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Clothing, Shopping, Style

Holiday Style Inspiration: Felicity Jones

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Like much of the world, I first took note of British beauty Felicity Jones when she wore the above icy lavendar confection to the Oscars last year. Some hated the McQueen dress, but I loved it for its shameless mix of classic, feminine drama and modern edge.

This chic combination seems to be a theme throughout Felicity’s wardrobe—and it’s a vibe I’m currently channeling for my holiday party looks. While a little black dress’ll always do the trick, why not take a bit of a risk and go all-out with a layered sequin look, oversized velvet bow tie or drop-waisted dress in a bright candy color? Bonobos gave me the kick I needed to get out of my styling rut thanks to their Wear No Doubts campaign.

Join me in stepping out of your sartorial comfort zone with one of the festive party outfits inspired by Felicity Jones’s style I’ve put together below! And just in case you’re still looking for gifts for the men in your life, check out the selection of men’s pants over at Bonobos.

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1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

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Clockwise from top left look: 1. Dress // Earrings // Shoes 2. Dress // Shoes // Clutch 3. Top // Dress // Shoes // Bag 4. Dress // Top // Shoes // Bow Tie

Clothing, Shopping, Style

The Best Looks from Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (and Where to Buy Them)

It’s here and I am happy. Like many of you, I’ve been waiting for a fresh hit of Gilmore Girls since May of 2007, so it was with tears in my eyes and chills on my arms that at 12:01 a.m. last Friday I logged into Netflix and dove headfirst back into the world of Stars Hollow (Stars, Stars Hollow!). I consumed the first two episodes in one go, slept a bit, went to work and then returned home to binge-watch the final two episodes.

With this first viewing, it was all about plot, plot, plot. I wanted to know how the story would ostensibly end and how we would get there in seven short hours. I did, however, immediately fixate on a few choice wardrobe items—most notably Lorelai’s wildcat-print shirtdress in “Winter” and her lace-up crepe blouse in “Summer.” I’ve always been more drawn to Lorelai’s style over Rory’s (who doesn’t love a chic wrap dress in a fun print?) and this series proved to be no exception. Don’t get me wrong, Rory had a few stand-out sartorial moments, but it took a second watch for me to notice them.

After making a list of my six favorite looks from the reboot, I tracked down the designers (thanks for the help, Worn on TV) in the hope of adding some modern GG style to my wardrobe. Of course, since this was shot awhile ago, most of the pieces from show are no longer available—so I spent the last couple of days shopping around to approximate each look (at a significantly lower price point, in most cases).

Behold: the ultimate guide to making the style of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life yours. Happy watching and happy shopping!

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Rory Black and White Lace DressWell, would you look at that: Rory’s a Self-Portrait girl! After all, who can resist that beautiful guipure lace (and I bet Logan likes the romance of this look, so that’s an obvious plus).

Lookalikes, clockwise from top left: Bloomingdale’s // ASOS // Boohoo // Adelyn Rae

rory-lace-dressGilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Lorelai Animal Print Shirtdress Stella McCartney
As I mentioned above, this wildcat-print dress by Stella McCartney was probably my favorite piece from the reboot, so even though the original is sold out online, I was thrilled to find a lot of great stand-ins.

Lookalikes, clockwise from top left: Ann Taylor // J.Crew // Ann Taylor // H&M

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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Lorelai Sequin Patch Sweater Marc JacobsThis sequin-spangled patch sweater by Marc Jacobs was a piece I recognized right away, since I wrote the Nordstrom copy for this collection a few months ago! I love the playful Americana charm of this style, and I think it fits in beautifully behind the front desk of The Dragonfly.

Lookalikes, clockwise from top left: Zara // Oh!MG // Guess // Zara

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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Rory Dot Print Silk Shirtdress FrameAnother shout-out for my lovely place of work: this dotted silk Frame dress appears to have been sold as a Nordstrom Exclusive. That means that one of Brenda Maben’s assistants picked up this dress from a Nordstrom store, making me only a couple degrees of separation from Rory Gilmore herself.

Lookalikes, clockwise from top left: Topshop // ASOS // Frame // Reformation

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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Rory Lucky Red Dress Full Skirt AnthropologieRed dress, full skirt. Here’s hoping the styles below will bring us more good luck than Rory’s linen shirtdress from Anthropologie brought her.

Lookalikes, clockwise from top left: Tomas Maier // Reformation // ASOS // ModCloth

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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Lorelai Lace-Up Silk Blouse Derek Lam
Lorelai rocks the Boss Lady look in this breezy blouse topped with an oversized take on the trendy lace-up neckline. Snag a lookalike style below to spruce up your work wardrobe, too.

