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Today I’m so excited to introduce you to one of my oldest & closest friends, and new blogger, Katie of Suburbling.  Katie has always been a natural when it comes to writing and her genuine, thoughtful and down-to-earth personality shines through in all of her posts.  I can’t wait to see how her blog continues to develop and I’m certain you’ll find it worth returning to again and again!  Thanks, Katie!

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Blogging Advice from an Internet Wallflower

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(image via here)

I’ve been blogging for approximately two weeks now, so when Lauren and Farrell invited me to be the Homie of the Day, I decided it was high-time I dispensed some advice on blogging.

Really. I’m going to give some advice on blogging.

Fear not, I don’t purport to be an expert just yet. But I do have a little advice from my two weeks as a blogger, and the weeks before when I was thinking about blogging and thinking some more about blogging.

See, the decision to start a blog was a tough one for me because I suffer from a severe case of internet shyness. I was a late-comer to Facebook and rarely update my status. My Pinterest pages are woefully empty. I prefer to reply instead of reply-all. But, mostly thanks to Lauren, I took a deep breath and got out there. And I’m having fun with it.

So, here’s my advice for other internet wallflowers:

1. Just start writing. Write what interests you. Write what’s in your head.
2. Imagine you’re writing for a good friend. Don’t worry about appealing to a certain audience, or what others might think. Don’t wonder if someone will find you interesting.
3. Use blogs you love as models. (The first few posts I did felt like I was pretending to blog.)
4. Decide how often you want to post and stick to it. The best way to be interesting is to keep saying new and different things.
5. Enjoy it. The blog should be an outpouring of things you’d want to read and talk about — therefore, lots of fun to put together.

And now, here’s some great advice from an experienced blogger on how to blog for the long haul. And some on blogging as a career. And a compilation of blogging advice from bloggers much more experienced than I.

So, thanks, Lauren, for making me get off my chair and join the conversation. And thanks to Lauren and Farrell for inviting me to Sister Disco, clearly one of my favorite blogs.

Now, other internet wallflowers, if I can do it, anyone can. Your blog is calling you. Get started.

As you know, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (or if you don’t: it is tomorrow).  To jump-start all of our hearts, we have a lovely post for you today courtesy of my multi-talented friend, Christina Soriano.  Christina is an artist and art teacher living in Manhattan’s East Village.  Thanks, Christina, for spreading the love!  xo

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Love is in the air! Over the past few days I couldn’t help but notice the vast amount of hearts and pink around me. Fortunately, I dig any holiday that allows for making cards…and themed baked goods. Here’s what you can do to have a sweet Valentine’s Day:

1. Make Valentines, of course. Here are some I made the night of the big “blizzard” aka nemo.

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2. Host a Valentine-making party! I worked with some 3 year olds this weekend and here is one masterpiece in the making.

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3. Go on a Valentine’s cookie hunt. These delectable treats came from News Café in Union Square and Crumbs.

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4. Meet a beautiful stranger and buy them a box of custom sweets from Zucker Bakery on East 9th st.

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5. Or go to your local drugstore and get one of these. Love is packaged in all sorts of ways!

photo (12)Have a lovely holiday! Keep in touch!

christina

twitter & instagram: @sorianodesigns

Aren’t all of our lives so enriched by the introduction to friends of our friends?!  Today is another case in point of this fact with this seasonal and trendy fashion forecast from our wonderful friend Jessica’s friend Kathryn White.  I had a sneak peak of Kathryn’s stylish post and have already been incorporating her tips into my winter look.  Thank you, Kathryn!

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I always look forward to returning home for the holidays to spend quality time with the fam. Now that I’m living in New York, heading back to sunny California at the brink of winter makes my travels all the merrier. Christmas came and went fairly quickly, and now I’m enjoying my last bit of fun in the sun before I head back to the cold. Like many of you, I’ve been spending the majority of 2013 hitting up the sales and re-vamping my wardrobe for spring. Hopefully it comes soon! In the mean time, we all have to endure those awkward few weeks of the year where winter slowly transitions into spring. As our puffy feather down jackets and wool coats begin to suffocate our bodies, tank tops and sundresses begin to devour every sweater and circle scarf hanging in department store windows. Despite the allure of all those flimsy frocks, we all know it’s far too cool outside for pool parties and rooftop barbeques. This realization sparks a deep frustration with the contrast between our current wardrobes and the merchandise being sold in stores. Turtleneck sweaters and knee-high boots seem overkill, but we’re not quite ready to bust out the booty shorts either.

These were the thoughts running through my mind as I shopped the sale rack at Urban Outfitters. Ultimately, I decided to mix and match a few warm weather pieces with a few cool weather pieces to satisfy the demands of the season and the runway. I came up with three simple ways to incorporate spring and summer pieces into your current wardrobe without having to freeze in the name of fashion. Hopefully these tips and tricks will inspire you to create ensembles that will ensure a smooth and trendy transition into the start of spring!

