CHAMPS + CIDER FALL PUNCH


It's starting... to be that time of year again. The time when we start getting invite after invite, eating cheese plate after cheese plate (or is that just me...) and drinking from punch bowl after punch bowl. Any good hostess knows that it's just easier to make a punch, instead of multiple rounds of cocktails fit to everyone's specifications. And as an avid party goer I tend to steer clear of them because they always seem to be loaded with sugar and not strong enough haha. So here a very simple recipe, less sweet version, even I can handle to make. A festive fall themed punch, enjoy!

Ingredients 
2 bottles of your favorite champagne 
1 quart cider (I used the 365 organic pumpkin spiced apple cider from whole foods)
1/2 cup of Cointreau (optional) 
2 trays of ice cubes 
1 lemon sliced up 
5 cinnamon sticks 

Mix all together in a large punch bowl and add a cinnamon stick to each glass for taste and garnish! 

*Serves 5






Enjoy, let me know what you think!

-MGN
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ON A DEEPER NOTE...

As a therapist who has worked with so many victims of sexual trauma I'm amazed by the outpouring of women AND men who've come forward, but unfortunately I am shocked by some of the responses from both men and women as a result. Let's get one thing straight, sexual violence is not about being a pretty face or dressing suggestively. It's not about women trying to get ahead or being willing to exploit themselves for the sake of fame. It's about our society's belief that some people have no other value aside from their sexuality. It's not about being coquettish or playing coy. It's about our society reducing a female's value to that of a sex object. It's not about men being led on, sex addicts or dawgs. It's about men being raised to feel as if they have more worth. It's about men believing they are entitled to sex without consent. It's not about sex trafficking, it's about the demand the world has for buying sex. It's about it being acceptable to call women sluts, whores, bitches, the c-word. It's about women being portrayed as emotional, gold diggers, dramatic, unreasonable, or a burden. It's about girls being told that when boys are mean they actually like them. Violence is about power and control, so let's stop giving men with atrocious behavior the ability to exert it. How about we allow kids to be innocent and not sexualized (Toddlers & Tiaras). How about we rename The Real Housewives to The Real Women (entrepreneurs, advocates, mothers & role-models). How about we let women choose how they express their sexuality, not categorize them as either good or bad. How about we compliment little girls on more than just their pretty dress or cute smile. How about we stand up against sexual violence, not just because we have a daughter, mother, sister, aunt, girlfriend, niece or wife, but because we are human beings. Whether women run fortune 500 companies or fabulous households, it all comes back to respect. We've already made so much progress and despite thinking Weinstein took us 50 years back, I believe it will help us move 50 years forward. I'm feeling pretty hopeful, hope you are too.

Here's to the next 50 years, 

-MGN

DIY BLUE + WHITE CHINOISERIE PUMPKINS


My favorite color combo... will always be relevant. Whether in my living room, my daily uniform of various shades of blue and white, my Instagram feed, my Christmakuh decorations, and now pumpkins too, this is and will always be the color scheme of choice. So when I found these amazing chinoiserie pumpkins last year on Pinterest, my heart fluttered and I immediately got out all my acrylic paint and did my best at creating some semblance of a pattern all over my pumpkins. I quickly realized the white pumpkins needed to be raised one shade whiter so this year I made sure to grab an additional paint and keep a steady hand with the blue. Here's some pattern inspiration and all the tools you'll need indulge the most timeless color combination. Enjoy! 

What will you need
1. acrylic paint, blue shades 1 & 2 and white
2. small and big paint brush set
3. magazines or newspaper to save your table 
4. pumpkins (I used fake ones so I can keep them for next year too but acrylic paint will also work well on a real pumpkin) 

Blue and White Chinoiserie Pattern Inspo



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Happy Chic-O-Ween!!

-MGN
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THE M LIST: OCTOBER


1. Chic-O-Ween in full swing! Yes, I made that sentence up and I'm proud of it. I think I'm starting to like Halloween more now as an adult then I did as a kid or teenager even. I think maybe because ever since graduating from college I've become more, shall I say, creative, with my costumes. My best one yet, here. I've already been watching Hocus Pocus, Harry Potter and Gilmore Girls on repeat and started wearing sweaters every day despite the temperatures hitting an average of 88 degrees everyday at noon. I've also decorated some beautiful blue and white chinoiserie pumpkins I'm excited to share and of course, a delicious fall themed cheese plate. 

2. Girls trip to NYC, and of course it's me and my three friends, so basically I'm Carrie Bradshaw. I'm very excited to go to New York, I truly believe I'm better suited to live there more then Los Angeles. I love the hustle and fast pace of New York, the rush of being busy just makes sense to me. I also of course love how fashion forward people are, and how restaurants are not just known for who's there and what they look like, but also have a very high standard for good food. New York also seems to have more tradition and history that people actually appreciate. Needless to say, I'm also very excited to see some friends, particularly one who I miss terribly after she left LA about a year ago. So if you have any recommendations for places to shop, eat, relax, see, be fabulous  — please let me know!! 

