I have an etiquette question for you. My cousin is getting married, and sent out an RSVP card with the wedding invitations. There is a spot for my name, and a blank beside the statement “persons will attend.” But there isn’t anything to check whether I will or will not attend. I can’t make it to the wedding, so do I just put 0 for the number of people attending, or write something about regrets off to the side? Help!
A. Hey Katie!
I can understand your confusion - that’s some pretty awkward phrasing. I’ve received a couple of invites with RSVP cards like that and have been similarly perplexed, but what I’ve done in this situation is write “0” or “Regrets” in the blank space and then added a brief message alongside saying that I’m sorry that I won’t be able to be there and thanking the couple for inviting me to the wedding.
For those of you who may be hosting an event requiring RSVP cards, there’s really no “right” way to phrase one - you can be as formal or informal as you like - but my favorite format is this:
( ) Accepts
( ) Declines with Regret
I also like the idea of pre-filling in the name and including “and guest” (if a guest is permitted), to avoid confusion.
Additions will be made pretty much daily, so don’t forget to check in every so often for updated picks for the holiday season (you can also scroll back through the posts to check out my selections from 2009 and 2010, and of course you can just go ahead and follow the account if you’re on Tumblr). Above, one of my favorite recent discoveries: Crown Thorne necklaces.
Keep an eye out in the coming months for more 30 Etsy Finds Under $30 posts, as well, and if you know of any amazing finds (especially local/boutique brands) that absolutely must must must be included, please send them my way!
A few months before I graduated from college, I decided once and for all that what I was doing when graduation day rolled around was moving out to Los Angeles to be an actress. And since I would most certainly be needing a car out there, I decided to buy a white Chrysler LeBaron convertible from my aunt, and to spend two weeks in June driving it cross-country with my dad. Our plan: to head south down the Blue Ridge Parkway to New Orleans before cutting up through Texas towards Santa Fe and the Grand Canyon, and then make a pit stop in Vegas before rolling into my new home state.
(The shots, by the way, are blurry because they’re screenshots from a video I made of the trip afterwards.)
Those remain two of the best weeks of my entire life: just me and dad and a whole lot of road. Driving with the top down and talking about all sorts of stuff, but mostly nothing at all. Drinking tequila-oyster shooters standing up at a bar in New Orleans. Wandering through galleries in Santa Fe. Discovering grits at a diner in West Virginia. Watching bands at Slo Bar in Nashville. Stopping for beef jerky at three in the morning somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Even having the car break down on a long, empty stretch of New Mexico highway…all of it: it was the very best that life gets.
And the BBQ. Man.
Our best BBQ experience happened when we were lost, which is, in my experience, when all best experiences tend to take place. We were somewhere in Texas, hunting around for a restaurant that had been recommended to us as having the best pulled pork around, and ended up on a dusty road winding through a dried-out field that was most certainly not in our Fodor’s Guide. But we kept going, and eventually we happened upon a little roadside structure that was part-house, part-gas station, and part-restaurant, and went inside to find happy-looking people crowded around checkered tablecloths, and red plastic trays piled with meat and tall stacks of white sliced bread on paper plates.
I added mayo, because I like it. But I didn’t have to.
This is my version of that meal (click links for recipes).
…floral pastels (H&M silk bed jacket) mixed in with autumn rust (Raven Denim cords)…
…and sparkle fingers all over the place.
But isn’t that nail polish sort of amazing? I usually don’t like polishes with big hunks of glittery stuff in them because a) I’m not 16, and b) they tend to go on unevenly and look sloppy…but Deborah Lippmann Candy Shop is the best possible incarnation of glitter polish. The lacquer itself is a gorgeous soft pink, and two coats deposit the glitter in a beautifully haphazard way (more “beautifully haphazard” than “uneven and sloppy”, I think, to the fact that glitter is in assorted sizes, colors, and shapes).
You know who else loved the polish? My FedEx delivery dude. When I signed off on a package yesterday he stopped me to tell me what beautiful nails I had. Really.
One note: the stuff chips quickly. It’s three days since application, and granted, I’m a disaster when it comes to taking care of my nails, but still: they’re very chipped already. Fortunately, the soft pink/glitter combo means that you can’t really tell.
For holiday gift-giving, I love the 'Get This Party Started' gift set ($42) pictured above, which includes Candy Shop, as well as Happy Birthday (straight-up glitter) and Forget You (glitter with a black base - ooh).
