As a fashion director, I've styled my fair share of wedding dress shoots. As a TV host I've covered everything from the best bets of where to shop for your gown to bridesmaids do's and dont's to what to buy the bride and groom. As a stylist, I've helped clients find the right gown at the right price, helped dress the groom when he doesn't want a tux and always suggest the bride-to-be have a reception dress because if you can avoid the weight of a gown when it's time to get your groove on the dance floor, then you should.
The scoop with these dress picks? Well, after a friendly game of tennis, my friend Amy mentioned her friend had asked her to go from being a guest at her wedding to taking the wedding photographs as well. Amy's a professional photographer so that's easy. But the kicker in this story is the wedding is in two weeks and while they've had all the other tasks and choices completed for months they were missing a few important ones. I immediately asked about the dress because in my world it's all about the dress and the photography. (If I'm attending a wedding then it's about the food, drink and dancing.) Amy says,"She hasn't gotten her dress yet." Crazy, right?! She said it had to do with part budget and part at a loss of what to wear. I get it, weddings are stressful and the dress is a big part of it. You want to look GORGEOUS, but wearing a dress for just one day with a hefty price tag is daunting. Well, challenge accepted. I offered some advice on the spot and then decided to find 10 wedding dresses that could be found online or in store last minute and under $1,000 bucks.
Couldn't help but show off my big day as well:
Here they are:
Arianna Papell High Neck Beaded Gown, $350 Bloomingdale's
Erin Fetherston Tiered Lace Gown, $695 Cusp
Sadie Gown In Swiss Dot Chiffon, $695 J. Crew
BCBG Max Azria 'Elisia' V-Neck Lace Gown, $498 Bloomingdale's
Tadashi Shoji Sleeveless Illusion Lace Pin Tuck Gown, $428 Bloomingdale's
BCBG Max Azria 'Elyse' Strapless Gown, $338 Neiman Marcus
Floral Beaded Slip Dress, $495 J.Crew
Zimmerman Silk Plunge Long Dress, $390 Zimmerman
Adrianna Papell Lace Peplum Dress, $150 Ideel
A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz Sleeveless Peplum Back Drape Gown, $99.99 Ideel
One more before you go:
Dress by Lloyd Klein
Make A Statement In Stripes
Parisian? Nautical? A classic navy and white stripe t-shirt with your white jeans in the summer? Is that what comes to mind when you think stripes? Well, girlfriend stripes are wardrobe worthy all year long. No matter the temperature I have a constant adoration for stripes and even avoid J. Crew at times because I know it may lead to buying yet another stripe top.
Here's more of my adoration for stripes as contributing editor to Closer Weekly.
When wearing winter stripes, mix them with leather, velvet, corduroy and even tweed.
Stripes can be bold for a newbie who usually wears solids, so just choose one statement piece of jewelry like a chain necklace or bangle.
Take stripes from day to night by wearing a tweed cropped jacket for work then switching to a velvet or leather jacket to make it evening-ready.
Mix prints. Try a plaid scarf with a striped top for an unexpected look.
This dress would look ready to work with a moto style knit sweater than swap it at night for a cropped, fitted leather jacket.
Jonathan Simkhai Knit Dress, $595 Shopbop
This is that go-to cashmere sweater that satifies the need for comfort and style.
Sundry Striped Cashmere Sweater, $178 Revolve Clothing
Wrap your lower half in this skirt that has stretch and will play well on weekends with an oversized, chunky sweater or a white v-neck t-shirt and jean jacket with rolled up sleeves.
A.L.C. Clifts Stripe Knit Asymmetrical Wrap-Effect Skirt, $395 Saks Fifth Avenue
A classic tote to get your though the rest of the season.
Clare V. Supreme Simply Tote Handbag, $450 Piperlime
The slip-on sneaker for kicking around town and the sandal I'm coveting for spring.
Derek Lam 'Laurel' Sneaker, $195 Derek Lam
Aquazzura C'est Chic Elaphe Stripe Sandals, $945 Net-A-Porter
Let your NFL fan style freak flag fly proudly all season long with your fashion and entertaining wares from your favorite team. Super Bowl XLIX is nearly here and I shared looks for super fans on KTLA Morning News. Whether you're rooting for the Seahawks or Patriots you can look the part head-to-toe and dining table to couch in NFL Homegating gear.
Opposing teams? No problem. Get your NFL fan style at the NFL Shop.
Deck out the party with NFL Homegating gear of your favorite teams at NFL Shop.
