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Travel Guide: How To Do a Week in Paris with the Entire Family

Travel Guide: How To Do a Week in Paris with the Entire Family

Ah Paris, the city of lights and romance! When you think “Paris,” you probably conjure up visions of you and your significant other at the Eiffel Tower, with good wine and all the carbohydrates you normally eschew. But Paris is a culturally rich destination that offers plenty of fun options for all your family members, both big and small alike. Read on to learn about our family vacation, with all its triumphs and tribulations, in my daily trip itinerary:

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

We arrived in Paris at 8:30 AM on the non-stop flight from Seattle; highly recommend! If you cannot book first class, upgrading to Delta Comfort is the next best thing. Two words: bulkhead seats. Luckily, the kids did really well with the journey, phew!

We booked our stay in the 6th Arrondissement, at the Le Saint Paris, which also conveniently can arrange for a driver to pick you up from the airport—Alex came to get us and gave us a French lesson, too; très bien!

When we arrived, our room wasn’t quite ready so we ate a much-needed breakfast after the long flight, after which we were shown up to our quarters. I can’t recommend Le Saint Paris enough. With a perfect location on the Left Bank, just across the Seine from the Louvre, it felt quaint without being too touristy. It’s also great for families, because they have connecting rooms that are spacious and well appointed.

After unpacking and freshening up, we headed out to the Eiffel Tower. Pro tip: purchase tickets ahead of time so you don’t have to stand in line. During our visit, the grounds were under major construction, but that didn’t take away from how much the kids loved seeing such a famous landmark.

We then hopped onto a bike taxi, bringing us to the Jardin des Tuileries.  We checked out the trampolines and walked around to keep ourselves awake and adjusted to our new time zone. The kids enjoyed the fresh air, and Ryan and I got a chance to people watch.

Unfortunately, we ended up having dinner at a not-so-special bistro near our hotel. Note: Not all French bistros are created equal!

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

We woke up and dined downstairs at our hotel, which had a great breakfast consisting of omelets, French toast, pancakes and yogurt. Added bonus? If the kids forgot something, or we thought better of bringing something up in our room, we could easily run back before heading out for the day.

Prior to leaving Seattle, I made a reservation for the Paris Muse Clues: A Louvre Family Tour.  We met our tour guide, Henry (who was English and great with kids), just outside the Louvre and he snapped a few photos of us before entering the museum. He had scavenger hunt books for each kid to fill out and then find treasure at the end.  It was one of the kids’ favorite activities, and us adults learned a lot, too! It made me want to go back to school and study history.

Post-hunting, we had lunch. If you’re looking for a particularly special spot in the area, and don’t mind shelling out a few extra Euros, I recommend eating at Le Café Marly, where you can see inside the Louvre!

We then walked towards the 3rd Arrondissement, where you can find stores Supreme and Merci nearby (note: double check closed days/hours before you go). We shopped around a bit and then grabbed a drink from the Merci café and sat outside.

We continued walking through the streets of Paris, which, surprisingly, turned out to be one of our favorite activities on the trip. Looking at the architecture and just being present in a new city was also fun for our kids. Believe it or not, we didn’t hear one complaint about walking so much – even from our 6-year-old, Oliver. We took in the view of the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral, across the Île Saint-Louis, and along the Seine towards our hotel.  We stopped at the Golden Goose store, which was conveniently located right near our hotel. After all, you can’t resist looking at shoes in Paris, right?

I also learned a valuable lesson that day: it’s impossible to do everything. I repeat, don’t be a hero; you can’t do everything! For example, I really wanted to take the guided/private tour of Notre Dame, but it started at 9 AM, and with the jetlag and having to get everyone up in the morning—I just decided against it. After our trip, my mom also pointed out that we missed the world-famous ice cream on Île Saint-Louis called Berthillon. . . shhh don’t mention it to my kids—they’ll never forgive me.

We did, however, have a great end to our day dining at Les Antiquaire. It really hit the spot and we enjoyed the roasted chicken and profiteroles for dessert!

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Before our trip I had schedule a private bike tour for the five of us from Fat Tire Bike Tours.  I chose this bike tour because they had child-sized bikes for Hudson and tandem bikes for Helen & Oliver. It was great! We went by the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, where the tomb of Napoleon is located, the Musée de l’Armée, Petit Palais, Grand Palais, the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre.  It was really fun for the kids and helped keep their energy levels up, being in the fresh air.

After our bike ride we were ready for lunch.  We ate next to the bike tour office at a great little Italian spot: Firmine.  The food was fabulous and a welcome change after solely dining on French meals.

Once full, Oliver really wanted to go inside Les Invalides to see the actual tomb of Napoleon, so we wandered over and got some fun pictures of the kids with the Eiffel Tower in the background.  After seeing the tomb, we went inside the Musée de l’Armée.  The museum was really interesting and well laid out—though I do admit to taking a little cat nap on a bench while the rest of the family explored. BUT it really was impressive and the refurbishing of the outside of the building was absolutely pristine with its limestone façade and courtyard with old canons (the kids were climbing all over them, having a great time). After the Musée, we did a little shopping at Le Bon Marché—one of my favorite places to shop in Paris where I can always find the perfect pair of shoes. Following our shopping excursion, we ate dinner at Chez Fernand. The kids loved it!  Oliver and Hudson devoured the beef short ribs and of course we ordered dessert—chocolate lava cake, divine! The dessert was served while Oliver was in the restroom and was completely gone by the time he returned!  Luckily, he settled for ice cream on our walk back to the hotel, oops!

