I stopped doing traditional gift guides a few years back – I just felt like I was adding noise to an already very crowded space – but I’ve been doing these (very much just for fun) personal holiday wishlist posts for the past 4 years and like the little tradition of them. As ever, I don’t need a single thing this holiday season. We had a big year and I’m looking forward to a cozy and fairly quiet holiday season. But in case I want to treat myself to a little year end gift, or if anyone our there is looking for a hint.. here’s what I wouldn’t hate finding under my tree.

P.S. Here are my lists from 2022, 2021 and 2020. These feel fun to look back on!


  1. Pajama Set: I’m a long sleeves + shorts pajama set kind of girl, which can be tricky to find. While these are technically a holiday print, I think they definitely could be worn all winter and the print reminds me a bit of the fabrics I saw when visiting Petit Trianon last spring (Marie Antoinette’s famed getaway from the main palaces at Versailles).
  2. Croissant Ring: My Mom has had a “croissant ring” since I was little and I’ve always admired it. She surprised me with it as my “something borrowed” for my wedding/honeymoon and I took it to Paris. I’ve since returned it to her but would love my own to cherish.
  3. Clean Lipstick: After trying several new Merit Beauty products this fall I’m officially a devotee. I want to try their lipstick next in this orange-y red.
  4. Patent Mary Janes: From what is quickly becoming one of my favorite shoe brands – these patent leather mary-janes would go with so many things in my closet. They’ve sold-out multiple times so I’m currently on a waitlist, but when I can I’ll probably grab them. If you want to try the brand for yourself, code: thesteelemaiden15 gets you 15% off.
  5. Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy Book: I’ve been enthralled with the Kennedy family since I was about 13 years old and read plenty of biographies, but – aside from admiring her personal style – have never delved too much into Carolyn Bessette. This coffee table book with focus on her life through fashion feels like the perfect place to start.
  6. Crystal Hoops: I’m always on the lookout for earrings that can be dressed up or down and I love the look of these chubby little hoops with assorted crystals – they’re a steal too!
  7. Paris Mug: I started collecting these holiday travel mugs from Anthropologie a few years ago and wanted to pick up this Paris one this year to remind me of our honeymoon – when lo and behold, a dear old friend surprised me with it in the mail! Christmas serendipity!
  8. Depuffing Mask: I have heard multiple internet beauty gurus declare their love for this depuffing mask from Clairins and I’m feeling compelled to try for days when we might take photos or for the occasional late nights that are followed by early mornings.
  9. Bucket Bag: I’ve long admired Mansur Gavriel’s “quiet luxury” take on handbags and these mini bucket bags feel especially timeless to me. The olive green is on sale and feels like it would match with lots in my winter wardrobe.
  10. Mixed Plaid Vest: I’m really trying to save my pennies lately and resist most new fashion purchases, but if I do splurge on one item for myself before the end of the year it will likely be this mixed plaid vest which I think I’d end up wearing a million ways.
  11. Just Married Ornament: I admittedly already bought this for Adam as a stocking stuffer, but then it arrived and I couldn’t wait – so I gave it to him tonight so it could be the first ornament on our tree this year! Would make a cute gift for a fellow newlywed in your life.
  12. Ritz Paris Baseball Cap: This hat is sort of a splurge as far as baseball caps go, but doesn’t it just scream Princess Diana with an oversized sweatshirt and sneakers running errands on the weekends? So chic. Plus the Ritz holds a pretty special place in my heart after visiting Bar Hemingway there on our past two trips to Paris.
  13. Metal Rim Prescription Sunglasses: This will seem painfully obvious to glasses-wearers but I got a pair of prescription sunglasses a few years ago and they changed my life. I’m never outside without them – which is why you seen them in.. all of my photos. I can’t see distance without them. I’d love to get another pair to add to the rotation this year.
  14. Cream Eyeshadow Crayons: These look fun for adding a little color and shine to eyes. Am I becoming a make-up girly now? I don’t know. But these seem impossible to mess up.
  15. Carry-On Duffel: I desperately need a new overnight duffel bag/carry-on personal item. This sizing looks just right and I had a back-up from this brand that I wore to shreds over the course of about 6 years, so I know the quality will last.


