Be the best house-guest ever, skip the go-to bottle of wine and up your gift-giving game with the best hostess gifts. Or, be the hostess with the mostess and upgrade your party gear with some of our go-to favorites. From a welcoming entrance and upgraded party essentials, these hostess gifts are sure to be the center of attention at this years holiday soirée and beyond.
The perfect hostess always knows how to break the ice. Prosecco Pong is a classier take on beer pong, just make sure you don’t spill too much Vueve! Make sure you have Recyclable Champagne Flutes for a toast later (they’re also $13 for 12!) to go sans broken glasses. These Marble Coasters or colorful Geode Coasters are as much practical as they are beautiful. Is a unique gift more of your thing? Opt for this personalize-able Wine Caddy perfect for picnics (or moving from room to room).
1. Target Marble Coasters – $10
2. TOSSWARE Recyclable Champagne Flutes – $13
3. Anthropologie Geode Coaster – $14
4. Mark and Graham Wine Caddy – $19
5. Prosecco Pong – $25
A hostess should always greet her guests with something pretty. This Boxwood & Myrtle Wreath is gorgeous for the front door, pair it with this Wine/Work Door Mat for an absolutely adorable entrance. Dress up the table with this patterned Wine Decanter and Marble Monogram Cheese Board. For the healthy hostess, gift this all-natural, calorie and sugar free cocktail mix. The variety pack includes Cucumber Mint, Ginger Lime and Margarita mixes, just add booze. Our fave was the Ginger Lime in this whiskey cranberry cocktail recipe. Hello, guilt-free signature cocktails and EVEN BETTER the company is woman owned!
6. Anthropologie Wine Decanter – $28
7. be MIXED Variety Pack – $33
8. Boxwood & Myrtle Half Wreath – $38
9. Wine Door Mat – $34
Turn your hostesses home into a vineyard a la this Wine Flight Board. Jot down each wine type on the slate board, just make sure to have your cheese pairings handy. If your gal is a cocktail amateur go with this Bartender Prep Board. It has everything you need and more – tips, tricks and measurements! Plus, it can be personalized. For another darling-door-option, show up with this Olive & Thistle Wreath. Nothing’s better or more welcoming than a great smelling home, gift her a Baies, Figuier and Roses Candle Set, or, split them up and gift to multiple friends and fam!
11. Wine Flight Board – $52
12. Mark and Graham Bartender’s Prep Board – $59
13. Olive & Thistle Wreath – $65
14. Diptyque Candle Set – $100
With these fab gifts (or two) in tow, you’re sure to be the first to catch an invite year after year.
S & T
Way back in the day, when I was working at Boston.com we did a really cool sponsored content program with The Grommet (then The Daily Grommet) where we encouraged local makers to compete to have their product launched by both sites. Being part of that project, getting to meet and empower local makers, was so special. I’ve been a huge fan ever since.
The site carefully curates it’s makers and products, referred to as “Grommets”. Even better? I love that you can choose to shop the site with personal values in mind, think “Made in the USA” and sustainable items.
For this round up I gravitated towards grommets that are practical, foodie/wellness themed and just plain fun and unexpected. All items are under $60. Click around to meet their makers and see their stories!
The Grommet has two pop up store locations:
Monday through Saturday: 10am – 9pm
Sunday: 11am – 6pm
328 Newbury Street
Monday through Sunday: 10am – 8pm
I’ll be taking over @TheGrommet’s instagram account on Monday, December 4th to share some more gift giving goodies (say that 3x fast!) and a look inside their Newbury Street pop up!
This post is sponsored by The Grommet. Products, opinions and experiences are my own.
Holiday season is upon us, with traditions old and new in full swing and it’s time for one of my favorite holiday traditions, a night at the Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker. I was an avid ballet dancer growing up which meant this time of the year was spent rehearsing for my little studio’s version of the classic, while dreaming of being in the Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker.
