I wanted to share some gift ideas this week for fashion items that do more than just make the recipient happy. These gifts are fashionable and fabulous while also giving back in some way to help others. And that’s a perfect pairing for the holidays!
Oliva Wilde singled out Krochet Kids, a nonprofit organization that empowers women in Uganda and Peru, in a recent issue of People magazine, picking one of their knit hats as a holiday fashion buy.
I like the organization’s Madeline style — an open-stitched beret made in Uganda.
These ebony and antique jade stacked bracelets from Bird and Stone make a statement while supporting widowed women in developing countries. Bird and Stone gives 15 percent of its profits to fund microloans and finanical training through a partnership with the Sisi Fund.
Flutter of Hope from Thalé Blanc is a collection of bracelets, clutches and handbags to raise money for children’s cancer research (20 percent of each sale is donated to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles). The butterfly motif can be found on the collection’s pieces, symbolizing new beginnings.
There is no better time for seizing on the luscious velvet fashion trend.
When better to sport a stunning velvet dress, such as this draped cutout velvet gown by Jason Wu, than at holiday parties or on New Year’s Eve? Velvet is elegant and feminine while standing out from the standard little black dress.
Velvet’s rich, soft drape and colors have won it favor this year. You can find colors that go way beyond basic black, including dark blues, emerald greens and shocking reds. I love the dark-plum purple velvet of the Jason Wu gown. This season, you can find gowns that pair velvets in many hues with feminine lace, leather or rhinestones.
But don’t feel you have to go for the gown to make the most of velvet.
A velvet jacket, cute embellished velvet top, hat or even pants can add a touch of glamour to your holiday attire or dress up your workday wear.
Make sure to check out how your new velvet purchase looks in good light to make sure it looks good, with an even plushness to the fabric. Deep jewel tones — and, of course, black — work best for making velvet look luxurious.
In October, I talked about how much I love the nude nail trend. As I was looking at holiday nail ideas, I came across these adorable floating designs that add a touch of whimsy to your nude nails.
It’s a great way to dress up nails while keeping it simple and sophisticated. This one is done in gold and sparkly silver-black, but you could do it in a variety of colors.
This tutorial from So Nailicious offers some great tips on how to do these yourself, but you can always ask your manicurist if she offers floating manicures as well.
In the spirit of more DIY nail styles that are relatively simple, here are others I liked that you can carry off with your favorite polish and the occasional bobby pin!
Sparkly blue polish and then a bobby pin or toothpick dipped in white creates this cute look. See some other holiday ideas from Nail Art DIY here.
This tutorial from Polishpedia on water marbling to get the candy cane-effect on your nails just looks too fun not to try! The result is a cute look that has an organic feel for how the stripes stick to the fingers.
Though these nails are done in red and white, I could see them dressed up with gold and red or some other fun combination.
If you try any of these fun designs, I’d love to hear how your nails turn out!
In November and December, there are numerous parties with delicious desserts and heavy meals (particularly at Thanksgiving gatherings).
I want to offer a tip this week to maintain a healthy balance even when faced with family meals, potlucks, office parties and other gatherings with menus over which you may have little control.
One great trick relies on the very old advice of eating before you go, but with a delicious twist.
A superfood smoothie can be a great way to give your body a healthy boost and make it a little easier to turn down a huge slice of pumpkin pie (or at least opt for a smaller slice).
I find that a smoothie boost in the morning can be a great way to make healthier choices as you go through your day. But this smoothie is just as helpful right before you run out the door to a party.
I particularly like this one because most of the ingredients are fruits and vegetables that are fairly easy to find this time of year, particularly kale, a super superfood that seems to take over the farmer’s market in the fall and winter! For the best health boost, try to get organic versions of these ingredients.
kale leaves (remove the stem)
apple (remove the seeds, but leave the skin on)
Throw these in your blender along with some water and ice, and you’re set! Remember, kale can have a strong flavor, so if you’re not used to it, try adding a leaf or two the first time to see how you like the taste. The blueberries and pomegranate can help to mask the kale’s taste, while the banana and apple will add some sweetness.