They got the look head-to-toe in t-shirts to jerseys to jeans and maxi dresses.
Chips and dip, crackes and cheese and a shoes for wine.
Even salt and pepper shakers get in on the NFL action.
Have you met Marsala? This rich, reddish color known more as a Sicilian cooking vino is the Pantone color of the year for 2015. Here's a sampling of the color or "close enough" with styling tips on how to add some of this must-have to your closet.
Here's my segment on KTLA Los Angeles as their style contributor.
Pair marsala with neutrals like navy, black, warm taupes and grays. If you're willing to experiment try it with amber or golden yellows to turquoise and teal to vibrant blues and even pink.
Your eyewear is like any other accessory. Add colored frames from brands like Salvatore Ferragamo to BCBG Max Azria.
Find out about these eyewear styles and where to buy them at Eyecessorize.com where you can also discover seasonal trends and other eyewear tips.
Plenty of steps you can take in the color of the year.
Tights and boot socks from No Nonsense
Sometimes it's what's underneath that speaks the trends.
Bras and matching panties from Curvy Couture
Consider the rich hue of forest green the perfect stand-in for your all-black winter wardrobe.
Here's my latest article as Contributing Editor for Closer Weekly all about adding forest green to your wardrobe and how to wear it. Plus, additional stylish green wardrobe pieces to add to your closet.
Forest green makes feminine outfits appear more glamourous than girlie.
If this color were a person we'd say it isn't showy or desperate for attention; it's confident.
How to wear it:
Think outside of black and white. Pair this inky hue with navy, cranberry, plum or gray. Your look won't be boring.
Think pink. A berry lip is the way to go. Unless it's Christmas day, red will look too kitschy.
Get saturated. Because it's so close to the depth of black, forest green looks great head to toe. Match your dress and shoes for a streamlined, sophisticated look.
Haute Hippie Side Tuck Asymmetrical Silk Georgette Dress, $290 Nordstrom
It's your new LGD ready for a party that replaces your LBD.
Opening Ceremony Felted Zipper Dress, $267 Shopbop
The "live in this" all winter long sweater dress.
3.1 Phillip Lim Cable Oversized Turtleneck, $510 Shopbop
Cool and comfy.
Tibi Leather Full Skirt, $998 Les Nouvelles
A classic midi-length leather skirt that will never go out of style.
Theory Dot Print 'Zeyn' Skirt, $495 Nordstrom
This skirts ready for a twirl.
Tildon Scoop Back High/Low Dress, $59 Nordstrom
Personally, I'd wear this mini dress with black opaque tights or skinny black velvet jeans.
Giuseppe Zanotti Shimmer Patent Leather Point-Toe Pumps, $273 Saks
Get a shine on in this pair of pumps.
It's my annual gift guide and this time it all about us girls. What to give us, what to get for her. Whether it's a print coat by IGGI from Zady.com, a faux fur throw from the new home collection at H & M, a monogram tote from Lands' End or a customized weekend bag from Kate Spade Saturday or jewels from Marisa Haskell to Eva Mendes. Here's what I shared on KTLA this week during my style segment. So get shopping!
This site has a myriad of choice from clothes to clutches to candles. Love the IGGI print coat and Clare V. clutches! Zady.com
H & M now has home decor. Woohoo! So shop the site for stylish home goods gifts. I'm a big fan of the faux fur throws. H & M
Fill the classic Lands' End tote with all she needs for a ski trip, spa visit, beach vacation, daughter's sleepover or even just a tote for everyday filled with their caramel candies or peppermint crunch cookies. And, of course, monogram that bag for her. Lands' End
Saturday is the best day of the week! Kate Spade knows how to share a great day in style. Kate Spade Saturday
Bold bling at a small price from bombshell Eva Mendes' collection with NY and Company.
So you want to have an awesome holiday party sometime between now and New Years Eve, but you're feeling a little stuck, right? Well, sit back, get comfortable and read through my fool proof ideas for fun. Then start inviting people you know you want to eat, drink and be merry with while it's cold outside.
