Holiday Hair

{five ways to style your hair this holiday season}

You found the dress.  And the shoes.  Even the jewelry.  But, now you need to figure out the finishing touch: how will you style your hair?  It seems this is a question worthy of great concern – you want something special, but don’t want to spend hours doing your hair or wearing it the same way you do every other day.

So, here are the hairstyles we’re most inspired by (and trying ourselves for the holiday celebrations on our calendar):

Chignon with a twist.  A classic chignon is always appropriate, but we love this loose version that captures the beauty of the season so perfectly!  Simply twist sections of your hair on the right and left; pin in place and then style your hair into a chignon as usual.  For helpful photo tutorials, we recommend this one on The City Sage or this one by Capitol Hill Style.

Twisted Chignon Tutorial

Put something sparkly in it.  If you’re not up to styling your hair in a fancy way, just pull your hair half up and then add in a sparkly headpiece {tutorial here}.  You can even add a seasonal flower – or even a piece of mistletoe – to your hair for a true holiday look!

Something sparkly for a season of holiday parties

Vintage curls.  Yet another classic: bold, soft waves. Besides, this tutorial makes it look so easy!

Vintage curls tutorial

Fake it.  For the women with curls or waves, use your natural texture to style a chic faux bob. Here are nine celebrity looks for inspiration + a tutorial.  Really, you just need a few pins, hairspray and some patience!

faux bob

When in doubt, copy the French.  We’ve shared this tutorial before, but it’s just so pretty and so simple, we wanted to link to it again!

French Twist Hair Tutorial

For more inspiration, check out these hair tutorials featuring braids and our favorite beauty sites for inspiration!

How are you styling your hair this season?  We’d love some new ideas and tips!

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5 Steps to Shopping With Ethics

{a guide to ethical fashion}

Ethical fashion is a term being thrown around quite often nowadays.  It seems that people want to shop smarter, while fighting all the injustices in the world that may arise through the fashion industry.  But, to be honest, it is quite intimidating.  Is buying a pair of Toms enough?  What about supporting local businesses or buying only American?  How are ethics and fashion integrated?

Guide to Ethical Fashion

That’s why we love this guide to ethical fashion written by Danielee Vermeer, a social impact consultant and social justice storyteller. Her tips are are incredibly simple, yet brimming with good information and leads to other resources if you want to learn even more.

So, in this season of holiday shopping and gifting, let’s shop for the better good!

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Five Perfect Gifts For Your Holiday Host

{perfect last-minute gifts to give your hosts this holiday season}

If you’re like us, you have been so busy finding the perfect gifts for those on your list that you may have forgotten to consider a little something for your holiday party hosts.  Never fear, HOM has your back.

While host gifts aren’t a necessity, they are a special way to show your appreciation.  If you do not have time or finances available to purchase host gifts, consider writing a thoughtful card after the party telling your host how much you appreciated their efforts and hospitality.

The perfect host gift is small,  not overly fancy, but unique and appealing to a wide variety of people.  Here are our top 5 picks for host gift-giving:

1.  Wine or Cider

A bottled spirit is one of the easiest and most practical host gifts you can buy.  Look for something out-of-the-ordinary, like a small production wine from a lesser-known region.  We love wines from Rioja, like this 2004 La Rioja Alta Ardanza Reserva, since you can get a delicious, complex wine for a reasonable price.  If your host isn’t a wine person, consider a craft cider like these Island Orchard Ciders.

La-Rioja-Alta-Vina-Ardanza-Reserva-2004-Label

2.  Artisan Food Products

Unique and local food products are always a hit, and a relatively easy gift to give.  Consider olive oil, chocolates, special spices or salts, coffee syrup, or bloody mary mix for the morning after.

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[Photo credit here.]

3.  Napkins

Napkins are another easy gift for the entertainer.  Go for something festive like these Snowfall Gold Linen Napkins or something that can be used any time of year like these beautiful Fleur Print Napkins.  Or, these clever Shannon Martin “Happy Hour” napkins are affordable and fun.

snowfall-gold-linen-napkin

4.  Stationery

Stationery is another thoughtful gift.  We opt for personalized stationery, like this Ashton Avenue Monogram Stationery from Paper Sugar or this Solid Monogram Personal Stationery from TinyPrints, but any stationery will do.  In fact, Target has a huge selection of stationery that you can pick up on your way to the party in a flash.

