Earl Grey Ice-Cream

Over the past couple of years cooking has become a growing passion of mine. I love playing with different flavours and techniques and, while I am by no means a professional chef, it’s extremely satisfying for me to see my skills developing. Last Christmas my boyfriend got me an ice-cream maker and I’ve had an absolute blast trying out different flavour combinations. Red velvet, salted caramel chocolate, orange and white chocolate – I can’t stop coming up with ideas. One of my most recent flavours was earl grey. I made it this past weekend and I was amazed at how easy it was and how delicious the finished flavour was. It’s zingy yet creamy with a touch of lemon and caramel along with that unmistakable bergamot flavour we all know and love. This is an elegant dessert that is delightful on its own, but goes especially well with cozy, spicy desserts – for example, poached pear cake or apple pie. Are you addicted to both tea and ice-cream like me? Give this tasty confection a whirl.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Cups Whipping Cream
  • 2 Cups Homogenized Milk
  • 1.5 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Caramel Extract
  • 1.5 Tsp Grated Lemon Zest or Lemon Extract
  • 4 Earl Grey Tea Bags

DIRECTIONS

1 // In a large saucepan, add your milk and cream with your four tea bags. Heat up the milk until you can see that the tea has dispersed and infused with your milk/cream mixture.

2 // Pour your milk/cream mixture into a large bowl and add your sugar and extracts. The lemon and caramel extracts are optional, but they really enhance the sweetness and citrus freshness of the earl grey. With a whisk, blend well until it all gets a bit frothy and everything is well mixed.

3 // Wait until your earl grey ice-cream mixture is completely cool and then freeze it according to the manufacturers instructions.

4 // Once your ice-cream has finished churning, scoop it into an airtight container (it should be the consistency of soft serve) and put it into the freezer until it’s as firm as regular ice-cream (approximately 5 hours, although overnight is best).

5 // Pile it high, add some caramel sauce and shredded coconut (or whatever your favourite add-ons are), dig in, and enjoy!

Have you made homemade ice-cream before? What’s your favourite flavour and recipe? Sweet talk me in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

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Designer Spotlight | Samantha Pleet

If you haven’t yet heard of Samantha Pleet, then you’re in for a treat. Seriously, this Brooklyn-based designer is one that you definitely need to add to your list of must-shop indie-designers. So how would one describe her unmistakable style? Think one part hipster babe meets two parts Alice in Wonderland with a splash of preppy uptown chic. I fell in love with her eclectic aesthetic instantly and her latest collection, centred around musical symbols and concert motifs, is no exception. Launched in 2007 after graduating from Pratt Institute, her eponymous label has since earned itself a cult following of loyal fans who adore her whimsical themes and beautifully constructed pieces. She even counts A-list celebrities such as Lorde and Tilda Swinton as fans. And let’s be honest – what Tilda Swinton says, goes. Her style is totally rad. Still not convinced that you need plenty of Pleet in your life? Keep scrolling to see a few of my favourite pieces from her harmonious spring collection – shameless pun totally intended. I think you’ll see the light.

MY PICKS

1 // Bell Dress

2 // Backstage Overalls

3 // Vista Dress

4 // Lute Bodysuit

5 // Prima Donna Jumpsuit

6 // Grand Piano Skirt

7 // Solo Shorts

8 // Concerto Swimsuit

9 // Cello Jeans

10 // Petite Four Shirt

Which of these pieces is your favorite? Psst.. I can’t get enough of the Vista Dress. Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Parisian Chic Style Guide

I, like so many others, have always been inspired by the idea of the french woman. She’s stylish and beautiful without much effort. She eats what she wants (butter, pastries, and cheese included). She drinks wine everyday and she stays slim and fresh. She makes no apologies for living a life of decadence and yet she glows with good health. The allure of the french woman has spawned hundreds of books and articles and it doesn’t seem to be fading away. And for good reason! After all, don’t we all want to wake up with glowing skin and perfectly mussed up hair, maintain our health and still indulge in everything good life has to offer? Unfortunately, as someone who has never lived in France, I don’t have the secrets to mastering this paradox. I do, however, have a pretty decent grip on french style (if I do say so myself) and in this blog post, I’m focusing entirely on the main principles of it. From the must-have spring accessories to the beauty essentials that will give you that oh-so-alluring je ne said quoi, here are my tips and picks that encapsulate French style.


