Sparkles for Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has always been a special holiday to me. I love our family traditions, especially when we share “oplatek” at my grandparents’ house. It’s a Polish tradition, one rooted in the idea of breaking bread with your family at the end of advent. If you want to read more about this tradition, check out this article on NPR.



This year is our second year hosting Christmas Eve in our home. I’ve been planning our menu for weeks (and weeks), which we’ve settled on being cocktail party food. With about 15 people joining us, it will be an easy way to pace our celebration over the course of six hours.

We’ll have a mix of cold and hot appetizers, each hour featuring a small hot dish that serves as the centerpiece. We’re planning on mini quesadillas with scratch made tortillas, mini beef wellington, lamb lollipops, stuffed mushrooms, falafel, chicken skewers and pumpkin soup. It sounds like a lot, but we’ll be serving small portions so everyone can enjoy and graze throughout the day.

Because I’ll be in and out of cooking throughout Christmas Eve, I’ve opted for a simple jeans and tunic outfit. I just picked up these step hem jeans from Nordstrom that are to die for. They have so much stretch, are so super comfy, but also keep their tailored shape. Plus that have the step hem and I’m a total sucker for a raw step hem!

The sparkles on this Free People are the perfect holiday touch! This top really does run large – I would go down at least one size if not two! I do like things to be oversized, especially with jeans, but wish I had sized down.

We’ll be busy and I really want to be able to sit and enjoy our time with family and friends, especially my grandmother and uncle who will be visiting from Michigan. This outfit will be comfortable enough to move around all day and head out to “midnight” mass (why is it at 10PM now?!).

I’d love to hear about your Christmas Eve traditions!

casual fridays

i’ve been extraordinarily lucky that since i’ve graduated college i haven’t been required to wear a suit to work every day – for me every day is like a casual friday! well for the most part. there have been plenty of days that have required me to up the ante.

anyway. if you are in an office that only gives you a casual day once a week, i’ve pulled together a go-to look just for you. if you get this “jean day” once a week, i would tend to assume you are in a relatively conservative office. so start with the basics – a casual blazer, a button down with a tiny pattern, a pair of dark wash jeans, and flats. please, don’t ever wear a pair of light washed jeans to an office. even if every day is casual friday. (ok, unless you wear a great pair of quality distressed jeans with a blazer and pumps – another post for another day.) when in doubt, go dark wash. it looks more professional, tailored, clean – shall i go on?

it’s easy. you can mix these pieces endlessly into your wardrobe. it’s worth investing in the classics. you could also pop a trendy top under this blazer – maybe some silk and ruffles? i could get down with that.

casual fridays

fall essential: the perfect hat

i know there’s nothing ground breaking about saying a hat is a fall essential. but it is for this girl, ’cause i very rarely wear a hat. i’ve always loved the look of a fedora, but definitely don’t look great in one. and always, always, loved the floppy hat look but figured if i can’t pull off a fedora, i definitely cannot pull off a floppy hat.

i think it’s a great addition to your winter and fall layer-y wardrobe. i mean, as we know, accessories make the outfit.

so for this fall, i charge you darlings to go out there and find a hat that looks fabulous on youopt for fall/winter fabrics and colors – darker straw, and felt for example. pick a neutral or a bold color (or even a print! )-no matter what just try it! here are some of my favorites for this season:

fall essentials: the perfect hat

fall essential: the flare jean

now that fall has officially arrived – not only in formality here, but also in temperature – it’s time to switch out the wardrobe and head for warmer clothes. this is my absolute favorite time of year. the air is crisp. the sweaters are layered. the boots and booties come out, the tights and skirts come out and the denim is heavier.

this week, we’ll be talking all about fall essentials, starting with my pick for denim – the flare jean. this is a little biased because i just discovered the flare jean is absolutely perfect for my body, but i think it looks great on anyone. from a boy shape, to a pear shape, trust me you can rock the flare.

you don’t want to confuse this cut with a wide leg jean, however. a wide leg jean is like a bootcut jean on steroids. what’s great about the flare is that it is fitted through the leg and then goes out slightly at the end. it doesn’t get heavy at the knee like a boot cut or even heavier like a wide leg jean.

pair with a great pair of fall wedges, boots, booties, or even a pair of patent leather peep toes for early fall. i prefer to pair flare with heels to give some height and elongate your leg – this helps you take full advantage of all this awesome cut has to offer. but if you opt for flats, just make sure you take your denim to a good tailor with a pair of flats so they can adjust accordingly. if you let all that cloth pool at the bottom of your leg it will do you no favors!

here are some of my picks for great flare jeans, just in time for fall 2012!

fall essential: flare jean

are you rocking flare jeans this fall? i would love to see! send me a note with a picture and i’ll share with everyone: herlongwayhome at gmail dot com.

classic (casual) wardrobe pieces worth the investment

there are a few things every woman needs in her closet. granted, this list could go on and on and on (yes..and on). i could add in different kinds of tops, cardigans, dresses, business attire, etc. but when it comes down to it, there are certain pieces that are worth the investment and others that are additions to a base.

here are a few things that i think are essential to any casual wardrobe. they are classic, timeless, and when you find the perfect one, you hold on to it forever, take care of it, and sometimes (perhaps with a perfect white blouse and jeans?) you purchase more than one.

so here we go.

every woman needs: a trench coat that cinches the waist for a sexy line, a crisp white blouse and the perfect jeans that hug in all of the right places. a gold watch, a diamond necklace with a little of your own flare to it, and a pair of pearls will always steer you in the right direction. finish everything off with black shoes – a simple pair of black flats, a pair of flats with a little extra jazz and a mid-height pair of black pumps are essential from your casual to your work looks.

the classics every woman needs