Something Old, Something New… Two Looks For Holiday Parties

Sometimes I go 100% glam, girlie girl, ruffles and pearls.  Sometimes I pair sequins with flat leather boots for a juxtaposition that turns a classic look into something completely new and fresh.  Here are two classic party dresses styled in very different ways.

holiday party looks
One redhead short of a Sanderson Sister.

This classic red velvet cocktail dress is available now at Express.  Aren’t you glad that velvet is back with a vengeance?  This is the quintessential Christmas party dress and I knew immediately that it would be worn with this full-length mink coat.  The coat has a story of its own…

This was a wedding gift from my mother’s dear friend, Sam.  It belonged to her mother, Marcia.  Marcia’s husband purchased it for her on one of their trips to New York City during Christmas, over 50 years ago.  They went to see Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas show and view the majestic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  During the trip, he bought her this coat, and had her initials, MMMC embroidered on the lining.  Marcia gave it to her daughter, Sam when she was in her early 30’s and Sam gave it to me when I was 30.  I couldn’t be more honored to have it.

classic holiday party glamour
necklace by J Crew | right hand pearl and black onyx ring by Tiffany & Co.

full length vintage mink coat

These strappy black leather heels never go out of style.  I wore these to my wedding rehearsal dinner 3 years ago, but you can find them for sale here and here.

gold party dress
black bow bangle bracelet by Kate Spade NY (similar style here)| gold chain bracelet from Woo Skincare & Cosmetics (similar style here)

edgy holiday party look

Mandy is wearing a gold sequin Ted Baker dress (similar dress available here), paired with opaque black tights, chunky low heel black booties, and an edgy Michael Kors jacket.  Both dresses are classic in design but styled very differently.  Take these tips and apply them to something you already have in your closet to make it feel new.

holiday party dresses

holiday party dresses fur coat

2 looks holiday party wear

two looks for holiday parties
Aspiring Rockettes?

 

Makeup by Mandy Jane Stoykewich (above).  Mandy is available for event hair & makeup services.  She has been hair & makeup artist on weddings in the south for over 8 years, as well as part of the makeup team for major motion pictures such as the Hunger Games.  Email  mj.stoykewich@gmail.com for inquiries.

Photography by KVC Photography

 

Channeling My Inner Jackie O

Thank you, Karl Lagerfeld for creating a line of clothing and accessories that are affordable!  For those not familiar… Karl Lagerfeld is a photographer and the Creative Director for Chanel.  He has worked with many fashion houses throughout his career.  He has been loved, as well as hated by many.  He continues to lead not only Chanel, but Italian brand Fendi, in addition to curating own designs, including this coat that I picked up for $100 (can you believe it?) from his Karl Lagerfeld Paris collection.

Fashion icon, Jackie O… Quite possibly one of the most memorable fashion ensembles in American history, the pink suit that Jacqueline Kennedy wore on the day that President Kennedy was assassinated, was indeed a Chanel.  She was the epitome of a Chanel muse.  Her signature oversized black sunglasses and timeless chic style will be mimicked by inspiring fashionistas for generations to come.  Here is my stab at a 2017 version of a Jackie O inspired look that works well for work or play.  I wore this to an early morning meeting and then to a champagne brunch at Atlanta’s most fabulous french cafe, Le Bilboquet.  I want to think that both Karl and Jackie would approve.

Details:  Sunglasses by Tiffany & Company | Black distressed jeans by Nordstrom | white shirt by Calvin Klein | black patent heels by Steve Madden (similar style here)| handbag by Kate Spade (similar style here)| black bow bangle bracelet by Kate Spade (similar style here)| gold chain bracelet from Woo Skincare & Cosmetics (similar style here) | Rose gold crossover ring from Nordstrom | black earrings by Baublebar

crisp white shirt, career wear, black mary jane heels, patent leather, tiffany sunglasses, chic fashion, jackie o, fall fashion, winter fashion,

crisp white shirt, career wear, blonde lob, icy blonde, tiffany sunglasses, chic fashion, jackie o, fall fashion, winter fashion,

bauble bar black earrings

 

chunky gold bracelet

crisp white shirt, career wear, black mary jane heels, patent leather, tiffany sunglasses, chic fashion, jackie o, fall fashion, winter fashion, tweed coat, karl lagerfeld

tiffany and co sunglasses

white long shirt - calvin klein

chanel inspired coat - karl lagerfeld

chic black and white - karl lagerfeld

patent leather pumps - steve madden

french bistro, champagne, chanel, karl lagerfeld

karl lagerfeld coat

Photography by KVC Photography

DIY candles, love fancy pants, golda kombucha, diy gifts, christmas gifts unique, diy holiday gifts, soy candles,

