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The Cheryl Shops Holiday Gift Guide 2019

Usually I spread my gift guides out over several weeks—or months, as my very organized self did last year—but if you’re anything like me, the holidays REALLY snuck up on me this year, and dear god, how did this happen?! So in the interest of Christmas and Hanukkah being less than three weeks away, I decided to lump my somewhat abbreviated gift guides into one big post. This year, I didn’t filter by recipient; I went straight to price, but included something for all genders and ages in each. Well, except for splurge gifts—those are mostly just for me. ;) So without further ado, here are my favorite gifts for 2019.

What to wear in December

My plans to shoot an outfit post were thwarted by the rain we had all weekend in LA (yes, it does rain in Southern California), so instead, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been wearing lately on Instagram. I used to shoot my daily outfits in the bathroom at work, but since my new job has truly terrible lighting (and the ladies’ room is always crowded), I’ve been trying to do a better job of showing more everyday looks in my feed. In case you’re still not following me on IG (yes, that was a shameless plug!), here’s what I’ve been wearing.

The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales

Back when I first started writing Cheryl Shops, I used to list all of the weekly sample sales in NYC; if you’ve been reading this blog since the dark ages, that’s probably how you first found me. Nowadays, there are many sites out there who track the sales better than I do—Madison Avenue Spy being one of my favorites—but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d show my gratitude to you, dear readers, by sharing the best deals on my favorite sites. Let me know what you got in the comments below!

Our dog-friendly weekend trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea

I was compensated with free lodging and meals for this post, but all opinions are my own.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California sounds like a magical place from its name alone, and once you’ve visited, you realize the magic is real. Conceived as an artists’ colony in the early 1900s, the town’s character is that of a village in a forest overlooking the beach, and it’s filled with straight-out-of-a-fairytale houses that all have imaginative names. (Fun fact: there are no street numbers in Carmel-by-the-Sea; residents go to the post office to pick up their mail.) The town is vigilant about preserving its beauty—trees cannot be torn down to accommodate new construction, buildings cannot be more than two stories tall, signs must be wood (or wood-like), and as a matter of public safety on its uneven sidewalks, you are required to have a permit to wear heels over 2 inches high (yes, that is an actual law!). It may sound like a lot of regulation, but the result is that Carmel-by-the-Sea is a truly special place filled with people and businesses that feel so devoted the unique character of the town. And what makes Carmel even more dear to my heart is that it’s the most dog-friendly town I’ve ever visited—in fact, all of the visitor maps note which businesses allow dogs!

Carmel is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Francisco, which makes it perfect for a weekend trip (although we'd happily spend a week—or longer—there). Here’s what Sean, Zuni, and I did on our visit in November.

What to wear in Carmel in autumn

I was #blessed to spend a weekend in Carmel again—as you may recall, we go every August for car week, which I love, but this time was a totally different experience. For one, the town was waaaaay less crowded. For another, the weather was absolutely gorgeous; it’s normally foggy and chilly in the summer, but it was clear and crisp and surprisingly warm. I have a more in-depth post on my trip coming later this week, but in the meantime, here’s what I wore in Carmel last weekend.

Get the look: camel sweater and quilted skirt

My Pinterest followers have been busy repinning fall-transitional outfits, and even though it feels like winter-transitional weather at the moment, I think this is a great look to wear right now (and later). The most-pinned look from my Outfit ideas for ageless style Pinterest board looks very Bottega Venteta, but let's create it for way less (mostly).

What to wear with midcalf boots

When I was young, I had a babysitter named Carrie who was very cool in a Joan Jett–meets–Stevie Nicks kind of way. Her style was boho mixed with punk—lots of silver and black and denim—and I was pretty much obsessed with her. She almost always wore black suede boots, and in all my years of shopping, I've never found a pair that reminded me so distinctly of her until I tried on the Giorgia boot by Calla. They came in the mail last week and I literally wore them for three days straight. I channeled Carrie all weekend long, but this was the look I think she'd approve of the most.

