Tuesday, November 24, 2015

w!t and wonder

I'm always on the hunt for meaningful, unexpected gifts, with the perfect mix of charm and character, fun and function, wit and wonder, without being cheap, campy, or something that the recipient will never use.  I try to pair the gift with the recipient's personality, lifestyle, and sense of styling and tastes.

This year I'm particularly loving Nordstrom's selection of novelty gifts - perfectly called "w!t and wonder", they've found the perfect mix of fun, unexpected gift ideas, with a certain spark of whimsy, class, and style.

Here's a small sampling for the 12 Days of Christmas, or at least nearly everyone on your nice list. 

faux real

For the class clown of the office, that nephew you never know what to get, or the wiseguy in your life - I can't help but laugh at this "faux real" ugly Christmas sweater long sleeved tshirt.  Just US$30 and with free shipping, this supersoft long-sleeve T-shirt is designed to look like a super-cheesy Christmas cardigan. Featuring a busy mashup of cardinals, gingerbread confections and candy canes, this T-shirt is sure to score points among ugly Christmas connoiseurs.

water bottle

For your favorite yoga instructor or the kids' sports coaches, I love this beautiful champagne colored reusable bottle by S'well.  This double-walled, stainless steel vessel brings style + class to any beverage, and features the very impressive ThermaSwell construction, keeping cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours.  The mouth is extra wide, easily accommodating ice cubes or pouring, and fits snugly into your automobile cup holders.  Best of all, the bottle is made of food grade stainless steel, is BPA-free, and a portion of all the proceeds go to UNICEF, providing clean drinking water to children around the world.

coin purse
For the shopaholic in our lives, I love this canvas zip coin purse from Two's Company.  The gilded coin zip pull closure adds the perfect touch to this oh-so-true statement piece.  And just US$8, it's the perfect stocking stuffer or finishing touch for the shop-till-you-drop friend you can't live without.


For the person who is always plugged in: the PowerCube adapter is absolutely genius.  If you're planning on traveling out of the country soon, I'd pack this and one adapter - instantly allowing you to charge multiple items with ease.  It's great for permanent home or office use, as well, with five outlets, a five foot extension cord, and special locking mechanism for convenient placement.  Includes everything you need to get started, and less than US$13. Available in many colors.

For the home entertainer, these Kate Spade New York glittery gold coasters add the perfect pop of color, glitz, and glam to any dinner party or cocktail table.  Good as gold, the set of 4 acrylic coasters are just US$40.   They also make the perfect housewarming present or hostess gift, year round.  

coloring book

Adult coloring books have been popular for quite some time, and this Tattoo Coloring Book is sure to win the heart and attention of the wild child in your life.  From hearts and sailors to roses and wild animals, this book features an array of tattoo styles and trends.  Pair with some colored pencils, markers, or crayons, and enjoy hours of entertaining stress relief.  US$14,95.

trivia game
 Give the gift of gab or break the ice at your holiday party with this nostalgic blast from the past.  Gift Republic's 80s trivia game will bring a blast from the past for the whole family when you test your TV smarts, with everything from Alf to the A-team.  Makes a great stocking stuffer, Secret Santa, or office gift.

Mr. Messy 
I'm probably one of the most nostalgic people on the planet.  I save little momentos from special events, send greeting cards randomly, and remember the most minute details.  When I was a little kid, I loved reading - especially Roger Hargreaves' Mr. Men collection of stories.  One of my favorites was Mr. Messy.  Coffee is more than just a drink - it's a culture.  Pink and gray are two of my favorite colors.  Smash them all together, and relish in the delight of this magnificent mug by Wild & Wolf.  They offer many other characters, including Little Miss Chatterbox, Little Miss Fun, and Little Miss Giggles.  

record player
For the audiophiles in your life (or even for yourself!), Crosley's Keepsake portable USB turntable is the perfect gift.  This gorgeous gold travel case easily converts your vinyl tunes to digital, for both Apple and Windows based platforms in high quality sound.  For music purists—a three-speed turntable lets you play 7", 10" and 12" LPs for an old-school listening experience, complete with all the audible nuances you know and love.  Includes built-in speakers for quick play, RCA jack, headphone jack, and power adapter.  US$180, with free shipping.

