Monday, December 22, 2008
When giving gifts, "the thought" doesn't always necessarily count. Consider this: if John Q. Neighbour delivers an unexpected holiday gift to me, and feeling obligated to return the favour, I dig through my collection of random gifts to find something for John, he might not enjoy receiving something I didn't buy specifically for him.
If "the thought" really counts, make sure you put some thought into the gift selection process. Will the person actually use your gift? Does it match their style or tastes? Is the gift easy to use? Will it fit properly?
For all of the gifts we'll never use, never like, or never enjoy - I propose a "re-gifting party". After Christmas, gather your friends. Get some of your favourite champagne or holiday punch, some appetizers, and your closest friends. Instruct them all to bring a gift they wanted to regift. Then, amidst the party atmosphere, everyone can provide an entertaining sales pitch for their item, and then let others trade gifts for something they'll actually enjoy!
If you make the atmosphere light hearted and spritely, no one will mind getting rid of their less-than-desirable presents. After all, it's more about the presence of friends and family than the presents anyways.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Travel is an emotional experience, a process of self-discovery. It has been the defining value for Louis Vuitton for more than 150 years. More recently, Louis Vuitton has established itself among the world's leading fashion houses. This enables Louis Vuitton to communicate in two different but complimentary ways: with seasonal fashion statements and a long-term campaign about Louis Vuitton's core values.
To convey the values, Louis Vuitton chose personalities of extraordinary stature: Mikhail Gorbachev, Catherine Deneuve, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graff. And only the world's foremost portrait photographer, Annie Liebovitz, could have captured their emotional depths, in such fresh, unexpected fashion.
Louis Vuitton also has a long-standing commitment to environmental responsibility. The core-values campaign is therefore a perfect opportunity to promote this cause, and Al Gore's Climate Project is a natural match, a truly worldwide initiative to fight global warming.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Regardless, I was at a shop this morning. I took several photographs with my mobilephone. And we're going to play a game. See if you can guess where I was? I'll give you hints along the way.
Notice the higher end skincare. Strivectin. Origins. Clairns.
Notice the beautiful signage and product cards.
There's also a fragrance section.
With luxury brands like Armani...
...and Calvin Klein and DKNY.
There's a salon haircare section - with ranges like Bumble & Bumble.
Clearly labeled with lots of options...
So let's recap - there is an entire section of fine fragrances, great haircare, and an extensive selection of higher-end skincare.
This could describe many places.
Was I at Sephora? Nope.
Was I at SPACE.NK? Nope.
Was I at a Duty Free Shop in Dubai? Nope.
Was I at Harrods? Nope.
Give up yet?
I was at, none other than...
TARGET! Now, I too was shocked when I saw the amazing selection of goods. I'm such a fan of Target. Don't get me wrong, stores like Sephora and SPACE.NK for example are always beneficial to shop at, especially with their extensively trained staff and ability to get samples and professional opinions. But for those of us who know what we like already, your local Target really can be the "one stop shop". Brava, Target!
Instead of the traditional mimosa (champagne and orange juice), combine your favourite champagne with pomegranate juice. The sweet-tart flavours of the fruit juice, combined with the sprite and effervescence of the champagne, make the most beautiful coloured holiday beverage, and it tastes ab.fab.
So for 2009, and all of your future days, here's to family who are like friends, and friends who are like family.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
1. The Converse 1HUND(RED) initiative is a year-long global project celebrating our partnership and commemorating the brand's 100th anniversary. We have brought together 100 artists from around the globe to celebrate the artistic spirit and help eliminate AIDS in Africa.
The Chuck Taylor® ALL STAR® x Africa line uses canvas sourced in Africa and features African mudcloth designs, bringing global inspiration to the classic Converse style.
Prefer to do-it-yourself? Build your perfect pair and make a difference with the customizable “MAKE MINE (RED)” option. Turn your favorite kicks into an instrument of global change.