My mom and I went to opening night of this year’s enchanting rendition of The Nutcracker and it was everything I dreamed of and more, a perfect way to kick off the 2017 holiday season. From the oh so perfectly detailed costumes to the amazing dancing to the beautiful sets, I’ve on on a Sugar Plum Fairy high ever since. Just being inside the Boston Opera House dazzled up on all of its holiday glory was special.
For my showtime look, I kept it cozy in a deep burgundy sweater dress with tie sleeve details. I love burgundy anything for the holidays and beyond – it’s more muted and doesn’t scream “holiday” like Christmas red. Opaque tights, block heeled booties and a matching lip color completed my look. The flirty feminine details of the tiny bow ties and open sleeves added an unexpected something special to an otherwise simple dress. I also love this off-the-shoulder option for a night out paired with over-the-knee boots.
Similar sweater dress options with unexpected details under $50:
Whether you’re a first-time Nutcracker goer or seeing the ballet has become a go-to tradition, you can’t miss the 2017 rendition, running through December 31st. (Looking for NYE plans? Grab a cold glass of bubbles and be prepared to be entranced!) Visit bostonballet.org for tickets.
One of my favorite easy trips is a weekend getaway in Newport, RI. It’s quintessentially New England with cranberry red colonial homes, cobblestone streets and views of the water. Recently, my guy and I headed to Newport for our second annual late-fall getaway. We love visiting in the off season, particularly November, because there’s still plenty of things to do but it’s much more calm and peaceful, It feels like the whole city is all yours to explore. Here are a few of my quick tips for a weekend getaway in Newport, Rhode Island.
Where we stayed:
This year we stayed at the The Attwater hotel. It’s located right off of Bellevue Ave which makes it super easy to to walk downtown. I love how colorful and adorable all of the rooms are; the hotel felt so cozy. Last year, we stayed at the Mill Street Inn which is a bit closer to the main street, with more of a rustic feel versus the Attwater’s preppy vibe. I highly recommend both!
Favorite things to do:
Newport Mansions. If you’re a history buff, into architecture and design or just love all things pretty – be sure to pop into one of the many Newport Mansions. The Breakers is a must-see. It was once a summer “cottage” of the Vanderbilt family (imagine?!). Rosecliff is another iconic “home”, think chandeliers and all marble everything. Visiting in December? Be sure to see the mansions all dressed up for the holidays.
Cliff Walk. This 3.5 mile walk runs along the rocky coast. From the walk, take in spanning ocean views and the backyards of the Newport mansions. The Cliff Walk is a perfect to-do during the summertime. Tackle sightseeing and being active. Win, win.
Ocean Drive. Grab a latte and hop in your car. You’ll see miles and miles of breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and gorgeous homes. There are plenty of stop-off spots for photo ops, too! Insider tip? Ditch the “itinerary” and plan to hop in and out of your car to see the numerous points of interests on the way. Are parks your scene? Visit Fort Adams State Park for salt water bathing (in the summertime, obvs), boating and picnicking. Or if you’re a total JFK and Jackie O fanatic, be sure to check out Hammersmith Farm aka where JFK and Jackie’s wedding reception was held. Looking for a dining option? Or maybe wine-ing? Check out Castle Hill Inn for drinks with a view.
Stroll downtown. One of my absolute favorite things when visiting Newport (or anywhere) is just strolling around and taking it in. If you’re looking for shopping, head down to Thames Street. The storefronts have historic charm. Be sure to wear comfy shoes to tackle those cobblestone streets! If you’re looking for shopping plus seaside scenery, head down to Bowen’s Wharf. There you’ll find local shops and restaurants upon restaurants down by the water. Stroll down to the dock for panoramic views.
J.Crew. A classic, go-to. If you’re like me and never seem to pack the right clothes (or maybe you just have your eye on something), be sure to pop in here to have a look around. You’re sure to find a thing or two.
Yummiest places to eat: Disclaimer: there aren’t any actual pictures of our food because it was so delicious we just couldn’t wait. Last year, we ended up staying in Newport during Restaurant Week without knowing and it was the best thing ever. Aka a foodie’s dream. So this year, we were sure to head back to Newport’s Restaurant Week and book our fave places. We also added a few new faves, too.
