My husband is exceptionally hard to buy gifts for. Usually when I ask him for ideas, he just shrugs his shoulders and says something like, “surprise me”…….. NOT helpful, babe. I’m usually left to figure it out myself and well, after almost eight years of marriage I *think* I’ve started to figure out the kinds of things Matt would like to receive on Father’s Day — fun(ny), unique and something that makes it seem like I was really, really thoughtful (shhh. you didn’t read that, hubs).
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If you follow me on IG (@shanachristine), you know that we recently returned from an amazing trip to Cuba. I have so much more to say on that topic (hopefully next week??), but so many of you were asking for outfit / packing details that I wanted to crank this one out.
We visited Cuba at the end of March, which is technically considered their cold season, but…it was glorious. Hot during the day, yet cool enough in the evenings to need a light jacket or sweater. It did rain once, but blew in/out so quickly that the net result was wandering into the bar for one more mojito. #twistmyarm
As I mentioned in the Kid’s Cuba Packing List article, we brought only carry-ons to avoid the long luggage line at the Havana airport. Made extra tricky by the fact that one can’t easily run out for, say, forgotten sunscreen in Cuba. Cuba is not a shopping destination (to put it mildly), so you’re more likely to do without rather than replace it.
A few things I learned:
- In the off season, Cuba does get cool at night. Especially when there’s a breeze. (And when walking along the Malecon, there was always a breeze.)
- Cubans have style. It’s more of a Miami vibe than an East-Coast hipster vibe, but grown men do not seem to wear shorts at night, and the women dress sexy.
- On that note….I thought, for a hot second, that Cuba might be conservatively dressed. HELLS NO. Even the Cuban TSA agents wore short, tight skirts with fishnet tights. I am not making this up. It was amazing.
- Old Havana has lots of cobblestones. I didn’t bother with heels once the entire trip.
Here’s what worked for me:
In our annual tradition of non-romantic-movie themed Valentine’s date nights, I polled the Mom Edit team for their faves and whipped up some really fun ideas if you’re staying in this year. Because it’s February and no one wants to leave the house – hot popcorn & warm couch > fancy dinner & unsensible shoes.
Grab the remote and your bae: we’ll tell you what to watch, wear, drink and give for a low-key but awesome Tuesday night.
If you follow me on Instagram stories at all (@elletrain) you know I love to cook and bake. My grandmother was an amazing Southern food cook and baked the most delicious desserts. My stepmother is half Italian and has always cooked and baked fabulous holiday treats and special birthday meals. My youngest brother works in the food industry and is an avid fan and tester of all Alton Brown’s recipes. My mom is an incredible cook who has hosted international dinners in her home where she’s researched traditional foods from various countries to serve to complete strangers. (#brave) I think it’s in my blood.
I didn’t use to love to cook, but being surrounded by such wonderful foodies in my life, I had no choice but to take up interest. Once you spend a little time trying out recipes and building your repertoire of kitchen tools you learn the genuine satisfaction that comes with making a delicious meal or treat. I know many of you out there probably share my interest or know someone who does. For you or them, a great kitchen tool is really a priceless gift that will be used again and again.
Here, I’ve tried to gather useful, beautiful kitchen gifts that I would absolutely love to receive this Christmas. They’re also all available with Amazon Prime shipping, so you have time to get them ordered before next weekend. From mixers to cookbooks, there’s a little something here for every price point and every cook.
Gang, Sorel is having an early Black Friday sale! Take 25% off your purchase, plus free shipping. The sale does have a few exclusions, but happily, my favs are alllll on sale. (Including these wedge hikers – worn above!)
Click through for an edited sale selection (including mens and kids)….
“A well-tailored suit is to women what lingerie is to men.”
I don’t know who said that, but I whole-heartedly agree. There’s just something about a man in a suit, right? Not only do they look good, but all of a sudden they have this swagger that comes from putting it on (like my husband Zack and his BFF Chris in the pic above). You can tell they feel good when wearing a nice suit.
Choosing a suit is the (somewhat) easy part: Invest in one that fits really well and wear it for years (our favs are linked below). The hard part, however, is finding inspired shirt & tie combinations. So we sat Zack down (he has an seriously uncanny knack) and had him pull his favorite shirt-and-tie combos for navy, black, and gray suits from the insanely huge shirt-and-tie collection at Nordstrom.
Here are our favs…..
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is good on so many levels: the insane discounts on upcoming Fall merchandise, the boots, the bags, the baby stuff….but (and this is a bold statement) it might be even better for guys. Work clothes and shoes? Yup. The best of the best. Man-denim (not too tight, not too baggy)? There are ton of options. And this year’s sale has some statement-making jackets and sweaters to completely amp his weekend (or date night) look. Add to this mix some perfectly cut tees, sweatshirts and a shoe selection that has rivals the women’s? MAN.
You lucky guys.
When Mike and I first started working, it was during the dot-com boom, and dress codes everywhere were loosening up. Everyone – even corporate Lockheed Martin – was trying to emulate the cool, Silicon Valley start-up vibe, and most of us (the young engineers, anyway) all wore jeans. My typical work uniform was jeans, stilettos, an oversized, un-tucked button-down…topped with a ponytail, haha.
Predictably, this didn’t last. Not only have corporate dress codes smartened up in the past few years, but on a personal level, Mike changed jobs and now wears a full suit – and tie – everyday.
Creating a suit wardrobe from a closet full of jeans and bad khakis has been, uh, challenging. Our favorite places to shop for men’s suits is Nordstroms, and the anniversary sale (which starts THURSDAY WOOT WOOT) is – hands down – the very best time to shop for suits.
Mike’s fav? Hugo Boss. They’re expensive, but these things last. Mike is a suit power-user: he travels in them, skateboards to work in them, tosses them on the floor of our bedroom, couldn’t find an iron with both hands and a map, and has, on occasion, thrown the jacket over a nail to “hang” it.
Drives me nuts.
All things considered….these suits hold up pretty well.
If there’s one thing I can’t buy for Mike, it’s shoes. I can usually nail the shirt-and-tie combo, suits are a no brainer (blue Hugo Boss all day long), and even with jeans and tees I have a success rate of over 50%. But shoes? Not even close. The man is super picky about shoes. And so is Scotti’s husband, Zack. And, now that I think about it….so is my Dad. Is this a man thing?
In any case, when Nordstrom asked me to take a look at their selection of guys’ shoes (which, btw, is starting to rival their women’s selection), I turned the whole thing over to Mike and Zack, instructing them to pick shoes they would actually wear this summer.
True to form, their picks surprised me. So. From our guys to yours, here are our favorite summer man shoes.