Lookalikes, clockwise from top left: 3.1 Phillip Lim // Kensie // Animale // MICHAEL Michael Kors

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Food

Spooky Black-and-White Russian

halloween-white-russian-recipe-5halloween-white-russian-recipe-2In my experience, the White Russian is a drink everyone loves but few remember to order. As it happens, it was the first mixed drink I ever truly enjoyed—perhaps it was the velvety swirl of cream that softened the boozy punch of vodka just enough for my unseasoned palate—so I like to revisit it every year when the weather starts to cool. This year I opted to modify the classic recipe with a sprinkle of activated charcoal. This tasteless powder (all the rage right now due to its purifying properties) instantly turns the mixture of Kahlua and vodka from dark brown to the blackest of black. All that’s left to do is swirl in some heavy cream for a spooky, ghostlike finish.

And for extra Halloween flair, top this tipple off with a edible skull drink stirrer made from white chocolate. It’s a super-easy DIY that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth—because if you’re old enough to drink this drink, you’re too old to go trick-or-treating. We all have our crosses to bear.

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Ingredients:
• 1 part Kahlua
• 2 parts vodka
• 1 part heavy cream
• 1 activated charcoal pill

1. Fill glass with ice. Add Kahlua, vodka and charcoal (just pop open the pill and tip the powder in) and stir.

2. Top with heavy cream. Pro tip: to get the swirled, layered look, slowly pour the cream down the back of a spoon.

 

halloween-white-russian-recipe-1To make the skull-topped drink stirrers:

1. Melt white chocolate in the microwave and pour into a skull mold. I used this one. Refrigerate until solid.

2. Using a paring knife, chisel out a little channel in the base of each side of the skull (this sounds weirdly medical, no?). Make sure your drink stirrer fits nicely into the channels.

3. Melt a little more white chocolate and spread some on the skull halves. Place the drink stirrer between halves and press together until the two sides meet. Use your finger to smooth out any chocolate that may have oozed out. Refrigerate before serving.

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DIY

Glitter Star Pumpkins

glitter-star-pumpkin-DIY-1I really just don’t enjoy carving pumpkins. For so long I tried to like it, I really did, but I’m finally saying it out loud. It’s messy, it takes too long, and my carved pumpkins never turn out how I want them to. And so, with that admission, I’ve turned this year to the art form of surface decoration, namely that which involves glitter.

I was inspired by these star-embellished Valentino booties, which I want very badly but cannot have so I decided to turn them into a pumpkin. Sort of like a reverse Cinderalla-type thing. All you need are some pretty pumpkins, a swipe of glue, a dusting of glitter and it’s bibbidibobbidiboo. You’re left sans-pumpkin slime and with an armful of pretty, sparkling pumpkins. Win-win.

glitter-star-pumpkin-DIY-3For this project, you’ll need the following:
• pumpkins, obviously
• star stencils
• glitter
• glue
• paint brush

glitter-star-pumpkin-DIY-21. Pour a good-sized dollop of glue onto a paper plate. Position your star stencil where you want it atop the pumpkin, and stipple the glue onto the stencil. Be careful not to use too much glue—you don’t want it to leak beneath the edges of the stencil.

2. Remove the stencil and sprinkle glitter onto the glue. It’s helpful to place some butcher paper under your pumpkin for this step, but you’ll still probably wind up with glitter everywhere.

3. Once the glue has dried, gently blow/tap all the excess glitter off your pumpkin so that the points of the star look nice and sharp.

P.S. How cute is my little sister/pumpkin picker/expert tractor percher Genevieve?!

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Food

Leche de Tigre Michelada

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leche-de-tigre-michelada-3There are few things I enjoy more than knowing that a big bowl of ceviche is waiting for me in the fridge when I get peckish. Rick Bayless, bless him, makes some of the best ceviche I’ve ever had, so when I get a hankering for some lime-cured seafood, I slice and dice my way to his classic Frontera Grill recipe. But each time I polish off a serving of ceviche, I peer down at the marinating juices still left in my bowl and wish that I had a way to repurpose all that limey, briny goodness.

