Happy Holidays from THL!

The first day of November hit, and suddenly, the world turned its attention to the holidays. Ads appeared everywhere boasting holiday sales, the biggest savings you’d see all year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday came and went with a deluge of emails urging us all to shop, shop, shop.

While I am one to love shopping — and writing about shopping — today is a day to remember that Christmas and the holiday season in general are not about buying clothes or stocking up on makeup. They are not about clipping coupons or heading out to shop at  the stroke of midnight.

Not even remotely.

The holidays are about family. They are about spending time with the people you love the most, and letting them know how much they mean to you. They are about drawing each other near and holding each other close, being grateful to have people who love you and ground you in the midst of the craziness that is our world today.

They are about remembering your past and being hopeful for your future. They are about giving more than you receive, and not just giving in a monetary or commercial way, but giving of time, love, patience and care. They are about opening our hearts, clearing our minds and just being present in a fleeting moment in time that will soon be a mere memory.

I know I have a lot to be grateful for: from my family and friends, to my job and this labor of love that is THL, my life is filled with blessings both large and small over which I continually pinch myself.

So today, I will take stock not of the gifts that were under my Christmas tree, but of the gifts I’ve been given throughout my life and the gift that is my life in general.

I urge you all to try do the same, not just today, but every day. I know I will.

Thanks for reading, and I wish you all a very happy holiday season.

XO,

Nicole

 

‘Tis the season

Christmas Day is often one filled with joy, peace and love. The pressures of work are placed on a shelf in the back of our minds, and day-to-day stresses are cast to the side in order to enjoy a day with family and friends.

While this holiday — and the holiday season in general — often invokes such feelings, there is something fleeting about them. Like most feelings, they are only temporary, lasting for the duration of the day and maybe carrying over into the following. But once work or school begins again and the hustle and bustle of everyday life returns, this contentment often fades.

But what if this feeling, this state of mind, didn’t fade away? What if we could hold onto it well into the new year, living every day like it was Christmas.

Maybe we can. Maybe this holiday season, we will be able to carry that joy with us beyond Christmas Day or beyond New Year’s Day. Maybe we won’t have to confine these feelings to just the “holiday season.” Maybe every day can be the “season” for joy and hope and love.

So as we celebrate Christmas with our families and friends, let’s remember that this holiday season isn’t the only time for us to be hopeful and joyful. Let’s remember that we can carry these feelings with us every single day — and make every single day feel just as joyful, peaceful and magical as Christmas.

Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas.

XO,

Nicole

Style 101: Holiday style

So you’re heading out to a holiday party tonight with friends and family, and you’ve been rummaging through your closet all day trying to figure out what to wear. Look no further, because THL has you covered with holiday style suggestions that will make you shine brighter than an holiday lights display.

Velvet: If you’re looking for a luxurious, soft fabric to keep you feeling cozy and confident, velvet is the way to go. Velvet’s rich texture can immediately elevate even the most basic of outfits, adding just the right amount of flair to your holiday style. Try out this revived trend by opting for velvet heels, blazers or even dresses; better yet, give velvet a go in a deep burgundy, and your look will surely be in the spirit of the season.

Metallics: Gold and silver aren’t just big for the holiday season this year, metallics are a major trend in everything from clothing to accessories to makeup. All eyes will be on you as you make your entrance in a sparkly top, dress, skirt or jacket. If these pieces prove too bold for your style, start out including the trend in subtle ways, wearing metallic makeup (like eyeshadow), nail polish or jewelry to sneak in a little shine to your holiday style.

Be casual: While some holiday parties may require more dressy attire, nothing will ever top being comfortable and casual for the holidays (when appropriate, of course). Show off your affinity for the season by opting for an ugly Christmas sweater — or, keep it cozy chic  by wearing your favorite sweater and jeans. These looks can be enhanced with accessories — such as oversized scarves, jewelry and cool jackets — that will make your casual outfit look a little more put together.

No matter what you decide to wear this holiday season, just be sure to wear it with confidence.

Happy holidays!

Merry Christmas!

