CLASSIC STYLE: THE APRÉS SKI STYLE GUIDE

I am admittedly a terrible skier... but I am trying to get better and heading again to the slopes in Steamboat Springs. Unlike the last ski trip I went on, I enrolled myself in a formal lesson, so that my now husband doesn't have to deal with another Monica meltdown on the mountain. Let's all hope the instructor has just as much patience as Arthur did as I allowed fear and self-doubt to overwhelm my excitement around skiing. But before I report back on my next big attempt, let's focus on what really matters; what I'm planning to wear. Enjoy. 

ON THE MOUNTAIN



THE SLOPES: Right now the idea of swishing down fresh snow is exhilarating to dream about, but given I haven't yet mastered some of the basics I know this next ski adventure will be daunting, frustrating and hopefully somewhat successful. But before I master the mountain I need a great outfit I can channel my inner Olympian in. And finding one proved quite a challenge to be honest. Every major retail skiwear shop I have frequented (won't name names) has unfortunately disappointed all my hill traversing dreams with pills of shapeless, baggy pants and unfortunate color patterns I just can't bear. I was in dire need of some functional and fashion forward ski pants given how much I still love my jacket from two years ago. Fortunately, I found a great pair at a decent price point that are super comfortable and flattering. They are high waisted, which is great for someone like me who falls a lot and has a coat with a higher cut. Mine isn't belted, but it's on my list for next time, just another great way to add a little style in a sea of bulky, ill-fitted options most major retailers offer. 


But of course our skiwear options are only a minute detail compared to the party outfit you'll want for a little aprés action at the bottom of the hill! And for someone with such poor ski skills as myself, making it down the mountain in one piece, sans tears deserves a little celebration. Pray for me and my back please. So if you're planning to actually ski before you aprés, wearing a chic, warm sweater underneath your coat is the best option. Luckily I found this cozy and well fitted Aprés Ski adorned sweater, but in case it sells out I linked some more options here below. 




APRÉS ALL DAY



AROUND SKI TOWN: For the less ski-full (see what I did there), a relaxing day in town is an absolute must. Especially for those of us likely to have taken a few tumbles down the mountain or used muscles we didn't know existed; an extended stay in a hot springs or hotel spa is just what the body needs. And just as you'd expect, Steamboat Springs is known for their natural hot springs, which I fully intend on soaking away in all afternoon!





BACK AT THE LODGE




FINDING WARMTH: Whether you spend your nights at the house, hotel or buzzy spot in town, I like to have options for it all. Cute sweats and a sweater for games and random  dance parties in the living room are perfection. Or fun pants and a plush knitwear for dinner and fireside drinks out. Considering all the layers you need for cold weather dressing I love to mix patterns and fabrics in neutral tones to keep everything consistent, or anything that makes me feel like I'm in a Ralph Lauren country home ad campaign! 




-MGS

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ENTERTAIN: A ROMANTIC MINI VALENTINE'S/GALENTINE'S DAY SPREAD


It all started with one perfect plate... and here we are. I will be honest, I wasn't planning to create any Valentine's Day spreads this year, despite my love for the holiday, and color schemes. However, after finding these perfect shell inspired, purplish-pink, eco plates I just couldn't resist the urge to build an entire setup around this color scheme. And so I decided I would turn our incomplete, mid-renovation kitchen into a little romantic table for two as a little surprise for my now forever valentine. And since Pierre isn't allowed in our undone kitchen, I invited my new husband instead! But I did make sure our little piggy got something festive too, hence the stuffed pink swan he spent most of the night holding by the neck, that prior to then fit very well into my little pink plan. 



Aside from the plates, my next set of thematic inspiration came from the extravagant Valentine's Day restaurant decor from the Sex and The City movie, where Miranda told Carrie about her comment to Mr. Big about marriage. If you have no idea what I am referring to, they basically filled the place with an abundance of over the top decorations, including balloons, their accompanying ribbons framing the ladies' faces as they commiserated over being single. So I did my best to recreate it on a much smaller scale, to add a little bit of frivolity and warmth to our otherwise empty, cold and open space. And while we are on the subject of balloons, I have finally learned a very valuable lesson which is to use a trash bag to contain the balloons, making them easier for transport! Life changing, I know. 







Despite scouring the internet for a similar hued tablecloth with a design I could fall in love with, I decided to just go straight to the source, the fabric store. I found this amazing ditsy floral, pastel-shaded, purple-pink print and loved how well it complimented the muted colored plates. From there, all other pink shades felt like welcomed pops of color and it really set a wonderful tone for the table. I think Joann's Fabric is going to become my new tablecloth provider given my love for fun and colorful prints! It's also way more cost effective, especially if, like me, you enjoy a rotation of dinner party themes. 