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5.  A Tiny Houseplant

Houseplants are lovely gifts for a home or office, but pick something small so that it’s not an imposition.  Succulents are wonderful because they are low-maintenance and can survive with moderate sunlight, meaning they can be placed on an interior bookshelf, in a bathroom, etc., giving your host a bunch of options.

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What is the best host gift you have given or received?  Share with us in the comments below!

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How to Transform Your Look From Work Day to Holiday Party

{five of the best (and easiest) ways to take your look from day to night}

We had recently decided to write on this topic when Kate coincidentally stumbled upon an article by Molly Russell posted on Levo League.  Molly covers everything we were going to cover + more.

For the top five ways to take your look from day to night, read Molly’s article here.

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[Photo credit here.]

Cheers and happy holiday partying!

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Reminder: You’re Invited…

{join us for fashion, cocktails, and fun – tomorrow!}

Desiree is officially back in town and we’re thrilled to be hosting our second-ever fashion, shopping, and cocktailing event – we hope to see you tomorrow night!

House of Marbury and VMR Party

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Artsy Touches

{painterly details to let your creative side show at the office}

At HOM we’re lovers of fashion, of course.  And, as an extension of this, we are lovers of all things aesthetically pleasing, artful, and beautiful.  As the grey of winter descends upon us, we are finding particular solace and beauty in pieces that can be worn . . . or just as easily framed for display!

The high price tag on this MSGM floral print satin skirt might just be worth it, because we can admire this skirt for days!  For a more budget-friendly option, we love this Heidi floral satin full midi skirt.

MSGM floral-print duchesse satin skirt

 

For a pretty office look, this A.L.C. presley two-tone splatter-print silk top has us dreaming of wandering the halls of the Louvre in Paris.  For a more affordable option, try this black long sleeve leaf print blouse.

ALC presley two tone splatter print silk top

This ombre painted crew sweater is just divine!  As is this Burberry Prorsum gradient-effect silk blouse in the most beautiful shades of blue.

Vince Painted Crew Sweater

Have a special occasion coming up (perhaps a formal holiday gala)?  This Aidan Mattox sleeveless floral ball gown is definitely going to make a statement.

Aidan Mattox Ball Gown

For a more subtle, yet formal look, pair this Carolina Herrerra silk blouse with black slacks or a black pencil skirt – a perfect look for a Christmas party!  Or, if you’re more of a dress type, we recommend this similarly patterned Adrianna Papell floral-print paneled dress.

Carolina Herrera Silk Long Sleeve Floral Blouse

Finally, we couldn’t publish a post on art-inspired pieces without mentioning the art work women tend to wear on their feet – like these Kate Spade licorice floral print pumps!  Gorgeous.

Kate Spade New York licorice floral pritn leather pumpt

 

Do you own any artful wardrobe pieces?  Please share in the comments below!

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Holiday Gift Wrap Inspiration

{DIY projects to take your gifts to the next level}

At HOM, we love the holidays.  Sure, they can be stressful, but there’s so much joy and festivity in the air.  A major reason for this, of course, is that the season is filled with gift-giving.  After spending so much effort selecting the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, we suggest going a step further and making your packaging as beautiful as the gift inside.

Lauren Conrad recently featured a wonderful post on her blog about how to make festive clothespin gift tags.  We love LC’s clothespin idea, and highly recommend a trip to your local craft store to pick up unique wrapping accessories like these or something similar.

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Happy Holidays!

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The Best Holiday Treats For Your Office

{the best recipes to share with your colleagues}

Every holiday season, Kate likes to bring baked goods to her office to share with coworkers.  The gesture is thoughtful, people appreciate it, it is festive, and you appear well-rounded when you show you have a life outside of the office.