3. MoviePass an app that will sound too good to be true for any movie theater going lover like me, which apparently offers one movie theater pass per day for less then $10 per month. There has been controversy about how feasible this idea is but I can't wait to test is out. The average movie ticket cost in Los Angeles is more then the monthly cost of this service so I'd be more then happy to test is out, especially since prime movie theater time is upon us (Oscar season) and I just love a good afternoon theater outing. It's actually the one thing almost always do by myself (aside from serious shopping) and has always been a great way for me to deal with stress. 

4. Fall reading list. I have to admit I have once again fallen off the wagon with reading. I would like to say this doesn't happen all the time or that I'm really busy but I'd be lying because EVERY time I start reading again, I fall off the wagon and as busy as I am I still manage to watch every episode of Real Housewives while knocking out work on my laptop. Usually a vacation helps since I need something for plane rides and while lounging but I actually left my copy of Rich People Problems (the 3rd installment in the the Crazy Rich Asians Series and a great easy read) at our hotel in France this summer, so I need to order another stat. I also started reading Fake Plastic Love but have hit a bit of a wall. So any recommendations? I found some good lists here and here

5. The Harvey Weinstein news that recently broke has been weighing heavily on my heart. On one hand I am so relieved that after decades of injustices against many women, a man with great power was ousted. But I am also extremely disappointed at the fact that such insidious behavior was tolerated for so long, up until it was publicly shamed. Sexual harassment, assault and violence is a truly evil and systematic problem in almost every industry, all over our country and the entire world. This makes everyone responsible, from parents teaching our young people to respect one another, from teachers educating students about consent, from HR departments executing a no-tolerance policy, to decent human decency suggesting we show one another safety, respect and integrity. It's a great thing I suppose that we as a society are starting to take this problem more seriously then in the past and that women have more of a platform for speaking out. But I guess it's still sort of sad that we have advanced so far with technology, education and laws, and yet still are so behind on basic human rights- the right to live a safe and fulfilling life. But here's my part, my mini contribution, my opinion that may or may not make a big difference but that like many others, can slowly, help change the world. It's as simple as respect. Respecting those around us, those with more power, those with less. Respecting our children, neighbors, strangers, ourselves. If we can equate people, we can live free of exploitation. 

Much love and RESPECT, 

-MGN

THOSE WERE THE DAYS...

{my senior class photo}

A walk down memory lane... If you noticed on Instagram, I was recently back in my hometown of Chicago visiting my family and friends as I tend to do about once a year, preferably during the summer (aka the best time in Chicago). This year just happened to be my 10 year high school reunion, man how time flies, so it just made sense to make a weekend out of it and let the nostalgia sink in! I still talk to my main group of girlfriends from high school but seeing a bunch of people I went to school with was quite an experience. Full disclosure, my high school experience was quite nice. I always tell people "I got lucky" considering how tough teenagers can be and just the unique nature of the adolescent experience itself. And as a therapist who enjoys working specifically with teens, I just can't help but think about where I was at that time, during those super important years of my life. I think back to my own experience and realize that I really haven't changed too much, aside from having a tad more confidence, less drama with friends and the very fortunate realization that blonde is not my best hair color.  

{a page I designed in yearbook class with a real dress I wore to turnabout in the backdrop}

But aside from the normal developmental milestones we tend to make post grad, I really, truly believe we evolve as people and that our core personality, fears, and desires are fairly similar over our lifetimes. That they always remain a significant part of the person we were and the person we will continue to always be. So to think back about that time when my friends and I all left our little four year safe heaven, graduation caps and futures in tow, and I wondered where I would be when we reunite in ten years, I can honestly say that I might not have been wearing the exact same outfit I imagined, married to the same celebrity crush (yeah turns out that date with Jesse McCartney didn't pan out), or had exactly the same life I dreamed about at 18. But the way I thought about myself, the ambitions I had for my future, the things that were most sensitive and real for me, are really all quite the same now. I always knew I wanted something different and more exciting, I knew I would be equally as passionate about helping people as my creative outlets. I knew I wanted to leave Chicago and see what else was out there, take on the challenge of meeting new people and experiencing new things. All of these things were just as real when I was a tenth grader as they are now, about to turn 28, and although some of the aesthetics might look a little different, they will likely be a more evolved, but similar version when I'm 50, and when I'm 70 and when I'm 100. Living proof pictured below, in one of my newspaper columns encouraging young people to care about politics. And I can honestly say I still stand behind every statement!