M.Aram bottle opener
Michael Aram makes some of the most incredible pieces - like jewelry and art for your home.  From gorgeous trays and vases to frame and glassware, Michael Aram is sure to add a bit of style + class to any space.  Splash some glitz and glam over your next soirĂ©e with this gorgeous gold bottle opener.  Makes a great gift for any occasion, too.  US$35.

cake tray
I am my Grandfather's grandchild, 100% - because I love cake!  Cup cakes, small cakes, big cakes, birthday cakes - I don't care, I love it all.  You can see why I love this whimsically wonderful acrylic tray, boldly stating the Gospel truth - "a party without cake is just a meeting".  Love that the tray inverts to reveal a gorgeous gold geometrical design.  Generously sized, made in the USA, US$78 with free shipping.  

banana flask
This has the recipe for disaster in so many ways.  "Is that a banana in your pocket..." "There's a party in my pants..." Wow wow wow.  Absolutely loving the hilarity and humor of this banana shaped flask.  Stainless steel, bright yellow, holds 4 oz. of your favorite liquid courage, US$19,95 with free shipping.

There are so many things I'm loving in this shop.  You'll find the suggestions are edited, high quality, and offer something for all budgets and recipients.  Well done, Nordstrom.  Well done. 

unexpected retail surprises

Tailoring, meaningful details, and nice fabrics.  Fine fragrances and quality ingredients.  These two groupings of descriptions are usually reserved for luxury brands.  Over the last few years, some companies have tried their hands at elevated products - Abercrombie & Fitch offered Ruehl No. 925 for nearly 5 years, while American Eagle spun their classier, grown up Martin + Osa.  Both brands targeted the "after college crowd" and featured luxe leathers, tailored fits, and fine fabrics, but neither found traction in the marketplace.

Lately I've noticed some brands stepping up their game.  While the products aren't competing with what luxury houses stock, they are definitely stepping up their game and capturing my interest.  Here's a few that I'm really loving:

Elixir white link

-- Bath & Body Works features a pocket collection from NYC's famed C.O. Bigelow apothecary.  I'm loving their Elixir White - crisp with citrus notes of bergamot, grapefruit, and mandarin orange, with a peppery, spicy twist.  Just a tiny bit goes a long way, making mounds of suds and leaving behind just a hint of fresh fragrance without overpowering.  And at only US$10 a tube, what's not to love?!  Pairs really well with Tom Ford's Venetian Bergamot or Oud Wood.

AEO Cotton Parka

-- American Eagle offers a surprisingly beautiful and well done jacket in their AEO Cotton Parka, and at just US$199 (with discounts and offers featured throughout the Christmas season), I couldn't be more impressed.  Waxed cotton canvas, a treatment usually seen in luxe brands like Filson and Barbour, with military inspired patch pockets, quilted lining and interior pockets, function storm cuffs, and both zippered and button closures, this jacket is sure to keep you warm.  The faux fur lining is eco conscious and removable as well.  Even better than the price - it's machine washable and easy to care for.  

Mrs. Meyers

-- Target and Whole Foods (and many other places) offer Mrs. Meyer's candles, and I'm loving the Crisp Iowa Pine.  Imagine fresh cut Christmas tree, with a dash of clove and cedar - so fresh, so clean, and perfectly Christmas.  All of Mrs. Meyer's candles are soy based, burning cleanly for up to 25 hours.  And at just under US$7, you can afford to burn them throughout the day.  I love popping a candle into a gift basket for any occasion, or even on it's own as a small thank you token.

Quality doesn't have to break the bank.  What're some affordable products you're loving at the moment?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

the future is now

One of my favorite facets of fashion is the ability of designers to mix codes of yesterday with a look for tomorrow, the blending of old and new for a fresh interpretation of style + class.  Yesterday's future with tomorrow's nostalgia, if you will, and innovation at its finest.

Volvo began in 1927 out of necessity to create motorcars strong and safe enough for challenging Swedish roadways, and throughout the years, have evolved from a brand known just for safety and comfort, but a stylish, innovative, and futuristic product.  Enter: LifePaint.