Perro Salado. An upscale take on Mexican food. The vibe in here is seriously so dreamy. Also, the blood orange margarita is everything.
Jo’s American Bistro. If you’re looking for classic, yummy eats – visit Jo’s. We stopped in here for lunch to warm up with a sandwhich and a glass of vino.
Diego’s. Another amazing Mexican option located in Bowen’s Wharf. Think of this place as more laid back and casual. Be sure to try their margaritas, too (I love the passion fruit one – do you see a trend forming?)
22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grill. If you’re looking for a special-occasion-kind-of-place, this is it. From date night to a celebratory dinner. Picture a candle-lit setting with views of the water (during the day, that is). Their french onion soup is seriously one of my favorites. 22 Bowen’s is definitely our go-to when we visit Newport.
The best part about this mini-itinerary? It can easily be done any time of the year. I’ve visited Newport numerous times in both the summer and late fall and it’s just as gorgeous and are there are just as many things to do in the off season.
If visiting in the summer, be sure to add a beach day or two! My personal fave is Second Beach.
We love to keep it low-key when visiting Newport so we always leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.
I’ve been crushing on faux fur this season, ever since the emergence of the Teddy Bear Jacket. J.Crew put out their version of the teddy bear jacket, but at $248, I think it’s too much to spend on a fashion coat. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite faux fur jackets, all under $100 (where I draw the line), except one version, that I couldn’t help but to include. I recently tried it on in-store and the quality and fit were spot on. Now if it would just go on sale! This shearling jacket didn’t make the round up below, because there are limited sizes but it’s darling, so snag it up if they have your size available.
1. Swing Crop Faux Fur Jacket – $89
2. Plus Faux Fur Satin Lined Jacket – $88
4. Soft Round Neck Faux Fur Jacket – $35 (marked down from $65!)
5. Mid-Length Cream Faux Fur Jacket – $49
6. Leopard Print Faux Fur Jacket – $119
I’ve found the coziest sweater. Seriously guys, its the softest thing I have ever put on, it feels like you’re wrapped in a blanket (without looking like a slob, ha!). Tis the season for cozy layers and this neutral cardigan is perfect for all of your fall and winter adventures.
Last weekend, we visited the most charming town in southern Vermont, Dorset. It’s old white homes and businesses were ever so perfectly decorated with what seemed like endless pumpkins, gourds, and haystacks. We stayed at the Barrows House Inn and spent all day Saturday exploring in and around picturesque Dorset. We went completely off the grid, enjoying lunch outside at cutest bakery, Dorset Rising, hiked around the oldest marble quarry in the country and drove around the most scenic roads you could imagine- it felt like we were driving through a post card.
For our leaf peeping adventure I paired the coziest sweater with a wrap bodysuit, jeans and chelsea boots. Throw on some colorful accessories, I have been loving shades of red lately and wah-la, you’re good to explore!
Dreamers Open Cardigan – $49 (c/o The Paper Store)
Buffalo Plaid Scarf – $38
Wrap bodysuit – $19
Tory Burch Ankle Boots (linked similar) – $398
There’s nothing worse than getting dressed for work in the AM (half asleep) and running out the door with a coffee in one hand, only to realize how uncomfortable you are in your clothes. The dreaded feeling of, “is it time to go home yet so I can change into yoga pants?” has happened to me more times than I can count. Every gal’s dream? Comfy professional work clothes. Enter: Ministry of Supply.
Ministry of Supply’s clothing is designed with movement and comfort in mind. Think stretchy yet fitted, soft fabrics and modern silhouettes, performance meets professional. The last thing you should have to worry about at work, is how you look and how that makes you feel.
You guys know how much of a minimalist I am. Plain colors and pieces I can wear over and over fill my closet. When I saw this Luxe Touch Tee I knew I had to have it, it’s so soft and lightweight-made of fibers that are finer than cotton and softer than silk. Because it’s so casual this tee will definitely be making an appearance on the weekends, too. Front tuck it and pop on a blazer or long cardigan for an easy transition to work. Bonus: it’s wrinkle free!
