Best Gifts for Women

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Sometimes, you’ve just gotta go out and get yourself a present. Not that husbands and kids don’t buy awesome gifts. They do. Or at least they try. Pre-kids, my husband was a fabulous gift-giver. He mostly bought me jewelry, or outfits straight off the mannequin from my favorite boutique, or shoes, or bags. All the good stuff. These days, either I hint (I’d like this dress or these boots or that bag – specific hints -sometimes with links) or I end up with three sequined cocktail dresses, like I did a couple of years ago when Kevin took the girls Christmas shopping for me and they each picked the sparkliest one they could find.

Not that I don’t like sequined cocktail dresses. It’s just that (sadly) I don’t have the kind of lifestyle that requires me to have three brand new cocktail dresses at a time.

So, sometimes, I just buy myself my own present. And, while I’m at it, I pick up cute things for my mom or my sister or my friends, because somebody has to buy them nice things. 🙂 Here is a list, by no means exhaustive, of some of the nicest gifts out there, and there’s something to suit every style and budget!

(As always, click on pics to shop, except for the Box of Style, where the link is in the description!)

 

Stylish Surprise

Okay, so for the hardest to shop for women on your list, I adore the Box of Style from The Zoe Report! It’s really hard to beat this collection of fabulousness for only $99.99. The Winter box has a lovely assortment of items, but my faves are the gorgeous Dylanlex necklace and the Clinique Berry Pop lipstick. So fun and festive. And with code BOSAW16, you’ll get $20 off through December 25!

Raden suitcase in light pink gloss, $295, Raden.com

Raden carryon in light pink gloss, $295, Raden.com

Cutest Carryon

Why shouldn’t you have a glossy pink suitcase? Raden’s chic luggage is sleek and gorgeous, yes, but it’s also got amazing features, including a built in scale and wheels that rotate 360 degrees. Pretty and practical!

Rosanna "Say it in French" porcelain tray, $36, Nordstrom

Rosanna “Say it in French” porcelain tray, $36, Nordstrom

French Fun

I always end up putting a Rosanna tray in my gift guide, because it’s such a chic, useful hostess gift. I love this retro design and the funny quote: “If you can’t say anything nice, say it in French.” Mais oui!

Call it Spring NUSA pumps, $49.99, CallItSpring.com

Call it Spring NUSA pumps, $49.99, CallItSpring.com

Fancy Shoes

These sparkly pumps from Call It Spring are pretty, festive, and affordable, making them the perfect gift for the shoe collector in your life. They’re the perfect pick for a fancy New Year’s Eve, or she can wear them with jeans and a blouse for date night.

Kate Spade New York Miss Piggy "Lacey" wallet, $248, Nordstrom

Kate Spade New York Miss Piggy “Lacey” wallet, $248, Nordstrom

Piggy Power

Who doesn’t love Miss Piggy? And Kate Spade? Seriously, could this be any cuter? And if the full Miss Piggy visage is too over the top, then you might consider the “Who, Moi?” clutch. Both adorable and totally collectible!

INC International Concepts slippers, $39.50, Macy's

INC International Concepts slippers, $39.50, Macy’s

Sparkly Slippers

Cozy slippers that are also a little bit glamorous. Love! She’ll wear these all winter long!

 

Deck of Scarlet palette, $29.95, DeckofScarlet.com

Deck of Scarlet palette, $29.95, DeckofScarlet.com

Perfect Palettes

For the beauty lover on your list, the latest beauty subscription service sends you a palette every 2 months for $29.95, and offers oodles of ideas on how to use it, courtesy of YouTubers who demonstrate all the different possibilities.

Venessa Arizaga "Flower Power" pearl choker, $230, Nordstrom

Venessa Arizaga “Flower Power” pearl choker, $230, Nordstrom

Charming Choker

It’s hard to be blue when you’re wearing this sunny, smiley choker. All of Arizaga’s creations are whimsical and witty and sure to brighten her day.

Le Mini Macaron Gel Manicure Kit in Cassis, $35, Nordstrom

Le Mini Macaron Gel Manicure Kit in Cassis, $35, Nordstrom

Mini Mani Set

This pretty, portable gel manicure set comes with everything you need for perfect nails on the go, including an adorable, macaroon-shaped nail dryer.

Malin and Goetz Rum hoiday box set, $35, Nordstrom

Malin + Goetz Rum holiday box set, $35, Nordstrom

Yum for Rum

You don’t have to be a rum-lover to love the rich, sweet scent of this body wash and candle set from hip brand Malin + Goetz. It’s addictive!

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Glow at Home

TrophySkin.com offers the latest skincare technology to treat acne, aging and more, without a visit to a doctor or spa. The Rejuvalite MD comes in 2 versions: red for aging and blue for acne. Great for the person who doesn’t have time for salon visits!

Love with Food subscription service, starting at $10/month,

Love with Food subscription service, starting at $10/month, LoveWithFood.com

Feel Good Food

This affordable subscription service sends healthy, organic, and even gluten-free snacks to her door every month, and for every box purchased, a meal is donated to a food bank. Such a thoughtful gift!

I hope these gift ideas have inspired you to find just the right gift for every deserving woman on your list. Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Best Gifts for Tweens

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So, somehow, in the past year, when I wasn’t paying attention, a tween moved in. I don’t know if it was the arrival of the double-digit birthday or the realization that she was completely, positively over American Girl dolls, but my little Lola’s Christmas list started to look a lot like mine… Accessories, clothes, perfume, and, ahem, makeup. The kind of things she will be asking for, well, for the rest of her life.

She is, after all, my child.

The Christmas when I was 10 years old, I had also begged for makeup, and Santa gave me a little Coty compact. It was bronzey, and it had a blush, 2 shades of eyeshadow, and a lipstick that slipped in the side. I was obsessed with it, and spent the whole long car ride from Florida to Indiana (to visit cousins) applying and reapplying makeup and studying my reflection in the tiny mirror.

