los angeles, ca. saratoga springs, ny. living the horse racing lifestyle…giddy up.

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#CiaratogaStyle: 10 Holiday Gifts under $100 {Horse & Style Magazine}

‘Tis the season for gift giving, and my friends over at Horse & Style Magazine have put together one spectacular Holiday Gift Guide to Equestrian Style! As I was browsing all 58 pages I found so many horse-inspired gifts at an affordable price! From candles to champagne, here are 10 unique presents for that horse-lover in your life:

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1. Arion Horse Jumping Horse Necklace, NavikaGirl, $24

How cute is this jumping horse necklace from the Etsy shop of Navika Girl? The necklace also comes in gold and with the affordable price of $24 – you might as well get two.

2. The Stirrup Bow Infinity Scarf, Tara Kiwi, $48

My lady Tara of Tara Kiwi does it yet again! I first became familiar with Tara’s contemporary equestrian line this Spring while playing around on Pinterest. I quickly made it over to her website to go purchase her awesome organic cotton t-shirts. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and become friends with Tara as she is based out of the Los Angeles area. She’s come out to Santa Anita multiple times to attend the races and watch the horses work out in the mornings with her super cute baby-son. The last time we saw each other was in October when Tara shared with me her excitement about launching the Stirrup Bow infinity scarf. Not going to lie, I’ve been counting down the days for them to be available. Tara created the design herself and hand sews each scarf into one never-ending loop for your pretty neck. #PerfectGift

3. 2010 Wedding Cuvée, Iron Horse, $42

I mean obviously I gravitated to the bubbly. But really, it’s an appropriate gift to bring to all your holiday and New Year parties. This 2010 Wedding Cuvée is made from Pinot Noir (74%) and Chardonnay (26%) grapes and received a 95 rating on Wine Spectator. Did I mention it is priced comparable to Veuve Cliquot? – get to poppin’.

4. Blue Ribbon Scented Candle, Stable + Sea, $28

Speaking of Champagne… according to Stable + Sea’s website, their “Blue Ribbon” candle has a scent reminiscent of Champagne. I’m so glad that I took the time out their website and learn a bit about their story. Stable + Sea is based out of the Sonoma area of California and they store their natural soy candles in recycled wine and water bottles. Horses, Ocean & Candles sounds like a winning trifecta to me!

5. Pony String Lights, Urban Outfitters, $28

Little known fact, I’m not a huge holiday decorator. However, now that I know these pony lights exist – I want to string them all over the Christmas Tree I don’t have. These are just awesome, great for a child, college dorm, backyard or maybe even an office!

6. Equestrian Pillow Cover, Redmaplerun, $30

Just imagine laying on your couch…listening to the crackling of the fireplace… sipping 2010 Iron Horse Wedding Cuvée, with this super cute pillow behind your head. Can you picture it?

7. Horse Silhouette Sweatshirt, Wildfox, $70

We should probably add this sweatshirt to the vision into the aforementioned comment in #6.

8. Magical Mixology Flask, Modcloth, $29.99

Okay, so it’s a Unicorn – but after you drink whatever you put inside the flask I promise it will look like a horse.

9. Hinged Horse Bit Collar, C Wonder, $68

First off, It’s a necklace! At first I thought it was a bracelet – but C Wonder never, and I mean never, disappoints. They think about all the little details – included adding a bit of extra weight to either end of the necklace so the bits don’t move around your neck. Genius.

10. Silver Plated Equestrian Julep Cups, Lelaray, $70

I fell for these cups as soon as I saw them. Just imagine your next Kentucky Derby watch party with these Silver Plated Julep Cups… bring on the bourbon!

Happy shopping!

And please, check out the entire Horse & Style Holiday Guide to Equestrian Style for more ideas!

/ xo, ci /

Horse & Style Magazine 2014 Holiday Guide to Equestrian Style

Click here to see all 58 pages of the Holiday Guide to Equestrian Style!

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#CiaratogaPicks: Delta Downs Jackpot on a $20 Budget

Saturday’s Grade 3, $1-million Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes drew 10 top 2-year-olds, and the winner of this 1 1/16-mile dirt race will take home $600,000 as well as 10 points toward securing a spot in the 2015 Kentucky Derby.

