Real Talk · Uncategorized

9 ways to survive Thanksgiving.

Usually this post would be about mouthwatering recipes or cute outfit ideas to wear for Thanksgiving, I know. We always host Thanksgiving at out house so I usually avoid the awkward family drama but staying busy in the kitchen and making sure everyone is looked after. Today, I want to talk about Thanksgiving from the flip side – as a guest and these are my 9 tricks to surviving Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is the time of year when you think of all the things in your life that you’re thankful for. Often this list includes family though you may not realize it when you’re in the middle of the annual gathering of relatives from near and far. Fear not brave holiday celebrant, for there are ways to survive this festive occasion!

1 | Pass on the cocktails.

This may seem counter-intuitive since your primary urge is to knock back a few glasses of wine or dip into Uncle Henry’s vintage scotch collection. Think of it this way though: once you hit the point of intoxication, you’ll end up saying or doing something that will likely be embarrassing and that will become fodder for the next (and all future) family gatherings. Don’t do this to yourself. Have a cocktail when you arrive to calm your nerves and a glass of wine with dinner, but limit yourself to these two drinks.

2 | Prepare to deflect.

You likely already know several of the topics that will be discussed during your Thanksgiving event, and many of the questions that you’ll be asked by well-meaning relatives. Don’t go in blind – instead, arm yourself with a few responses and diversions before hand. For example:

  • “No, I’m not currently dating anyone. I just haven’t found a man that measures up to Dad/Grandad/Uncle Henry yet.”
  • “My job? Well, actually I… oh, you look like you could use a refill on your drink! Let me get that for you.”
  • “Oh, you feel that way about the pandemic? How interesting. That’s a lovely watch – where did you get it?”

3 | Take a few shots.

Tell your family that you’re thankful for them and that you want to get some special Thanksgiving photos of them all. Offering to be the family event photographer slash videographer for the night will give you a few advantages.

  • First, your relatives can’t grill you if they’re posing for a photograph.
  • Second, it gives you an excuse to leave a conversation at any time, because hey look, Cousin Sarah is doing her Lady Gaga impression again and someone needs to get this on tape!
  • Third, if you find that you really need a break, you can find a quiet corner to bust out the camera bag and pretend to clean your lenses.
  • Finally, you can kill a lot of time by arranging for goofy shots arranged by family/marriage.

4| Spend quality time with the littles.

If there are children in attendance, you can give yourself a break from interacting with the adult members of your family by spending time with the younger generation. Have a conversation with the shy cousin who seems to be holding back, or jump in and play hide and seek in the basement. Of course, there will eventually be a temper tantrum or two and the kids will bicker over things that you likely think are inconsequential. Basically, it’ll be like spending time with the grown-ups, except that it’s socially acceptable to leave a group of squabbling kids without having to apologize and make excuses. We don’t have any littles around at our Thanksgiving but we do have plenty of 4 legged babies around which do the trick too.

5| Make yourself useful.

Whether it’s before or after the big Thanksgiving meal, there are plenty of jobs large and small that need to be done. Offering to help with these chores not only makes a good impression on your host, but it also keeps you busy and gives you something to focus on other than Aunt Margie’s weird new hairdo. Of course, many hostesses will decline your offer of assistance, so here’s a refusal-proof response: “Nonsense! There’s got to be something I can do, and this way I can spend some extra time with you.” And just like that, the next thing you know, you’re wiping crystal drinking glasses with a soft cloth and avoiding most of the crowd.

6| Give them something to talk about.

Most people enjoy talking about themselves and telling stories about their pasts. If you find yourself in a situation where you either don’t want to talk about your life or you’ve run out of safe subjects to discuss, then ask a question that requires a story as a response. It helps a great deal if your question has something to do with family history, since others can join in and add to the conversation. Be careful though – only ask questions that you’ll be comfortable hearing details about. Asking your grandparents how they met, for example, is much safer than asking them to tell you about their honeymoon. There are some things that you just can’t un-hear.

7| Dress for success.

Face it, no matter what you wear, someone will comment that you should have opted for something warmer, something more formal, something less baggy or something less revealing. You can’t please all of your relatives all of the time, so dress in an outfit that makes you happy.

  • Go for something loose around the waist because…pie. Only the men of a certain age can get away with popping open the buttons on their pants to make room for more.
  • Wear an outfit that makes you feel confident, so that when you find yourself explaining (again) why you haven’t yet made partner at your firm or why you haven’t settled down and got married or moved out of your small apartment, you can tell yourself, “At least I looked good!”

8| Share the joy.

If you’re married then this one’s a snap – you and your spouse will have plenty to talk about and rehash after the festivities. If you’re single, consider bringing along a sympathetic, well-behaved friend who doesn’t have other Thanksgiving plans. Preferably one who doesn’t mind fielding personal questions from strangers, doesn’t drink too much, and has promised not to share embarrassing stories about you. This ally will commiserate with you after the shindig, and during the gathering he or she’ll take some pressure off of you. That is until the relatives start to ask whether your friend is actually a casual acquaintance or if there’s something romantic going on – be prepared for this and respond accordingly. (See tip #2.)