(As an aside, we’ve read articles where women discourage other women professionals from bringing treats into the office because our male counterparts are unlikely to do so and they believe women are undermining our professional credibility by highlighting our domestic capability.  While this may a valid concern in certain offices, in most settings, this simply isn’t true.  Foodie culture is growing exponentially among both sexes, and especially among professionals.  Many men nowadays are into cooking and appreciate another’s ability to cook or bake.  Creating an impressive treat for the office during the holidays will not label you an unsavvy or undedicated professional.)

If you’re completely averse to baking, consider buying a nice platter of cookies, doughnuts, or chocolates to share with your coworkers.  But, if you’re somewhat inexperienced in the kitchen, don’t worry- the recipes we’ve selected are easy to create, transport, and serve.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Eggnog Frosting

This is a recipe Kate created herself, it involves a simple chocolate cupcake (she suggests using a store bought baking mix, and especially recommends the 365 brand chocolate cake mix or the Betty Crocker butter chocolate cake mix) and a simple buttercream frosting (she uses Martha Stewart’s recipe) enhanced with eggnog.

Begin by baking the cupcakes according to the provided directions, and while they’re baking and cooling, mix the buttercream.  Once it’s prepared, add in a few tablespoons of eggnog to desired level of flavor and appearance, and frost the cupcakes.  Kate always uses a piping bag to frost cupcakes- if you don’t own any, simply cut the corner off of a ziplock bag and use that to distribute frosting.

House of Marbury - festive treats

Chocolate Nut Clusters

No matter how uncomfortable you feel in huge kitchen, there I’d truly no way to botch this recipe.  Simply melt your chocolate of choice and stir in your nut and/or dried fruit of choice, drop onto a sheet of wax paper and allow to cool completely.  Our personal favorite combination for the holidays is white chocolate, pistachio, and dried cranberry – especially festive and delicious!  (See here, Kate’s now defunct former blog, for more chocolate and nut combinations.)

House of Marbury - best holiday treat recipes

Chocolate-dipped Pretzels

Just as above, chocolate-dipped pretzels are amazingly easy to create and a major crowd pleaser.  We always use pretzel sticks, as they are easiest to dip.  Once you do the initial dip, finish the sticks off with a green, red, or white drizzle.  Simply melt some white chocolate, add food coloring and use a spoon to drizzle over the prepared sticks.  Done!

House of Marbury - chocolate pretzels

[Photo credit here.]

David Lebovitz Spiced Cake

David Lebowitz is a master of all things delicious, and this recipe is no exception.  Although we favor providing bite-sized treats to a crowd, this spice cake is so perfectly seasonal and easy to make that it’s totally worth making 2 for your office.  We suggest slicing the cake for service but keeping the round cake shape intact.

House of Marbury - Spiced Ginger Cake

[Photo credit here.]

Chez Panisse Almond Tart

This is Kate’s all-time favorite recipe.  It requires more effort that all of the others featured on this list, but it’s so, so worth it.  Plus, once you’ve made it enough times, you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed.  This tart is buttery and delicious and looks way more professional than we’re otherwise capable of.  Also, it’s easy to slice into servings for a crowd.  Thank you, David!

House of Marbury - Almond Tart
[Photo credit here.]

What dessert recipes are you making this holiday season?

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Glitterati

{sparkly nails for the holiday season}

This holiday season, take some business attire liberties with a sparkly manicure for the office.  While we’re not so sure we can advocate for glittery nails throughout the year, the holidays are a perfect time to have a little fun with your nail accessorizing.

Stay away from images on your nails – in our view, this is a little tacky unless they are meant to accessorize your ugly Christmas sweater.  Instead, opt for festive colors like burgundies, metallics, and anything with sheen, and then take it up a notch with a little bit of sparkle.  Here are some of our favorite manicures that capture this look.

As a start, we love the look of this rich silver sparkle manicure.  It’s festive but not too wild, and you could do it as a gel as it would would work well through the New Year.

sparklenails

If you’re in the mood for something literal, this neutral mani with red and green glitter is actually quite pretty.  The green and red is festive but not over the top, and is perfect for your office holiday luncheon.

holidaysparklenails

While we likely wouldn’t mix and match here, either the stripe or the subtle sparkle would make a beautiful holiday manicure throughout the season.

mixmatchnails

For a sparkly look that you can do at home, try this half shimmery, half sheen polish look.  Pretty and simple to replicate.

