THE RESORTWEAR GUIDE

Rest, relaxation, resort... This resort guide is one of my favorite things to put together, because vacation is always the best inspiration for me, whether I am on one or just dreaming of being transported somewhere tropical. Especially when the nights get colder and holiday buzz starts to fizzle, the idea of sunshine and a fruity cocktail has the power to reenergize me. So does sleeping in, reading a good book and basking in the luxury of a day with no responsibilities. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to explore a beautiful new place recently; Havana, Cuba. The city's architecture alone could serve as consistent inspiration for my style, interiors, dinner party settings and a perfectly bright and festive instagram profile, but the real inspiration for me was definitely the energy of the Cuban people. They were vibrant, warm and much less distracted by technology than any other non-American I have ever encountered. As I walked up to a beautiful church in the city center a man just started giving a few interesting facts about it, with absolutely no alternative intentions, just to offer a little education and then continue on his way. I got the sense that people just talk to each other because I suppose that's what humans were originally socialized to do before iPhones. I don't exactly know any other way to describe it but people really just appeared genuinely interested in one another and it was a really cool thing to see. Despite the fact that we were pretty busy exploring the city the majority of the time, I did feel very present sans internet which was a genre of R & R itself. So with that I leave you to it, to delve into some of my trip and the elements that inspired all these beautiful things. Enjoy! 





{ Havana, Cuba }











{ no. 1 | no. 2 | no. 3 | no. 4 | no. 5 | no. 6 }

-MGN

RESORT WEAR: THE CIGAR BOX PURSE


The fashion standout for the entire trip... was hands down my cigar purse. I swear I hadn't planned this for Cuba, I had purchased it off Poshmark at least a few months before we knew we were going and the second my fiancé  said "we are going to Cuba," I said "well I have just the purse." I had just been thinking about bringing it to a cigar bar in Hollywood we were considering checking out, thinking how perfect that would be, but it was even better in Cuba. Many people there noticed it as I walked through the streets of Havana, despite one cab driver who quickly pointed out the brand of cigars was made in Nicaragua. He still thought it was cool too, however. I'll admit it wasn't the most spacious bag to carry around but pretty much everything except my camera fit inside it and it was 100% utilitarian from a fashion first perceptive. Like I mentioned before, I found mine on Poshmark, which has a wide selection. But I have also found a lot of nice ones on Etsy, this account in particular and linked a few of my favorites below. Enjoy. 







-MGN

HAVANA, CUBA

An impromptu trip to Havana, Cuba... was a quite an experience, and a well appreciated surprise. We went a few weeks ago on a whim and it happened to serve as perfect inspiration for this year’s resort wear guide, coming this week! Exploring somewhere new is always a good time, but particularly when it’s somewhere warm during this time of year. Even living in Los Angeles in the winter will make you crave some humidity and Havana did not disappoint. But beyond the bright colors, classic cars, and uber sweet mojitos was a city seemingly stuck in time, despite a culture that appeared nothing less than vibrant, and on the edge of entering a whole new world; 3G internet. Wifi was a major luxury here that was quite hard to come by except for about five minutes in the hotel lobby. Obviously having wifi is something I take for granted but is for many people still considered a luxury. Walking around people actually spent a lot of time talking to each other or hanging out in the streets, super present in the moment. It seemed like everyone was fortunate in a way to be in this pre-smartphone era, without the pressures of being constantly connected. But that's just my humble opinion! As you may already know, Cuba is has recently been opened for U.S. residents to visit with a visa identifying a specific reason for going. There are requirements depending on the type of visa you obtain for engaging in activities that further your understanding of the country and so we were able to have a guide show us around and essentially teach us more about the Cuban culture. He really took time to explain the history and his thoughts about Cuba’s revolution and relationship with communism. His feelings were mainly positive about the status of most Cubans, indicating most everyone had their basic needs met and that Cuba had the 'healthiest poor people'. Of course this is one opinion of many, but I did appreciate that stray dogs were given full health benefits, food and shelter. Here are some of the images I was able to capture during my short stay, excited to share more this week along with my resort wear guide. I linked some excellent coffee table books below for anyone inspired to dive deeper into the beautiful images of Havana and the rest of Cuba. Enjoy! 





