Q. Jordan! I’m wearing this dress to my husband’s work cocktail party (I wouldn’t normally pick such a tight dress for a holiday party, but the husband insisted on “sexy” instead of my usual flowy dress style). Will it look dumb with stockings (because girl, it’s cold out)? Still undecided if I should go with these booties - should I, shouldn’t I?
Thanks so much,
A. Oh my goodness, definitely wear tights! Because yeah, it’s cold out…but also because if you don’t, you’ll spend all night with people coming up to you and saying, “Bare legs?! Aren’t you cold?!” And that’s annoying. I know because I constantly go out in the winter with bare legs (sorry, Mom), and people constantly lecture me about it, and it’s annoying. If it was a very fancy affair, I’d say maybe suffer through the chill, but if you’re looking to wear that dress and those boots, it sounds like a pretty fun, relaxed kinda event. So: tights, yes.
Stockings, I don’t know about. Nude stockings are theoretically making a bit of a comeback thanks to the royals, but…ehhhh. They still feel kind of weird to me. And black sheer stockings run the risk of taking a look into Pretty Woman territory, I think (I’m generally only a fan of sheer black stockings if they’re patterned and come packaged with an ironic wink). So my advice would be to go for opaque black tights, which will actually go quite nicely with the rocker chick feel of the booties, so long as you balance out the darkness on your lower half by adding some key accessories to your top.
The fact that the black booties are a little rocker-girl sexy actually gives you lots of options for adding balance to the outfit - anything from a dark wrap to a glittery bolero jacket can work. Or you could just throw on some heavy jewelry, like a statement necklace or black resin bangle, to streamline the look - just keep your makeup fairly neutral and pretty (think sheer lips, not red).
Every year, we spend New Year’s Day on the couch, wrapped up in blankets and watching extremely bad movies while eating things like oeufs en cocotte (eggs baked in cream). Why baked eggs? Two of those and a little hair of the dog in screwdriver form (it’s a holiday, shush) make for an excellent hangover cure.
And this year…oh, this year we’re adding avocado to the mix.
I spotted this “recipe” (if you can call it that; it’s so easy) a couple of days ago on Tumblr, and immediately picked up some enormous avocados so that I could make it for lunch. All it really is is a very thick slice of avocado with a fried egg in the middle, but for New Year’s breakfast, I’m going to try adding a little cream and putting these in the oven (basically, making oeufs en cocotte with avocado slices taking the place of ramekins). Or maybe baking the eggs in ramekins and then transferring them into the hollowed-out avocados to serve. Not sure yet, but stay tuned. I think it’ll be a good one.
But in the meantime, here’s what I made yesterday:
AVOCADO & EGGS
1. Take a thick slice of avocado (leave the skin on) and remove the nut, hollowing a little extra room into the space left in the middle (I used a shot glass as a kind of cookie cutter).
2. Place the avocado slice in a lightly oiled pan over medium-low heat.
3. Crack in an egg, cover, and let cook for a couple of minutes. I found that the egg was still a bit too runny for my taste at this point, so I flipped the avocado slice using a spatula and let it cook another minute on the other side. And because my avocado was truly enormous, I added a second egg that I fried up separately to the top.
4. Finish by seasoning as you like - I just used salt, but pepper and hot sauce would probably be popular, as well.
Hi Jordan! One of my new years resolutions is to work towards a more grown up wardrobe. I am 21 years old, graduated college in May, but I am starting work after the new year. Any advice as to wear I should begin? Staples? Must haves? I don't even own a pair of black pants!
Since your style is somewhat similar to mine, I need some major help finding an outfit to go with a pair of black sequin shorts I bought for my holiday work party. If you would be oh so kind as to recommend an idea or two I would be forever grateful.