When we last left off in the Wedding Diary: Part One – Adam had just left our suite to get ready for the evening separately. My sister arrived, champagne, silk pajamas, hair and make-up tools in tow. We put on a ‘getting ready’ playlist and spent the next hour or so getting ourselves ready for the night ahead. My parents stopped by from down the hall to say hi, my two best friends from college came by and did their own hair and make-up there too before heading off to the venue – it was a revolving door of some of the people I love most. It was a fun period of the day but also in the moment, I was feeling the most stressed. The weather was tenuous at best and we’d just asked 30 of our closest family and friends to come to New York City and wait for us on a rooftop.

The vendors had begun to deliver things, the tables were being set.. really there was no turning back. Suddenly it was 5:00 PM – everyone was heading to the cocktail hour and Leandra, our incredible photographer was coming back to the Ludlow to capture a first look. For the first time since 7:00 AM, I was alone in the room, in my dress. Adam was 3 doors down the hall. Later we recounted that we’d both stood at the window, looking out over downtown and watched it begin to rain. And then we took a few deep breaths and came to meet each other.

Me, in a very simple silk slip dress – found for half price this summer from Reformation and hemmed at my local tailor, vintage paste stone earrings from Alexis Bittar (where I work) and a more walkable block heel sandal with just a touch of sparkle from Loeffler Randall – all brands that I wear and love regularly so I felt completely at ease in them. My hair let down from the morning’s bun to fall in retro waves and parted to the side. Lips bright red in Ruby Woo – the lipstick I wore constantly when I first moved to New York. An ivory mohair cardigan from French brand Sezane to drape over my shoulders in the chilly evening air. The inspiration was Carolyn Bessette at her wedding to JFK Jr. – a simple, timeless elegance + a touch of old hollywood glamour. Adam, in a silk tie neck shirt, wrapped twice, and a double breasted jacquard vest, vintage trousers and black patent loafers.

We were together, come what may. We had a few quiet moments to ourselves and then we were off, into a cab headed from the Lower East Side to Nolita – just as the rain began to stop again.

As we were making our way to the venue, our 30 guests were huddled inside – the bartender passing drinks down the staircase for a banded together makeshift happy hour that everyone was looking back on and laughing about already by the time we arrived. If you look closely you’ll see the place settings still upside down from when they set the tables only to have it start raining. Chairs wiped down before we got there and tablecloths and settings that were miraculously dry enough for us to sit less than 2 hours later.

My Dad met Adam and I downstairs, and then we were in the tiny stairwell leading up to the roof. My best friend Claire, who had spent months helping me expertly craft our wedding playlist and was so generously willing to hit ‘play’ was waiting at the top of the stairs and it was so nice seeing her first. Her being the one to give us our cue to walk.

What I remember: the opening chords of the Beach Boys’ ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ (the song we’d picked for him to walk out to) coming over the speakers, Adam turning the corner and hearing the tiny crowd erupt in cheers. My Dad giving me a steadying look, picking up the hem of my dress to keep it from touching the somewhat wet steps, the feel of his new wool suit against my bare arm. Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Secret Garden’ starting to play, how we made the turn out to the roof just as the music started to swell. How even with just 30 people I felt like I couldn’t quite meet anyone’s eyes until we made the turn and my childhood best friend Joanna came into focus, Adam beside her.

In a happy accident the microphones had been ruined in the earlier rain and so we could exchange our vows to one another quietly. We took our first dance to Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ ‘You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me’ – a song that reminded us of the early days when we’d first met, both of us swearing we weren’t going to be together but finding it impossible to resist.

And then, as the lights began to go up in the city around us, string lights sparkling, we were free to breath. We greeted our guests, were handed drinks (a French75 for me, a Manhattan for Adam – our signature cocktails for the night) and wandered around the rooftop – never much more than an arm’s length away from one another. We’d pause and listen to a particular snippet of a song we love – mouthing the words to one another.

Every single guest had traveled to be there that night. Most from Pennsylvania but a few from further and it meant to world to have our 30 closest friends and family in this city where we’ve built a life together. My sister and Adam both gave a short toast, we sipped good champagne and then we served dinner from Rosemary’s – one of our favorite local restaurants. I’ve honestly never had a memorable meal at a wedding and so we thought – why try to cater steak? We could just serve great pasta from one of our favorite local restaurants and then whenever we feel like it, we can have the same meal we ate at our wedding.

