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The A List: February

Alison Pegg

Awhile ago when I was attempting to post weekly to this site, I had the ambitious idea to try and post a weekly list of favorites, my A List of sorts.

Talk about an ambitious undertaking and one which was ultimately doomed to fail (it did). You see, sometimes life comes at us faster than we anticipated, and for every week full of new experiences and new inspiration, sometimes there’s a week where routine and Netflix are just what the doctor ordered. 

But as you can see from the title of this post, I’m not giving up on trying to be a tastemaker in my own life, I’m just stretching out when I share said tastes with the world. Apologies if you were looking for five seemingly random pieces of pop culture to feast on, instead, I like to think I’ve got my act together a smidgen to share with you my monthly faves in fashion, food, beauty, entertainment, and home. 

Fashion

In a shocker to no one, all of my fashion picks for this month are black. But ever versatile, there’s no color I'd rather be wearing in the rut of winter than my beloved black.

There’s also no other cut of dress I’d rather wear than a mashup of my two favorite styles - turtleneck and swing.  This dress from ASOS is just that, easy to wear, hides all the flaws, and looks great with everything from sneakers to over the knee boots. 

Similar in their versatility, these Louise et Cie oxfords are perfect for the winter months, the block heels adds just enough height without sacrificing comfort (key for tall girls like me) and the patent finish adds a bit of polish to mix in with the oxford’s hint of masculinity. They’re my vision of the perfect daytime shoe.

My last fashion fave I haven’t even purchased yet, but I’ve had my eye on it for awhile, this grommeted vest from Zara. Knee length vests have become a staple of mine, they’re the perfect non-bulky topper that leans the line of any outfit that I'm wearing. Here I’m loving how the grommet toughens up the look of the vest, while the ribbon tie adds a hint of femininity to bring the toughness down a notch. Consider it added to my shopping cart. 

 

Food

Brioso image via, Rockmill Tavern image via, Bravo image via 

One of my greatest memories about working across from the Statehouse early in my career was all of the “powerhouse” coffeeshops that were in a five-minute vicinity from the office. You never knew who you’d come across in each of the java houses, but you were always guaranteed to see a power player or two in Cafe Brioso. I was lured into Brioso by the company it attracted, but stayed for two of my favorite coffee concoctions, the Ohio Maple Latte and Honey Vanilla Latte.  Recently to me I’ve noticed Brioso Roastery & Coffee Bar opened up shop on Long St near CCAD and to be honest, I couldn’t be more thrilled. The shop is roomy and open, but stills keeps that cool Brioso vibe regulars have come to love. And just like the good old days, I can walk to Brioso from the office again. 

Likewise as a nod to the good old days, and oldie but goodie happy hour reemerged for me this past month, Bravo.  I used to avoid Bravo’s happy hour like the plague, mostly because on warms days in the past, it’s always been swarming with the judgmental suburban crowd (sorry, not sorry). But after wandering in this past month on a random Tuesday with a friend, I realized the prices and portions really can’t be beat. Cocktails and wines are a steal at five bucks a pop, but it was the food that was the real steal on weeknights. Bravo’s flatbreads are basically the size of a normal pizza and are super cheap, and their meatballs almost rivaled Palle’s in terms of deliciousness. I recommend grabbing a seat at the bar to keep the stuffy out of the experience - an experience I never thought I'd rediscover again. 

From old to knew, this month I also had a chance to try Rockmill Tavern for the first time. Let me just say - I. Get. It.  It being the atmosphere, it being the decor, and of course, it being the CHICKEN SANDWICH. I can totally see why Rockmill is Columbus’ new hotspot, and I’ll definitely be back to try more of the amazingness. 

 

Beauty

When I think about beauty during the month of February, I think about moisture, I think about ease, and most importantly I think about fool proof. February is when my skin takes a dive for the barren, my face starts to look a bit dull, and my makeup routine feels a bit monotonous. All three of these products helps to combat one (or all of those).

I stumbled upon Too Faced’s Mascara Melt Off in one of their holiday gifts sets, and never thought to try it until recently. I’m so glad I did. It loosens your mascara after a long day of wear, so you’re not pulling on your lashes when trying to remove it. (Plus, leave it on for more than its recommended minute and you’ll look straight out of a bad romantic comedy with the black around your eyes).

Similarly, after a long day out in the cold, or stuck inside the dry heat of the office, my face starts to tighten and dry up to the point it feels stiff. Sheet masks have been my saving grace during the evenings, and these Korean ones from Donkey Milk are some of my faves. They’re full of hydration to replenish your skin, and the price for a pack can’t be beat . They’re the perfect complement to a night of bad tv. 

The one other fix I rely on during the winter to brighten up my skin is a bright saturated lip color. I'm loving the new Make Up Forever Acrylip lipsticks, they're a lighter and less drying version of my beloved liquid lip versions. Not only is the color payoff great, they're definitely long-lasting and easy to apply with the sponge applicator tip. Plus, the Raspberry Red (#402) is one of the prettiest blue-reds I've come across in awhile. 

 

Entertainment

To my surprise, this past month was the ten year anniversary of the series finale of The OC. Why was I surprised? Because before I found this out, I've been binging on Season 1 for much of this month. My favorite season of all, the trials and tribulations of the southern California crew still seemed fresh and the banter between Summer and Seth still adorable. Even the beloved Chrismukkah episode was quirky cute, but the same can’t be said for Oliver (still hate the guy). OC 4 EVER.

When not reliving the 2000s, my other favorite piece of television this month has been Blackish, aka the best comedy on tv. Between tackling race, the election, and many more power issues, Blackish balances the tough talk with the hilarious. And while I love the quirky Rainbow, and the crazy evil grandparents (and Diane for that matter), my favorite character trophy has to go to Junior, he just flat out cracks me up. Cheers Blackish, thanks for letting us laugh again.

Even though it has been more of a swimming pool than an ice rink this winter, the Blue Jackets outdoor ice rink is still one of my favorite wintry things to do in Columbus. I love that it was downtown again,  with a view of the skyline while you skate your way around the rink. If you time your visit just right next year (sadly, it's now closed) you can easily find a session that's not too crowded to twirl to your heart's delight. There's literally nothing better skating outdoors during the winter months. 

 

Home

 

It's amazing how some products sweep into our lives and we somehow forget we ever lived without them. That’s pretty much how I feel about my Saje diffuser. Not only do I love the aesthetics of it (the sleek black lines!), it’s the immediate place that it takes me to that love the most. A quick couple drops of tranquility before I go to bed every night, and I’m immediately drifting away to dreamworld not to be awoken. Yep, truly a life changer. 

While my diffuser might be a life saver, my One Canoe Two calendar actually helps to keep my life in order. This is the second year in a row that I've relied on this calendar, and what I love most is it’s functional and fashionable. Perched on my side table each month brings a new mini piece of art to my living room, all the while performing one single function that matters most, keeping track of the days ahead. Fashion and function, what a beautiful idea.

The only thing more I could ask for out of a home item than fashion and function is one that gives back to some part of the world. And my Cambie blanket does just that. Purchased as it’s ubiquitous shop on Queen West in my hometown Toronto, these blankets not only look good and keep you warm, they also are eco-friendly and help to lift up artisans in Peru. Every time I see that at the bottom of my bed, I can’t help but smile. 

Last, but definitely not least, my final pick of the month is this Le Labo candle, in fact, it's sitting on my desk next to me at this very moment. It’s the perfect grown-up and room setting smell, not too strong and not too festive. And I love the deconstructed tin that it comes in, it’s a little piece of industrial chic on my otherwise scandi-modern desk.