Sending a special thanks to Dockers® for teaming up with us on this post. Check out more about the brand and shop the looks pictured here at Dockers.com®.

Guys are notoriously hard to shop for, so we’re making it easy! We’ve teamed up with Dockers® to round up a few of our favorite picks for the guy in your life this holiday season.

Our tip?  Basics don’t have to be boring; when in doubt, go with those classic pieces (and always needed items) that will be used, appreciated, and one step above the rest.

DailyWorth, one of our favorite sources of information for everything career-and-money-wise, is back! This time they’re sharing a few simple ways to save hundreds. Especially during one of the busiest and expensive times of the year, who couldn’t use a little extra pocket change? 

A few weeks ago, I saved our family $792 a year with a single, 10-minute phone call. A few months earlier, another quick call saved us $833 a year. Many times, saving money requires time and energy — sometimes for very little payoff. I prefer the lazier way: quick hits that don’t take long but that reap big benefits.

Here are some small ways to save big.

Dairy, gluten and soy free. This is the perfect healthy holiday recipe. It’s ready in 40 minutes and an easy way to bring friends together. Since we are already sitting down to feast with the family, this stuffed delicata squash gives you all the flavors without the fuss, especially on the days after  feasting has occurred.

Why is it also incredibly good for you? Read on …

Our interns are an integral part of all that we do at Darling. From showing up early and setting up photo shoots, to staying here late and shipping hundreds of magazines, we couldn’t be more appreciative of these young women who give their time, energy and resources to putting the #DarlingMovement into action.

We don’t want to keep them a secret, either, so below we’re sharing the faces, stories, and a few interesting facts about the ladies behind Darling Issue No. 14.

 This post is sponsored by Shutterfly. Share and celebrate your family update. Shop Shutterfly for personalized holiday cards that are unique, meaningful and that are just the way you want.

We’re gearing up for the gifting season and love looking for inventive (and, let’s face it, stress-less!) ways to show our love for those we hold dear. While Shutterfly has been our go-to in the past for printing epic vacation photos, memories from times abroad, and cementing important life milestones, we recently learned that they now make gifting those one-of-a-kind keepsakes even simpler through the use of their new Art Library. No uploading or extra thought required.

Available on their site, the library is preloaded with hundreds of free travel photographs, art images, patterns, quotes — you name it — for you to easily customize any number of gifts. So, in addition to stocking up on cards and calendars this holiday season, we’ve put together a Darling “Persona-Approved” gift guide to use while shopping Shutterfly’s products. Read on below to see what we picked!

POST TAGS:

Iceland is increasingly becoming a hot spot for travelers, and with good reason: The nature and landscape are absolutely breathtaking, the people are welcoming and warm, the culture is interesting and unique, and the seafood, amongst other delicious Icelandic treats, is fresh and excellent.

My husband and I recently traveled to Iceland and we can’t recommend this adventure enough (we’re already plotting our inevitable return). Here are four tips for planning your trip.

We recently discovered DailyWorth, a powerhouse of information for the modern-day girl on the rise. Offering advice on everything from boardrooms to budgets, we find their content to be so helpful that we’re excited to begin sharing some of it here with you! Today’s post is extra timely — cooler weather is welcome, but feverish chills are not! 

When one person gets sick at work, it usually means everyone’s bound to catch it too; you’re just one poorly aimed sneeze away. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Beyond getting that annual flu shot, here’s how to protect yourself when your office becomes a bucket of germs.

To err is human. We’ve all doubtless heard this phrase before, but in spite of its truth, who among us doesn’t still cling to a desire to achieve perfection, to become the people we were created to be? We all have dreams of becoming the best, truest version of ourselves; we want to be as kind, as generous, or as compassionate as possible, and we want to manifest such qualities in a manner that’s reflective of our distinct selves.

Examining our lives and becoming more of who we are, however, is easier said than done. While we can look to role models and other women to show us how to live well, the fact that each of us has never existed before and will never exist again means that no one else can quite show us who we are as individuals or who we were born to be.

If we are to live as our truest selves, we must become something we alone know.

Highly qualified, irresistible, whip smart, and a force of nature on screen and on paper. James Bond, you ask? Hardly. We think it’s high time to give the women of the Bond films the long overdue credit that they deserve.

One year prior to Betty Friedan publishing The Feminine Mystique and Congress passing the Equal Pay Act, Ursula Andress slunk out of the Caribbean like Botticelli’s Birth Of Venus and into the public consciousness as the archetypal “Bond Girl” Honey Ryder in the inaugural film Dr. No (1962). In the 50 years of movie franchise and women’s rights history that followed, the Bond Girl remained unrivaled in beauty, confidence and charisma, and in later iterations grew increasingly credentialed.

You know those little shops, the ones heard by word of mouth from a friend and are tucked away between buildings and bustling streets? Those little shops that end up being an experience rather than just a place? That’s The Hub Factory in downtown Los Angeles and its creative owner and hairstylist, Gaëlle Secretin.

