Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Refresh: Your Beauty Routine!

Spring is the time to renew and reestablish beauty routines and regimens that may have been forgotten during the bleak "winter blahs."

Just like a spring cleaning routine refreshes your home, warmer weather is a sign that it might be time to refresh your physical appearance, as well. The upcoming promise of warm weather fashion, bikinis, family vacations, and travel destinations are all added incentives to glamorize yourself, but the best reason for kick-starting your beauty regimen is because of how awesome it will make you feel. Below is a list of beauty ideas and habits to dust off to get you and your body out of a winter funk, and on your way to your most chic, warm-weather self.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hosting Tips for Preparing a Holiday Dinner or Party

With a little planning and preparation, you'll feel ready to welcome your guests with open arms. Here's a sample to-do list that I used when hosting Christmas dinner.

Making one's guests feel comfortable and welcomed is the goal of every good host or hostess. If the host is feeling frazzled, disorganized, or even looks disheveled, guests can feel awkward and unwelcome, like they are intruding on your time. To help make everyone feel comfortable and ready for a good time, a host or hostess should be prepared. In my experience, most of the work for hosting a party or gathering is done in the days leading up to the actual event! Keep reading to see how I managed to cook for and host 18 people for Christmas dinner.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sample Holiday Menu for a Family Gathering

Planning and cooking Christmas Dinner is a memorable and gratifying way to share the love with your family. Here is my sample menu, with links to the recipes that I followed.

I mentioned in my last post that my husband and I were honored to host Christmas Day at our house this past year. Like most writers, I am an introspective person-- so although the holidays are behind us, I like to reflect back on how things went and what I learned from hosting 18 people (14 adults!) for a holiday gathering in our home. It was a Christmas miracle! The day went very well, and my guests seemed to really enjoy the holiday menu that I had prepared.

The key to the day's success (aside from being a Christmas miracle!) is that I spent a lot of time planning and preparing. I once mentioned that I had a former music teacher who was fond of saying, "You're only nervous if you're unprepared," and it's true-- careful planning and preparation really are the key. In a future post, I plan to provide a detailed schedule and timeline of the to-do list that helped make this holiday dinner a success.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Celebrating 2016 as Classy Local turns 3!

The Classy Local blog turns three as we enter a brand new year.

Hello again to my few but fabulous readers! I hope that the winter holidays were a time of happiness, memory-making, and joy. December was a busy month for us, as my husband and I spent nearly every available moment visiting with friends and family. This naturally leads to another decrease in blogging, but I am so thrilled to be able to share in future posts all of the lessons and ideas that I've appreciated during this time. My husband and I were honored to have the opportunity of hosting family at our home Christmas Day (14 adults and 4 kids!), and despite our cozy (read: tiny) living space, I am really thrilled and happy with how wonderful everything was. In a future post, I plan to break down my newly learned tips on how to host and cook for a major holiday gathering.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Inspiration to Be Chic and Positive

There is always something new to learn and discover, and there are always new ways to find inspiration.

After a busy summer, I've spent most of the early fall trying to catch up and get myself sorted out and back to good routines. Although I'm still not quite where I'd like to be in terms of routines, organization, and workload, I've been trying to stay calm and remain optimistic. Of course, this can be challenging even on normal days: stress and anxiety are unfortunately a normal part of life. However, I've made an effort to actively seek positivity and inspiration because, even if I'm struggling in my own routines, it is nice to read or listen to sources that are encouraging and that serve as reminders of what I want to cultivate in my own life. Here are three of my current sources of inspiration, including two brand new (to me), out-of-the-box genres: chic podcasts!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Staying Chic When You're between Sizes: Part 3

"Fat pants" are not for the chic, but fortunately there are alternatives for dressing well between sizes.

Hello again! Welcome to the third and final installment of my long-delayed series on how to dress well at any size. More than two whole years ago (!) I wrote the second installment on what I hoped would become a mini-series on "Staying Chic When You're between Sizes." This series is intended to address those of us who sometimes struggle to maintain appearances and dress well when we are in a period of physical transition, whether from weight gain, weight loss, exercise (or lack of), and/or maternity.

The first post (linked here) discussed the importance of fit: it is never chic to squeeze into something that one has clearly outgrown, or perhaps had never fit in to, to begin with! The second post discussed how important it is to be acquainted with a good tailor or seamstress. (Really, it's unfortunate that the only time most people use alternation services is when they're being fitted for wedding attire!)

Although the two-year time lapse between this series is really inexcusable, I have finally decided to share some observations on clothing pieces that I find are universally flattering. Regardless of one's size or shape, some style staples really do look good on anyone. Here are four pieces that seem to not only flatter all body types, but even better, these are versatile fashion pieces that never go out of style.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Simplifying the Handbag Collection

Handbags and purses should be reviewed and pared down periodically, just like any material items that accumulate in everyday life.

My personal style, maintenance habits, and income are in very different categories than they were 10 years ago, so it's time for me to gradually edit through my belongings to reflect that change. Today I took some time to go through my assortment of handbags. I've been keeping a storage tote on a shelf in my closet where I toss all of my handbags and purses*. Every few months, I will rotate through my collection and select a new bag to use for daily wear. (It's like going shopping in my own closet!) I've noticed that I seem to alternate between the same two or three handbags, depending on the season, but I also saw that, paradoxically, the storage tote was overflowing as it tottered on my closet shelf. Clearly, I had forgotten just how much stuff I had.

I made it my mission of the day to sort through this tote and immediately eliminate any unnecessary purses and/or bags. Decluttering and editing unnecessary stuff from my life is important to me; I like for things to be simpler and more streamlined in my home and in my life. It cuts down on so much wasted space, time, and energy. I wouldn't yet consider myself a minimalist, by any means, but I am gradually attempting to adopt a minimalist attitude as I try to simplify where (and what) I can. Although I must have had 20 different bags in my storage tote, I decided right away that I wasn't going to agonize or second-guess any decisions, but I would just get rid of what I could quickly and easily eliminate.

Some of the choices were obvious: two small totes that were actually part of the gift packaging for a set of lotions or bath products; a mint-colored handbag that I bought at a boutique near my old job nearly 10 years ago, the exterior and interior fabrics of which have since start to rip and peel; an ugly cream-colored clutch that I mistakenly bought for one-time use to bring to a family member's wedding reception. Only one choice made me hesitate, where I thought, Oh, this is cute, but I did eventually realize that I had really outgrown the $15 hounds-tooth hobo bag that I bought from from Payless a few years ago. What made that choice easier was only the fact that I had recently been given a similarly colored and structured handbag that was of a much better quality and of a more fashionable pattern.

It had been more than three or four years since I last used any of these bags, and some of them I had never used. So why had I kept them for so long? The two reasons why I kept these particular bags were: 1.) At one time, I did like some of these handbags very much; and 2.) Some were hardly (or never) used, so they were "still good" and to get rid of them would be wasteful. Here's how I processed those feelings.