Side note – there are two Chez Fernand’s. I prefer the location on Rue Christine, which is like sitting inside a cave with beautiful limestone walls.  The staff is also incredibly friendly, which always makes for a fun evening.

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

We decided to venture onto the Metro, and it was so easy to take.  Having an iPhone made it super simple—as soon as you land in Paris, Apple Maps updates to the transit maps for the bus and Metro. I highly recommend taking the Metro instead of taxis—especially with five of us.  The taxi drivers weren’t keen on piling four of us in the back with Ryan in the front, so taking the Metro was a convenient solution.

We had the concierge of our hotel schedule a bakery tour for us at Le Grenier àPain Caulaincourt in the 18th Arrondissement. It was amazing to me how small their space was where they made bread.  We learned that in all Paris bakeries bread making has to be separated from pastry making. They can make a tremendous number of baguettes, up to 1,000 a day if needed. We sampled several tarts and breads; everything was delicious.

We walked off our carbs, heading up the hill to Sacré-Cœur.  The line to enter was really quick! There was a mass going on at the time, but it’s a gorgeous church with a stunning view of Paris from the front steps. Not to be missed!

Taking the subway back to Le Marais, we revisited the Supreme store (ahem, hence my note above about double checking closing days/hours). The kids thought it was cool—Hudson especially! They all bought a hat and Hudson bought a sweatshirt.  I’m not sure I understand what all the hype is about, but I can tell you the founder, James Jebbia, has done an incredible job creating a brand.  He’s been able to collaborate with some very famous and influential people that have helped propel Supreme into a $1 billion dollar business—pretty genius if you ask me!  I also think the key to their success is producing products in very limited editions and tightly controlled releases.

After shopping we treated ourselves to croque-madame and –monsieur sandwiches at the charming Carré Pain de Mie then headed to the Centre Pompidou.  It turns out I’m a bigger fan of Modern Art than Ryan and the kids, and some of it was quite out there, but I did mention to Ryan, “It definitely does get you talking.”

The kids were tired, so we headed back to the hotel and ordered them room service while Ryan and I went out to dinner at Le Voltaire.  It is lovely and very typical French, not to mention so fun to have night out just the two of us! Never underestimate having a little time to yourselves on a family trip.

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

The concierge at our hotel purchased “skip the line” tickets for us to the Catacombs, which was essential (Are you noticing a theme here about booking ahead?) We only waited about 20-30 minutes to enter, whereas, if you didn’t have tickets, the line was three hours long! The Catacombs was a lot more entertaining than I imagined. All of us enjoyed learning the history behind the famous burial spot and the city of Paris.

Such underground fun definitely called for a drink afterwards, and we discovered a great place called L’Ecir.  We should have stayed for lunch, but decided to keep going and eat later. The food here looked amazing though, and, three hours later when we were wandering around searching for a restaurant, we really wished we would have eaten there.

We decided to go check out the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle and the zoo. Here’s another pro tip: skip the zoo. Fortunately, in between the zoo and museum we had one of the best meals of our trip at a café called Chez Léa.  Everything on the menu was to die for and we were so hungry I think we did order almost one of everything!

Next, we made our way to the Jardin du Luxembourg. We stopped at several places along the way, such as the candy store, Le Bonbon Au Palais, on Rue Monge and Aux Merveilleux de Fred that had the most DELECTABLE cakes!  It might be the best cake I’ve ever had. With a vanilla or chocolate whipped cream over a meringue, they were light, sweet and delicious!!!  After a few treats we walked past the Pantheon and took several photos before strolling to a toy store around the corner, Bass et Bass.

We then arrived at Jardin du Luxembourg and found the playground.  The kids had a great time running around on the beautiful grounds before heading back to the hotel to freshen up before dinner. We ended up at this great Italian place, La Locanda, near our hotel.  The owners were marvelous, taking the kids back to the kitchen to meet the chef and asking them lots of questions while showing them around the back of the restaurant.

Friday, April 6th

For our last day in Paris, we decided to take the kids to the Arc de Triomphe. We were able to get “skip the line” tickets again from the concierge, which saved a ton of time, enabling us to enter the staircase right away. There are about 200 stairs to the top and the view was breathtaking. There was a bit of a chill in the air, so make sure to bring jackets.

Soon following, we went to the Picasso Museum—my absolute favorite.  I loved the building and, of course, the art. It was so special to see all of the artwork in person. I could’ve spent hours in there.

After a quick lunch, we headed back to Jardin du Luxembourg as it was such a beautiful day and the kids just wanted to run around and blow off some steam. Then we walked back to our hotel, stopping at the renowned Café de Flore for a drink.

For dinner the kids ate room service and Ryan and I headed to Fish la Boissonnerie.  Despite lovely décor and great reviews, neither Ryan or I particularly cared for it (I’ve included some other recommendations below for restaurants that I’ve been to in the past that I would highly recommend), but it was nice, all the same, to end the trip with just the two of us.

Like all travel experiences, some things can be hit or miss. But overall we had an amazing time together learning, seeing and doing new things, as well as old favorites. I hope this guide will help inspire you to navigate your own family trip to Paris. If we can do it with our family of five, so can you!

Bon Voyage!