9| Have an exit strategy,

While you certainly don’t want to be rude and offend your hosts, you’ll want to have a plan in place to extricate yourself from the festivities when you’ve had enough. You don’t want to be stuck without a few previously thought-out options, because you’ll end up saying something like, “I’d better get going, uh, because, um, I think I left my curling iron plugged in.” It’s tough to bounce back from that kind of lameness. Instead, employ one of these strategies:

  • Make plans before the big day to drive one of your elderly relatives home after the meal. Just make sure that returning to the family celebration afterwards isn’t a stipulation.
  • Volunteer somewhere that will benefit from your being in attendance late in the day. You’ll be doing good work, and your relatives can’t argue that you’re leaving too early without looking bad themselves.
  • Apologize and say that you need to be up extra early the next morning. When asked why, explain that you’re picking a friend up from the airport, need to finish a paper for school/catch up on work, or that you’re planning an epic shopping excursion for Black Friday so that you can get great gifts for your family. The downside to that last one is that you then have to give your family some epic Christmas gifts this year, but the payoff might be worth it.

Refrain from using the “not feeling well” excuse. This can trigger all kinds of sympathy aches in your relatives and this is not the year to fake illnesses, and will eventually lead to them blaming the chef for under-cooking the turkey or the dreaded c-19 word. You don’t want that on your conscience.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize.

No matter how apprehensive you are about spending time with your family this Thanksgiving, remember at some point in the day to be thankful for them. As some of them might already be reminding you, they won’t always be around – and when that happens, you can strive to be the annoying relative that everyone else complains about!

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Fashion · Uncategorized

Layering decoded: a formula for practical, bulk-free layering.

In the past, my biggest gripe about layering was bulk. I felt like the only way to stay warm was to look like a marshmallow. And as awesome as marshmallows really are, it’s not super practical to be dressed like one.

So, here’s my formula for bulk-free layering.

1 | Base layer

To me, this is the most important layer. It’s the layer that’s right up next to your skin, so it determines the way your body feels in the outfit — which is a big deal. Usually, no one will see this layer, but even still, it’s nice to have a good-looking base layer that can stand on it’s own. You know, just in case you get too warm and need to shed your other layers.

You can find a basic long sleeve anywhere but right now, this is my favorite long sleeve base layer under my sweater — it’s soft, lightweight, and stretchy. You could also do a fitted short sleeve tee.

2 | Main layer

My main layer is usually a loose sweater, but it could also be a lightweight knit or even a silky blouse.

If it’s super cold outside, I go with a wool sweater…I do live in Canada after all. And remember, it’s not itchy because I’m wearing a base layer. Winning!

My love for wool can’t be quantified. It’s ridiculously warm and it’s naturally stain and odour resistant too. Did I ever tell you about the time a friend accidently spilled an entire glass of red wine on my beloved wool cardigan at FriendsGiving? I ran to the bathroom thinking it was ruined, but after blotting it with cold water, there was no sign of the stain. Within 10 minutes, I was out enjoying a fresh glass of wine — stain free. Unbelievable.

3 | Outer layer

This could be a rain jacket, a parka, a sweater, or a pretty wool coat. But no matter what, I value function over form when it comes to my outer layer.

One of the biggest layering mistakes I used to make was buying outerwear that was too fitted. Sure, it fit perfectly with a tee underneath, but a bulky sweater? Not happening. Nothing feels worse than having your sweater bunched up in your armpits or creeping up your neck because your coat is too small.

I’m currently on the hunt for a super warm winter coat, and when I go to the store to try them on, I purposely wear bulky sweaters. That way, I don’t make that mistake again.

BONUS | Scarves, hats, gloves, socks, etc.

If it’s super cold out, add these bonus layers to warm up even more.

And that’s it!

The key to it all is to get dressed knowing you’ll add and remove layers throughout the day.

So tell me, how do you approach layering? Got any tips to keep things bulk-free? Also! Do you have any tips on finding a high quality, warm winter coat — not just one that looks warm? I’m on the hunt for a truly warm winter coat, so I’d love to hear your insights. Share away in the comments.

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Fashion

how to wear leather leggings.

I’ve got a SERIOUS thing for leather leggings outfits these days. Actually, not just these days but for years now. Since I love them so much and find myself reaching for them more and more with this chilly weather, I decided to put together a major roundup of all my leather leggings outfits  for you, along with general do’s and don’ts for wearing them.

First order of business: Remember that they’re leggings, not typical pants! You want to make sure what you’re wearing with them is tunic-length and covers the necessary bits and pieces (ha!). I feel like this is the most important tip when it comes to pulling off this look and leggings outfits in general, so I wanted to address it. Also, all of the outfit ideas below are with this in mind – so whenever I’m mentioning a style, I’m assuming that you’re wearing tunic-length whatever!

