Friday, February 28, 2014

Loungewear Love

Duffield Lane Slacks and Katie Tunic
Working from home might tempt you to stay in your PJs all day, but I find that I'm much more productive when I get up and get dressed. I recently stumbled upon Duffield Lane, and I'm in LOVE! They make high quality, adorable loungewear that's classic and refined- perfect for work-from-home days or lazy weekends.

The Barrie Shirtdress (pictured below) might become my go-to working-from-home uniform. Around Duffield Lane they call it the 'magic dress' because it looks good on anyone who tries it on. The self-tie waist and the button details, combined with the super-comfy fabric, make a beautiful loungewear option!

Duffield Lane Barrie Shirtdress


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Essentials for a Home Office

From TheEverygirl.com
I work from home most Fridays, and my workspace to-date has been less than ideal. Enter: The Everygirl. Their editorial staff have chosen 12 essentials for the perfect home office:
  1. Designated Work Space: This is the most important factor. Even if you live in a tiny apartment, it's good to dedicate a small space that will be used solely for work. This is helpful in creating balance (i.e. you can shut down and physically step away at the end of the day), but it also aids in productivity.
  2. Natural Light: Countless studies (and my own experiences) have shown that natural light can improve your productivity and your mood. Without it, you can go stir-crazy!
  3. Artificial Light: The sun goes down, but sometimes the work day isn't over. You'll need a little bit of extra light to keep going. Pick a lamp that can also serve as fun desk-top decor. 
  4. Computer: For me, this seems obvious, but make everyone should make a place for it. Whether it's a laptop or a desktop, you'll want to have easy access to the internet, email, your calendar, etc. 
  5. Phone: Keep your phone handy. Even if you're an avid emailer, you'll probably need to pick up the phone and call someone at some point.
  6. Printer/Scanner: How frustrating is it when someone needs you to print, sign, and scan something back in and you DON'T have the necessary equipment? This is definitely a must for any home office, unless you live right next door to a FedEx/Kinkos.
  7. Coffee Maker (or Teapot): Not everyone relies on caffeine to fuel their 9-to-5, but if you drink coffee or imbibe in some Earl Grey when you're typically in the office, you might consider keeping it handy at home too. 
  8. To Do List: I don't know what I'd do without my planner. Start each day off by making a prioritized list of what you need to accomplish. You'll feel an incredible sense of satisfaction as you cross things off!
  9. Pencil Cup and Basic Office Supplies: This seems obvious, but I've scrambled to find a pen before. Traditional offices have basic supplies. Your home office should too. 
  10. Extra Storage: Whether you realize it or not, you'll accumulate papers. Rather than let them accumulate on your desk, file them away neatly so you'll know where to find them. 
  11. Calendar: I rely on a digital calendar, but having a paper calendar up on the wall is great for quick reference, plus it adds some professional flare to your workspace. Paper Source has great options, and they might also serve as a little inspiration (see #12). 
  12. Place for Inspiration: Neal is a graphic designer, and he's constantly archiving ideas, pictures, and things that inspire him. You don't have to have an artsy job to follow his lead. Put up a picture of your family, a quote that you love, or anything that inspires you to get the job done. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Professional Etiquette: Rock the Interview