Keeping in the spirit of sourcing things locally – we had a small lemon curd and olive oil cake made by From Lucie – a French bakery in the East Village (same thing, we can eat our wedding cake on every anniversary if we’d like) and trays of cookies from Bedford Cheese Shop that did our appetizer plates as well – they’re right around the corner from us in Gramercy.

We served coffee in classic NY blue paper coffee cups. I danced with my Dad to Sam Cooke’s ‘Nothing Can Change This Love’. The rest of us swept the dance floor. We played Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ for my dear friend from college Val as she twirled around. My cousin’s wife Raquel, whom I adore, hooted and hollered – a true country girl in NYC. One of our oldest friends Dave came around with a tray of tequila shots – no idea how he procured it. It was spectacular.

We laughed and danced and then.. like clockwork, it started to rain just as the party was meant to wrap up. We ran for cover downstairs. I changed into a white party dress from Staud and silver platform heels and a handful of us were off to the after party. Final finals (and then some) at The Flower Shop in the Lower East Side. It was a rain soaked blur of a late night adventure until finally I looked over at Adam and said.. let’s go home.

It wasn’t perfect.. nothing is. But it was really and truly ours. And if I had to do it again – aside from maybe getting a really beautiful sunset as our backdrop – I wouldn’t change a thing.

All photos by Leandra Creative Co.


There is a line in the 1999 movie Runaway Bride that has stuck with me since I was 12 years old. Julia Roberts character says “I hate big weddings with everybody staring. I would like to get married on a weekday while everybody is at work. And if I ride off into the sunset, I want my own horse.” It took me another 24 years to get there (and alas, we shared a cab) but in the end, Adam and I were married in City Hall, at 10AM on a grey Thursday – while everyone else in Manhattan was at work.

I’ve been meaning to share the wedding details with you all, and then one thing lead to another (work’s busy season, a few curveballs from life) and now we’re nearly to our two month anniversary. But I hope you’ll still indulge me. It’s going to come in two parts as the day was distinctly split that way.

But first, I’ll pick up where I last left off – at the engagement. When we first decided to get married I was hesitant to share the news at all (I think I waited about a month to do so publicly). I know that most people scream about their diamond rings from the rooftops, but ours wasn’t like that and I think it just felt so precious, so delicate – that I wasn’t sure I wanted it out there in the world. I’m glad I reconsidered because one of the most surprising things about this entire endeavor was the outpouring of well wishes from you all – extended family, old friends, internet acquaintances. So many people who I honestly wouldn’t have guessed thought of us at all, went out of their way to say that they were earnestly happy for us. It really was bolstering, especially since the 3 months leading up to the wedding day proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated. While almost all of it was out of our control (the death of two grandparents, work stress, a stomach ulcer and small hernia, family stuff, the stress of planning and organizing the wedding and the honeymoon very quickly) – that surrounding joy helped me to feel more celebratory in that engagement period when I chose not to have the traditional bridal shower, bachelorette, etc. Needless to say, by the time September 28th rolled around Adam and I were running on fumes, and I presume had checked the weather more times than most meteorologists in the tri-state area.

That being said, the morning of the wedding we woke up to a sweeping view of downtown Manhattan from a beautiful suite in the Ludlow Hotel, and all of that started to fade away. We’d visited the rooftop where we were set to hold the dinner reception the night before with my parents and sister and made the tenuous decision to stick to original plans despite scattered rain in the forecast. And so, with nothing more than a blind trust in what was to come, we began the day. Adam had, in signature fashion, forgotten the shirt that he was going to wear that morning at our apartment so he had to run back home, which left me to get ready alone in our room. What I remember: listening to our wedding playlist, the smallest ray of sunlight parting through the clouds, pinning my curls into a loose bun with a handful of bobby pins, kneeling on the carpet to make a bouquet out of flowers I’d bought the day before at the Union Square farmer’s market, wrapping it with lace from the sleeve of my Mom’s wedding dress and securing the lace with a blue crystal earring from my late Nan (my sister had the other sleeve and half pair on her wedding bouquet 9 years ago), stepping into those ivory lace Manolos.