1. Holiday Libations & Nibbles
Have a signature drink that pairs with your party theme to keep the festivities fun & delicious. When you throw a party during the holiday season it’s likely you may still be finishing up in the kitchen when guests arrive so get the socializing started right away by serving your guests a seasonal cocktail. Every holiday party does not have to be a sit down occasion. My favorite is to have friends come over a little later than dinnertime by making it a “Drinks & Desserts” fête. It’s less fuss and muss in the kitchen. Besides the finger foods and, of course, the treats, I offer small ramekins filled with seasoned nuts whether sweet or savory. This kind of party is a chance to indulge in delicious confections and serve up two-three signature cocktails so your guests have choices. Check a few of my favorite seasonal cocktails below:
1 part Pinnacle® Pumpkin Pie Vodka
1 part DeKuyper® Crème De Cocoa Dark Liqueur
1 part Half and Half
1 part Pinnacle® Original Vodka
2 parts Champagne
2. Deck the Halls
a. Choose a color theme for your décor. Don’t feel required to go with stereotypical green and red. You can stretch through holidays if you choose two to three colors and make it look festive like white, silver and gold.
b. You can also create conversation at the table multiple ways with décor by doing a DIY message on plates or creating a placemat with silly questions for your guests to answer.
3. Holiday Party Trends
a. Ugly Christmas Sweater Party: Holiday parties usually mean you have to come up with several dressy outfits. Instead, get your guests to get crafty and design their own ugly holiday sweater. The party will lead to lots of laughs and DIY inquiries. Have guests vote on their favorite ugly sweater and the winner goes home with a basket of all the ingredients to make your seasonal cocktail. If this just isn’t your thing, then go with the holiday sock party and have everyone wear silly holiday socks that guests can buy or create.
Reindeer and Santa Socks, $14 Joy the Store
Multi-Pack of Christmas Socks, $4 Macy's
Hot SoX Dog and Cat Christmas Socks, $6 Bare Necessities
Elf Striped Socks, $5.70 ASOS
b. Holiday Cookie Swap: Ask friends to bake two-dozen of their favorite cookies to bring to the party. Create decorative boxes or get some holiday tins to offer your friends to store their new goodies to bring home.
c. Have a Tree-Trimming! Set up your evergreen (real or fake!) with lights and garland, and let each guest know that they can bring an ornament to hang on your tree. And don’t be greedy, send your guests home with an ornament as a gift as well.
Make these DIY ornaments (project #7243) and other projects with the Cricut Explore, Cricut.com
d. Christmas Caroling: This is awesome! Everyone knows the songs and music, now just get your friends together for the fun. Have friends come earlier for this party since you shouldn’t be knocking on neighborhood doors past 8:30 out of respect. Print out the lyrics for several classic holiday songs. And while you get ready to bundle up against the cold offer your friends some hot chocolate or carry a thermos of hot chocolate or cider while you walk the neighborhood. Now head out, ring a doorbell and step back from your neighbor’s front door and start singing. Plan on visiting several homes around your neighborhood. Or just walk as a group along the sidewalk in your neighborhood and sing. After an hour or more of singing head back to your place for food, drinks and games with the group.
4. Party Planning Tips for Seamless Entertaining
a. Theme It: Come up with theme so your party stands out among the rest and becomes the coveted invite.
b. Avoid Hours in the Kitchen: Don’t feel the pressure to make all your food from scratch. Make it a mix of homemade, semi-homemade and store bought. Better yet, make it potluck whether it’s a dessert and drink only party or a sit down meal where you make the main dish and friends bring side dishes. Pre-batch and pre-cook everything the day before so you’re spending less time in the kitchen, and more time with your loved ones.
c. Make a Holiday Playlist: Music can keep the party grooving and upbeat so curate a holiday playlist ahead of time. Mix holiday classics sung by a variety of artists such as Michael Buble, Idina Menzel, Frank Sinatra and more!
Christmas Music, Amazon.com
d. Be prepared: Some guests may over do it on the holiday “cheer” or you may just have one too many cookies. Have on hand plenty of water for guests plus some simple remedies like F.A.S.T. First Aid Shot Therapy (firstaidshottherapy.com). These small bottles the size of a shot are a liquid remedy for pain (say goodbye to your headache) and stomach aches. And offer carpooling, a taxi or Uber if guests need a safe lift home.
Available at Amazon.com, 12 bottles for $29
Turkey Day can be daunting if you’re the host. You’ve got the meal to tend to, a football game on the TV to compete with and the late day snooze that guests succumb to after eating a big meal. Here are my tips for a day that's beautiful, memorable and special to you and your guests.
Watch for our video for more ideas & DIY.