This Levenger Circa Folio is the perfect interview accessory!
A few people in my inner circle are looking for new jobs, and interviews are often the most nerve-wracking part of the job-search process. Next time you have a big interview ahead, remember these tips (and you'll rock it!):
  • Dress professionally. Even if the company you're interviewing for is very casual, it's important to look put-together and well-groomed. In the case of interviews, overdressing is better than under-dressing. If a suit doesn't feel quite right, try a pencil skirt with a crisp button down and some posh pumps.  
  • Be on time, but not 30 minutes early. Showing up late for an interview can translate into an apathetic attitude. I recommend allowing extra time to arrive at the site of your interview, and if you get there a little too early, find a coffee shop and relax for a few moments before heading in. 
  • Have your resume printed (on nice paper) and ready to give to interviewers. 
  • Greet your interviewers with a firm handshake and look them in the eye as you greet them. This will demonstrate your confidence (which I know you have!). 
  • Ask questions. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the people and the opportunity, helping you to determine if this job is really one that is worth taking. Ask about everything from why your interviewer enjoys the company, to the company's biggest challenges, your start date, and benefits. 
  • Demonstrate confidence. Answer questions truthfully and confidently, and take each one as an opportunity to highlight key attributes of your experience. If you feel put on the spot, it's ok to think for a minute. Pausing and then providing a well-thought out answer will be valued over rambling on nervously about nothing. 
  • Take notes. When your interviewer tells you something about the company, something that might be relevant to the position, or something interesting about themselves that you'd like to remember, jot it down! This shows that you're listening and actively engaged in the conversation. (Hint: Make sure you have a nice notebook or folio with you. I love the one pictured above- it has a classic look, plus the pages easily remove so you can ditch your notes when you no longer need them.)
  • Finish by asking about next steps. Before the interview concludes, confirm whether they will follow up with you (and when) or if you'll need to follow up. Ask about timelines and, if you haven't already, ask when the position will start. I also like to close things out by asking for my interviewer's business card, which helps with the next step...
  • Follow up. A hand-written thank you note is the best way to follow up, but it's not always feasible. If the only contact information that you have is an email, then that is acceptable. Either way, be prompt! Send a thoughtful note thanking the interviewer(s) for the opportunity to meet with them, and briefly reinforce why you would be a good fit for the position. This is a change to repeat some of the information that you took notes on during the interview- it will remind the interviewer of your conversation and make the note more personal. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dazzle at Your Next Meeting

TheEveryGirl.com
In most professions, meetings are a regular part of the workday, and they can be a great opportunity for you to impress your boss and your peers. Next time you gather in a conference room, don't sit there like a bump on a log- speak up and share your great ideas! I love this short article, written by Kate White, on 10 Ways to Dazzle at a Meeting.

Kate is a leading career expert and New York Times bestselling author. Her advice is based on her long tenure running multiple magazines, including Cosmopolitan (where she worked as Editor-in-Chief for 14 years!). If you're ready to read more from Kate White and TheEveryGirl.com, click here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mastering Business Casual

I see a wide variety of outfits at my clients' offices, and I've noticed that many women don't understand the basics of "business casual." The prevailing rule of thumb for business casual is dressed-down professional wear, not a wardrobe free-for-all. Here are some quick tips:

Do pick pieces that comply with your company's dress code. For example, if jeans are not allowed, then dark-wash denim still won't fly on business-casual day, so choose khakis or a pencil skirt instead.

Don't get beachy. Flip flops, maxi dresses, and swimsuit cover ups (yep, I've seen it) are absolute no-nos.

Do stick with the classics. Trousers with a tucked in blouse, or a pencil skirt and a cardigan are excellent choices for the office.

Don't choose leggings over pants. Yes, leggings are comfy, but you can save them for the weekend.

Don't bare it all. If you have a low cut top, wear a camisole underneath. You might also consider balancing out your look with a blazer, cardigan, or a statement necklace to draw attention elsewhere.

Do add interest. Dress up a neutral outfit with a statement piece (think: a sparkly bracelet or some awesome earrings) or a pop of color.  Business casual doesn't have to be boring.

If you're still not quite sure how to rock the business casual look, take cues from female leaders in your office. Hopefully they're setting a good example! If not, here's a little bit of extra inspiration straight from Pinterest:




Friday, February 21, 2014

Dinner Tonight: Spaghetti Carbonara

I love when Neal makes dinner, and spaghetti carbonara is one of his specialties. It's pretty simple and consistently delicious. Try it tonight with a Pinot Blanc- the acidity of the wine will pair perfectly with this pasta.