Sigh.

Still, I wasn’t ready. Emotionally, I mean. Shopping is the easy part.

So here, for those of you with girly girls in that sweet and sensitive and ever-so-slightly moody stage of life, are some of my favorite gifts for tweens.

(As always, pictures are linked, so just click on them to shop).

Brookstone Cat Ears headphones, $99.99, Macy's

Brookstone Cat Ears headphones, $99.99, Macy’s

Cat Ears Headphones

Which tween couldn’t use a new pair of headphones. These are a little pricey, but good headphones are worth the investment. The sound quality will be better, and they’re much more durable. Plus, these are super cute!

 

Jane Iredale "Champagne on Ice" kit, $35, JaneIredale.com

Jane Iredale “Champagne on Ice” kit, $35, JaneIredale.com

Festive Glosses

If my daughter is going to play with makeup, I want to make sure it’s safe. I love Jane Iredale’s mineral makeup. It’s safe and high quality for me, and sparkly for her.

Chill Pill Charger, $22.50 (sale price with code Merry, originally $30), Macy's

Chill Pill Charger, $22.50 (sale price with code Merry, originally $30), Macy’s

Cool Charger

She can charge her devices in style with this shiny charger, and you can also send her a not-so-subliminal message to chill out. It’s worth a shot!

Takashi Murakami for Shu Uemura Beauty Remix Smoky Eyes and Cheeks palette, $65, shuuemura-usa.com

Takashi Murakami for Shu Uemura Beauty Remix Smoky Eyes and Cheeks palette, $65, shuuemura-usa.com

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Flower Child Face Palette

This groovy, flowery palette is a splurge, for sure, but it’s a limited edition collectible in the cutest packaging ever – sure to delight the true makeup lover on your list!

Floss Gloss Holiday Box, $32, Nordstrom

Floss Gloss Holiday Box, $32, Nordstrom

Sparkle & Shine

A quartet of glittery polishes in the chic-est packaging ever! This will make any mani-obsessed tween happy.

Nailmatics nail polish and gloss duo, $19.95, Nordstrom

Nailmatics nail polish and gloss duo, $19.95, Nordstrom

Whimsical Beauty

Where has this been all of my life? Nailmatics is a French company that creates chic, pretty completely kid-safe polishes that are truly high quality! And then they throw in a tres charmant roller gloss! I’m obsessed!

Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera, $99.99, Polaroid.com

Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera, $99.99, Polaroid.com

Snap Happy

This cool, colorful little camera will be the hit of her next sleepover. The retro style is adorable, and she’ll love the fact that she can print pictures and instantly share them with her friends. Totally old school.

 

Verloop Tassel Charms, $28, Verloop.com

Verloop Tassel Charms, $28, Verloop.com

Backpack Bling

This stacked tassel charm from eco-friendly brand Verloop is made of recycled yarn scraps, which is fabulous, but the real reason I love it is that it’s adorable! Soft and colorful, it’s the perfect accessory for a backpack or tote!

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Tasha jeweled beanie, $32, and cat ears beanie, $28, Nordstrom

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Wool & The Gang "Say My Name" knit kit, $58, WoolandtheGang.com

Wool & The Gang “Say My Name” knit kit, $58, WoolandtheGang.com

Beanie Boos

These cozy-cute hats are trendy but also a practical way to keep warm and redeem a bad hair day. I’m obsessed with the knit kits from Wool & The Gang, and these “Say My Name” beanies make the perfect beginner level project. Or you can buy one premade for $75. And if you’re looking for a blingy beanie, a line called Tasha has an assortment at Nordstrom. The cat ears style is so cute!

This stuff is so adorable it almost makes me want to be 13 again! Chances are the tween in your life has plenty of ideas of her own, but I hope you found some of these suggestions helpful! My motto when shopping for this age group: Keep it cute, current and affordable, because trends and tastes change faster than their moods.

 

Best Gifts for Men

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I’ve always considered myself a pretty good gift giver.

And then I got married.

I made all the rookie mistakes. Buying technology when I don’t know a gadget from a gizmo. Swiping trends straight from the runway and trying to sell my brand new husband on them. Taking a good idea a step too far (i.e. poker-themed throw pillows and candles).

Fortunately, after 15 years, I’ve learned a bit about shopping for him (and men in general), and I stick to my strengths: clothes, cologne, grooming gifts, and themed gift boxes. While researching for this guide, I came across ideas ranging from the ridiculous (taco socks, anyone?) to the even more ridiculous (nothing makes a great gift!). I also found some gifts that just missed the mark. Just because your husband is into scotch, for example, doesn’t mean he wants scotch flavored toothpicks. Or maybe he does. The box is pretty fancy and all.

I guess I’ve just seen so many gifts that take a hobby or even just a casual interest and wring the life out of it in the desperate search for a gift idea. A golfer doesn’t necessarily need golf-themed pajamas, golf coasters, or whatever the heck the Potty Putter is… (Seriously?)

That’s why I’ve combed through catalogs and scoured sites to find you a roundup of the best gifts for all the men in your life. And you know how I hate shopping… (wink). Here, the best ideas I’ve found!

(As always, click on the photos to shop. They are all linked!)

CreativeLive offers classes in everything from photography to entrepreneurship!

  1. Creative Classes

If, like me, you feel like the stuff in your house is threatening to overtake you, then you may want to take the focus off of things and buy experiences for your family instead. Trips, tickets, and classes are all fun ideas for the hard to shop for on your list. One of my favorite ideas this season is a class from CreativeLive.com. World class experts like Richard Branson, Liev Schreibr, Mark Cuban and Anne Geddes are featured in virtual photography, video, design, music, and entrepreneurship classes. There are more than 1,500 classes, featuring real time interaction as well as self-paced videos.

