Holiday 2015: North Country Notes

Over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving memories

“Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go / The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the bright and drifting snow-oh … ”

When I was growing up in the Champlain Valley, we did in fact go over the river (two, actually) and through the woods, as well as farm fields, to Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving and Christmas, although, being an up-to-date 1950s family, we traveled by car, and snowdrifts that early in the winter were rare, at least at Thanksgiving. [Read more…]

Holiday 2015: Fashion

Accessorize for the holidays

The fur stole is a trendy piece worn around one shoulder and wrapped across the stomach.

The fur stole is a trendy piece worn around one shoulder and wrapped across the stomach.

Text by Katie Machia  |  Photos by AFM Photography

One of the most important things you can do to create a perfect winter look is to accessorize. This is often the last step in the process of getting dressed, but can be one of the most important. The designers of this year’s Fashion Week 2015 collections have got you covered with the most up-to-date accessories for your closet. Whether it be boots, handbags or jewelry, there are many new styles and colors to try.

A good scarf is an essential winter item for anyone living in Northern New York, where it’s not uncommon for temperatures to drop below zero. Many different styles were shown on the runways this past season, and by far the most popular style was the fur stole. This trendy piece is worn around one shoulder and wrapped across the stomach. It works best over a thick sweater or a coat, and you can finish it off with a slim belt tied just above your stomach.

Another popular style is the slim scarf. Taking inspiration from the 1970s, this look emits a cool and confident feeling. Wrap it once around your neck, and tie it the second time around, letting it hang loose. This looks great with any V-neck blouses or thinner jackets. It’s the perfect scarf to wear under your coat as well.

If you want something more practical for the north country winters, go for a blanket scarf. This oversized accessory is meant to be worn around the neck, but can also be unfolded and thrown over the shoulders. These scarves usually come in warm fabrics and a variety of prints. Don’t be afraid to go for a bold print or pattern, but make sure your jacket is a neutral color. This scarf is perfect for those days when you don’t want to get out of bed and feel like you need to bring your blanket to the office.

Bandanas are one of the hottest trends for this season, as this accessory is making a huge comeback. There are two ways to wear a bandana. You can fold the two ends of a bandana together and tie around your neck, or you can roll it and tie it into a knot. Both looks are clean, classic, and very chic. This trend looks best with a V-neck sweater, basic long-sleeve t-shirt, or a light cardigan.

When it comes to jewelry, the trend this year can be described as “more is more.” Lots of layering, big bling, and sparkly things are all the rage. One of the major trends is the brooch, which is making a reappearance from the past. This piece of jewelry can make a huge statement on bags, jackets and blazers. The more the better, so mix multiple pins on a denim jacket for a retro look. For a classier and cleaner look, place a brooch on your handbag.

The next big thing is the cuff earring. This style started to slowly emerge a couple years ago, with only a few people jumping onto the band wagon. The popular style used to be small and subtle, but this year extravagant, wild, “out-there” cuffs have made an appearance. Wear one of these earrings that wraps all the way up your ear to make a statement at your next Christmas party. They can also be dressed down with more casual pieces like a plain T-shirt and jeans.

L_FAS_Winter_4_1115 WEBFancy pieces like pearls, diamonds, and floral are going to have a heavy presence this season. The feminine jewels are perfect for holiday parties and get-togethers. To ensure the perfect balance of pieces, mix the jewelry with solid colors, or more casual dresses. If you want to go all out, a perfect pair of diamond earrings or a gemstone statement necklace would be stunning paired with a gown.

Handbags are always a hot topic every time a new season comes around. They’re one of the most popular items, and designers are always introducing new styles, fabrics, and patterns. This season, furry bags are expected to be extremely popular. These started to make their appearance on the scene last year, but only recently have they been seen more on the streets. They’re perfect for Northern New York, because they are not only very practical for winter, but they can make any outfit look instantly chic. This must-have bag can go with everything from a basic T-shirt and jeans to a fancy gown.

Another popular accessory is the belt. This season’s motto is “the wilder, the better,” with bows, loops, and additional extravagant detail being extremely popular. The runway shows were filled with looks containing chains and metal belts. If you’re not that adventurous and want to stick to a more subtle look, take a plain black belt, loop the strap underneath the front, pull it through behind, and stick it through the loop. This is a very popular tying method, and looks great with sweaters, dresses, and even some light jackets. If you want to go for a bolder look, try a big buckle belt. This accessory looks best paired with a chunky sweater or mod-shift dress.

