Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011 Revisited

I'm alive! Sorry for the radio silence the past few days. I've been busssssy. Relaxing. Eating. Drinking wine. Sleeping. Enjoying the Holidays just as they should be enjoyed. Let's review...

I decided we don't eat enough au gratin potatoes in my family. So to remedy that, I gave each of my family members this Le Creuset au gratin baking dish and topped it off with a bundle of rustic potatoes. Anyone have other recipe suggestions for what to bake in this dish?

I baked more shortbread cookies with chocolate and walnuts. They were a hit.

I always joke that my very talented brother-in-law (the one who renovated a hoarder's house into the beautiful home it now is) is the living example of someone who lives creating himself. He's constantly picking up new hobbies. Learning new trades. Building furniture for my sister's and his home. If something is broke, he'll fix it. If he doesn't know how to fix it, he'll figure out how and then do it. Lucky for us...! We are on the receiving end of his newly acquired skills. For example, he gifted this hand-crafted cutting board to each of us. Isn't it stunning? Like a work of art for my counter-top. I'm pretty sure he'll be selling the fruits of his labor online soon. Stay tuned.

I gifted each of my best girlfriends these monogrammed letterpress notecards from Paper Source. They'd also make a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer (keep in mind for next year!).

Christmas morning, I rocked these Santa slipper socks, gifted to me from one my besties. They're fun.

In true Polish tradition, we do the big Christmas hurrah on Christmas Eve with extended family and all (it's called Wigilia - pronounced vee-GEEL-yah, and we eat fish and pasta instead of meat. Isn't learning fun?). So Christmas day dinner, there were just three of us. And I cooked. (If you know anything about me, cooking is not one of my strengths. But try, try, and try again I do...) And sometimes... I SUCCEED!

I used the simple pan-searing method to cook filet mignon with red wine reduction sauce. Use this simple four-ingredient recipe. It's supes easy and turns out delicious.

And I test-drove the au gratin pan I gave my mom and used The Pioneer Woman's recipe.

Sauteed some 'shrooms.

And serve.

The food was fancy...

...even though I was not. In honor of it being the happiest day of the year, I stayed in my pj's all day. It was gloooorious.

Naturally, Monday was spent sifting through sales and standing in lines at the mall. I avoid Black Friday like the plague but rejoice in the day-after-Christmas sales. I got some good deals, including this adorable coat from Anthropologie. It was originally $250. I paid $75. Win win. I have an irrational obsession with cute winter coats and own a couple more than anyone actually needs. But take my advice: ALWAYS buy your winter coat after Christmas and never pay more than half of what they originally charge. Or you're a fool. A fool I say!

I also invested in the 12" Le Creuset iron fry pan that I used to cook the filets. It was originally $150 on sale for $100 at Williams-Sonoma, and I used the $20 gift card I earned when I bought my family's Christmas gifts, so in the end, I paid $80. Wham bam thank you ma'am. How Everygirl of me?!

So that's what I've been up to.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Any great gifts or sale purchases you care to brag about?! Sorry I've been a bad blogger this week. Hope you forgive me!

Friday, December 23, 2011

We carried the tree home When Harry Met Sally style

Decorating the tree is one of my favorite things to do. I look forward to it all year. Fortunately, my roommate was just as eager to carry the tree home from the lot in true When Harry Met Sally city-dweller fashion. I mentioned last year that in lieu of a $100 tree skirt or something cheap and fuzzy from Target, I use two yards of burlap to hide the stand. $4 can buy you that much charm.

I'll be staying home for the holidays. Despite the lovely dusting last weekend, looks like it will be sunny and 40 degrees here Sunday. Lame. Either way, I'm excited to relax with the family for a few days. Games, wine, great food, and nonstop Michael Buble's Christmas await. What are all of your plans? Going anywhere? Some place warm?  Some place with snow?