The Euphebe burger is part of the E28 Reboot, $650, Euphebe.com

Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch, $199.95, Nordstrom

Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch, $199.95, Nordstrom

2. Junk Food Rehab

Everyone wants to get healthier in the new year, but unfortunately, few of us follow through with it. Give him a head start with a 28 day reboot from Euphebe. He’ll receive 28 days of chef-prepared, nutritionally balanced meals designed to reset your body, eliminate cravings and help you reach health and weight goals. Plus, you get a personal coach for one-the-go accountability. For even more motivation, try the Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch.

People's Choice Beef Jerky boxes, starting at $23, PeoplesChoiceBeefJerky.com

People’s Choice Beef Jerky boxes, starting at $23, PeoplesChoiceBeefJerky.com

3. Protein Fix

For a brief period in our marriage, I bought a food dehydrator so that I could make homemade organic jerky for my husband, but I could never get the seasoning blend just right. And, let’s face it, I’m not going to have the time to pull that off again anytime soon. And why bother, when I can have top quality, custom-made jerky delivered from the a 4th generation family owned Los Angeles institution, the Peoples Old Market. Choose from assortments from simple to spicy to sweet, and even the Health Nut Jerky Box.

Tom Ford beard comb, $35, Nordstrom

Tom Ford beard comb, $35, and beard oil, and beard oils, $50 each, Nordstrom

Beard Pack, $40, UncommonGoods.com

Beard Pack, $40, UncommonGoods.com

The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Initiation Kit, $60, Nordstrom

The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Initiation Kit, $60, Nordstrom

"Do You Even Gift, Bro?", $54, EvoHair.com

“Do You Even Gift, Bro?”, $54, EvoHair.com

4. Beard Boosters

I’m not going to lie. I loathe beards. Loathe them. But, for the last few years, my formerly fresh-faced husband has been wearing one. And other women, including my very sweet, 80-something neighbor, encourage him. The only thing that could make this scenario more tolerable for me (besides, well, begging him to shave) is to buy stuff for the beard. I’m pretty sure the Tom Ford beard comb alone is enough to make me hate it a little less. Or maybe I should fully embrace the beard and buy the Beard Pack, a trio of all natural beard care products (whisker wash, beard oil and mustache wax) from Uncommon Goods. Or just give him a big old hint with the same Art of Shaving kit that I gave him early in our marriage. I’m also a fan of the EVO “Do You Even Gift, Bro?” bag, with their Uberwurst shaving cream and Box ‘o Bollox texture paste in a manly leather bag.

How to Stay Alive in the Woods, $19.99, Amazon

How to Stay Alive in the Woods, $19.99, Amazon

Wild and Wolf Ted Baker London "Master of all Trades" multi tool, $34, Nordstrom

Wild and Wolf Ted Baker London “Master of all Trades” multi tool, $34, Nordstrom

 

Skeem Design Birch Log Match Tin, $20, SkeemDesign.com

Skeem Design Birch Log Match Tin, $20, SkeemDesign.com

Gentlemans Hardware Flashlight, $24, Nordstrom

Gentlemans Hardware Flashlight, $24, Nordstrom

 

5. Mountain Man Musts

He may not be an actual mountain man (whatever that is), but there’s no harm in making him feel like one, at Christmas. He doesn’t even need to be a rugged outdoorsman to appreciate some of the gear shown here. From a classic survival guide to a multipurpose tool that does all sorts of things I don’t understand (but it’s Ted Baker, so you have to buy it!) And I don’t know why the candles from Skeem made the list, except that their adorable and sort of rustic and also practical, so why not?

Rag & Bone "Hackman" wool fedora, $90 (sale), rag-bone.com

Rag & Bone “Hackman” wool fedora, $90 (sale), rag-bone.com

Adidas by Raf Simons "Stan Smith" Sneaker in White Leather, $415, Nordstrom

Adidas by Raf Simons “Stan Smith” Sneaker in White Leather, $415, Nordstrom

Herbivore Botanicals Bamboo Charcoal-Cleansing Bar Soap, $12, Nordstrom

Herbivore Botanicals Bamboo Charcoal-Cleansing Bar Soap, $12, Nordstrom

Whiskey Appreciation Crate, $155, ManCrates.com

Whiskey Appreciation Crate, $155, ManCrates.com

Hipster Gear

Whether you’re married to a hipster, or feel like your hubby could, you know, be hipper, these ideas should help. From the coolest kicks to a hip hat to a manly-man way to wash his face and all the gear a whiskey-drinker could wish for, these are pretty much guaranteed to make him feel cool.

Raden luggage in black matte, $295, Nordstrom

Raden luggage in black matte, $295, Nordstrom

Custom map cuff links, $195, UncommonGoods.com

Custom map cuff links, $195, UncommonGoods.com

Jack Black "Power Trip" travel kit, $52, Sephora

Jack Black “Power Trip” travel kit, $52, Sephora

Travel Tools

Traveling well requires gear, and the best gift I can think of for the frequent business traveler is a sharp new set of luggage, like this sleek black duo from Raden. Skincare favorites from Jack Black (in a cool reusable dopp case) and customizable cufflinks (made from a real map of a favorite place!) round out my picks.

Sure, men are hard to shop for, but if you look, you can find something unique, thoughtful and totally unexpected. I hope these suggestions have helped you shop for the men on your list!

10 Gifts to Spoil Yourself This Holiday Season

Colorblock heels with fringe, $148.80 with code HOLIDAY (originally $248)

Who’s afraid of a little sparkle? Certainly not you. Even if the rest of the year is spent being dutiful and practical and, you know, adulting, as everyone’s calling it, this is the season for sparkle and for fancy shoes and for a little bit of holiday magic. And while your busy devising new shenanigans for the dreaded Elf on the Shelf and filling the stockings of all the littles (and not-so-littles) in your life, don’t forget to pick up a little something glamorous for yourself.

Of course, I’m here to help… with a roundup of some of the best ways to spoil yourself this season. From a miraculous hair tamer to a personalized purse, you’ll find the prettiest, poshest and most pampering gifts available, right here.