A rundown of some absolute must-haves: any one of these items will instantly perk up a look, and they’re perennially stylish…making them perfect places to splurge a bit.
Red Handbag: More interesting than your standard black, red also goes with everything, and…it’s red. Which is fantastic. (Go for gold accents for bonus points). I wear my red purse constantly, and it makes even a loose t-shirt and jeans look instantly fashionable.
Pearl Earrings: Paired with a matching necklace they’re classic Good Girl…but mixed in with a slightly more rambunctious outfit and piled-on, mismatched jewelry on your neck and wrists, they’re unexpected and chic. I’ll do the former on occasion (above), but I’m obviously slightly more disposed towards the latter.
And good news, if you’re in the market for some pearls of your own: Mikimoto Pearls is hosting a Mikimoto Moments contest on Facebook where you can enter to win your own pearl strand and earrings.
Rugged(ish) Ankle Boots: The only time of year when you can’t wear these is in the dead heat of summer. They look gorgeous in the winter with a chunky sweater and denim, in the fall with patterned tights and a skirt, and in the spring with bare legs and sailor-style shorts.
And they’re everywhere right now: go for a lace-up pair with a chunky heel and some rugged detailing (but not too much…the point is to look like you’re maybe open to the idea of camping, not like you’re actually planning on embarking upon a woodland adventure right that very moment).
Oversized Sunglasses: Some people say it’s pretentious to wear sunglasses when it’s not summer. I say shush, mama has bags under her eyes and needs to find a way to look presentable and still get her brunchtime Bloody Mary. And while trends come and go, when it comes to an investment pair I like the idea of going for a classic shape with a little bit of a twist. For example, an oversized style with a tiny bit of a cat’s eye like the pair pictured above, or a Wayfarer shape with interesting detailing, in tortoiseshell or burgundy rather than black.
For some perfect takes on classics-with-a-twist, keep an eye out for GANT’s Spring 2012 offerings (launching in February) - I’m a huge fan of the line, and the stuff they have coming out is seriously awesome.
Perfect Nude Lipstick: When you find the one that works for you, buy a zillion, because the perfect pink-brown looks right for virtually any occasion, and will never fall out of fashion. Wear it out at night with a smoky eye (click here for a navy-and-gold eye tutorial), or during the day with just a swipe of mascara for a finished (but not fussy) look.
Well-made Pea Coat: I say “well-made” because if you pick up the right one you’ll wear it to work, to cocktails, and even over formal evening dresses…and there’s nothing sloppier-looking than a cheaply-made pea coat that has lost its shape. This has little to do with price - I had a gorgeous Trovata pea coat that quickly started looking lumpy all over the place, but because of the price tag I held onto it for years after it should have gone into the donate pile.
A good way to figure out if the pea coat you’re considering is good quality: check the lining. It should be free of lumps, bumps, and uneven stitching. Also, polyester blends are cheaper, but they may not last as well, so if you’re looking for a good investment piece go for wool or cashmere.
Unique Perfume: Women fall into two camps when it comes to perfume: those who have a signature scent, and those who play around with various things depending on the season and their mood. I have a handful of fragrances that I keep in rotation (although I always defect to Bond No. 9 Nuits de Noho, pictured above), but I literally never leave the house without a spritz (well, except for lately: I don’t want my perfume to bother the baby, so I’ve been sticking to lavender water spritzed in non-baby-touching spots like my back and legs these past couple of weeks).
Shyane DeJesus, 22, a senior at City College in New York City, was waiting for the subway when she felt a man grope her on the thigh and then shove his hand under her skirt. So Shyane started beating him about the head; when the subway arrived, the man jumped on it, and she followed him inside, where she kept punching him. He tried to get off at the next stop, so grabbed her Blackberry to snap pictures of his face to give to the cops. The guy is still on the loose, but maybe he’ll think twice about sexually assaulting another woman. ”I’m glad I fought back. I’m going to defend myself,” she told theNew York Post. “I want him on the list for sex offenders.” Girl, I am so proud of you! [NY Post]
I went to a preview of the Albertus Swanepoel for Target collection at Conde Nast a few weeks ago, and while I’m biased, because there are few things I love more than a good hat, I think it’s pretty cute. Especially the price - nothing’s over twenty bucks. And I’ll be wearing a fluffy, semi-ridiculous-but-mostly-amazing hat from the collection (this one) in next week’s three-look post, so keep an eye out.