Fall trends: buckle bags

I had meant to publish this last week, but life (and Halloween) got in the way, and even though it's November, it's definitely still fall. Plus, this trend is kind of seasonless, so it almost doesn't matter when you buy it—although now is always a good time. When it comes to bags, I'm definitely more of a minimalist—I usually don't go for a lot of bells and whistles in terms of hardware, but lately I've been gravitating toward something with a nice big buckle. It's a step above minimalist, but by no means maximalist. Here are my favorite buckle bags for fall.

What to wear to Friendsgiving

The first year I moved to California, I had no idea what time of year it was until I went to a department store in late November and realized it was almost Christmas. It was sunny, it was still relatively warm…and it’s kind of like that all year. Of course, I’ve since realized that we have seasons here—they’re just very subtle. That said, fall tends to drag on for a bit, and by fall, I mean summer. So while everyone in the rest of the country is gladly breaking out the sweaters and boots, Californians are still in sandals and sundresses. But thankfully, as of the day I’m writing this, it appears true fall is finally upon us: it’s foggy again, my nose gets cold when I’m waiting for the bus in the morning, and I’m thinking about adding another blanket to my bedding. And it’s just in time, because I have a Friendsgiving dinner this weekend and it just doesn’t feel right to wear summer clothes to a very autumnal event. Here’s what I’m planning on wearing this year.

What to wear when you walk your dog

This post is sponsored by Cuddl Duds but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I get up every morning at 6:45 to walk my dog, Zuni, and while it's never easy, it's particularly challenging this time of year because we're awake before the sun is up. And while I'm frequently tempted to roll out of the house in my nightgown, I do manage to pull on a Cuddl Duds top and leggings, because believe it or not, there are people already out and about at that hour. Here's what I wear when I walk Zuni.

Fall trends: square-neck tops

Of all the trends I'm featuring this season, this one seemed a little iffy to me...until I got my hair done a few weeks ago and literally every female stylist at my salon was wearing a square-neck top. Granted, most of them were of the slightly cropped variety, but thankfully there are a lot of square-neck tops that have a slightly more forgiving silhouette. Here are my favorite square-neck tops for fall.

Two ways to wear wide-leg pants

I've been talking up wide-leg pants a lot lately, so I thought it's time to put my money where my mouth is. Or, to put it more succinctly, I decided to buy a pair of wide-leg black trousers. I got inspired to do so after seeing a woman wearing what I'm pretty sure is this ChloĆ© pair on the street—the front wrap detail makes the silhouette extra unique and feminine, not to mention perfect for camouflaging a food baby. And while I do certainly have one of those right now, I don't have $1,250 to spend, but thankfully I found a very similar pair (on major sale, even) at ASOS. And let me tell you, after nearly 15 years of wearing skinny jeans, I had completely forgotten how comfortable wide-leg pants are. I've been wearing them pretty much nonstop since I got them—they look so polished, yet you can totally dress them down too. So with that in mind, here are two ways to wear wide-leg pants.

Fall trends: wide-leg leather pants

It's been awhile since I've bought a pair of leather pants, but I'm feeling confident enough that there's a major silhouette shift happening that I'm ready for another pair. This season, it's all about a wide-leg cut, either in a full length or cropped cut. The upside is that this silhouette is super-flattering; the downside is that unless you go with faux leather, it's a bit of an investment. Then again, I've had my current pair of leather pants for years, and I think of them exactly as that—an investment. Here are my favorite wide-leg leather (and faux leather) pants of the season. 

How to wear a slip skirt in fall

One of my favorite pieces of the last year or so has been this Free People Normani slip skirt; this is its third appearance here (you last saw it with a denim jacket) and I wear it at least once every other week in real life. It's relaxed enough to wear on the weekend and can dress up with a blazer for work, plus it's super comfy and manages to look feminine yet pulled together no matter what the occasion. Lately, my favorite way to wear it has been with an oversized double-breasted blazer (one of my key pieces for fall); here's how it all comes together.