Thanks a million! And happiest of holidays to you and your family :)
A. You know I love me some sparkle shorts. Black ones can be a little tricky, though, because the goal is to look like you’re attending the party…not working at it. To that end, I’d avoid things like red lipstick (choose a sheer pink instead) and button-down white shirts, and instead go for black-on-black sophisticated, or a little Carrie Bradshaw in Season 4 (when she was all ruffles, all the time). Either way, add elegant jewelry (nothing too costume-y) and black tights (preferably opaque, for warmth and coverage).
You might also want to try a cream tank/black silk blazer combo with a lariat necklace and sophisticated pumps; just make sure the pieces you pick for the top are relaxed rather than overly tailored. And for a more casual party (not a work party), I like pairing something sparkly on the bottom with a fitted flannel and boots for a little mix-and-match look (I know, it sounds too weird, but it works).
So I’m not gonna lie: bangs are tricky. Or at least they are on my hair: as I suspected would happen, I wake up looking far more like Alfalfa than Audrey. Kendrick thinks this is funny (I disagree).
But what Karmela told me when I was getting them cut is true: if you can manage to make your bangs look decent, that’s really all you need to do with your hair - if you’re in a hurry you can just twist the rest up onto the top of your head and look respectably done. And while at John Sahag Workshop last weekend, I learned how to do just that (the results of my tutorial are pictured above).
HOW-TO: BLOW-DRY PERFECT BANGS
1. Start with wet hair, and dry your bangs first (counterintuitive maybe, but they get a lot tougher to wrangle if they’re left to their own devices for even a few minutes).
2. First use two fingers to pull them down and slightly out, aiming the blowdryer down the hair shaft.
3. Then use a paddle brush to make the same motion - the pulling with the fingers makes them straight, while the brush gives them just the slightest bend (in other words: volume without veering into poofy ’80s territory).
4. Next, “wrap” the hair, using the paddle brush to push the bangs first to one side, then the other, blow-drying all the while.
5. Repeat these steps until completely dry. The result should be bangs that aren’t too flat and aren’t too curled…bangs, in other words, that are just right.
Now, for product. To give my hair shine I like using Alterna Bamboo Dry Oil Mist, but if you spray a product like that onto bangs there’s the danger that they’ll look oily. What I like to use on the shorter pieces around my face (and now for my bangs) is a little of Kendrick’s hair wax - I rub just the tiniest amount into the ends only, to break them up. But honestly, you know what I do more often than not? After I moisturize my skin, I just twist whatever residue is left on my fingers into the ends, and that does the trick. Easy easy.
I love your blog and thought you may be able to provide some insight into why my chocolate chip cookies always LOOK HORRIBLE! They taste good…but I can never get a nice little fluffy cookie that doesn’t crumble apart.
I follow the recipe on the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip bag exactly, and yet my cookies always spread out and wind up flat and crispy.
I’m a good cook so I don’t know why I’m having such a problem with chocolate chip cookies!
A. Stephanie, you are my baking spirit sister, because that totally happens to me too, and, like you, I am completely weirded out by it. I’ve been meaning to mention my chocolate chip cookie mishaps here for awhile now, but have just been too mortified at my inability to make the damn things turn out right. I mean, we’re talking chocolate chip cookies, not, like, a house of buttercream meringues.
Or yogurt cake.
So granted, I’m a pretty disastrous baker (as you can see in the above video, the whole “precision” thing is not my forte; I like making those loaf cakes because they’re a lot more improvisational than…say…this)…but still: one would think chocolate chip cookies made using what is theoretically the easiest recipe ever would be Jordan-proof.
But here’s the real mystery: when I make the recipe off the back of the bag in any oven other than my own, they come out great. It’s only from my oven (a prehistoric, rickety thing) that they emerge flat, and somehow simultaneously chewy and crispy, and terrible terrible terrible.
Which is all to say: I don’t know the answer to your question. But I sent it over to guru-of-all-things-dessert Alejandra to get her take on your troubles.
"OK, my instinct here tells me it’s an issue with either the butter or the temperature of the dough, but I’ll go over a few other factors that could be affecting the cookies. Basically, the warmer your dough, the flatter/crispier the result is going to be. The Nestle recipe is kind of notorious for producing flat cookies, which some people like, but which may not be your taste.