(As always, just click on the product picture to shop!)

1. Sleek Straightener

On bad hair days, my locks look just like the before in this picture, but the ceramic plates on this magic hair straightening wand quickly eliminate frizz and fluff.

HSIProfessional Glider Ceramic Flat Iron, $129, HSIProfessional.com. Use code HSI50 for 50% off through 12/31/2016.

HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Flat Iron, $129, HSIProfessional.com. Use code HSI50 for 50% off through 12/31/2016. (Just click on this picture to check it out).

2. Personalized Purse

Take your favorite Kate Spade purse, and customize it to your heart’s content. Add a customized strap, tassels, stamps and even your name in gold letters. So fun!

Personalized Kate Spade bag, prices vary, use code THANKFUL for 30% off select items, KateSpade.com

Personalized Kate Spade bag, prices vary, use code THANKFUL for 30% off select items, KateSpade.com

3. Colorful Kicks

These scrumptious suede tasseled loafers from J. Crew are just the boost your cool-weather wardrobe needs. They add a little oomph to all your tired winter neutrals.

Colorblock heels with fringe, $148.80 with code HOLIDAY (originally $248)

Colorblock heels with fringe, $148.80 with code HOLIDAY (originally $248). For the first time ever, J. Crew is offering 40% off everything through Sunday.

4. Fun and Faux

Fluffy and fabulous, this coat offers instant snuggly style at a price that won’t break the bank. Especially with the extra discount (see caption for details).

Faux fur jacket, $79.99, H&M. Use code 5188 for 20% off and free shipping.

Faux fur jacket, $79.99, H&M. Use code 5188 for 20% off and free shipping.

5. Sharp Shades

I used to wear oversized sunglasses for the glamour, and, while that’s still part of it. I also love their ability to hide dark circles and other signs of sleep deprivation.

Betty sunglasses in Tortoise Mirror, $76.80

Betty sunglasses in Tortoise Mirror, $76.80

6. Rollon Wonder

You may not know this about me, but I have a little thing for facial oils. They are just so luxurious to use, and I love the glow they give my skin. Orchid Youth Preserving Facial Oil from Herbivore Botanicals smells amazing, and the handy, portable roller makes application fun and neat!

Herbivore Botanicals Orchid Facial Oil Roller, $24, Nordstrom

Herbivore Botanicals Orchid Facial Oil Roller, $24, Nordstrom

7. Fancy Feet

Velvet shoes are a pretty, quick update, since it’s possibly the hottest shoe trend of the moment. These on-trend booties from Steve Madden check all the right boxes: an updated, slightly higher ankle, jewel-toned velvet and a great price.

 

Steve Madden "Edit" bootie, $89.95, Nordstrom

Steve Madden “Edit” bootie, $89.95, Nordstrom

8. Sensitive Scent

This handmade, sandalwood-and-cardamom based rollerball scent uses a base of safflower oil and no alcohol, making it great for those who are sensitive skin.

le-labo-santal-33-liquid-balm-90

Le Labo Santal 33 Liquid Balm, $90, Nordstrom

9. Happy Dress

I love Shabby Apple, and if you haven’t discovered this online treasure of a site, this is a great time to check it out. Use code HAPPYDRESS and you’ll get a free happy dress (choose from a selection of cute, comfy knit dresses) with the purchase of any dress or skirt. I’d choose this timeless-yet-not-boring black and white sheath.

Bianca bow pique sheath, $86, ShabbyApple.com

10. Organic Beauty

I’m already obsessed with Juice Beauty’s Ylang Ylang Spa Lotion and Spa Wash, so I can’t wait to check out some of the line’s other products. The luxury organic beauty brand is offering 30% off its bestsellers. The Flawless Serum Foundation and Luminous Lip Crayon are on my must-try list. Hurry, though, because this offer is for Black Friday only!

Indulge in some organic products! Use code PSSHOPSHARE for 30% off bestsellers, plus additional discount when you buy a travel size Firming Neck Cream.

Indulge in some organic products! Use code PSSHOPSHARE for 30% off bestsellers, plus additional discount when you buy a travel size Firming Neck Cream.

I hope you enjoyed this roundup of some of my favorite spoil-yourself gift ideas. I’ll be sharing more gifts for everyone on your list over the next week!

7 Simple (Affordable) Fall Fashion Updates

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I am not going to stop you from shopping. I’ll leave that to your accountant. Or your husband. Or that responsible shopping friend who always wonders, aloud, if you really need another pair of jeans. (Why yes. Yes, you do).

My job is to show you the new stuff. And not all of it, either. That’s why they call it editing. With an occasional nod to a frugal-fantasy piece like the Zara faux fur coat, below, there are no “things that make you go hmmm” on this list.

(Remember that song? No. Neither do I. Too young. Wink.)

And, because I’m looking out for you, there are so many trends out there that didn’t make the cut.

Like these beauties.

Balenciaga platform bootie, $1135, Nordstrom

Balenciaga platform bootie, $1135, Nordstrom

Or this flattering little number.

R13 Grunge Sweatshirt Dress, $395, ShopBop

R13 Grunge Sweatshirt Dress, $395, ShopBop

And I also sidestepped this fashion landmine.

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Nasty Gal Sheer by Nature mesh dress, $88, NastyGal.com

Instead, this post focuses on 7 trends that are affordable, wearable, and versatile. These are easy updates that play well with everything in your closet and add a little oomph to your existing wardrobe. And, I show you 3 options for each trend, from the splurgiest to the biggest steal, so you can find something that suits your style and your budget.

  1. The Chic Choker

This 90s throwback works with the new fall florals, flowy blouses and denim pieces. For the most subtle, and frugal, take, try tying a simple black velvet ribbon around your neck. Or choose one of the pretty, lacy styles shown here.

