2015 Holiday gift guide

Fashion, Lifestyle, Wishlist

It’s that time of the year again when we all take a pause and say, “I can’t believe it’s December already!” And if you’re like me, then it’s also that time when you scramble for gift ideas. Thankfully, the people in my life are relatively easy to shop for. But still, I still needed some ideas.

Search for “gift ideas” and the results can be quite daunting. But fear not, I’ve narrowed those results down a tiny bit to keep for future reference and hopefully this will help you too. If you’re celebrating Christmas, most of these can be ordered right up to Dec. 21.

Holiday gift ideas


1.Minted.com. Choose from hundreds (maybe even thousands) of independent artists and designers at several size/framing options with reasonable prices.

2.Beautiful hardcover books. Juniper Books have different jacket styles for the Harry Potter series – Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Hufflepuff. There are also the usual classics covered in beautiful designs. Speaking of classics, Rifle Paper & Co. has the 150th anniversary edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with a beautiful cover and full-color interior illustrations.

3.Digital download + framing. If you want to customize further, look into digital downloads available at Etsy. You can then upload it to Framebridge for custom frames.

Customized gifts

4.Custom portrait. Send in some photos for a custom portrait illustration that you can use for notes and calling cards.

5.Metallic silhouette. Also from Minted comes custom silhouette foil art in different sizes and frames.

6.Custom shoes. Gift these for women who obsess over those shoes that got away or love styles that may no longer be available.

7&8.Personalized style. The Trunk Club is a premium service where you get to connect with a stylist, preview a handpicked selection and pay for clothes that you keep. It’s available for men and women. Stitch Fix is similar but it’s more automated in that you only answer a style quiz. Right now, it’s only available for women. Start your loved-one off with gift cards.


9.Philz Coffee. I don’t think that you can fully recreate the drip coffee at Philz cafes in San Francisco but this is probably a good start. I still fantasize about that coffee, by the way.

10.Beauty box subscription. Available for men and women, a monthly box features a range of grooming and beauty samples for those who love to try new products but don’t want the commitment of full-sized products.

11.Floral arrangements. Make it weekly, monthly or reserve it for special occasions. It’s a way to ensure you don’t forget future special dates.

Toasty gifts

12.Cashmere-lined leather smartphone gloves. Cashmere, leather and you can use your smartphone without freezing.

13.Cozy slippers. I live in perpetual summer Florida so winter-y stuff are not in my radar but these would have been amazing living in Boston or Montreal.

Just because you can

14.Travel with a personal photographer. Pick from curated travel experiences to South America with a personal photographer. Because, you know, you need to ‘gram it and still enjoy the moment.

15.Hermés Apple Watch. Or is it the Apple Hermés Watch? Anyway, it’s available only in certain Apple and Hermés stores starting at $1,100.

Tech Gifts (of course)

16.Pencil by FiftyThree digital stylus. If you’re one of many still waiting for the Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro, this works just as well at half the price without the waiting list.

17.Amazon Echo. This is Amazon’s answer to Siri and Google Now, except it lives in your home, can play your music and can even control some home automation devices.

18.RIF6 Cube. It’s a 2-inch high resolution mobile projector that works with smartphones, tablets or laptops and projects a 120” inch display on any wall or ceiling.

19.Google Cardboard. No, this is not a joke. It’s the least expensive way to experience virtual reality. It’s compatible with thousands of VR apps on Android and iOS and can support screens up to 6 inches.

20.Samsung Gear VR. But if you’re willing to spend the dollars and the lucky recipient happen to have a Galaxy smartphone, then this VR headset powered by Oculus Rift would be quite a treat.

Kids (or the kid in you)

And since I’ve been thinking of this a lot, I can’t really leave this post without doing a (quick) gift guide for kids as well.

Gifts for Kids (or the kid in you)

1.Ruby’s Sky-high cable car (Ages 6+). From Goldie Blox, the company that sets out to introduce engineering to girls at a young age, one toy at a time.

2.Personalized book from Lost My Name (Ages 0+). This London-based company just received $9M in Series A round led by Google Ventures. But forget about that, the book is beautifully illustrated and the company delivers in less than a week.

3.Electronics Discovery Kit (Ages 8+) – This has 3,300 customer reviews (as of this writing) and has a 5 star rating at Amazon. I’m completely sold.

4.BB-8 Droid by Sphero (Ages 8+). Just in time for the new Star Wars to be released on December 8, it can listen, recognize and respond to you or your child’s voice and you can even record/view holographic videos.

5.Puzzlets Starter Pack (Ages 6+). Puzzlets is a game that can teach a child think like a programmer through hands-on-play and interactive gaming.

Happy Holidays!



The List: 2015’s hottest fashion items and brands

Fashion, Trends, Wishlist

I tend to like the same things over and over, which is probably good to know because it means that most of my stuff stay awhile in my closet. And when I zero in on an item, I also check that item all the time just to see if I can get a deal. Unfortunately, there are just some things that simply don’t go (or hardly ever) on sale because they’re always sold out.

