LET’S CATCH UP 11.19.23

I’m officially in my annual Black Friday haaaze at work, but (as mentioned in my last post) trying desperately to maintain sanity and make the most of this special time of year. Sounds simple, right? I’ll let you know how it goes by December 31st.


  • I’ve been tasked with desserts this Thanksgiving (largely because I can buy them and I presume my family must feel safest that way) but I am attempting to make at least one thing from scratch and it’s my Mom’s beloved pumpkin roll recipe. Wish me luck. For posterity, I might also go armed with this festive seasonal non-alcoholic punch that surely I can’t mess up.
  • The 3 albums I’ve had on repeat lately – all of them are fun, upbeat and the type of synth-y 80s inspired pop that is a particular sweet spot in my musical taste. First, the new Cannons album ‘Heartbeat Highway’ – zero skips on this one, but I particularly love Sweeter and Cry Baby. Next up ‘1989 Taylor’s Version’, naturally. Those vault songs are just crushing me in the best way, especially Is It Over Now and Slut! An anthem. Last but not least, ‘Sting’ from Emarosa – we saw them play at a tiny venue in the West Village last month and they had such great energy. Their cover of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody is so fun and the song Cinnamon from the album mentioned is so good we put it on our wedding playlist.
  • Life has really thrown me some curveballs since we got back from our honeymoon and without getting into the details, it hasn’t been the easiest couple of months. Which has delayed my recap of our wedding day much more than I’d originally planned – I just haven’t had the bandwidth. But! It’s finally coming later this week – so stay tuned 🙂


  • I’m way behind my reading goal for the year – 40 books read with a goal of 52. In an effort to give myself some extra grace (perpetual goal hitter that I like to be), I’m trying to just focusing on reading books I think I’ll love for the rest of the year. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett is still high on that list of hopefuls but I also just picked up a used copy of My Life in France by Julia Child that’s calling to me.
  • I wasn’t willing to shell out the money to buy the Britney Spears’ memoir myself, but my celeb-loving sister did and so I’m once again benefitting from her hand-me-downs. I started this yesterday and will probably finish this weekend. Pamela Anderson, Monica Lewinsky, Britney Spears.. these women were all of an era when the press/public made a mockery of them and I’m glad they’re all getting a moment to finally find their voices again.
  • I just finished Sloane Crosley’s essay collection I Was Told There’d Be Cake and while I thought some essays were stronger than others, overall it was a fun read full of sharp observations and relatable self-deprecation. I’d give it 3.5-4 stars.
  • As I always do – next weekend I’ll share my list of holiday reads! It’s one of my favorite posts of the year and one of my favorite December traditions. If you’re new here, I let my self revel in the literary equivalents of watching a Hallmark movie while sipping hot cocoa all month long. Last year’s post here.


  • I saw this plaid taffeta skirt at last week’s Talbots holiday party and immediately swooned. I’m placing my order ASAP as I’m always worried about sizes selling out.
  • I’m going to get one of our wedding photos (or maybe this one from our honeymoon) printed and put it in this sweet ceramic frame – will drop it in Adam’s stocking for Christmas!
  • I am really in need of a couple of new belts and it’s been strangely hard to find something I like in between cheap $30 options and $$$ designer options. So far I like this neutral one that has interesting but still understated gold hardware.
  • The way I cannot stop thinking about this mixed plaid fitted vest. It’s on sale but still pricey.. I’m keeping in my cart hoping that the Black Friday gods are good to me and it goes on further sale?
  • Totally different, but while we’re on the matter of vests – this fair isle option is much more budget friendly. I’d wear with a fitted black turtleneck and wide leg jeans.
  • A silly, small thing: I love these crystal accented socks – I’d wear with silver heels and a mini or cuffed jeans and loafers.
  • J.Crew’s cashmere sweaters rarely go on sale – I’m using the early Black Friday sale as my chance to pick up this cropped crewneck in a classic charcoal for just under $80.
  • Adam and I are finally crossing Waverly Inn off our New York restaurant bucket list with a reservation next Friday night and this long-sleeved rose print dress looks like just the thing to wear. Romantic and dressy enough with red lips and sheer black tights, but not over the top.