Further Restaurant Recommendations:

Au 35 Rue Jacob

Aux Prés

Cinq-Mars

La Cigale Récamier

Ladurée

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Five Ways To Style A White Shirt

Five Ways To Style A White Shirt

There are a few wardrobe essentials that every woman must have. A pair of black pants, the classic blazer, a little black dress and the perfect white shirt. Made from the finest Italian cotton and highly skilled tailoring, crafted to provide every woman a gorgeous, comfortable and flattering fit. Make a statement in a Sarah Alexandra shirt! Dress it down with your favorite pair of jeans or dress it up with your favorite skirt and heels. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite looks for the classic white shirt.

 

Gal Meets Glam 

Sarah Alexandra Signature Shirt in Pique-a-Boo 

Looking for something a little more feminine? Add some structure to a chic skirt and finish with feminine jewelry. It’s the perfect mix of classic style with a glamorous edge.

 

Better in Leather  

 

Sarah Alexandra Signature Shirt in The Right White

Throw on your leather pants and finish it off with a pair of head-turning heels. This is the perfect look that will take you from work to a night out on the town!

 

Spring Fever

Sarah Alexandra Signature Shirt in The Right White

Bare a little skin! A white shirt is the perfect staple for the Spring and Summer season. Pair it with shorts and embellished wedges – effortless!

 

Borrowed from the Boys  

Sarah Alexandra Weekend Shirt in The Right White

One of our favorite looks done right. Pair with your well-loved boyfriend jeans for a tailored look. Style with everything from flats to heels. Tuck it in or let it hang loose. You can’t go wrong!

 

In Neutral

Sarah Alexandra Signature Shirt in Pique-a-Boo 

White, the perfect Summer shirt.  Whether you’re going to Sunday brunch or running errands, there is something about an all-white ensemble that keeps things simple and fresh.

 

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She's The Boss

She's The Boss

Although the fashion industry is built on creating clothing and accessories for women, it is somewhat surprising that there are relatively only a few female designers. Diane Von Furstenberg, and recently Carolina Herrera have handed over the reins to male designers to oversee their namesake collections. While these venerable brands maintain the vision of creating beautiful looks for powerful and confident women, there is a noticeable absence of female driven labels on the runways. At Sarah Alexandra, we believe in the power of female owned and operated businesses. Our goal is to create the most beautiful shirting for every women and occasion. It has been said that in order to understand the present, you must look to the past. With that in mind, we wanted to share some of our favorite fashion heroines who helped create the industry as we know it. We firmly believe that the future is female, and these incredible women have helped pave the way.

 

Jeanne Lanvin

Mademoiselle Jeanne Lanvin began her career as an apprentice before opening up her very own millinery shop in Paris. After her daughter and biggest inspiration was born, Lanvin focused her attention on creating beautiful pieces for her. In time this attracted her clients into dressmaking for themselves, their children, and some of the most famous names in Europe. These creations caught the eye of the Parisian elite, and Lanvin opened her namesake house featuring her signature embroidered and embellished gowns. Lanvin was the first designer to create a lifestyle brand including women and men’s clothing, swimwear, accessories, and home décor. Her first perfume L’Arpege, is one of the most well-known perfumes in the world with the iconic logo designed by Paul Iribe. The logo was inspired by a picture of Jeanne and her daughter Marguerite, as well as her passion for robe de style. Her visions are a testament to her talent and ingenuity, along with being an inspiration to women taking power in the workplace.

 Coco Chanel

I say Coco, you say, Chanel! The legendary designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, started an evolution that transformed women’s fashion and women’s lives in the 20th century. After opening her first store in Paris in 1913 she wanted to minimize fabric costs and purchased Jersey regularly. In time, she found that Jersey fit well with her designs which were seen as simple, and frequently inspired by men’s wear. Some of her classic pieces including a cropped jacket, LBD (Little Black Dress), and statement cocktail necklaces are as relevant today as they have ever been. Chanel is credited in seeking to free women of discomfort from their corsets and stiff skirts by creating styles that were both classic and comfortable. This was noticed by many women, which led her to own on one of the most prominent fashion houses in the world.

Elsa Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli, also known as the Queen of Fashion, felt that fashion was as much about making art as it was about making clothes. Her debut collection of sweaters featured surrealist trompe l’oeil, also known as “fool of the eye” designs that became an instant success. Astrology, tattoos, the circus, along with surrealist art are some of the few varied themes in her collections. She then began to create collections including ski wear, swimwear, and eventually evening gowns. Schiaparelli designed clothes for theatre and film which appeared in many movies over the course of her career. Schiaparelli has relentlessly been remembered in the fashion world and has been featured in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with Italian designer Miuccia Prada in major exhibitions.

Claire McCardell

Claire McCardell is known to be the founder of American fashion. Her designs abandoned the fussy French notions of the times. She created functional, chic, and easy to wear designs including shift dresses, wrap dresses, and pleated details. She designed her sundresses in cotton, gingham, twill, denim and jersey that were to be worn both during the day or night. Similar to designer Coco Chanel, McCardell created designs for her own lifestyle and often created pieces out of necessity. For example, when faced with too much luggage for travel, she designed dresses in parts with interchangeable tops and skirts that revolutionized the way women dressed.

Anne Klein

“Clothes aren’t going to change the world. The women who wears them will” (Anne Klein). Anne Klein began her fashion design career in the juniors market. With her husband, the company Junior Sophisticates was founded and specialized in designs for petite women, who at the time often had to shop in the children’s department. In 1968, she began her own line that featured chic menswear including jackets, skirts, blouses and pants that could be worn together in various combinations. This mix and match concept was revolutionary at the time and took the country by storm. Klein was also the mentor to Donna Karan, who took over after her death and went on to become another power player in the fashion industry.

