put your game face on

i love game night with my family, i find that it helps open the lines of communication because there are no distractions. who wants to text when you are trying to beat dad. make it interesting. the person that wins doesn’t have to make their bed for a week. your kids will be begging you to pull out the monopoly board.  it truly brings a family together with an activity that all can enjoy.

i love game night with my friends. we have a group of friends that get together every now and then pull out the old game board. do you go to parties and the men are in one room and the women are in the other; well game night brings everyone together in the same room. plus there is nothing like seeing your friend’s competitive spirit come out and you might find that you learn something new about your friend. (see the newly wed game)

so, i’ve picked out a few of my favorites. all of these are age appropriate for 10 and up. the holidays would be a great time to start a new tradition. after you’ve had enough ham and turkey, order out pizza, gather everyone around and see what happens when the games come out.





by caroline, people we love . . .

girl crush . . . natalie joos, street style queen

you know you’ve seen her before.  if you are a sucker for street style, you KNOW you’ve seen her.  AND, what’s more, you remember her look.  there’s just something there that’s a little wild-but-contained and a little perfect-but-crazy, right?

natalie joos, the star of a million street style picts, is a new yorker by way of belgium and the author of the super fabulous blog,  tales of endearment.  she came to new york in 2003 to handle pr for an emerging fashion designer and then landed a job as studio manager for revered fashion photographer craig mcdean (who is married to shoe designer/vogue editor tabitha simmons and who shoots the campaigns of fashion giants balenciaga, gucci and chloé, as well as cover shoots for almost every glossy international magazine).  she began doing freelance writing and, eventually, with the encouragement of mcdean, set out on her own in 2003 to pursue her talent for model casting. since that time, she has crafted a name for herself as a “finger-on-the-pulse” talent spotter and fashion enthusiast.

today, you will find natalie photographed as much as the models she casts for magazines and advertising campaigns.

according to matches fashion, growing up, natalie was surrounded by the avant-garde work of the “antwerp six” designers (which included dries van noten) and was collecting vintage finds long before it was cool.  vintage still plays a huge part in natalie’s life and wardrobe choices.  “my first vintage purchase was a pair of black leather mary jane platforms.  they were from the 1960s and had never been worn.”

according to her blog, natalie started tales of endearment in 2010 “to share her passion for vintage and fashion as showcased by her personal muses and look of the week shoots.  she also writes and showcases extensive travel diaries and funny stories about her dating life in new york city.”

let’s get a couple of things straight about natalie: (1) she has a great pair of gams; (2) she has an amazing sense of style, (3) she obviously has an incredible sense of humor and does not take herself so seriously.  i think we could be besties.

below i have hooked you up with some of my favorite pics.  one thing is for sure, checking out what natalie is wearing or doing or thinking will definitely inspire your daily life.  if you aren’t following, you should.  you will love tales of endearment . . .



little-Risky-Business-themed-fashion-from-Natalie-Joos Natalie-Joos-2 natalie-joos-in-cavalli-polo-classic nj5 natalie-joos-1 natalie-joos2-copy 4161-Le-21eme-Adam-Katz-Sinding-Natalie-Joos-Paris-Fashion-Week-Fall-Winter-2013-2014_AKS7943 CC_2012_0009 natalie_joos_stella_mccartney Natalie-Joos_gl_4oct12_CL_b



look2 Tartan-3 milan-fwss2013-natalie-joos Natalie-Joos-New-York-Fashion-Week-Spring-2013-10-600x899 hbz-street-style-nyfw14-day1-23-natalie-joos-lgn milan1 NatalieJoos1 Natalie+Joos+style NATALIE-JOOS 19-natalie-joos

blazers, by martha, Fall Fashion, fashion trends, leather, xmas ideas, xmas party

the office party dilemna

we’ve all been there either as the spouse of the employee or the employee herself and wondering what to wear to the annual xmas party. when i’m trying to decide what to wear to an office function, the movie picture perfect with jennifer anniston comes to mind. now hear me out. in one of the scenes, jennifer anniston’s boss tells her to dress for the job you want and not the one you have; truer words could not be spoken when talking about the office xmas party.   there is no reason to dress like you are going honky tonking. because who knows if you dress like you are then you might get your wish.

