HAPPY NEW YEAR


"LIGHT IS SOMETHING YOU CAN SHARE WITH OTHERS AND STILL HAVE YOURSELF"

{Rabbi Shusterman} 


...AND SO IS LOVE 


HAPPY NEW YEAR, thank you so much for supporting Gisele Chic, it truly means the world!

Let's light up the night & the new year, 

much love & gratitude, 

-M

FAREWELL 2016

the drive down pacific coast highway

2016, it's been quite the journey...Not quite sure where to begin with this one, but let's start with endless amount of gratitude I have for the many blessings I've been dealt this year - good health, great relationships, a loving and supportive family, a fulfilling career and the development of a great new outlet for stress. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to make some great things happen in my life, as well as build resilience through the times that haven't been so easy, fulfilling, happy or lucrative. We all have our moments and whenever I loose hope or sift into self-doubt, I remember how in my profession I often bear witness to, or at best, strongly encourage, the trust in my clients' resilience and will power. Sometimes I find myself drowning in their sadness and pain, while they decompress and tread some major tides, sans any swim lessons. At the end of the day, suffering is suffering, but it puts life back in perspective to know we all have the opportunity to grow and prosper, despite where we came from or what advantages we my have had. Rather then making a comparison to peoples pain or good fortune, I can truly be as vulnerable or as strong as I need to, this year and the next. And while I am clearly showing all the good from this year in these pictures, I hope to have shared some of the not-so-chic reality behind them. Cheers to more of that in 2017, enjoy!

{the lovely running path I take}

{routine supper clubs with my darling girlfriends}

{fairly typical eating patterns with my new roommate}

{more excitement & opportunity for gisele chic}

{a truly memorable palm springs getaway} 

{the endless appreciation I have for this city}

{the best birthday yet...}


Happiest 2017, 

CHEERS!

-M

50 DRESSES FOR NEW YEARS EVE

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It's party time...and I've rounded up 50 fun ways to celebrate the new year in. As much as I am aware that NYE tends to disappoint after all the ridiculous buildup, it doesn't hurt to feel good. Enjoy!

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Happy New Year & please celebrate responsibly!

Cheers, 

-M 
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LADURÉE IN LOS ANGELES



Paris has finally arrived in Los Angeles... well, at least a very lovely reminder of it. I'm so excited to finally have a Ladurée near me, and two locations to frequent in West Hollywood at the Grove and one in Beverly Hills coming soon. The most famous and delicious Parisian macaron maker loved around the world has landed, Blair Waldorf would be proud. Enjoy! 


Of course I made sure to be one of the first in line when they opened, and it did not disappoint! A small, but quaint shop with the patisserie on the first floor, a small dining area upstairs and lots of al fresco seating along the Grove's central lawn. They have a good selection of macaroons, pastries, and chocolates, all with lovely little pastel boxes you can purchase them in and keep. They make a wonderful gifts and the boxes are good to keep as cute little storage. I have a matchbox collection in mine. 


The Grove location also has a restaurant, service, just like the one in Soho, New York. It has a small but good brunch menu, I had the avocado toast (surprise, surprise) and it was very good. I definitely will be coming again for more brunches with the girls and would recommend it as a great post shopping lunch spot too. Not sure yet if the Beverly Hills location will serve as a restaurant as well, but I'm crossing my fingers!


The space is small but as ethereal and whimsical as you would expect it to be. I love how the light pours into the high ceiling window, onto a lovely chandelier. They made very good use of space with a lofted second floor which offset a narrow floor plan. 


How glamorous is the dusty mirrored wall? And the shades of purple, green, pink and blue pastels gave me life! All the tables were done in a beautiful white marble and those classic gold rimmed, pastel border plates, no words...It's definitely going to become another uber Instagrammble spot for fashionistas, tourists and those who left their hearts in Paris.   


Welcome to LA!

Cheers,

-M

FILM ROLL: LA LA LAND

City of stars, are you shinning just for me...or a dream that I cannot make true - the lovely words from the main ballad, City of Stars. Well, let me tell you, my cinema dreams did just come true. Aside from the absolutely lovely film score by Justin Hurwitz, the cinematography is truly spectacular. This mesmerizing tale of two lovers in Los Angeles completely held me in a trance, reviving my genuine love for this city I now call home and understanding about the undeniable heartbreak in the pursuit of anything worth while in life. La La Land, A story about so many things, romance and passion, not just between two people, but in the desire for something so hard and so important. The director, Damien Chapelle, who also directed one of my favorite movies Whiplash, delivers another beautiful, yet incredibly real look at the triumphs, trials and tribulations of pursuing something oh so extraordinary, it may not even be possible. I believe it is something we can all relate to, no matter if our passions lie in tap dancing or rocket science, it's the drive we all want and sometimes only a few brave ones really chase after.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling once again deliver a strong on screen chemistry with such depth and fascination. They must have a substantial friendship after all these years and now three roles as a couple. They truly captured that magic that I honestly think only young artists can embody. It's the kind of vulnerability that comes from only the most authentic place of truly giving it all you got.  The feeling of optimism was as equally portrayed as their own self-doubt for themselves and of each other.