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6 Picks for March

6 Picks for March

1. Sarah Alexandra Signature Shirt in Boyfriend Blue. Part of the new Spring/Summer 2018 Collection, the blue and white stripe broadcloth is the perfect staple in any woman’s wardrobe. It goes with anything from denim to a pencil skirt.  It is truly timeless.

2. St. Benedict Bracelet.  Our family and friends are wearing these bracelets in support of my 3 year old niece Vivian Rose who was recently diagnosed with a DIPG brain tumor. These bracelets are a reminder to keep Vivian in our thoughts and prayers each and every time we look at them. St. Benedict is the patron Saint against evil.

3. Maison Boinet Belt. I discovered these belts at Barney’s and love how simple and chic they are. Made in France, they are incredibly well made and a good basic for any woman looking for the accessory that can go with anything and isn’t so identifiable.

4. Donald Robertson Book. I love following @donaldrobertson on Instagram. He always has a clever and funny post and I’m obsessed with his art. It’s playful yet sophisticated. His book would be the perfect addition to any coffee table!

5. BioFreeze. One of my tennis friends put me on to this and it works so well, I kind of can’t believe it! I put it on my aching muscles and it really helps alleviate any pain or soreness. I put it in everyone’s stocking this year!

6. Natura Bisse Eye Cure. My sister-in-law Katie bought this for me several years ago and now I cannot live without it. I love a “fresh faced” look, but let’s be honest, it’s hard to get away without any makeup. The Eye Cure by Nature Bisse looks incredibly “make-up-less” yet at the same time gives you that glowing and luminous look.

 

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Renee And The Art Of Knitting

Renee And The Art Of Knitting

In addition to being a custom shirt maven, Sarah’s mom – Renee Bassetti – has another valuable skill up her sleeve: knitting.

Inspired by her own mother’s knitting, Renee displayed a flair for the craft at five-years-old. Today, she enjoys creating unique knitwear pieces and learning about the traditions around the time-honored skill. Her lucky family reap the benefits of her labor: grandchildren Hudson, Helen and Oliver all sport sweaters made by her hand, perfect for the winter season.

“Knitting is worldwide, and different cultures do it differently,” says Renee, who prefers the Continental style. One of her favorite sweater patterns originates from Sweden and is called Bohus, which reached international popularity through celebrities like Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly donning the style. Mittens are another knitting favorite and, in particular, Renee recently developed an interest in Latvian mittens, which often served as traditional gifts at weddings and other important life events.

Knitting is a versatile art and can be tailored to a variety of styles. Below, Sarah wears a modern, neutral-toned slouchy hat, as well as a Bohus style sweater that pairs perfectly with the Silver Fox Signature Shirt.

Bright colors and intricate patterns also can be fun for kids of different ages, like the hats worn by Sarah’s children made especially for them by Renee.

Though knitting can seem daunting to a beginner, it helps to start small. Renee recommends starting with square potholders and working up to other simpler items such as scarves, baby hats and even accessories for plush toys. Find a color that catches your eye or a yarn texture you love; Renee likes to work with lambswool for its lightweight quality and durability.

Next up, Renee looks forward to diving into Fair Isle knitting, originating from the Shetland Islands. In the meantime, she enjoys knitting as a respite, whether it be a few minutes while waiting for someone or uninterrupted for hours on a plane during her work trips, “I like the technique and movement, it’s very methodical. It’s a repetitive motion that’s quite soothing and meditative.”

Is there a special secret to becoming a knitting pro? Well, not exactly, it’s pretty hard work that takes time to develop. As Renee says,”Like anything in life, it just takes persistence and really wanting to do it.”

 

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A Mother Daughter Dream Team!

A Mother Daughter Dream Team!

As it has been said countless times, there is something special about the relationship between a mother and her daughter. It’s an indescribable connection, but the bond is a deep and powerful one. We needed to look no further than our very own Sarah Alexandra and her mother, Renee Bassetti, for the perfect example of a mother daughter dream team. We thought it would be fun to have a little sit down with Sarah and Renee to answer some questions, and tell some stories. These ladies have an unspoken connection, much like two beloved characters from your favorite book or movie. Over the course of the interview, the two laughed, reminisced, and finished each other’s sentences. It doesn’t take long with them to see how close these two are, and more importantly, how deeply they respect, admire and love one another.

Renee on Sarah:

Sarah’s giggle is infectious, it makes me smile and it’s delightful. She does it a lot, and every time she does, it warms my heart.

Sarah on Renee:

Sometimes my mom may subtly question my decisions but I never feel criticized by her. She didn’t tell us what to do and was never overbearing or controlling. She let us figure it out. I used to wish she would have pushed me more or been more involved in helping me make a decision but ultimately she let us figure it out. Now that I have my own children I appreciate it so much more.

Renee describe Sarah in three words:

Loyal. Exceedingly Organized.  Nurturing.

Sarah describe Renee in three words:

Creative. Artistic (she’s kind of a genius the way she comes up with ideas). Non-judgmental.

Favorite vacation spot:

Renee: Paris, I like it better each time I go. Every day is interesting to me. I just walk out of my hotel room and I feel like I belong there.

Sarah: Mexico, I like the culture and food. I just love being there.

Fragrance:

Renee: Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque and Byredo Parfums Bal D’Afrique.

Sarah: Fleur09 by Maria Christofilis. She’s a friend but I would wear it even if she weren’t!