My favourites are # 72 and #75. I wear a US size 11. I don't think these styles have been released yet, so a gift card is optimal. http://www.converse.com/
2. Emporio Armani, Product Red 2-button suit. Was originally US$1,095. Now only US$658. This is absolutely an incredibly deal. So much so that I'm hesitating to even post it publicly, as I don't want it to sell out. Armani suits are top notch, and to add that 40% of the profit are donated directly to combating HIV/aids in Africa, and that it's on sale - wow. I need a size 42R, which they currently have. I know this is a lot to ask for - so gift cards work too.
3. Also from Emporio Armani's Product Red range, the Logo Card Holder is a great accessory as well. I'd love to own it. Originally US$125, now US$75.
Here are some quick tips from her wardrobe that may help other Moms (and women without children) on the go.
- don't be afraid of wearing heels, even with kids (or a busy schedule) - just make sure they're comfortable, and that the heel is thick enough or supportive enough to be on the go. You may have small children (whether your own, students you may be teaching, or random children out) that you have to chase after/run away from. But don't think that flats can't be sexy or stylish either - a ballerina flat, a driving loafer, and even sporty trainers can have just as good of an effective and statement as their higher heeled varieties.
- keep makeup simple. Dedicate a few moments each day to practice good skincare. Use a great facewash everyday. Follow up with a balancing tonic, a great moisturizer (with sunscreen). When your skin is healthy and radiant, you won't need to cover it up with traditional cosmetics. A concealer, a lipstick, and a bronzer can take you to new heights during the day. And you won't be constantly touching up and reapplying the makeup either.
- spice things up with accessories. A fun watch. A great bracelet. A beautiful necklace. Earrings. Keep things fuss-free with minimal moving accessories - watches and bracelets should be fitted, like cuffs. Earrings should be studs or small hoops. This way everything is free from getting caught, damaged, tangled, or torn.
- if you have small children, or work around/with them, consider wearing pants. You know what your schedule is like - if you're going to be crawling on the floor, climbing trees, or chasing little ones on the soccer field - dress appropriately.
- most importantly, schedule time for yourself. Each month, set a date for just you and your spouse. No kids allowed. Break out the sexy dresses, heels, and great jewels. Similarly, ditch the diaper bag and "Mom jeans" to dress up and go out on the town with just your girls. Trust that all will be well at home with the kids and your husband and have a blast!
- When in doubt, heels, great jeans, and a button down shirt are always classy, stylish, and age appropriate. When you find heels that fit well and are comfortable - buy them in multiple colors. Every woman I know instantly feels more beautiful, more sophisticated, and more elegant the moment the put on heels. Try it.
Just because you have children doesn't mean you have to be in a fashion rut. You don't have to pretend to be someone else. You don't have to look like you stepped out of the latest Bravo "reality" show or off of a rap video. Take a few moments each day to do something for yourself. When you look good, you feel better. And when you feel better, you look your best.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Same with a trench coat from Burberry and a trench coat from Banana Republic. Burberry, the creator of the most iconic outwear, includes phenomenal fabrics, visible darting and pin tucks for the perfect, tailored fit, and backer buttons (those little buttons on the reverse side of outer buttons that provide addition strength and durability) for additional quality. You'd be lucky to find any of these details in the cheaper, more mainstream version.
Price isn't everything. You can find great style, quality, and design at a bargain as well. But the cliche is true - you get what you pay for. Design and details aren't cheap. And the most important part of each garment is always in the details.
Friday, December 5, 2008
But under no circumstances shall one ever wear sweatpants or sweatshorts during any retail activity, while dining, or doing anything that doesn't naturally cause one to break a sweat. And I don't mean sweating from a day-long power shopping surge. Hence, the term "sweat"pants.