Of the selection above, I obviously like the leopard one best. Which is your favorite?
Turkey chili was bubbling away in the slow cooker.
My hair was shampooed, conditioned, and blow-dryed.
The baby was snoozing in his bouncy seat.
The dogs were happily munching on their bones.
Classical music was playing.
I was smoothly making my way through a bunch of piled-up emails.
And I had a Peppermint Patty in my hand.
Five minutes later…
Baby vomit in my hair, various other unmentionable things on the wall next to the changing table, computer sitting on the floor being walked on by Lucy, Virgil grumping around and chewing on my freshly-vaccuumed carpet, overturned glass of water soaking the sheets in the crib, and the Peppermint Patty sitting forlornly where I left it with nary a bite taken.
But that’s just how it goes. Like I said: control has officially been relinquished…and that’s a good thing.
Sure, I could do without the baby vomit in my hair, but that’s what shampoo is for. And Peppermint Patties? They’ll always be there later.
They say that trying to cook with a newborn is a total lost cause, but I haven’t actually found that to be true. You just have to be…flexible. About both what you make and when you eat it. And whether or not it’s warm. And you may have to inhale your dinner while moving your fork precariously back and forth over the head of said newborn, trying desperately not to drop tomato sauce onto that pretty white onesie that grandma sent over…but that’s just how it goes. (P.S. Sorry about that onesie, Mom. Couldn’t be helped.)
What I’ve found helpful is to have a roster of meals at the ready that can be made in one (maximum two) pots, require few ingredients, and are ready in no more than half an hour. Slow-cookers are excellent for this purpose, but nothing’s quite as quick-and-dirty (and delicious) as a good pasta dish.
The other night, I made something so fast and easy that I’m calling it Post-Baby Pasta, but what it actually is is a dish based on my favorite meal at Amarone, an Italian restaurant on 48th and 9th.
CAMPANELLE with PROSCIUTTO, LEEKS & SMOKED MOZZARELLA IN A PINK SAUCE (a.k.a. POST-BABY PASTA)
What you need:
1 box campanelle
3 leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped prosciutto
1 large can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup cubed smoked mozzarella
Salt & pepper
What you do:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the campanelle according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the leeks, garlic, and prosciutto. Cook, stirring constantly, until the leeks are tender and the prosciutto is a bit crispy.
3. Pour the crushed tomatoes over the leeks, garlic & prosciutto and let simmer a few minutes before adding the cream, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Strain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the sauce and smoked mozzarella, and toss well.
Note: Because of the aforementioned need for flexibility, I made this dish way too late at night to photograph it, so the photo above is a next-day photo of the pasta after being reheated and topped with a little more cubed mozzarella. The texture of the fresh pasta will look much creamier, cheesier, and generally prettier.
Another tip that makes life easier: if presentation is the last thing on your mind, try pouring the dish directly into Tupperware and serving straight from the storage containers. Onto paper plates. Whatever’s left over goes right into the refrigerator, and that’s one less dish you have to wash later.
Yes yes, patterned tights are trendy and all, but everyone needs a great pair of black tights, and I’m here to tell you that these are the ones you need. It is a fact. You need to get them.
Hanes Blackout Tights are the BEST EVER, and I am someone who is very, very picky about her black tights (being as I wear them constantly in the fall and winter with shorts, dresses and skirts). Incredibly comfortable, the perfect rise (low, but not so low they fall down), and totally opaque coverage without any associated fabric heaviness.
I found this recipe on The Conscientious Carnivore, and am now thinking a) is it Happy Hour yet? and b) bacon-infused bourbon would make for a pretty spectacular Christmas gift for a very special man in my life.
Add 1 1/2 oz rendered bacon fat to 1/2 bottle of bourbon and let it stand at room temperature for at least four hours. Stick it in the freezer until the fat has solidified on the top, skim off the fat, and strain the bourbon through a coffee filter into a glass container.
Blackberry & Bacon Cocktail:
1. Squeeze the juice from 8-10 blackberries and set aside.
2. Muddle a few more raspberries in a glass.
3. Fill glass with ice, and add 2 oz bourbon, 1 oz blackberry juice, 2 tsp honey, and dash of bitters.
4. Garnish with…wait for it…a bacon swizzle stick. OMG.
Exciting News! / 'Jordan In The House' To Launch On YouTube Digs Channel
Awhile back, I shot a pilot for a decorating/entertaining show produced by Meredith (BetterTV’s parent company) called “Jordan In The House.”
it’s been sold!