Dream vacation destination:

Renee: The Shetland Islands

Sarah: The Greek Isles

Style Icon:

Renee: Grace Kelly

Sarah: Lauren Santo Domingo

Favorite Book:

Renee: The Last Lion by William Manchester & Paul Reid. I’ve read everything about Churchill. I love his command of the English language.

Sarah: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I get totally entrenched in all her books.

Which item from your closet do you wear the most?:

Renee: Besides a Renee Bassetti shirt – an Avolio coat!

Sarah: Besides a Sarah Alexandra shirt – a pair of black suede Prada booties.

Most treasured possession:

Renee: My Verdura Panama cuff.

Sarah: A charm bracelet from my mom. I once thought I lost it, it’s irreplaceable. There is a charm for each one of the kids, one from my husband Ryan and one for a nephew who passed away.

Greatest achievement:

Renee: Remaining sane if you want to call it that!

Sarah: I feel blessed, my family makes me feel grounded. They are the most important thing to me. None of this would be any fun if I didn’t have them. I truly appreciate them.

Luxury necessity:

Renee: My Steinway piano

Sarah: Dyson hairdryer, really!

What talent do you wish you had?:

Renee: To be fluent in French.

Sarah: To be a professional tennis player.

Which celebrity would you want to have dinner with living or deceased?:

Renee: Oprah, because she’s so out there. I think you would feel better after you were with her.

Sarah: Princess Diana.

Favorite fashion trend:

Renee: Classic cardigan.

Sarah: Skinny jeans.

Favorite movie:

Renee: The Sound of Music, I must have seen it 20 times when it came out!

Sarah: 16 Candles.

What brings you the most joy?:

Renee: Being with my family.

Sarah: Reading to my kids, by far, I love it! It’s my favorite thing to do with them.

Favorite sweet treat:

Renee: Sugarfina Cuba Libre Gummies.

Sarah: Nancy’s pecan cookies (see below for the recipe).

Skin care products/beauty secrets:

Renee: Omorovicza Gold Rescue Cream.

Sarah: Biologique Recherche P50 toner.

Best gift ever received:

Renee: A Dyson hairdryer from my daughter’s Katy & Sarah.

Sarah: Diamond earrings from my husband, Ryan.

What advice would you give yourself at a younger age?:

Renee: Don’t drive so fast!

Sarah: Trust your initial gut feeling, don’t question it.

Best part of being your own boss:

Renee: I can express my own creativity.

Sarah: I get to listen to everybody’s advice and opinions but I get the final say.

 

Nancy’s Pecan Chocolate Cookies

1 cup Toasted Pecans

1/2 lb. Softened Butter

3/4 Cup Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

2 1/2 Cup flour

Directions: Lightly toast the pecans in the oven. Pulse pecans in Cuisinart until the consistency of pecan butter. Add softened butter and pulse. Add sugar & vanilla and pulse. Lastly, add flour and pulse. Roll the cookie batter into balls and roll in sugar. Press down cookie balls on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and make an indent in the center of the cookie. Melt chocolate chips (my personal favorite are Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips) in a pan over the stove and fill the middle of the cookies with the melted chocolate. Divine!

 

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Sun Valley Guide

Sun Valley Guide

Activities

1) Bowling – Sun Valley Resort

This is the cutest bowling alley I’ve ever been to.  It has recently been renovated and there are now 6 lanes. In addition to bowling there is a darling soda fountain and arcade to help keep kids (and adults) entertained for hours.

https://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/bowling/

2) Galena Lodge

Galena Lodge is about 40 minutes outside of Ketchum. There is cross-country skiing and snowshoeing available. It’s a beautiful drive and the food at the lodge is really excellent!  They also have yurts available for overnight stays. They fill up quickly but for the more adventurous at heart it is an amazing experience to reconnect with your family and friends.

http://www.galenalodge.com

3) Ice Skating – Sun Valley Resort

One of the reasons I love Sun Valley is you really do feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The ice skating rink at the Sun Valley Resort is no exception. My kids spent a lot of time at the rink this year. They just loved getting their bearings (and balance) on the ice!

https://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/ice-skating/

4) Smiley Creek Snowmobiling

About 20-30 minutes beyond Galena Lodge is Smiley Creek. We had a huge group of kids & adults who rented snowmobiles from Smiley Creek Lodge. It was cold (-14 degrees) but nonetheless, was one of my favorite days of our Christmas break. It was beyond beautiful and so much fun snowmobiling out in the wilderness. The guides were incredibly nice and friendly to our group of city-slickers!

http://smileycreeklodge.com/snowmobile-rentals/

5) Baldy Mountain

Last but not least is downhill skiing. Baldy Mountain is a big mountain but at the same time it doesn’t feel overwhelming which is great for all levels of expertise. We were able to make our way down with our six-year old but my 11 year-old still had a great time too. This year there was a complete lack of snow around Christmas time but the mountains ability to make their own snow was pretty remarkable. Unless you were to look at the barren hills surrounding the ski runs you would have never guessed the snow was man-made. Needless to say, it was technology at its finest!