The film really hit the nail on the head for me about what Los Angeles itself has to offer. The allure of parties around blue pools, the perfectly pink sunsets, the most beautiful bluffs in the landscape of mountains and the ocean; it's practically too good to be true that it can sometimes seem empty, unfulfilling or unobtainable. Los Angeles attracts some of the brightest, most talented people from all over the world, here to filter though some of the most narrow and surreal tunnels to success so fickly designed they almost don't appear to really exist. And Los Angeles itself has been defined that way, almost too beautiful to live up to its expectation, and that's something which I often see so clearly. But it's also the land of opportunity for so many, the ones who perhaps are at worst daringly optimistic and at best dreamers.

"here's to the ones that dream
foolish as they my seem
here's to the hearts that ache
here's to the mess we make"


Sweet dreams, 

-M
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HOLIDAZED: A FEW FESTIVE COCKTAIL IDEAS

Mix & a mingle... and you get the gist. What's a holiday without some fun cocktails? I've rounded up some favorites and fully intend to attempt making at least three. This champagne punch, pictured above, was the simplest of all recipes and just perfect for the bowl my mother passed down to me this year. Excited to sip some with friends tonight, enjoy!



















And please darling, 
sip responsibly

Cheers, 

-M

HOLIDAZED: SOME THOUGHTS ON HOW TO DEAL

Because sometimes the holidays aren't always merry and bright... beyond the mistletoe, enticing treats, ornate decorations and overhaul of lofty expectations for happiness, altruism and gratitude, is the not so jingle worthy reality that holidays can also be hectic, stressful, overindulgent, lonely and expensive. Where our friends, families, partners, kids and coworkers can bombard us with unattractive small talk, uncomfortable political discussions, the overconsumption and ugliness of too much food and booze. Reminders of those who've passed or are no longer are in our lives in the way they used to be, the tendency to overlook or instigate the differences and separations between family members. The reality that a picture perfect holiday doesn't exist no matter what Instagram and the Macy's windows tell us. So today I'm offering a little room for us all to be real about the part of the holiday that hasn't been so celebrated, but has always had a seat at the table. Some of my thoughts on the season, enjoy!

1. Perhaps limiting the food and booze... but seriously. This I believe is one of the most important things I maintain mindfulness about during the season of nonstop feasting, cheering, and nibbling on salt and sugar. If you are only planning to attend one celebration then by all means go all out and deal with the cookie and alcohol combo hungover but for those of us attending multiple holiday parties it's a slippery slope. At the end of the day I will often ask myself, "is it worth the lull, the bulge, the lack of energy?" Most importantly I ask these questions from a place of love and acceptance of my body, and not shame and resentment for my choices. It's not an easy task but before alternating between nonstop fasting and feasting for several months, it might be worth some consideration. 

2. Family comes first, but...  The holidays are also supposed to be enjoyable, so why do others have to dictate what that looks like exactly? I know this is hard one, but I really believe that as individuals we need to stop apologizing for wanting more for ourselves, especially when it comes to our own happiness. If you don't enjoy seeing Aunt oh how are you still single, then don't. I understand people have commitments to see family for so many different and complex reasons, and sometimes it's just not feasible. I wonder, however, if is at all feasible to cut some of the guilt out and do what's best for yourself, your partner, or your kids in any small way (for example limiting the time with difficult family members or planning something separate and special for yourself or loved ones). Life is just too short and the holidays too special not to enjoy some or all of it the way you'd like. 

3. Can we just say no... Like the last but a tad easier sometimes then with family. Saying no to "omg I haven't seen you in forever, let's do brunch", saying no to more then 2 secret Santa's, saying no to the entire cookie making station, just take your snap of the cute holiday party invite and Instagram that custom hot chocolate making station and get the hell out. Saying no to whatever you don't want to go to and stop feeling bad about it. It's not selfishness, Its common sense. Remember, the holidays are about being happy, right?

4. #Holiday on a budget...Let's face it, way easier said then done and I am no expert in budgeting. We all want that understated but ultra-luxe and on trend New Year's Eve dress, the substantial donation to our favorite charity,  the extra pretty gift wrap option, the $70 ugly Christmas sweater (I wish I was kidding), that gift that makes our partner go wow! And with social media it's hard to re-wear the expensive cocktail dress and not be a tad jealous about what model Range Rover kid car the Joneses got Timmy. It's the thought that counts and I'll admit that it is sometimes very difficult for me to understand that fully. So in the spirit of supporting the opportunity and meaning behind giving this season, making a budget for everything involved, not just the gifts and donations, but the real cost of each event, the holiday cards, the last minute/overpriced bottle of champs, the beauty regimens, the Uber surge pricing, the outfits, the secret Santa gifts you forgot about until the night before, and all the little extra details that add up, aka the $8 ornate, but oh so convenient  wine gift bag nobody will ever use again. 
 