What You'll Need:
1/2 pound bacon, chopped (I like the Oscar Meyer brand because it gets perfectly crisp)
1 T chopped garlic
Fresh ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti noodles (I like Tinkyada brand's gluten free option), cooked al dente
4 large eggs, beaten
Salt
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 T finely chopped parsley leaves

Directions:
  1. In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy (about 6 min). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.Pour off most of the oil, reserving about 3 tablespoons in the pan (just eyeball it- a little extra won't be awful). 
  2. Add the garlic and a couple grinds of fresh black pepper. Saute for about 30 seconds before adding the bacon and the pasta back to the pan. 
  3. Season the eggs with a sprinkle of salt (remember, they're not in the pan yet). Remove the pan from heat and add the eggs, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble. 
  4. Add the cheese and re-season as necessary.
  5. Serve the pasta up into individual bowls and garnish with the parsley. Ta-da!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Plan a Date

A year ago, I gave Neal a Boston Travel Guide that included highlighted sections, notes from me, and 12 date cards (read: pre-planned dates!).  Not only did it help him out, it let us explore parts of the city we live in. Playing tourist is always fun. Here are some of the dates in our book:
  • Go Boston!: Have dinner at Neptune Oyster in the North End before heading over to TD Garden to watch a Bruins Game
  • Get Intellectual: Check out the Harvard Museum of Natural History. When you're done viewing the glass flowers and the dinosaurs, head to Formaggio Kitchen and sample some cheese. Don't forget to grab a bottle of wine and some extra cheese for more sampling at home!
  • Venture Out: When the weather warms up, pack a picnic lunch and visit the deCordova Museum and Sculpture park. You can canoodle and enjoy the grounds, then take a free guided tour of the museum after your picnic. 
  • Be an Art Lover: Attend a First Friday event at the Institute of Contemporary Art. On the first Friday of each month, the ICA host a 21+ event with a guest DJ, live performances, gallery talks, specialty drinks, and small plates to snack on. You'll enjoy perusing the unique exhibits, and the views of Boston Harbor can't be beat. 
What's your favorite place to take a date in the city? No matter where you go, you have to look the part. I've been pinning some fun date-night-worthy outfits on Pinterest, and this is one of my current favorites. It's perfect for winter- feminine yet covered up so you don't freeze!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Pantone Pick: Radiant Orchid

Pantone, the global authority on all things color, picks a "Color of the Year" each year that is meant to inspire trends in the worlds of fashion, beauty, and interior design. Radiant Orchid is the color for 2014, and I am totally pumped! This blend of fuchsia, pink, and purple tones is so girly- I look forward to incorporating pops of it into my wardrobe. If you're ready for some Radiant Orchid inspiration, check out these Radiant Orchid finds:


Shop the links here:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Guest Post: Flea Market Finds


I'm a guest blogger over at Pursuing Vintage today! Check out my post on flea market finds that are perfect for entertaining. The picture above will give you a sneak peak, but when you're ready to read the full post, click here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Day in Paris


A friend of mine is hopping the pond for a wedding this week, and although the wedding is in London, she'll be spending a couple days in Paris. As I helped her brainstorm the perfect Paris itinerary, I had fun reflecting on a trip that Neal and I took this past fall. We spent much more than a day in France, but if you only have 24 hours, you can certainly hit the highlights.

8:00am: Start your morning off with a croissant and some coffee in the Tuileries Gardens. It's near the Louvre and the perfect place to do a little bit of Parisian people-watching. 

8:30am: Check out the pyramids outside of the Louvre, but skip the museum if you only have a day. Cross the Seine on the Rue du Pont Neuf and head towards Notre Dame Cathedral. On the way, you'll pass the lock bridge. Pause for a little romance: sign the lock with you and your sweetie's initials and throw the key into the river. Don't forget to kiss!

10:30am: Walk through the Cathedral and take in the scenery. When you're done, head back the way you came (but don't cross back over the river) and visit the Musee d'Orsay.

11:00am: At the Mussee d'Orsay you can take in the architectural details of this Beaux-Arts style building that used to serve as a train station. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, and it's much easier to get through than the Louvre.  Enjoy a bite to eat at the cafe inside.  

2:00pm: You've done a lot of walking, so hail a cab and head towards the Eiffel Tower. Snap a quick pic and head on. The lines to go to the top will be long, and although the views are spectacular, there's so much more for you to see. 

3:00pm: Experience the subway system in Paris and take the Metro to Charles de Gaulle- Etoile. You'll end up right by the Arc de Triomphe and you can meander your way down the Champs-Elysses. Stop at Laudree for a sweet treat if you're ready for a snack. You won't regret it!

5:30pm: Hop on the Metro again and head towards the Pigalle stop. When you've arrived, you can hike up Montmartre to Sacre Coeur. It's beautiful around sunset, and there are several sidewalk cafes and creperies. Stop and have a drink, a snack, or both. 

