Ellie Jay Jewels

November 25, 2014

My mom has passed a lot of her traits on to me. Her handwriting, organizational skills, and love of cooking come to mind on a daily basis, but today I thought I'd highlight two additional similarities we share: our love of jewelry and belief in treating yourself. Growing up I would always play in my mom's makeup (begging to wear mascara) and jewelry drawers. Just like how her signature perfume brings back memories, so do so many of the jewelry pieces I've seen her wear since Sally and I were little. Our mom always told us that we could have our own jewelry collections some day, and that we just had to work hard and save up for the pieces we loved. As the two of us got older, our mama contributed to our jewelry boxes but encouraged us to save and splurge on things ourselves. She reasoned that there was no reason to wait for someone to gift you something (especially a boy) when you would have a greater appreciation for the pieces you bought yourself.

 

My thoughtful, curated collection of dainty, fine jewelry started after college and it’s still my number one favorite thing to splurge on for myself. Sally and I have been seriously spoiled in that we have become friends with some incredible jewelry designers and brands through blogging…we love discovering new lines and finding favorites to add to our wish lists. It’s like the “make new friends but keep the old” Girl Scout song – we more designers in the mix of our jewelry boxes, the better!

Last April, I was going crazy over the jewelry on a seriously stylish Chicago-based blogger – Jena Gambaccini of Chi City Fashion – and she kept pointing to certain pave diamond pieces saying, “that’s Ellie Jay…that’s Ellie Jay.” This unknown name was one I needed to learn about. Fast. I stalked the Ellie Jay Jewels website and learned that like Jena, the brand was based in Chicago. I did several double takes at the prices (incredibly low for real diamonds and solid gold!) and then built a little mental wish-list of what I wanted (rings – my latest jewelry obsession) and after a few months of saving, felt ready to splurge. I emailed the company and was excited to meet Jami, the founder behind the dainty and elegant collection. After a few notes exchanged back and forth and realizing that my bestie Mary had also been emailing Jami, we decided that aside from placing an order for fresh sparkle that it would be fun for Jami to come down to Dallas for a trunk show!

Similar to a few other jewelry brands, Ellie Jay is a social selling company that provides job opportunities for women. Options for getting involved include hosting a party, joining the team, or referring a friend. Mary and I were really excited to host a small trunk show a few weeks ago to show off Jami’s gorgeous pieces and amazing prices. Today I’m even more excited because I get to show off my new Ellie Jay rings, and announce that as of today, the brand is now taking orders directly through their website!

I can’t tell you how much I adore my new rings. I’ve been wanting some super thin, pave brands for so long but was turned off by pricing until I found the ones by Ellie Jay. The “H” ring is also dainty but makes a statement – perfect for a right hand – without being overpowering. Haven’t taken them off since I got them! So I know it’s the season for buying gifts for others. Which is why I think you should take a look at the Ellie Jay site – you will most likely find a lot of things you want for yourself, but I’m willing to bet that you find pieces perfect for some of the ladies on your holiday shopping list, too (:

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Style

Sunburst Midi

Leather is nice but Faux-Leather is very nice. Guilt-free style gets an A+ with this Sunburst Midi Skirt in faux-leather from J.Crew. We love the lady-like accordion pleats done in the cool material and picture it with chambray shirts, silk tees, & thick sweaters. According to the Crew, the skirt looks and feels just like the real thing. Get it, and anything on the site, 30% off with code GETFESTIVE.

Style

Shadow Sneakers

We are sisters that are sneaker obsessed. Sally wears them in San Fran to traverse the hills and while teaching, and Molly always has a pair on as she’s constantly outside with Blue. Black and white sneaks are a neutral must-have but we’ve both been working fun color combinations into our (growing) collection of athletic shoes. Recent loves? The three combos of Saucony Shadow Sneakers at Madewell.

Lifestyle

@APIECEOFTOAST

Toast Talk

November 24, 2014

Bah. I woke up with a very sore throat (that hasn't gotten any better, grrrr) and it has really slowed me down today. I almost think I deserve it, because I'm always saying how I "never get sick." Hoping that it will start to feel better before tomorrow since I have lots of Turkey Day baking and prep work to do! Right now I'm hunting for the perfect pecan pie recipe...specifically one without Karo Syrup or corn syrup. Something about seeing all that sticky sweetness go into the recipe makes me less inclined to eat it. And I'm a baker that likes to eat what I make. Bring on the butter and sugar but lots of shortening and syrups start to freak me out. If anyone has a killer recipe, let me know. What else? Not much...

 

I really loved getting to spend time with my dad and brother over the weekend. Being from a family with a lot of siblings makes it hard to get one-on-one time with my parents and individual time with my brothers and sisters, so it’s really nice when the singular time happens. My brother is adorable…and quite the athlete. He played six back to back lacrosse games in cold, rainy and windy weather and was covered in mud by the end of the day and I didn’t hear him complain once. What I did hear were a ton of parents screaming from the sidelines at their 5th and 6th grade kids. Wow. That’s all I’m going to say.