https://www.sunvalley.com/lift-tickets

Lodging

1) Sun Valley Resort

In regards to accommodation, The Sun Valley Resort provides several options. You can either stay in the newly renovated Lodge or the Sun Valley Inn where rooms are being renovated on an ongoing basis. You can also stay in a variety of Condos. Last but not least, my personal favorite happens to be staying in the Cottages. The Cottages are perfectly furnished homes. Some are small; 2 bedrooms and some are large; up to 7 bedrooms. My very favorite part is there is a much needed daily maid service which is impossible to come by in a VRBO house rental. I love the location of the Cottages as they are within walking distance of the Lodge which houses bowling, a pool, fitness area and Gretchen’s Restaurant & the Duchin Lounge. They are also just a stone’s throw away from the Village of Sun Valley that recently added Village Station which is a great restaurant serving everything from burgers, sandwiches, salads and pizzas. There is also plenty of fabulous shopping to do in the Village; Panache & SQN Sport along with a great toy store that my children love popping into.

https://www.sunvalley.com/lodging#/

2) Limelight

The newest addition to lodging is in Ketchum, ID in the heart of it all. Limelight is located on Main Street where you are near all of the shops and restaurants. It’s architecture is contemporary and they offer wonderful conveniences such as On-Site Rentals and they are Pet-Friendly.  They also have The Lounge which serves breakfast, lunch & dinner along with shuffleboard and live music! A great spot for apres-ski!

https://www.limelighthotels.com/ketchum

3) VRBO

There are endless rentals listed on VRBO for Ketchum, Elkhorn, Hailey and beyond! It takes a bit more research but there are lots of options listed.

https://www.vrbo.com

4) Auberge Resort Sun Valley

Construction is underway on a new property in downtown Ketchum which is just a half-block from the Limelight.  When it opens in 2019 it will be managed by the Auberge Resort Collection.  It will include 62 hotel accommodations and 12 residences along with a restaurant, bar, spa, gym and heated outdoor swimming pool.

https://aubergeresorts.com/resort/auberge-resorts-sun-valley/

Restaurants

1) Cristina’s

Located in downtown Ketchum and is a great spot for brunch! Having said this, their breakfast and lunch are mouthwatering too! There is an excellent selection of pastries, eggs, pancakes & french toast. For lunch there are delectable salads, sandwiches and pizzas. You really can’t go wrong here!

http://www.cristinasofsunvalley.com

2) Grumpy’s

Pretty much the opposite of Cristina’s. Burgers & Beers here but it is not to be missed. An institution in Ketchum and absolutely my husband’s favorite joint! Extremely low-key and down-home but the burger is pretty darn good if I say so myself.

https://grumpyssunvalley.com

3) Pioneer Saloon

A fabulous bar and wonderful place to grab a delicious steak. It can take hours for a table but it is well worth the wait. It is again another institution in town and not to be missed.

https://www.pioneersaloon.com

4) The Cellar Pub

A great bar with shuffleboard and pretty decent bar food. However, the shuffleboard and drinks are main stars at this downtown Ketchum pub.

http://thecellarpub.com

5) Town Square Tavern 

Also located in downtown Ketchum and is a terrific restaurant with a beautiful atmosphere and serves delicious world cuisine. It is probably one of the more sophisticated restaurants in town but proves to be not stuffy in the slightest. They pride themselves on fresh ingredients which taste incredible after a long day out in the crisp mountain air.

http://www.ketchumtavern.com

6) Village Station 

This is a perfect place to grab a bite with kids for lunch or dinner. There is something for everyone and the atmosphere is hopping. There are comfortable booths and tv’s everywhere to watch the all-important football games!

https://www.sunvalley.com/dining/village-station/

7) Vintage

An incredibly small restaurant seating only 20 people making it extremely cozy and special. The food is out of this world. From the steak to the duck… it is all divine. It also boasts a wonderful wine list!

https://www.facebook.com/TheVintageRestaurant/

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Sarah Alexandra's Top Picks For January

Sarah Alexandra's Top Picks For January

1. Maria Christofilis Fleur09 Candle. My new favorite thing! The most beautiful smelling candle and I love the white vessel. It feels so substantial and beautiful in every room in my house.

2. Lenz Heated Socks. Do you ever freeze your tootsies off when you’re hitting the slopes? I do! These socks do the trick! You charge them overnight and then slip them on in the morning and your good to go for the entire day. Your feet stay nice and cozy.

3. Petidoux Pajamas for Kids. During my last trip to NYC I met the nicest woman whose name happens to be Alexandra! She has this wonderful line of children’s pajamas that I fell in love with. The prints are so darling and more muted, which I happen to adore. They are also made of the softest Pima cotton you can imagine!

4. Mother Myricks’s Butter Crunch. Again, another find during my last trip to NYC. This butter crunch is literally the most delicious thing I have ever tasted! I’ve been hoarding mine in a secret spot in my kitchen. They also have this amazing Lemon Lulu cake that is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

5. Sarah Alexandra Weekend Shirt in The Right White. Start January off on the ‘Right’ foot! Give your wardrobe a fresh new white shirt. Whenever I don’t know what to wear I put on a white shirt and I instantly feel good!

6. Min & Mon. My new obsession! This company is on to something. The most whimsical, fun and clever handbags you have laid your eyes on in a long time.  Also, based in NYC but made in Columbia, South America.  I met one of the founders of the company, Catherine, the last time I was in NYC and was thoroughly impressed with their creativity and ingenuity!

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Let's Party!

As it has been said countless times; it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Thanksgiving has come and gone, thus ushering in the 2017 holiday season. Many believe giving gifts is what makes the holidays special, and be sure to check our gift guide to find something for everyone on your list. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love tearing into a beautifully wrapped box, or counting the presents under the tree? However, what would the holiday season be without parties? Whether you are going to an intimate cocktail party, glittering gala, or a bubbly weekend brunch, the holidays are never complete without celebrations! To give you a little inspiration, we found some of the most glamorous, over the top, parties ever thrown. While you may not be able to achieve the grandeur of these fetes, think of them as something to aspire to. If all this talk of parties has you wondering what to wear, don’t worry, we have some ideas for that too!