A C C E S S O R I E S

The french approach to fashion is all about the classically elegant capsule wardrobe that is punctuated by luxe extras. Tie a silk scarf around your neck and slip into a beautifully crafted pair of velvet loafers and watch your neutral cashmere sweater and cigarette pants ensemble go from zero to a hundred, just like that. When it comes to accessories (and everything really), buy fewer pieces but make them count. Sure, that designer bag may seem like a ridiculous amount of money now, but if it’s taken care of, it will last and look beautiful from season to season, year after year. Like a fine wine, a Chanel 2.55 flap bag only gets better with time.

1 // Barneys New York – Small Straw Tote Bag

2 // Tiffany & Co. – Sterling Silver Elsa Peretti Bean Necklace

3 // Nine West – Huff Women’s Smoking Slipper

4 // Polo Ralph Lauren – Callie Raffia Smoking Mule

5 // The Cambridge Satchel Company – Cloud Shoulder Bag

6 // The Met – Monet Sunflowers Bangle

7 // Mulberry – Square Silk Scarf

O U T E R W E A R

When it comes to your coats and jackets, look for timeless silhouettes and high-quality fabrics. Once you’ve got a flattering style in mind, keep your eyes peeled for eclectic details and unexpected colours to breathe new life into basics. The mainstays of your spring/summer outerwear arsenal? A lightweight linen trench, a buttery soft cashmere cardigan, a waist-cinching leather jacket and a weekend-casual denim jacket.

1 // Vero Moda – Cool Trench Jacket in Pink

2 // Iro Luiga – Cropped Leather Jacket

3 // (Pre-Owned) Chanel – Striped Knit Cardigan

4 // Rebecca Taylor – La Vie Floral Embroidered Jacket

T O P S

The essence of french-girl chic is looking like you rolled out of bed in a striped Chanel boat neck and Dries Van Noten trousers, swiped on some lipstick and finger combed your hair before strutting outside with all of the confidence in the world. It’s effortless yet stunning. It’s put-together but not too polished. So how does one achieve this tricky balance when shirt-shopping? Look for well-made tops in beautiful, natural fabrics. Subtly sexy, unexpected details are oh-so-French as well. A deep, cleavage-baring v-neck? Non. But a plunging back in your linen sweater or an off the shoulder ruffled cotton tee? Oui. P.S. never underestimate the versatility of a silk t-shirt. It will take you from day to night with ease.

1 // H&M – Ruffled Open-Shoulder Blouse

2 // WtR – Sonnet Belted Silk Wrap Top in Emerald

3 // River Island – Petite Pink Striped Crop Shirt

4 // Chicwish – Focus On Lace-Up Back Sweater

5 // Patrizia Pepe – Silk Blouse in Fuchsia

6 // Mango – Floral Embroidered Striped Shirt

7 // Banana Republic – Cropped Ponte Shell

8 // Galvan London – V Neck Camisole in Black

B O T T O M S

Creating a well-rounded, french-inspired capsule wardrobe definitely requires a few essential pieces. For example, a perfectly worn-in pair of blue jeans for casual-wear is a must – I mean, how many of us live in denim? Also, a pair of dressier trousers that you can wear to work or to a fancier event. Don’t limit yourself to plain black – a classic print like stripes or houndstooth is a little more interesting but still goes with everything. Finally, make sure to have a collection of skirts that can take you from work to play. A lace or silk number is a sexy choice for a night out, while a fluttery knee-length piece can take you anywhere, from a wedding shower to a Sunday brunch. Like with everything else, never skimp on quality and pick pieces that are unique but not trendy – for example, a wide-legged pair of high-waisted blue jeans is ultra-modern but also timelessly flattering.

