HOLIDAZED: GIFT GUIDE 2014



It's that time of year again! The most magical time, when shopping becomes a chore and you start to wonder why you know so many people, perhaps have too many family members and the mall becomes the nightmare before Christmas! Well, worry no more, I have curated an easy guide to hitting up all those special someones on that list! Including Her, Him, Kiddos and Furry Friends! 

Happy Holiday Shopping!!
{ 1. Jonathan Adler Navy Chevron Throw | 2. Kate Spade Animal Print Tiny Metro | 3. Iomoi Personalized Stationary | 4. Gleaming Isla Anthropologie Gold Pineapple Candle | 5.  C. Wonder Gold Trim Agate Bookends | 6. Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Green iPhone 5 Case | 7. Sole Society Cheeta Print Walla Flat | 8. In the Sport of Beverly Hills: 100 Anniversary Edition by Assouline | 9. Chantal Copper Whistling Tea Kettle }  
{ 1. Thom Filicia Desirable Horse | 2. Veuve Clicquot Rose | 3. Nate Berkus Faux Fur Stool at Target |  4.  Baies Scented Oval by Diptyque Paris | 5. Presidio Silver-Plated Tiered Stand | 6. Charbonnel ET Walker Pink Celebration Hamper | 7. Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne | 8. Kate Spade Evening Belles Feather Mimi | 9. Delfonics Quitterie Pouch at Urban Outfitters | 10. Nate Berkus Lion Place Card Holders at Target }
{ 1. Cote Shop Five-Free Nail Polish | 2. Scribe Dream Wall Art  | 3. Judith Gigliotti, Cobalt | 4. Delfonics Craig Coin Case at Urban Outfitters | 5. Lucky Elephant Novelty Smoking Slipper | 6. Tory Burch Charm Needlepoint Pillow | 7. 2015 Leather Desk Datebook by Mark & Graham | 8. Faribault for Target Wool Scarf | 9. C. Wonder Agate Coaster Set | 10.  Preserved Myrtle Box w/Monogram }

{ 1. White Steel Foosball Table | 2. Dalmore Scotch | 3. Pottery Barn Andi Stripe Robe | 4. Brooke Brother Round Watch with Embossed Leather Band | 5. Jawbone 'UP24' Fitness Wristband | 6. Borroks Brothers Signature Tartan Cashmere Scarf | 7. Tom Ford 'Noir' Eau de Parfum | 8. ThermaCheck Fleece Throw w/Monogram | 9. Monogram Wax Seal Set }
{ 1. Maker's Mark Personalized Crystal Ambassador Decanter | 2. Vintage Cars by Ken Gross | 3. Whiskey Rocks Set |  4. Monogrammed Stainless Steel Beverage Bucket by Williams Sonoma | 5. Shaken Not Stirred on One Kings Lane | 6.  The Art of Shaving Unscented Initiation Kit | 7. UGG Australia Ascot Suede Slipper | 8. Monogrammed Turkish Terry Robe | 9. Brooks Brothers Lambskin Cashmere Lined Gloves | 10. Chicago Cubs Apron }
{ 1. Melissa & Doug Plush Giraffe | 2. City Bike | 3. Eloise at Christmastime | 4. Buttercup Bow Onesie by The Giving Child | 5. Retro Jack Straws Game | 6. Hunter Original Rain Boot (Kids) | 7. Retro Paper Dolls | 8. Beats by Dre Solo HD Drenched in Pink | 9. Neiman Marcus Popcorn Tin | 10. William's Sonoma Hanukkah Gelt }
{ 1. Hanukkah Dog Treats | 2. Harry Barker Play Balls Gift Bucket | 3. C. Wonder Buffalo Check Dog Jacket4. Henri Bendel Bone Dog Bowl | 5. Harry Barker Dog Shampoo | 6. Monogrammed Round Canvas Dog Bed }

Shop Smart!