Who it Flatters: This trend suits nearly everyone, but is especially flattering for a Style Dial 2. If you are a Style Dial 1 or 3, look for chokers with long ties to create that vertical line, or pair yours with a V-neck. And, as always, don’t draw your eye to a part of your body that you don’t love. If you don’t like your neck, skip the choker.

 

BaubleBar "Florence" lace choker, $36, Nordstrom

BaubleBar “Florence” lace choker, $36, Nordstrom

Cristabelle long wrap choker necklace, $28, Nordstrom

Cristabelle long wrap choker necklace, $28, Nordstrom

Crochet lace choker, $3.90, Forever 21

Crochet lace choker, $3.90, Forever 21

2. The Pretty Pin

The brooch is back, and looks freshest when you pile several small sparklers to a lapel, a scarf, or a hat. They’re the perfect, feminine finishing touch and a counterpoint to all of the soft, fuzzy textures that define fall.

Who it Flatters: Everyone. If you love this trend, wear it with abandon, mixing newer pieces, like the ones shown here, with sentimental favorites.

Kate Spade "Trellis" brooch, $148, Nordstrom

Kate Spade “Trellis” brooch, $148, Nordstrom

Stoneflower brooch, $48, Anthropologie

Stoneflower brooch, $48, Anthropologie

Yochi Busy Bee brooch, $14.97, Nordstrom Rack

Yochi Busy Bee brooch, $14.97, Nordstrom Rack

3. The Statement Top

Voluminous, ruffled and bell sleeves have joined dramatic shoulders and off the shoulder styles to make the statement top the standout piece of the season. And in spite of their reputation for drama, they are surprisingly versatile, pairing well with denim, your favorite skinnies, or even worn with a pretty skirt.

Who it Flatters: Tops with dramatic shoulders and strong horizontal lines are so flattering for a Style Dial 2 or a narrow shouldered Style Dial 3, or even a Style Dial 1 when worn with a long necklace, while full, flowy sleeves work for every body type and are an elegant way to conceal less-than-toned arms.

 

Ruffled Sagnier pullover, $98, Anthropologie

Ruffled Sagnier pullover, $98, Anthropologie

Lace top with frills, $49.90, Zara

Lace top with frills, $49.90, Zara

Stylus bell-sleeve top, $24.99, JCPenney

Stylus bell-sleeve top, $24.99, JCPenney

4. The Fab Fur

You don’t need to be a classic fur girl to appreciate the luxury and drama of something furry, fabulous and faux. Fur (real and manmade) is everywhere, and adorning everything, so take your pick from furry handbags to fur-adorned booties, fluffy vests to cuddly coats.

Who it Flatters: Anyone can wear this trend, but save the more outrageous styles for the 20-and-30-somethings. The rest of us can wear statement coats over something simple and sophisticated, or opt instead for a single, plush statement accessory. After about 40 or 50, depending on your personal style, you’ll want to choose a bold color or an a bold style when it comes to fur—and not both. It’s all about balance.

Zara faux fur coat, $169, Zara.com

Zara faux fur coat, $169, Zara.com

Kate Spade New York faux fur stole, $59.99, 6pm.com

Kate Spade New York faux fur stole, $59.99, 6pm.com

 

Joseph D'Arrezzo faux fur bag, $24.99, TJMaxx.com

Joseph D’Arrezzo faux fur bag, $24.99, TJMaxx.com

5. The Cool-Girl Crossbody

If you haven’t already invested in a crossbody, now’s the time. This is one trend that isn’t going anywhere, because, as it turns out, women really appreciate having their hands free. Pick a sleek simple shape in a color that harmonizes with your wardrobe (it doesn’t need to be a neutral!) and buy the best quality you can afford. An everyday item like a bag deserves a bit more of your budget.

Who it Flatters: Everyone. This style is so current that, even in it’s most classic iterations, it’s still an update and never looks matronly, unlike many classic bags, so it’s hard to go wrong!

Clare V Luce crossbody, $295, Anthropologie

Clare V Luce crossbody, $295, Anthropologie

Rebecca Minkoff "Sofia" crossbody bag, $146.98, Nordstrom

Rebecca Minkoff “Sofia” crossbody bag, $146.98, Nordstrom

Sole Society "Thalia" crossbody, $49.95, Nordstrom

Sole Society “Thalia” crossbody, $49.95, Nordstrom

 

6. The Essential Bomber

The bomber isn’t a trend, really, in that this timeless style makes an appearance season after season, loved for its versatility, practicality and style. This season, however, it emerges in fresh new shapes and colors, and embellished, embroidered and otherwise bedazzled.

Who it Flatters: This jacket is yet another Style Dial 2 friendly pick, but when worn open, or with a V-neck, it suits pretty much everyone. Blush and olive styles are everywhere now, and work as neutrals for most wardrobes, or choose a pretty embroidered style as an accent piece.

TopShop Petite velvet embroidered bomber jacket, $130, TopShop.com

TopShop Petite velvet embroidered bomber jacket, $130, TopShop.com

Silence and Noise Pilot bomber jacket, $69.99, Urban Outfitters

Silence and Noise Pilot bomber jacket, $69.99, Urban Outfitters

 

Rebecca Minkoff reversible Nova jacket, $43 (from $248), Amazon

Rebecca Minkoff reversible Nova jacket, $43 (from $248), Amazon

7. The Knit Vest

You know I’m all about the completer piece, that proverbial third element that takes a basic 2-piece look and turns it into an outfit. And a vest is one of my favorite completer pieces, because it’s versatile, wearable and not bulky. Shearling vests and fur vests are both still strong choices, but if you’re looking for something simpler and a little more versatile, the knit vest is a great choice.

Who it Flatters: Choose a Style-Dial friendly silhouette and you can’t go wrong with this trend, because there is something for every body type. For a Style Dial 2, look for higher, rounder necklines and interest at the top, while Style Dial 1 and Style Dial 3 women should play up the vertical lines with a v-neck or open style, like the Anthropologie vest, below. (The other two vests shown are streamlined enough to work with any body type. Just follow the rest of your Style Dial rules when it comes to tops, accessories, etc.)

