Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The December Issue

Dear Readers,

This is a special edition holiday fashion posting per the request of Tess Allen, who demanded that I share a few tips on just how exactly to deck the halls in the most stylish manner possible. I’ve compiled a few lists that I hope you all will find helpful…enjoy!

Do Buy! (The ‘Nice’ List)

*  Plaid: Always a classic. Dress up a basic button down with chunky costume jewelry—layer a mass of chains, pearls and rhinestones over a checked shirt and lumberjack is the last thing anyone will be thinking when you walk into the room.

*  Satin/Taffeta: A cute, playful holiday staple. Pair a flouncy skirt with tights and heels—it’s as much of a holiday classic as White Christmas.

*  Sparkles: But in moderation, please. Don’t let InStyle fool you; contrary to popular belief, a resurrection of Michael Jackson’s bedazzled blazer will not bring anyone holiday cheer. Go for a tank or a day-to-night sequined tee instead. For those who are afraid of looking like a disco ball, ease into the trend. Jcrew has a great collection of bejewled sweatshirts—they’re like training bras for sparkle.

*  Fur: Just don’t waste your money on the real thing. It’s definitely an on-point trend for the season and can add insta-glamour when paired with red lipstick, but don’t kid yourself; it’s a trend that’s holiday-specific and won’t last any longer than January, so there’s no need to break the bank on an expensive piece. Try a wrap or a vest in a solid color to start with—they tend to look more expensive. Forever 21 is carrying a few versions right now that should do the trick.

Don’t Buy! (The ‘Naughty’ List)

x    Tartan: Tempted? Just say no, and repeat: plaid is good, tartan is bad. If you must purchase something in this tired holiday print, make it wrapping paper. Exceptions: the Scotch-Irish, bag-pipers

x    Velvet: No. Unless it’s a Versace crushed velvet red-carpet gown, it will look tacky and cheap, plus start to smell really bad when you’ve spent too long roasting chestnuts over an open fire at a Christmas party. Finally, it won’t transition well into spring. There are other pieces more worthy of your wardrobe this season.

x    Neon: Nothing kills the soft glow of Christmas lights like the untimely re-emergence of a (polyester) material girl. It’s a misplaced color palette—stick to darker hues, unless you’re skiing late at night. Then, and only then, will highlighter yellow be appropriate.

x    Heels + Socks: The magazines want you to believe that this look is stylish, avant -garde, and original. It’s none of the above. You know that guy at the gym who always wears sweat socks with his Adidas flip-flops? Wear scrunched socks with your high heels and you’ll look exactly like him.

x    Knee Socks: Britney retired hers in the 90s. We should, too. “Oops, don’t do it again.”

Stocking Stuffers—for those who have been extra good this year

* Big rings

* Oversized knits

* Colored tights

* Heeled ankle booties

* Starbucks red cups (the gingerbread latte is a current favorite)

* Nails painted in rust, umber, or deep plum

Wishlist—items worth a long-term commitment

* Tall leather boots

* Day-to-night coat (look for interesting shapes, sturdy texture, and versatility)

* Classic belted trench

* Party dress

* Leather gloves (look for something sleek, not bulky ski resort-esque mittens)


This is the formula I always follow when getting ready for an event. It’s foolproof!

Step 1: Establish an “idea” of what you want to look like. Think key trigger words here, i.e. classy, elegant, hipster, trendy, vintage, glamorous, etc…

Step 2: Find an inspiration picture. In general, I always start with celebrities whose style is consistently on-point (aka Carrie Underwood, Lauren Conrad). Remember, they work with professional stylists every morning before walking out the door, so using their ensembles for inspiration is like having a one-on-one consultation with said stylist. Well, almost…

Step 3: Adapt your inspiration picture to fit your event. Sequined Versace mini-dress with Christian Louboutin heels too much for your boss’s Christmas party? Look in your wardrobe for pieces with similar textures and colors, and throw on a pair of sheer tights to tone down a red-carpet look into something more holiday party appropriate.

Here’s an example of the method I used when styling a recent test shoot for Currents Magazine. Thanks to model Kylie Potuznik for rocking the completed look so fabulously!

1. Look: holiday glamour

2. Inspiration: Molly Sims

3. The finished look, my way:

Final Thoughts

Remember, always try to incorporate things you already own! There’s no need to spend extravagant amounts of money on a wardrobe full of season-specific pieces that will say so long as soon as the bells chime on New Years.