The Vanderbilt Ball

Known as the party that changed New York Society, Alva Vanderbilt’s 1883 housewarming party was the hottest ticket in town for the rich and fabulous. Vanderbilt hosted a costume party to welcome 1,200 of her nearest and dearest to her new Fifth Avenue home. The most memorable outfit belonged to Vanderbilt’s sister-in-law, who wore a yellow satin dress with batteries underneath that lit up a torch making her look like a golden Statue of Liberty. This party set the town abuzz and brought Vanderbilt to the top of the social elite.

Premiere of Les Noces

In 1923, a party was thrown for the premiere of Stravinsky’s famed ballet, Les Noces. The soiree, held in honor of the composer, was held on a barge that cruised down the Seine. Legend has it that because it was a Sunday, all the florists were all closed, leaving the hostess without anything to decorate the tables with. The hostess, Sara Murphy, a wealthy American expat living in Paris, decided to get creative with the centerpieces. She piled toy cars, clowns, stuffed animals, fire engines, and dolls on each table. Pablo Picasso, a guest of the party, rearranged them into a mini mountain, topped with a cow on a fireman’s ladder. Necessity is truly the mother of invention!

Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball

It would be impossible to write about parties without referring to Truman Capote’s legendary Black and White Ball. Held in New York City, at the Plaza Hotel in 1966, Capote’s party was the event of the social season. He invited top members of society, artists, actors, politicians, and writers. The dress code was simple, black and white. All guests were to wear a mask, and if you forgot one, no worry, they had plenty waiting at the door. One of the most elegant and beautiful attendees was a young Candice Bergen, who finished off her look with a white mink bunny mask.

Malcolm Forbes’ 70th Birthday Extravaganza

What do you do for your 70th birthday when you are a multibillionaire? Well if you were Malcolm Forbes, the answer was simple, fly 1,000 of your closest friends, on privately chartered jets,  for an all expenses paid trip to your palace in Morocco. The three day celebration featured non-stop entertainment, fireworks, and sumptuous feasts. Not to mention the honorary hostess for the evening was Elizabeth Taylor, Forbes’ then girlfriend.

Kate Moss’ Beautiful and the Damned birthday party

As one of the most famous models in the world, Kate Moss has also built up a reputation for being quite the party girl. It should come as no surprise that when she throws a party, it turns out to be one for the books. Her 30th birthday celebration began with a girl’s lunch at London’s Mandarin Oriental, then moved to Kate’s suite at Claridges, where Kate and her posse got ready for the big night. Kate was a vision in a sea of vintage blue sequins. The event was named after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Beautiful and the Damned, in a nod to the wild and reckless era of days gone bye. The actual party was held at photographer Sam Taylor Wood’s home, but rumors have it that the after party, back in Moss’s suite, was where the real debauchery occured, running into the wee hours of the evening!

The Met Ball

Finally we finish with the crown jewel in the party crown, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Gala. This event is widely considered to be fashion’s biggest night out. Each year the evening kicks off the latest exhibit in the museum’s costume institute. The red carpet is a virtual who’s who of fashion models, designers, actors and actresses, and all those rich and fabulous! Designers create a one of a kind ensemble for a model or celebrity whom they escort to the event. It has become so popular, vogue.com has started live streaming from the red carpet! Forget about the ball Cinderella, take those glass slippers and head for the Met!

As promised, here are some ideas for how you might rock your Sarah Alexandra shirt this holiday season. We love the idea of pairing a crisp white shirt and a statement skirt. Cate Banchett looks stunning in this Giambattista Valli couture ensemble. We would pair this dreamy skirt with our Signature Shirt with Two Button French Cuff  in White Haute for a twist on the usual black tie dress code.

Emma Watson went from schoolgirl to fashion icon right in front of our eyes. There is no style she can’t pull off. She is the epitome of modern cool in this tailored black suit. Imagine wearing this with our Weekend Shirt in The Right White to make a statement at your next event.

Sometimes you have to loosen things up. Kirstin Dunst looks effortless, in this pairing. This full leg trouser and shirt combination would be a perfect alternative to a cocktail dress. Our Weekend Shirt in Silver Fox or Grey Expectations would be perfection with these pants, and we love the pop of color in the shoes!

Angelina Jolie never fails to serve up an enviable look. The softness of her shirt plays beautifully off the hardness of the black leather mini. Why not try our Signature Shirt with Two Button French Cuff in Blackout. It would be the perfect twist on the little black dress.

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Sarah Alexandra's Gift Guide 2017

GALS 

1. Signature Shirt in Power Player – Sarah Alexandra  Of course we had to include a Sarah Alexandra shirt in our gift guide for the gals in your life!  What woman doesn’t want a beautiful shirt that instantly elevates her look?  The black and white windowpane in 100% cotton twill is incredibly versatile.  She can easily pair it with jeans during the day or a pair of velvet pants for a night out on the town.

Price: $345.00

2. Jewelry Case – Cuyana  I love keeping all of my things organized and giving something useful and personalized.  Add a beautiful monogram to this piece to make it really special.

Price: $115.00

3. T-Strap Mink Sandals – Jenni Kayne I’m dying to buy these for someone in my life!  They are so darling and fun and the perfect gift for the woman who has everything.

