Fashion gifts that give back

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!

Krochet Kids

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.

W-Madeline_White_Fit_02-300x300The Madeline, $27.95 from Krochet Kids

Bird and Stone

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.

IMG_1619Fall harvest stretch bracelets, $35 from Bird and Stone

Thalé Blanc

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.

flutter_cFlutter of Hope Deux, $1,100

Do you have some other suggestions for gifts that give back? If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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Stand out in velvet

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.

463954_in_ppJason Wu velvet gown, $1,997 on Net-A-Porter

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.

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DIY holiday nails

Floating negative space nails from So Nailicious

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!


c31494d1f9a48ce5cb21a7db32788d1fSparkly 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.

Candy Canes

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!

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Healthy holiday smoothies

photo credit: joannova, a/k/a foodalogue via photopin cc
photo credit: joannova, a/k/a foodalogue via photopin cc

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.

Superfood smoothie

  • kale leaves (remove the stem)
  • chia seeds
  • banana
  • apple (remove the seeds, but leave the skin on)
  • pomegranate seeds
  • blueberries

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.

If you need some help with getting the right ratio of everything, check out this post from The Holy Kale.

You can also check out my Supermodel Smoothie recipe for another great-tasting treat.


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Necklaces for any neckline

Ever notice how some dresses and tops just don’t look right with the jewelry you want to wear? Or vice versa?

Whether you’re digging out a statement jewelry piece for a party this holiday season or showcasing a sweater or cocktail dress, the necklace and neckline have to work together for the best effect.

This handy chart from offers some good advice on which jewelry pieces work best with different necklines.

With a few of these tips in mind, not only will you be able to put the right pairing together more quickly — you’ll end up with a fabulous result!

Choosing Necklaces for Necklines
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Choose a hat to flatter your face

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.


Nine West Angora fedora, $46 at Macy’s


A cloche hat that hides your forehead helps to balance out a longer face. Here’s a dramatic option from milliner Louise Green.


Karen cloche hat, $337 from Louise Green


A rounded crown and wide brim complement a wider jawline, as in this floppy hat from Eric Javits.


Tiffany felt floppy hat, $390 at Bloomingdale’s


The narrow brim and close profile of a bucket hat make the right match, such as this cute quilted bucket from Kate Spade.


Kate Spade New York logo quilted bucket hat, $88 at Neiman Marcus

If you have an oval face, any of the above hats will likely work for you!

Remember those soft waves from my previous post? Why not try them out with your favorite hat?

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Bright colors, prints and plaids make coats fun

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.


Massimo Dutti belted orange coat, $380 

This T Tahari wool blend leopard wrap coat is sophisticated gray and black — in a fun, bold pattern.

_9666886T Tahari leopard print wrap coat, $198 at Nordstrom 

For a sportier look, there are plaid coats, such as this one from Ralph Lauren.


Ralph Lauren plaid wool-blend jacket, $695

With these great colors, prints and plaids, you can’t help but brighten up a dreary winter day!

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Creating soft waves for fast, fabulous hair

These soft waves are the perfect look on a hat day!
These soft waves are the perfect look on a hat day!

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!

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Fast fashion: Scarves for fall

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.

blanket wrap

Collection XIIX blanket wrap scarf, $32 at Nordstrom

And, while half the fun is finding the right color, fabric and pattern, the other half is deciding on the best way to tie that new scarf to show it off.

You need only look at all of the tutorials and tying guides online to see that each scarf can be tied in several different ways — and different scarves lend themselves to different knots and drapes.

Nordstrom has a couple videos showing off different types of scarves and ways to tie them. A couple of my favorites from this video are the triple twist and the braid.

The Braid

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.

french twist

And an infinity scarf gives you style without any tying at all!

mini dot infinity scarfTory Burch mini dot infinity scarf, $175

Want more ideas? Check out Nordstrom’s video on 16 different ways to tie four kinds of scarves.

Or, check out a blog post I did back in 2013 on spring scarves. I’d love to hear some of your favorites!

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Think pink for breast cancer awareness

Challenge your friends to wear pink this month!
Challenge your friends to wear pink!

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

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!

During the month of October, Beauty Bioscience will donate a portion of its proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. As a company, we are committed to helping fight a disease that affects one out of every eight women during the course of her lifetime and helping further advances toward a cure.

The pink ribbon campaign started with the Estee Lauder Companies and Self magazine collaborating back in 1992. The creation of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation followed in 1993.

This year, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation plans to award more than $47 million in grants to more than 220 scientists around the world.

Here are just a few of the Estee Lauder Companies’ brands raising money this month:

Modern MuseThe 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.

bobbi-brown-1The 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-1Tom Ford Beauty has committed to donate $50,000 this year to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, no product purchases needed.

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