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.
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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.
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 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!
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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

BIRTHDAY BRUNCH AT THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL

{via pinterest}
Although I spent my actual birthday in New York this year, I decided to celebrate somehow here in Los Angeles, and so naturally a brunch at the Polo Lounge would suffice! The Beverly Hills Hotel is classic Los Angeles glamour. It's just a great favorite loved by so many locals, tourists and Hollywood icons. It's that laid back sophistication that sets it apart from everything else in this city. It's a retreat from the hustle and bustle with a country club/vacation home feel about it. 
{the polo lounge}
Among the many spots to dine and be entertained here, the Polo Lounge Patio is by far the best option. It can be as causal as Tuesday breakfast and as formal as Saturday night dinner. It's just a very pretty, bright garden with extremely delicious eats. The cocktails are great too, nothing disappoints. Naturally, I decided it was the best location for brunch!
{Monica's 25th Birthday Brunch}
I couldn't have asked for a better table, filled with light, shaded with beach umbrellas bordered in my favorite shade of green. I wanted to make a cute place card for my guests, in the spirit of the Beverly Hills Hotel and so I ended up printing the Martinique wallpaper and selecting some pink and white striped paper to make a card. Then I attached a personalized name tag for each guest, with a birthday hashtag, #Monica's25th and location reminder @TheBeverlyHillsHotel. I guess this is what 2014 looks like! 
{Instagram}
All in all it was a really nice and simple celebration, just what I wanted after my NYC trip. The marble cake was a hit, as all SusieCakes are, and of course I forgot to make a wish before blowing out my candles. I guess that's a sign of a happy, happy birthday! 
{Instagram}
"Her recommendations for a campsite were totally unsuitable. There were no outlets. And there was dirt, and bugs, and... and it rains there. So anyway, we've found a place that's much more us: the Beverly Hills Hotel" {Troop Beverly Hills, 1989}

Much more us, 

Xx, Monica

HONORED STYLE: COZY FALL FASHION

{via pinterest}
If you are like me these photos are sure to inspire some cool weather fashion sense. Despite the fact that I left the freezing Midwest for greener pastures, I still crave the season change (at least the initial one) known as autumn, fall, harvest, etc. when the leaves change and it gets colder and we begin to think of the holidays. When we start drinking hot Starbucks again, pull out all our old sweaters and coats and start shopping for cute boots. It's that beginning of the season excitement the retail stores thrive on by sending out pre-fall catalogs, encouraging you to purchase cashmere in August. 

If you're like me you're sure to be at the height of all this excitement, so please, join in and enjoy some of these cozily curated favorite looks for fall...

{via lovely pepa}
{Stylista}
{image via the petticoat}
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{image via know your rights}
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{via know your rights}

 Happy Fall y'all,

Xx,

M

BOOK CLUB: SUMMER READS STILL WORTH READING


{Crazy Rich Asians}
I realize the title "Crazy Rich Asians" is bold at best, controversial at worst? But I promise, it delivers. Not only does the novel have an intriguing story line, it's filled with the hilarious realness of the newly rich Chinese as compared to, the only slightly less extreme old monied families, who all together have developed a nuanced social society in Singapore. The most striking element of the book was probably the similarities to American culture. As an American millennial who has not traveled to any Asian country before or studied much about the current trends in Asian society, class, and pop culture, I found the story quite intriguing, relatable and juicy.

{The Circle}
Dave Eggers' The Circle really came in tie with Crazy, Rich Asians. This was one of the best books I have ever read and I couldn't help but draw some comparisons to my childhood favorite, recently turned into a less then satisfying movie, The Giver. It basically takes the Utopian society model, most notably reflected in Brave New World, and fits it into our now, technology driven lifestyle. I think any person who uses social media should read this book, as extreme as some of the occurrences may lay themselves out, there are some real questions posed to our values of privacy and social connectivity. I find this story relates so well to my generation but also the impact on those before us and the ones to come. 

{Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald}
If you have enjoyed a Fitzgerald novel, hell if you watched any of The Great Gatsby films, you will most likely find pleasure and some glamorous sadness in this "untold story," the greek chorus of Fitzgerald's life and work as recalled by his wife, Zelda. Of course this is an approximation of Zelda Fitzgerald's true sentiment about her life with Scott, but it rings true for many of those who like Woody Allen realize why people incite nostalgia. After all, everyone is so eager to reenact the past, all the glimmer and apparent timelessness?

