A Taste of What’s New: Elizabeth and James

 

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have created a veritable fashion empire and the cornerstone of their contemporary fashion business is the undoubtedly cool Elizabeth and James.

Known for capturing the bohemian edge and vintage vibe the sisters are famous for, Elizabeth and James truly offers something for every aspect of a girl’s wardrobe.

From jewelry and perfume, to handbags and oversized sunglasses, the line rounds out those essential pieces that are endlessly fun to put on each morning.

Case in point: They mix vintage robes and kimonos, perfectly worn-in vintage Levi’s, beautifully tailored blazers, and the most seductive floral-musky perfume, all under one roof at The Grove.

To get a taste of just how amazing the brand is, step into A Taste of What’s New  located near the fountain to peruse pieces from the current collection. There you will find kimonos, jeans and sunglasses, plus a wide range of delicate gold jewelry you’ll never want to take off.

The full range of the brand’s scents also are showcased, including Nirvana Black (violet, sensual sandalwood and rich vanilla), Nirvana White (delicate peony, chic muguet and tender musk), and
the newest perfumes, Nirvana Bourbon (vanilla bourbon, oakwood and a hint of tuberose) and Nirvana Rose (dark rose with notes of rose de mai, geranium and vetiver).

The sensual qualities found in all of the scents reflect the feeling found in the line as a whole: earthy, confident and wonderfully effortless.

Be sure to check out The Grove’s just-opened A Taste of What’s New, now through January 24, for a chance to shop an array of covetable items from Elizabeth and James, Shinola and Illesteva that are destined to become instant classics.

A Taste of What’s New: Shinola

 

Shinola, the Detroit-based company leading the conversation around quality goods, elevates typical design and production by implementing meticulous, American-made manufacturing into everything it does.

So, it is no surprise that Daniel Caudill, Shinola’s creative director, knows plenty about well-crafted and timeless pieces perfect for kicking off the new year.

The brand’s outpost at The Grove is the ideal showcase for all of the amazing items Shinola has to offer. Plus, the brand is now displaying its latest and greatest in The Grove’s A Taste of What’s New, which is now open near the fountain.

In it is Shinola’s recently released women’s jewelry line, a collection of gold pieces that perfectly straddle the intersection of timeless and contemporary, including the brand’s popular Gomelsky watch, which is a mixed-metal women’s style with a mother-of-pearl face.

“Strapping on a watch is the easiest way to pull together an outfit,” says Caudill. “Adding a dressier watch to your outfit, such as our Canfield with a white dial and black American alligator strap, immediately sharpens your look. You also can offset your suit or sports jacket with
a more casual watch, such as our classic Runwell watch, adding an unexpected dash of cool.”

In addition to the brand’s newest offerings, Caudill cites The Runwell Turntable, The Shinola Power Supply Cords and Shinola Guardian Watch as notable pieces that are as practical as they are stylish for elevating the everyday.

 

Be sure to check out The Grove’s just-opened A Taste of What’s New for a chance to shop an array of covetable items from Shinola, Illesteva, and Elizabeth and James that are destined to become instant classics. For the full collection of men’s and women’s items, visit Shinola’s store at The Grove.

Gomeslky, The Shirley Fromer Watch, Shinola, $950; Wide Buckle Bracelet, Shinola, $1,200 – $8,000.

 

How to Wear and Celebrate Pantone’s Fresh New Color of the Year

Touted as “nature’s neutral,” Pantone’s Color of the Year is one that evokes optimism, rebirth and revitalization.

 “Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

The yellow-green hue, which embodies both warm and cool tones, complements most skin tones when done right and adds the perfect punctuation to any look. Case in point: Greenery was all over Gucci’s sought-after spring 2017 runway, and even interior designers are incorporating bright pops of the color in wallpaper, décor and furniture.

Crate & Barrel has green-tinged items ranging from cozy throws to glazed serving bowls, which all look striking when set against white or charcoal-grey furniture. The finish is clean and modern but with a distinct and deliberate pop of color that is unique yet timeless.

 When wearing the shade, it truly can be treated as a neutral. If paired with other neutrals, such as camel, white, black or grey, it feels minimal and modern. If worn in a more traditionally spring-like fashion, for example when paired with pastels or white, the color takes a much more feminine turn that is fit for a springtime celebration.