The temperature of the dough could also be affecting the results. The Nestle recipe doesn’t indicate this (I don’t know why, because it should), but you should always chill your dough before scooping it. For best results, pop the dough in the fridge overnight or at least for an hour or two, to firm it up. Also, be sure to pop any extra dough back in the fridge between batches.
Some other things to look out for:
Use unsalted butter—salted butter has more water in it, which causes spreading
Preheat your oven for at least 20 minutes before baking
Get a good quality light-colored cookie sheet (dark pans get hotter)
Never grease your pan, but be sure to line it with parchment paper or a Silpat to prevent sticking and provide further protection
Let your pans cool to room temperature or lower between batches
Use a cookie scoop for even sized cookies
Underbake your cookies a minute or two less than the recipe calls for. It will make for a much chewier cookie.
Don’t open & close the oven during baking as it lets the heat escape and will cause for uneven baking
And (most important) check the temperature of your oven! Ovens are such liars. Get an external oven thermometer (they’re about $10-$20 and SO worth it) and test that when your oven claims it’s at 350 or 375 degrees, it really is.”
Well, that was unbelievably helpful. My crappy oven reads imprecisely, plus I have a tendency to a) try to cream the butter straight from the refrigerator, or b) leave it out on the counter, feel very proud of myself for remembering to allow it to soften up, and then promptly forget about it until it has become a squishy mess, at which point I begin the baking process.
I have a feeling that me and baking will never be best friends, but still: baby steps.
We’re (mostly) all grownups here, and sometimes you just want to give (or get) a grownup gift, yes?
After the jump, some of my favorite gift picks from female-friendly adult site Eden Fantasys, which would like to offer RG readers 20% off of any purchase (except for sale items) through 2/15 using code ramshackle.
So you know I chose the plaid shirt…but you want to see what the other 11 bloggers think make perfect gifts for everyone on your list? Click here.
P.S. See that reindeer sweater on the right in the above photo (hiding behind my plaid shirts)? Bought it for Kendrick last year. There’s nothing like a slightly dorky reindeer sweater at Christmastime.
"You know how life changes (breakups, graduations, moves, etc) always make you want to cut all your hair off, or dye it red? For me, it’s always bangs…Of course, when urges like this strike me I need to remember that I did have bangs: it was in fourth grade, and they were very, very averse to physical contact with the skin on my forehead and had a tendency to flee in various directions. And while that kind of misbehavior would be fine if I had lots of time to spend playing with flat irons these days, the recent life change that inspired this particular desire to switch up my look has left me with a little less grooming time than usual. Like, none."
In other words: Jordan, for the love of god, do not have a baby and all of a sudden decide that you must cut bangs.
I like them so much.
(And I got a bunch of bang-styling tips from Karmela at John Sahag Workshop, who did the cut, to mitigate the “fleeing in various directions” thing. Coming up shortly!)
Anyway, bangs-getting was just one part of my very wonderful Saturday. Kendrick wanted to get in some one-on-one baby bonding time, so I took advantage by going on a little bit of a date with…me.
I got breakfast with some girlfriends, took care of a whole bunch of errands, stopped into the hair salon…and accidentally fell into a store, where shopping accidentally happened. But I managed to restrict myself to buying only one thing, and that thing was a thirty-dollar vest that immediately became one of my favorite items in my closet, so in my book that’s what one calls a “happy” accident.
What lovely day isn’t made lovelier by the addition of a little rooftop gymnastics session?
This is what I’d pick up for a husband/boyfriend…and then immediately steal on a cold winter morning to wear while curled up in front of my imaginary fireplace while reading US Weekly (ssh) and drinking hot chocolate. (I would rationalize this theft by explaining to said S.O. that plaid shirts tend to get softer and more wonderful the more they’re worn. In other words: I’d be doing him a favor by living in it.)
My favorite color combo is the Green/Red pattern you can see here…and it’s presently on sale for $24.99 (down from $60), so: excellent last-minute shopping solution.