Morris vest, $99.95, Anthropologie

Morris vest, $99.95, Anthropologie

Echo long knit vest, $69, Nordstrom

Echo long knit vest, $69, Nordstrom

Love Scarlett long knit vest, $41.25, Neiman Marcus Last Call

Love Scarlett long knit vest, $41.25, Neiman Marcus Last Call

There’s absolutely no reason to reinvent your wardrobe from season to season. A few simple updates, like the ones shown here, can make your own familiar wardrobe feel fresh again. Which of these trends is your favorite?

 

Fitness Stinks and Other Insights: The BeautyMommy Buzz

BFMO100

There was an ad that went viral a few months ago showing people exercising and not enjoying it. Everyone made a big deal about how gritty and real this ad was, because it showed that exercise is hard and exhausting, but the point was lost on me.

Reality, in my case, would be not exercising because of the unfun-ness and sweatiness and difficulty of it all.

But yesterday, I somehow found myself and my girls in a mom/kid fitness class, running for minutes (5? 7?), trying to bridge the gap between my sprinter and my meanderer. Afterwards, we stretched and did some other exercises, all a blur. It was hot. It was sweaty. And today I am sore.

And yet I know I need to do something, because, well, 40s and all and I need energy and want things not to jiggle. Sigh.

And since my motto is: “Shop first, sweat later” I plan to motivate myself with a few new fitness-friendly purchases, like the ones shown here.

ESPA Fitness Body Oil

BFMO100

ESPA Fitness Body Oil, $68, ESPASkincare.com

It’s no secret that I have a thing for body oils, and this one is warming, to soothe muscles after a workout. And hey, if the sore muscles are from sitting and not from squatting, who’s to judge?

Glowing Green Smoothie

Smoothies, $8.75 each, MyGlowBio.com

Smoothies, $8.75 each, MyGlowBio.com

Sure, I could make a smoothie, but it wouldn’t come from celeb nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, and I’d have to clean the blender. Also, these have the word “glow” in them, which pretty much seals the deal for me. Kimberly also has a Beauty Detox Power Yoga Series, and again, she’s speaking my language. Beauty + detox? I might have to give it a try!

PiYo

PiYo workout package, $59.85, beachbody.com

PiYo workout package, $59.85, beachbody.com

Are you one of those people who can’t decide between yoga and pilates? Me neither! But I am one of those people who pretends to be torn between yoga and pilates, which is essentially the same thing. Plus, I love the fitness guru behind this system, Chalene Johnson. She’s so cute and inspirational. I bought this system and totally plan to try it in a few weeks after I get over the soreness from yesterday’s workout.

Six Pack Shortcuts

I don’t have a picture of my Six-Pack yet, for obvious reasons, but when I do, I totally plan to post it right here. Stay tuned. Six Pack Shortcuts is the most popular fitness channel on YouTube, and I’m going to try their Insane Home Fat Loss method because I’ve heard pretty amazing things about it, and, even though it’s July, I live in Florida and there are months and months left to wear a bikini. But first, abs.

Sweat NSK

SHUKISHUFU X SWEAT NSK EXCLUSIVE RIO LEGGINGS, $135, SweatNSK.com

SHUKISHUFU X SWEAT NSK EXCLUSIVE RIO LEGGINGS, $135, SweatNSK.com

And since I can’t work out naked, I totally plan to check out Sweat NSK, a new online fitness boutique. I’m thinking these shiny leggings are going to become my new thing. I’m such a trendsetter. And hey, leggings are good for lounging, too, which I already rock at…

EIR

EIR Yoga Class Kit, $80, EIRNYC.com

EIR Yoga Class Kit, $80, EIRNYC.com

Natural organic first aid kits for the adventurous (Winter Sports Kit, High Performance Surf) and the rest of us (Sun Rescue, Poolside Lounge). I need these in the gym bag I plan to buy.

Hope you enjoyed this round-up of fitness related finds, and that it inspires you to take the best care of yourself ever!

BeautyMommy Buzz: Sunshine and DIY Beauty Treatments

Molton Brown Orange Bergamot Eau de Toilette, $65, MoltonBrown.com

I don’t know what summer is like where you live, but this summer in Florida is the hottest ever on record. (Disclaimer: No records were checked in the writing of this blog post, but my personal wilt-o-meter has confirmed that it’s a bajillion degrees. At least. Which is pretty hot).

Because it’s so hot, you’d think I spend my days lounging in the air-conditioned indoors, eating peeled grapes and being fanned by my adoring children, but alas, that is not the case. My girls have spent virtually every waking moment this summer swimming, while I fetch towels and snacks and goggles and sunscreen. It’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds, but it’s summer, and I love it.

I also love summery scents and (quick, affordable) DIY Beauty treatments, like these.

Molton Brown Orange Bergamot Eau de Toilette, $65, MoltonBrown.com

Molton Brown Orange Bergamot Eau de Toilette, $65, MoltonBrown.com

Sunshine-y Scents and Hues

I love light, bright happy scents in the summertime, when anything heavier can seem stifling. For years, summertime has automatically signalled a switch to something refreshing, and in the past I’ve loved everything from Crabtree & Evelyn Cucumber Water to Fresh Lemon Sugar to Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo “Arancia.” That’s why I was excited to try this fresh new fragrance from one of my all-time favorite brands, Molton Brown. It’s pretty and zing-y and totally puts a smile on my face. It may just be my new favorite. It goes great with my sunny new pedicure. Yellow just seems so right for summer toes, especially when you tire of coral and pink. My current favorite is Lauren B. Beauty Coachella Valley Sun, below. (For a paler hue, try Lauren B. Beauty Zuma Beach Bum).

