12/20/15

4725mag's daily fashion essentials: experiments in dressing for the holidays

It's five days until Christmas. Where did this year go? This past week, it's been a full agenda of having a good time - a work party, a blogger brunch and the Christmas equivalent of Friendsgiving dinner with a bunch of pals.

On this rainy Oakland Sunday, I'm taking it upon myself to keep warm and dry by sharing my favorite outfit of the past week of party with you. Just you.

I've tried on a million, ok a couple of hundred, combinations of sequined, faux furred and be-glittered items from my closet, but this is the one that just felt the most right. The most festive without straight up draping myself in baubles and also the most luxe. With layers of gorgeous texture and a little polyester thrown in for good measure. 


Feline fine, rawr.

So this ensemble is truly built around this sweater. Doing my feel-good bit for charity this holiday season, I invested in this cashmere sweater (yep, this is an investment piece I've worn a massive one time) by Charlotte Olympia and Karen Elson. A hearty chunk of the price of this sweater is donated to Save The Children, a charity from my native Britain. So in purchasing this you can look good and feel good.

You think I'd want to keep it simple and let this puppy, or should I say kitten, shine. But I felt like because it can hold it's own so perfectly, I could have even more fun with what I paired it with.


So firstly jewelry. Lots of jewelry. Playing with both matte and shiny golds, minimal and more overtly glam styles, faux emeralds and textured spikes, I played off the gold accent in the sweater by dousing my fingers and ears in even more gold.

I went with an assortment of pieces, some I've had for a long time and some more recent purchases. I picked up the hand crafted, muted gold, stackable rings shown above center from Kitkitdizzi in Nevada City, CA. and these circular earrings below, from OAK + FORT, were purchased over my cyber week/weekend shopping binge and are still available.


So what do you pair masses of jewelry and an emerald green cashmere, gold sequined sweater with? You layer a vintage plaid shirt - that for the record, cost $1 from the San Pablo flea market - underneath it, obviously. And then tuck both of them into a leather skirt.

Mine is from Banana Republic, bought earlier this year but I've linked you a bunch of currently available options - that have NYE written all over them - above.


Ok. Now we need a bag. But not just any old bag - something with a personality all of its own that can hang with Bruce the cheetah that's adorning my chest. Cue this Yves Saint Laurent clutch.

I scored this at the Yves Saint Laurent outlet outside of Florence (yep, the one in Italy) 11 years ago, and I dust it off both when I want to make a statement and when I just need a neutral clutch. It can be the star of the show and it can sit back and not selfishly compete with an overall look. It works for a bunch of different occasions and that night was one of them.


Sooooo, now I've just got to put some shoes on and I'm good to go.  But I'm at fork in the road - do I grab my black Chelsea boots and call it a day? Or, do I play with the element of sparkle I have going on up top and balance it out with some sparkle my tootsies can call their own?

Um, clearly, I'm going with the latter.

These party boots from ASOS in a cool silver feel like the perfect, plussed up version of a neutral this outfit needs to top it off a treat. As a whole, I love the clashing colors and textures of this experiment in dressing. It should feel like a big pile of wrong, however, it just feels so right.

The moral of this story? Pattern mix, texture mix and embrace accessories. You'll wade through a few hot messes, but when you get the balance just right, you've struck personal style gold. And, NO ONE at the party will be wearing the same thing as you. Guaranteed.

Now, go party safe and party stylishly, see you in 2016. Warm and happy holiday wishes,
xoxo


12/12/15

4725mag eats: our foolproof and potluck perfect holiday side dish - brown sugar + nutmeg sweet potato mash

If you're anything like us and our family + friends, the holidays are all about sharing the responsibility and more to the point, the work. No one is ever expected to provide an entire feast from start to finish. If you're invited, you're bringing something. Even if it is just a six pack of beer.

This is one of my go-to dishes for these occasions. It is easy to make, its flavors are warming and apt for the season and it feels indulgent but you're still filling your daily vitamin A, C and fiber quotas. 


Ingredients, serves 12:
- 4 large sweet potatoes, about albs
- 1/2 a cup of raw brown sugar
- 3 tbsp of butter or if you're making this vegan, veggie shortening
- 1 tbsp of freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp of freshly ground ginger
- 1 tbsp of cinnamon
- 1 tsp of coarsely ground pepper
- 1 tsp of sea salt 

Equipment needed to make this recipe, and life in the kitchen in general, easier:
- Hand held blender and large mixing bowl, or a food processor
- 2 QT baking dish
- Baking sheet 
- Mini grater for the fresh ginger and nutmeg 


Heat your oven to 350 degrees, wash any filth off your sweet potatoes and then prod those suckers generously with a fork. Once your oven has reached 350, cook them on your baking sheet for 35-45 minutes, or until they're soft to the touch. These look a little shriveled and unappetizing (especially that phallic one), but bear with me - the more wrinkled they are, the easier it is to literally tear their skins off to leave you with mashable, soft and brilliant orange sweet potato meat. Just let them cool for 15 minutes first though so you don't also lose the skin off your fingers trying to handle these hot puppies. 