Waking up on Christmas morning as an adult is not as exciting as it was when I was a child. The magic of Santa Claus has dissipated, the piles of toys are now a few boxes of sweaters and clothes and the remainder of the day is not spent playing with my new presents in my pjs. Although Christmas is not as magical for me as an adult, it is certainly different — and in a way that I appreciate more.

Christmas is no longer about presents to me, as it was when I was a child. Now, the best part of the day is gathering in the living room with my family and watching them interact as they open their gifts. It’s not what’s inside the boxes that matters; just being all together is enough for me.

I love to sit back and take it all in, I mean really look at each of my family members. When I do this, it usually hits me that we all will never be in this moment ever again; never again will we be our respective ages, on this specific day, in this specific year, in these specific circumstances. I wish I could freeze time and keep me and my family together in that moment for eternity.

When I realize this, I am immediately washed with melancholy,  but I slowly become filled with gratitude — gratitude for the day, for my wonderful family (and dog), for our cute little house, for my life and theirs. I suddenly recognize just how blessed we are not only to have the things we have, but to share these things with each other.

In moments like these, I always ask myself, “How did I get so lucky to have such a loving family? What did I do to deserve such incredible people in my life?” It amazes me that, for some reason, I not only get the chance to occupy the same time and space as them on this Earth, but that I also get the honor of calling them my family. It’s truly incredible how things align to create our current circumstances; call it luck or call it God, all I know is that I am the luckiest girl alive to have them for a family.

As all of these thoughts swirl in my mind in the midst of opening presents, I finally realize that while Christmas may no longer be about gifts for me, in a way, it still is — my family is the gift. Not just on Christmas, not just tomorrow, but every single day. For now and for always.

I have so much to be grateful for this Christmas, from my family and friends to you, my readers. I took a chance in creating this website all those many months ago, and seeing what it has now grown into is incredible to me. Thank you for sticking with me, and I hope you continue to follow me on this journey.

Merry Christmas, THL readers. I hope you are spending the day with those you love the most — I know I am.

XO,

Nicole

Style 101: Dressing for the Holidays

Dressing for the holiday season can be quite the task; each party you’re invited to may have a specific dress code, requiring you to have several fabulous outfits ready for every party invite that comes your way. If you’re struggling to come up with the perfect outfits for all of your holiday party-going needs, never fear — THL is here to save the day with three swoon-worthy soiree looks for all occasions.

The holiday season is a time for sparkle and shine; whether it is present in accessories like statement necklaces or in all-over beading,  all three of our favorite pieces for this season have — at the very least — a hint of shine that’s sure to brighten your holiday.

For your casual holiday parties, there is nothing better than a sweater with infused with metallic stitching, and we found that very thing in the form of the Metallic Sheer-Paneled Sweater from Forever 21. Done in a black knit, this sweater has a hint of metallic threading running through the body of the garment to give it a bit of sheen, and it’s offset by sheer sleeves and panels to allow for little peeks of skin. Pair this $22.90 sweater with your favorite pair of jeans and cute ankle boots, and you’ll be all decked out for your casual holiday party.

black metallic sweater

The Metallic Sheer-Paneled Sweater, found on Forever21.com.

If you’ve been invited to a dressier party, then a dress is certainly the way to go, and Lulu’s offers a beautiful option for the occasion: the Teatro Light Beige Beaded Dress by Glamorous. Featuring a beaded tribal pattern throughout the dress, this frock makes the perfect holiday number. An added bonus: you’ll look good coming and going with the deep scoop back on this $111 dress.

lulus beaded

The Glamorous Teatro Light Beige Beaded Dress, found on Lulus.com.

If a black-tie affair is in your future, look no further than the Adrianna Papell Short Sleeve Sequin Mesh Gown from Nordstorm. Available in six colors including silver, blush and amethyst, this $278 gown will have all eyes on you as your make your way through the holiday soiree.

adrianna papell

The Adrianna Papell Short Sleeve Sequin Mesh Gown, found on Nordstrom.com.

Don’t forget that you can also add shine through jewelry (check out BaubleBar for gorgeous, affordable statement pieces), metallic clutches and even metallic heels.

Now that you have an outfit option for every occasion, make sure you RSVP to those invitations and get your outfits and accessories ready!

Happy Shopping!