Save yourself some time and set the table before the big day. First the tablecloth; maybe even add a table runner to spruce up the table with a little color and contrast. Make sure you have a water glass and wine glass for each guest. Skip those less than desirable paper napkins; your friends are worth the cloth ones! You can even go one step further and add a beautiful napkin ring to make the place setting even more fabulous. If you don’t have napkin rings, then you can make them with the Cricut Explore® Machine among many of the DIY projects below.
Project- Fall Napkin Ring, Project - Leaf Napkin Ring
If you are serving the food buffet style, you will still want the table to look complete, so set the table with chargers or plate toppers. Go the extra step by sticking on or etching a message on these table toppers through a simple DIY project. Each charger or topper can have a different message for the season or personalized to each guest.
Made this with the Cricut Explore
Add fresh or faux flowers to create your own centerpiece, you can even add squashes and leaves for that extra autumn flair. If you have several couples attending your Thanksgiving or "Friendsgiving" meal then create place cards and mix up the seating or have guests swap seats during dessert. This creates great conversation and new friends.
For lighting, have plenty of tea lights or candles. Place them on the mantel, along windowsills, or in clusters on the dining table. Remember to have unscented candles on your dining table so the enticing smells of your food does not compete with the scent of the candles.
As for food, keep it simple. If you want a sit down dinner, minimize the guests to 10 and prep the ingredients or portions of the meal ahead of time. Remember that not everyone loves turkey and some of your friends may be vegan or vegetarian. There are a multitude of possibilities you can cook instead of turkey that are quick and easy. You can make salmon, eggplant or even a butternut squash pie. If you plan to serve the traditional turkey for the main course, but you’d rather not set a timer and spend hours near the oven, then order a turkey fully cooked ahead so you just heat it up. Remember to choose your turkey by adding 1 pound per guest, 1½ pounds if you want leftovers.
For the big meal, stay away from complicated recipes and main courses that need constant attention. Don’t hesitate to dole out side dishes to friends and order your favorite dessert from the local bakery. The point is to get out of the kitchen and enjoy the party. Once the menu is planned, print up a menu to place on the table so guests can immediately start drooling.
If your dining table is on the smaller side set up the food buffet-style in the kitchen or another open surface, so guests can help themselves and your table can be dedicated to the décor and lighting.
Serving booze? Stick to wine or a signature drink specific to the season, something with apple cider or cinnamon comes to mind. Don’t get frazzled offering too many choices of soda and drinks. Remind guests they are free to bring their own drinks if they are picky.
1 – Ask it. Type or write up questions for your guests ahead of time and place them under the dinner plates, dessert plates or in a bowl so guests are unaware until it’s time to share. You may suddenly learn of a hidden desire, their favorite gift given or received, or what they’d do if they won the lottery.
2 – Shout it out. I’m not talking about fighting or tantrums, I’m talking about playing games and getting your guests shouting out answers. Sure board games work, but games like charades and celebrity are so simple and fun. Pick up an easel and dry erase board from your local office supply store or arts store for your own version of Pictionary or download the $.99 app of Heads Up and all you need is your phone. If your guests want to watch the football game then play these games during commercial breaks and get guests off the couch.
3 – Make a face. Don’t forget to capture the memories. Create your own photo booth. You don’t need to hire anybody--Instead create a backdrop with something as simple as a large sheet. And offer your friends props like simple DIY masks. Take photos on each other’s phones and share.
4 – Show off some talent. Before your guests arrive send them a short email asking them to come prepared to share a talent. Assure them to not overthink it. Whether they want to play a song on their guitar, tie a cherry stem with their tongue, show off a card trick or tell a knock-knock joke, it will surely add some laughter and fun to the gathering.
5 – Give a gift. Don’t let guests leave empty handed. How about a monogram pumpkin? Or send them home with a mini loaf of pumpkin or banana bread, or even just cinnamon sticks (the real deal) and a packet of hot cocoa mix. Or even a leftover piece of pie. Guests always love to feel loved.
And don't forget to just have fun! Thanksgiving is meant to be a joyful celebration and gathering with people you love.
Burgundy - red's darker sister, exudes power and understated stength.
This sultry and rich color will give you a sophisticated look all season long. If you're not ready for a full length look then invest in a pair of heels, booties or flats to give your look some warmth. And please, don't be dull and settle for sharing the spotlight with black or white. Instead wear burgundy with navy, olive, grey or camel.
Here's my latest article for Closer Weekly with more helpful style suggestions.