Lauren B. Beauty Coachella Valley Sun, $18, LaurenBBeauty.com

Lauren B. Beauty Coachella Valley Sun, $18, LaurenBBeauty.com

And since summer is soo hard on feet, try these tips from Skyy Hadley of As U Wish Nail Salon for an easy at-home pedicure!

  1. After removing nail polish and spraying feet with an antiseptic, soak feet in water and milk. Adding milk is a crucial step as water can strip skin of moisture and leave feet drier. Milk naturally exfoliates and nourishes the skin and it’s right in your refrigerator.
  2. Lightly shape the toenails by cutting nails back slightly and massaging toes and feet with cream or oil. After feet have soaked for a few minutes, push back the cuticles – do NOT cut them. Cutting them creates more hangnails and can even lead to infection.
  3. Lightly buff the nail plate while it is still moist with a cuticle cream or conditioner. Then buff the skin on your feet by applying a foot scrub and massaging the formula deep into the skin, concentrating on trouble spots. To really smooth things over, use a diamond file (avoid pumices as they trap bacteria) on particularly rough patches like the heel and ball of the foot.
  4. To maintain and prolong color, use a primer on the nails first. This step actually dehydrates the nail by bringing the natural oils out, making color grip longer. After applying color, add a top coat. Three days later, apply a top coat again to prevent color from chipping.

DIY Natural Skin Care

When I was about 10 or 12, I liked nothing more then mixing up homemade beauty treatments in the kitchen, using anything I could get my hands on, so it shouldn’t have surprised me when Eva (yes, Eva, who is not even my fashionista) whipped up an anti-aging skin treatment when we were visiting my in-laws, and proceeded to apply it to everyone’s arms. It smelled lovely, too, and I chalk that up to what I suspect was the secret ingredient—liquid hand soap.

That’s why I was so excited to receive a copy of Sumbody Founder Deborah Burnes’ new book, Natural Beauty Skin Care: 110 Organic Formulas for a More Radiant You ($14.99, or $2.99 for Kindle version, Amazon). There are so many fun recipes to try I had the hardest time narrowing it down! For Lola’s fashion club, I chose Cocoa Cleanser (yum—one of her friends actually tasted some of it!), Mint Toner and the Apricot, Pistachio and Avocado Lip Balm. We thoroughly enjoyed mixing up the ingredients and, of course, I loved that the girls were learning to care for their precious almost-tween faces. Now I’m back to my old tricks again, mixing up potions and lotions in my kitchen, but this time, I know what I’m doing. These two easy recipes are next on my list!

Bath Vinegar

According to Burnes, this recipe can “soothe sunburn, detox the body, boost the immune system, ease aches and pains, help fight bacteria and fungus and restore the skin’s pH level.” And it couldn’t be easier!

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup rice wine vinegar

1/8 cup white wine vinegar

Mix well, add to bath, and relax. 🙂

 

De-Frizzing Shine Spray

I will definitely be trying this frizz fighting spray, too, but I plan to make about 10 times this recipe. Because, well, you’ve seen my hair.

1/2 tablespoon palm oil

2 tablespoons vodka

1 1/4 tablespoons glycerin

1/2 tablespoon camellia oil

1/2 tablespoon jojoba oil

On the stovetop in a small pot, melt the palm oil over low heat. Remove from the heat.

In a mini food processor, combine the remaining ingredients and the melted palm oil. Blend for 15-45 seconds.

Using a funnel, transfer to a spray bottle.

 

Hope you find time in your hectic, hot summer to spray on some sunshine and pamper yourself a little!

BeautyMommy Buzz: Selfies, Nail Art

JINsoon - 4th of July Nail Art

Most of the time, I try to write posts to be helpful, to problem solve, to offer solutions to the fashion challenges we all face.

This is not that kind of post.

A new weekly feature, BeautyMommy Buzz is all about the fun stuff—fabulous new launches, product reviews, fun tip and discoveries, even the occasional recipe. It’s my chance to share with you all the fun stuff that’s been on my radar that week.

Modern Fourth Nail Art

JINsoon - 4th of July Nail Art

The team at The Stylist Online focused this last week on style for a very un-tacky 4th. In other words, patriotic attire that doesn’t involve draping yourself in bunting. Yes, it is possible. 😉 So all of this talk of Fourth style inspired me to find other ways to show our patriotism this holiday season.

But before I get into it, I have to preface any talk of nail art with a disclaimer. Although I consider myself pretty adventurous, style-wise, I have been very conservative when it comes to nails. Naturally, I went through the “Vamp” phase, like any other self-respecting fashion writer in my age group, but beyond that, I’ve pretty much stuck with Essie Waltz (a pale pink-white) and OPI I’m Not Really A Waitress (a popular red). So, the classics. Kind of boring, but I’ve never been into making a statement with my nails. And I thought nail art, was, well, a little tacky.

That’s all changed, of course. Open up any fashion and beauty magazine today, and you’ll see oodles of examples of hip, fresh, truly tacky-free nail art created by modern artists who happen to work on nails. It’s been a real revolution in the beauty industry, and Jin Soon has been one of the trendsetters. Her cool, modern nod to the Fourth has inspired me to ditch my tired mani (or on most days, my all natural I’m-a-mom-and-don’t -have-time-for-polish nails) for something a little more creative. Here, how to pull it off, step by step.

Step 1: Apply JINsoon Power Coat (base coat).

Step 2: Apply 2 coats of your favorite white nail polish

Step 3: On the ring finger, fill in half of your nail (closest to the cuticle) with JINsoon x Barneys exclusive Ardor

Step 4: Repeat step 3 with JINsoon Cool Blue on the index finger.

Step 5: Using a striping brush draw and fill in a rectangle with JINsoon Cool blue on the middle finger.

Step 6 and 7: Paint the number 4 in the white space on the ring finger (Cool blue). Paint the number 7 in the white space on the index finger (Ardor).

Step 8: Using a striping brush, draw a thin line using JINsoon Ardor on the middle finger.