1 // Dries Van Noten – Velvet Culottes in Mint

2 // Weekday – Ace Wow Blue Jeans

3 // Daily Look – Lily Lace Trim High Waist Shorts

4 // River Island – Beige Paperbag Button Front Pencil Skirt

5 // J. Crew – Okinawa Striped Wide-Leg Silk-Twill Wrap Pants

6 // TOPSHOP – Heart Ruffle Toe Mini Skirt

B E A U T Y

French women are renowned for their simple yet extremely effective approach to beauty that centres far more around skin and hair care than makeup. Forget contouring or gluing on false lashes. French beauty is all about embracing your uniqueness and enhancing your natural beauty, while also taking excellent care of your complexion. Invest in top-shelf skincare and hair care items and stick to your regime everyday. Treat yourself to a bit of pampering as well – a monthly or bi-monthly facial and massage will keep your skin glowing, while also allowing you to gain professional insight on how to keep your face looking it’s best. Also, never forget to wear a bit of perfume. Find a scent you love and wear it until people associate it with you. Finally, go easy with the makeup. A bit of red lipstick and a smudge of eyeliner is all you need to make your beauty look really pop.

1 // Yves Saint Laurent – Rouge Pur Couture The Mat

2 // Byredo – Velvet Haze Eau De Parfum

3 // French Girl – Lumière Huile Pour Le Corps in Moonlight

4 // Avène – XeraCalm A. D Cleansing Oil

5 // Bobbi Brown- Long-Wear Liquid Liner in Carbon Black

6 // Peter Thomas Roth – 24K Gold Pure Luxury Hair Mask Treatment

I hope you enjoyed this post! What does french-style mean to you? Let me know your thoughts!

xoxo,

Alicia

March Beauty Picks

Spring beauty for me is all about flawless, dewy skin, bright lips and a sense of playfulness, whether that’s an unexpected swipe of sea foam eyeshadow or a candy-coloured manicure. My skin has just recovered from a breakout of epic proportions and that’s all down to two holy-grail products in this list. Trust me, I’m a skincare junkie, and these are the cream of the crop.

1 // SAND & SKY – Purifying Pink Clay Mask

Not only does this mask work like a charm but it actually looks pretty while in action. Comprised of a Australian pink clay, it draws out excess oil, dirt, dead skin cells and other impurities, leaving your complexion smooth, clear, and matte. Plus, the petal pink hue is completely insta-worthy.

2 // Mellow Cosmetics – Passion Matte Lipstick in Light Pink

This may just be my favorite pink lipstick of all time. The formula is moisturizing and creamy but it dries to a velvety matte finish. Also the hue is pretty much perfect. It’s a light, rosy pink that makes me complexion look fresh and awake instead of ruddy or washed out like so many pink lipsticks do. A perfect ten – and I have a massive selection of lipsticks!

3 // Tarte – Sex Kitten Eyeliner in Black

My biggest beauty pet peeve is when my eyeliner runs and smudges into a racoon-ish mess within a couple of hours of me putting it on. I absolutely ADORE this formula (although honestly, Tarte rarely puts out a product I don’t love) because it glides on smooth and stays crisp and defined by the end of the day. It’s highly pigmented and the tip is super precise so this is my go-to for cat-eyes and when I want to fine-line my peepers. It’s a little pricey, but when you consider how well it works and that you only have to apply it ONCE in the day, it’s totally worth it.

4 // Kester Black – Nail Polish in Violet

Vibrant and sweet, this candy-esque lacquer reminds me of shiny hard candies – the kind my grandma would keep in a pretty bowl on the coffee table. This shade is not at all the subtle nude or french tips I usually go for, but it’s a great way to add a playful hit of colour that screams spring!

5 // Juice Beauty – Green Apple Peel Sensitive Exfoliating Mask

As someone with very sensitive, fair skin that’s prone to discolouration, I place a lot of importance on exfoliation in my skincare routine. Rough, abrasive scrubs just make my complexion red and irritated, so this gentle but effective peel is a favourite of mine. Packed full of fruit-derived alpha hydroxy acids and glycolic acid, this sweet-smelling gel breaks down dead skin cells and promotes collagen production and cell turn-over. Not only does this prevent breakouts but it helps to fade marks and enhance your skins natural glow. I use this twice a week and I absolutely love it. If you’re someone who finds traditional scrubs to be harsh for your skin, give this celebrity-approved product a try.