5. Don't just do it for gram...I know, I know, I'm a total hypocrite. But I do constantly tell myself this all the time and for the most part it reminds me why I gather and plan before the gram (haha that wasn't meant to rhyme but I like it). Remember that you can Insta at anytime and often it's the photos we don't post that make us look cooler. If you're having a good time, the photo can wait, if it has to happen at all. Heather Dubrow said on her podcast that she only takes photos at the beginning of an event so she can enjoy the rest of her time without worrying about it. Clearly she isn't a blogger, but hey I think the principle still applies. Some of the best photos required the most work and stress. I am clearly still thinking hard about this one... 

6. Exercise, exercise, exercise... A general rule of thumb that's been particularly useful for me in this last year. If I can't make time to relieve the stress, then I don't make it. AKA if I know I'm going to be in a frenzy going to three events in one week and won't have time to recover (aka workout or relax a night or two in between) then I just don't go. Its kind of like putting gas in the car, if you are constantly on empty you won't be able to go very far! 

7. Can we honor those who've passed... Perhaps one of the hardest parts about the holiday is being reminded of those who we have lost, who played significant roles in our celebrations in past years and remind us of how much we miss them even if the rest of the year is more bearable. As a therapist I often encourage clients to acknowledge the loss in the safest and most bearable way possible. This can vary from reading a poem or quote, playing a particular game, sharing a fond memory, eating a special food or even visiting the grave or special place he or she used to love. These are not as simple as they sound and perhaps not appropriate for every situation, however, often times allowing a welcomed space, that may come with some sadness and difficult memories, feels better in the long run then avoiding the loss entirely. 

8. And maybe it's okay to be sad... As a matter of fact, maybe we can even plan for it, just a little. Like I mentioned before, as much as the holidays are fun and filled with happy memories, they are also sometimes stressful and emotionally draining. We tend know ourselves well enough to sense when we might have an extra hard time putting up with a parent who might not change, a recent breakup, or a change in life circumstance beyond our control. And when everyone is forcing cheerfulness and gratitude down your throat it can often leave us feeling extra sensitive to the things we don't have, or did and lost. It's never a bad idea to have a little plan in place for these days — maybe promising yourself no guilt in saying no to a party invitation, or treating yourself to a massage/movie/SoulCycle class, having a friend on speed dial who is comfortable with just listening or watching a re-run of Friends. We all have things that make us sad and often times the stress or pressure that comes with this season brings it up a little more for us, and for what it's worth, I'm here to tell you that is so okay. 


Tis' the season and take care, but really

-M

THE M LIST: DECEMBER


Tis' the season... It's December, when the realness of the holiday season really sets in. Amongst the many holiday parties, gift giving mania and deadlines before the celebrations can officially start I have managed to highlight a few wonderful things I am excited to engage in this month. Let's cheers to the first December weekend!

1. The Holidays

Well, my favorite holiday, Chrismakuh, is finally around the corner and we can officially go all out in celebration of the season! I'm so happy to come home and watch cheesy lifetime Christmas movies with my roommate, sip warm drinks and see all the lovely decorations at all my favorite places in Los Angeles (most notably the nutcrackers wearing pink jackets at the Beverly Hills Hotel pictured above). The icing on gingerbread house (see what I did there?) is that Los Angeles seems to be embracing the festive season with some relatively cold weather (aka we can wear a sweater and boots). It's a great time to spend with loved ones and I'm looking forward to doing just that! 

2. La La Land Movie

Ever since I saw the first trailer in theaters this summer I've been mesmerized by this film that's been eloquently described as "a love letter to Los Angeles" and staring one of my favorite on screen couples, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, in the city I now call home. The film is set to release in select theaters December 9th, check here to see when and where it's playing near you! Oscar season, so close!

3. Montana Ave Holiday Walk 

I love this annual celebration of the holidays just next door to Brentwood, in my favorite area in Santa Monica. Montana Avenue is a beautiful tree lined street with plenty of cute shops, cafes, eateries, and speciality stores. I love it because it's laid back, pretty and generally free of tourists. Some of my favorite spots include Frilly Lilly, Sweet Lady Jane, Brentwood General Store, Caffè Luxxe, Forma, and Andrew's Cheese Shop. The event today (December 2nd) goes from 5pm-9pm and has tons of fun stuff for kids and sales for shoppers. Lots of the stores have treats and the smart ones, wine. It's a fun event for everyone to get festive and I'm excited to go tonight with some good friends! 

4. My Mother is Coming to Town

And yes, this is a good thing! My mother is obsessed with Los Angeles and loves any excuse to come visit, especially from windy (and outright freezing) Chicago. I love having people in town in general but especially my mother because we are very similar in terms of planning ahead and hitting up all the great spots. She always up for an adventure, just like me, and so she is the perfect guest to host. We will get to see our family in Pasadena and maybe head up the coast at some point to some of the best spots on the California coast.

Happy December, but more importantly, happy Friday!

-M

THE GIFT GUIDE

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Tis' the season... of gift giving and generalized merriness. Here's my one and only guide this season for those loved ones, some of my favorites being this lovely top handle pink dusty purse, a Fortnum and Mason hamper filled with yummy treats, the coziest winter booties, and a six months cheese subscription (yes that's a real thing and it's genius). Enjoy!

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Happy Holiday (shopping),

-M
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