{ my column in the school newspaper} 

When I see today's youth, they are mostly coming in for therapy because of some hardship in their life (but what teenager doesn't report hardship at least once a week let's be real) I must say I am really impressed by how mature, thoughtful, and ambitious they are. They all seem to have very clear personas and feelings about the world and how they fit into it. I can say almost every teenager tends to have a bit of angst considering their future and even the day to day lives they sometimes make out to be the center of the universe. But for the most part, at the core of themselves, they are developing a real sense of identity they will carry on for the rest of their lives. And that's why I think it's oh so incredibly important not to downplay a youth's dream, to really listen when teenagers talk, to nurture and support their ambitions as much as possible. I am so grateful to have grown up in a home where my dreams were always supported, my creativity encouraged, and my often, overdramatized ideas (taking a taxi cab to school, midnight scavenger hunts, teepeeing the quarterback's house, making my brand new poodle puppy sit outside in the cold while I filmed him - to name a few) not completely shot down. If I have learned anything from working with teens, babysitting teens, being a teen, it's that our longings, ambitions and fears are always real, no matter our age, grades, salary, or relationship status. The things we obsess over now and then are important and the things that I loved then are still some of the most meaningful things now. So when I look back now, it's with more gratitude, more insight, more forgiveness. And today, I realize I might not have accomplished everything yet, and life is nowhere near perfect, but I think my 18 year old self would be proud. And she would most certainly have loved my reunion ensemble. 

{10 years later...}

I think we did pretty good...

Xx, 

-MGN

50+ SWEATERS FOR FALL

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Sweater weather is here!!! Well, at least in my air-conditioned office and past 6pm in Los Angeles. As much as I love summer, I'm always in the mood to wear a sweater, even in mid August. And now that it's finally time to wear one and not be judged, I couldn't be more excited. So excited that I searched for more then 50 options for all those brisk mornings, movie nights in, cozy Sunday's and stretchy skinny jeans. So grab your pumpkin spice latte, put on Hocus Pocus and get yourself in the fall spirit. Enjoy! 

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Get cozy, 

-MGN
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CHIC-O-WEEN: DIY BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S COSTUME


Good morning darling... oh do come in, I'm dressed in my finest breakfast in bed attire. I've been wanting to do this costume for so many years and every Halloween I seem to forget my lovely idea. Considering how often I'm in pajamas and my love for a Sunday morning in bed, this is my favorite style moment of Audrey Hepburn in the American classic, Breakfast at Tiffany's. If you haven't seen it, please watch immediately. This is one of the simplest, comfiest, and chicest costumes I think anyone could replicate. And just to clarify for any Big Little Lies fans out there, I did not, I repeat, I DID NOT, get this idea from Reese Witherspoon's character. I had finalized this idea last year before I watched the spectacular series. Anyway, there are several options for the face mask and purple tassel earrings on Etsy, and any white button men's oxford shirt will suffice. I happened to have the perfect shade of coral lipstick from the summer and I recommend just pairing the look with your favorite stilettos. And here we are, the easiest and most brilliant  costume for any fashionista. 







Happy Chic-O-Ween

-MGN

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FALLING FOR FALL: 100+ INSPIRATIONAL IMAGES

It's that time of year again... and as I probably say every year, it's really crazy to me how a season change (or the idea of it for all you warm weather cities) can bring you back to your earlier memories of the season, to whatever traditions you had, wether big or small, mine being mostly around helping rake the leaves as a little kid in Chicago, or watching double double toil and trouble with my little sister with roasted marshmallows on a plate (don't ask me why), or planning her annual Halloween themed birthday (poor Becky couldn't escape it with an October 15th birthday). I remember one year my sole responsibility was to jump out and scare arriving guests and hit repeat on the "spooky sounds tape," yes; that was a thing. As I got older this became a major social moment for starting off middle school, curly hair (Jaime Sullivan style when she sang in the blue dress), trying to find a happy medium between my burgeoning fashionista style and the ruthlessness of 7th grade bullies. Obviously, I won. (Insert red dress salsa dancer emoji). And then it become about Homecoming, and all the pressure for us cheerleaders to put on a great show and rock spirit week. I think I almost feel asleep at the dance senior year after extreme exhaustion. Then of course, the never ending sorority shenanigans — I'm not sure what was worse, rushing to be in a sorority or having to rush literally hundreds of girls every fall, being extremely hungover, desperate for a bagel and repeating the same small talk about the freshman courses, wether or not leggings were pants, and how classy our sorority was. But all in all, these memories all had one thing in common, the excitement of something that feels fresh, new and hopeful, but also conjoined to the familiarity of the seasons and it's traditions. I think that spirit has always been best captured during this time, when the nights get a little colder, the lights get brighter and people, whether out of sheer will or for the sake of tradition and repetition, decide to celebrate life and all that the start of all the season has to offer. Here's some eye candy to get you in the mood. Enjoy!



































































































Much Love, 

-MGN