About a month into planning the wedding, I made the definitive decision to do my own hair and make-up. I partially hated the idea of giving up hours in the middle of that precious day to a formal appointment with strangers when I could spend that time with Adam and my family/closest friends instead.. and I also was frankly still traumatized by having my hair/make-up done at previous weddings and feeling so overly “done” that I didn’t even recognize myself in photos afterwards. I wanted to look back on the moments from that day and – even if I didn’t look totally glam or filtered to perfection – feel like I saw an accurate reflection of myself. In seeing the early photos, I’m so happy I stuck with that decision.

That being said – I did want to make an investment in both my skincare leading up to that day and also properly stock my make-up bag – for admittedly the first time in my adult life. I’ve tried a lot of new products in the last three months but below are the ones that I found to be truly fool proof (this coming from a 30-something woman who had to google “at what step do you put concealer on?”) and have been singing the praises of ever since. I will absolutely be restocking all of the below when they run empty.

1. Elemis Resurfacing Pads*: My face never feels better at night then when I’ve washed it and used one of these resurfacing pads. They are like a toner plus light exfoliant all in one so my skin feels truly clean and smooth afterwards. I can’t say it’s these for sure but I swear I don’t think I’ve had a single break-out since I’ve started using them a few times a week.

2. Saie Dew Blush in Poppy: A soft foamy applicator and a bright, coral color (a little goes a long way) that made me feel like an actual *blushing bride* for the daytime hours. I wear now whenever I feel like I want a brighter, livelier splash of color on my cheeks.

3. Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Wedding Belles: I wanted a simple, soft pink/neutral lip color for daytime for the wedding and this aptly named one was perfect. I started with a matching lipliner and then added a touch of gloss too and it felt fresh and not too heavy. I’ve been wearing the same combo often since then. Not just for wedding days my friends!

4. John Frieda Lightening Shampoo*: Purple shampoo can be hit or miss for me, but I love this brightening shampoo for keeping my blonde super light and cool in tone without being a heavy, staining purple and also actually feels like it nicely cleans my hair. Plus – I like that I can pick it easily at my local drugstore.

5. YSL Lash Clash Extreme Mascara: I’ve been routinely using the Merit Mascara for about a year now (the one decent thing previously in my makeup bag) and it’s fantastic for a really clean long lash for daytime. But I wanted a little extra volume and oomf for the wedding evening reception. I saw @stillintribeca share this on Instagram Stories and, since she has impeccable taste, figured I’d give it a try. I loooove it. Really glam big lashes but not overly clumpy or fake looking. It’s my official date night go-to now.

6. Anastasia Beverly Hills Precision Brow Pencil in Taupe: I have a fear of too dark brows with my light hair.. but also have more delicate eyebrows that need a little something extra or else my whole face feels lost. It’s a tricky balance. I’d heard good things about this brand and am so glad I finally tried it because the soft pencil end gives a smooth color and then the brush end fluffs things up – all resulting in a natural but fuller looking brow. Bingo.

7. Elemis Superfood Midnight Facial*: This nighttime face cream has the most delicious, plump smooth texture to it that magically seems to transfer to your skin’s texture overnight. Plus a subtle watermelon-y scent that seems like it would be too fruity or sweet but is mys Again – I can’t say for sure – but I think it’s helped to reduce some fine lines and at the very least makes my skin feel hydrated, softer and smoother.

8. Merit Highlighter in Cava: I swear this is like instant good lighting. Like you’re just come in out of the sun and are slightly glistening. I add to my brow bones, top of cheek bones and lightly on the tip of my nose. It’s fool proof though.

9. Jones Road Miracle Balm in Flushed*: As Taylor Swift sings “I don’t like anticipating my face in a red flush”.. but in this case I very much do like it. Flushed is the exact right word for how this lightly dewy balm looks on my cheeks, nose and lips. It’s buildable and lightweight and just feels.. good. It’s price tag is higher but the pot of this stuff is huge so I imagine it’s going to last me a long time.

10. Merit Concealer in Camel: A new MVP in my make-up bag! I’ve always been a little bit afraid of concealer because I thought it would look caked on or not be a good skin match.. it turns out when you find the right product that doesn’t happen. This battles sun spots, dark circles, redness, etc. like a true champ and never looks creased or cake-y.

11. Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette: I love the range of neutral to rosy/warm colors in this palette (they all feel soft and romantic) and the color really stays. I tend to go with just a single neutral for day and then layer more shades for evenings out.