In Peru, a shot of leche de tigre—that is, the juice leftover from marinating ceviche—is often served along with the ceviche or before your meal as a sort of amuse bouche. The notion of drinking the juice gave me the idea to pair it with beer and a few other savory flavors to create a fresh take on the michelada. Fair warning: there’s a definite salinity to this cocktail, so fresh fish lovers probably won’t be lining up to get a taste. But if you love a good ceviche tostada on a warm fall afternoon, do yourself a favor and tip off that leche de tigre, add a splash of seasoning and top with some Negro Modelo—or good ol’ Shiner Bock if you’re in Texas.

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Frontera Grill Ceviche
Ingredients:
• 1 lb sashimi-grade skinless white fish (halibut, snapper and bass all work well)
• 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice, preferably from key limes
• 1 small white onion
• 2 or 3 serranos, depending on your preference
• 1/4 manzanillo olives
• 1 large ripe tomato
• 1/4 cup loosely packed cilanro
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• salt
• 1 tsp sugar

Directions:
1. Cut fish into 1/2″ cubes. Try to be careful about this, as larger chunks will take much longer to “cook” in the lime juice. Chop onion and tomato in 1/4″ pieces and roughly chop and de-stem cilantro. Finely chop serranos and olives—a food processor works well for this, so you don’t have to get your fingers all spicy.

2. Combine fish, lime juice and onion in a large bowl. The fish should float freely in the juice; if not, add more. Cover and refrigerate for three to four hours, until the fish appears completely opaque.

3. Add serranos, olives, tomato, cilantro and olive oil to the fish. Stir well, then season with salt to taste (about a teaspoon) and sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve—preferably within a few hours.

4. To harvest the leche de tigre, simply strain some of the marinade liquid into a resealable container and refrigerate.

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Leche de Tigre Michelada
Ingredients:

• 2 oz. leche de tigre
• dash of worchestershire sauce
• dash of soy sauce
• dash (or three!) of hot sauce
• dark beer like Negro Modelo or Shiner Bock
• lime and serrano for garnish

Directions:
1. Fill glass with crushed ice, top with leche de tigre.
2. Add one dash of worchestershire sauce, one dash of soy sauce and hot sauce to taste. Stir.
3. Top with beer and garnish with a lime wheel and slice of serrano pepper.

*Add an ounce or two of tequila or mezcal if you want to go hard. The strong flavor of the leche de trigre can easily stand up to a bit more booze. leche-de-tigre-michelada-1leche-de-tigre-michelada-4

Trendspotting

Trendspotting: Berets are Back, Baby

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That most Parisian of head-toppers is back, and I blame Bella, Blair and Alessandro. It seems that when the newly minted creative director of Gucci and grower of Christ-like hair brought crazy-grandma glasses, flower-topped neck ties and all-around joyous kitsch back to the center of what’s in style, he brought berets along with him.

Let’s take a trip, shall we, back to the Gucci Fall 2015 runway, the freshman womenswear show for the hero of our story. Where under Frida Giannini there once was slicked-back hair and a barely restrained sex appeal there now was a sense of indie romance with a cherry-hued beret on top. And I’m not mad about it. I’ve had a bright red beret—you know, I’m starting off classic—sitting on my Nordstrom Wish List for the past couple of months, and now that the weather is finally cooling down, I think I’m ready to pull the trigger.

Which brings me to the final reason I’m ready to embrace this trend with open arms: there’s a certain militaristic smartness about the look that I find especially appealing in a time of hot Hamilton tickets and a bandolier-clad Beyonce. Come to think of it, I’m also in the market for a sharply tailored military jacket—but that’s another blog post for another week.

Scroll down for plenty of well-styled inspiration and a round-up of shoppable berets.

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After you’ve absorbed as much styling inspiration as you care to, scroll through these shoppable berets to make the look your own. Then tip your hat at Cher as you skip out the door, as chic as a gosh darn French woman strolling home from the Chanel show.

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             1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16 // 17 // 18

Style

I’m Moving to Seattle!

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Kimono: H&M (old) // Skirt: J.Crew // Camisole: Lush // Shoes: Zara (old, similar) // Clutch: DIYed //  Sunglasses: Prada via DITTO // Lipstick: NARS in Roman Holiday

As I was doing a bit of desktop tidying (the pixel-based kind, not the papers and pens kind) the other day, these pictures popped up like the proverbial $20 note forgotten in a jacket pocket. They were snapped at the beginning of summer when I was still in Iowa, then they sat, untouched, in the intervening months as I packed up the above kimono and gold pleated skirt and moved my wardrobe—and my life—down to Texas.

In less than two months my boxes and I will complete the second leg of our move up to Seattle, where we hope to find a cute little Craftsman house to rent in close proximity to an impossibly well-styled coffee shop and the Mothership (this, of course, being my nickname for the Nordstrom corporate headquarters where I will be working).