Whatever you are doing, I truly hope you have a wonderful holiday, surrounded by the ones you love! Thank you so much for sticking with me all year. It means the world.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

And just when I tell the boys to dress all classy-like...

...I say this in the next breath.

I fully support cheeky style for the ladies. How flippin cute are these silly sweaters?! Sad bunny? Tiny hearts? French boys and a ginormous "A" for Alaina? I need to get my butt to Topshop!

Speaking of cheeky, I've also developed a slight obsession over this "LUST" pillow. Kind of need it on my bed.
Would it be funny? Or just hoochy? But like a classy hoochy since it's JonnyAdler. I'm hoping the first option. Feel free to weigh in in the comments!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Always dress like you're going to run into your ex." // Thoughts on Men's Fashion

Last week I heard what might quite possibly be one of the most brilliant concepts. "Always dress like you're going to run into your ex." And wait for it... it was a man who told me this. A very well-dressed man at that. It was his response to my compliment on his attire. I love it.

While this obviously applies to both men and women, I love knowing there are men out there who put some extra thought into what they put on every day rather than grabbing their solitary pair of jeans and crinkled Gap button-down. Granted, I love the Gap. But did anyone see Crazy, Stupid, Love? Ryan Gosling's: "Say it with me. I'm better than the Gap!" It made me chuckle. Mainly because I do wear Gap. Anyway, I digress...

Men's fashion doesn't have to be crazy. It's amazing what a simple sweater over a collared shirt, or a tailored button-down with tie (with jeans!), or a sport coat over a tee can do. Men are men. They are naturally sexy. Doesn't matter if their hair is a bit messy or their face is scruffy. They don't have to wear make-up. Or bras. Or Spanx. Or spend hours curling or straightening their hair. So it's nice when they take an extra five minutes putting together an unwrinkled, well-fitting outfit. Invest in one nice shirt, splurge on an amazing pair of shoes, add a couple sweaters to your wardrobe that don't have crewneck collars. Others will take notice.

All photos from Bright.Bazaar's Fashion Pinboard ---> great pinning, Will!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Everygirl Pins

Did you hear?! The Everygirl finally has Pinterest! And we've uploaded the full-size images from the teaser site for you to pin and share. It's fun to see the full sneak peeks of what the new site will be. The everygirl's home, the everygirl at work, the everygirl shopping affordable vintage... and so much more!

Be sure to "Follow All" so that you know when new boards go up!

photography by Danielle Moss for The Everygirl

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend in Instagram

1. Mother Nature got my letter! Woke up Saturday to a beautiful dusting.
2. Fell in love with this gold Stella McCartney clutch a friend brought out Saturday.
3. Yay for annual Secret Santa! Finally got the Easy Reader Timex watch I'd been wanting.
4. I also received these sparkling Kate Spade beauties. It's nice to know that your best friend knows you so well. Thanks, Fran! : )

And be sure to follow me on Twitter to get all LCY Instagrams!

Friday, December 16, 2011

An Open Letter to Mother Nature from a Chicago Girl

Dear Mother Nature,
Please snow. I don't know what kind of cruel tease these 45-55 degree days with sun and rain are, but it's mean and I don't like it. Christmas is a week away, and I'd much rather the streets and parks look like the photos above and not like the muddy mess we currently have. I know it's coming. I know you're going to screw us all over late into March with freezing temperatures and winter storm watches. So can't you just stop with the games, and give us a nice dusting this week? It simply doesn't feel like the holidays with this warm, dry nonsense.

Sincerely yours,

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Styling Secrets: What They Don't Show You At Home

Pssst.... hey you. Yeah, you. All of you coming here looking for style inspiration. You know those beautiful homes you see in magazines and on blogs and websites? The ones that look so perfect with their colorful flowers on the mantel and fresh bread on the kitchen counter they make you wonder why your home never looks so great? Well, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I'm about to show you what the rest of the room - the half of the room not seen through the lens - looks like. I present to you the job of a stylist.