it’s hard, i know, because it is such a festive time of year and you want to dress up but dressing in holiday style for an office function can be fun and still be respectful of your coworkers. my favorite “go to” look is my leather pants with a tuxedo blazer (see last week’s post) or a silk blouse with a statement necklace. i’m covered up but my leather pants make me feel hip.

my other outfit option is a straight pencil skirt with a touch of lace. again, i’m covered up but still feel good about myself. i’ve posted a few pictures of ideas for what to wear to the office party. i love each one of these looks because i know i look like i’m going to a xmas party and not just the office xmas party and if my dad was there i wouldn’t be embarrassed for him to see the way i’m dressed.



vince leather pants




brand news, by caroline, jewelry

brand news . . . hervé van der straeten

jewelry is always a strong call at christmas, am i right?  not only is it an easy gift to give but i think we all enjoy a little som’n, som’n this time of year.  for me there is no better call than hervé van der straeten.   hervé, if i can call him hervé, is an artist and designer probably better known for his metal works in furniture and lighting but is building a crazy good name in jewelry.  he is said to be at the very forefront of the minimalist jewelry movement (think céline and the row) and his pieces, all in thin, 24-karat plated brass, are marked by clean lines that break with convention.   take it from me, you can (and will) wear his pieces every where.   my dear, sweet hubby gifted a couple pieces over the past year and i never have a morning that i don’t reach for them.  don’t get me wrong –  i don’t end up wearing them every single day.  but chances are, if you have seen me in the past year, you have seen me wearing his jewelry – because they never feel wrong, no matter what i am wearing – the pieces go high as easily as they go low.  you simply can’t go wrong here . . .

i first became familiar with hervé about a decade ago when i fell in love with his tourbillon chandelier in the london home of princess marie chantal of greece.  i designed my entry hall around the chandelier and i am still waiting . . .  one day . . . one day . . . and when i get that chandelier, i imagine that etta james’ at last will be playing in the background and the delivery guys will move in slow motion as they un-crate it . . .  ( a girl’s gotta dream, right?).

hervé also designed the j’adore perfume bottle for dior a couple of years ago  . . . see, everyone loves him.

hervé is married to acclaimed shoe designer, bruno frisoni, the creative director of roger vivier (and credited with that house’s revival).  they have fantastic apartments in paris and morocco that you probably saw in vogue a couple of issues back.

hervé oversees a team of craftsmen who work only on his creations.  this kind of centralization is uncommon these days; most designers scatter their designs around to a series of independent artisans.

“you have to have everything together like that, all the craftsmen under one roof, otherwise you will go crazy,” hervé has said.  “you can’t control the quality unless you have your own workshop.”

i put the pricing squarely in the affordable luxury category – you won’t have any trouble putting these pieces on your christmas, birthday, or mother’s day list.

below, i have hooked you up with a couple of great pieces from the collection available at bergdorf’s and neiman’s, as well as some great pics of hervé’s furniture, lighting, and his homes with bruno frisoni.  enjoy!




geometric cut-out cuff


ruban twisted hoop earrings


yucata collar necklace


charlize and the dior j’adore bottle (available here) designed by hervé . . . i think he captured the vibe . . .


where it all got started for me . . . this is maybe my favorite room, like, ever.  and, for me, it’s the chandelier that pulls it all together . . . goregous.

below are several photos from the vogue editorial on their moroccan apartment . . .