1. Invest in Lace-Ups  

SisterDisco

Lace up booties will be your best friend by the end of next month (if they aren’t already). They’re trendy, versatile, and practical. They’re also much warmer than the strappy sandals sitting in the department stores. Feel free to wear a pair with maxi skirts, dresses, or leggings. The only other cold weather item you’ll need is a light jacket. Denim is perfect for this time of year because it’s lightweight when worn on its own, and seals in heat when layered over a cardigan.

2. Love Your Layers 

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A lot of ladies avoid the layered look as spring approaches because they assume the added bulk will make them feel as though they’re stuck in the month of November. However, thin and lightweight layers will have the opposite effect. Here, I layered a cardigan over a loose fitting tank top, and topped it with a cargo jacket. Similar to denim, cargo jackets or military button ups are heavier than sweaters, but more breathable than coats. They both make excellent transition pieces. For bottoms, simply switch out your dark denim for a lighter wash to incorporate a spring color palette.

3. Cover Up Cleverly

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You don’t have to wait for 80-degree weather to rock your favorite mini skirt. Tights and leggings will keep your legs warm without distracting from the ensemble. As spring draws nearer and nearer, replace black tights with gray or pastel colors. Pattern on pattern is a great trend for spring, and it’s easy to mix and match with printed skirts and tank tops. Top it all off with a basic leather jacket for brisk evening strolls.

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Kathryn White is a senior at LIM College finishing her degree in marketing with a concentration in fashion publishing.  She is currently interning for Real Beauty.  Read more from Kathryn here and here.

Remember our close friend, former Homie and uber talented jewelry designer Bethany Cocco?!  Well, she’s been busy working on a resign of her website and adding some new pieces to her collection.  We love the new look and had to give you a little peek.  Check it out, then head over to view the rest of Bethany’s jewelry which is being offered at a 20% discount price through the New Year.

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This is just small sampling of her work.  Visit Bethany Cocco Jewelry to see more and to take advantage of the 20% holiday sale.  You can also visit Bethany’s Etsy Shop here.

She’s guided us before, and never astray.  We’re so excited to have yet another wine guide installment from our dear friend, wine connoisseur and very recent birthday-girl, Catherine from Grapes of Cath.  [Previous editions include a Guide to Bubbles and Rosés]  In this edition, Catherine’s provided a marvelous selection of 12 Wines to Keep You Cozy This Winter, so get real comfy and enjoy!

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Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter’s evening, when dusk almost hides the body, and
they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day.

-Virginia Woolf

(image via here)

There is something so beautiful about the quiet of winter. Nature acts all on its own, with no
direction from any one of us. In the northeast it grows cold and dark a little too early in the day.
Our natural environment sends a message to follow suit – slow down, quiet your soul, nourish
yourself, take care.

And what is more nourishing than an inviting glass of wine on a chilly night? Preferably with a
delicious little snack, (I’m a sucker for salted nuts, doesn’t take much). Or even some comfort
food.

There are lots and lots (and lots) of red wines on the U.S. market. Hopefully you’ve found
yourself a good shop with savvy clerks. If not, ask your local store to bring in some of your true
blue favorites or untried curiosities. We can change our overall selection with a little effort.

Here are 12 suggestions that will help keep your palate and soul nice and toasty this season.
Some are lesser known, others certainly not. All are responsibly produced. Approach them
equally and see what sings to you.

1) Cahors 2010 Clos La Coutale
Cahors is one of the first wines that comes to mind when I think of wintertime. Almost every
bottle of Cahors I have tasted possesses a depth that fills the chilly crevices of the day. It is a black
wine, deep and inky in color and tannin. 100% mesmerizing Malbec. The Stevie Nicks of
Southwest France.
Approx. $14

2) Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso 2010 Tommasi
Typical styles of wine from this specific area in northern Italy’s region of Veneto are practically made for meditative winter evenings. Tommasi is a 4th generation family producer that makes traditional regional wines using Valpolicella varieties like Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Corvinone. The long-used ripasso process calls for made wine to be passed over the warmed skins of Amarone.  Tradition reigns!  Textbook yumminess – silk and cocoa and other luscious romantic sorts of things.
Approx. $22

3) Crianza Vina Cubillo 2005 R. Lopez de Heredia
Really real Rioja. Featuring Tempranillo and blended with a bit of Garnacha and other local
varieties, it is pure and deep and lovely in a red cherry, clean earth sort of way. Produced
sustainably and bottled unfiltered. The stuff that Rumi wrote of.
Approx. $26