Now, to the real important items according to my special guest; the snacks. In the last couple of months my husband has been weeding out animal products from his diet and fortunately I have found the best bakery for vegan desserts nearby at Erin McKenna's Bakery. I am obsessed with their selection, particularly the coffee cake! Given Arthur's addiction love for sweets, I made out like a bandit at this place and went a little crazy grabbing a donut, cupcake, cinnamon roll, coffee cake, tiramisu and the most perfect heart shaped sugar cookie ready to break right down the middle! Additionally, I added some other yummy snacks, like an almond jalapeño cheese we love, pretzel challah, an almond chive cream cheese dip, samosas and vegetable rolls. Of course a plant based pizza was on the menu and when I called Whole Foods to order it, I was pleasantly surprised the man said "yes, I can try" in response to my request for a heart shape! I did a little research and it seems like a lot of pizza places offer this, especially around Valentines's Day, so go for it!



The rest of my decor scheme included a few festive items like glitter heart shaped picks to push into the desserts, pastel candy hearts sprinkled across the table, a little mini candlelight and a pink swan beanie baby for our little piggy to have some fun with. I didn't go crazy with flowers but added some violet spray roses to my mini blue chinoiserie vase and my vintage Wedgwood trinket box to add a smidge of color contrast to my spread. And I can confidently say my little surprise setup was very well received by both my Valentines this year. Enjoy, Xx. 

-MGN

CLASSIC STYLE: MESH SPARKLE GLAM

I started seeing hints... of these overtly glam and glitzy ensembles on Instagram here and there and when I finally chose to hit “save” and start an appropriately titled “FASHUN” collection, I realized who was sparking a glittery light in my often conservative styled heart. MACH & MACH, you know my glam fashion soul and I’m sure your deliriously dreamy pieces are touching the hearts of many others too. Their works embody many delicate and simple silhouettes but perhaps the most head turning seem to be those meshy, sparkly, flowey, (albeit see-though) pants

I’ll admit, my style aesthetic tends to lean rich old lady who’s idea of fun typically involves color. But then there are these moments of upmost glam that I simply cannot resist, and yes it extends past NYE. I’m not exactly the biggest fan of pants, especially ones without skintight structure, so this newfound excitement for a transparent, wide legged pant was quite unexpected...



Then I realized pretty quickly it was the blazer that got me; it always does. The structure of well tailored blazer was what solidified my interested in this look. So of course in true Monica fashion (pun surprisingly not intended) I made my edits.


I decided that as much confidence as I had, wearing big loose pants was too big a leap for me so fortunately I found this high cut maxi coverup as a nice little stepping stone towards full on, give no f***s fashionista. From the start I knew I’d opt for a white or pastel colored blazer but it needed to hit just right to pull this whole thing off.



Did I mention I also found the absolute perfect event for which to wear this to? My dear friend Samantha’s birthday dinner was my ticket to fabulous given her big and unapologetic love for all things glamorous. In fact I was so excited to see her reaction that I made her wait until that night before sharing any details. As expected, she cried with joy— KIDDING! But yes, I got the seal of approval from my undeniably, most fashion forward friend. 


Looking back I wish I had more evening shots to accentuate the sparkle, but I did have quite a good time using the Kira Kira app in the bathroom at Delilah's (which I shared on Instagram) a fun hotspot in West Hollywood where we celebrated our girl. My outfit definitely spiced up my night, making me feel extra cool amongst the very fashionable crowd. Several people told me I looked like Jackie Kennedy that evening, which I found odd given how outside the box this look was for me, but perhaps the headband and pale blue blazer combo sealed the deal? 



We ended the night dancing disco at Sunset at Edition, which I must say, really complimented my look given the surplus of shiny disco balls spinning on the ceiling while various lights darted around the dance floor to the beat. Overall, it was a perfect outfit for a fun night with my girlfriends and fulfilled some of my more fashion forward aspirations! Xx. 

-MGN

P.S. I LOVE YOU: MY VALETINE'S DAY GIFT GUIDE


My favorite holiday is here... the little pinch of pink we all need in the dead of winter, the first holiday following the bustling holiday season, when everyone seems to need an extra reason to venture out of the post January slump. Living under the Los Angeles sunshine the last 9 years has made the transition into Spring much easier given the bright and sunny days. Yet, I still tend to feel the effects of the holiday hangover. Less people are out and about, the mornings move slower, workouts seem heavier and harder. It's perhaps a universal feeling of recovery from excitement, mellow and stable; boring and uneventful. Until, alas, Valentine's Day!



And even if there isn't a significant other currently in your life, who may have two legs or four, there's always a reason to celebrate love... with cheese or chocolates, or pink tweed. 



Whatever is key to your loved one's heart is the way to go. For me, it's definitely a night in with pizza and pink champagne, brie as an appetizer, chocolate or something sweet at the end. A nice, handwritten card, flowers that I tend to buy myself given how picky I am... But if you want to go all out, I've been known to step it up a notch, whether a sunset beach picnic, glamorous breakfast in bed, or a full on Galentine's Day soirée




And as silly as Valentine’s Day gift giving might seem to you, I’ve never been shy to find any reason to express my love to a significant other, friend, sister, frenchie... 





-MGN