Bruno-Frisoni-Vogue-Moroccan-home-Klismos-dining-chairs-Van-der-Straeten-table bruno-frisonis-morocco-home-10 herbe-van-derstraeten-bruno-frisoni-vogue-morocco-bath

their home in paris is equally as stunning . . .


below are two of the most iconic hervé van der straeten furniture pieces, the sideboard and the twig mirror. i am sure you have seen these pieces before now. they are hard to forget . . .



by martha, gift ideas for the teenage girl, holiday gift guide

teenage girl gift idea part duex

ok so i’ve had requests to post more ideas for the teenage girl in your life. it is hard because we are trying to keep them young when all they want to do is go ahead and grow up. don’t you just want to shake them and say “i promise you will look back and want to go back when you were younger” but i digress. here are a few more ideas…

beats speaker by dr.dre: these are really cool. wireless speakers that have a great speaker quality. plus i love the little carrying case that it comes with and who can pass on the pink. adorbs!

eno: there is nothing better than sitting in a hammock with a good book or hanging. we take so little time to slow down that this is a way to encourage your daughter just to go chill (without an electronic device). go ahead and get two that way you can hang together.

clarisonic face cleanser: i can’t harp enough about the need for good habits in the face cleaning department. if we can start these habits at a young age they will be that much easier when they get older.the style gathering recommended this yesterday and i think it is a great gift for all ages.


the lokai bracelet: according to my sources this one of the new hot items. it is a clear bracelet with a black ball at one end and a white ball at the other. the bracelet is infused with elements sourced from the highest and lowest points on earth. the white ball, carrying water from mt. everest, and the black ball, holding mud from the dead sea, exist on opposite ends.

lokai bracelet

lokai bracelet

naked palette by urban decay no.2: this has an assortment of neutral colors so they have plenty to choose from but they won’t look too done because the colors are neutral

two more quick ones:

itunes gift card: how many times do you get an email from itunes with a 1.99 charge for the latest one direction song. this will take care of that (for at least a bit)

lunch out: i know you are going what? but a lot of the time what our daughters really want is time just with momma. they may not admit it but if you take them out for a special lunch, just the two of you, i bet you learn a whole lot more than you would asking how their day went at night.

i hope this helps with one of the most difficult categories in my opinion.



by caroline, Uncategorized

#lbd . . .

two totally fab LBDs hit the racks this week, just in time for your last minute holiday party dash OR, for the gal that plans ahead, for new years eve.  each of these dresses stopped me dead in my on-line scrolling tracks . . . i think you can see why.  the lines are impeccably clean and sharp.  both are classic.  both are super sexy without trying.  i am totally in love.

but get them while they are hot. . . i guarantee you both will be sold out in popular sizes by this time next week.



draped lapel dress from cos, my new fave.


tube dress with tucked neckline from zara, my old, but still solid, fave.  this has a victoria beckham vibe that cannot be denied.  word.

by martha, cocktails, holiday, xmas ideas, xmas party

tis the season for champagne

it’s been a while since i posted a cocktail recipe and i thought it was high time i did and besides…tis the season. but i also know during this busy time of year we don’t have the time or the desire to make individual cocktails so i’m all about the christmas punch. it is individual enough that your friends will know you put some thought into it but easy enough that you can still enjoy being with your friends and not frantically trying to find that obscure ingredient that to make a finicky guest their specialized cocktail. as an added bonus you can make this ahead so you will have time to put on one of the fabulous outfits that we’ve suggested for the season

so without further adieu enjoy

champagne xmas punch

champagne xmas punch

1 cup Triple Sec
1 cup brandy
1/2 cup chambord
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1 quart chilled ginger ale
2 chilled 750-ml. bottles dry champagne


In a punch bowl combine the Triple Sec, the brandy, the Chambord and the pineapple juice and chill the mixture, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. About 15 minutes before your guests arrive add the ginger ale and champagne and ice cubes if desired. yep, it is that easy.

one of my friends taught me to throw in some frozen cranberries and orange slices and people will think that you are the new martha stewart.

ps the recipe suggests a punch bowl but i prefer a drink dispenser like this one or this one. i find that it is easier than a punch bowl and ladle and is not as messy but that is personal preference