I particularly like freezing some of the fruit, such as the blueberries and pomegranate seeds, before adding them to the smoothie. Feel free to add some yogurt, avocado or coconut cream for creaminess and adjust your water level with more or less depending on how thick you like your smoothies.
Please don’t equate hat days with bad hair days! I love wearing a hat on cool mornings or as that final touch for an outfit. But hats can be a little bit tricky. What looks great on one face may not flatter another. As your legs help determine your best boot, the shape of your face affects which hat works best on you.
Here are some hot winter hats that flatter different face shapes:
Go for a fedora with some height at the crown to add some length. Something like this one from Nine West takes the typical men’s hat style to a whole new level with a leopard print.
The style for coats this year is bold, with bright patterns and plaids set off against dark backgrounds, animal prints back in style and shearling accents on the runways and in stores.
Also, the wrap coat continues to be a popular choice in colors, prints, plaids and, yes, plain black.
Fall and winter tend to call for more neutral tones in suits and dresses, but coats this season are a good chance to flaunt a pop of color that stands out. In fact, the rust orange so popular this year is great for fall, since it mirrors the colors of fall foliage.
This belted orange coat from Massimo Dutti is a lovely shade of orange and can be worn open or wrapped and belted.
If you’re looking for a great way to style your hair this fall, why not try some soft waves that look natural and really don’t take much time at all?
I recommend getting this style with a curling wand. A curling wand doesn’t have the clip of a traditional curling iron and has a tapered end.
What you get with the curling wand is a curl that looks softer and more natural, which is perfect for soft waves. Remember, the bigger the curling wand is, the looser your curls will be.
Always start with a little heat-protection spray, such as Kevin Murphy Damage.Manager or TRESemme Heat Tamer. Then section your hair with your fingers and start curling.
Grab the section of hair you want to curl with your fingers and wrap it around the curling wand.
After you’ve curled each section, gently pull your fingers through your hair to separate it into a cascade of waves. Don’t brush it, since the brush will flatten and diminish the waves. You want them to be soft and subtle, not invisible!
That’s all. Once you’re done, you can head out the door or finish with a light-hold hairspray.
These soft waves look great on their own, tied back with a silk scarf headband or under a hat. In a few weeks, I’ll bring you some tips on picking out the perfect hat for your face shape — and your soft waves!
The fall scarf is a great way to make most anything in your closet feel like something new and fresh, while also keeping away the chill on fall mornings. Ranging from neutral cashmere to bold patterns to painted silks, there’s something for everyone to add to their wardrobes this fall.
A real head-turner is the blanket scarf, which builds soft bulk around the neck and creates a both cozy and chic look.
In fall and winter, the French twist is a good bet, since the knot quickly fills in the neck of a jacket or coat with a splash of color, but still looks lovely with a variety of tops once the jacket is removed. The Texere Silk tying guide has the French twist as well as several other patterns that work great for when you need a scarf for a splash of color or bit of warmth, but won’t be hiding it beneath a bulky jacket.
And an infinity scarf gives you style without any tying at all!
I’m wearing pink this month as part of the Bag Snob Pink Challenge campaign to raise breast cancer awareness. The challenge is to wear something pink every day in October and donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at BCRFcure.org.
I hope that by wearing pink we can be a part of keeping the conversation going about breast cancer, encouraging women to get mammograms and raising money for further research.
If you want to learn more about the challenge, check out #BagSnobPinkChallenge on Instagram and Twitter!
The new Estee Lauder fragrance, Modern Muse, is available in a limited-edition solid perfume compact. Estee Lauder is donating 100 percent of the $49.50 retail price to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The Pretty Pink Ribbon Lip Gloss collection has four different pink lip glosses and costs $60. Bobbi Brown will donate $12 from the purchase price to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Tom Ford Beauty has committed to donate $50,000 this year to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, no product purchases needed.
Co-founder and president of Beauty Bioscience, I am a working woman, a mom and a model. I also spend time as the resident Beauty Expert for KTXD-TV's The Broadcast. My day to day activities can become a little hectic, so here are my quick five minute tips to make life a little more beautiful everyday.