DIY Candles – the perfect gift this holiday season

Happy first of December! Time to decorate for the holidays, send out cards, plan/attend parties, buy/wrap gifts, watch movies, eat an entire roll of Tollhouse cookie dough… the list goes on.  But let’s talk about gifting… I for one, think that homemade gifts are extra special.  Some people are difficult to buy for, and I have to believe that someone one would appreciate a homemade gift far more than something that was picked up at a mall.  Try DIY candles and give them as gifts this year.  Not only the color and scent can be customized, but the packaging itself is what makes this so unique.

Shop Local!

I recently made 60+ candles for Golda Kombucha, here in Atlanta.  Golda is a local kombucha brewery, serving up some of the finest oak-aged kombucha around.  They can be found online, at local farmers markets and indie craft sales.  After picking some up at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, I felt that the bottles were too pretty to throw out, so I cut and sanded off the tops, then filled it with a soy wax, using scented oils like fresh coffee, blackberry basil, and  peach ginger.  You can order these via their website here, or at local farmers markets throughout the month (find their market schedule here).  Pick up some delicious kombucha for yourself and add a candle as a holiday gift.

DIY!

You can also try making your own.  Does your best friend have a favorite wine?  Turn the bottle into a candle.  I also look for unique glass containers (including tea cups) at antique shops.  They serve as home decor pieces, and add a nice warm aroma to your house.  Two for one! Follow the instructions below and get busy.  Happy gifting this holiday season!

What you will need:

  1. glass or metal containers
  2. glass cutter
  3. sand paper for glass
  4. 464 soy wax flakes
  5. candle wicks
  6. wick bars
  7. wik stickers
  8. pouring pitcher(s)
  9. thermometer
  10. scented oils for candles
  11. medium sized pot – for double boiler
  12. paper towels (lots of them)
  13. rubbing alcohol (not used to make candles but this cleans up wax best)
  14. metal spoon or butter knife for stirring

Items 2-3 can be bought in a kit and comes with several other helpful tools not mentioned here.  I suggest Kinkajou.  

Items 4-9 can also be purchased in a kit to get you started.  I suggest this one by Candle Science.  Once you have down the basics, you can purchase additional pitchers, oils, wax in bulk, dyes, etc on Amazon or on Candle Science’s website.

 

DIY candles - love, fancypants

small candles gifts

First, you will need a tool that scores the glass.  There are many on the market, but I use one by Kinkajou.  This kit is great and includes instructions for cutting, along with all the tools you will need to prep your container for the pour.

champagne labels

To remove any labels, just soak in a warm soapy bath and they will fall off.  If the label is pretty (a vintage Dom, perhaps?), I leave the label on the bottle.  Just be careful when pouring the hot/cold water (see below) or it will come unstuck  The Kinkajou kit addresses this issue.

1_1

1_2

Once you have made a score in your glass, you will alternate boiling and ice water on the score and your glass should break clean.  I only have about a 60% success rate when doing this, particularly because I am often working with glass that isn’t the same thinkness all the way around.  I suggest you follow the instructions that come with your bottle cutting kit, and always use gloves.  I do, but the above photos are of Mikey (and he is a man – “he doesn’t need gloves”).  Once your bottle has been broken, you will need to sand the top and edges of the cut.  This takes some time because you want to be 100% sure that it is smooth enough to the touch.  You don’t want to give a gift that will make someone bleed.

diy candles fancy pants 1_5

Next, you measure and melt your wax.  Place a medium saucepan on your stove or hotplate, filled 1/3 the way with water.  Fill your pouring pitcher with wax – I use 100% soy wax.  Continuously stir your wax to aid the melting process.

While your wax is melting, attach wick to the bottom center of the container using a double-sided wick sticker.  Make sure to press it down firmly so that it is completely stuck to the bottom of the jar.  If hot wax gets under it, the wick will float to the top the candle and you will have to start over.  I have tried a variety of wick stickers found on Amazon, and again, Candle Science is best.  It never comes unstuck.  Just go ahead and buy the entire kit…

diy candles fancy pants 1_3

diy candles fancy pants 1_4

diy candles fancy pants 1_1

Once your wax reaches 185 degrees F, remove from the heat and add scented oil if you like.  Again, my favorite brand is Candle Science.  Their scents seem most natural to me compared to some of the overly sweet lower cost brands.  I also mix scents to create my own.  For Golda, I mixed peach and ginger to mimic their peach ginger kombucha.  But my favorite scent to date is apple bourbon and praline.  It smells like Fall in a jar.  For every pound of solid wax used, use 1 ounce of oil.  I bought this digital scale to measure.

