Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gift ideas for women and girls

With Black Friday sales coming up this week, I thought I'd do a post with some ideas about gifts for others.  Sure, I love getting gifts, but at this point in my life the gifts that I get are rarely things to get too excited about.  (So I buy my own.). What I enjoy more is getting things for others that I don't think they'd get for themselves.  My Mom, for instance, is very frugal and rarely buys herself any luxury items.  I used to buy her luxury items that I thought she SHOULD have, only to find out that she never used them.  Now I try to go with practical luxury, things that she'll use but probably wouldn't buy herself.
Keep things like that in mind.  Don't buy things that YOU like for someone else, buy something that they would like.  If you only have a general idea of what they like, ask someone who seems to like the same things as the "giftee" for specifics.
For example, if you know a girl or woman likes fashion, either get her a gift certificate from her favorite store, look at blogs she reads, or ask her friends what kind of fashion she likes.  Here are a few ideas:

   -Scarves are really in right now, especially infinity scarves (they have no ends, they're loops that you put on over your head.

  - Leather and faux-leather are HUGE.  Jackets, especially ones that look like motorcycle jackets, are very popular, whether they're leather or have leather trim.  There are shirts with pieces of "leather" mixed with wool or knit pieces of fabric. These are usually called "mixed media", since they have several different fabrics.

    -Sweaters are always popular.  Long sweaters that can be worn with leggings, cropped ones to show off a trim middle, and embellished ones with beads or sequins on them.

    -Pants right now are skinny, usually jeans or leggings.  That's for casual wear, though.  Work is different depending on where they work.  And some people, like me, still like flare legs.  Pants are the hardest thing to buy, in my opinion.  Unless you have a list with a specific brand, size and color, I'd stay away from them as a gift.

   -High socks are popular, knee-high or over the knee.  Also popular are leg warmers, (yes, they're back!), and boot toppers.  But if the person you're buying for is athletic, they might want sox to wear to the gym.

 -  Boots are big this time of year.  Combat boots, riding boots and motorcycle boots are VERY popular right now.  Also boots with buckles, black boots with gold accents, knee-high boots, and of course ankle boots with a heel.  High heels aren't the thing right now, flats are more in style, but there are still heels that look so great that a woman would  like them anyhow.  As far as boot colors, cognac is very popular this fall (it's a rich, buttery-looking tan), as well as a wine/berry color. And black is always a good choice.

-don't forget stocking stuffers!
1. Beauty products are great for this.  Plum and berry hues are very popular for lipsticks.  Eye shadow palettes are a nice gift and many of them are created just for the holidays. If you have a young girl on your list, try one from Urban Decay (Naked 3, Vice 2 or Smoked are on many Wanted lists), or MAC.  young girls really love MAC lipsticks.
2. Perfume roller balls are tiny enough for stockings (get Flowerbomb, it's fab)
3. Skin care products are good if someone has a favorite
4. Jewelry is also great for stockings, as well as the ever-popular gift card!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How to look good in photos

This is the time of year when you're most likely to get your picture taken, whether you want to or not.  There are things that you can do to make sure that when you get your photo taken you look as good as possible.  Here's a few tips that I've learned over the years.

1.  Check yourself out in your home mirror.  If possible, take some selfies of yourself.  Take them from different angles and see which one makes you look best.  I've discovered that a front view of me is not the best.  Sometimes it turns out well, if I'm smiling but not the kind of smiling where you pull your head back and look like you have 3 chins.  Profiles of me are good, but not very natural looking.  A side-angle is my best friend.  Many of us aren't blessed with being symmetrical, so often one side looks better than the other.  Find out which of yours does.

2.  Lengthen your neck and stick out your chin slightly.  So often we pull our heads back and get the double-chin, or we slouch and look like wimps.  Look happy!

3.  Make sure you look good before you get to whatever outing you're going to.  Nice make up but not too much, hair looks good, your shirt is flattering, etc.

4.  Don't get snapped when you're totally trashed.  I have a lot of those pictures, and it's rare that someone looks good when they're extremely drunk or high.