These 2-year-olds all have enjoyed some level of success thus far in their respective careers, making this an exciting race to watch but also a fun challenge to handicap. Let’s take a closer look at this impressive field to see if we can find ourselves a winning ticket on a budget:

#8 – Wake Up Nick: He has had a standout juvenile season. Since his memorable maiden race in May, when he won by a margin of 9 ¼ lengths, he has only been defeated once from five subsequent starts. Wake Up Nick finished second in the Golden State Juvenile Stakes on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, where he was beaten by 1 ¼ lengths by Acceptance. This will be his longest race to date, but under the training of Leandro Mora’s team (which also trained 2012 Delta Downs Jackpot winner and two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile victor Goldencents) he’s maturing nicely and should handle this race well. I wouldn’t leave him out of your bets, especially at 10-1 on the morning line.

On a personal note: I met Wake Up Nick the day after he won the Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes in June at the Mora/O’Neill barn. His stall was not too far away from my beloved Goldencents, and he was just the sweetest colt. I fed him carrots and he was a little shy compared to Goldie, who just is used to the attention. There’s definitely something special about Wake Up Nick I can’t wait to follow his road to Kentucky Derby 2015 and beyond!

#3 – Mr. Z: He stands out as the favorite at 5-2 odds on the morning line. Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, the Malibu Moon colt has not won in his last five starts, however still makes his presence known on track. Mr. Z has shown through his last three performances — fifth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and fifth in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes — that he is comfortable racing at this distance. I feel that we have not seen the best of Mr. Z and perhaps this is the race for him to shine.

#4 – Conquest Tsunami: Like Wake Up Nick, Conquest Tsunami has won five of his six career starts. He most recently set the pace and kept the lead in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs on Oct. 26. Having most of his success on turf or synthetic surfaces, this will be Conquest Tsunami’s third start on dirt with Shaun Bridgmohan lined up to ride at 4-1 on the morning line.

#10 – Ocho Ocho Ocho: One of several lightly raced horses on the field, Ocho Ocho Ocho made his racing debut on Oct. 11 and has won both of his starts. He is listed at 6-1 on the morning line. Early speed seems to come natural to him, and if Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is able to maintain a comfortable pace, the Street Sense colt could stretch out and be quite the closer. Bet On It.

Here’s how I would bet the Delta Downs Jackpot on a $20 Budget using: #3 Mr. Z, #8 Wake Up Nick, #4 Conquest Tsunami, #10 Ocho Ocho Ocho

Bet A: $6 win-place-show: #8 Wake Up Nick ($18)
Bet B: $1 trifecta part wheel: 3,4,8,10 with 3,4,8,10 with 4,8,10 ($18)
Bet C: $2 exacta part wheel: 4,8,10 with 3,4,8,10 ($18)

Giddy up and good luck!
/ xo, ci /

To view this blog on America’s Best Racing’s site, click here

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#CiaratogaStyle: Pick 4 / November

#CiaratogaStyle: { Pick 4 }

#CiaratogaStyle: { Pick 4 }

I’m finally surfacing after Breeders’ Cup, which was amazing. A lot of fun experiences and memories that few get to have – and for that I am truly thankful.

Since we’re in the season of being thankful, I thought I would share a few items I’m glad to have recently joined my beauty routine. Check them out:

1. Mary Kay Clear Proof Acne System:

$45,, @MaryKayUS, #ClearProof

Mary Kay Clear Proof Acne System

Mary Kay Clear Proof Acne System

So this was my first Influenster VoxBox that I received. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Influenster, its a website designed to review products online and occasionally you get sent items by certain companies that are looking to test out their products for constructive feedback.

My Clear Proof Acne System arrived at the perfect time as I have been on the search for a product that compliments my skin for some time. Over the last few years I’ve tried Arbonne, Proactiv, Burt’s Bees, and also Mary Kay products. Unfortunately nothing provided me with results I was satisfied with. Over the summer I essentially gave up on using any types of these products cause nothing was working – so I was open to trying the new Clear Proof Cleansing line – why not? It had been at least 3-4 years since I had tried out Mary Kay and perhaps they modified their formula. Well…they must have because my face is loving Clear Proof.

I was sent the entire Clear Proof line: Clarifying Cleansing Gel, Blemish Control Toner, Oil-Free Moisturizer and Acne treatment gel. I went all in by making the commitment by of completing the enitre face regmine both morning and night (with the exception of the Acne Treatment Gel which I just used at night, as needed). After about 3-5 days I could see that my skin was responding really well. Though it has salicylic acid in all of the products, which tends to dry skin out, I don’t find that to be happening with Clear Proof, especially the toner. I’ve noticed that my blemishes are slowly diminishing and my skin is glowing. Out of all the products, I enjoy the oil free moisturizer the most. It’s super light and a little goes a long way.