Gently stir the wax/oil for a couple of minutes until it has cooled to 135 degrees.  You can buy a candy thermometer or buy a candle making kit, such as the one listed above and everything you need will be included.

diy candles fancy pants 1_2

Once your wax is ready to pour, place a wick bar on top to hold your wick centered in place.  Pour the wax slowly and then allow to cool overnight.  Sometimes, depending on the shape of the container, the wax will harden with a rough, rubble-like consistency on top. This can be easily corrected with a heat gun.  You can purchase one like this at Home Depot, as I did, which I also use as a tool for encaustic painting – see this post for more.

white tea candle

Once completely cooled, remove the wick bar and trim the wick to a 1/4 inch.  Wait 24 hours before burning finished candles.

Voilà!  You now have homemade custom candles.  Enjoy!

SaveSave

winter fashion, winter lace, nude lace, lace top, elegant fashion, southern fashion, career wear, casual chic, fab'rik, fab'rik boutique, dressup boutique

A Pretty Closet Staple: Lace

As if one would need a reason to buy anything in lace…  Lace is a timeless material, classy and chic.  In my opinion, it never went out of style (and never will).  But lace is definitely “in” right now and a staple that you should add to your closet.  I’ve always loved tulle, sequins, sparkles, and lace.  It’s just a girly-girl type of material and I can never get enough of any of it.   I love this top in particular because it can easily be dressed up or down.  I have tucked it into a pencil skirt to wear to the office, and I’ve dressed it down, like you see here.  I paired this ivory top from fab’rik boutique (currently unavailable online, but similar style here) with jeans and nude pumps for a day of shopping and it was comfortable, not too “dressy”, yet still chic.  No, I did NOT hit the stores for Black Friday shopping. However, I did venture out on Saturday and Sunday to a couple of home stores for holiday decor.  The crowds were still awful.  Stay tuned for some glam decorating ideas for the holidays.  This top, by the way, would be perfect for a Christmas party.  I would wear it with a bold red lip (I love the classic MAC Red) and either a black skirt or black moto leggings from Spanx (also available at fab’rik).

Happy shopping!

 

KVC_6049-final

KVC_6075-final

KVC_6071-final

KVC_6099-final

KVC_6102-final

bag by Kate Spade – jeans by Hudson Jeans – shoes by Jessica Simpson – earrings by DressUp Boutique – top by fab’rik 

 

Photos by KVC Photography

jewel tone tablescapes, holiday tablescapes,fall tablescapes, wine and cheese party, holiday decor, cocktail party decor, table styling, white pumpkins, jewel tones, jewel tone weddings

Fall Tablescapes in Rich Jewel Tones

Thanksgiving is only a few days away…  How does your family celebrate?  In my family, styling the tablescape is almost as important as cooking the meal.  I love to set a pretty table.  Whether it be for a traditional feast, such as Thanksgiving, or a cocktail hour with friends.  And what is more beautiful than Fall inspired decor?

My aunt was recently married during a weekend celebration in the North Georgia Mountains. I was charged with arranging the Friday night cocktail party.  It was a crisp October night and the fog was rolling in over the mountains.  While keeping with the theme of Fall, I chose to go with a less traditional style – rich jewel tones.  I began with a navy tablecloth, and then added a garland of fresh greenery down the center (this can be ordered and delivered from Costco online).  Next, I used deep green wine bottles as vases – soak these in a soapy bath and the labels will fall right off.  Each vase contained a single long-stem blueberry rose.  Blueberry roses are a deep berry hue and your local florist should be able to order these for you… just look at the varieties of roses online to determine the exact shade you are looking for.  Between the tall vases, I placed jelly jars with bunches of antique purple hydrangeas, gold mercury votives, and then scattered white pumpkins, pomegranates, deep red apples, and golden pears.  The trick is to arrange your decor with pieces of varying heights, stick to one color palette, and be intentional when chooses the accompanying serve-ware, linens, etc.  The food for this particular spread was displayed on all wooden serving pieces.