YouTube has ordered 20 episodes of JITH as part of the rollout of their new original-content channels - we’ll start shooting in a couple of months. Additional Meredith-produced content on the Digs Channel (the one that JITH will air on) includes shows about home makeovers, celebrity backyards, and the female answer to Man Caves.
Other channels will be produced by media outlets including Hearst, The Onion, The Wall Street Journal, and Time Inc., and will include content on everything from health and wellness to style and beauty. And YouTube’s partners in the venture also include the likes of Madonna, Ashton, and Jay-Z. So that’s pretty awesome.
Read the full Ad Age article here, and read the NY Post article here.
Beautiful new discovery: Swati Jr* Jewelry. And by “beautiful,” I mean beautiful intent, beautiful meaning, beautiful execution. Designer and yogi Saraswati creates made-to-order pieces that are inspired by nature, and designed to honor the goddess within each woman.
Pieces this original don’t come without a story, so I asked Saraswati if she’d answer a few questions for RG about how she was inspired to begin designing jewelry, and what the line represents to her…plus a little advice for those of you who may be interested in jewelry design yourselves.
All the pregnancy books that I read - literally all of them - advised spending the weeks prior to giving birth squirreling away precooked meals in the freezer so that we’d have food ready for scavenging in the busy month to come. One even told me to while away the early labor hours “whipping up a casserole or two.” You know…in case I was bored.
As it turns out, the whole food-availability thing is one aspect of living in New York City that actually makes having a baby easier: a two-minute run to the corner store yields wondrous bounty like Yodels, and the takeout options are endless. But while city-dwellers don’t need to stock up like the Apocalypse is on its way as they might if any food-finding trip included a car ride to Costco, it’s still nice to have homemade things at the ready so as to avoid constantly relying on high-sodium to-go options.
I skipped the casserole-making during labor because I’m not a crazy person (and also because my labor was extremely nontraditional - more on that later), but I did pull it together to freeze up the basic elements for some of my favorite easy meals, as well as bake a whole bunch of loaf breads and stick them in the icebox, ready to be defrosted for sugar emergencies or guests.
And I’m just saying: this would be a really smart thing to do just before the madness of the holidays starts up in earnest. Not only will you have fabulous sweet things all ready to munch on on snowy mornings, but you’ll have options at hand in case you decide you want to bring something homemade over to a party in lieu of (or in addition to) the traditional bottle of wine.
1. Before freezing, cover loaf in two layers of Saran Wrap and one layer of foil.
2. Place loaf in the back of the freezer, and defrost by setting on a plate at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
3. Toast or warm individual slices in microwave before serving (if there’s any residual sogginess, toasting will get rid of it).
Mini-Preview / John Sahag Workshop Flat-Iron Curls
Above, a preview of a post going up later this week featuring three different looks, a brand-new RG sponsor that I’m so excited to introduce you to, and a bit of wardrobe rediscovery on my part. For the post, I also decided to get in a little fancy holiday-hair practice by styling my hair in flat-iron curls, using tips I picked up at John Sahag Workshop last January.
In case you missed the instructional video the first time around, here it is:
And click here for an extensive how-to with many more photos.
Remember, if you mention RG at John Sahag Workshop you get 10% off of a Keratin treatment with Doug (my color guy), and if you refer a friend you get $50 off of your next visit and they get $50 off of their first visit (click here to learn more about the referral program).
This last week has been the most wonderful week of my life. I am not the person I was seven days ago, and I never will be again. It has also been one of the most emotionally tumultuous weeks of my life. You know how they say you can love someone so much it hurts? You can, and I do. I love him so much it hurts my heart.
I’m grateful that I pulled together a bunch of posts on completely unrelated topics prior to going into the hospital, because I’ve been struggling a lot with figuring out how to express myself here, and have felt more or less paralyzed every time I sit down to type. Over the past two years I’ve learned to work through things that are on my mind by writing about them…but I just can’t write about this in the way that I’m used to writing about things — which is to say, openly and vulnerably. Not yet.
It’s felt so strange, having such a momentous thing happen and all of a sudden wanting to pull back - hard - from expressing my feelings about it. Because it’s so important to me to examine things honestly…and yet when it comes to this baby, I can’t be open and free like I’m used to being. To write about my feelings for my baby is to open up conversation about those feelings, and they are so precious and so mine that it would be heartbreaking for me were they to be trivialized, misunderstood, or interpreted in any other way than as they are as a result of my inability to express them in all their complexity.