The Kooples Belted Silk Print Dress, $345 Nordstrom
I've always liked the look of jumpsuits. I know they're a pain when you need to use the loo, but this can be styled multiple ways. You know I love triple duty fashion so while it looks glam on it's own, get the value of this piece by additionally wearing it with a leather jacket or an oversized cashmere sweater on top or layer a print top underneath.
Rebecca Minkoff 'Brau' Crepe Jumpsuit, $239 Nordstrom
Kut From The Kloth Baby Bootcut Jeans, $69.50 Nordstrom
Since there are plenty of you who shy away from burgundy clothing, shoes are the simplest solution for adding the color to your wardrobe.
Stuart Weitzman 'Pipe Nouveau', $440 Piperlime
Sam Edelman 'Delilah' Suede D'Orsay Pumps, $110 Nordstrom
Joie 'Lina" Suede Ankle Booties, $355 Saks Fifth Avenue
10 Crosby Derek Lam 'Avery" Flats, $295 Piperlime
Throw A Ghoulishly Good Time Halloween Party
Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year! I’m one of those gals that loves a chance to dress up in a theme costume so I start prepping for Halloween early. And the big day is a guilt-free chance to get my fill of candy and sweets.
If you’re planning on throwing a party don’t just put out some bowls of candy and hope for the best. Stir up a guaranteed good time with yummy food, games and silly themes like dressing as characters from a Wes Anderson movie or your kids favorite TV show or video game. Have guests vote for best costumes from most top notch DIY to most original. Make Halloween 2014 a spectacularly spooky time.
Watch my video for more ideas for doing a DIY Halloween.
First, remember that you don't have to outdo that neighbor with the nine foot fog machine.
Choose a theme for your party whether you go macabre with vials of red liquid to represent blood, red stained tablecloths, and splatters of blood you create with decals you stick onto walls and chairs and crime scene tape or choose a witchy theme with a witches brew, hanging bats, and skeleton cut-outs. Decorations can be simple and still pack a big punch, like this Spooky Halloween Garland by Frenchie Wraps made with the Cricut Explore.
Serve your guests with these ominous beverage bottles! Peel off drink bottle labels and stick on these instead. Click here to make this Halloween Drink Set whether you choose potions or poisons.
Make these fun and spooky Halloween Candy Containers from this Make It Now project on Cricut and have guests guess how much candy is in each container. Get your containers for candy at The Container Store. The person who guesses closest wins their choice of candy to take home.
Don't be fooled. Piñatas aren't just for kids. So load up a piñata (or two) with candy and let the fun begin!
Don't forget to send guests home with some candy in fun treat bags that you can create yourself with a simple DIY project from Cricut.
Games are essential for a fun Halloween party that includes kids and adults.
Doughnut on a String. All you need are doughnuts, ribbon and rope. Tie a length of rope between two trees. Have kids stand under the rope, tie pieces of ribbon to doughnuts (one per player) and then to the rope so the treats hang slightly above mouth level. On the count of three have players start. Instruct each to eat an entire doughnut -- no hands allowed -- without letting it fall off the ribbon. The first to finish wins. There's no need for prizes; they've just had their sweet treat.
Pin The Face On the Pumpkin. This game works for kids as young as two years old. Cut out eyes, noses, and mouths from black construction paper (or use your Cricut to cut shapes for you). Stick a reusable adhesive on the back of each cutout, and give a set of cutouts to each player. Place a large pumpkin on a low table or a bench. Blindfold players and position them starting four feet away (little kids may stand closer), instruct them to walk toward the pumpkin and create a jack-o'-lantern face (without peeking). After every player takes a turn creating a pumpkin face, take a photo of the player with their finished pumpkin.
Bobbing for Apples. The classic of bobbing for apples is still fun. Splashing waters, wet faces and silliness. Fill a tub with water and apples and have each player try to get an apple with their teeth while their hands are held behind their backs.
Candy Count. Fill several jars with different Halloween candy and, as each guest arrives, have them write down a guess as to how many pieces are in each jar. Everyone only gets 1 guess and the person who is the closest gets to take home the jar.
Mummy Bandage. Create two to four teams, depending on how many guests you’re entertaining. Grab some rolls of toilet paper, set your timer, and see which team can wrap up their partner the fastest in 60 seconds or less.
Eyeball Hunt Game. Icky fun! Fill a large pot with cooked spaghetti noodles and painted ping-pong balls that resemble eyeballs then see who can find the most ping-pong balls in a set time. Want to get really competitive? Color code the balls and make each color worth a different point amount.
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