And, most importantly—enjoy fashion, even if it means breaking a few of the “don’t” rules when you feel like it. “But I could never pull that off” should never leave your lips this season. Besides, you’ve been such a good girl all year long. You deserve to have a little fun.

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and a successful Black Friday to you all!



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fame + Fortune $$

**Edit: As promised, here is proof that yes…I have indeed “made it” in Hollywood. Thanks to pops, my #1/only fan for the screen shots!

- - -

I have recently come into a bit of celebrity. If you are interested in an autograph, feel free to approach me about it - if I’m feeling generous, I may say yes. Also, I’ve decided to start taking applications for a personal assistant. Because after my television debut on Monday, I’m sure that job offers will start blowing up my phone, and with all the red carpet appearances I’ll be making I feel that I’m going to need someone to pencil appointments onto my increasingly busy calendar.

Okay, real talk. I’m not a celebrity, but I definitely felt that I got the celebrity treatment this past Tuesday when I was an audience member at Rachael Ray’s “World’s Biggest Cooking Demonstration” (ever). Basically, a huge crew in LA beamed Rachael into the courtyard of Kodak Theater in Hollywood via satellite, where myself + 199 others cooked honey mustard chicken along with her New York studio audience and other participants all over the country. I ended up going to the filming with 3 of my sorority sisters, and it was an absolute blast. The event itself was amazing - aside from the fact that I had to meet up with the girls at 5:45 in order to get us from Malibu to Hollywood (with a brief pit stop at Starbucks) by our 7 am check-in time.

Honestly, I think all of our expectations for the filming were pretty low. But then again, maybe that’s what made everything seem so fabulous by comparison. 200 individual cooking stations were set up with all of the ingredients we needed to follow Rachael’s recipe. They filmed tons of shots of us clapping and going wild at our cooking stations (“more enthusiasm! make Rachael proud!”). The camera man did a few close-up shots of us, where of course we laughed with way more enthusiasm than anyone should naturally have for browning chicken.

The best part of the event, though, undoubtedly came at the end. Because you know how they say that “good things come to those who wait” and “blessed are the patient” and all that jazz? (okay, maybe that last one was a loose interpretation) - well, they aren’t lying. Because despite our low expectations for the event, we followed through and we showed up, and we had a BLAST - and to top the whole day off, we got free $150 dollar gift cards to Target…plus free parking validation.

Seriously, does it get any better than that? I think not. Pictures to come soon, so be looking for those and for the episode to air this Monday, November 15th on Rachael Ray’s talk show. But in the meantime, don’t forget: I’m always accepting rolling apps for that personal assistant position.

PS: here’s Rachael’s recipe for those of you who are into cooking. It was amazing! Definitely worth making if you’re trying to impress a boyfriend/boyfriend’s family. It’s easy and quick, but looks like it takes some serious effort.

Honey Mustard Chicken


• 18 ounces chicken tenders, cut in half
• Salt and pepper
• 1 1/2 tablespoons EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on an angle
• 1 large parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced on an angle
• 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• About a 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
• About a 1/3 cup honey
• 2-3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley chopped, for garnish
• (have done and on serving plate) split corn muffin, cut side spread with a little butter then griddle until golden brown and toasted


• 4-quart dutch oven or deep skillet with a lid
• Large plastic cutting board (12” X 16”)
• Heat-proof tongs
• Large cooking spoon
• Large ladle
• Salad plate for chicken to rest on
• Oven mitt or towel
• Optional: Bench scrapers or food movers
• Plating: large shallow bowl or lipped dinner plate w muffin already toasted


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat EVOO, a turn and a half of the pan, in a skillet with tight fitting lid over medium high heat. When oil is hot add chicken in single layer and cook to light golden in color, remove chicken to a plate and add butter to skillet and melt, add carrots, parsnips and shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cover pan and soften vegetables 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover pan and sprinkle in flour, stir 1 minute or so, stir in stock and season with Worcestershire sauce, mustard and honey, add the chicken back to the skillet and thicken sauce to coat spoon. Serve with griddled buttered corn muffin toasted on griddle pan. Garnish with parsley.

Karley with a K. Todos los derechos reservados. © Maira Gall.