In the meantime, due to my severe aversion to packing and unpacking, I am attempting to live out of two pitifully overstuffed suitcases—supplemented by the occasional shopping trip. It helps that it’s still regularly on the wrong side of 90 degrees here in San Antonio, so I can stick to floaty dresses and off-the-shoulder tops that take up very little suitcase space without having to dig out any heavy knitwear.

Truth be told, though, I can’t wait to dig out my fall favorites. I think this pleated skirt will pair especially well with a little bit of faux fur and crisp PNW air, don’t you?

Accessories, DIY

DIY Pom-Pom Sandals

diy-pom-pom-sandals-1diy-pom-pom-sandals-3There’s a fashion-world equivalent to the self-dubbed-hipster quip, “I saw that band before they were famous,” and it goes a little something like this: I wanted these shoes before every single style blogger was wearing them on Instagram. I have to proof, too. Like an intrepid inventor who mails herself sealed envelopes filled with million dollar ideas, I pin the things I see and love and have to have. Thirty one weeks ago, I pinned these pom-pom-bedecked lace-up sandals and now, I finally have them.

In true Homemade Banana fashion, I opted to make my own iteration instead of clicking that buy now button because, well, they seemed so easy to recreate and saving almost $200 is nothing to sneeze at. The result is truly so, so similar that it makes it worth the little bit of elbow grease required to braid all that friendship bracelet trim. Plus, you have the satisfaction of knowing that although they were inspired by a now-ubiquitous style, your shoes are truly one of a kind.

Keep reading for detailed instructions on how to whip up your own pair of statement sandals. And yes, I am aware that last weekend marked the end of the summer season, but since I’m currently living in Texas where summer won’t end for a few more months, just go with me on this one! It’s never a bad idea to start stockpiling for next summer, anyway.

diy-pom-pom-sandals-2For this project, you’ll need the following:
• a pair of inexpensive lace-up gladiator sandals (the ones I used are sold out, but I found several other great options here, here, here and here)
• 15 to 20 colors of embroidery thread
• pom-poms (I used these)
coral charms
• colorful stone beads like these
• E6000
gold head pins
• jump rings
• needlenose pliers
• needle and thread

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1. The first thing to do is whip up a few lengths of friendship bracelet from your stockpile of embroidery thread. The number and length you’ll need is entirely dependent on the sandals you’re working with, so use those as a guide. For each one of my sandals I needed one long piece and four shorter pieces of friendship bracelet, so 10 pieces total. This is definitely the most time consuming part, but it’s really fun to work on the bracelets while you’re watching, say, a Harry Potter marathon on TV.

If you’re having trouble recalling the ins and outs of friendship bracelet making from your summer camp days, check out this video for a quick tutorial. I used a five-color chevron pattern because it was the perfect width for the straps on my sandals. If you need a thinner bracelet, use fewer colors; if you need a thicker bracelet, use more.

2. Knot each length of bracelet both ends and trim off the excess thread. Fold the knots under so they don’t show and glue the ends down with E6000 glue. Then, apply a small line of glue down the length of the underside of the bracelet and place in on your sandal. Hold in place for about 30 seconds so it doesn’t move around too much when you let go. After you glue all of these on, wait for about 24 hours for the glue to fully cure before you touch the sandals.

3. In the meantime, you can get started on the other decorations. To create the all-important pom-pom charms, thread a head pin through a pom-pom and trim off the excess pin, leaving about 1/4″ on the end. Use your needlenose pliers to create a loop at the end of the pin, then attach a jump ring to that. Repeat until you have about 26 pom-pom charms. Then, repeat the process with any stone or coral charms you have. The more the better!

4. Once the glue has fully dried, go back in with a needle and thread and tack down the ends of the friendship bracelets. All it takes is four or five stitches—just enough to keep the ends from curling up.

5. Using the needlenose pliers, attach the charms you’ve made to the shoelaces, making sure to space them out evenly. Attach two or three charms to each shoelace end for a playful finish. And that’s it! All you have to do now is lace up those bad boys and take them out for a spin.

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DIY

DIY Dog Bowls

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewBeneful #CollectiveBias

diy-dog-bowl-beneful-5Clarabelle, light of my life, apple of my eye. My dog, my soul. Cla-ra-belle: the tip of her tongue taking a trip of three steps down the muzzle to tap, at three, at the snout. Cla. Ra. Belle. For those of you, my dear readers, who’ve now stopped reading and started wondering why I’ve decided to so cavalierly swap in the given name of my 12-pound papillon for that of a famously victimized 12-year-old girl, just stick with me!