9:00pm: Parisians eat dinner later than we do, so a 9pm dinner reservation is perfect. Once you've freshened up at your hotel, make your way to Aux Lyonnais. You'll enjoy a very authentic and incredibly delicious French meal- the perfect way to top off a day in Paris!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Language of Flowers

Picture from Winston Flowers (My favorite Boston florist!)
Flowers have a language of their own. In both England and the US during the 19th century, flowers and floral arrangements were sent to communicate feelings that could not be spoken aloud in Victorian society. In fact, floral dictionaries became fashion accessories, helping to decode the meanings of exchanged bouquets.

If you can't find your floral dictionary this Valentine's Day, look no further. Here's a quick look at the meaning behind some popular picks:
  • Poppy: Fantastic extravagance
  • Orchid: Refined beauty
  • Red Rose: True love
  • Pink Rose: Grace
  • Yellow Rose: Friendship 
  • Dahlia: Elegance and dignity
  • Daisy: Innocence and cheer
  • Purple Tulip: Forever love
  • Yellow Carnation: Rejection
  • Ranunculus: Radiant with charm (oh la la!)
If you'd like a more comprehensive guide, check out this print out, courtesy of Lolalina.

Note: Although flowers can say a lot, please don't over-think the blooms that your sweetie sends you today. He'll get it right next time.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Perfect your Penmanship

I write a lot of notes: thank you cards, birthday cards, Valentines, the occasional postcard or greeting, etc. Although my handwriting is clear and neat, there's something so beautiful about cursive penmanship.

 I rarely write in cursive (aside from my signature), but it's something that I'll be practicing this year. With computers, tablets, and smartphones at our fingertips, it's easy to rely on our typing skills, but a well-written letter (snail mail-style) just screams sophistication. If you're ready to brush up on your penmanship, follow these three simple tips:
  1. Write a paragraph or a note in cursive and step back. Evaluate where you stand. Is there a particular letter that has you befuddled? A sequence that trips you up? That's where you'll need to spend your time practicing. 
  2. Purchase or print out a sample of cursive letters. Remember: we all started here. Don't you recall those print outs that we practiced with in 4th grade? Use them again!
  3. Once you're comfortable with the letters, try writing some sentences. If this is where you struggled in your writing sample (step 1), then spend some extra time here making it perfect. 
Once you've got the basics down, don't stop practicing! Use cursive when you write out your grocery list, send a postcard to a friend, or forgo your computer during your next meeting and jot down meeting minutes the old-fashioned way. 

Want to get really fancy and try your hand at calligraphy? Joelle at Something Charming gives a quick tutorial on how to turn your handwriting into an work of art. Click here for instructions. 



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Compliment Etiquette

Receiving a compliment can feel uncomfortable. Perhaps someone just told you that "you look stunning in that dress." Is your natural inclination to blush and respond with "oh, I just threw it on"? Or maybe you've offered some kind words, hoping to make the recipient smile, and they've brushed your compliment off.

Next time you're receiving a compliment or providing words of praise, consider these quick tips:

Giving
  • Be sincere and authentic when offering up a compliment.
  • Be precise and prompt. Saying "Kate, you did an excellent job on the presentation. I loved those graphics." will be most appreciated right after she has finished presenting, not after months have passed.
  • Do not compare. A compliment should focus on the merits of the recipient and not disparage someone else. For example, if you like your co-worker's haircut, tell them, but do not say "Wow, I love your hair cut. It looks so much better than Mark's."
Receiving
  • A simple "thank you" goes a long way. Don't forget to smile- someone has just offered you words of admiration or approval, and that should make you feel good!
  • Provide additional details if you feel inclined, but know that they aren't necessary. If someone compliments your earrings you could say "Thank you. They were a very sweet gift from my boyfriend."
  • Do not feel obligated to offer a reciprocating compliment. If you truly mean it, it's acceptable. Otherwise, you can turn one complimentary remark into a compliment competition. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fresh Cut Flowers


Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and if you're expecting to receive fresh blooms, make sure you know how to make them last! Here are 3 basic tips for keeping your bouquet beautiful:
  1. Fill a vase with warm water. Stems will be able to take in warm water particles more readily than cold water particles. 
  2. Add a floral preservative (aka flower food). You know those little packets of white stuff that come with your flowers? Use them! Flower food contains a biocide to kill bacteria, an acidifier to help stems drink more water, and a special sugar to nourish those blooms. 
  3. Remove any leaves or foliage that will be below the water line. Leaves and stems can carry bacteria, and once it gets into the water flowers will die more quickly. 
When you're ready to arrange your flowers in the vase, measure the stems so that they're about 1.5 to 2 times the height of the vase. Then cut the stems of each flower with a sharp knife on an angle. The angled cut allows for better water intake. Voila! You've got a beautiful arrangement from you sweetie that will last for days. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chicken for Dinner

Pan-seared chicken makes a great weeknight meal, but when you're looking to add a little something extra to your go-to dish, try this recipe. The anchovies, capers, garlic, and lemon turn chicken thighs into a vibrant, tangy creation that's impossible to stop eating.

What You'll Need:
1.25 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
6-7 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons capers, drained and patted dry
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 lemon, halved

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and let them rest while you work to prep the oil.
  2. Mince one garlic clove and set aside for later. 
  3. In a large oven-proof skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add 5 smashed garlic cloves, the anchovies, capers, and red pepper flakes. Let cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the anchovies. Continue cooking until the garlic browns around the edges and the anchovies dissolve (this will take about 3-5 min). 
  4. Add the chicken thighs to the pan and cook until browned on one side. After 5-7 minutes, flip the thighs, place the pan in the oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. 
  5. When the chicken is done, pull it out of the oven (carefully since the pan handle will be hot). Transfer the chicken to a plate and place the skillet back on the heat. Add the minced garlic clove and the juice of one lemon half. Cook for 30 seconds, scraping the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. 
  6. Return the chicken to the pan and cook it in the sauce for another 15 to 30 seconds. 
  7. Transfer everything to a serving platter. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the chicken. 
Tip: I like to garnish this dish with chopped parsley and a side of blanched green beans sprinkled with salt and red pepper flakes. Delicious!


Still craving chicken but don't feel like cooking? Head to Hamersley's Bistro in Boston's South End. Their roast chicken with garlic and lemon (pictured above) is legendary, plus their other dishes, made with locally-sourced ingredients when possible, are sure to tempt your taste buds. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pursuing Vintage: Valentines

Hi, I'm Kristen from Pursuing Vintage. I’m very excited to be a guest blogger today!  I love checking in with Delight & Decorum to see what fabulous tips and beautiful eye candy Lauren has for the day! So, I am extremely flattered to be here with you all!

Over at Pursuing Vintage, I explore vintage d├ęcor and style, throwing in a bit of history when I can. Today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite vintage Valentines. 

Pinterest
I think many of us learned the history of Valentine’s Day when our teachers threw that Xeroxed worksheet in front of us, desperate for anything to make the day of sugar (hello candy hearts!) and hyper (or heartbroken) kids go as quickly as possible. You know how it goes: Saint Valentinus was being a big ol’ rebel by marrying people he shouldn't have been marrying and then he healed his jailor’s daughter and signed a letter “your Valentine”. Awww. Throw in some martyrdom and you have a saint with a holiday!

But what I never learned on that Valentine’s Day word-search, was that Valentine’s Day as we know it was not popularized until 18th century England.  At that time it became popular for couples to exchange tokens of love and cards known as Valentines.The Victorian style Valentines are beautiful, but I much prefer later Valentines, as I’m a sucker for cheesiness. Here are some of my favorites from Pinterest:



Which is your favorite?  I’m partial to the hot dog!  Flowers and chocolate are nice, but a sense of humor is what will keep a couple together. And jewelry. Jewelry definitely helps.

Have a great Valentine’s Day and I hope to see you stop over at Pursuing Vintage!