Leather leggings outfit ideas: 10+ ways to wear your (faux) leather leggings.

1. Dress up your leather leggings outfit with a tunic-length sweater and classic, closed-toe heels

When I first bought faux leather leggings, I ended up wearing them with classic heels most often. I love how pumps elevate the look of them, and the leggings essentially substitute black or dark denim jeans. But I’ll argue that the heels need to be closed-toe to pull off this look in a chic way. Colour wise, you can style whatever colour seems right, but I personally love a nude that matches your skin tone to help elongate the foot/ankle beneath the leggings hem.

2. Pair your leather leggings with a blazer.

If you’re going for a sophisticated casual look, you’ll love the look of leather leggings and a blazer. Especially if you’re fortunate enough to have a relaxed dress code at work (considering you’re even going into the office), faux leather leggings, a sweater or long shirt, along with an oversized blazer is one of my favourite business casual looks. It’s a very “I’m not trying too hard but I’m naturally stylish AF” look, and one that is easy to copy for your own office or casual meetings! Or even a preppy look for weekends if that’s your thing. This look works with classic heels or flats – especially loafers.

3. Add a pop of colour to your leather leggings outfit.

I’ve heard people say that they don’t like wearing colours with black anything on bottom, but I definitely do. Even if it’s just a casual sweater in a fun colour, adding leather leggings on bottom makes the outfit feel just that bit more special. Whether with flats or heeled booties – which I love with leggings for fall and winter – it just makes for a cute outfit! Some of my favourite colours to wear for a good fall/winter outfit on top: red, burnt orange, burgundy, forest green and even blush.

4. Sass up your leather leggings with over the knee boots for a date night look.

I’m LOVING the classic OTK (over the knee) trend this year as much as usual. And it just so happens that the combo of leather leggings and OTK boots is a personal fave. It’s a little bit sassy and great for something like a date or holiday gathering, and it’s a warm combo for colder weather. I will say that I don’t like to wear leather OTK boots when I’m wearing faux leather leggings – I like to wear different textures to make the outfit work since they crawl up your leg. You can’t go wrong with suede OTK boots and leather leggings. Plus a cozy tunic or sweater on top obviously!

5. Look extra chic in a black on black leather leggings outfit.

I love a classic black on black look. For years that is what you’d always find me gravitating towards. It’s very NYC chic and of course beyond flattering! If you are in a rut and just can’t find an outfit, an oversized black sweater and your leather leggings is a great answer. Pair with some fun leopard loafers or a printed scarf if you want to spice things up a bit. Add black booties on bottom to make your legs look a mile long (something I’m always trying to accomplish). Black or nude heels would look cute too if you wanted to dress things up.

6. Go for a classic look by wearing neutrals and leather leggings.

Neutrals are a great idea when you want to look polished and classic. Obviously black pairs well with other neutrals, and this combo provides a classy look but with a touch of trend with the leggings. I wear this type of look to meetings, or when I have a fun accessory (like a bold statement necklace) that I want to show off without being too loud all over.

7. Dress snappy casual in leather leggings and an oxford.

This is another great option for any girls in the relaxed work office setting. This look leans on the preppy side, but I personally think it’s real cute. If you’re looking to add something special to a look, think about layering, as that always makes an outfit unique. And with leather leggings on bottom, pair it with a classic oxford shirt (tunic length of course) and a structured vest to pull everything together.

8. Throw on a long cardigan or duster with leather leggings.

This is a go-to look for me during fall and winter because it’s casual but pulled together – and so darn cozy! It’s a very comfortable outfit – in terms of how it feels but also how it looks. It’s cute and it’s easy to feel confident in this. If you have a colored cardigan you’re looking to wear, think about going monochrome with a black cami and the leather leggings, then wearing your cardigan on top. Flattering to all shapes and sizes!

9. Tunic or poncho is a go to for dressing leather leggings.

I’ve always found ponchos and tunics to be classy, especially when traveling or running errands on the weekends. It’s an easy way to feel like you have your life together (even if you don’t), and to remain comfortable during transitional weather. I love this combo for traveling or weird weather days since you can use the tunic as a layering device, yet it’s very Tory Burch and stylish. The leather leggings keep you from feeling outdated or like your fashionable grandma, ha!

10. Add texture by pairing denim and leather leggings.

There’s something so cute about a denim jacket or button up and leather leggings. The contrast and textures somehow work in a casual and super fun way. It’s a great way to dress down your leather and wear when running errands around town. I love this look and can’t deny an easy outfit where I can wear sneakers and still look put together! You can also switch this up with a flannel and plaid.

What is your favourite way to wear leather leggings? Also, if you’ve tried the Spanx leather leggings, tell me!! I am torn up about trying them or not.

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.