Xx, Monica

FILM ROLL: DARLING DOLLS

{Valley of the Dolls}
I recently finished reading Jacqueline Susann's infamous 1966 novel, Valley of the Dolls. The story takes place in America's two largest cities for showbiz and glamour, New York City and Los Angeles, and outlines the ever evolving dependency some of the chicest women develop for pain killers, also known as some delectable "dolls." The story was everything I thought it would be; fame, fortune, fashion, fatality, fear entrenched in the dramatic lives of entertainers and the hopeful and lonely women who crave both the admiration of the public as well as that of a loyal man. Of course after reading the book I had to see the film, partially just to see that 60's chic I dreamed up in my mind. As usual, the film lacked a sensible plot and completely disregarded important storyline details. However it got the most important thing right, the fashion in film
{Valley of the Dolls}
Starting with some of my wintery favorites, this film has some good old classics I think just hit the nail on the head. Starting with the neutral furs (above), that I just couldn't help but capture here, a winter staple, faux for me of course. Then the simplest style staple, a beige, double breasted, trench coat (below), worn so well with layers and these adorable, brown, suede gloves. 
{Valley of the Dolls}
{Valley of the Dolls}
Cozy, isn't it? Makes me crave a warm fireplace and a soft knit, turtleneck, sweater dress, which I think I might actually have... the dapper man would be nice too. Speaking of men, how charming is this silky maroon collegiate jacket (below). Did I mention how much I like men in bow ties? 
{Valley of the Dolls}
{Valley of the Dolls}
Or ones with a killer vacation tan (below). Forget pills, I'd develop a dependency just on this! 
{Valley of the Dolls}
Okay so back to fashion...
{Valley of the Dolls}
Of course you need to be dressed well standing next to a bar cart (see bottom right, above). I just will never get over the voluminous Pollyanna hairdo, teased just perfectly to frame a round face like my own. 
{Valley of the Dolls}
 I am not one to match my patterns, at least not since I was about 6 years old. BUT, I would kill to wear this matching mod, sequin stripped, double breasted coat (pictured above) with a matching sleeveless shift underneath (pictured below). How absolutely adorable! Love, love, love!
{Valley of the Dolls}
{Valley of the Dolls}
 So this may not come as a shock to many who know me and my fashion taste, but I am so obsessed with green I could literally live my life in it. This kelly green, sequin/mesh striped, dress is everything. Yes, it is a show costume for Neely's performance but I would still wear it on a Wednesday. I actually have a blue short sleeve top just like it.
{Valley of the Dolls}
Even though this woman is clearly having a meltdown after destroying her career with a drug dependency, I must still give her props for looking so damn chic. The lighting makes it hard to tell, but I believe the film shows this accompanying fur coat in a deep forest green and I LOVE IT! I don't support abusing pain killers, but why would you when you look this good!!! #stylishmeltdown
{Valley of the Dolls}
 Speaking of my green glimmer obsession... this is what I hope to retire as (see above). Helen is wearing a resort style caftan in her own apartment and I totally support that, along with my favorite vintage champagne saucer. 

I also support this green room full of plants with some mustard yellow accent chairs (below). Again how chic is her green gown? I need an around the house, hostess caftan too!
{Valley of the Dolls}
{Valley of the Dolls}
 Speaking of fabulous decor and fashion, how beautiful is this powder room (above)? I love the gold and black together, it will always be a signature deco-ish color scheme that instantly adds glamour to any room. It actually reminds me of the ladies room at Bloomies, come to think of it! They have it right!
{Valley of the Dolls}
My absolute, favorite film decor shot (above), of course is depicting a bathroom brawl between two starlets, BUT, how unbelievable is this navy and aqua bordered floor? I die for this. I also die for the most elegant bathroom stall ever made, in the most serene shade of blue. Its like the ocean  decided to show up. Did I mention that my second favorite color next to green is blue? My little turquoise obsessed sister {Turquoise Temptation} would totally approve. And she is a tough cookie. 
{Valley of the Dolls}
{Valley of the Dolls}

