Giving someone a gift that they really love is one of the best things about the holidays – it’s such a great feeling to see a smile light up their face as they open it. When it comes to holiday shopping though, I’m terrible at it – I get overwhelmed by the holiday crowds and never seem to find that special something that I’m looking for. With that in mind, I thought I’d put together these holiday gift guides with the hope that they can help you too – I must say, even if you don’t know if the girl you’re shopping for is a Candy, Meadow, Lou or Ginger, you really can’t go wrong with any of these items!
This weekend was my favorite kind of weekend. Sleep in Saturday morning, wake up bleary eyed and warm under my blankets, throw on some clothes and head to my nearby bar for a leisurely brunch. The fire is crackling and the burning wood is a welcome scent in the morning. Then we’re off on a mission to find a vintage camera strap for my new camera. I tried some of the local Old City boutiques but no luck at any of those (although I did walk out of one with a cozy new sweater with suede elbow patches). We stopped at a couple thrift and antique stores in the South Street/Bella Vista area before making our way back to Old City for the night – the photos below are from Anastacia’s Antiques, a pretty cool spot on Bainbridge between 6th and 7th, and we also stopped at Retrospect on South Street, which usually has some great vintage finds. The holidays have really taken over the city and I find myself craving a heavy snow fall… I love it when the streets are blanketed in white drifts of silence.
If any of you have any tips on where to find that elusive vintage camera strap… holler!
This week’s style file is an FP girl through and through. She’s been working for the brand almost five years now, and she has the styling down pat. It goes something like: layer, layer, layer, awesome ankle-cut shoes, necklace, necklace, necklace, and then a fist full of rings. In writing it sounds like it’d be too much, but in person and in the photos you can see that it goes together amazingly. What do I want to rip off her most though? The jewelry. This girl has a collection that I think any girl would lust after. It’s full of rough stones, hammered metals, and ethnic engravings. She has a lot of artisan pieces that are funky and one of a kind.
Nothing like a great bulldog face…
Her friend gave her the binocular necklace when she moved away so that she could always see home (Chicago) from Philly. What a cute friend!
She may have moved to Pennsylvania, but her new plates are still Illinois.
We’re 24 hours into our journey, having fun during our layover in Seoul, Korea. 5 more hours to go and we’ll be in Hanoi! At 6 am we hit the road for a 5 hr trek to Halong Bay, where we’ll be shooting on the beautiful junk boats. Stay tuned!
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I tend to find that in the weeks following Thanksgiving I’m in major need of detox. After letting my gluttony run wild, I turn to the juicer and salads for almost every meal. Plates get piled high with antioxidant and vitamin-rich ingredients to get myself feeling normal again. That’s not to say that things get boring. Au contraire. This recipe is one of the creations I put together when in need of salad creativity. The combination of flavors sounds absurd, but one taste and it’s more like absurdly amazing. Each bite is full of mouthwatering freshness – making it tough to stop eating, but with such healthy ingredients, it’s okay. (Did you know that the calcium in Kale is easier for the body to absorb than milk? And, both butternut squash and pomegranates are FULL of antioxidants.) I swear you’ll fall in love with this one…
1 Butternut Squash
½ Cup of Sunflower Seeds
1 Medium Bunch of Red Kale
½ a Lemon
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
3 Tbsp. Sesame Oil (1Tbsp. for squash and 2 Tbsp. for dressing)
Preheat oven to 400F. Peel and cube your butternut squash, then toss it in a bowl with sesame oil, and spread it out on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet.
Place the butternut squash into the oven to cook until tender (approx 25 min). While it’s cooking, seed your pomegranate, chop your kale, and place it into a large bowl. Squeeze your half lemon over the mixuture, sprinkle with salt, and stir it up. This will help to begin softening your kale so it’s not extremely stiff and crunchy.
Once your squash is cooked, let it cool for about ten minutes, and then mix all of the rest of your ingredients together, and serve.
On a small island in the Aegean Sea, sits a paradise of whitewashed buildings and bright blue roofs, so blue they blend in with the sky. The island, officially called Thira, is Santorini – essentially the remains of a volcanic explosion that destroyed the earliest settlements that were once one large single island. The volcano left behind a caldera – a massive lagoon with steep cliffs surrounding it. It was one of the largest eruptions in history, and some believe it may have contributed to the legend of the lost city of Atlantis. An air of mythology settles over the buildings and cliffs, and I can imagine wandering through winding, narrow cobblestone walkways and imagining the stories they hold. Today the island’s economy relies largely on tourism, and it’s easy to see why. The sloping cliffs allow for stunning views at almost any point on the island and the stark white of the architecture creates a clean, cool setting that would be hard not to find relaxing. Just looking at photos of Santorini can make you feel refreshed – it has quickly moved up to the top of my list of places I want to go.
Our holiday party last night was so much fun! To create the atmosphere of a masquerade ball, Building 543 was transformed with magical lights, bartenders who served champagne while hanging upside down, a ceiling of silver balloons, face-painting stations and touches of Parisian mystique throughout.
