Where will you be for Thanksgiving this year? With your crazy cousins, or maybe at a new love’s or a Friendsgiving? If you notice there’s family tension thicker than canned gravy at your Thanksgiving destination; I have a solution. Make awkward moments cheerful with a fun, refreshing holiday cocktail. In my Youtube video above, I’ll show you how to make a Martini Bianco on Ice which I had for the first time this year.
Over the summer in Europe, a friend of mine ordered a ‘Martini‘ and one for me too. ‘No, no! I hate Martini’s,’ I whined, but then I took a sip and this was different. In Italy, they drink Martini Bianco on ice with a lemon as an apertif and I loved it. It’s a very small drink and is best served chilled over ice with lemon.
Here’s my Top 5 Cocktails this year for the holidays!
1. Martini Bianco on Ice - Yep, BevMo has it. (New Video Above)
2. Crown & Coke with a cherry. My favorite drink. Crown Royal + Coke. Easy!
3. Moscow Mules! Check out my aunt & uncle’s Ginger Beer by their company, The Ginger People. Cocktail kits are a great way to say “Happy Holidays” to your host. Wrap a 4 pack of their award winning Ginger Beer with top shelf Vodka and a pair of tin cups to create a MoscowMule basket.
4. White Russian! Perfect for ‘The Dude’ fans or a festive option if you’re celebrating a Friendsgiving this year. You just need Kahlúa, vodka & cream. Recipe here.
5. Glühwein! They have this at the Christmas markets in Germany, Switzerland & Austria. I love it! The main ingredients are 1 bottle of red wine, 1 lemon, 2 sticks cinnamon, 3 cloves, 2 Tsb sugar. Here’s the recipe.
Do you have any holiday cocktail recommendations?
I know bar carts are popular and if you don’t have the space, just go with a fun serving tray and make it your mini bar station. Have a great weekend!
There are so many aspects of ‘layering‘ that are a bit of a buzz kill under the guise of a stylish solution. You feel bulky, your outfit becomes 3 times as complicated and your body heats up as your face freezes. The worst is walking into a heated room after a brisk walk in the cold and suddenly it’s like you’re in a sauna as you tear off your beanie, gloves, jacket and scarf.
However, in Switzerland I have no choice but to layer. After seeing the post ‘Crushing on Navy‘ by Leslie of the newly designed blog Pink Petals (formerly Around the Table), I couldn’t wait to add a little navy into my wardrobe. I’m working a few days a week for a small Swiss designer, Van Bery, who just opened her first flagship store in Zurich so I knew the exact piece to pair with my weekend look. Here’s my top 5 tips for layering this Autumn…
The Scene – Zurich, Switzerland
Step 1. Start with Stockings! ~ The past couple weeks I’ve been wearing a lot of tights, even under jeans, and I love the Italian brand Calzedonia. They cost between $5-$15 and while they’re not the greatest quality, they have such stylish designs.
Step 2. Add the Base ~ The European uniform of basic black is often too harsh for my style, so I started with this baby blue & gold knit sweater dress I found at Nordstrom Rack a few years ago. Always wear a layer underneath you’d be comfortable showing when you’re indoors and ready to take off your coat.
Step 3. Don’t Forget a Statement Necklace ~ I LOVE adding a statement necklace to winterize an ensemble. If you live in Switzerland and you’re bored of Zara like me, you need to check out B.Shou - an online boutique of statement necklaces started by two sisters. B.Shou has a better selection than any store in Zurich and they ship for FREE anywhere in Switzerland so you can shop while you’re snuggled up on your sofa all winter and look glam at your next holiday party!
Step 4. The New Fall Silhouette ~ A big trend on the runway for Fall/Winter 2014 is any style with a built-in silhouettes like this jacket by Van Bery which has many 60’s inspired styles – another hot fall trend. According to TheFashionSpot.com‘Cutting-edge silhouettes include clean cuts, structured lines and reinvented hems. From defined waists at Gucci and Louis Vuitton to oversized volume at Derek Lam and The Row.’
Step 5. Bootie, Bootie, Booties! ~ Add a pair of booties or mules (which I’ve been seeing everywhere). I’ve worn these with tights and skinny jeans, which I thankfully got on a big clearance sale near Italy – one of the perks of wearing a size 40 shoe in Europe. Nordstrom is having a major clearance sale now, so I’ll share some of my favorites below nearly 40% off.
How does reliving ‘body issue’ moments of your teen years sound? Imagine being a teenage girl now with the pressure of selfie-perfection, Snapchat drama, and discovering a store adored by 2 million 10-somethings on Instagram that makes Abercrombie & Fitch look like a plus-size brand. Meet the popular teen retailer Brandy Melville.
I first heard about the ‘one-size’ retailer, Brandy Melville, yesterday after ABC reported the Italian designed brand came to the US in ’09, but has actually been around a couple decades. Why is it so different? Almost all of the clothes come in ‘One Size’ and that size is very small about ‘Size 00-2′ It’s causing a controversy for making teens feel insecure and bringing up issues like body Dysmorphia. The notoriously press-shy Brandy Melville hasn’t responded to any media requests lately and doesn’t really ‘do‘ any marketing beyond social media. After reading a few articles, I realized I pass by the Brandy Melville location every week in Zurich! I decided to take my first look inside today to see what the teenage hype is about and if the sizes are really that small…
The Scene ~ Brandy Melville in Zurich, Switzerland
As I walked into the store today, the first thing I noticed was feeling ‘old.’ Miley Cyrus ‘We Can’t Stop‘ was playing in the background as a young saleswoman smiled and said ‘hello’. My goal was to see if there was any item that would actually fit, but I realized quickly I was way too embarrassed to ask for a fitting room.