After embarking on what felt like a journey to unearth my hair’s inner workings, I asked her a few questions for a glimpse into her unique salon and the inspiration behind her career.

Chai is synonymous with fall, in our opinion. Yet, while it may be the spice of the season, it can get pretty repetitive when its just on repeat in a mug.

That’s why we asked Amy Rothstein of Brooklyn-based Dona Chai (a current favorite around the office for its subtle, not-too-sweet flavor) to put together a complete morning-to-night menu using chai in some rather inventive ways. Below she’s sharing four unique ideas to get the most out of this delicious spice. 

There is an incomparable beauty in being known. It’s that moment in which our intricacies are understood, complications perceived, and innate qualities appreciated. We long for that ultimate connection, that counterpart who embodies the childlike wonder of this Atticus Poetry quote:

“She was the most beautiful, complicated thing I’d ever seen. A tangled mess of silky string. And all I wanted of life, was to sit down cross-legged and untie her knots.”

Note From The Editor: In Darling Issue No. 10 we announced a new partnership with International Justice Mission (IJM), specifically partnering with their work to eradicate sex trafficking in the Dominican Republic. We’re excited to introduce the fifth in a series of update posts, taking you along and behind-the-scenes for a deeper look at how exactly that is being accomplished. Today we’re hearing from Jan Haugen, wife of IJM founder Gary Haugen, after a recent trip to the DR.

I recently had the absolute joy of visiting the Dominican Republic and seeing first hand IJM’s work in that beautiful country. Even though I’ve traveled many places, it’s always a bit of a shock to experience a new country: The humid heat – nearly liquid air, the amazing beauty of a city built on a coastline, the juxtaposition of crazy extravagance and extreme poverty – a fancy hotel with lots of Louis Vuitton and a neighborhood of dilapidated buildings with dogs and teenage boys sitting on rooftops whiling away the time, and the amazingly blocked up and stopped daily rush hour traffic jams that would give NYC or Austin a run for their money.

But what I will take away from my visit was so much deeper than my first sensory impressions of the DR:

We’re so excited to give you a sneak-peek inside of our latest issue, Darling No. 14!

It’s that time of year where “what really matters” often gets talked about, but rarely pursued. With winter upon us, we’re now seeking to refocus the lens on our character, taking the time to really think about what it is we stand for and making certain virtues (maybe those long forgotten) popular once again. In these pages you’ll find themes of leaving a legacy, prudence in decision-making, becoming a woman of commitment and finding beauty with age.

From Sarah Dubbeldam’s Letter from the Editor:

However, what’s most important is becoming a pillar, a woman who is the same even when nobody is watching — one that holds an inner compass that guides them in every decision — who desires more than anything to be good, true and right.

Want to see more of what’s inside?

When hunger strikes and it’s cold outside, we want only one thing. Cheesy, gooey, stick-to-your-insides comfort food. Unfortunately, such dishes tend to take a toll on our health even if they may lighten up our mood. Thankfully, Chalkboard Mag comes to the rescue once again with this unbelievable, fall-appropriate dish from Food52. It’s vegan. It’s good for you. It’s extra delicious. You’re welcome.

Everyone has a favorite mac and cheese recipe. This one, which uses sweet, creamy butternut squash in the sauce, is mine. To create an authentic cheese flavor, I use a combination of nutritional yeast, miso, smoked paprika, salt, and lemon juice. (You can use any leftover sauce as a cheese dip.) I highly recommend including the optional vegetables. In addition to providing some contrasting color and texture, they’ll round out the meal, so you won’t have to worry about making an extra side dish – win, win.

A recent Sony media scandal (the studio’s emails were hacked and made public) showed that actresses Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid less than their male co-stars in American Hustle. Since then, more people’s eyes have been opened to the gender inequalities that still exist in the media today. It is concerning and a bit mind-boggling that in 2015 there are still many places where the media needs to adjust their inclusivity of women.

The following will draw your attention to three places, showing why we need to see more women in movies and on television, in behind-the-scenes jobs, and cast in a wider range of occupations. Be prepared for some alarming statistics on gender inequality in the film and television idustry.

Amra Beganovich and Elma Beganovich are two sisters and digital influencers with a following of 1.5+ million on social media. They have worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, like Make Up For Ever, Dr. Marten’s, Navitas Naturals, and Daniel Wellington.

The girls left their 9-5 jobs, Amra, an economist working on World Bank Projects, and Elma, a Georgetown attorney working in international arbitration, to turn their hobbies into a career. Together they are the founders of www.amraandelma.com, their personal lifestyle blog, and www.clubfashionista.com, an invite-only blogging platform dedicated to high quality content.

Both are based in Manhattan, so we caught-up to get an inside scoop into their style secrets, including how to elevate your style while keeping it simple and polished.