Speaking of decor, how chic is this Los Angeles pool scene? I'd give up my macbook to sit in a pink straw pool chair and type the old fashioned way for a day! I love how the pool and property edge is lined in Italian cypress trees, they are my absolute favorite tree type and it's so nice to see them again in Los Angeles, before then I thought they only existed in Verona, Italy! 
{Valley of the Dolls}
Obviously my favorite area in a home is the office. Despite that mine consists simply of just one beautiful desk nudged into my little bedroom, I still hold a high value on getting things done, and in fashionable company. This set up (above) is minimal but with some smart color. This home is a mid-century beach house, so i'm not too surprised by the simple edges. Love how her blue nightgown matches so well with the wall and fits the red and baby blue color scheme. Those were actually the colors I choose for my 7th grade science fair project board. Now you see why I didn't end up becoming a scientist.
{Valley of the Dolls}
Once again, the girl is washed up, pun intended, but her robe is still so cute! So sad when such beauty and talent gets wasted, literally. Too many artists get caught in the waves.

Fortunately, another one will always appear. 
{Valley of the Dolls}

Just like Fellini, I too love to end with the ocean, 

Xx, 

Monica

IN THE SPIRIT OF THE HAMPTONS

{ Sailing Day }
I realize we have hit sweater weather, yes, even in Los Angeles. However, I couldn't have left out such an amazing trip from this year. After spending a few days in New York City this summer (one of those days being my 25th birthday) my friends and I traveled a few hours out to an east coast oasis, causally known as, The Hamptons. It's a wonderful summer spot, a classic strip of East Coast communities. If I could live anywhere between the months of June and August, it would be certainly be here! 
{ Sunning on Deck }
 We were fortunate enough to stay on my friend's family boat, which was conveniently docked at The Montauk Yacht Club; I couldn't have dreamed of a better setup! The weather was nice but not nearly as warm as I expected, which was kind of a refreshing change for August in LA/NYC. We got just enough sun for a day on the deck and fortunately I had such an engaging beach read (Crazy Rich Asians, pictured below and on my book list) I found quite hard to put down! 
{ Book Club on the Boat }
After relaxing in the sun the first day, we headed out to town to explore some of the best spots in Montauk. Of course seeing a prime sunset was at the very top of my list and easy to spot down the road at my favorite Montauk spot, Navy Beach
{ Sunset with my friends at Navy Beach, Montauk, NY }
{ Navy Beach, Montauk, NY1 | 2 | 3 | 4 }
 Navy Beach was hands down my favorite! If we had enough time I would have certainly gone back for a beach day. The picnic table and daybed set-up was so ideal for any group of people wanting to relax and enjoy the small beach area. At the very least I wish I could have gone back for just a brunch and another beautiful sunset. It was absolutely breathtaking at night and worth posting up at with a group of friends for a cocktail!
{ Southampton, NY: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 }
Although we were staying in Montauk, also known as "the end of the world" to Hampton locals, we went out to explore Southampton, Bridgehampton, and East Hampton. I found Southampton to be quite the charming town, with a cool and unobtrusively elegant feel. The perfect beach town for a city gal like myself! Even the J.Crew had a little "at the beach" tagline and inside Club Monaco was a never ending summer white party. Although we didn't end up making it to Southampton Social Club, I couldn't resist adding the garden cabana into this collage! Now that's a table worth buying. Dining at 75 Main is a must, despite its' "scene-y" reputation, I found it to be a super laid back lunch/brunch spot with a delicious salmon benedict (above)! 
{ South Edison, Montauk, NY1 | 2 | 3 | 4 }
Speaking of deliciousness, South Edison in Montauk turned out to be my favorite restaurant, hands down! The food was fresh, the atmosphere was lively, the decor like a summer house porch and all within walking distance of the most fun dive bar, The Sloppy Tuna
{ Surf Lodge, Montauk, NY1 | 2 | 3 | 4 }
If you live in LA and love the Bungalow Santa Monica, like myself, then Surf Lodge will knock your socks off! I would call it the East coast equivalent but that would an understatement because The Surf Lodge is the ABSOLUTE, summer party spot! Just like a beachfront house party that never ends, with a continuous flow of surfer boys just hoping off there boards and walking up for a beer. It's a restaurant and hotel too, making the space very versatile. I just love places where you can have dinner and then stay after for drinks. I am all about convenience since turning 25! 
{ Sole East, Montauk, NY1 | 2 }
We came to Sole East for Sunday brunch at their appropriately titled restaurant Backyard. Those chocolate chip pancakes were even more delicious then they look (above)! Not as good as my mother's, but the place was super charming and 100% in the spirit if the Hamptons. It's a hotel that looks like a Hampton's summer home, with a beautiful pool surrounded by green grass and literally the most relaxing vacation vibe. I would highly recommend staying there during the summer!
{ Ruschmeyer's, Montauk, NY1 | 2 | 3 | 4 }
Despite our attempts to see Lindsey Lohan at East Hampton's version of One Oak, we ended up staying closer to home and closer to the summer camp feel of Ruschmeyer's! It was super crowded and I understood why! We have all year round to stand in a packed air-less bar, especially for those of us living in cold cities, and it's a luxury to socialize outside! The ground was sandy in one bar area, the inside restaurant lumber wood paneled and the backyard with picnic tables, paper lanterns in trees and a vast grass yard. Summer camp all over again, with spirits of course!
{ ItsMonicaLA on Instagram }
In the Spirit of the Hamptons... 