The quality and price points were similar to Forever 21, but unlike F21, there was no one remotely close to my age shopping. In my head, I crafted an ‘Oh, I’m just shopping for my little cousin,‘ story in case a sales girl came by to help. Thankfully, I was in Zurich so none of the 4 workers approached and after 10 minutes I’d done my research. I browsed the isty-bitsy-teenie-weenie designs, snapped a few pics, and left. Here’s what I saw…
Size in Perspective
I thought the articles from ABC and Racked were exaggerating, but Brandy Melville clothes are very small. Not in a ‘Nasty Gal‘ revealing way necessarily. It seemed many of the styles are meant to be layered and the T’s are all super-soft and comfy, but the clothes are just tiny (like size 1 & 0) and there were so.many.crop.tops! I spotted a tee that looked like it would fit, but I checked online later and realized it’s actually a dress.
One Size Fits Most?
I was surprised to see that almost every item, except jeans, were really ‘One Size‘ (aka Size 1). However, there were a few Tee’s and sweaters that were over-sized. In an open letter to the Huff Post, an upset 18-year-old named Lani wrote, ‘Brandy surely would not want to soon fall into social suicide and become the next Abercrombie and Fitch or Lululemon. If you think about it, companies like H&M and Forever 21 have opened up to bigger sizes and have generated profitable business in doing so. When we shop there we are free from second guessing our beauty and our curves. Imagine if Brandy did the same for its girls.’
Final Thoughts! Teen girls seem to love this brand – mainly sold online in the US! My take on the whole Brandy Melville situation is that, yes, I could have fit in these clothes when I was 13, but I left the store today feeling very out of place and a little insecure. If I felt like that at my age now; I can’t imagine what a young teen would feel like with a group of friends realizing she’s too tall or curvy in a sea of ‘one size‘ designs. Or worse, when a teen girl falls in love with this brand at 13, then starts filling out and feels ashamed or not ‘skinny enough’ if she can’t wear Brandy Melville in her later teen years.
What do you think? Is Brandy Melville’s ‘one size’ sending a bad message to teen girls or is this not a big deal?
Happy Halloween! If I were in the US, I’d be celebrating in a costume tonight; but here in Zurich the only ‘big‘ Halloween party I’ve come across is tomorrow. Last time I checked, I’ve never celebrated Halloween on November 1st so I’ll be laying low this year, but I still love dressing up for any occasion and after October 31st comes the season of holiday parties!
While I might not be squeezing myself into a crazy thrift shop costume tonight, I did ‘dress up’ in a Karen Millen lace detailed dress a couple weeks ago in Vienna. With November being the start of the holiday party season, here’s some of my best ‘Party Style’ secrets, including some quotes from some of my favorite women who I’ve dared to dress up as in the past for Halloween…
‘I will never give in to old age until I become old. And I’m not old yet!’ ~ Tina Turner
When it comes to picking a holiday dress, wear what makes you feel best. I’ve worked my fair share of retail and often hear women say, ‘Oh, I can’t show my arms,‘ or ‘I can’t show my legs above this point.’ Of course you want to feel comfortable while accentuating your best (like Tina and her amazing legs), but don’t shut out a style completely if you truly love it. There are always options like sheer sleeves or Spanx (I’m wearing both here).
‘Whether I’m wearing lots of makeup or no makeup, I’m always the same person inside.’ ~Lady Gaga
I may feel like the same person, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to a party without makeup. There are so many amazing makeup tricks and secrets that can instantly conceal tired eyes or give you a faux Kylie Jenner lip (if you want) and that’s why I love makeup. I also watch Youtube tutorials regularly. Some of my favorite channels are Maskcara and Kandee Johnson who is also amazing at costume makeup!! (Sidenote – Diane – the founder of LocksandLips.com is the best makeup artist I’ve met in the SF Bay Area, just follow her on Instagram to find out.)
‘Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.’ ~ Marilyn Monroe
Maybe it’s a pair of stilettos for you or a LBD, but for me there are 3 staples I need getting ‘dressed up.’ 1. Yes, a great pair or heels (or boots in the winter). 2. Fake Eyelashes that make your eyes look bright and awake for the entire event or party. 3. Hair Extensions! I have all different lengths of clip-ins depending on my mood. If you’ve ever thought about trying them, I just interviewed Hollywood Pro Kacey Welch who does extensions for Kristin Cavallari, Goldie Hawn & Kate Hudson. I’ll be sharing her secrets this November in my bi-monthly beauty newsletter here.
Well, it’s official. Fall is here. Daylight savings happened here in Switzerland over the weekend and the temperatures have dropped. If you’re in the US, hold tight, you’ll gain an hour this Sunday – daylight savings is Novemeber 2nd. A couple weeks ago, my husband and I enjoyed the last few days of mild sunshine and took a road trip to Lugano near the Italian border passing over the St. Gotthard Pass.
As much as I love traveling, the last few days definitely hit home just how far away I am from California. A phone call or Skype session can make you feel close, but it’s not like I can hop on a flight home for the weekend home or drive a couple hours across the Golden Gate Bridge. But enough with the expat emotions, let’s get back to the Gotthard Pass. After the creepy drive through tunnels, sausage stands on the side of the road, and The Devil’s Bridge, we caught the last few moments of sunshine in the Alps…
<DETAILS by Dale> boots & jeans (old) – H&M / Zara jacket / Prada sunglasses / Gucci outlet bag
Do you ever wear white denim & neutrals in the fall…if it’s not raining?