12. Lumineux Whitening Strips: I was skeptical when I saw influencers talking about these teeth whitening strips on Instagram, but I wanted to try something before all of the wedding photos.. and I wouldn’t lie to you – I found these to work really well! I love that they’re non-toxic and good for sensitive teeth (I can’t do Crest White Strips) – I have a few “bright spots” on my teeth directly after use, but I do them at night and by the morning they’re gone and my teeth have a nice even color. I’ve been doing 1-2x per week and truly my teeth are noticeably brighter! I’m going to keep up with them.

13. Living Proof Dry Shampoo: I’ve been searching for a new dry shampoo for what has felt like years. I heard Jen Shoop of The Fashion Magpie rave about these and, again as someone who I think have great taste, she didn’t steer me wrong. The formula is lightweight, the smell is lovely without being overpowering and it gives me an honest to god fresh blow-out look on second day hair. Consider it an auto buy.


*Indicates items generously gifted by the brand, but as always – I only share what I truly love!


I’m in firm denial that summer is halfway over (this every day is a thunderstorm weather is reallyyy putting a damper on things) – but I have managed to put a few outfits together lately that I’ve liked so I figured I’d share a few here. A mix of date nights and work days mostly.


Theory Jacket (old), JCrew T-Shirt and Slip Skirt, Straw Bag bought in Paris, Loeffler Randall Sandals

Alexis Bittar Earrings, Abercrombie Shirt (old), Neely & Chloe Bag (old), Abercrombie Pants, Coach Sneakers (old)

Few Moda Dress (gifted), Marc Fisher Sandals (old)

J.Crew Shirt (old), Boden Shorts, Inez Sandals (gifted, use code: thesteelemaiden15 for 15% off your order!)

Banana Republic Vest and Shorts, Alexis Bittar Bangle, J.Crew Sandals and Bag (old)

Few Moda Dress (gifted), Talbots Sandals (old)

LET’S CATCH UP 2.17.23

I joked on Instagram the other day that I’m in my hermit era.. but in reality I feel this way every year around this time. I haven’t shopped since before the holidays/our trip to London (my goal is to get through February! 2 whole months!), in fact I haven’t done much of anything this year besides go to work, read, work-out, repeat. That being said – my daydreams are making up for the lack of excitement in my current calendar. Below, what’s on my mind, on my bookshelf and in my cart as we kick off a new week.


  • I can’t quite wrap my mind around the level of devastation from the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey. Here’s an article that provides a good handful of resources for how to help.
  • Are you waiting any good TV or movies lately? I want to finally watch Don’t Worry Darling and try Reese Witherspoon & Ashton Kutcher’s new rom-com on Amazon Prime.
  • It will surprise absolutely no one that I’m itching for a quick warm weather getaway. Any suggestions for places that are a quick flight from New York, offer white sand and clear oceans and won’t blow my budget?



  • I’m doing my damnedest to get through February without shopping (January is already in the bag!). But when I do start up again I’ll be looking to thoughtfully add a few transition pieces to my wardrobe. This striped cardigan feels like it would fit the bill. And this slightly cropped option is cute too and would pair well with spring dresses in months to come.
  • When bare leg weather arrives, I’d love to welcome it wearing this denim skirt and jacket set or this bright chartreuse gingham set. I’d pair them with socks and penny loafers.
  • I know I’ve still got a few months, but how fun would this disco ball dress be for the Taylor Swift concert on my birthday in May?
  • This woven leather shoulder bag looks way more expensive than it’s $139 price tag belies. A great transitional color too.
  • I’m in need of some new pants for work after a subway door incident caused a slashed rip in my favorite black pair. I’m going to give this high waisted pair a try.



It’s officially the season for boots. A no brainer with a pair of jeans and just as easy with a dress – I love the versatility of a great pair of boots this time of year. I’ve been wearing the two black pairs in row 2 (lug sole and patent pointy toe) for several years now and I just got the middle pair in the top row and am SO excited to break them out.

While some of these are a bigger investment – I really believe in putting a bit of money into a great pair of boots or two that you know you’ll wear constantly and will hold up for years to come. I own about half of the pairs shown here and can personally vouch for the quality and comfort – and the others are all from brands that I really trust and love.

Row 1, Boot 3: Code: Steele15 gets you 15% off your first order with Inez.

Row 3, Boot 2: Code: SARAHFLINT-BASTEELE gets you $50 off your first order with Sarah Flint.