What beauty products are you obsessed with right now? Let’s chat makeup and skincare – I can’t get enough.

xoxo,

Alicia

Sweet Potato Parmesan Gnocchi

I truly love to cook. It’s creative, productive and there’s something so meditative about working with my hands. Not to mention how rewarding it is to be able to sit down to a delicious homemade meal that I know I made from scratch. I’m trying to experiment a bit more in the kitchen and lately I’ve been making a ton of homemade pasta. While I love using my pasta maker to make fresh fettuccine, it’s quite a time consuming process and sometimes I just want to be able to whip up something that tastes like I slaved for hours without having to actually spend a lifetime at my stove. This decadent recipe for Sweet Potato Parmesan gnocchi tastes and looks fancy, but is incredibly easy and quick to make. Instead of reaching for that prepackaged, preservative-filled gnocchi at your local grocery store, flour up your counter, roll up your sleeves and see for yourself just how easy (and delicious) it is to make Gnocchi yourself! Pour yourself a delicious glass of Pinot Noir and get cracking.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Medium Sized Yams
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Powdered Parmesan
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 2 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Sage
  • 1 Large Egg

DIRECTIONS

1 // Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2 // Cut up and peel your yams. Place them on a baking sheet drizzled in olive oil with a touch of salt and pepper and then bake them for 30 minutes.

3 // Wait for the yams to cook completely and then mash them until they are smooth without any lumps. You can use a potato masher or fork, but a ricer works best.

4 // Add the spices, Parmesan, salt and egg into the mashed yams and mix well.

5 // Gradually add your flour bit by bit until you have a soft, pliable ball of dough. If your dough is too dry, add a touch or olive oil. If your dough is too moist, dust it in flour.

6 // On a floured surface, roll out your dough into several skinny tubes and then slice into pieces that are about 1 inch thick. Use a fork to create ridges on your freshly cut gnocchi. This is not a total necessity but it will allow whichever sauce or flavourings you use to better adhere to your gnocchi.

7 // Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add your gnocchi. Cook them for a couple of minutes or until they float to the surface of the water. Scoop them out with a ladle and place them into a serving bowl.

8 // Toss your freshly made gnocchi with your favorite sauce and serve. I like it with just a touch of butter or olive oil with mushrooms sautéed in garlic, white wine and sage. With this recipe, simplicity shines and I love just letting the flavour of the gnocchi take center stage.

9 // Enjoy your delicious gnocchi! How easy was that? Seriously, you don’t have to be an expert chef to create scrumptious, homemade gnocchi and it’s sooo much better than what you can buy prepackaged at the store. There is truly no comparison.

If you try this recipe let me know how it goes! I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be hooked.

xoxo,

Alicia

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Six Stunning Scents For Spring

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In the same way that people like to update their wardrobe from season to season with a few key pieces, I like to refresh my perfume arsenal. As the chillier months melt away, I am looking forward to a lighter, more romantic scent wardrobe, filled with bright fruits, feminine florals, and earthy aromas that bring me closer to nature. With this in mind, I have curated a short and sweet list of six stunning scents that absolutely scream ‘spring is here!’. Keep scrolling to check them out!


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1 // Pop By Stella McCartney

Notes: Tomato Leaf, Violet Leaf, Green Mandarin, Violet, Frangipani, Tuberose, Sandalwood, Cedar, Musk

When you look at the notes for Pop by Stella McCartney, you don’t really get a strong impression of what this scent will smell like. Despite its predominantly floral, herbaceous ingredients, Pop is bright, flirty and optimistic. If it was a colour, it would be shocking pink. It has a sweet, almost edible aroma that is accented with ultra-feminine floral aromas. Wear it on those sunny spring days when you want to be dancing through your 9-to-5.

