Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Friday! And Happy Long Weekend!
So much to celebrate today. Love, Fridays, weekends... three of my favorite things. And my favorite things make me pretty darn happy, so I am in good spirits.
But let's be honest: this time of year blows the big one. It's freezing outside, the heater's blazing inside, and our skin and emotional well-being suffer. Valentine's Day carries with this this massive burden of expectation -- will I have a Valentine? Won't I? If I have one, will he/she actually do something for me? Will he/she do enough? What should I do for him/her? What if I don't do enough? It's all just too much.
And to top it off, my skin is so dry I can think of nothing else! I'm serious. Skin. On the mind. All the time. And not in a sexy way.
I have naturally dry skin, and in the winter, it is uncomfortably so. By this time every year, all I can think about is simultaneously lying on a warm, sunny Caribbean beach and bathing in a deep vat of heavy moisturizer (that's disgusting, I know, but I'm serious, my skin is that unhappy, and I haven't truly seen the sun since, like, September, so this really is my fantasy right now). My skin is dry, itchy, flakey, whiter-than-a-ghost... It's just all around unpleasantness for everyone involved. It's a vicious cycle. My skin bothers me. I complain incessantly to Matt. Matt's skin bothers him. He complains incessantly to me. And so on. It's a fun, sexy time for us here in the Kelly household:
So given all of that, why am I so happy on this glorious Valentine's Day that is also a Friday that is also the Friday before a long weekend? Because soon -- not now, but in, like, the next 3-5 business days depending on weather patterns -- my over-parched skin is going to get hydrated in disgustingly luxurious style, and I just can't contain my excitement. Matt and I are not doing Valentine's Day gifts for each other this year, but he ordered this Jo Malone's Lime Basil & Mandarin Body Crème, $75, from Nordstrom.com yesterday as a sign of love and affection. I got stressed, because I have not ordered him a gift, and this crème certainly seems like a gift, so the balance of love and power is all off suddenly, but he claims it is not a gift because I would have ordered it for myself anyway (true), so really it's a wash. I also think he ordered it so he could secretly use it on his own lizard-y skin (much like I enjoy buying things for him that really I want for myself). This non-gift is due to arrive early next week, and I am very much looking forward to ripping open the box and luxuriating in the heavenliness that is this body crème. My skin desperately needs a little lovin'.
Which brings me to this: Love is a many-splendored thing, and it's important to say "I love you" daily to others and to ourselves -- and that means our skin. And often, we forget to do just that.
As you may have guessed by now, nothing says "I love you" quite like this Jo Malone moisturizer (many might argue with me that there are other ways to say it, but I stand by my word). I have tried many a moisturizer in my life, and none has ever actually uttered or compelled my skin to utter the words "I love you," but Jo Malone has come close. Actually, I take that back. Jo Malone has.
Allow me to explain: You twist off the cap of this large glass tub and are immediately hit with the most heavenly scent ever. Music starts to play, slowly and quietly at first, and you're confused because you certainly did not turn on any music and it was definitely not Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons. "You're just too good to be true..." you hear. You shake your head, but decide to move on. You dip your finger in the pot of heaven -- careful not to take too much, because that sh*t ain't cheap and you want that pot of gold to last for as long as humanly possible. "You'd be like heaven to touch..." the music continues. You shake your head again. This music is weird, but it's true, this luxurious crème actually feels like heaven. You slather it on your dry, thirsty skin, and suddenly the song fast forwards two minutes and fireworks are going off around you and your skin is shouting "I LOVE YOU, BABY...!" from the rooftops as you pat yourself on the back for being such a great inhabitant of your previously love-starved body. You're still a little confused about how a body crème managed to serenade your skin (or did your skin serenade it? it's all very unclear), but you're thrilled because you feel human again and suddenly the fact that it's February and you haven't experienced climate-produced heat or daylight in half a year doesn't seem to matter quite so much.
You've said "I love you" to your skin. And your skin has said "....ditto."
Before this year, I never would have spent $75 on body cream for myself, but my dear friend Emily (yes, the one who gave me that lovely candle I blogged about earlier this week) gave it to me last year along with the Jo Malone candle that I blogged about in December (she is a really good gift giver!), and I have since become addicted. Nothing else will do. I ran out of it a few weeks ago, and have been just distraught ever since. So distraught that even Matt has attempted to justify the crème's practicality. Why, it's so practical that I actually need it. And as he has generously pointed out, the last pot lasted for over a year, so really, on a per-use basis, it's not that expensive it all. Excellent point indeed, my husband. And so, when the box arrives next week, I shall say to him -- and to the crème -- "ditto."
You're worth the splurge. Go for it. Your skin will thank you. And your state of mind will improve drastically. Sometimes you can buy happiness. And love.
Happy Valentine's Day! Happy lovin'!