Each year in the United Kingdom alone, more than 19,000 bicyclists are involved in accidents.  Initially intended for vehicles with low profiles, LifePaint is a reality.  LifePaint is a unique water based reflective safety spray. Invisible by daylight, it glows brightly in direct glare of car headlights. Making the invisible, visible. LifePaint washes off, and will not damage the color or the surface of your chosen material, lasting more than a week of normal usage.  Not just reserved for two wheelers, LifePaint is perfect for clothing, shoes, skateboards, helmets, wheelchairs and strollers, backpacks, camping tents, and virtually anything else you can imagine.  LifePaint is currently only available at select dealers and retailers throughout the UK, and may be available for purchase through third party sites like Amazon as well.  The more popular the product, the more likely Volvo offers LifePaint in other markets.


Makes me think of when Cole Haan made a reflective collection - beautiful shoes and accessories by day, bright and reflective safety devices by night.

Since 1885, Bianchi have made some of the most beautiful, high-tech bicycles imagined.  Like Volvo, Edoardo Bianchi focused on safety, drastically changing the shape and mechanisms used on the two-wheeled vehicles.  And also like Volvo, the brand has evolved into one of the most fashionable, beautiful brands.  This year, they've teamed up with fellow countrymen at Gucci and created an incredible helmet.  For safety + fashion sense, get the Bianchi + Gucci helmet:

Bianchi + Gucci helmet

What other stylish safety products have you discovered?  Innovation + style + safety = class for all.

Friday, November 20, 2015

light the way

I just spent a few weeks on holiday, visiting family and friends back "home" - and I must say, I never realized how much I love lighting until now. You don't realize how much you notice something is missing until you experience it again - and Florida wins with lighting. Maybe it's the outdoor lifestyle, the eternal summertime climate, or the constant stream of visitors. Lighting sets the mood, highlights product, location, and features, and sets the amateurs apart from the professionals.

Consider this: 

Lighting for ambiance: special colors can create mood. Hues of blue evoke cool, calm, and quiet, while hues of red are warm, cozy, and intimate. Notice the red up lighting at the entrance to the Grand Bohemian's lobby bar - it brings instant sophistication and a certain chicness.

Grand Bohemian Link

Lighting for ambiance should be of appropriate brightness, too. Bright, white light gives the impression of sterile nature and cleanliness - perfect for doctors' and dentists' offices, grocery stores, and car washes. 

Landscape and architectural lighting can really bring a dash of style + class to your home or business. Amplify your investment in landscaping by highlighting the features at night, as well. I love this office building in downtown Orlando - the effect really makes for easier enjoyment of the landscaping, regardless of time of day. 

And how boring would Epcot's Spaceship Earth be without the incredible night lighting? 

Epcot's Spaceship Earth link

Lighting inside is just as important. With the right space, light sources, and decor, you can really maximize your image. Take a panoramic look at one of my favorite stores in Nashville, Peter Nappi:


The entrance is inviting, the shoes and accessories are highlighted, and the ambiance incredible. Imagine how terrible the effect would be if only fluorescent lighting was utilized! The store literally envelopes you, bathing you in luxury Italian lifestyle. 

Consider the purpose.  There are generally three types of indoor lighting - general or ambient lighting, purpose lighting, and accent lighting.  General lighting sets the atmosphere and tone, usually provided by one large light source, like a chandelier, or many smaller lights, like a lighting system or multiple sources.  Recessed lighting may provide a room's general glow, mixed with lamps for ambiance and creating space.  Task lighting is typically smaller lights, used for specific purposes - like a reading lamp, a light over your stove for cooking, or in a particular work space.  Accent light is purely for creating drama, texture, and excitement - highlighting inanimate objects like art, architecture, and decor.  

Light effects so much - from your mood, to the experience, and even quality of sleep.  What do you think?  Who has the best light?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Style + Class in a glass

What makes for the perfect bar? For me, it's an effort by several parties and includes a multitude of factors. I'll describe one of my favorite bars, as an example and try to shed a bit more description and understanding.

Over the weekend I visited my alma mater for a fraternity reunion. I was amongst friends and familiarity, so nostalgia was peak. Walking downtown with one of my best friends, I remembered how wonderful a past birthday celebration was and how much I loved the hotel's bar. So a return visit was necessary. 

Location: the perfect bar should be in a wonderful location. The space for libation should either be accessibly convenient, in an unexpected place, have stunning views, or a combination of the three. Maybe it's an incredible prohibition era style bar hidden in a secret room in the middle of a hamburger joint. Or maybe it's a local wine bar in your old neighborhood post office. Or a swanky lounge in a boutique hotel full of art, style, and class. 