What I am trying to say here is that I love my dog very much. Those of you who know me will not be shocked at my comparison above, just as you have not been shocked to see me rock Clarabelle like a baby and hear me speak out loud to her like she can understand my words (she can). She’s a good girl and to really play into that age-old stereotype, she’s my bff.

You know that opening scene in 101 Dalmatians in which Pongo watches dogs and their humans parade down the sidewalk, a showcase of man mirroring beast in all manner of appearance? Clarabelle and I are not too far off. While I’ve yet to dye my hair black and white to match hers, we do share many similarities. We both prefer filtered water to tap. We both prefer soft surfaces to hard (this proclivity manifests itself in her refusal to lay down on hardwood floors and in my preference for memory foam mattresses). We both like to be well groomed and we both like the finer things in life, food-wise.

Just as my go-to meal on a busy weekday night is salmon and broccoli with a bit of brown rice, Clarabelle only eats food that contains protein as the number one ingredient. That is, I only buy her food that contains protein as the number one ingredient. She’s happier (and so is my pooper-scooper, ifyaknowwhatImean) when she sticks to this diet, and I guess a lot of other dogs are, too. Purina just reformulated their Beneful Originals and Incredibites food based on customer feedbag to this effect. Now it contains meat as the number one ingredient, and they’ve cut out all added sugar. Two big wins in my book.

After making the move down to Texas, I was running low on Clarabelle’s normal food stash, so I ran out to Target (Beneful is available at most major grocery chains) to grab a small bag of the Incredibites. Oh yeah, she won’t eat large chunks of anything because she is a lady—so this is perfect. Then I started to reconsider Clarabelle’s plain-metal-dog-bowl eating situation. After all, I ate my most recent meal off of a delicate robin’s egg-blue place setting, so she really deserved an upgrade. A few paint pens and plain white ceramic bowls later, my butterfly-eared bestie was eating her five-star meal in splendor. Scroll down to check out the simple DIY dog bowl tutorial, and click here to receive a free sample of the new Purina Beneful dog food.

diy-dog-bowl-beneful-2diy-dog-bowl-beneful-6For this project, you’ll need the following:
• two plain white bowls
• paint pens (if you’re just drawing on the outside, you can use whichever all-purpose paint pen you can get your hands on; if you’re writing on the inside of the bowl, be sure to use a food-safe paint pen like this one)

diy-dog-bowl-beneful-3diy-dog-bowl-beneful-11. First order of  business: select your pattern. I decided to go with this playful evil eye print, but simple geometric patterns would also look great!

2. Using your paint pens, start drawing on your pattern, letting each color dry before moving on to the next.

3. Draw a surprise message inside the bowl for your pet. I went with “good girl” and “Perrier only” but you’re only limited by your imagination. If you used a food-safe paint pen, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging to ensure the paint is fully dried and sealed.

4. Let ’em chow down!

diy-dog-bowl-beneful-7beneful-instorediy-dog-bowl-beneful-8diy-dog-bowl-beneful-9Update: our pals at Purina sent over a couple of delicious toys for Clarabelle to play with. Thanks Purina! 

Style

Off-the-Shoulder in Austin

austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-1austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-5austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-6 austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-2austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-3austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-4Dress: Romwe // Sunglasses: Retro Super Future  // Scarf: Forever 21 (old, similar) // Bag: old, similar //  Shoes: Dolce Vita (old, similar)

To mark my temporary move to the great state of Texas, I’m finally getting around to posting these pictures from my last jaunt to Austin a couple of months ago. After making a requisite stop at The Salt Lick for lunch, I found my way to the Mexic – Arte Museum to check out a fantastic exhibit on Mexican printmaking and engraving. The museum also happened to be home to this colorful Día de Los Muertos-inspired stencil mural by artist Federico Archuleta,  so I stopped to take a few pictures (I mean, what self-respecting blogger could pass up such a ripe-for-the-shooting backdrop?).

Having then spent more than five minutes outside in the Texas heat, I was in need of a drink. The bar at The Driskill kindly obliged. Then it was off to Tyson’s Tacos to meet up with some old SF friends and a certain crispy duck taco (or two). Shoutout to Krista for pointing me in the direction of Room Service Vintage, where after dinner I discovered two pairs of vintage Ferragamo Varas that desperately needed a new home—for under $60!—and ended my evening practically skipping back to San Antonio.