Besides, this gives you time to portion out your nutmeg, ginger, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Feel free to pop to Safeway in your sweats to buy the ground nutmeg and fresh ginger if grating it yourself feels (rightly so) like too much work. 


Now, melt the butter in the microwave for approx. 30 seconds - or the stove top if you're so, more health consciously inclined. When it is fully molten, stir in the nutmeg, ginger, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Once that's done, the potatoes will have sufficiently cooled and it's time to tear their skins off. This will be super easy to do, they will literally fall off in your hands. It will take about 5 minutes, it will feel oddly satisfying and it will set you up for the final, hands-on stage in making this dish. 

Pro, *ahem*, tip: If you're using a hand held blender to whip up this mash, just add one naked spud to the molten butter and spice mix at a time. Going at this pace will ensure you don't get any big chunks that aren't properly and smoothly mixed in. 

If you're using a food processor, you have the luxury of throwing everything in at once. 


Now, spoon your deliciously whipped brown sugar + nutmeg sweet potato mash into your baking dish and finish her off at 350 for another 30-40 minutes for the top to brown ever so slightly. 

As this magic happens, get your glad-rags on before topping this off with another good crack of black pepper and heading out to your gathering. 

Final "pro" tip: Don't forget to take a serving spoon with you. No matter how wonderful your host, they do not have 12 extra big spoons hanging around their kitchen. This minimal effort on your part will give them one last thing to think about and will be super appreciated. 

We hope you and yours enjoy this as much as me and mine to. Bon appetit!

12/6/15

4725mag's on-point interiors: Danish design pop-up hosted by Oakland's Japanese kitchen + barware importers, Umami Mart

Typically, in Umami Mart's own words, "a curation of bar tools and glassware from Japan, as well as a bottle shop dedicated to sake and Japanese beer", this Oakland based boutique is stocking a gorgeous collection of ceramics and holiday trinkets from Danish makers Studio Arhoj for your holiday gift shopping pleasure.

Striking a rare balance between simplicity, modernity and personality - for the record, I've never found myself thinking that ceramics have personality, but these do. In droves - these functional and decorative storage pieces will bring life to any kitchen or bathroom counter top. 

Looking to add a hint of kitsch-yet-sleek (thanks to that muted gold) and effortlessly stylish Scandinavian design to your holiday decorating? These tree ornaments have you covered. 

So fricken cute, they're sure to please everyone in your family. From young kids to maybe even putting a smile on the face of a critical aunt or a curmudgeon-y, bah humbug-ing and probably drunk, twice removed uncle. 

Beautiful pen holders-come-vases will make for a lovely little gift with all year round appeal. Better still, buy a couple and have an insta-gift for that birthday gathering you're going to be invited to with little to zero warning in the spring. 

Stop by Umami Mart between now and December 24th to check out this unique collection for yourself. We can almost guarantee that you will not leave empty handed.


11/29/15

4725mag's daily fashion essentials: our top 5 2015 Cyber Monday sales - a breakdown of what to buy and where

1. OAK + FORT

I've been lusting over this minimal brand since discovering them through Instagram earlier this year. Specializing in OS, simple and clean silhouettes - that work oh-so-perfectly with my apple shaped body - I released a small squeal of pig like joy when I learned of their 30% off Black Friday / Cyber Weekend sale.

Photo credit: OAK + FORT

Straddling the line between athleisure and minimalism (yes, that is possible) this wool blend, almost tracksuit (set-e01) will stylishly enable many cozy - because it's officially winter in Oakland - weekends. I'm envisioning a casual Sunday brunch wearing this paired with white sneakers like these Saucony's and this Isabel Marant Étoile coat thrown effortlessly over the top.

Photo credit: OAK + FORT

They also have wonderful, minimal jewelry and I could not resist these earrings. Getting a pair in both gold and silver in geometric circle and triangular designs for ultimate outfit versatility.

2. MADEWELL

If you've ever seen this blog before (and if you're a newbie try here, aaaaand here. Also, here.) it's zero secret we love the simple, chic, tomboy stylings of this brand. And when they offer 25% off your entire purchase, including full price items - not just their extensive sale, it ain't nothing to sniff at.