Surprisingly, the shade also translates into beauty. Nail polish is a no-brainer and OPI has the perfect rendition called “I’m Sooo Swamped!” A swipe of Greenery-inspired eyeliner also can be an unexpected addition to a beauty look and a nice departure from your more ho-hum black and brown. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Freak is a gorgeous green that will provide contrast to dark eyes and enhance the color in lighter eyes. As for your lids, dust M·A·C Cosmetics’ Bowlarama eye shadow (from its limited-edition It’s a Strike Collection) in the inner corners of your eyes or along your lash lines for a vibrant wash of color that seems to make all eye colors sparkle. 

And for spring and summer weddings, Greenery feels like a natural fit for bridesmaid dresses and even as the over-arching color of the event. After all, its optimistic and positive appeal seems spot-on for the sentiment of the celebration.

Products shown, from top: Lima Alpaca Olive Green Throw Blanket, Crate & Barrel, $179.00; Jars Tourron Green Serving Bowl, Crate & Barrel, $99.95; Caprice Green 8″ Melamine Bowl, Crate & Barrel, $6.95; OPI New Orleans Collection in I’m Sooo Swamped!, Sephora, $10; Bowlarama Eye ShadowM·A·C COSMETICS, $9.60

Amenities and Stellar Concierge to Make Your Holiday Shopping Easy and Enjoyable


Holiday shopping can be a daunting task for anyone, unless there are exceptional services in place to ensure the process is not only bearable, but enjoyable.

It’s a concept that Anthony Henry, director of guest services at Caruso, not only understands, but celebrates every day. Henry works tirelessly to ensure that every guest’s experience is spectacular. He and his team of concierge specialists at The Americana at Brand and The Grove think and execute above and beyond to make sure everything from shopping and dining, to entertainment and Santa House visits, are seamless and uniquely special.

A Very Special Birthday

Case in point: Henry recently planned a birthday experience at The Grove for a little girl named Maddie. From hot chocolate on the trolley, to photos with Santa and a “Happy Birthday” serenade by musicians in The Park, he spared no detail in order to create a memorable celebration for the second grader and her 30 guests.

“For me, nothing is more rewarding than making our littlest guests smile,” says Henry. “Maddie’s mom is a very busy single parent and all she wanted was to give her daughter a spectacular birthday experience.”

After the surprise celebration, Maddie’s mom, Katherine, was in tears and eternally grateful for the time and effort that went into making the day so wonderful. “Having the ability to create precious moments for others is what I live for,” says Henry.

Proposals, Parties, Trips and More

Whether it’s gestures big or small, stellar service like this can be found at The Grove and The Americana at Brand at all times of the day, especially during the holidays. To help make the season extra memorable, Concierge Services will even help arrange marriage proposals, one-of-a-kind celebrations, as well as tickets and reservations to any event, concert, restaurant or travel destination.

Hands-Free Shopping

A smaller yet equally appreciated service available is hands-free shopping, which is especially useful when getting through that seemingly never-ending gift list (and clutching on to that complimentary hot cocoa and roasted chestnuts available to guests). Both The Grove and The Americana at Brand also have bellman service and package check, plus they’ll help mail or messenger items wherever they need to go.

Curbside Services

Shopping favorites such as Nordstrom, Sprinkles Cupcakes and See’s Candies have curbside service so you can avoid parking and simply pick up your goodies and go. And Shinola goes one step further by delivering items directly to your house upon ordering.

Styling 101

And, for exceptional styling services, stores such as Nordstrom and TOPSHOP TOPMAN offer personal shopping to help get everyone crossed off your list with ease and style.

Catering and Gift Cards

Additionally, plenty of restaurants at both properties offer catering services, and Concierge is available to arrange American Express gift cards.

Holiday Style for Every Occasion: From Office Parties to New Year’s Eve Soirées

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As merry as the holiday season is, there also is the inevitable stress that comes along with all of the social events surrounding it. The dress code for such occasions should, of course, come second to the joy of the gatherings themselves, but planning what to wear to so many festivities can be overwhelming.

Fashion and beauty inspiration is exactly what the Season of Style event at Nordstrom covered last Tuesday evening at The Americana at Brand. A panel of style experts, including myself, weighed in on which looks to wear to every event, ranging from office parties to cozy weekend getaways.

If you were not able to attend the event, below is cheat sheet to help you look festive and flawless throughout the season.

OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTY

An event that always seems to stump people sartorially is the office holiday party. It’s one of the few times when we can break away from our corporate uniforms and bring more personality into the way we look.

Skip the jeans and go for something a little more formal and a lot more festive. A little black dress with an unexpected flourish can easily be worn to work under a blazer, and later be dressed up for the party with a pair of strappy metallic sandals and an equally dazzling clutch.

Unknown-2Alice + Olivia’s “Bria” fit-and-flare dress, now available at Nordstrom, is ideal for such an occasion, offering the right amount of flounce in the skirt, with a structured bodice that flatters.

Gianvito Rossi, available at Barneys New York, makes sexy-yet-totally-wearable heels that work well beyond the holiday season.

 

COZY WEEKEND GETAWAY

On the other side of the spectrum is getting dressed for a cozy weekend getaway. Even though this is more casual than a soirée, you want to be sure you’re prepared for various activities, ranging from dinner out to drinks by the fire. Break out your favorite and most comfortable jeans, and layer in a wooly wrap coat, such as a Rag & Bone version available at Nordstrom. You’ll be warm on the plane or car ride when getting to your destination, plus it’s a great piece to comfortably take you through the weekend.

TS26H18KPNK_Zoom_F_1Bodysuits and turtlenecks are a huge trend right now and pair well as a second skin layer under a wooly topper.

If you’ve got stylish cropped jeans, show some sock. Choose a bright red or festive stripe that will peek out between the hem of the jeans and a lace-up boot.

For guys, focus on comfort and great fabrics. A cashmere zip-up sweater is a great way to layer. Top it off with equally soft accessories such as a beanie and scarf, and you’re ready to get cozy by the fire or set out for an afternoon hike.

HOLIDAY RECOVERY

The comfy factor also goes for what to wear during holiday recovery time. This means the stylish-yet-lived-in look you’ll no doubt be lounging around in after the holidays. It’s a bumped-up version of your gym clothes, but it definitely can be worn for a power nap or, better yet, some power shopping.

Nordstrom’s in-house activewear line, Zella, is full of colorful and practical pieces that really perform. Wear a drapey cardigan from Free People to look more pulled together should you stop for lunch or coffee with a friend.

UnknownFinally, carry all of the pieces you need for a busy day off in the versatile Transport Tote from Madewell. It’s beautiful and durable, and the leather looks even better with age.

 

 

 

 

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE

New Year’s Eve is the one occasion where everyone might immediately turn to sparkle, and with good reason. The evening begs for something festive and fun to ring in the New Year in the brightest way possible. Remember to keep the glitter and sparkle to a moderate level or you’ll end up looking like a holiday ornament.

UnknownTry a subtly metallic skirt such as this version from Trouve at Nordstrom, then tuck a black halter bodysuit underneath.

A velvet motorcycle jacket from TOPSHOP TOPMAN or Nordstrom is a perfect topper for party hopping.

For the gal who wants a little more of a bumped-up look for the big night, Anthropologie has gorgeous velvet and embroidered lace dresses in rich jewel tones. Pair them with sparkly accents and a glass of champagne. Cheers!

 

 

Alice + Olivia Bria Fit & Flare Dress, Nordstrom, $330; PETITE Cocoon Horizontal Knitted Jumper, $68; Mens’ Scarves, TOPSHOP TOPMAN, $14-$68; The Transport Tote, Madewell, $168; Trouve Shine Pleat Midi Skirt, Nordstrom, $79.

Three Easy Ways for Men to Look Seasonally Stylish

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This may come as a surprise, but dressing up for the holidays is not a concept relegated to just the ladies. But have no fear, fellas: seasonal doesn’t have to mean sparkly and over the top.

Instead, guys can just as easily embrace the style and spirit of the season by making subtle tweaks to their existing wardrobe. For a look that’s festive for everything from cocktails to countdowns, consider these three fail-proof tips and tricks for getting men in the sartorial swing of things.

GIFTED GENTS

For the guy who needs a little help in the fashion department, the holidays are the perfect opportunity for loved ones to gift him the items he needs to flaunt his seasonal style.

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Shinola and J.Crew Mens Shop carry the coolest modern gear that’s steeped in timeless design. From socks and journals to an always-practical watch, both stores offer covetable items at every price.