I don't care how "fashionable" Juicy Couture or J. Lo think this look may be. It's tacky. Classless. And unattractive. You're better than that. And we deserve to look at something more pleasant.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
You could bring flowers, but that might signal to the host/hostess that you thought they didn't have good taste in planning a tablescape. Also, flowers may be a hassle - the receiver may have allergies, may not have a place for them, or may have already planned a floral arrangement for the evening's festivities.
You could bring wine, but that may signal that you don't trust your host/hostess in planning the liquid portion of the evening's event. While the wine doesn't have to be consumed that evening, your simple gesture could be in poor taste.
As are other foods and desserts. Bringing food as a gift to a dinner or dinner party signal that you second guess the cooking of the evening. Be kind.
I know it seems confusing. You're trying to show thanks for the invitation and hospitality, not offend. So follow these surefire suggestions:
1) candles and home diffusers are always en vogue. Select a light, airy fragrance that suits the attitude or tastes of your recipient.
2) beautiful pottery. Think elegant vases. Decorative bowls. Something that will actually be used and appreciated.
3) one of the best gifts I received at a dinner party I through were actually kitchen gadgets. My guests knew I loved to cook, and actually did their homework to know which gadgets I didn't already own. I also suggest Illy espresso or coffees and whimsical cups.
A little thoughtfulness. A little homework. A huge impression.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
This year, like many other years, I have decorated the trees in our front yard. Only this year, I've become even more environmentally friendly with my decorations, and you can too. Instead of placing lights on all of the trees, I opted for beautiful red velvet ribbon that I wrapped up the trunks of the two large trees. I've also put a half dozen large red ribbons, and probably 4-5 dozen small red ribbons throughout the branches of the three biggest trees in the yard (all of these ribbons, mind you, were reused from years past). I then hung 2-3 dozen shatter proof silver and gold ornaments throughout the tree canopy as well. When the sun hits the ornaments, they instantly shine - brighter than any electrical lights could!
Don't get me wrong - I'll still be using some electricity - and am definitely putting lights on the main tree in the front yard, just like every year. Only this year, I'm using a timer to limit when the lights are actually powered on.
Here are some other great tips for keeping your holiday spirit low cost and environmentally friendly.
- reuse when you can. if you care for your decorations, they will last for years and save you a bundle on buying the same things year after year.
- upgrade your holiday lights. I'm all for saving decorations to use in the future, but when advancements in technology, newer LED type lights are incredibly more efficient and durable. While initially more expensive, the lights will save you more over time.
- don't buy a "cut" Christmas tree. Many Christmas tree farms and retailers are offering "potted" trees that can be planted after the holiday season. Artificial trees are also great options for those with allergies, and can be quite economical and durable as well. If you do buy a "cut" Christmas tree, make sure the retailer has a tree recycling program for after the holiday is over.
- get creative with wrapping. Why buy paper and gift bags that will simply be thrown away immediately? Look for gifts and accessories that can be used as wrapping. For example, last year we gave our neighbours a "movie night" - complete with a large popcorn bowl that was filled with unpopped corn, candies, other various snacks, and a gift card to a local video store. Everything fit in the large bowl - no need to wrap! I also love the "vintage" appeal of packages wrapped in newspaper.
- buy cards made with recycled materials and consider sending electronic cards as well.
Being "green" at the holidays doesn't mean you have to sacrifice beauty, elegance, or pizazz. You can create the most beautiful holiday scene, and still be sensible to both your economic and environmental situations! Happy Decorating!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Last time I checked, there is nothing "couture" about anything that Juicy Couture makes. It is indeed brilliant marketing campaigns that promote Liz Claiborne's younger, "hipper" range. You'd think that owning, in addition to their namesake, DKNY, Dana Buchman, Kensie, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Kate Spade, that they would understand that "high fashion" is far from the truth when it comes to their Juicy "Couture" line. After all, there's nothing "high fashion" about sweat pants, tank tops, and the like.
I don't want to say Juicy Couture should be sued for false advertisement, but they should indeed change their name. Enough is enough. We must put an end to overpriced goods. Especially the ugly ones.