4) Mayacamas Range Zinfandel 2009 Storybook Mountain
I could recommend the wines of Storybook Mountain over and over again. In my opinion,
their Zinfandel sets the bar. Zinfandel grapes are grown at an eastern aspect in Napa Valley’s
Mayacama Mountains. Excitedly stocked with all of the hedonistic Zinfandel attributes that Zin
lovers fiend, yet not sluggishly full-bodied. Compact yet agile. Certified Organic.
$36 direct from winery

5) Dolcetto d’Alba DOC Campot 2010 Castello di Verduno
Castello di Verduno, the castle at the top of the highest hill in the village of Verduno, Piedmont,
produces many beautiful wines. Of all their admirable and mention-worthy and wines, I am
going to point out their Dolcetto because, despite the grandness of their Barolo, it is the coziest.
Harvested from the campot, or highest vineyard on an eastward facing hill in the commune of
Barbaresco, this affable grape makes a wine full of heartbreakingly ripe purple fruit, balanced by
a grounding minerality. All in all, the wine comes together in a want-to-drink-it-every-day sort
of way.
Approx. $18

6) Petite Sirah 2010 Proulx
Harvested from old vines in the western part of Paso Robles, Proulx is made by Kevin Riley at his
family wine cellar. Voluptuous yet supple, concentrated like sun-soaked French plums.
Approx $14

7) Chinon Vieilles Vignes 2010 Domaine de Colombier
This selection is 100% Cabernet Franc grown in the Loire Valley’s limestones soil. Its sophisticatedly subtle blackberry, rosemary and thyme flavors are a perfect pairing for a hot cup of chile (and a football
game?!). Earthy and chalky and somehow always just right.
Approx. $18

8) Dao 2011 Quinta Cabriz
There are amazing values to be found in Portugese wines. Lots of lush and savory blackberry
in this old world quaffer made on an old property in the heart of Dao using local varieties like
Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro.
Approx. $8

9) Langhe Rosso DOC 2010 Produttori del Barbaresco
Produttori del Barbaresco is an inspiring example of what happens when people come together (in this case land owners and winemakers) to make something great. Produttori is a cooperative that was started in 1958 and produced its first 3 vintages in a church basement. The joint effort has consistently turned out quality wines that pay all of the respect that is due to their terroir. Produttori’s wines are made from 100% Nebbiolo in all of its brilliant strawberry layered glory. Price-wise, the value of their Langhe Rosso, Barbaresco, and cru vineyard wines is unmatchable. Worth trying many, many times (and vintages) over. Their Langhe Rosso is a fitting introduction.
Approx. $23

10) Pinotage 2010 Graham Beck
The marriage (or, technically, crossing) between Cinsault and Pinot Noir back in the mid 1920s
resulted in this idiosyncratic grape that wine drinkers usually love or hate. Personally, I love
it. Ripe, round red dirt and fresh tar are lured into a proper wine with a skilled winemaking and
little bit of oak aging.
Approx. $16

11) Zweigelt Novemberlese 2011 Weingut Steininger
Zweigelt, another crossing (between Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent), is oh-so-Austrian. Austere
with a crisply white and sunny winter day appeal. This wine, from the Kamptal region, is
the perfect thing when you seek something a little bit lighter in body, when you want some
cranberry and smoke, when you don’t want to think too hard. When you feel like that, you drink
something like this.
Approx $13

12) Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG 2008 Antonelli San Marco
Sagrantino is one of the most tannic grapes in the world. The wine it yields is big and wild and
hairy. In a nice way. Antonelli tames the feral beast into elegant (and age-worthy) wines to
open up and drink over the course of say, a long chilly work week. Perfect with chewy gamey
meat.
Approx. $32

*Vintages noted are the most current.

For the past couple of weeks my various newsfeeds have been full of treats spreading the Halloween spirit.  My friend Rhode Montijo is an amazingly talented children’s book author, illustrator and artist with a deep love for Halloween, and I’ve been closely following all of his postings.  He is also truly one of the nicest people I have met.

Two years ago Rhode published The Halloween Kid, and has since put out two zines under the same name.

Rhode has also been decorating his parents front yard in California for Halloween each year since he was in the fifth grade; I’ve never seen it personally but can only imagine it to be the most delightfully festive sight you could see.  This year Rhode is also part of an annual Halloween group art show, Bewitching II at Stranger Factory in Albuquerque, NM.

In addition to his Halloween-specific work, Rhode is the creator of Skeletown, “where every day is the Day of the Dead and all of the inhabitants are skeletal!”

You can keep up with Rhode’s work here, and find @HALLOWEENKID and #rhodemontijo on Instagram. It is not to be missed.

Other Rhode Montijo projects include the books Super Grammar, Cloud Boy, Lucky Luis and more.

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