Decor and lighting: the lighting should be bright enough to see the menu, your friends, and provide seamless ambiance. Sunglasses and squinting need not be required. The desired experience of the owner / creator should be enhanced by the decor. From the furniture materials to the way the wine, spirits, and other liquid refreshments are housed and displayed, to the art, accessories, and dinnerware / flatware / linens, everything should be in harmony. 

Happy Distractions: for me, bars are more than just a place to drink. There should be another hook. Maybe it's incredible food, a gorgeous view, or the perfect setting for wonderful conversation. 

Options: selections on offer should be edited, varied, and of the best quality. Gorgeous garnishes. Mixers of top quality. Maximum flavor. 

The barkeep: an expert, hands down. Their gentle smile welcomes you, setting the stage for what's to come. They decipher your tastes, leading you on a journey around the culinary globe with finesse and flair. They might pepper in an opinion, fact, or story, shaking in a spice to your conversation. The service provided by bartenders is a true art - just the right amount of attention, interaction, and privacy. 

 GBH link

The points above are all demonstrated at many places, and especially the Grand Bohemian hotel. Amongst an endless row of typical downtown bars, filled with beer stained floors and a bit too tipsy tourists, enter the stylish + swanky Grand Bohemian: part art gallery, part hotel, part restaurant and lounge, all class. A gorgeous rotunda and lobby, with incredible art and sculpture, and one of a very few Imperial Grand Bösendorfer pianos literally set the tone. 

 GBH link

We quickly met Ivy. And I must say, she's a pure professional. Ivy is smart, skilled, polite, kind, and simply beyond. From the very first of many drinks, her ability to not only identify personal tastes and desires and shape that understanding into the most wonderful culinary journey seemed effortless. Her drink recommendations and crafting were spot on. The contribution to our conversation was that of an old friend. And the food - incredible. The perfect portion, execution, and presentation. Thin pizza crispy on the outside, pillowy on the inside, with mountains of mozzarella and mushrooms, finished with herbs and truffle oil. Wagyu beef carpaccio perfectly prepared. And the most copious crab cakes you've ever imagined, with so much crab you swear their held together with magic and angel's breath. 

I love this bar. But ultimately, any time spent with your best friend, no matter the location, regardless of decor, will always be the best. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

mission based retail

You don't really need a reason to shop.  It's instant gratification, and can be an addiction for some.  Whether it's things you need, things you think you need to have, or a splurge of any size, shopping brings a bit of excitement and fulfillment.  When brands partner with a worthy cause or community, everyone wins.  When done well, the company makes even more money than they would have without that mission based hook, and the organization / cause / philanthropy / community gains much needed support and awareness.

Take Starbucks for example.  Beginning in 2013, the coffee giant pledged to hire 10,000 military veterans and spouses by 2018, and have already surpassed their halfway mark.  They also have more than a dozen "military family" stores, in markets with large military communities, that're run primarily by military veterans and spouses.  In addition to having special recognition on each apron (with an American flag and "military veteran" or "military spouse" under their name), these locations also have a local charity or organization they support that in turn supports local veterans and military families. 

Soma Intimates raises money and awareness for a myriad of women's and children's health organizations, including Children's Miracle Network hospitals, breast cancer awareness, the American Heart Association, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence. 

Cook's heaven Williams-Sonoma supports No Kid Hungry, sharing their strength and the strength of their generous clientele to end childhood hunger in America, by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of special merchandise and raising cash donations. For the past few years, celebrities and chefs have designed wonderfully whimsical spatulas specifically for the campaign.  A very worth cause - as one in ten children statistically go to school hungry in America. 

mission based retail

Some organizations exist solely to support their own community - like the Navy, Army, and Air Force Exchanges.  Not only do the semi-governmental agencies bring quality goods and services at competitive prices, they also donate a large portion of their profits to the moral, welfare, and recreation of their constituents. 

My favorite mission based retail of all is (RED).  (RED) was founded in 2006 by U2's rockin' front man Bono and the charitable and brilliant Bobby Shriver to get businesses and people involved in the fight against AIDS, particularly in places where the people have no access, education, or resources to fight for their lives. 

The difference between (RED) and other charities, is that it's not a charity - it's a choice.  As a consumer, there are things you already know you're going to buy.  When you choose (RED) products and companies, they're often the same price as non-(RED) items, but profits and donations are made to the organization. 