DIYsparklynails

Finally, we’re loving this blue tone with just a stripe of shimmer.  Simple and sweet.  Love!

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Oh and about that Christmas sweater . . . .

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What holiday manicure are you going to try this season?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Give And You Shall Receive

{the best gifts for everyone this holiday season}

With Thanksgiving behind us, we’re now in full holiday mode.  And, among other things, this means the typical year-end rush to buy the perfect gifts for everyone we know.  Since gift giving is one of our favorite pastimes, we’ve compiled some resources here that will jumpstart the gift search for everyone on your list.  Go ahead and include more people than fewer – you know the old adage: give and you shall receive!

Your Boss

Whether you work in a traditional firm or office setting, and whether you work for a small or big company, there is likely someone in your life who plays a boss or mentor role.  This person should absolutely be on your list this holiday season.  For bosses and mentors, we tend to like food and drink oriented gifts, as these are special but not too personal – a nice balance when you are dealing with a strictly professional relationship.

For example, if your boss drinks alcohol, you can’t go wrong with a nice bottle of wine or champagne (or a trio gift set).  If you have multiple bosses, or are thinking of a mentor more than an actual boss, something low key like a beautiful box of specialty chocolates or a fancy tea set would be nice.  For bonus points, if your boss is the type, go for something a little more fun like this bloody mary gift basket.

chocolates

Your Secretary

If your secretary is doing her job right, you owe her a lot.  The holidays are a perfect time to show how much you appreciate the work he or she does with a special gift.  We like to take this one step further and choose a personalized gift of some sort, which is a signal that you’ve not only remembered your secretary, but that you’ve made a concerted effort to pick out something especially tailored for him or her (and, if you are not working well with your secretary, this is an opportunity to get the relationship back on track!).  Try personalized stationary from Tiny Prints or a scarf with her initials on it – both would be thoughtful and so lovely to receive.

initial scarf

Your Parents

We find that buying the perfect gift for our parents individually is a bit tough – they have everything, they don’t want anything, and so on.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, opt for a joint gift that they can enjoy together.  For example, a dinner gift certificate at a nice restaurant near where they live, or tickets to a play or opera in their town are great options.  Or, personalize a home print for them with sentimental words and phrases that encompass memories of your home life.  Not sure about you, but our parents are total softies for this sort of thing.

homeprint

Your BFF

These days, you and your best friends may not be in the same city, state, or even country.  Still, it’s nice to reach out with a small item to let them know you are thinking of them during the holidays and year round.  This year, we are loving these state themed cuffs.  They are inexpensive but chic, and you can personalize them by choosing the state you have in common, or the states you live in now, depending on the circumstances.  For friends in cold weather places, these Mod Cloth tights are super cute and would make a fabulous gift as well.

state bracelet

Your Significant Other

Buying for your significant other during the holidays is always tricky, and is largely dependent on who they are, what they need, and whether you are newly dating, in a long term relationship, married, or otherwise.  With that said, we’re really into the idea of a “total package” gift for our significant other, meaning a multi-part gift with a theme.

For example, a brunch gift certificate for the two of you, followed by a massage, followed by a package that contains an article of clothing or an accessory that will work perfectly for the dinner you have planned for that night.  Items like a great new pair of Joe’s Jeans, some fun cufflinks, or a button up that works for a dinner date and for work are great clothing/accessory options.

cufflinks

Yourself!

We would be missing the point of the holidays if we shopped for everyone we knew without thinking of a little gift for ourselves.  After all, you’ve worked hard this year, too, and deserve a little end of the year treat.  As a start, head over to our list of the best Black Friday sales, still going strong.  And, if you’re wondering what we’ve got our eye on this Christmas season, it’s this fabulous bucket bag by Opening Ceremony with Mansur Gavriel (sold out for now, but we can dream).

MG

What gifts are you buying this holiday season?  Let us know in the comments below!

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