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2 // Marche au Fleurs By Fragonard

Notes: Melon, Black Currant, Sweet Pea, Lily-Of-The-Valley, Peach, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Musk

Fresh and almost watery in it’s opening, Marche aux Fleurs truly does smell like a walk through a rain-soaked French garden. Juicy black currant and ripe melon add a touch of sweetness to a dewy bouquet of white florals.

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3 // White Potion By Ayala Moriel

Notes: Ylang-Ylang, Grapefruit, Rosewood, Tuberose, Jasmine, Gardenia, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Coconut

Tuberose is the sultry vamp of the flower world. It’s not shy and it doesn’t hold back. It’s the star of the show in indie-perfumer Ayala Moriel’s decadent confection. White Potion is unapologetically sexy with sweet, almost carnal tuberose combined with juicy grapefruit, creamy sandalwood and beachy coconut. It’s a creamy, romantic fragrance that softens throughout the day, leaving a rich, floral trail that will intoxicate those around you all day long.

 

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4 // Baiser Volé By Cartier

Note: Lily Pistil, Citrus, Lily Petals, Lily Leaves, Green Notes

If spring could be incapsulated in a singular fragrance, it would be the delicate, powdery aroma of a fresh-cut bouquet of lilies. This ingenious cocktail by Cartier captures this timeless scent, surrounding all parts of the lily – the pistil, petals and leaves. I love spritzing this on when I leave the house on a spring day. Its bright and joyful, with an aroma that garners compliments from ladies and gentlemen alike.

curious-by-britney-spears

5 // Curious By Britney Spears

Notes: Louisiana Magnolia, Anjou Pear, Lotus, Tuberose, Cyclamen, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Musk, White Woods, Vanilla

What?! A celebrity scent?! No seriously, Curious by Britney Spears is simply gorgeous and so ‘spring’ that it had to be included on this list. It opens with a refreshing, watery burst of juicy pear, Louisiana magnolia and lotus. As it continues to bloom, the intensive floral heart is enveloped in a warm, sultry blanket of sandalwood, musk, vanilla and precious woods. This fragrance has been flying off its shelf since 2004 and it’s not a surprise why. Curious may be a celebrity-endorsed scent but it’s effortlessly elegant, feminine and timeless.

wisteria-blue-nest-fragrances

6 // Wisteria Blue By Nest Fragrances

Notes: French Wisteria, Bulgarian Rose, Imperial Jasmine

Romantic and regal are the two words that could best describe Wisteria Blue. Its simple composition proves that a complicated array of notes doesn’t always mean that a scent is more interesting. The three distinctive but complimentary notes blend together perfectly, creating a soft, velvety scent that is perfect for everyday (even office!) wear. It’s the kind of airy spring scent that you won’t want to start your day without!

Have you tried any of these fragrances? What is your spring signature?

xoxo,

Alicia

 

for-him-for-her-valentines-gift-guide

Valentine’s Gift Guides For Him & Her

Have some last minute V-Day shopping to get done? I feel you. But don’t fret – I’ve rounded up 22 pretty gorgeous gift ideas that are sure to please the special lady or gentleman in your life. Simply scroll, click, and pick up the perfect gift for your beloved or for numero uno – you.

FOR HER

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1 // Vivienne Westwood – Tamia Earrings

These sparklers are just the right blend of sweet and edgy, for the lady who likes a little bling in her day-to-day.

2 // Marc Jacobs – Daisy Eau So Fresh Kiss

If she loved the original, she’s going to gaga for this spring-fresh blend of cherry blossom, blackcurrant and creamy sandalwood. Plus, how gorgeous is this bottle?

3 // Godiva – 24 pc. Signature Chocolate Truffles Gift Box

This stunning collection of mouthwatering dark and milk chocolates is almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.

4 // Tiffany & Co. – Elsa Peretti Open Heart Small Necklace

There is truly no better way to tell her she’s got your heart than with this minimalist open heart silver pendant. After all, jewelry is worth a thousand words.

5 // Côte Noire –  Pink Roses in Black Glass with Gift Box

Proving that faux can be fabulous, these artificial roses look like the real thing but last forever! They also smell gorgeous, thanks to the 10ml spray bottle of rose petal scent. Choose from ivory, blush, pink or crimson (the pink is my favourite).