It's Day Three of Kate's Favorite Things (and likely the final day... but who knows, there might be more)! I had high hopes of doing many days of this (it is seriously fun to log all of my favorite things), but I'm getting foot surgery tomorrow and will need to take a little hiatus from the blogosphere. I had hoped to cover clothing gifts at some point (amongst many, many other things!), but I just haven't gotten my act together. Forgive me, please? I promise when I'm back to blog all about my favorite fashion picks! In the meantime, I'll give you a tip: Whether you're shopping for a guy or a gal, just go to J.Crew and call it a day. Cashmere sweaters and accessories. Plaid shirts. 30% off. Done. Everyone loves themselves some cashmere sweaters, cozy accessories and wintery plaid shirts come December, and I'm sure that whatever you choose will look ravishing on the recipient and envelop them in your friendly, loving gesture.
But if you don't necessarily want to give clothes... read on! Today's topic is HOME, and I am super excited about everything on this list. Prices range from $10 to $160, and you can't go wrong with any of these items. Enjoy!
Kate's Favorite Things - Home Edition!
Crate & Barrel Camille 23 oz. Red Wine Glass, $10.36 each (on sale from $12.95), from Crate & Barrel
Are you a Scandal watcher? I thought so. I'll bet you've noticed that Olivia Pope likes to relax at the end of the day with a ginormous glass of wine. I'll bet you like the glasses she drinks out of. Who wouldn't? They're awesome.
THIS THE GLASS SHE DRINKS OUT OF. Unfortunately, I'm not the only person who figured this out, and the rest of the world has placed an order and drained C&B's supply, so they're backordered until March. But I have hope that they'll ship sooner. If you've got a real Scandal fan (and a fan of elegantly ginormous wine glasses), I'll bet they're willing to wait a few months to get their hot little hands on these bad boys so that they too can relax at the end of a hard day of crisis control and totally inappropriate affairs whilst wearing the white hat.
Crate & Barrel also has a smaller 13 oz. white wine glass that's a little less cool and isn't quite what Olivia owns, but it has the bonus of being available for consumption now and also isn't so comically large.
Compagnie de Provence Olive Lavender Perfume Diffuser, $25.00, from Compagnie de Provence
I recently tested every lavender scented diffuser that the Gracious Home store had to offer. I bought two, this one (which I'm raving about now) and this one (beautiful and smells amazing up very close, but it overall packs very little punch - also beware that if it drips on a wood surface, it will eat away the finish). The Compagnie de Provence Olive Lavande diffuser is far and away the most incredible scent I've ever smelled. You know by now that I love lavender... but I never would have thought that mixing it with olive would produce such an intensely delightful experience. It smells like fresh air and Provence. It's refreshing, relaxing and just generally amazing. I put ours in the bedroom and plan to place a few more throughout the apartment. Give this to any Francophile or lover of things that smell amazing. And trust me: buy one for yourself.
One note: The company claims that this will last 8-10 weeks. I don't know how that is possible. Mine lasted almost exactly a month (I distinctly remember buying it on Veterans' Day), and the oil has been aggressively wicked away to the last drop. I don't know if I had particularly thirsty reeds or if all of the diffusers are like this, but it's worth mentioning. And perhaps that's why it makes a room smell so darn phenomenal (the other diffuser that I bought has barely budged, but you also barely notice the scent). I am not a fan of how quickly this diffuser must be replaced, but it certainly hasn't stopped me from placing another order (and I just learned that they sell a refill, though it's out of stock). Once you smell this scent, you won't be able to live without it.
Venturi Wine Aerator, $29.95 (on sale from $39.95), from Williams Sonoma
This little thing is just awesome, and everyone should have one in their home. It's a little wine aerator and it works magic by frothily aerating your wine as you pour it into your glass. It makes a very bizarre and distinct sucking/gurgling sound that you'll come to associate with the delightful experience. Give it to everyone on your list who likes wine; buy one for yourself too.
Mariposa Individual Pearled Wavy Bowl, $48.00, from Mariposa
My obsession with Mariposa began in 2010 when my friend Stephanie gave us this bowl as a shower gift. The undulating lines paired with the pearl trim are just gorgeous, and the silver is beautiful. It's a great piece to have in the living room. I like to leave it empty, but it would also beautifully display nuts or candies for a party.
Jo Malone™ 'English Pear & Freesia' Scented Home Candle, $65 from Norstrom.com
Jo Malone is just synonymous with luxury. I've been giving the Lime, Basil & Mandarin candle as a gift for years whenever I want to give something extra special, but I actually did not get to have the privilege of owning one of my very own until last year, when my friend Emily gave me the English Pear & Freesia version. OMG is it incredible. I actually squealed with glee when I got the package -- the package comes just bursting with beautiful scent (I think they spray the box down so it's extra scentsational) and triggers instant euphoria, and as you tear into it, the scent just gets more magnificent, decadent and all-consuming. Emily also gave me the Lime, Basil & Mandarin body crème, $75, which I am pretty certain is heaven in a jar.