So, think outside the cornucopia this Thanksgiving and add a little glam to your table.

Care to hear more about recipes for a cheese/wine party such as this one?  Comment below!

mfarber_jewel tone tablescapes 5

mfarber_jewel tone tablescapes 2

mfarber_jewel tone tablescapes 4

mfarber_jewel tone tablescapes 3

mfarber_jewel tone tablescapes 1

It’s beginning to feel a lot like FALL!

Atlanta weather was overcast and chilly this weekend.  I was finally able to pull out some cozy sweaters and scarves.  It’s a romantic type of chill.  It makes you want to drink hot cider by the fire.  I actually have a few friends who blamed the weather on the fact that they’ve already began decorating for Christmas.  Fall fashion, in my opinion, is the most fun to put together.  Something as simple as a knitted sweater can be glamorous with the right accessories and details.  I bought this white sweater (available in yellow here) at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale back in July.  I fell in love with the back and knew that I could do something special with it… and it was less than $50!   Not familiar with the #Nsale?  Each Summer, Nordstorm hosts a sale that lasts a few weeks, card holders have early access (which is awesome because many items sell out fast).  These are all new pieces from the Fall collections, available for a discounted price during the first few weeks of their release (kind of backwards, right?).  It is awesome.  This crossover cz ring in rose gold (see below) was another #Nsale find, and is still available here.  I went nuts.

The crisscross back and long flared sleeves make this otherwise simple, oversized sweater something unique.  I added a crochet front bralette from Victoria’s Secret, a grey wool hat with felt flower applique, which I found at Target many years ago, but here it is on eBay for $12.99, and pointed toe “ginger booties” by Nicole Miller (available here via Poshmark).  So, look for an ordinary piece and add to it… a classic Fall staple can become something special.

 

Monica-20
jeans by Hudson Jeans
Monica-15
purple/gray druzy cuff came from a local jeweler (similar styles here); gold chain from Woo Skincare + Cosmetics (not available online but they often cary a small collection of accessories in addition to their designer cosmetics and skincare products.

Monica-12

Monica-27
convertible bag by Kate Spade
Monica-28
earrings by Loft (40% off right now… doh!)

Monica-14

Monica-24
pointed toe “ginger booties” by Nicole Miller (available here via Poshmark)

 

photography by Paprika Southern Studios

Game Changers: Spanx Arm Tights

Are you one of those people who rotate their wardrobe based on season?  It’s smart, allows for more space, and you most likely won’t be using that angora sweater in Summer, right?  It does make sense but I do not follow this practice.  Carrie Bradshaw said it best when referring to her wardrobe, “I like my money right where I can see it… hanging in my closet”.  Me too!  And now, thanks to Spanx Arm Tights, your sleeveless tops and dresses become go-to pieces for Fall and Winter, so seasons can overlap.  This is exactly what it sounds like, tights for your arms.  They are thin and seamless, so you can pair them with the most fitted top or dress without feeling like your layering something under it.  And they come in a wide array of beautiful colors!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for the sale racks, holding “last of” items at boutiques such as fab’rik.  I was at my local fab’rik boutique just a couple weeks ago and found this great tunic (this can also be worn as a dress, by the way).  I paired it with these brandywine colored arm tights and I love it!  You can order arm tights via the Spanx website for a mere $30 per pair, or look for them soon, along with some amazing Spanx leggings at your local fab’rik boutique.  So hit up the sale racks and find something left from Summer that can be easily transformed for a completely different look.

The below images were shot in one of my absolute favorite cities, Savannah, Ga.  Shout out to Paprika Southern Studios for capturing these great images in the historic district, just as the air was getting crisp and Fall was beginning to creep in.  More from Savannah coming soon!

faux suede leggings by Express (similar style by H&M here) – shoes by Jessica Simpson via DSW – heart key pendant necklace by Tiffany & Co. – earrings from a sidewalk vendor in San Francisco’s Mission District

Monica-34

Monica-36

Monica-38

Monica-40

Monica-42

Monica-43

 

 

Bill Hallman Boutique

A trendy boutique located in the heart of Inman Park, Bill Hallman brings inspiring mens and womens clothing to Atlanta (for over 25 years), custom designed by Bill himself.

He describes his aesthetic as “60’s and 70’s inspired glamour with a modern timeless twist, allowing my clients to dress up for evening events or integrate into work and day wear.”  He really does provide a wide range of styles appropriate for any occasion – from day time casual, to the office, to the red carpet.  Don’t see your size?  They will custom make something for you.