6 // Jennifer Behr – Velvet Bow Hair Clip

Crafted out of luxe velvet, this sweet yet simple hair clip lends a touch of romance and femininity to an otherwise simple outfit.

7 // Tod’s – Women’s City Gommino Nubuck Penny Loafers in Pink

For the woman who is tired of traipsing around in toe-crushing stilettos, these hot pink loafers are super comfy and oh-so-chic.

8 // Chanel – Coco Mademoiselle Scented Foam Bath

Make bath time all the more indulgent with this creamy bubble bath, scented with Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle. Pair with a glass of champagne and oodles of candles.

9 // Olivia Burton – Moulded Floral Bouquet Watch in Blush & Rose Gold

This breathtaking time piece is seriously like a wearable piece of art. Guaranteed, anyone who wears this will be punctual, because they won’t be able to stop staring at their wrist.

10 // Pink Poodle – Collectif Heart Shoulder Bag (from Glasgow)

A little cheesy, a lot adorable, this statement-making bag will add a playful hit of colour and kitschiness to any and every outfit. The chain-link strap also keeps hands free!

11 // Cosabella – Jolie Printed Tall Triangle Bralette

Sweet and sexy, this floral-printed lacy number is as comfy as it is pretty. The crushed raspberry hue is also guaranteed to look gorgeous against all skin tones.

FOR HIM

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1 // Komono – Gold Winston Watch

If Cary Grant was a watch, he would be this gleaming beauty from Komono. From the cognac leather straps to the black face and gold hardware, everything about this watch says old-school dashing.

2 // L:A Bruket – 166 Grooming Kit

Think it’s just us ladies that like a bit of pampering? Think again. This fully-equipped shaving set makes it easy for your man to stay primped and polished with luxe products and ingredients that are selected especially for your man’s skin and hair.

3 // Mulberry – Mother Of Pearl Cufflinks

Like in relationships, when it comes to style, it’s the little things that make all the difference. With real mother of pearl, these sleek cufflinks are a luxe way to say ‘I love you’.

4 // Guerlain – L’Homme Ideal Eau de Toilette

This woody oriental is so lush and sexy that I want to wear it myself. With notes of almond, incense, leather, woods and just a hint of vanilla, this sultry cologne will keep her leaning in.

5 // The Nikka Whisky Co. – Whiskies in Tube Tasting Set

Indulge his love for whisky with this sleek and stylish tasting set! It’s a great way to find out which one he loves the most and will make cocktail hour a lot more exciting. After all, variety is the spice of life!

6 // Electric Av2 – Polarized Gold Sunglasses

Help him channel Tom Cruise in Top Gun with these sexy sunnies. They cost a pretty penny but who can put a price on protecting the eyes of the one you love right? Exactly.

7 // Burberry – Check Cotton Oxford Shirt

There’s nothing like a well-made Oxford shirt to make a man look put together. This crimson gem is made out of high-quality cotton fabric and can be dressed up or down for date night or weekend wear.

8 // Scotch & Soda – Velvet Slip-On Loafers

These plush velvet loafers will make him feel like Sonny Corleone (without the crime family) and will keep his toes toasty during February’s chilly mornings and evenings.

9 // Beats by Dr. Dre – Studio 3 Wireless Headphones

Music just sounds better with Beats. Make his morning commute a little better with these luxe headphones. You can’t buy love but Beats is pretty close.

10 // Jack Black – Mint Lip Balm and Double Duty Moisturizer

Keep his lips kissable and his complexion smooth with this refreshing duo from Jack Black. My boyfriend loves their lip balms and I have to say, I borrow his minty formula all the time.

11 // Thom Browne – Penguin Mohair & Wool Jacquard Scarf

There’s something about gentlemen in scarves that just gets me. It’s that extra touch of style that not all men add to their ensembles but they should! I remember when I went to Paris, all men wore scarves and it just looked so polished and fabulous. This quirky piece will keep him warm and stylish with cozy mohair and wool.

Which gift options are your favorites? Make sure to pick up a Valentine’s treat for yourself!

xoxo,

Alicia