I am glad with the results thus far with Mary Kay’s Clear Proof Acne System. I really made an effort to focus on my skin care, especially after I noticed that my skin was taking well to it. I have reduced the amount of makeup I wore in everyday life, which has beengreat for letting my skin continue to breathe and heal. I also noticed that when I do wear make up it holds so much better now on my skin when using foundations, powders and eye shadows. I’ll post some photos of progress over the last few weeks, but this is a new formula that finally works great for my skin, and maybe yours too!

2. Sano Naturals Vitamin C Serum & Eye Treatment:

$10.95 *currently on sale* at #SanoSerum

I figured, Hey Ci…why not try every single product known to man, and that included a Vitamin C Serum which came with a bonus eye treatment. For me, this biggest challenge was finding where to add this serum into my skin routine. And also how I would be able to chart how its helping or hurting my skin – especially since I was enjoying my results with the Clear Proof.

I add a small amount to my face after I finish moisturizing my skin. I’m not sure if that’s what I’m “supposed” to do but for me it made sense to incorporate it after to make it almost like a sealant. I purposely decided to use the serum down my neck and into the chest area, so I would be able to see how my skin took to the serum separately from it being mixed with the Mary Kay product. I will say that my skin along my chest feels softer appears to look tighter and clearer, so I’ll take it!

The eye gel is awesome. Probably the best free gift with purchase I’ve had in a long time. I used to think that eye gels and creams were just for older people trying to reduce wrinkles or bags under their eyes, but I have become such a fan of this product. When I get sleepy, I turn into a four year old and start rubbing my eyes, especially after wearing contacts all day. The eye gel is so cold and soothing to my eyelids after cleaning my face at night before bed, and also just as refreshing when applied in the morning. Not to mention it smells heavenly.

3. Lilly Pulitzer, Squeeze

$25 –, @LillyPulitzer, #LillyPulitzer

Lilly Pulitzer, Squeeze

Lilly Pulitzer, Squeeze

Of course I’d have Lilly on my list. She’s always on my list. Many people just know Lilly for her bright resort wear, but my girlfriend gifted me this Lilly scent towards the end of the summer, and I just love how fresh the scent is. It’s not the warmest fall scent, but I love the citrus hints. I’ve also tried the “beachy” scent from this line and I feel that squeeze is softer and more versatile from day to night as well as between seasons. Though I’m sure I will be retiring this scent for a few months as we head into December, it was for sure worth mentioning!

4. Revlon Color Stay Gel Envy Polish & Diamond Top Coat:

$7-20, Local Pharmacies @Revlon, #Revlon

One of the best things about California is the fact that you can find affordable manicures everywhere, but is that really the most effective use of $8-25 dollars once every week or two? That’s extra money that I could use for an extra happy hour drink — So I started looking into DIY Gel Nail Polish to use when I’m in between trips to the salon. CVS was having one of their infamous BOGO 50% off deals so I managed to get a great deal and got the nail color and top coat both for under $15. In terms of instructions, there really aren’t any. You don’t need to sit under a light, you just need to have a steady enough hand to make sure your nails don’t look like a toddler did them.

Nail Color: Checkmat

Nail Color: Checkmate

Two coats of the color polish, followed by the Diamond Top Coat, and voila, all set. The first time I applied the Color Stay Gel Envy, I went about 7 days without chipping – most non-gel manicures don’t make it 3 days, so that was a bonus. This product doesn’t last as long as a professional gel manicure, which I don’t believe is it’s point, but provides you with a longer lasting color as a great price – and for that I can’t really complain. Since I’ve started using the Revlon Color Stay Gel Envy, I’ve only gone to get one manicure at the salon, which was mainly for proper nail clipping and shaping (and for the massage chair.) I’ve also tried using the gel diamond top coat over other nail polish, and it managed to produce the same lasting result – so just purchasing the top coat something to consider.

Have you tried any of these products before? If so, What did you think?

Giddy up,
/ xo, ci /

*I received Mary Kay Clear Proof Acne System complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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#CiaratogaStyle: Halloween-Inspired Racewear

Hey Fillies and Colts…

14 days until Breeders’ Cup and Halloween! Some people consider track fashion as a costume in of itself but hey…It is totally possible to bring out your inner ghouls and goblins while looking as classy as ever! Go get creative in your closet. Take a look at these styles and see if there’s a character or theme you may be able to recreate at the track!