Photo credit: MADEWELL

My parents recently visited us from the UK. I took my Mom to Madewell and it appears the love of this store is a genetic thing. We cooed over new arrivals, including this snowglobe bobble turtleneck sweater and these metallic Mira flat's. But there was no way I was going to splurge on anything so close to Black Friday sales. And I'm glad I waited a week or so, as I was able to bag these holiday perfect pieces at a price my credit card was happier with.

Photo credit: MADEWELL

Speaking of holidays, I favor a more neutral palette for 11 months of the year. However, I like to treat myself to a pop of red or green as Christmas approaches - cue this sherpa lined cocoon coat. The look I'm going for here is a modern, minimal and of course tomboy, Mrs. Claus...

I jest, I jest.

However, this pop of bright red will complement my neutral closet nicely and add subtle, seasonal flare. Not to mention, look awesome over these Caldwell pull-on trousers. Perfectly forgiving for the onslaught of larger meals this season brings.

3. MATCHESFASHION

Ok, this is where it gets exciting. But also, I'm not going to lie, pricey. Even on sale. If you're on a tight budget and you don't want to even temp yourself, I feel you. Skip to number 4.

However if you save up to splurge on sales this time of the year, take full advantage of seasonal 30-50% off deals from this exquisite, luxury online retailer.

Photo credit: MATCHESFASHION

What better item to splurge on than a purse? A solid purse adds that little something extra to any outfit. And that is exactly why I selected this Diane Von Furstenberg Powerstone minaudière clutch to breathe new life into a vintage, 1970s sparkly red dress I bust out every damn holiday season (because it is quite fabulous and was only $8).

And, in my style dreams, you'll find this shearling and suede Jérôme Dreyfuss pouch tucked under my arm while wearing that Oak + Fort pantsuit above and running here for a cup of their super delicious house blend, #oakland #aroundthetown.

Photo credit: MATCHESFASHION

Pants getting a little predictable? It's ok, mine are too. So I'm attempting to break out of my comfort zone with these Acne Studios Murol corduroy cropped trousers and these embroidered, vintage Levi's by Bliss and Mischief. Both pairs were on my Matchesfashion wishlist, so when I saw them on sale, I pounced on them like a pissed off house cat.

4. OLD NAVY

Ok, what I love about these guys is - 40% off EVERYTHING and:

a) They keep me in basic v-neck and long sleeve t-shirts that are perfect for layering all year around - not to mention the shear volume of work out clothing I own from here, also...

b) They dabble with seasonal trends and keep their silhouettes simple enough to not distract from, but to update and pair seamlessly with your higher end, forever pieces (like the pants above).

Case in point, this cocoon coat and this jacket. Because apparently I'm obsessed with shearling.

Photo credit: OLD NAVY

5. URBAN OUTFITTERS

With $50 off $150 or $15 off $75, they keep the barrier to entry low which is perfect if you're stocking up on littles from their lovely gift guide.

Photo credit: URBAN OUTFITTERS

However, I've got my eye on these Hunter boots - El Nino is coming, fingers crossed - and this shirt because... The Boss. Nuff said.

Happy shopping, guys. We hope this helped you navigate Cyber Monday like the pro that you are.

10/25/15

4725mag guest blogs: a perfect day on Oakland's Broadway


For our most recent guest blog, we shared our top 5 places to hit up on Oakland's Broadway.

We started our day with breakfast, at Authentic Bagel Co. shown above, and ended it with a donut - but we did plenty more that eat.

Read about our adventures here.

10/11/15

4725mag travels: Memphis, TN - a food, fashion, music and street photography photo diary



















Top to bottom:
- exterior of Bob's Barksdale Restaurant // Memphis, Tennessee 
- people watching, people eating // Bob's Barksdale Restaurant, Memphis, Tennessee 
- on every southern table // Bob's Barksdale Restaurant, Memphis, Tennessee
- star spangled still life // Bob's Barksdale Restaurant, Memphis, Tennessee
- pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs & grits // Bob's Barksdale Restaurant, Memphis, Tennessee
- mixing console from Ardent // Stax museum of American soul music, Memphis, Tennessee
- the Hammond organ on which Green Onions was recorded // Stax museum of American soul music, Memphis, Tennessee
- detail shots of Issac Hayes' insane Eldorado Cadillac // Stax museum of American soul music, Memphis, Tennessee
- external wall detail - green & blue color study // Stax museum of American soul music, Memphis, Tennessee
- stride by // Shirley's Beauty Salon, Memphis, Tennessee
detail shots of the formal brothel, upstairs at Earnestine & Hazel's // Memphis, Tennessee
- inside outside - nature always wins // Earnestine & Hazel's, Memphis, Tennessee
- vintage O/S plaid dress and leather, embellished western wear belt // thrifted in Memphis, Tennessee 

9/26/15

4725mag's daily fashion essentials: a guide to creative fall layering and accessorizing

Like everyone else and their momma, we're super into the lace up flats trend. We invested in a couple of pairs from Zara, including these beaut's below, but are already scheming more. They may rub our ankle a little, but despite the pain (nothing a couple of bandaids couldn't take care of) they have have this magical way of instantly elevating any casual outfit. With their sandal vibe and the full coverage and comfort of a flat, they're the perfect bridge between summer and winter footwear - aka fall footwear, baby.