Do you ever get that mid-day bagginess when it comes to dress pants? You walked out the door with pants that fit like a glove and come lunchtime, your pants look (and feel) two-sizes-too-big. These Skinny Leg Pants have just the right amount of stretch so they maintain their shape all day long. These pants are a serious life saver: they’re comfortable enough to commute in and polished enough to take you to that impromptu meeting. And this navy blue color is so on trend this fall.
Shop My Look:
Luxe Touch Tee – $50 c/o Ministry of Supply
Structure Your Day Skinny Leg Pant – $105 c/o Ministry of Supply
Sam Edelman d’Orsay Pumps – $120
Use promo code likesopretty17 at checkout for 15% off your order on ministryofsupply.com! Your work wardrobe will definitely thank you.
Fall in New England is unlike anything else and can easily make you forget about impending winter. One of my favorite things to do is take an easy fall foliage road trip in Massachusetts. Luckily, the Mohawk Trail isn’t too far away and you can make a whole day of leaf peeping and site seeing on this two hour drive. Part of Route 2 and 2A, the 69 mile trail runs from Athol to Williamstown, the very last town in Massachusetts before New York. The best way to tackle the trail? Road trip style. Just get in your car and drive along this gorgeous road. You’ll see so many adorable farm stands, lookout areas and picture-perfect spots.
Here’s a list of must-see places along the Mohawk Trail for the ultimate easy fall foliage road trip in Massachusetts:
The Hairpin Turn – We started our road trip at the end of the trail and worked our way backwards, making stops along the way. As you near the end of the trail, you’ll approach the hairpin turn, a 180 degree turn that takes you down towards one of the last towns in Massachusetts, North Adams. From the hairpin turn, there’s a lookout spot to take in the panoramic views. For miles and miles, you can see rolling hills spotted with colorful trees. Take a peek through the lookout lens and see teeny, tiny houses sprawled below.
Shelburne Falls – Shelburne Falls is one of my favorite stops along the Mohawk Trail. It’s such a charming, sleepy little town. Its downtown is home to cafes with fresh, homemade eats, antique shops with their vintage goodies spilling out on the sidewalks and galleries and bookshops. It seriously looks (and feels) like something straight out of a Nicholas Sparks movie. If you’re stopping around lunch or dinner time, be sure to check out the West End Pub. It’s located right on the water and overlooks the colorful and gorgeous Bridge of Flowers. Also, the falafel is delish.
Bridge of Flowers – Flower lovers rejoice. The Bridge of Flowers is the focal point of downtown Shelburne Falls. The bridge is lined with greenery and florals, overlooking the water. Dahlia season is in full effect here, try to control yourself from picking these beautiful blooms.
Mohawk Trail State Forest – As you’re making your way down the Mohawk Trail, your drive will start to climb up. Once you hit Charlemont, the trail will start to wind and turn. The road is lined with autumn-hued trees hanging over the road, creating a beautiful canopy. On one side, you’ll see a river running. If you’re feeling adventurous (or just want to take in the fresh air), stop off to the side and take it all in. The air feels so crisp and the river is calming. If you’re looking to get in touch with your nature side, this part of the trail is it.
Arthur A. Smith Covered Bridge – This little abandoned bridge is off the beaten path. To me, it seems so quintessentially New England in the fall. It’s the perfect road trip photo op.
The perfect fall road trip uniform? Keep it simple and cozy, since you’ll be in and out of the car exploring all day. I paired my fave white v-neck tee (less than $10!) with a long, camel cardigan. My cardi is a go-to from last year, I’ve linked a few similar options here, here and here. These Hudson jeans are seriously so soft and feel like leggings, and the high waist gives them a little something special. The right shoes can take you any where and for this trip crisp white Adidas sneakers were a must.
Shop my look:
J.Crew Factory V-neck Tee – $9.50 (from $19.50!)
Long Cardigan (similar, plus comes in a few colors) – $79
Hudson Jeans – $195
Adidas Sneakers – $50 (from $65!)