Adam wore a vintage navy pinstripe 3-piece suit we’d found in a charity shop a few weeks prior and he had tailored. I wore an ivory wool button front dress from New York brand Lein, a subtle flared skirt and puffed sleeves its only “flourish”, aforementioned Manolos, small pearl earrings borrowed from my sister and a vintage satin navy handbag I found on Etsy the week before. For the morning at City Hall I wanted a nod to the 1940s-1960s (my favorite eras) but with a modern twist. Ultimately, I wanted us to look really timeless in the photos, and I’m so happy with how it came together.

We’d built a pretty tight itinerary for the day and so we met our immediate families in the lobby at 9:00AM sharp and got in cars headed for City Hall. We were allowed 4 witnesses, meaning our parents could join us inside while our siblings waited outside. My Dad signed our marriage license with us and in doing so, Adam officially took our last name. From there, we watched the ticker boards until our number (C017) was called. The thing I loved about getting married at City Hall is what I love about New York – there are a million intersecting stories at any given moment. Down the hall was a young bride in chunky black Prada loafers, white knee socks and a white mini dress. Next to us was a bride well into her second or third trimester in a form fitting ivory sweater dress – her and the groom both beaming with love. Behind us – a bride in a full length lace gown, her groom in a sharp suit. We all had our own versions of that day – but we all shared in the excitement of that morning together.

The ceremony itself was brief and straight to the point. I hadn’t looked up exactly what the officiant would say but was happily surprised that we did in fact get to say “I do”, exchange rings – Adam’s a simple black band, mine a tiny row of diamond baguettes – and have an official kiss at the end. The whole thing took no more than 5 minutes and was perfect to me.

We exited City Hall into a snow globe of white confetti (I’d ordered small poppers ahead of time and our family and our amazing photographer Leandra all got into place before we came out the doors) – which was one of my favorite moments of the day. We were officially married and everything after that was icing on the cake of it all.

We took photos on the steps of City Hall and then left with Leandra for photos in Washington Square Park – a place that feels very ‘us’. It’s our local park, the one we’ve been walking to most weekends for a decade, the one where we sat on a bench and decided to get married on a hot night in July while lightning bugs flickered around us. Partially because it was overcast and partially because it was a Thursday at 11AM we miraculously had the place almost to ourselves.. which never happens. We danced by the fountain, paused under the arch, and were generally just sort of swept along with happiness during that photo hour.

From there we dipped into Washington Mews – one of my favorite tucked away streets that you’ll likely recognize as we’ve taken plenty of blog photos there over the year. Again, it was blessedly empty so we could really just relax into the moment.

Our last shot of the morning was a recreation of one of Adam’s grandparent’s wedding photos. A small tribute to his Nana that we lost a few weeks earlier.

Afterwards, Leandra left for a break before returning later and Adam and I were alone. One of the things that was most important to me that day was that we actually get to spend as much of it together as possible. And so, on a corner of Washington Square Park, I changed into little lace ballet flats and we walked to pick up lunch. We stood in line, me holding a bouquet, him holding a cardboard ‘just married’ sign – ordering salads to go. Then we grabbed a cab and took them back to our hotel suite where we promptly changed into robes, ate lunch, talked about the morning, listened to our wedding playlist for that night and just reveled in it together for about an hour. It was one of the best parts of the day.

Then it was time for the shift to the second half of the day.. where time would begin to move much faster. Adam left to move to my sister’s hotel room with my brother in law, and my sister came to our room to start getting ready for the evening. The rest coming in part two!

A few photos from my own camera and iphone, but the majority are from Leandra Creative Co. – she was a dream to work with and we can’t recommend her enough!


Black Friday is a funny thing once you’ve seen behind the curtain of Ecommerce so to speak – it’s hard for me to shop a sale or visit a website without thinking of the team behind it. Spoiler: they’re working today. For most people this is a fun, long holiday weekend where they can get great discounts. For me, it’s my highest pressure work week of the year. My team and I (and we’re a small one, like a lot of Ecomm departments) will monitor/maintain our website for every waking hour until Cyber Monday. I made website changes at 7AM and have more to make at midnight tonight (it’s best to make major changes when traffic is low so you have to do it in “off” hours). This isn’t a complaint – many industries have busy seasons and it’s really energizing for my team to hit big goals and see months of our prep work pay-off. But more so to say, there’s a lot of work that goes into those fun sales – so be extra kind to customer service people this time of year and please be patient with your order shipping times. We’re doing our best.