Despite our pretty relentless Bay Area Indian summer, due to an office that blasts AC to near Arctic like conditions, we can still play with autumnal layering (even if we do have to strip down to the studs on our commute). 

Layering like patterns with each other is a li'l thing we like to do, so we were stoked to learn of Zara's (this is not a Zara ad, promise) dedication to the co-ord set. The mixing and matching is already thought through with gorgeous patterning and stylish yet comfortable style forward silhouettes. These jacquard knit culottes and this mock neck O/S top are effortless together and we can't wait to start playing with them as separates.

Our vintage brown woven leather bucket bag completes and mixes up this, otherwise head to toe Zara, look. We love this bag. We've had it for years, but dusted it off due to the recent surge in this trend. There's nothing like a little well sourced vintage to add a completely unique element to your look and it's always nice to know you're not going to bump into someone else wearing the same thing.


This next look is hinged entirely on this vintage mohair cocoon jacket we found while thrifting in Walnut Creek. Side note - to source the best vintage pieces we highly recommend taking a little drive out to the 'burbs. City thrifts can often be picked over with inflated prices, those couple of extra bucks in gas can equal a gold mine in finds. 

With zig zag woven pastel lilacs and blues, a timeless silhouette and mandarin collar, this piece alone was well worth our journey into the deep east bay. We layered it with this simple boyfriend shirt that has been a closet staple for a while due to its versatility.


Making an appearance again is this Zara jacquard woven wool mix kimono. Yep, it's gonna be a while before we fall out of love with this one. This week we layered it with this ASOS pussy bow silk blouse because a) we love Heart and we really love the Little Queen vibe of this look and b) we're generally embracing the FW15/16 1970s fashion resurgence with gusto whenever we can and this layering heavily leans towards that.

And to carry it all around + keep it all together - from work out wear, to our laptop, to our high heels and lunch on the go - we need (yes, need) a stylish tote. 

I think you're getting to know us now and that we love a little pattern mixing, so when we saw this Marc by Marc Jacobs tote it was a no brainer. Clashes with everything? We're in. 

Sop my closet: 
Zara, leather lace up flats
- Zara, striped jacquard knit culottes 
- Zara, striped jacquard knit mock neck O/S top
- Madewell, cotton burn-out, boyfriend shirt
- ASOS, silk pussy bow blouse
- Zara, jacquard woven wool mix kimono
- Marc by Marc Jacobs, leather "Metropoli" tote bag sold out, similar here

9/20/15

4725mag's daily fashion essentials: faux fur and pom poms - the best fabrics and textures of fall

We rely a lot on mixing up our accessories, mostly meaning shoes, to breathe new life into our look. This week was no different. These ASOS heels stay within our trusted neutral palette, yet they play wonderfully with different textures and have a totally walkable heel. 


We'd love to claim we are a heels everyday kind of gal, but that'd be some straight bs. More often than not, we're all about a solid sneaker. After being on a white sneaker kick for a while, adding in this splash of color, courtesy of COMME des GARÇON Play x Converse, was just the step into color play we needed to liven things up for fall.


It's been a hair in a low and messy bun with simple, minimal jewelry kind of week (actually, that's most weeks). I'd be lost without mini Scünci claw hair clips and simple earrings like these Madewell, copper, gold and silver micro hoops


These hot pink and maroon Banana Republic tassel pumps are way out of our usual comfort zone, and actually, BR's usual design comfort zone come to think of it. However, with enough dark neutral fall-winter layering they can act as a bright accent to see us through colder seasons. And they were just that on a drab, drizzly Bay Area day this week.


We adore this rich jacquard tapestry kimono from Zara. Perfect for layering over a white tank - which is how we wore it this week as it's still hot here in Oakland, even though we're doing a fall weather dance to the gods on a nightly basis. Can't wait to layer this with a turtle neck, boots and chunky scarves later into the year. 


Shop my closet: 
- ASOS, "Say You Do" vegan leather, faux fur pom pom heels
- Nike, slim cut sweats
- Play COMME des GARÇON x Converse, canvas sneakers
- 90s ringer cotton-poly t-shirt, vintage
- Banana Republic, faux fur animal print cocoon moto coat
- Banana Republic, leather tassel pumps
- Zara, jacquard woven wool mix kimono