Shoes are usually every woman’s favorite accessory, and if not, they’re still pretty high up there on the list. Some re-occurring styles that will be popular this winter include thigh-high boots, slip on sandals with fur, and patent leather boots. One style that is very wearable and easy to find in Northern New York is the ankle boot. This trend has been popping back up from time to time, but it really had a hard-to-miss presence on the runway this year. These boots can be styled so many different ways, the versatility is unbelievable. My favorite way to wear them is with dark denim, a cute skirt with thick tights, or even a pair of culottes.

A style that people tend to have mixed opinions on is the “socks with sandals” trend. Whether or not you like this look, you’ll probably be seeing more of it this winter. It’s extremely practical for when you don’t feel like wearing boots all day at the workplace. Throw on a pair of colored socks, like gray, white, or black, and when you get indoors, take off your boots and put on a pair of slip on sandals, or strap on your favorite pair of wedge sandals. This looks great with a boyfriend jean or even a dress with tights.

There are so many great accessories to try this winter. The key is to keep a good balance, and not add everything at once. The golden rule is to always take off one accessory before you go out if you’re wearing a lot of them. This will ensure that you have the perfect combination of pieces. Remember to always have fun with your accessories and add some bold pieces every once in a while.

Katie Machia, 17, is a Watertown native and freshman at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She writes about fashion on her blog,, and is a regular contributor to NNY Living. She also models for print and runway shows.Contact her at

Holiday 2015: Food

Give the gift of food this season

Boo Wells

Roasted vegetable minestrone a holiday staple

I have never had food poisoning. I realize that is a is a strange proclamation but given my mother’s unusual food safety habits or lack thereof, it is actually a miracle. As I have mentioned in previous columns, my parents entertained often. It seems like these days people don’t entertain like they did when I was growing up. My parents had dinner parties several times a month and, as a result, were asked out multiple nights a week (read: babysitters in Connecticut make bank because of social obligations). According to proper etiquette, when you were invited to a dinner or cocktail party you are then expected to reciprocate with an invitation to your next party. [Read more…]

Holiday 2015 Cover Story: Keeping holiday traditions bright

Light displays, performances top north country’s seasonal offerings

This festive pirate ship won best display in 2012. The sixth annual Lights on the River is set for Dec. 12 to 22 at the Lisbon Beach Camping Grounds, Ogdensburg.

This festive pirate ship won best display in 2012. The sixth annual Lights on the River is set for Dec. 12 to 22 at the Lisbon Beach Camping Grounds, Ogdensburg.

By Norah Machia, NNY Living

Many traditions are celebrated by north country residents to mark the holidays, and this year is no exception. These events are often made possible by organizations or businesses whose members volunteer their time to help people commemorate the season. Some events are free, others have an admission charge, and many benefit the community as well. [Read more…]

Holiday 2015: 36 Hours Cazenovia

Cazenovia home to holiday treasures

By Lorna Oppedisano | Photo courtesy of Cazenovia Chamber of Commerce

Cazenovia’s Main Street is home to many small shops and boutiques.

Cazenovia’s Main Street is home to many small shops and boutiques.

Head south for small-town charm, big-time fun

Tis the season for travel. Pile the children into the sleigh, car or vehicle of your choice, and get ready for one of the most picturesque holiday towns in the area. The destination is Cazenovia, southeast of Syracuse. Whether the aim is shopping, sightseeing or just a relaxing weekend away from home, Caz has it all. [Read more…]

Holiday 2015: Today’s Gardener

Create a fresh holiday scene: Decorate with natural elements

WEB0510_biz_Halletts2A recurring theme for the holidays this year seems to be simplifying and focusing on what is important. I am following this path, and I have tried to the last several years as well. I thought I would share a few simple and beautiful adornments for your home this holiday season. [Read more…]

Holiday 2015: The NNY Life

Share the holiday season like our love that connects us

Hirschey_Kathleen WEBHere come the holidays, the time of year when traditions and memories intertwine with new moments of the season. There is the blur of the Thanksgiving meal, our grateful souls devouring the company of loved ones, along with too much delicious turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. Then the string of days that leads us to Christmas, when we gather again with family, catching glimpses of our younger selves as we watch the children around us, their eyes sparkling in the lights from decorated trees. [Read more…]