{ no. 1 | no. 2 | no. 3 | no. 4 | no. 5 | no. 6 }








-MGN

A GLAMOROUS NEW YEAR'S EVE TABLE


I'll be honest, I've never really cared for New Year's Eve... I have however enjoyed finding a cute sparkly dress and having one last hoorah to end the holiday season. I have recently vowed to either be on vacation or at home from now on, in order to avoid the dread of celebrating this holiday in the city I live in. But I guess I will have to wait until next year to live that dream out since my fiancé and I have decided to go to a nightclub, unfortunately. What we will be doing, however, is having a nice dinner party at home with some friends beforehand, and so my dream came half true, as we will get to spend some time inside our own place, sans sloppy people who I know have every intention of ruining my sequin dress. So I had a really fun evening planning this dinner table and an even more fun enjoying the fruits of our labor sitting and nibbling on a mini feast, watching the sunset. I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did and get inspired for your own celebration ringing in the New Year. Enjoy! 

THE SETUP: Most likely you will be hosting at nighttime, especially since it gets dark so early this time of year. But for this shoot I wanted to have a nice view of the ocean, so I started setting up about an hour prior to the scheduled sunset time. One thing I wanted to incorporate that I just completely forgot about was balloons! I had thrown my friend an engagement party the week before and we had a bunch of beautiful balloons I will certainly be getting again for the actual holiday. My idea was to have them tied above the table on the back of each chair. Even without the balloons, however, it turned out even better than expected. I started with this beautiful blue damask tablecloth that complimented silver accents just as well as it went along with my mismatched set of blue and white plates. Then I put another layer down with my toile table runner for some contrast and dimension. Is there anything more romantic than a tapered candlelight?! So I started with about 6 small silver votive candles and then added three tapered ones in these beautiful short crystal holders. Without the balloons my plan was to not go too far out with the New Years decorations so I just stuck with these large tinsel drink stirrers, which I was surprised to find out were so large but you could easily cut them to fit any glass. I also added them in the silver ice bucket I used for champagne and on each plate for a little extra decoration. To present the food I really wanted to use this silver three tiered serving tray I found at Home Goods recently by Nicole Miller but I couldn't find it anywhere online so I linked a few similar ones (1, 2, 3). They are usually made for desserts but it made our main course look extra special! I would make sure you can easily remove a layer in case you don't have 20 guests to consume three levels of desserts every time! I also finally used these adorable cocktail napkins my sister sent Arthur and I with a special personalized embroidery on them. How cute is this Frenchie and check out all their other designs, I want every single one!

THE FOOD/DRINK: The obvious show stopper is my mini champagne tower! The key to a tower is to use all the same size champagne saucers. The math of arranging them works like this: if you start with a row of 10 x 10, then the next layer will be 9 x 9, 8 x 8, etc. Mine was just for decoration so I did not pour from the top like you would with a real tower, so that the champagne trickles down into each glass. Instead I stacked five at the bottom, then two, and then one. But if you are going to actually do this yourself, please stick to the appropriate math to ensure no glasses get hurt! In addition to the tower I also laid out some raspberries, dried blood orange slices, blackberries and edible flowers to compliment the champagne. Other good ideas would be sugar cubes, rosemary or lavender depending on what you can find and what looks the best! I put them in champagne flutes but I think champagne saucers are more practical for people to grab and looked prettier in my opinion. For appetizers I of course made a cheese plate because I just can't entertain without one. I had a robiola bosina (creamy like brie), smoked cheddar and a humboldt fog. Of course I had my signature raw honeycomb addition as always, toffee peanuts, black olive breadsticks, these delicious chocolate and cocoa powdered almonds and a delicious salami all on my marble board, with these marble cheese utensils. The best part, however, was the delicious take and break bread we found at our grocery store from La Brea Bakery. I highly recommend getting any bread like this so it's warm and fresh when you bake it quickly at home. You can find them alongside the fresh bread section at most stores. For the main dish my fiancé grilled lobster tails, asparagus, fillet mignon and salmon for me with a yummy black olive tapenade. He also made the most delicious truffle gnocchi that could easily give Mastro's some steady competition. It was absolutely delicious. For dessert we made chocolate truffles but they weren't ready in time to shoot unfortunately. I will have to do another post later on making them because it's really not that difficult, as evidenced by the fact I have made them on my own! Enjoy!













-MGN

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