Nike and Under Armour Brand House also have the perfect array of gift options for men. Whether for their off-duty look or for actually hitting the gym, performance apparel is a must in every guy’s wardrobe.

1100945_22_Kiehls_DMI_AgeDefender_Dopp_srgb_loresFor stocking stuffers and smaller gifts for office mates and friends, grooming sets from Kiehl’s Since 1851 are well-received gifts that many men love but often would not get for themselves.

HOLIDAY HUES

For the guy who has his wardrobe under control yet is looking to inject a stronger holiday vibe, consider introducing a little color in the form of muted tones and subtle patterns to button-down shirts, pocket squares and neck ties. Try not to do all three at once, of course, but choose an area or two to focus on, then mix plaid, tartan, stripes and Fair Isle in with solid basics.

 

Also, consider introducing a pine-green palette in the form of a neck tie, a merlot hue on a pocket square, or even a gray-green shade on a quilted vest. Punched-up earthy tones still pair well with the grey, black and brown staples, while also adding a festive touch.

JCrewPlaidMid-weight flannel shirts with a red-and-green plaid motif are another no-brainer this time of year. J.Crew Mens Shop has a variety of colors and fabrics that pair perfectly with dark jeans or broken-in chinos. It’s a look that moves seamlessly from holiday lunch to late-night cocktails.

The elevated basics at Vince also provide the perfect foundation for a family gathering or an office party. Simply throw on a suede bomber jacket for an instantly pulled-together look. Schott NYC also makes tried-and-true leather jackets that any guy would be thrilled to receive and wear year round.

WELL SUITED

When it comes to holiday suiting, think cozy, textured and tailored. A gorgeous wool suit always works this time of year, especially when paired with a cable-knit cardigan instead of the matching blazer. Opt for deep blue, charcoal grey and warm brown tones, and pair with a sweater vest in a brighter color underneath as well as some crisp sneakers to soften the look.

TOPSHOP TOPMAN does fashion-forward and tailored like no one else, plus its suits feature surprise flourishes that are perfect for this time of year.

ColeHaanOxfords             IllestevaShoes

Throw on a pair of Cole Haan oxfords for a more traditional touch, and it’s a holiday look that is sure to turn heads.

For a slightly more casual suit look, a tailored blazer from Barneys New York or TOPSHOP TOPMAN, plus a pair of dark denim jeans from PAIGE or Vince is a more relaxed way of approaching a holiday party or outing.

Finish off the look with shades from Illesteva for the final punctuation on a truly Southern Californian holiday ensemble.

As shown:

Medium Hard Linen Journal, Shinola, $19.99; The Guardian Watch, Shinola, $675; Age Defender Collection, Kiehl’s Since 1851, $88; Wallace & Barnes Heavyweight Flannel Shirts, J.Crew Mens Shop, $98, photo credit: @jcrewmens; Jagger Wingtip Oxford, Cole Haan, $139.95, photo credit: @colehaan;
Mykonos II, Illesteva, $177, photo credit: @illesteva

How L.A. Tastemakers and Their Kids Get into the Holiday Spirit

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No matter which part of the country you hail from, the winter holidays are among the most nostalgic of them all. That is why creating new traditions and lasting memories this time of year can be so important for families.

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While you would be hard pressed to find snow-covered branches and roasting chestnuts on every L.A. street corner, the spirit of the season is still alive and well thanks to the myriad holiday events and attractions happening at joyful destinations such as The Grove and The Americana at Brand.

Take, for example, the twice-nightly snowfall, magically falling against Southern California’s beautiful backdrop of palm trees. Or the popular Santa Brunch at The Grove’s American Girl Place, where little ones can mingle with St. Nick while dining with their dolls. Ryan Patterson, an L.A.-based television producer from South Carolina, is one mom who has been taking her family to The Grove during the holidays for several years. Patterson explains that Christmas time at The Grove is the closest thing to what she remembers from her childhood on the opposite coast. Similar to many guests seeking a winter wonderland experience, the Pattersons visit the Santa House every year and have created a special tradition the entire family looks forward to each December. “We love that throughout all these years,” says Ryan, “It’s been the same Santa, and that both our girls believe he is the one true Santa Claus.”

It’s the snowfall at The Grove that Penny Lovell and her daughter love to experience together. “We do it every year,” says the celebrity stylist, who counts Anne Hathaway and Rose Byrne as longtime clients. “We have pizza outdoors at La Piazza, then we go out into the snow when it starts to fall.”