Let’s meet the lucky lady who won this year’s win your wishlist contest! Get to know a bit about her and why she picked the items that she won :)
Jessica, Sandy Hook Connecticut
What do you love most about the holiday season?
I love to give presents! I always know it’s a great present for a girlfriend if I want it too : ). I also can’t forget about all of the magical decorations and lights!
What are your favorite activities this time of year?
I like to listen to Christmas music and bake festive treats! Cuddling by the fireplace is a favorite also.
How would you describe your style? And, what Free People girl are you?
My style tends to fluctuate with how I feel that day, week or month! I’m probably a mix of boho gypsy and rocker hippie child at the moment haha. I love statement accessories and anything that looks unique. I’m definitely a Meadow girl.
What is your favorite fashion trend this season?
I LOVE feathers, I’m also loving how 60s and 70s style is back!
What is your motto?
It’s hard for me to choose just one! But if I had to wrap them all up into a ball I would say: to seek happiness with whatever you do, always be kind because you never know what someone else is going through, and have a sense of humor because no one gets out alive :)
1. New Romantics Sequin Button Down – As soon as I saw this in the catalog it went right on my wish list! I love a little sparkle and the copper sequins go so wonderfully with the off-white/ivory color of this shirt.
2. Roaring Bead Collar – This necklace is such a great statement. It will dress up just about anything you put on and I can just imagine it for a night out!
3. Lace Curtain Top – I had to get this because I love lace! This top is much more beautiful in person and hangs on the body so well. I might have to wait for warmer weather to wear this one though!
4. Victorian Romance Fringe Top – Talk about summer of ’69 this top is upscale Woodstock at it’s finest!
5. Sunset Beach Hoodie – I love over-sized clothing almost as much as I love hoods! So this pullover was perfect for me; can’t wait to wear it to the beach.
6. Le Deux Velvet Tunic – The perfect New Years Eve dress. The material and pattern of this dress are to die for. This is truly a unique piece!
7. Fp One Love in Florals Boxer – These are just so adorable. They will have so many uses; Pj’s, summer shorts, I could pair them with a sweater and leggings. Endless options :)!
By now I’m sure you all know who Abigail is. And, from her frequent popping up here on the blog, you can probably tell that she and I are attached at the hip. She is a loyal and loving companion who trots along next to me wherever I go. When people say that they and their pet were meant to be, I completely understand. Abigail’s my goof and I’m her ball, we’re two peas in a pod…
She doesn’t chew, she doesn’t bite, she comes when she’s called, but Abigail has another problem…
Abigail barks. She doesn’t do it when I’m home, but as soon as I leave, she raises an objection that bothers my neighbor to no end. I get it. I wouldn’t want to listen to it either. But for Abigail the separation anxiety is too much to handle, and she doesn’t know what else to do.
I’ve decided that this isn’t a matter I’m just going to give up on, so a friend of mine put me in touch with her friend that is a dog behaviorist. Stressed and desperate, I got on the phone with her to explore possible solutions.
The psychology behind separation anxiety in dogs turns out to be a fascinating topic. It seems that one of the major solutions is steadily training your dog over time to understand that you are the alpha dog, not them. Since I’ve learned this, I verbally remind Abigail every morning as she stretches awake that I am in fact the alpha dog (this wasn’t one of the trainer’s suggestions, but it’s nonetheless effective and entertaining). The idea behind establishing your dominance is that they will understand it as their duty to be left behind.
So how am I establishing myself in my new role? Little tricks like running my hand through her food and not letting her eat till I say so. With my permission to eat food coated with my scent, she understands that the food she is getting is a generous act of kindness. I am the alpha dog. We’ve also been working on perfecting heel. Abigail should never lead – I walk out the door first; I set the pace; I choose where we go; and it all needs to be done with calm. Her world needs to be zen so that the general state of being will transfer to moments when I’m not around.
Another thing the trainer suggested to calm her down is a Thundershirt (pictured below). Derived from technology used in children with Autism, the contraption fits the dog snuggly and has a calming, anti-anxiety effect. Each time I mention it, I like to shout the word “Thundershirt!” as if it were a superhero call, think, “superman!” (not normal, but I’m the alpha dog so whatever…). To keep it clear – the way in which it should be said – I will include an exclamation mark to spell it out.
The Thundershirt! directions instructed that the Thundershirt! make a peace offering the first time it’s presented to the dog
As you can tell, I’m trying to have a lighthearted approach to the situation, but I’m not going to lie – it’s tough at times. I have amazing support from my friends, yet there are still moments where I can’t help but think how free I’d feel should I hand her off to my parents (who would gladly steal her from me as it is). Whenever I’m questioning if it’s worth it, she’ll conveniently plop her head down on my leg and stare up at me – her big brown eyes peeking out behind wild tufts of hair and melting my heart. It reminds me that I can’t give up on her.
Stay tuned for updates on Abigail’s journey to the bottom of the pack (or should I say my journey to Alpha dogness?). If any of you have gone through similar issues, or have tips on how to deal with separation anxiety in dogs, please share. My ears are open and I’d love to hear what you all have to say.