Zelda lives up to her said charm, wit, and eagerness to push through the restrictiveness of her position as a female, wife and mother. I found the story to be honest, unassuming and brave. I think the actual Zelda would much approve.

{Astonish Me}

After reading Maggie Shipstead's debut/best selling novel, Seating Arrangements, I was quick to purchase her newest book, Astonish Me, without even reading the synopsis or review, just after seeing the simple and feminine cover. I actually do that with most books, judging them often times by their covers and not much else (I do understand the message, just not the literal translation apparently). Despite the cover that may suggest a romantic story about a young ballerina, Shiptead delivers a realistic portrayal of the unforgiving and in some ways glamourous, some ways not so glamourous lifestyle of a professional dancer challenged by the facts of life, love and ballet. The story is not reliant on the subject of ballet, but rather builds on its place in the rest of one's life.

{The Vacationer's}
As the title and cover design predicts, this is perhaps the beachy-ist read on this list; a natural and refreshing, made for summer story that I just had to be placed on this list. It's got a wonderfully satisfying plot involving the natural dynamics of a family, dealing the best one can with all that's involved in coming back together, and remembering/learning about the nice and not so nice qualities of each other. It's comforting and questionable, just like every family I know.


Xx, Monica!

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

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Why hello fall! Wish I could report that my cable knits, fur vests, and worn in boots were being properly featured for the season, HOWEVER, it's 100 degrees in Los Angeles and yes, I am complaining! Currently craving everything crisp, neutral and cozy. I can't even order a Pumpkin Spiced Latte! You know life is bad when you can't order a Pumpkin Spice Latte. 

Despite my lack of sweater weather woes, I am optimistic about everything else! Here are some more of my favorites, right here, right now!!

{Lauren Conrad's Beverly Hills Penthouse}
So this might be hard to believe, but I was never quite a fan of Lauren Conrad. Yes, of course I religiously watched her reality shows, and based most of my excitement about moving to LA as a young female adult on The Hills, but she always seemed overly relatable maybe, and not as exciting to watch as Kristin Cavallari or Olivia Palermo. 

But I have grown to like her esthetic, her wonderfully normal new husband/hush hush wedding (more wedding pics) and taste in southern California real estate (Orange County, Beverly Hills, and Brentwood). Her Beverly Hills Penthouse is adorably chic, I fell in love with her home office (pictured above) as well as her girly walk in closet and surprisingly masculine, art deco bar! (see pictures here), can't wait to see how the Brentwood home gets styled; before she purchased the property it was featured on the first episode of Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis. All in all, she has won me over!

{Gilmore Girls}
 When I saw this AMAZING piece of information on a sorority sister's Instagram, I just couldn't contain myself! I used to watch this show with my mother back when it was on once a week at the same time and if you weren't on your couch watching it then you were out of luck. How perfect for me to watch a show based on the fall weathered, east coast, small town where everyone wears various shades of brown, blue and plaid, and autumn leaves appear in every episode's intro. The show that makes me feel better about my obsession with hot coffee and greasy french fries. Let's just say I'd have no problem with wearing a navy blazer every day... did I choose to live on the wrong coast???
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Despite the hot temperatures in SoCal, I am still engaging in the start of the Holiday season, like these little pumpkins I decorated and figuring out a Halloween costume to top last year's and the year before. I just love apple cider, apples dipped in carmel and can't wait to watch Hocus Pocus about 7 1/2 times. I love all the sweet sides of October, the scary, not so much! Gone Girl was enough fearfulness for this month!

{ItsMonicaLA on Instagram}
Last and most important, I am super duper, extra excited to co-host the third annual #ChiGirlsinLA trip, when all of Emma (my BFF/roommate) and I's high school girlfriends from Chicago come and visit! I got excited just making an activities option list (yes I made one AND loved it). It will be hard to top last year's which included drinks by the beach, a tour of the Paramount studio lot, a hike past George Clooney's house, taking charge of a flip cup game/upside down twerking at a house party and a limo that took us from our blowouts at Drybar to a boozy picnic at Malibu Wines. 

Despite all the good fun, I just absolutely love my time with friends, especially the ones I have known since my first year of high school, the ones who have always had my back, despite the distance, the time and all the other reasons people fall out of friendship. I think each year I FALL more fond of them.


Xx, Monica