Price: $425.00

4. Canvas Salad Servers – Jenni Kayne  I’m currently in need of salad servers myself and they are surprisingly hard to find.  When I saw these online I thought – this is it!  They are beautiful and classic and a great gift that won’t break the bank.  Also a great hostess gift.

Price: $78.00

5. Flannel PJ’s – Serena & Lily  There is nothing I love more than coming home from work and getting cozy.  These feel wonderful and look pretty chic as well!

Price: $128.00

6. Christofle Origine 24-piece flatware set – Bergdorf Goodman  I have searched high and low for new flatware for our everyday life and this is it!  They are beautiful and made by Christofle – the authority on flatware.

Price: $600.00

7. Vide Poche – Tiffany & Co.   I love beautiful trays and this caught my eye because I’m currently obsessed with rose gold.

Price: $225.00

8. Sterling Silver Drinker – glassybaby  Everyone in my life has many glassybaby’s but when I saw this recent addition to their drinker collection I fell in love.  These would look fabulous on any table with just simple white plates.

Price: $75.00

9. Garbo Faux Fur Coat – Nili Lotan  I loved the color of this beautiful faux fur coat.  Get her something special this year that is going to keep her warm and cozy during these cold winter months.

Price: $1,300.00

10.  Big Daddy Bag – Corroon  I love all of my Corroon bags and this camo version is spot on!

Price: $500.00

 

 

GUYS

1. Dry Guy Boot Dryer – Amazon  I admit, this may seem like a dull gift to give but get him back for all of the coffee makers and waffle irons he has bought for you over the years.  Seriously though, he is going to thank you endlessly once he starts using this.  We use ours all the time especially during ski season for wet and cold ski boots.

Price: $59.50

2. John Muir Wilderness Essays – Amazon I love giving books and this would be a perfect book for any guy in your life, even a young reader in your family.

Price: $14.48

3. Colster – Yeti  These are the perfect gift for your tailgating guy.  No solo cup needed!

Price: $24.99

4. Porsche Driving School  I’ve heard through the grapevine that this is a pretty awesome experience for your guy.  Make it into a little mini-vaca with a hotel reservation.  Send him to driving school while you hit the shops in LA.

Price: Price upon request.

5. Tom Ford Belt – TomFord  Every man needs a chic belt and they are surprisingly hard to find.  This is a really beautiful one – it comes in black or brown.

Price: $840.00

6. Trailblazer Flashlight – Barebones Living  For some reason we are always looking for flashlights in our house – do your man a favor and get him a super cool looking one that is pretty much indestructible.

Price: $100.00

7. Garmin inReach Explorer+Satellite Communicator – REI.com  For the outdoor adventurer in your life.  Does your guy ski the backcountry or go hunting off the grid?  Keep him safe and in touch with this high tech gizmo.

Price: $450.00

8. Traeger Grill – Pro Series 34 Grill Bronze  I swear this has been on my husbands wish list for 5 years!  Maybe 2017 will be the year he finally gets the grill of all grills.

Price: $999.99

9. Swimtrunks – Subatukl  I bought these for my youngest son and the men’s version are just as good-looking & stylish.  They are incredibly well-made and have lasted the test of time.

Price: $99.00

10. The Guideboat  This may not be the most practical gift if you don’t live on a lake or pond but isn’t it just so romantic and unexpected?

Price: $4,850.00

KIDS 

1. Gatcha Gatcha Bingo – my sweet muffin  My kids have so much fun playing bingo and I swear this is the cutest bingo set that I have ever found.

Price: $54.00

2. Osmo  My sister-in-law, Amy, bought this for my kids last Christmas and it is such a wonderful gift because it is fun and educational at the same time.  Shhh . . . don’t tell but I bought my kids some of the add-on games for Osmo this year for Christmas!

Price: $141.75

3. Keva Structures – Amazon.com  My kids have played with these for a long time and they have made some pretty amazing things.  They are great for almost any age but also fun for creative adults too.

Price: $89.95

4. Create a Story Paper Center – Lakeshore Learning   When I saw this I thought – this is the gift this year!  My kids are constantly drawing and writing stories and this paper is designed just for that.  I’m sure I’ll have to order a refill in pretty quick order.

Price: $39.99

5. Wooden Cash Register – Land of Nod  Did you have so much fun playing grocery store when you were little?  I did!  I really like this option from Land of Nod because it’s cute as well.  The plastic versions have not lasted long at our house.

Price: $31.20

6. Pac-Man Arcade Game – Sharper Image  I’m obsessed with pac-man and whenever we go to the arcade with our kids you can always find me playing it . . . so maybe this is more of a gift for adults and not kids. 

Price: $2,950.00

7. Napsacks – Poler  I spotted on of my friends wearing this at the last football game and instantly thought my kids would die for one of these and guess what?  They have a kids version!

Price: $150.00

8. Young Architects – Mindware  My kids take after my husband and are going to love having this to design their own houses!

Price: $79.95

9. Kid Safe Knife Set – Amazon  My kids are always asking to help in the kitchen and they are pretty decent cooks!  I only wish I would have found these set of knives earlier.  It really sets your mind at ease knowing you aren’t going to have to make a run to the ER.

Price: $8.95

10. Stance Socks – NBA  Cool socks are a must for kids and we think these are pretty dope!  Buy them their favorite collegiate, NFL or NBA team and stick them in their stocking.  So cute!

Price: $18.00

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