But it is also so important to me to explore my feelings here, to share them with you and to take these steps forward together. Because I see now that mothers are scared, and mothers need to talk to one another, and mothers fear that they are doing things wrong, or imperfectly. I want to offer my vulnerability and inexperience as a mother, because I know that feeling uncertain is a part of motherhood - and a part of life, regardless of whether or not you’re a parent - that is universal and scary, and so very important to talk about. That said, what I’m interested in exploring here are my feelings about motherhood, not my child’s life in and of itself; this is not a website about Indy (hence the nickname - which I may change my mind about using, but not for now), and that’s a line I’m still trying to figure out how to walk.
Parents can so often fall into the trap of saying “No one but a parent can understand.” And while it’s true to some extent - there are emotions going on here that I did not realize existed, and that I absolutely did not understand until I held my son in my arms - it’s not true that an exploration of parenthood has to be alienating. Parents aren’t in one club, with everyone else in another. I don’t want to pick sides here; I want to talk about all this like a person, not like a Mom with a capital M. I want to focus on what’s universal about motherhood, and I haven’t yet figured out what’s universal and what’s mine.
I will be able to sort through these feelings and talk about this remarkable journey, I know I will. But I need these emotional waters to calm down a bit before I can see straight enough to figure out how to tell you what’s going on in my head these days. Right now, it’s too filled up with this little boy for me to separate one thought from the next.
And there you go: I feel better already. Writing about things that are on your mind always helps, huh?
Yes, this is the kind of thing I’m lusting over these days.
My Canadian family gave me a cream-colored version of the swaddle bag pictured above on my last visit…and it is glorious. Glorious. Soft, and cozy, and a total miracle-worker.
One problem: I can’t find it anywhere except for on eBay, in a pink size 0-3 mos. I’ve found lots of thinner cotton versions online, but I love how plush and snuggly this one is. So my question for you: know where I can find something like this State-side, with more color and size variety?
Well, That Was Less Dramatic Than I Thought It'd Be
While we were in the hospital, my parents kept our dogs for a few days…and last night, they brought them back home. Obviously I was more than a little nervous about how Lucy and Virgil would react to the new addition - yeah, they’re sweet and miniature, but they’re still dogs, and dogs can be unpredictable. As it turns out, though, there wasn’t a whole lot to worry about.
This was the level of excitement in our apartment approximately ten seconds after Lucy and Virgil met Indy:
you might say they’re over it.
I did a ton of research online before attempting the introduction, but a lot of the advice seemed to conflict (some articles said to keep the dogs on-leash; others said that this would make them feel threatened; stuff like that), and what it seemed to come down to is that there are a few things that you can do to help the dogs acclimate…but ultimately, you know your pets better than anyone and should tailor your approach accordingly.
What we did:
- Sent the baby’s hospital clothing home with my parents so that the dogs could sniff it (they ignored it completely)
- Created a calm environment for the dogs to come home to, with just Kendrick and me in the living room, and Indy in his bassinet in the nursery
- Gave the dogs lots of love when they came home, and waited for them to calm down a bit before starting the introduction
- Allowed them into the room with the baby one at a time, and let them discover him on their own (Lucy ran straight to me and snuggled my leg; Virgil literally ran through the room in search of toys and tossed the baby a cursory glance and sniff as he went by)
- Plied them with tons of treats throughout the process
And…it was fine. The dogs look a little bummed out today, but I guess that’s to be expected, and we’re giving them lots of extra love to compensate.
An easy, low-cost way to add a splash of scary to your party: make a Dead Man’s Icy Hand. Just fill a clean non-latex glove (some people are allergic to latex) with water, tie off the end, and stick it in your freezer for a few hours. Peel off the plastic, and you’re done.
To make the punch pictured above, combine 1 chilled bottle of vodka and 2 chilled 2-liter bottles of Sprite in a punch bowl. Add some red food coloring to make it bloody-looking, and then stick your dead hand right in the center (in the past, mine have tended to fall over and float around in the punch; whatever, it still gets the point across). Add some marshmallows, and then squirt more red food coloring over the whole mess to make it even bloodier.
I’ll admit, it’s not exactly a gourmet beverage, but it’s certainly…festive.