Rebecca Minkoff Crossbody – $295
Where are your favorite places to view fall foliage? Happy leaf peeping!
1. Mark and Graham Daily Leather Tote $199 | 2. Sole Society Statement Earrings $20| 3. Sole Society Slip-on Bootie $89| 4. J.Crew Gingham One-shoulder Blouse $49| 5. ASOS Frill Shirt $29| 6. French Connection Ladder Jumper $69| 7. J.Crew Rollneck Sweater $69| 8. French Connection Bell Sleeve Top $78| 9. J.Crew Crop Pants $79| 10. New Balance 96 Sneaker $99
No one wants to use that drab computer bag that comes with your laptop, but why are cute options so hard to find? This navy option from Mark and Graham fits most standard laptop sizes, comes in pebbled leather and it can be monogramed! I’m going to get one with my soon-to-be initials.
Bold earrings can change your look dramatically. Dress up a plain tee and jeans or go all in on glam with these statement earrings and a sheath dress.
Nothing says fall like new boots. To freshen up your footwear try an unexpected color, like these suede and leather Sole Society Natasha booties in washed navy.
I love this frill shirt from ASOS (less than $30!) I’m also loving these dressier options: a bell sleeve tee (now 50% off) or this ruffle front blouse. Another on-trend option is this front wrap round & tie blouse with scallop detailing – perfect for date night or when you’re feeling extra girly. Another trend I’m loving, combining statement sleeves with a nod to nautical in this bell-sleeved navy stripe top.
Once it starts to cool down, I basically live in sweaters. This French Connection ladder-detail jumper is a good transition (and talking) piece. A must-have essential for fall and beyond is this J.Crew knit. I love how it combines the classic, chunky look with the modern slim fit. If you’re looking to splurge on a sweater, this French Connection fluted sleeve sweater is so gorgeous. I would seriously never take it off, ever.
Incorporate this fall color story into your every day work wear in move-with-you crop pants. J.Crew redefines “work pants” as comfy, flattering and you’ll want to wear beyond 9-5. For a more on-the-go look, I’m crushing on these casual joggers. I practically live in joggers come the weekend.
I’ve recently become quite the sneakerhead (aka definitely hopped on the sneaker-trend bandwagon). I love this suede, navy New Balance pair. I already own two pairs of New Balance sneakers and definitely plan on adding more to my collection. They’re seriously so comfy and I love how they look with a simple t-shirt + ripped denim or joggers for running around!
Which navy peony picks caught your eye and will be making an appearance in your fall wardrobe?
S & T
There are some amazing Boston wellness and fitness events coming up around the city and beyond. From yoga to bootcamp, grab some friends and enjoy workouts and mindfulness outdoors before the air gets too crisp!
Yoga Under the Stars, at The Street, led by YogaWorks, on The Mews. Flow outdoors with a live DJ, complimentary juice tasting from Juice Press, tea from DavidsTea, and swag giveaways. Guests are required to bring their own mat and are encouraged to sign up on Eventbrite to reserve their spot.
The Mews is located at 49 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA, between Shake Shack and lululemon.
Saturday, September 23rd, 10-5PM
Equinox is bringing together Boston’s community of wellness, fitness, nutrition and art in honor of its fifth Boston club, Equinox Seaport (opening October 17th) hosting, ‘The Block,’ a community event located at Seaport Common.
Guests can enjoy group fitness classes and head-to-head challenges featuring Equinox’s signature programming, rejuvenation areas with meditation set in a tranquil escape and interactive demos from Boston’s top health and wellness leaders, and urban gardening with Green City Growers. To register for a class, view the full schedule of events, and for more information please visit https://eqxtheblock.eventbrite.com.
Saturday, September 30th, 9-12PM
Charlestown’s Pier 6 Restaurant hosts an outdoor cycling brunch with B/SPOKE Cycling Studios, lululemon, Mother Juice and CHAMPY. Bikes, beats, bubbles and brunch. After your 45-minute ride (9 & 10:30AM) customize your mimosa with cold-pressed organic juices by Mother Juice and replenish with a family-style brunch. Tickets are $35.