I attended his Fall/Winter launch party last weekend.  Models walked throughout the store showcasing the new designs, many of which consisted of velvet, fringe, and long, kimono style sleeves.  I asked Bill what his favorite trend was in fashion right now.  He said, “I cannot get enough of the color gold.”  Me neither, Bill.  Me neither.

MF_BillHallman2017_5

MF_BillHallman2017_1

MF_BillHallman2017_2

MF_BillHallman2017_3

MF_BillHallman2017_7

MF_BillHallman2017_9

MF_BillHallman2017_12

MF_BillHallman2017_6

SaveSave

NYFW: Fall Boho

On our way out of NY, we stopped at Grand Central Station.  Grand Central is showcased in more movies that you can imagine, everything from romance to horror.  This New York icon is more than a train station, it is also a shopping and dining destination.  I love train stations and this is the mother of all.  Is it the history?  The hustle and bustle of people coming and going?  Or simply the grandeur that is Grand Central Station?  Whatever it may be, I love it.  I have some “grand” ideas for a photoshoot here one day…

After visiting Grand Central, we had brunch at another NY icon, The Boathouse, located in Central Park and quite possibly the most popular brunch spot in all of the city.  You can sit on the patio and sip champagne while watching people row by on the lake.  It’s literally a picnic in the park, yet you’re surrounded by some of the largest skyscrapers in the world.  Another longtime favorite of mine…

Brunch in the park, Grand Central Station, a walk through Manhattan, and a late flight back to Atlanta… I needed something comfortable yet stylish, after all it was Fashion Week.  This boho inspired look is perfect this Fall.  I found this sheer dress at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale,  it is currently sold out but I did find it available here ,via Amazon.  The hat, I bought a couple of years ago at World Market, but here is a very similar one.  The booties are by Fergie, available at DSW.  And the color block mini bag is by Kate Spade, shown here in the color, punch.  This choker with long, gold tassels is from DressUp Boutique, similar style here.  And to top it off, I am wearing Diva matte lipstick by MAC.  As the weather gets cooler, I’ll add a long, oversized sweater and switch out the booties for knee high boots…  Come on, Fall!  I’m ready.

KVC_51662-final

KVC_5173-final

KVC_52032-final

KVC_52182-final

photography by KVC Photography

SaveSave

NYFW: Fall Glam

If you watched any of my InstaStories, then you would have met Erica.  Erica is my sister-in-law and NYFW partner in crime.  She was a trooper and marched through the city in these 6 inch boots until she almost passed out.  On day three, we made our way to Skylight Clarkson Square and after waiting (standing) for almost two hours, we were invited into the Namilia runway show.  Once we were in (standing room only), I looked over and Erica was on the floor.  My feet, however seemed to have went numb and the pain dissipated as the Disney music came on and the models walked down the runway in the most outrageous designs that I have EVER seen in person.  Just take a look here.  Worrrrth it. After all, standing is the new sitting.

Namilia1

Namilia2

Namilia3

Namilia4

I wish I could say that I were wearing these Jessica Simpson booties (similar style here) that night.  They are super comfortable.  Below is my daytime glam look.  This would work nicely for the office, daytime shopping, or a night out.  It’s all about versatility.  I wore this to DUMBO on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to take in the view of the city and then we went for cocktails at a speakeasy called Bathtub Gin, cleverly hidden beyond a secret door in a coffee shop located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

bathtub gin.jpg

This Express dress (now on sale 40% off!) is a classic shape sheath with small balloon sleeves and a simple bow belt.  You can take a classic style (look for a cocktail dress at your local consignment shop) and make it new by adding accessories, and mixing patterns and textures, like I did here with these Simply Vera by Vera Wang polka dot tights.  Then, I glammed it up with a glitzy statement necklace and earrings from Sugarfix by BaubleBar (this is Baublebar’s line for Target!), cocktail ring from Tiffany & Co and my favorite black go-to bag for Fall/Winter by Kate Spade (similar style here, no tassel).

 

KVC_3201-final
Erica’s Look:  boots Steve Madden – purse Kate Spade – necklace Sugarfix by Baublebar – top and glasses OOTD Boutique

KVC_3106-final

KVC_3189-final

KVC_3177-final

KVC_3171-final

KVC_3169-final

KVC_3147-final

 

photos of me by KVC Photography