*****************************************

Thanks Kristen! Happy (early) Valentine's Day! I love the valentines you chose to feature on today's guest post. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Vintage Ski Style

With all the cold weather we've had, this is the perfect time to hit the slopes. It's fun to cruise down a black diamond, but let's be serious: the real fun is picking out your outfits! The bloggers at C.Wonder rounded up some vintage ski posters and celebrity photos to showcase the best slope-side style, and I just had to share:

Pinterest via blog.cwonder.com
Check back tomorrow for a guest post from Kristen at Pursuing Vintage!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Colorado Collage: Chicken Enchiladas Suizas

Although you can Google almost any recipe these days, I love cookbooks and the Colorado Collage Cookbook, authored by the Junior League of Denver, is one of my favorites. I cooked my way through it in grad school (Julie & Julia style), and Chicken Enchiladas Suizas on page 276 is incredible. It makes a lot of food, so give it a try next time you have friends over for dinner.

What You'll Need:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
1 4-oz can diced green chiles
1 cup purchased green chile salsa
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
10 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
12-15 7 inch flour tortillas (Note: You can substitute corn tortillas, but it's not quite the same. Look for GF flour tortillas in the frozen section of your supermarket.)

Directions:
  1. Place the chicken in a pan of rapidly boiling water and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and shred the chicken (let it cool slightly before handling it!).
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  3. In a medium skillet, melt the butter and cook the onion and red/green bell peppers until soft. Transfer them to a large bowl.
  4. Add the chicken, cheddar cheese, green chiles, salsa, cilantro, cumin, and chipotle chiles to the bowl and mix well. 
  5. Grease a 10x15x2 baking pan. Place 1 flour tortilla on a flat surface. Put 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture along the edge and roll up from the filling side. Place it seam side down in the pan and repeat with the remaining chicken mixture.
  6. Sprinkle the Monterey Jack cheese over the enchiladas. 
  7. Combine cream and chicken broth and pour over the enchiladas. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 minutes. When they're done, let them cool for just a couple minutes before serving them.
  9. Garnish with avocado and/or tomato if desired. I also like to serve mine with chips and salsa!
Tip: If you want to make this in advance, you can stop at step six. Cover the pan and refrigerate for up to 1 day. When you're ready to bake them, resume at step seven. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Cup of Tea



WeHeartIt.com via Pinterest
Although some might prefer coffee, tea is the most popular beverage in the world (and one of the healthiest). In many places, it's part of the culture and there's a certain expectation for proper tea-drinking etiquette. It varies from place to place, but here are some tips next time you're having a tea party in a faraway place:

  • England: Milk and sugar are common additions to tea in England. After stirring them in, make sure to place your spoon on the saucer of the cup. The handle of the spoon should face the same way as the handle of the cup. Also, please don't follow the lead of the lady above and walk on the table. 
  • Japan: Take a sip of your tea prior to adding any milk or sugar. It's not impolite to add these extras, but it's important for you to taste the tea in it's purest form first.
  • China: Your teacup should never run dry here, so you'll experience multiple refills. Express gratitude towards your server by tapping your index and middle finger on the table twice (very lightly) after he/she pours your tea.
  • Morocco: A shopkeeper or business owner might offer you a cup of tea. You can accept, but note that it is not appropriate to "talk shop" (i.e. no discussion of business of any kind) until your tea cups are empty.
  • Argentina: Your mate tea might come with a straw. It's tempting to stir the tea with the straw, but don't do it! The tea leaves on the very top are meant to stay dry.
  • India: If your host offers you tea, you should decline. Accept the tea only after they insist that you have a cup (you read that right: it's impolite to accept on the first offer).
  • Southern US: Sweet tea is a hallmark of the south. When you're visiting this part of the country, don't turn up your nose and request the unsweetened variety. Graciously accept and embrace the sugar!

Monday, February 3, 2014

How to Tie a Scarf

Scarves from Stella & Dot
When I travel, scarves are my best friend. They dress up basic black outfits, help me transition between warm and cold climates, and can serve as a blanket or a pillow on the plane! If you're new to the fashion scarf game, check out this video from Stella & Dot, demonstrating 10 different ways to tie  your neck wear:


My favorite style is the one they refer to as "the necklace." You simply tie the ends of your scarf together to make a giant loop, then wrap it around your head twice. Easy!

Don't have a scarf in your closet? Go shopping! I see cute scarves everywhere, but I especially love my Luxembourg Jeweled Zebra scarf from Stella & Dot. Check out their full line by clicking here.