Have you guys seen The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I yet? I saw it this weekend. And it was good…but it felt unnecessary that the book was split into two movies. I mean, the story/books are not like Harry Potter with a million characters, rich details and intensely complex story lines. But then again, I’m a diehard HP fan and no young adult novel series going to hold a candle to how I feel about them.

Sally gets in town tomorrow and Blue and I are eagerly awaiting her arrival. Seriously cannot wait for the holiday eating and cozy time with friends to get going!!

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Lifestyle

Don’t Be Coy

Holiday parties call for hostess gifts. We suggest stocking up on good wine (go to the discount stores for best prices!) and sets of embroidered cocktail napkins. Loving these “Don’t Be Coy” ones from Biscuit. Really, anything from their selection of kitchen and bar stuffs would be a nice pressie for a host. This breakfast knife set with some pancake mix? Win.

Style

Moody Dot

Generally, we are girls who gravitate towards stripes more than dots. But this Mood Dot Pullover Top from Madewell made us do a double take. Maybe because the appliqué dots are the same tone as the top, maybe because there are two sizes of dots, or maybe because of the raglan sleeves and long back hem add a sporty look. It’s pretty but not too sweet. And it’s 20% off with code YOURGIFT!

Blue + Bling

November 21, 2014

Two new things that I've been wearing constantly: a faux-leather cobalt blue crossbody bag from Old Navy that feels like butter and a blinged-out bib necklace from BaubleBar. Both are crazy good prices and can be worn with just about anything. Put the two of them together with a basic monochromatic look (because really, I'm nothing but basic) and you get something far more special. Or at least I think it's more exciting.

 

That’s really all I’ve got. I’m very excited that it’s Friday and that the weekend is here. This afternoon I’m visiting the goop pop-up store with Brittany and really excited to finally experience the hype. My dad and one of my younger brothers are in town for some lacrosse tournaments (little bros playing full contact sports makes me nervous, just saying) and I’m soooo pumped to spend some time with them and see the brother play. Really can’t believe that Thanksgiving is next week…need to gather all my sweet treat recipes and make my grocery list! Pies! Ahh, I can’t wait.

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Style

Cosette

Since the weekly Sales + Steals posted today, it seems appropriate that today’s must-have mini is also on sale. Vince makes some ridiculously beautiful shoes (they also happen to be comfortable, win) and these two-toned Cosette Pumps are stunners. The d’Orsay style makes them classic and elegant – the perfect compliment to any closet.

Interiors + Decor

Gypset Living

Gypsy + jet set = Gypset. Think glamping (glam camping) and roughing it in uninhabited locales accessed by private plane. This lifestyle has been made famous and accessible by Julia Chaplin through her first two books: Gypset Style and Gypset Travel. Now we have Gypset Living to satiate even more of our curiosity about Gypsetters and their adventures as privileged, bohemian wanderers. Get the set of three

Truffling with the Latest

November 20, 2014

One of the exciting things about moving to a new city is having the opportunity to meet some amazing new people. San Francisco has a thriving creative community and in the few months since living here, I've been lucky to hang with some women behind some of the blogs and brands that Molly and I have admired or worked with over the years. Sarah Cusumano is one half of the two-woman team behind TRUFFLE and a local to San Francisco. Sarah was one of the first people to welcome me to the city and we have chatted back and forth ever since...our easy friendship and her warm sincerity has definitely helped with the transition from Dallas to SF.

 

When Sarah sent me TRUFFLE’s Privacy Clutch in white some months ago, I was obsessed. I have carried just about everywhere with me and have gotten more compliments than I can count. Molly was only a teensy bit jealous (re: a lot jealous) when I visited Dallas months ago with a brand new clutch in tow. The Privacy Clutch really is the most quintessential leather clutch – super sleek, minimalistic with just a pretty metallic zipper and embossed logo, and the ideal small but not too small size. It holds more than it looks and the textured leather is soft but also stiff (love that it holds its shape so well!).

When Sarah asked me about doing a little photo shoot with photographer Bess Friday, another talented San Franciscan that I have been lucky enough to meet while here (she shot these!), I was ecstatic. Girl time + playing with pretty clutches + fun photos makes for a good time in my book. Working with Bess is an honor – her talent is unmatched and she truly has an eye for beauty, which is evident from the second you work with her. I feel lucky to have been introduced to her.

The purpose of our girl time get together was to photograph the newest version Privacy clutch just in time for the holidays, a limited edition metallic rose-gold. We also shot the privacy clutch in black – a bag everyone probably needs (a little black clutch is as essential as a little black dress, right?) especially for this fall and winter. And because the clarity clutch is a TRUFFLE staple, we also styled with the small clarity clutch in black…I love taking mine out with just my phone, a pretty lipstick tube, keys, and card holder for a fun “naked” look.

Things just keep getting better with TRUFFLE – Sarah and her partner Maria are constantly thinking about ways to improve their design and it’s been really need to see the TRUFFLE products evolve over the years to become what they are now. I honestly feel like one could get by in life with a Privacy clutch in black, white, and metallic and be set for whatever and wherever. Last weekend for my trip I was able to toss one in my tote for the plane and then carried it out at night and during the day all weekend long.

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