Step 9: Complete your look with JINsoon Top Gloss (top coat).

Selfie School

Okay, as a rule, I’m anti-selfies. Not for moral reasons or because posting endless selfies is annoying and narcissistic, but because I can’t fully capture my cuteness in a selfie. In other words, they make me look funny. And not in an endearing way. More in a: “Oh, look, I got both of my chins in that picture” kind of way. Turns out, I’ve been doing it all wrong. Fortunately, famous facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel has these tips for taking a superior selfie.

  1. Women should look up slightly towards the camera, as it will make your eyes larger, and raise your eyebrows, creating the attractive look of large eyes.
  2. Slightly lean your neck towards the camera.
  3. A minute before your photo, tap on your lips a few times (somewhat stronger than you’d think!). This will send blood to your lips, making them redder and fuller—both considered very attractive. Similarly, you can pinck your cheeks a few times to get a little bit of a rosy glow.
  4. Stand at an angle to teh camera. This creates a slimmer body profile and adds some interest to the photograph. Also, try slightly lowering the shoulder towards the camera. This will relatively elongate your neck and slim it out.
  5. Blink just before the camera goes off. That is, if they are counting to three to shoot, blink deliberately on two. This will help guarantee that your eyes are not closed during the picture, and importantly, will get you with the most open and bright eyes—and remember, bright eyes are critical to looking good.
  6. Smile with your eyes! A fake smile is just your mouth. A true smile is when your whole face is laughing. Think about sending energy to your eyes or smiling with your eyes, and your beauty will shine into the photograph.
  7. Be relaxed. Think about relaxing your face and trying to convey that to the camera. And, consider Botox or Dysport. They’ve been shown to not only relax wrinkles, but toactually improve your mood and help you to feel more relaxed and confident. The emotional change will show in your photos.

Luna Love

A couple of months ago, Foreo sent me their new Luna Mini to try out, and I have become obsessed. It’s a sonic skin cleansing brush made of silicone, so it’s easy to clean, super-hygienic and pretty enough to display on your bathroom counter. I have lots of skincare devices. Lots. But this one, I actually use. Every single day. I love that you only have to charge it every few months. That it’s safe for use in the bath or shower. That it’s low maintenance and quick. And, most of all, I love how super super soft and clean my skin feels when I use it. It’s much more effective at removing dirt and makeup than cleansing alone, and cleaner skin means that your treatment products will be more effective. I even travel with it! It’s so gentle that I plan to buy one for Lola, my 10 year old, to help with any future tween-age skincare issues. I’ll be demonstrating how easy it is to use in an upcoming video, so I’ll link back to it when it’s live!

That’s what I’m buzzing about this week! Hope you all have a safe, blessed holiday weekend!

 

What to Wear to Go Back to Work

whattoweartogobacktowork_square-500x500

(Disclaimer: Don’t hate me for saying “work.” I know that we all work. Wherever you are and whatever you do for work, it is still work. But “work” is easier to say than “working outside the home at a paying job that requires you to dress up a bit.”)

If you’ve spent the last few years in yoga pants and college sweatshirts, this is going to hurt a little bit: You can’t wear those to work. I checked, and, unless you work from home and never see anyone, there isn’t a decent job out there with that kind of dress code. Sad, but true. So how do you transition your laid-back at-home wardrobe to a more professional, business casual wardrobe? Well, you take it step by step, following much the same formula you use for temporary transitions, like weight loss/gain and pregnancy.

Assess What You Have + Set a Budget + Buy Core Capsule Pieces = Work Wardrobe

Here, how to break down this process so that it works for you!

1. Assess What You Have

Chances are, no matter how casual your lifestyle has been, you have a few work-worthy pieces in your closet, collecting dust. Take them out, shake them off and make sure they all still fit and that you still love them. This is your Starter Capsule Wardrobe. This sample wardrobe is a mishmash of colors and patterns, like many of our actual wardrobes, but with a few steps, we can make everything work together.

starterworkwardrobe

2. Set a Budget

Yes, I’m using the B-word again, but it’s important to have a ballpark of what you would like to spend on to get started. If your budget is very limited, start with dark colored solid bottoms, then add a jacket, if one is appropriate for your workplace, and then a dress and tops. Unlike a temporary transitional wardrobe, look at these pieces as long term investments that will form the foundation of your professional wardrobe. Don’t be limited by your budget. You can find amazing quality items at hrift stores, online consignment stores (more on these coming up!), flash sales, Marshalls/TJ Maxx, and outlets.

3. Buy Core Capsule Pieces

If you’ve been following these posts, you’ll know that I talk about these pieces a lot, and that’s because they are really the gap-fillers in almost any wardrobe. These are the pieces that make everything else work well together. With a business casual wardrobe in mind, the core capsule pieces I would focus on include: black woven or knit (ponte) pants, jacket, and skirt; black dress; assorted tees and shells. I also chose blue (which already appeared in the starter wardrobe) and added solid pieces in cobalt. Here’s how these 11  new pieces combine to turn this hodge-podge collection of clothes into a stylish business casual capsule wardrobe.

starterworkwardrobewithcapsulepieces

Now that you have assembled your business casual work capsule wardrobe, use my start-from-scratch accessories wardrobe (or your own accessories) to create multiple outfits. You’ll be amazed at how the addition of accessories stretches your whole wardrobe. Here are some examples using this wardrobe combined with the accessories to create multiple combinations. (Because this is a professional wardrobe, I switched out a couple of pairs of shoes from my accessories wardrobe for more work-friendly options, but kept the number the same). Here is the result:

accessorizedworkwardrobe

I hope this systematic, step-by-step process of transforming your wardrobe from casual to work-worthy was helpful to you! Transitional wardrobes, whether the result of pregnancy, weight loss/gain, or a change in lifestyle take focus and a little planning, but the result is an effortless wardrobe that makes the most of your existing wardrobe and your budget.