With that, I’m sharing the best sales I’ve seen and exactly what I’m shopping or what I already own and love that might be of interest. As always, I so appreciate the support of those who shop through my links – it’s no extra cost to you but I receive a small affiliate commission – which helps me share more here! Enjoy the weekend friends.




  • I’ve been singing the praises of these wide leg trousers (shown in these pictures) to literally anyone that will listen – grab them for 50% off today and thank me later.
  • I wear these small hoop earrings at least twice a week – they’re 30% off right now and would make a great gift.
  • I’ve been burning this Votivo ‘Joie de Noel’ candle (lavender, cinnamon and patchouli) constantly. Starting this weekend I’ll break out the Sequoia Fir! All on sale.
  • My favorite jeans are 25% off right now (just under $115) – they have 0 stretch and a high waisted fit – take your regular waist size and then break them in to fit like a glove. I’m going to pick them up in another wash.
  • I’ve had a polaroid mini for about 5 years now and take it on all of our trips. So fun to have an instant souvenir photo in this digital world. We bought this one for guests to use at our wedding too. It makes a great gift!
  • I restocked my make-up bag before the wedding and Merit, my favorite clean beauty brands, is 20% off right now – I love their mascara, concealer, cream blush and highlighter
  • I bought these ankle boots before our honeymoon (20% off right now) and walked for a full day in Paris.. in brand new shoes.. on cobblestone.. and my feet were totally fine. I have 3 pairs from Inez now and they are all equally classic (yet feel modern and fashion-y), well-made and comfortable.
  • I own this classic cashmere sweater in about 4 colors already. They hold up so well and look great with everything. Size down if you want a more tailored/fitted look or take your regular size and it will have a little bit of drape/slouch to it. 40-50% off this weekend!
  • I’ve had my Sarah Flint black suede ‘Perfect Pumps’ for 3 years now and they still look brand new. They’re an investment but so timeless and truly the most comfortable stiletto I’ve ever worn. 30% off sitewide this weekend which is I think the best discount I’ve seen from them.
  • Completely frivolous but I bought this feather bag last year and it makes every holiday party more fun.
  • I got this long, classic camel coat on Black Friday last year and it’s back this year, 25% off again. I love that it goes easily from day to night and looks great with jeans or with dresses.
  • A few of my wear to work favorites are all 40% off at French Connection right now: this faux leather midi skirt, this bright tweed skirt and jacket set and this vest mini dress – so chic and can all be mixed and matched lots of different ways.
  • They seem specific but I’ve been wearing these silver mary janes quite a bit this fall and will be perfect for festivities this holiday season too. They’re 50% off today (just $60!).
  • I bought this classic top handle bag last Black Friday and have carried it easily 100 times since then. It looks far more expensive than its $150 sale price today.



You all know I love a great dress. And never more so than at the holidays. But recently.. trousers have entered the chat. It started with Talbots Weston Pants. I got them in classic black ahead of our honeymoon in Paris… and they just felt *so* chic. High waisted but not too high, slouchy but still tailored. Hard to wrinkle, went with everything. They were in short, the perfect pants. So when I saw them come out in a bright holiday red – I hit order asap. And then, because really why not, I spotted a similar style in festive plaid and grabbed those too.

They’re unexpected in comparison to say, a velvet dress, which is their appeal. But I’d argue equally stylish for a holiday work party, festive cocktails with friends or a family brunch. As you can see here – I couldn’t resist mixing and matching them lots of ways (see them all in motion in my video on Instagram here).

I took my regular size in these and they’re the perfect length (I’m 5’4″ and they puddle slightly with flats but are great with about a 2″ heel or more) and just a bit loose (I’d say if you can, size down). I’ll likely have my local tailor bring in the waist an inch or so – but for right now they work just fine with a belt and I kind of like the extra slouch.

So tell me – will you try wide leg trousers this holiday season?