Whether it’s a trip to Santa’s House or shopping under the falling snow, there’s plenty of holiday magic happening at both The Grove and The Americana at Brand for every family to enjoy:

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The Americana at Brand

SANTA’S HOUSE

Open Now through December 24
Santa is here and taking appointments! Visit Santa and his elves for a magical experience, complete with a professional holiday photo for your family to treasure for seasons to come. Plus, enjoy a festive holiday atmosphere all month long, with twice-nightly snowfall, strolling entertainment, holiday characters and more. Visit AmericanaAtBrand.com for details on hours and photo packages.

SANTA’S WORKSHOP

December 6,  9 to 11 am
Join us for a morning of holiday crafts, Sprinkles cupcake decorating, story time with Mrs. Claus, and fun with Santa. Tickets are $40 per child and include a photo package, goodie bag and tons of activities. Visit AmericanaAtBrand.com for more details.

SANTA BRUNCH AT TRATTORIA AMICI

December 10 & 17 at 9:30 am
Experience a festive atmosphere at Trattoria Amici, featuring a visit from Santa and his friends, plus a selection of Italian classic cuisine and bottomless mimosas. Tickers are $34 per adult; $15 per child (11 years and younger), and include a complimentary Santa photo and goodie bag for kids. Visit AmericanaAtBrand.com for more details.

The Grove

SANTA HOUSE

Open Now through December 24
Visit Santa Claus at The Grove for an unforgettable experience, complete with a professional holiday photo. 5% of Santa House proceeds will be donated to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Visit TheGroveLA.com for details on hours and photo packages.

HOLIDAY STORY TIME WITH CHRIS PAUL
December 8
Help spread cheer to kids in need at a very special Feed the Children charity event in The Park. Enjoy holiday treats, entertainment, crafting and story time with NBA all-star player, Chris Paul, and a surprise guest from the North Pole. Plus, donate packaged personal care products to Feed the Children to receive complimentary valet parking.

LA KIDS FASHION FAIR HOLIDAY EDITION
December 10
The Grove will host its seasonal Kids Fashion Fair on December 10 with LA-based mommy group, Fashion Mamas LA. Guests can shop the latest and most coveted baby and kids brands, plus enjoy  crafts, face painting, a fashion show and more.

7 Ways to Sparkle This Holiday Season

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From tinsel garlands to twinkling lights, sparkle is ubiquitous during the holiday season. The same goes for matters of the sartorial kind, when party-ready sequined sleeves and gold lurex threads become the norm rather than the exception. However, shimmering during the holiday season isn’t just about piling on the rhinestones, appliqué and jeweled embellishments; it takes some strategy and a bit of restraint in order to get a balance that reads “tastefully festive.” Here are seven ways to shine right and bright so your look is stylishly reflective of the spirit and beauty of the holidays.

1. Jewelry

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 5.17.32 PM Tip: Always a festive touch, bold gold jewelry brings just the right amount of drama. Shinola recently launched a new women’s jewelry line that focuses on classic shapes with just the right amount of eye-catching embellishment. Wear these items every day and layer up for the evening.

NordstromJeweledEarringsSAM_I_17219829

 

Tory Burch, Barneys New York, Diane von Furstenberg, J.Crew and Tiffany & Co. all have a wide variety of statement pieces that make sense for the holiday season and beyond. To bring your gold items into more festive territory, layer in jewel-tone rings and earrings that feature emeralds, rubies and sapphires.

(As shown, clockwise from top left: Shinola Medium Buckle Ring with Diamonds at Shinola at The Grove, $850; Shinola Coin Edge Signet Ring at Shinola at The Grove, $1500; Shinola Lug Ring with Diamonds at Shinola at The Grove, $1500; Nordstrom Jewel Drop Earrings at Nordstrom at The Grove and The Americana at Brand, $39)

 

2. Black Eyeliner with a Hint of Glitter

       SephoraEyeliners1191188-main-Lhero           MACMT3Y02_640x600_0

Tip: Up your holiday makeup game with sparkle placed strategically toward the inner corners of your eyes. It’s a subtle move that will bump up basic daytime makeup to a party-ready face. Sephora Collection makes a black shadow eyeliner that has a fun glitter finish and a texture that’s soft enough to smudge for a smoky eye. For additional shine, M·A·C Cosmetics makes a practically 3D glitter that would pop from the inner corners of the eyes. Happy new year 2017