5.  If the mood of the photo is supposed to be happy, make sure your eyes smile, too.  The way to do that is to think of something happy or mischievous.  If you've ever watched America's Next Top Model, you know what I'm talking about.  No dead eyes!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ponchos and knit wraps are in for fall. Here's why

Well, here's why in MY opinion, at least.  First, they're so easy to wear.  In the case of wraps, throw them over your shoulders and you're done.  These aren't the kind of wraps that just go around your shoulders for an evening outfit.  These are knit, and long.  Mine comes down to my knees and has rhinestones on the ends, and fringe.  Ponchos are just as easy to wear.  Pull it over your head and you're ready to go.  Some are like old style ponchos with no sleeves, and some have sleeves.  I have a beautiful black one from Michael Simon with very pretty rhinestones on the cuffs of the sleeves and the collar.

These are great things to wear in the Fall or if you have mild winters.  Once it gets really cold you'll need something warmer, but until then, these are comfortable, stylish and they look chic.  I put in a few pictures of me wearing them and some on the hangers.

Long and flowy.   An oversized poncho-like shirt covered with a black wrap
The back of the poncho shirt. Looks kind of like a big blanket. It's as comfortable as one, too.  Monoreno from Hautelook
I look like I'm doing some kind of weird dance. In reality I'm just trying to show how the wrap lays over the poncho-shirt
The sleeves on the Monoreno poncho shirt are very loose. The whole thing is basically a square of fabric with embroidery

Black wrap from TJ Maxx
Sequined bottom of knit wrap
Knit poncho by Michael Simon from Hautelook

Sequined cuffs on poncho

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sites for buying shoes and boots

Steve Madden Lolllys, from Steve Madden web site (also available at Macy's)
Before the days of online shopping, I bought most of my shoes and boots at Macy's, Marshall's, Loehmann's or DSW. DSW was great when I lived in Atlanta - so many choices! Although quite often I'd find a pair that I loved and they wouldn't have it in my size (I'm tall so I have big feet).  When I moved to Southern California, though, there wasn't a DSW near me.  So I reverted to the other afore-mentioned stores.  Marshall's and Loehmann's were great as far as price, but selection is limited and there was the size issue.  If I needed something specific, Macy's was my go-to.  The Macy's at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa had a huge footwear department.  So many choices!  And right beside the cosmetics counters!  (Whoever laid out that store was a genius.)

Around 2006 I heard about Zappos.  I remember thinking "who would order shoes online? How would you know if they fit and were comfortable?"  I'm now a Zappo's VIP customer. :-)  If you've ever bought shoes online, you're probably familiar with Zappos.  (If not, you're missing out!)  Zappos sells several things, but shoes are their specialty.  While there are many sites that sell shoes and clothing, what makes Zappos special is their customer service.  Once you order, your shoes get to you in no time.  If they don't fit or you just don't like them, you can return them for up to a year if they're not worn.  There's no charge for shipping, not when you buy the shoes, and not if you need to return them.

There are cheaper places online to buy shoes.  At one point I found out about another web site run by Zappo's named 6pm.  They have some of the same shoes for prices around $10.00 less.  I thought "why would I want to pay more for the same thing?"  I bought some shoes from 6pm.  Eventually, of course, I needed to return something.  That's when I figured out why the other place was cheaper.  You have to pay for shipping when you return something.  And you only get 30 days to return it.  Zappos gives you a YEAR, as long as you haven't worn the shoes.  Believe me, that comes in handy if you ever buy on impulse.

These days my go-to places for shoes are Zappos or Nordstrom's web site.  I'm a sucker for free shipping and easy returns. Occasionally I'll want a specific shoe, like my Steve Madden Lollly's or a certain color of Asics, so if they don't have them I'll go elsewhere and pay for shipping.  Amazon has a pretty good shoe selection, and you can get things at Steve Madden's web site and the Doc Marten web site that you can't find other places.  Plus Steve Madden often runs promos with free shipping.  Since I have giant feet, I sometimes need a size 11, and the only place I find that is at Steve Madden's site.  And the Troopas....  oh I love the Troopas!  I have the mocha leather ones and they're so cute.  Kind of a slightly more feminine version of Doc Martens.  I have a list of other colors I'd like to get them in.

Right now I'm searching for the perfect cognac boot.  I've found a few that are potentials, but I'm not sure they're exactly what I want.  Any suggestions?  I know that there are so many more web sites out there, but I can't search them all!  If one of you has found a great cognac boot or a great shoe site, please share.

I hate to do posts without pictures, so here are a few of my favorite shoes and boots.

Asics (can't remember style name) from Amazon

Mocha leather Troopas by Steve Madden, from Zappos

Purple flowered leather Doc Martens 1460's from Doc Marten USA web site
Wanted Breezys, from 6pm web site