I stopped by my friend Mel’s place on Saturday morning, and she showed me the DIY Body Scrub (lavender!) she made using these instructions. (And she confirmed that yes, they’re easy, and yes, they make excellent gifts.)
Above, some shots from the Geox event that I co-hosted on Thursday night over at the store on 57th and Madison. Those shoes on the far left of the shot on the lower left are my new #1 favorites from the F/W 2011 collection - love that brown-and-grey combo, and I’m all about boots with laces at the moment. And right now all Geox stores are hosting sales of up to 50% off, so if you’re as into them as I am, it’s a good time to pick them up.
What I wore: An H&M maxidress that I cut into a mini, a vintage beaded bolero with a satin tie, chloe + isabel jewelry, CoverGirl Lip Perfection lipstick in Hot Passion (a great universal red), and Geox boots (retail info can be found here).
If you missed any of my Geox style posts over the past month, you can check them all out here. And click here if you’d like to sign up for the mailing list, and here to subscribe to their website (I certainly recommend staying abreast of the Spring collection; I just checked out the lookbook, and oh my goodness).
Thanks so much to Geox for inviting me to be part of such a fun night, and to the RG readers who came out to say hi - it was great to meet you!
I hope that this finds you well. I just want to say how much I love your blog. It is the best city fix that I have found up here in NH.
OK, I love purses. But I also tend to spill red liquids on myself while wearing pastels…so my collection of purses is largely weather-proof tote bags. Anyways, I’ve decided that it’s time to get a real grown-up purse, [but] I live in NH, where there’s a lot of rain, snow, mist, hail, sleet, etc.
Any tips, tricks or secrets to keeping a purse fabulous despite the dreary weather?
Thanks so much,
A. Hey Katie,
Ooh, I hear you on this. Francesca owns a couple of stunning white purses that she keeps in absolutely pristine condition, and this talent of hers just floors me. I had a (fake, thank god) white Miu Miu purse for awhile there (it was stolen during a break-in a little over a year ago), and it was like it cosmically attracted everything from red wine to highlighter (and I don’t even use highlighters, quel mystère). So part of this is straight-up personality: some people just attract mess, and I am one of them. Francesca is not. What can you do? (That white purse I’m carrying up there? Let’s just say it’s a good thing that photo isn’t a close-up.)
But of course there are some ways to keep disaster at bay when it comes to investment purses: namely, treat the piece with a leather protector (Geox makes a good one; so does Aldo) immediately upon purchase, send it out for a professional cleaning annually, and store it in the dustbag it came in when not in use (incidentally, those bags also make for excellent lingerie storage when traveling). I’ve started doing these things, and they actually have made an enormous difference.
When it comes down to it, though, I don’t think it’s worth it to own something that you’d be devastated about if you screwed it up - constantly worrying about the finish on your purse makes for not-very-fun nights out. So what I’d recommend to the accident-prone is to go for a bag that looks better the older it gets - like a brown purse in a slightly rugged style, as opposed to a structured bag with a glossy finish that’s meant to look flawless.
And I know this may sound obvious, but really: just don’t take the thing out when the weather is really crappy. Those fashionistas with the perfect purses? They probably have large taxicab budgets (the NYC ones, anyway). For less-than-gorgeous days, my suggestion would be to keep a bag on hand that’s still stylish, but can’t be ruined, like the Ellington Mia Small Messenger. It’s well-priced, and has all the style of a leather bag with none of the potential for disaster.
NYC is a fairly spectacular place to live all year round…but there’s nothing like it at Christmastime. Yesterday morning, I swung by Bryant Park (the ice skating rink also has a pretty fun bar adjacent to it - we went last year around this time with some friends) for the Grand Opening of Real Simple’s Pop-Up Shop - a must if you’re in NYC.
The Pop-Up Shop is full of the kinds of gift ideas that are the reason you (or at least I) love Real Simple: inventive and practical. Like Mario Batali’s new cookbook, tons and tons of foodie items…and Christmas tree decoration organizers (want).