(As shown: Sephora Collection Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner in Glitter Black at Sephora at The Grove and The Americana at Brand, $12; MAC Cosmetics 3D Silver Glitter at MAC Cosmetics at The Grove and The Americana at Brand, $22)

 

3. Jeweled Sunglasses

Tip: From Dolce & Gabbana to Prada, bejeweled sunnies are an easy way to sparkle in Southern California this winter. Try Nordstrom, Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Barneys New York, and Elizabeth and James for the most dazzling array of jeweled and stylish sunglasses.

 

4. Rich Fabrics ElizabethJamesH16_AmbroseJacket_Black

Tip: Choose a traditionally sparkly textile in a deep, romantic shade in order to shine with a rich intensity. Elizabeth and James’ current collection is packed with sumptuous velvet tops and dresses, plus satin details on blazers for a truly luxe finish. Nordstrom, Anthropologie and J.Crew also are all carrying holiday-ready velvet items, plus plenty of highly textural lace.

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If you would rather let your shoes do all the sparkling, Chiara Ferragni (now open near the fountain at The Grove), TOMS and UGG® Australia have embellished footwear, ranging from glitter designs to lace and rhinestone details, respectively.

(As shown from top: Elizabeth and James Ambrose Jacket at Elizabeth and James at The Grove, $425; Chiara Ferragni Flirting Metallic Sequin Point-Toe Flats at Chiara Ferragni Pop Up Shop at The Grove, $465)

 

 

5. MonochromaticElizabethJamesH16_WesleyDress_BlackNavy

Tip: Wear a festive fabric or texture (such as sequins or lace) with a similar or matching shade so that the effect is subtle yet shiny. For example, a black sequin T-shirt or lace blouse looks gorgeous with a classic black skirt or cropped trouser. Punctuate the ensemble with an unexpected glitter flat from Chiara Ferragni’s highly coveted shoe line.

(Shown right: Elizabeth and James Wesley Dress at Elizabeth and James at The Grove, $475)

NordstromJeweledBArretteSAM_G_160918766. Hair Accessories

Tip: Brooches, pins and ornamental hair décor are a festive and unique way to draw attention to the face and mane. Try Barneys New York, Nordstrom and J.Crew for ornate brooches and hair accessories that can be fastened to the side of a chignon or into the back of a half-up, half-down do.

(Shown above: Nordstrom Cara Rhinestone Bow Barrette at Nordstrom at The Grove and The Americana at Brand, $36)

 

7. The 3:1 Rule

For every three items worn, one should be sparkly and the other two more understated in order to keep you from resembling a Christmas ornament. As mentioned, Chiara Ferragni’s shoes and accessories are a stellar style statement and don’t need a ton of heavy jewelry to steal the spotlight. If your outfit is already plenty festive, temper with understated classic jewelry from Tiffany and Co. or David Yurman and with practical, neutral footwear.

4 Experts, 1 Perfect Holiday Table: Heather Taylor, Caroline Styne, Suzanne Goin and Maire Byrne Share Their Tips

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Aside from the beloved company gathered around your dining table, it’s the seamless combination of ambience, décor and food that really captures the style and spirit of this treasured time of year.

Every detail, from table linens and lighting, to serving platters and centerpieces, is key to creating a stunning tablescape that will add warmth to your home and set a cheerful mood at your table.

Here, four of the most sought-after entertaining experts share their valuable tips for creating a truly magnificent and unforgettable holiday celebration.

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(Photo credit: @heathertaylorhome)

Heather Taylor, Founder of Heather Taylor Home

During the fall I like exposed wood tables that are not covered in a heavy cloth. Use runners, or nothing at all, to allow the natural beauty of the wood to show through, and add a bold napkin. It’s a less-fussy look that feels less “done,” yet is still seasonally appropriate and sophisticated. Don’t be afraid to use color, but think beyond the typical fall palette. Fir green, plum and marigold are all rich, autumnal hues that keep your table from looking like a Thanksgiving window display.