Waylande Gregory Green Leopard Print Coasters, $90, from Zhush.com
I'm moderately obsessed with Waylande Gregory pottery and home goods. I learned of him for the first time when Matt and I were in California over the summer, and now I am hooked. Waylande Gregory (1905-1971) was an artist and art deco sculptor from Kansas (yes!) credited with revolutionizing art deco ceramics sculpture. Now his name lives on with Waylande Gregory Studios after the great-grandnephew discovered "a treasure trove" of Waylande's work. Everything from the collection is fantastic -- I seriously cannot pick a favorite, as you'll see below -- but these coasters are a nice price point, super useful (we all need coasters and never think to buy them for ourselves) and that emeraldy green color is just incredible. As is the fabulous leopard. I'm obsessed.
Simon Pearce Woodbury Bowl - S, $95.00, from Simon Pearce
Everything about this piece is beautiful and elegant and would fit into any home. Our Aunt Susan gave this to us as an engagement gift, and I've just loved it ever since. Simon Pearce is a sure bet for holiday gift giving.
Waylande Gregory Small Tiger Gray Bullet Bowl, $135, from Orange and Pear
These little bullet bowls are adorable and a nice little size (4.5" across) to add a pop to your side table. They're also great for holding little things like earrings or rings next to your bed. There are a lot of different options, but I like this tiger. Its lines are very elegant and feminine, but the coloring is masculine, so the overall look of the bowl is not overtly girly. This brown leopard version is also really great.
Note, the bowl is a little bit elevated (1.5") and tapered on the bottom. It's hard to see in the photo, but it's an elegant touch and helps the bowl look a bit more dainty.
Waylande Gregory Gold and Orange Small Square Elephant Tray, $160, from Zhush.com
I'm just obsessed with every aspect of this dish, for reasons you can probably guess based on my previous posts: elephants, orange, gold, whimsy, and a touch of practicality. I love when whimsy and practicality meet! This dish is just the shizz. We happened upon it when we were in San Francisco and bought it as a wedding gift -- and liked it so much that we bought an extra one for ourselves... it's a tad embarrassing to admit, but having this dish in my living room is totally worth the shame.
I'm sure I will be back in a few days, but if not, I hope you have the happiest of holidays!! Let me know what you give as gifts!
It's Friday, which means we are but a few short hours away from stripping off the work wear and throwing on our favorite weekend wear. (Yay!)
For the past two years, skinny black jeans have been my fall and winter weekend staple. While there are a lot of great black skinny jeans options out there, I am particularly into the J.Crew toothpick jean in pitch black wash, which fit great (they are très slimming - seriously, there's something magical in them) and (when a good 25% off sale is running) are a much better price point than the more "designer" brands. I am 5'7" (though "legally" I am 5'8" (according to my license)), and the length (28" inseam) is just right on me. If you're any taller, I'd upgrade to the "tall" (30" inseam). If you're much shorter, J.Crew unfortunately doesn't carry this jean in a petite, but they offer free alterations if you purchase with a J.Crew credit card (which also offers generous end of season gift card "rewards"). Warning: there is a moment of fear as you squeeze these puppies on ("OMG they're never going to get past my knees!"), but then suddenly, voilà!, you're in. And they fit. Like an incredibly slimming glove.
Wear these jeans during the day with a great pair of boots (like these Frye "Smith Engineer Booties, $297.95 - I'm partial to the black - or this Donald J. Pliner "Diem" Boot, which is on sale for $260.90 and I am flat out dying over) and a button front shirt (like the classic utilitarian J.Crew chambray "keeper" shirt, $78) or even a t-shirt (love the J.Crew vintage tee in white, heather chrome, deep pine or warm ash) with a cozy sweater (like this Vince sweater coat, $475 + 25% off = $380) or, on cooler days, a collarless car or pea coat (like this Vince military jacket, on sale for $525 (down from $750!) + 20% off = $420).
Wear them at night with a gorgeous silk blouse (like this Vince one, $265 + 20% off = $212, or this other Vince one I died over in Wednesday's post)and great flats or heels with a fabulously cut blazer (like this Theory one, $415 - 20% = $332) and, in colder weather, an incredible coat (like this insanely awesome DVF coat, on sale for $556.60 (down from $795!) + 20% off = $445.20) (all of the above are at Bloomies with code FRIENDS).
Note: The deep black wash (which I love) tends to fade over time, giving it a grungier, less evening-appropriate look (though still totally great for casual weekend days). I had to rebuy the same pair this fall that I'd purchased last fall, but I got them during a big sale that helped lessen the blow. JCrew runs sales often. They're running a big sale on their sale items right now (sale squared!), as they often do to clear out merchandise, and that usually means that after a week or so of no deals, they'll run a 25% off sale on their full priced merch. So if you're willing to wait a week to save ~$30, by all means do. Back in the day, these bad boys sold out quickly, so I would have paid full price without question, but J.Crew seems to have ample stock available now, and waiting a week might yield you some delightful savings (though, according to my "consumer insights" business school professor, delaying your purchase to get a discount may "undermine" the emotional benefit of the discount). My takeaway? Buy the jeans now, wear them immediately. You'll feel great, and you'll look great too :)
What's your weekend wear staple? And how do you style it?
Happy weekend! :)
I am an artist/designer and former financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and my two boys Michael and Theo and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.