Ice cream cones, navy + white, boat docks, bikes with baskets, fresh oysters, green grass, surfer boys, windy sails, champs, white shorts, white dresses, white jeans, brown shingled houses, beach hair, sandy feet, blue pools, sunsets, lemonade, tan lines, high waves, lobster rolls, crisp rosé, oxfords and anchors.

#TBT To the best summer yet, 

Xx, Monica

HOLIDAZED: CHIC-O-WEEN

{via a subtle revelry}
I have never been much of a pumpkin carver, eater or decorator, however, I have been so very inspired by some of the wonderful pumpkin related pins on Pinterest (above) from those much more spirited then myself. I did paint some little ones at the beginning of the month, however, they didn't turn out nearly as good as the ones highlighted here! I think next year I will start decorating fake ones so I can re-use them and not worry about them spoiling.
{ 1 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 }
Of course Halloween to me means costume time! I LOVE themes and in college my sorority always attended fun themed-dress up parties where creativity was key and dressing up made all the difference. Halloween at that point seemed too unrestricted as a result (dress as anything?). However, post grad I have started again having fun with costumes and that is thanks in huge part to my bestie Emma, with whom I have created epic Halloween costumes with including being "Cookie Monster & Big Bird", "The Fab Five" & "eM&Ms". This year will be even better, but it's top secret for now! 

In the spirt of Chic-o-ween, I provided some Gisele Chic approved character inspiration (above) from some of the film and television icons I personally love and believe would make for a fabulous Halloween costume! Enjoy!
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 1112 | 1314 | 15 }
Although I am not hosting a Halloween get together this year, I still can't help falling for all the tricks and treats crowding the blogosphere right now! How delicious are these candy corn cookies by Averie Bakes? I die. Definitely a must bake request for my dessert loving roommate/bestie to help me create! And these candy apples, I just can't get enough of the colorful caramel by Rose Bakes and the preciously tagged treats by Bloom Desgins & I Heart Nap Time! So cute! I am a sucker for personalizing anything, even edible goods. The cocktails here look divine, I am obsessed with the cinnamon sticks! Will need to add the item to my bar cart! I still need a lesson in dry ice cocktails, I assume it requires some type of advanced refrigeration system but I am willing to do the research!
{ 1 | 23 | 4 | 5 | 6 }

Hope everyone has a safe & spooky Chic-o-ween!