Today, of the nearly 37 million people in the world living with HIV, nearly 15 million have access to life-saving treatment that costs as little as 30 cents a day. While this is incredible progress, we've still got a lot of work to do to ensure that all those who need medication have access to it.

(RED) was created to help provide a sustainable flow of money from the private sector to fight AIDS. Together, they've raised over $324 million to date through the sale of (RED) products from iconic companies - like Apple and Starbucks – and from (RED) events. And 100% of that money goes to work on the ground.  Because of the progress made in the fight against AIDS, the world is now on the cusp of an incredible possibility – we can deliver the first AIDS FREE GENERATION in over 30 years. Every day 600 babies are born with HIV. Yet with access to antiretroviral treatment, we can prevent the transmission of the virus from moms to babies. Without it, 50% of babies will die before their second birthday.  Only urgency and action will help us achieve the goal. If we act now, an AIDS FREE GENERATION can become a reality. The question is not ‘Can we do it?... It’s ‘Will we do it?’

Use your buying power for good.  Turn your dollars into sense.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

every day is a holiday

Paul Stuart Catalog Link

If it's not obvious, I must tell you - I am obsessed with luxury retail.  It's in my blood.  Anyone can learn any retail point of sale system, discover the heritage and codes of a House or brand, and practice the recommend sales techniques desired.  You can teach the systems of retail and provide the tools for success.  But you can't force the necessary passion, excitement, and quest for excellence.

On the professional side of retail, we're always planning ahead - usually 6-12 months, on average.  Designers are creating, sewing, and crafting their visions for 2017.  Planners are already allocating merchandise for summer 2016, and it's just barely fall 2015!  Sales history, market demographic demands, and consumer trends all help formulate which items go where, in specific color and quantity, to tell a specific story, set a specific trend, and provide "just enough" inventory "just in time" for the consumers.

On the customer side of retail, we always want "just enough" merchandise "just in time" - you want to see the trends from magazines, pop culture, and celebrity influence, a moment or so before you actually want to buy it.  You hope your purchases are seasonally appropriate, in both color and fabric weight, but still en trend.

At this time each year, customers always comment / complain that "Christmas (items) is coming sooner and sooner".  Maybe it's the strong nostalgic characteristics I hold close to my heart - but I absolutely love it.  Holidays are everything to me - because they represent quality time with family and friends, with a joyous and warm atmosphere, filled with cheer and positivism.

When someone wishes me a "Happy Hannukah" or a "Blessed Eid al-Fitr" with a warm smile and twinkle in their eye, even though I'm not Jewish or Muslim, I take it as the highest compliment and best wishes.  It's more specific than "have a great weekend!" and more personal than "have a good day".  "Happy Holidays!" seems very generic, non-specific, and forced.  And there's nothing generic, non-specific, or forced about luxury retail.  Luxury retail is all about the relationship - knowing your clients, their tastes, their preferences, and their practices.  As a salesperson, I would send a tailored, holiday-appropriate card with wishes for a myriad of holidays and celebrations. If I didn't know someone's religious or cultural affiliation, I'd defer to "Merry Christmas / Happy Easter" - a safer, yet still genuine, greeting. If nothing, clients knew that, as a practicing Roman Catholic and Christian, those holidays are important to me.

This really is the most wonderful, whimsical time of year.  You know that feeling you get when you're wrapped in the most luxurious cashmere cardigan, when the air is crisp, and you've spent an extra moment decorating your home, enjoying the company of friends and family, feasting on fabulous food and drink?  That's what luxury retail is like for me every day.  It's comforting, it's encouraging, it's enjoyable, it's special. 
Woodland Creatures Scarf link

Paul Stuart's Zig Zag Ripped Stitch Cashmere Cardigan 
• Zig zag ribbed cashmere
• Button & Zip front
• Ribbed mock neck, cuffs & waistband
• Contrast cashmere flannel inside placket
• Made in Italy
US$ 1,547.00

Paul Stuart's Woodland Creatures Silk and Wool Scarf
• Woodland creatures
• Silk & wool
• Reversible
• Self fringe
• 12" x 72"
• Made in England
US$ 247.00