Disney Princess Jasmine

IMG_1444.JPGIt’s time to show Disney Princess Jasmine a “Whole New World” in the land of horse racing fashion! If Jasmine was not a fictional character, there is no doubt in our minds that she would wear this ensemble gracefully at Breeders’ Cup. Turquoise is such a stunning color on any complexion and the detail on this a-line tube top dress is exquisite. Gold accents are carried through in each of the accessory items, like the Fornash horse-bit bracelet, so chic! Princess Jasmine – Buy the look!


Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City


Carrie Bradshaw is known for her love of fashion. Her incredible wardrobe consists of lots of designer names, tulle and expensive heels – so naturally all of those things would be gladly accepted at the races. Breeders’ Cup is the perfect experience to bring out your inner Carrie by wearing an ultra feminine tulle skirt. The way that it is styled brings the right balance between costume and sophistication. I love the blush pinks that can transition from day to night from the delicate fascinator to the dainty accents in the clutch. Timeless and fun, this ensemble is bound to be a hit! Carrie Bradshaw – Buy the look!


Clark Kent of Superman
IMG_1443.JPGSuperman’s everyday disguised personality of Clark Kent is the perfect formal look for the races, especially on Halloween! Both Clark Kent and Superman are both all about the business, and this look is able to display that perfectly with room for quality accessories like the trilby hat and wayfarer glasses. Adding the Superman T-Shirt underneath the dress shirt and blazer provides more of a casual style to the suit, which can also transition the look from day to night, and with all the events that are taking place during Breeders’ Cup weekend, you’ll need to look and feel powerful. Clark Kent – Buy the look!


The Joker of Batman

The Joker, the nemesis of Batman, is probably one of most iconic fictional characters of all time, and a costume that we have seen worn (and performed) in by greats such as Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. Where one would think this look would be a challenge to create for a race day outfit, it is actually quite simple. Not to mention, purple is the signature color of Breeders’ Cup; the contrast of the purple and green mock the silks of California Chrome! To modernize this outfit work for 2014, adding the details of the polka dot bow tie, horse cufflinks and Oxford shoes really make the style stand out. The Joker – Buy the look!

I am so excited to recreate that Carrie look for BC Filly Friday! Stay tuned…

To see more costume ideas created by my colleague and pal, Victoria Garafolo, check out the post on America’s Best Racing’s site.

/ xo, ci /




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#CiaratogaLiving: Desk Success

The Breeders’ Cup countdown is on! Which means all of us horseplayers will be on our grind the next 2.5 weeks. It’s exciting, it’s tiring…but we need to be on top our game! Working from home has its perks but can also be a challenge to keep yourself focused and organized when tasks get hectic during a short period of time.

To get me started moving in the right direction, I revamped my home office space to create a desk that will foster the success I need leading up to the Breeders’ Cup Week. Let’s take a quick tour:

Ciaratoga Living: Desk Success

Desk Success (from l to r) :

  • Wine Opener: Alright. I know you’re thinking, “Really, Ciara…?,” But I did say that I was creating a desk that would foster the type of success that I need. So, if I get my work done in a timely manner why not reward myself with a glass of wine or beer? What if I have to pull a late night working and have to miss happy hour in Hollywood? I’m prepared.

I use mason jars for everything. They make the best pen and office supply holder. My college bestie (who is also a mason jar hoarder) gifted me these awesome slotted discs to go inside the mason jar to make a vase for flower displays. The square slots also fit pens and other accessories perfectly. Genius. Go to pinterest, now!

  • Actual Books: Sometimes its good idea to step away from Wikipedia. A novel idea, especially if the reading material is great. My reading supply is a good mixture of reference books for my profession, inspirational reading and some fun humor books just to keep things interesting. Taking a break for a half hour to go outside and read can give you a new energy. Or make you sleepy, which I’m guilty of. So when that happens I resort to my next item for success:
  • Candy Stash: Oh come on, we all have one. And, if you don’t, odds are you’re walking down the hall to “Sally’s” office and grabbing a handful of her halloween fun sized candies while she’s in a meeting. Since I no longer have that luxury, I have to bring my own. My most recent
    guilty pleasure has been on the rather healthier side, Roasted Coconut Chips (with a touch a salt and sugar) from my beloved Trader Joe‘s…nom.
  • Horse

  • Monogrammed Laptop Decal: Some people love to cover their laptop with stickers and such… which I didn’t think was my thing, until I saw these monogrammed decals. They were super inexpensive and came in a pack of two. I got the second decal in a different font and pattern which I will find a use for some day.
  • Business & Note Cards. These two should be on every desk. In the next few weeks I’m bound to pass out a ton of business cards. Though I’m sure I’ll keep in touch with most of my contacts electronically, who is ever disappointed to receive hand-written note?

giddy up. / xo, ci /


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