The Bloom Zen stroller folds to be ultra-slim, and has multi-directional wheeling (like a rolling suitcase), optional Newborn Nest, enhanced weather protection, safety lights, front and rear shock absorbers…and seat cushions that “create personal zen” for your child (yes, hee, but seriously: can I ride around in one, please? I could use some personal zen). And it comes in two colors - cmyk (with reversible cyan/magenta pads) and monochrome (black/silver).
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending celebrity stylist and all-around adorable guy Robert Verdi’s annual holiday party, where he laid out his top gift picks for everyone on your list, from the Mini Style Maven to the Do-It-All Mom.
If you’re in NYC and enjoy things like shoes and champagne, don’t forget to RSVP to tonight’s Geox Holiday Event (Rsvp.US@geox.com)! It’s at the Madison Avenue store, and there will be lots of fun stuff, including fashion consultations, cocktails, shopping incentives, and various other lovely holiday treats. And me. I’ll be there, and I swear I’ll be fun, too.
Click here to check out all my Geox style posts. (I think I’ll wear those shoes tonight. What’s your opinion: pair them with a ruffly pink dress, or go for black sparkles and leopard?)
I have another StyleMint giveaway for you! And this time, it’s even bigger and better: we’re talking three Ts for the lucky winner. (Above, that’s me wearing the Broadway; a couple of you have written to ask me if I like the quality of the Ts, and the answer is yes. They’re great.)
If you haven’t heard of StyleMint yet, here’s the deal: it’s a members-only T Shirt subscription service from Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen. All you have to do is sign up for a free membership and fill out a fun little StyleProfile, and then every month you can choose from one of four perfectly cut T Shirts selected just for you for just $29.99 each. You don’t like, you don’t buy. But if you do see something that you must have, you get free shipping and easy returns.
The makers of my very favorite T (the one above left…seriously, it’s the best, and a key component of my all-black-wearing ways lately) are offering all RG readers 15% off their first order using promo code RAM through 12/31/11, and are also giving away three credits to one winner. Use the credits to pick up gifts for lucky loved ones, or to spruce up your own holiday outfits (I love a relaxed tee and skinny pants with big heels and a ton of jewelry for a casual party)…however you like.
How To Win: Just sign up for a free StyleMint membership, if you haven’t already, and comment below telling me which of the three styles pictured above is your favorite.
StyleMint is a sponsor of Ramshackle Glam. Promo code valid through 12/31/11 for new members only. Winner of giveaway will be chosen via Random.org; winner’s name will be posted in an update to this post on Thursday, 12/15/11.
Kendrick Thinks I Dress Like I'm In The Matrix These Days
That’s my “I’m in The Matrix" Serious Face.
(That’s also why I prefer to smile like I’m auditioning for a Colgate ad in photos.)
So lately this is what I wear. And I wear it every day, and it’s getting weird and sort of inconvenient, mostly because I’ve never been one of those New Yorkers who dresses like a stereotypical New Yorker (black black black), and so I just don’t own that many black Ts and black jeans. Certainly not enough to make wearing the things every day not-weird or not-inconvenient (ay, do I ever not enjoy that nightly hand-washing session that happens when one doesn’t have an in-building washer/dryer and doesn’t want to unhand one’s favorite pants for even a second).
But it’s just all I want to wear. I still want to look relatively pulled-together and semi-stylish, if at all possible…but most of all, I want to be comfortable. And I have approximately five seconds every morning during which to get dressed, pull my hair into a ponytail, apply something or other to my face (my beloved liquid liner is still making a daily appearance, but I am a SPEED DEMON with that applicator brush, I’ll tell you), and get back to whatever it is that I have to do that may or may not involve having various undesirable substances landing on my person. And black-on-black just makes that process infinitely easier. And hides the aforementioned undesirable substances quite nicely, thanks.
Not even a little bit.
But that’s fine by me. I guess I’m feeling like being a little incognito these days.