I always have a focal point in the center of my table, but I look beyond flowers, especially in the fall. A gorgeous bowl filled with pomegranates, squash or grapes is a bit unexpected, and it evokes the harvest in a very subtle way. Avoid the urge to spread red, yellow and orange maple leaves across your table. I also like to put some striking birch branches in a beautiful vase or a bay leaf wreath as a centerpiece. It still gives that autumn feeling without being so obvious.

HeatherTaylor_tablescape_Thanksgiving

(Photo credit: @heathertaylorhome)

I love using mini fruits or vegetables, such as pears, persimmons and winter squash, to hold place cards. It’s fun and less precious than the usual options. I try to mix old and new, for instance my grandmother’s china with some of my table linens, for a mix of formal and modern so that the table looks fresh and not too traditional or stuffy.

I turn off all the lights and just use candles. It’s perfect for this time of year and avoids brightness which can really put a damper on a gathering.

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(Photo credit: @suzannegoin)

Caroline Styne and Suzanne Goin, The Larder at Burton Way

Caroline: The food that surrounds the holiday season delights the sights and senses, undeniably bringing people together. In particular, sweet potato dishes create an amazing and autumnal aroma and flavor that is immediately engrained in people’s memories. Add in the gorgeous color, and it’s a dish that everyone always looks forward to enjoying.

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This sweet-and-savory sweet potato recipe makes a great side dish. I always say that if I stopped bringing this to my mother’s Thanksgiving dinner, I might never be invited back! For those who don’t have the time, these sweet potatoes can always be ordered from our Thanksgiving Take-Away Menu at The Larder at Burton Way.

Sweet Potatoes with Bacon, Romesco and Spinach

4 pounds sweet potatoes

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup sherry, reduced to 1/2 cup

8 ounces (2 stocks) unsalted butter

2 tablespoon sliced sage leaves

2 teaspoons picked thyme leaves

3/4 pound slab bacon, cut into ½-inch lardons

1/2 pound young spinach, cleaned

1 recipe romesco

Kosher salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the potatoes, then cut them into 1 ½-inch cubes. Place them in a large bowl and toss with the sugar and reduced sherry.

In a medium sauté pan, cook the butter over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, until it’s brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Add the sage and thyme to the butter, then pour it over the sweet potatoes, scraping the pan with a rubber spatula to get all the brown bits. Toss with a large spoon, being careful of the hot butter. Season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a large roasting pan, then bake in the oven for 50 minutes to one hour until they are caramelized tender. Stir with a metal spatula every so often to coat evenly.

While the potatoes are cooking, slice the bacon lengthwise into 1 3/8-inch thick slices. Stack them in two piles, then cut the strips crosswise into 3/8-inch thick, even-sided rectangles or lardons. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute, add the bacon and cook for about 5 minutes, until it’s tender and lightly crisped. Using a slotted spoon, transfer it to a plate.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove the pan from the oven, then toss in the bacon and spinach. Taste for seasoning and arrange in a shallow bowl or large platter. Spoon the romesco over and around the sweet potatoes.

 RoastedVegetables_ThymeCafe

 

(Photo credit: @thymecafeandmarket)

Maire Byrne, Owner of Thyme CateringThyme Cafe & MarketLocal Kitchen & Wine Bar, and Quinnie & B in Santa Monica

I like to have everything ready and out so that I don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen. I love to set up food around the house so as people move throughout, they are excited by new tasty treats.

On the kitchen island I like to set up a panini and soup station.  Everyone loves a delicious winter soup served in a mug, and we have a server there pressing paninis to order.

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In the dining room we set up a comfort-food station with sliced turkey, cranberry compote, beef filet with spicy horseradish, creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, crispy onions and our thyme-kale salad.

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I set up dessert on our breakfast table, covering it with bite-sized treats such as mini red-velvet cupcakes, mini cranberry-apple crisp with vanilla ice cream in small glasses, and hot chocolate and apple cider, which are sure to make the house smell amazing!

For the kids, we have donut decorating. We set up a table with all sorts of cute bowls filled with toppings that kids can use to decorate donuts for them to take home.

Brown Sugar-Lime Yams

From Thyme and Available at The Gourmet To-Go Section at Thyme

Serves 12-15

12 yams

1/2 pound butter

Zest of 3 limes and juice of 5

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Salt to taste

Cover yams with water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. When cool enough to handle, peel yams, being sure to remove any threads and tough portions. Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan, then bring to a simmer. Cook until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved; remove from heat. In batches, purée yams and butter mixture until smooth. Taste for seasoning.

