE STORY:
“THAT 70’S BRAID” – Start with a low ponytail, being careful to leave some volume at the sides and crown of your head. Fold/roll your scarf diagonally to form a long, thin rectangle shape. Tie around your ponytail securing underneath in a single knot. Then divide your hair into three sections and add the ends of the scarf into two sections. Braid the strands and secure at bottom with a clear elastic, leaving several inches of hair and the scarf ends out.
“THE BRUNCH BUN” – Sarah and I kept calling this the new ‘messy bun’ because it feels just as simple but somehow way more chic. Perfect for a low-key weekend brunch with friends. Start with textured hair (Sarah used this spray and added a few waves with a 1″ curling wand) and secure in a mid-height ponytail. Fold/roll the scarf horizontally into a long, rectangle shape and secure the end around your ponytail – leave one small ‘tail’ and one very long side. Using the long side, twist your ponytail and the scarf together then loop around into a bun shape. Pin in place and adjust the scarf, pinning where needed to further secure. Leave both small scarf ends out at the bottom as a finishing touch.
“RIVIERA ROMANCE” – this simple updo feels very ‘I’m going to a moonlit dinner on the Italian coast’ to me. Although I like to think it will work just as well for a date night here in New York. Start with a low ponytail, divide in half and braid each section tightly. Then wrap the braids into a bun and pin in place. Fold the scarf diagonally to form a long, skinny shape and wrap around the crown of your head, tying firmly in place at the nape of your neck. Pin in place if it feels like it might slip.
1. One of my favorite places to shop for affordable, work friendly pieces is having a crazy, 50% off sitewide + free shipping sale right now. Below are a few things I’m loving:
2. If you’re still not registered to vote (or need to update your address) – head this way.
3. Are you guys watching anything amazing on Netflix lately? We’re on season 2 of Ozark (if you’ve been searching for a show ever since the Breaking Bad finale..) and I loved the original movies ‘Guernsey Literary & Potato Pie Society’ and ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’.
4. I’m swooning over this dress – how pretty for a special occasion or Fall wedding! And well under $100.
5. Between Paris Fashion Week photos and the fact that Adam called me “Frenchie” in the outfit above, I’ve got Francophile fever. Until I can get back to the City of Light, I’ll be following this ‘Pieces of Paris in NYC’ guide from Megan of Wit & Whimsy.
August (and much of September!) has flown by, so I figured I better jump in with another round of #SteeleMaidenBookClub picks before we officially kick off Fall this weekend. I kept to my plan of reading a wide variety this past month and find it so much more interesting than sticking to just one genre. Below, everything I read since August and what I’ve got stacked up on the shelves for the rest of September/October. Happy reading!
Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta: If you’ve got a spare afternoon and don’t want to waste it on reality TV but want that same kind of laughable drama-type escape – I suggest this book. About a single mother in her 40s grappling with her son leaving for college and the dating scene now in front of her. Nothing ground-breaking here, but pretty fun nonetheless.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: Man I love when a book surprises me. Not in a thriller, edge of your seat kind of way (although that’s great too), but in a ‘I didn’t think I’d love this book and now I do’ kind of way. This book really did that. This is a YA book (which I never read.. and now realize perhaps I should change that) recommended to me by one of my closest friends – so I figured I’d give it a shot. Beautifully imagined, it tells the story of a not so distant future, post-apocalypse. There are a lot of different character stories but I found myself interested in all of them and weeks later – I’m still thinking about this book.
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen: Not for the faint of heart, this is a long book. Which is why I didn’t get to my fourth book (The Female Persuasion) at all last month. In spite of the length, it’s magnificent. And I don’t use that term lightly. I’ve always been really interested in the lives that shaped my favorite famous creatives (from Yves Saint Laurent to Joan Didion to now, Bruce Springsteen) and the way that this autobiography takes you inside his upbringing, his early days, years on the road and relationships – all through that classic American voice of his – is really incredible. I promise you will never hear the song Born to Run the same way again. Highly recommend. And now, I’ll be busy looking up how to win the lottery tickets to see his broadway show. *Note: my friend listened to this on audiobook while I was reading the actual book and since it’s read by Mr. Springsteen himself I almost wish I had done it that way. Also, I think you may be able to get through it a bit quicker with this approach.