Xx, Monica

FASHION LEGEND: OSCAR DE LA RENTA

{via pop sugar}

"Luxury to me is not about buying expensive things; it's about living in a way where you appreciate things" 
{Oscar de la Renta}


.... my thoughts exactly

Designed for the modern princesses, who so appreciate that sense of timelessness; your legacy will live on. May you rest in the most luxurious peace, Oscar. 

xx, Monica 

PROJECT: BAR CART COMPLETE

{Monica Gisele's Bar cart}
Pop, fizzle, clink: bar cart is complete! AFTER 3 YEARS, my dream of having a bar cart finally came to fruition! As I so clearly described in my first project post when I began Gisele Chic, it's just such a lovely idea, to have something in your home, reminding you to celebrate and be social, with friends & family. Hosting at it's finest! Despite my long road to boozy chic, I have laid out some options for creating your own, or if you already have one, adding some lovely details into the mix. Enjoy!
{1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6}
When I first started researching a cart, most of the shops that carried them appeared way overpriced. However, in the last three years a lot of more options have appeared. Most of the one's I like are from Society Social, a wonderfully sweet brand of home decor, furniture and accessories that has created some of the most spot on, classic bar cart designs I have seen. Lots come in various colors and styles, sure to suit any room's needs.
{1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7}
 Although my own cart and some of the options here I chose are sans wheels, despite the fact that I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to inspiring bar carts titled "Spirits on Wheels," it's the idea that counts. Lots of great shelving units can suffice and look ultra adorable. I have even seen some amazing bar carts made out of console tables, armoires and dressers. It's all in the details. And the booze. 
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Everyone has a favorite drink, mine happens to be a gin and tonic, so I always will have Tanqueray, tonic and limes. I always will always have champs too, of course. The alcohol used to make your favorite drink should be number one on the spirits purchase list and a constant resident of the cart. Everyone else's favorite (roommate, significant other, BFF, parents) should be there as well, which explains why my sister's Jack Honey is a top priority (despite the 2,000 mile distance). So many options, so little room, so choose wisely. It also helps to try and color coordinate. That's just my opinion :)
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Mixers, mixers, mixers, there can never be enough! One thing Pinterest has taught me is how many fabulous cocktails exist! So many to choose from, it's quite daunting! I tried to include some staples, sangria mix, ginger beer for Moscow mules, margarita mix, grenadine for Shirley Temples and rimming glasses with sugar, soda water, etc. Some of these choices were made based solely on looks. Bar carts, as I imagine them, are a display of all the favorites, best, and most eye catching aspects of an owners' entire bar stock. In simpler terms, if your beau loves bud light, keep it in the fridge. It will keep cool and encourage him to take up Scotch. 
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There are no rules for decorating a bar cart, but I thought I would throw in some cute additions. Mark and Graham has some of the most reasonably priced barware and takes the cake with it's monogramming service. How cute is a personalized decanter? Also makes a good present for a special someone. The best advice for any decorating project is keeping it collected. Do not buy everything in one place, however, starting at a shop like C. Wonder, West Elm and even Target is a good idea. Art work makes a great personalized touch, and I am an extreme fan of art prints on Esty, most of which that have fun/famous quotes and boozy colloquialisms. So many shops on Etsy sell them, some of my personal favorites are Pretty Chic and Amanda Catherine Designs, but there are so very many more from which to choose!
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And you thought coffee table books were just for coffee tables... not here! Turns out there are plenty of wonderful editions on the art of the Cocktail! Two of the books I have recommended (above) are from authors of other books I have, The Fashionable Cocktail and Vintage Cocktails, both wonderful. And the rest are ones I have heard great things about and are quite easy on the eyes!
{1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 image credit}
Put it all together and here we are!!! More inspiration (above). Enjoy!
{Monica Gisele's Bar cart} 
One last look, loves it!

Cheers, 

Xx, Monica