I can only assume some of you remember the Jess LC photo shoot look book I styled back in September? This may jog your memory: Liz and myself sporting Jess LC scarves and iPad cases. Fancy.

What we didn't show you was the before photos. Liz and my clothes sprawled out around my bedroom, making it easier to put outfits together. Liz had to cart over several garment bags of clothes, and I unloaded a good fraction of the contents of my closets. It was a mess. And as you can see, Jess brought over several bags of Jess LC products and accessories, which so willingly took over my dining room table.

Similarly, you may recall the Refinery29 One Room/Two Ways feature I styled back in October. The photo shoot where I transformed my tiny office space into a dressing room, showing how a tenant could make practical use of the awkwardly small extra bedroom many Chicago apartments have.

 Well, this is what the rest of my house looked like while I worked on that project... (That doorway just beyond the TV is the entry to the office.)
The entire contents of my office exploded all over my living and dining room. It was crazy. And a bit inconvenient. I had to run around the city picking up items from my favorite retailers to style the new space, but the finished product made it all worth it.

So why am I talking about styling? Because despite the mess, despite the heavy lifting, despite the trial and error with seven different accents until realizing which item looks best in the shot, I've found it to be my new favorite job. I've been doing it nonstop for The Everygirl (and previously did it for Rue and several other freelance gigs), and I'm loving every minute of it. 

And while I've learned a lot with each new experience, I want to continue to get better at it! So I created a new Pinboard strictly for Styling inspiration, and I encourage all of you to check it out! And please feel free to peruse my styling portfolio while you're at it; I've included some of my favorite projects there. Plus, now you have an idea of what the rest of those beautiful rooms actually looked like in order to get those annoyingly perfect shots. 

Shh... don't tell anyone I told you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Big Announcement! The Everygirl launching February 2012

I am so excited to finally announce the upcoming launch of The Everygirl, the newest online resource helping shape creative, career-driven women in their twenties and thirties.

As you may have guessed since we've been attached at the hip - running around New York City and spending every night and weekend together (in addition to working our full-time jobs) - Danielle Moss of Breakfast at Toast and I teamed up this summer looking to create something new. Something relatable. Something real. And most importantly, something attainable for every girl everywhere.

From that, was born.

We'll be asking the questions no one else has asked. So whether it's an interview with the girl who started a blog and built a brand name for herself, the girl who saved her vacation days for a three-week romp around Europe, or the girl who stylishly decorated her home on a budget - we won't simply be looking at what they've done, we'll look at the steps they took to make it happen and what advice they have for others looking to do something similar.

You can also expect to find features on fashion, finance, entertaining, and more! We are working with business consultants, financial advisors, and stylists to bring you stories that are inspiring and budget friendly. After all, this site is for you - The Everygirl.

In all honesty, The Everygirl is a site I wish I had when I was 22, graduating from school without a single connection to call on, and wondering: Wow, what next? Where do I begin? How am I going to land my dream job? What is my dream job? Where am I going to live now that I'm on my own? How am I going to save any money when there are so many things I have to budget for (rent, utilities, dog bills, car payments, etc.) not to mention the things I'd rather be spending money on (dinners out, home decor, J.Crew's newest collection, a trip to Paris)? By featuring in-depth interviews with women who have done it and figured it out, The Everygirl plans to answer all of these questions and more.

And because I'm sure some of you are wondering, let me state for the record, no - The Everygirl is not an online magazine. While Danielle and I both love and regularly read online magazines, we immediately realized that was not the most effective format for displaying the type of content we want to offer readers. In fact, I'm proud and excited to say it's an entirely new platform designed by Danielle and myself (I told you we've been working around the clock). And we'll continue to be working right through our holiday breaks until February 2012, when the site goes live!

Until then, be sure to sign up for our newsletter, and please follow along with The Everygirl on Facebook and Twitter! And we will see you all in February!


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