If you're not familiar with Paul Stuart, imagine the sartorial solution for living with style + class.  With more than 70 years of consistent contribution to the world of luxury and living with purpose to the best of your ability, Paul Stuart is an American brand for the edited, the edgy, and the exceptionally dressed.  Love, not logos.  Perfect patterns.  Durable, delightful fabrics.  When you're wearing Paul Stuart, your words are colored and your verbs are textured.   Seamless.  Purposeful.  Top notch.  Think Cary Grant and Fred Astaire.  Paul Stuart is many things.  He's glamourous.  He's jetset.  His wife is even more beautifully presented.  Classic elegance for a better tomorrow.  The Paul Stuart Man is a little dangerous, a little dashing, has a reckless disregard for the impossible, and is intrinsically elegant everyday.  He's many things.  And the Paul Stuart Man is equally not a lot of things.  Paul Stuart is not pretentious, stuffy, rigid, or out of touch.  On the contrary, Paul Stuart is aspirational, inspirational, and truly extraordinary.

I must admit - I don't own anything from Paul Stuart. Yet.  But after seeing the great care, love, and brilliance sewn into every fibre, I know this is a brand I'll grow to love and appreciate.  If you value style + class, refinement, and an everyday elegance, I know you'll love it, too.  I imagine Paul Stuart like Christmas, your birthday, and the swankiest New Years' Eve Party, all rolled into one gorgeous ensemble.

Beyond.  Beautiful.  Be well. 

Check it out for yourself:
New York: Madison Ave. at 45th
Chicago: 107 East Oak and 208 South LaSalle
Washington, DC: 906 I Street NW
- See more at: https://www.paulstuart.com/then-and-now-history-of-paul-stuart#sthash.3yRintBt.dpuf
- See more at: https://www.paulstuart.com/then-and-now-history-of-paul-stuart#sthash.3yRintBt.dpuf
- See more at: https://www.paulstuart.com/then-and-now-history-of-paul-stuart#sthash.3yRintBt.dpuf

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ford. Tom Ford.

I might be in love with Tom Ford.  Not just because every single detail is given the utmost attention and concern.  Not just because every piece in every collection is perfect.  Not just because anything associated with his name automatically equates to style, class, quality, and artistic brilliance.  I love Tom Ford because his designs are always made with love.  His creations aren't clad in logo, clouded with commercialism, or designed en masse.

Mr. Ford has dressed James Bond in a few of the latest installments of the cinematic interpretation of Ian Fleming's famous British agent.  Here are a few looks Mr. Bond dons in Spectre:






Tom Ford, President of the eponymous brand, said, "I could not be happier to be dressing Daniel Craig as James Bond again in the upcoming film, Spectre.  James Bond epitomizes the Tom Ford man in his elegance, style, and love of luxury.  It is an honor to move forward with this iconic character."

In the entertainment industry, product placement is everything.  Where the character grabs a coffee may define more of the character for a character.  This is no different than for reality and the every day.  The choices we make in our appearance, where we're going, what we're doing, and who we associate ourselves all add to our very definition.

When there's an iconic character, like James Bond, to outfit in the most amazing cinematic experiences, every choice becomes a strategic marketing opportunity.  Agent 007 has driven through some of the most thrilling car chases and get-away escape plans.  And for more than 50 years, featured in 12 of the 24 cinematic installments, Mr. Bond has driven Aston Martin.  Omega jumped on board with the Seamaster 300 Spectre limited edition watch.  Northampton shoe maker Crocket & Jones has supplied six different options for the fast footed Bond.  It's not just luxury clothing and automobiles that are featured either.  More than 17 brands are enjoying the commercial success of Mr. Bond, including Heineken beer, Bollinger Champagne, and the Macallan malt whiskey, along side Sig Sauer handguns.  You'll also notice strategically placed Jaguars, Fiats, and Range Rovers, Sony mobilephones and cameras, Missoni sweaters, and N.Peal polo shirts.

I'm not mad at the nearly too-much product placement.  Aside from a few lingering shots, the brands chosen only add to the character of the characters.  James Bond might not be so believable if he was wearing an ill-fitting suit and racing away in a Ford Ka.  And as a huge 007 fan, I know that these movies come with outrageous price tags to produce, so as long as the brands continue to be in line with the right feel and evoke the right emotion, I'm OK with seeing a few iconic logos and crests.

If your life was made into a movie, what stores, products, and restaurants would be featured in your film?