 

Fig and Whiskey Cocktail

 

Fig & Thyme Cocktail

From Local Kitchen & Wine Bar

2 1/2 ounces vodka

1 1/2 ounces fig syrup

1 ounce Earl Grey tea (double concentrate)

1 ounce tangerine juice (pulp removed)

2 thyme sprigs, plus extra for garnish

1 large egg white

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker and stir until combined. Add egg white, and fill shaker to the top with ice. Shake vigorously for 90 seconds, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with sliced fig on thyme skewer.

The Most Festive Places in and Around L.A. to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

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Whether it’s the delicious pumpkin spice filling the air or the vibrant poinsettias adorning lampposts across the city, early seasonal touches have us counting down the days until its official arrival and all the exciting festivities that come along with it.

For a city blessed with consistently mild weather (and not a drop of real snow since 1962), Los Angeles really knows how to ring in the holidays. Neighborhoods from the beach to the hills are decked with strings of colorful lights, while popular destinations go all out to ensure visitors from near and far get a heaping dose of holiday cheer.

Topping the list of L.A. winter wonderlands are The Grove and The Americana at Brand, where snow magically falls twice nightly, holiday music fills the air and two of the West Coast’s tallest trees each twinkle with 25,000 lights and ornaments.

If you’re staying local this November and December, check out these can’t-miss seasonal attractions at The Grove and The Americana at Brand, plus other destinations worth visiting to see the holidays done right.

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On November 13, witness the lighting of the 100-foot Christmas tree and a 60-minute live spectacular hosted by Seth MacFarlane. Beginning at 7 pm, the evening will feature entertainment for the whole family, including special performances by Lea Michele and Rachel Platten, the season’s first snowfall, a fireworks show and the arrival of Santa Claus.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  Host Seth MacFarlane performs onstage during The Grove Christmas with Seth MacFarlane, presented by Citi. at The Grove on November 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Caruso Affiliated)

Starting November 14, visit Santa Claus daily at the Santa House for a magical holiday experience and professional holiday photos. Other seasonal hallmarks include live outdoor performances by The Top Hats, stirring sounds played by Toy Soldiers and Belle Air Brass, character visits from Frosty the Snowman and the Gingerbread Man, roasting chestnuts and hot cocoa in The Park, and lots more.

Visit TheGroveLa.com for more details on Santa House hours, reservations and photo packages.

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The annual tree lighting takes place on November 17 at 7 pm, ushering in the holidays with music from around the worldthe season’s first snowfall, the arrival of Santa Claus and a grand fireworks finale.

AAB ChristmasSanta makes his official entrance at the Santa House on November 18, along with other holiday highlights including a festive brass band, drummer boys, stilt walkers, gingerbread men and toy soldiers, roasting chestnuts and hot cocoa carts, a cappella singers and more.

Visit AmericanaAtBrand.com for more details on hours, Santa House reservations and photo packages.

Both The Grove and The Americana at Brand offer top-notch concierge and valet services, several new stores and restaurants, extended shopping hours and Caruso Rewards Double Points, from November 13 – December 31.

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This Woodland Hills neighborhood has been coming together since 1952 in an effort to create the most dazzling display of Christmas lights this side of the North Pole. Those who visit the spectacle understand why the stretch of eight blocks near the intersection of Oxnard Street and Lubao Avenue has been dubbed “Candy Cane Lane,” with décor that rivals only a Hollywood movie set. The lights go up on the second Saturday of December, and remain there until the end of the year. Visit woodlandhillscc.net/candy_cane_lane for more details.

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The famed LA Zoo really comes alive around the holidays! From November 18 –  January 8, the two-year-old tradition of festooning the zoo with an impressive display of lights and holiday-themed décor continues. Visit lazoolights.org for more details.

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A quintessentially Southern Californian stretch of land, the Venice Canals may be just steps from the beach, but they feel reminiscent of a small European town. Add the Christmas lights that are wrapped around the wooden bridges sparkling against the water, and you’re left with a romantic and uniquely offbeat holiday experience.

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Start the festivities with a pre-concert party offering free hot chocolate and coffee, then head into the sing-along, where classic holiday tunes will be sung. Accompanied by a choir, pipe organ and jazz ensemble, this lively event is the most musical way to welcome the holiday season. Visit laphil.com for more details.