GOT YOU COVERED: TRAVEL STYLE WITH MODEL & VINTNER MICHELE OUELLET

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This year we like to think we’ve really got your back—from gifts to buy, to what to wear, to how to make present wrapping not totally terrible. We’re sitting down with our team to glean a little pro advice to get you through the season with flying colors (blue being a nonnegotiable, of course). Next up is our friend, model and vintner Michele Ouellet. She divides her time between the East Coast (modeling) and the West (working for her family’s winery, Lorenza). So she knows a thing or two about schlepping from here to there. And not looking like she’s, you know, schlepping.

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Making Merry With Eggnog Milkshakes

We’re still in the holiday mood, and nothing gets you in the spirit quite like eggnog. Our favorite way to indulge in this frothy treat? An old-school eggnog milkshake from Gray’s Ice Cream in Tiverton, Rhode Island. This local institution has been serving up homemade ice cream since the 1920s, when it was delivered in batches by horse and buggy to proprietor Annie Gray, who would then dish it out from the back window of her house. 

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These days, the charming three-window ice cream parlor stays open year-round and churns out more than 40 flavors, including their famous frozen pudding (a rum-based classic with apricots and raisons) and seasonal hits like eggnog. But if you can’t make it to Tiverton for their deliciously rich eggnog shake, here’s how to do it yourself:

1. In a blender, combine one cup of eggnog ice cream with one cup of whole milk. (Note: The fresher the nog ice cream, the better this shake will taste. If you can’t find a quality pint near you, tweak the recipe to use one cup of vanilla ice cream with one cup of top-shelf eggnog.)
2. Pour into a festive cup and top with grated nutmeg to your liking.


Want to add a little kick? Garnish your shake with a fresh cinnamon stick, sprinkle with crushed ginger snaps (yum!) or sweeten with shaved peppermint bark and whipped cream. Cheers! 

What We Want From the Gift Well Guide

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How fun is our Gift Well Guide? We make a habit of scrolling through it daily and deciding what to get everyone on our list (and with 150+ genius gift ideas to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong). But if you’re short on time, check out the top three pieces some of us at Madewell HQ are gifting this season.

KIN (head designer)
1. Monogrammed leather Transport Tote
2. Perfect Ex-Boyfriend Chambray Shirt
3. Anything from Top Hat

JAY (head of visuals):
4. 1717 Olive Striped Beanie™
5. Happy Socks®
6. The Johnnie Oxford in Snakeprint

JOYCE (accessories designer):
7. Cat Ring 
8. The monogrammed leather Transport Tote
9. Printed Sleep Shorts

4 Creative Ways to Wrap Gifts

Remember this scenario? You meet up with a friend to exchange presents for the holidays. You hand over yours, covered in the very finest wrapping paper your local drugstore has to offer. And then you receive theirs, expertly, ingeniously, innovatively wrapped—a work of art in itself. Yeah…oof.
 

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So naturally, we asked our aesthetically in-tune graphic design team to give us a lesson in crafty packaging. Get inspired below.

1. Keep it simple and monotone, then add a fresh touch, like a rosemary sprig.
2. Get crafty with white paper and a few rolls of Kamoi Kakoshifor Top Hat Tape.
3. Go traditional with festive wrapping paper but tie it with a real ribbon. So elegant!
4. Has your friend or loved one been extra good this year? If so, wrap a coffee-table book in our Perfect Chambray Shirt, then top it all off with a bow. Double whammy.

Cody Foster Takes Christmas Seriously

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Attention, tree trimmers: You must get to know Cody Foster, purveyor of all things eye-catching and crafty. Nestled in a tiny town called Valentine, this Nebraska-based company draws influence from Midwestern charm—and believe it or not, its eponymous founder, Cody, actually got his start making ornaments back in ’91 while still in high school. So long story short: Grab a handful of these giraffes, elephants and metallic bulbs and your tree will instantly go from standard to standout.

P.S. Check out this amazing photo of Cody (age 4) getting in on the action.

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Long holiday weekend, here we come

To kick off beach season, we asked our favorite tastemaker (and LE CATCH blogger) Marlien Rentmeester to round up her must-haves for summer weekends—from Madewell and beyond. Happy Friday!

1. The Whistlestop Sandal: “These sandals can take me from the city to the beach, all in stride.”

2. Drifter Shades: “Love the retro shape.”

3. The Bungalow Stripe Caravan Mailbag: “A roomy carry all is essential for the beach. This one fits everything from magazines to scarves to cover-ups.”

4. Clambake Cover-Up: “Speaking of cover-ups, this is the ultimate—slightly sheer and cozy at the same time.”

5. Zimmerman Noir Eyelet Underwire Bikini: “Black is always flattering and sexy—two adjectives I want in a bikini!”

6. Leather Wrap Bracelets: “For a nice pop of color against my tan skin.”

7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Lait SPF: “Water-resistant with a nice light texture. Plus, the French packaging always transports me to some chic faraway beach.”

8. Too Red nail polish by RGB: “It’s like ’40s-starlet red: out and out glam.”

9. Evian Facial Spray: “It’s not as good as jumping in the ocean, but a spritz of this comes quite close.”

10. Jayson Home beach blanket: “Handwoven and so gorgeous.”

11. Fresh-squeezed juice: “I’m hooked on the apple strawberry coconut and almond milk ones from Pressed Juicery, but any fresh juice will do!”

Paper Bagging It: A Seriously Foolproof Turkey Recipe

by Heather Summerville (Brooklyn)

Friendsgiving is a cherished tradition around my apartment. For those not familiar with the celebration, it’s the equivalent of a Thanksgiving feast spent with friends (instead of with your cranky Uncle Jack). We held our annual stuff-yourself-till-you-pass-out dinner last weekend, wherein my boyfriend and I cooked a 15-pound turkey—oh yeah, in a paper Whole Foods bag. And get this: We didn’t burn down the kitchen.

Full disclosure: I’m not much of a cook. I make a mean salad and can toast a piece of bread like nobody’s business, but let me anywhere near an open flame and bad things tend to happen. So the thought of even attempting to cook something as daunting as a turkey stressed me out for weeks beforehand—and even prompted me to buy a fire extinguisher, you know, just in case. My friend Madeleine saved the day, however, with this insanely easy, foolproof turkey recipe. She and her boyfriend came over to supervise my boyfriend and me as we prepared the bird—and truth be told, even though I really didn’t have to do too much, I could have cooked this turkey on my own—and so can you!

What you need:

4 oranges

4 lemons

3 heads of garlic

2 sticks of butter

2 cups olive oil 

Fresh thyme and rosemary

Turkey

2 paper bags

What to do:

1. Slice your citrus into quarters.

2. Clean and peel your garlic.

3. Melt both sticks of butter and mix in olive oil.

4. Chop half your thyme and rosemary and add to your butter/olive oil.

5. Be sure to remove the neck and innards from your turkey.

6. Generously coat turkey skin inside and out with your butter/olive oil/herb mix.

7. Stuff the sliced citrus, garlic and remaining fresh herbs inside your turkey.

8. Double up your paper bags and place turkey inside.

9. Fold the open end of your bag under the turkey and place in a roasting pan.

10. Cook at 350°F for 15 minutes per pound.

11. Before removing your delicious turkey from the bag, check doneness by sticking a meat thermometer through the bag or opening the end and slicing into the turkey.

Plus, a bonus photo of the only one who stayed awake post-dinner, my puppy Hankerchief, in a turkey-feather necklace made by a crafty friend.

All photos by Ryan Hefner.