POST TAGS:

I love the concept of Friendsgiving, a dinner you throw with your friends in the days leading up to Thanksgiving knowing you’ll have to spend time with your family on the actual day.

It’s more casual, less fussy, usually more wine is involved, and it’s far less political. You don’t have to worry about stepping on anyone’s toes when it comes to family tradition, and the awkward silences and stress over the seating chart seems to be greatly diminished. In all, it’s probably closer to what Thanksgiving aspires to be — a gathering with the people you love, filled with laughter and grateful hearts.

Because of it’s fluidity and inclusive attitude, Friendsgiving is also a time to get a little more playful with the menu.

I’ve long been in love with the powerful and majestic beauty of Scotland. There is nothing that can compare with the sight of fog rolling down the rocky hillsides in the Highlands, or the sharp cut of the wind on the plains of Skye. But the wild country isn’t the only place worth exploring.

The ancient city of Edinburgh lies in the south of the country, alongside the Firth of Forth. Full of history and beauty, this charming city is worth a visit.

I attended a small liberal arts college well known for its media communications program. Although more students claimed this major than any other on campus, the talent pool was still quite small. As a result, a student who excelled in one particular area of media production was quickly recognized and highly sought after.

I saw it happen over and over; sometimes a student just wanted more experience, but other times the student would say yes to project after project in order to avoid disappointing his or her friends and peers. By the end of the year they were exhausted, burnt out, and majorly frazzled.

Maybe you have experienced something similar, either as an outside observer or in the same situation as the frazzled student. Wherever you are — working full time, interning, studying, crunching numbers, or taking coffee orders — now is the best time to learn to set limits for yourself.

She is a mystery. Her only companion a cup of coffee and a copy of her favorite book. Though she sits alone at this sidewalk café, she savors the moment. She quietly delights in the sights and sounds of the scene unfolding before her. She has nowhere to be. No one is waiting for her elsewhere. She will stay as long as she likes. And only leave when she is ready. Who is this woman?

She leaves us wanting to know more.

In an age of social media, over-sharing has become an unfortunate by-product. But maintaining a mysterious element about oneself can leave people wanting more. Not to be mistaken with being stand-offish or aloof, cultivating one’s allure – when done with kindness, grace and authenticity – is an empowering way to keep the people you meet fascinated by the person you are inside.

My mom says that before my first birthday I was talking in full sentences with most of them ending in question marks. In later years, on the drive to school, my dad would lovingly ask me to take a breath and sit with my questions so he might have time to think about his answer before I peppered him with the next one.

And in college, when I was dating my now-husband, Jay, he almost swore off watching movies with me because of the number of non-stop interrogatories concerning what was happening next and why and where and to whom.

I make no apologies for it. I’m a woman — asking questions is what women do; it’s how we make sense of the world around us. And, quite beautifully, at the heart of this very ordinary action lies a real vulnerability, an invitation to a communal experience of the world as we offer to each other, “I don’t know … but maybe you do?”

POST TAGS:

A Note From The Editor: We recently had a friend of Darling, Kelsea Olivia, attend the Axis show in New York City. Below she is sharing her recap of the event and some of her favorite brands and designers that she wanted to share with us!

All three days of Axis at Pier 94 in New York City were filled to the brim with meaningful connections, exposure to new and exciting makers, as well as several sneak peeks of spring collections from some well-loved brands.

Throughout the experience, Axis provided the perfect environment to create new and worthwhile relationships — as well as experience the tangible work from a wide range of creative makers of beauty products, home decor and goods, women’s apparel and accessories.

POST TAGS:

An obsession with the female form has existed for centuries across different cultures and geographic regions. An over-obsession with the female form without regard to personhood is self-objectification. Most of us are familiar with the idea of men seeing women as objects through behaviors such as catcalling or engaging in pornography, but what about women objectifying themselves, and even each other?

Two researchers define the matter as “regular exposure to objectifying experiences that socialize girls and women to engage in self-objectification, whereby they come to internalize this view of themselves as an object or collection of body parts” (Kroon & Perez).

In short, self-objectification is thinking of oneself as an object first and a person second.

With fall and winter being two seasons very close to each other, it’s nice to have a few pieces of clothing that you can wear during both. Along with those boots that come out every year in October and that fur vest you layer over everything, another item to think about adding to your list of treasured staples is the trench coat.

Not only has it been a classic piece of outerwear for decades, but it’s also extremely flattering and can streamline almost any outfit. Although it was first introduced in its familiar longer length, today’s “trenches” are offered in a wide range of different silhouettes and fabrics.

Transviolet has achieved a daring feat. The LA based quartet, consisting of Sarah McTaggart, Judah McCarthy, Michael Panek and Jon Garcia, has written and produced the kind of song you can put on repeat without annoying your roommates because they, too, will be intently listening along to its soft chronicle of a bittersweet departure from youth’s naivety.

“Girls Your Age” first strikes you with a hypnotic beat, which McTaggart then uses to coo the coming of age story of a heroine.