Such as when a particular item/silhouette from a brand gets so coveted that it’s almost always on pre-order and a few seasons later, it gets copied by fast fashion brands. And you simply can’t get these on sale, at least for now. These are this year’s forerunners:

The List: 2015's hottest fashion items and brands
And if you’re not ready to take an expensive plunge, thankfully, there’s a list for that, too:
The List: 2015's Hottest Items for less

The List: White Sneakers

Fashion, Trends, Wishlist

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted The List and I know that for a lot of people experiencing the beginning of winter, this particular list might belong way in the future. Because, really, can you imagine wearing white sneakers in the winter sludge? I can’t and I suggest that you don’t even try. After all, the idea of the white sneaker is to be comfortable *and* polished. So scuff marks are not allowed and certainly, neither are dirt marks. For a guide on how to keep them that way, head over to Fashionista here.

But for some of us living in perpetual summertime, the white sneaker is a tempting trend to try – it’s classic and it looks so effortless. The inspiration for pairing it with a tulle skirt is pure whimsy on my part. I tried on this tulle skirt yesterday and immediately thought of white sneakers. I also happened to be wearing a white button down and it just seemed to work. Splurge or save on this trend, it’s entirely up to you.

By the way, check out my published post on Seeking Alpha here about fast fashion retailer H&M.

The List: White Sneakers

The List: Button downs

Fashion, Trends, Wishlist

As we sail into mid-August (already?), I’m starting to look more into transitional dressing and button down shirts are perfect for this. This classic can add polish to this summer’s (and beyond) denim trend and can also dress down an outfit. Need proof? Recall Sharon Stone pairing a Gap white shirt from her husband’s closet with a Vera Wang evening skirt during the 1998 Oscar’s – that look is unforgettable and has been replicated more than a few times. The button down – it’s your new closet hero.

The List: Button downs

DKNY sleeveless top

Rails shirts top

Pleated top

Zara red top

Topshop short sleeve shirt
$60 – topshop.com

Madewell clothing

The List: Little Black Dress

Fashion, Wishlist

In my past life, I used to alternate between Miami in the winter and New York in the summer. So even though you would equate Miami with bold, bright colors and white, I used to have a predominantly black and white wardrobe with a few reds thrown in. After all, Miami in the winter only means a lot of New Yorkers acting like locals. But after living in the northeast – Boston and Montreal for more than 3 years, I was in such a mood to embrace lighter colors, which just happens to be a big trend right now and which I also expressed in my post about the little white dress. That is not to say that I forgot my default way of dressing: black and white. So just to round that circle, here’s a list of options for that classic LBD (that’s little black dress for *you*) that you’ve been looking for. And again, a lot of these are heavily discounted so click away.

The List: The Little Black Dress


Mini dress

Zara dress

Rebecca Taylor lace dress

Topshop mini dress

Sophie Hulme mini dress
$435 – thecorner.com

Carven black dress

Alexander Wang dress

TIBI clothing

The List: Summer Sandals

Fashion, Trends, Wishlist

Summer solstice, June 21 was last weekend and we can all lay back and enjoy the official start of summer. Although, for us here in Florida, it has felt like summer for more than 3 months. It always strikes me as funny when I see fashion magazines tout some footwear as summer essentials – ever heard of the summer boots? Yeah, well, if you’re like me who does *not* want to swelter in the heat, then the only way to do it in the summer (summer = 80+ degree weather, summer ≠ 70-75 degree weather) is to wear flat sandals. Here’s the list to get you on that less sweaty summer. And because ’tis the season, some are even on sale.

The list: Summer Sandals

The List: Little White Dresses

Fashion, Wishlist

If you happen to live in a place where you had an infinitesimal period of spring and suddenly found yourself in the blazing heat of summer, then this list is for you. Nothing says summer than an effortless white dress, paired with sandals and statement shades. And if you’re brave enough, wear these beyond Labor day because a great little white dress can do triple duty: beach, city and office.

The List: White Dresses

Mango summer dress

TIBI mini dress

SUNO cotton dress

Topshop x Kate Moss dress

The List: Sneakers

Fashion, Trends, Wishlist

I like comfortable shoes and sneakers would rank at the top of comfort. But fashionable sneakers were hard to find. I had a Puma Black Label (they were just the right kind of pointy) that I used for 5 years before finally giving it up. It got me through New York rain, apple picking walks, gym time and even playing squash. As you can see, I like mixing fashion with function. This normcore trend brought all kinds of fashionable sneakers so pardon me for putting up a list of 15 items instead of just 10.

The List: Sneakers

Sam Edelman

Comme des Garçons

Tretorn T56

Rebecca Minkoff

NIKE Court Majestic

Vince Preston



Jimmy Choo


The List: Lace

Fashion, Trends, Wishlist

For some of us in Miami, the passing of seasons barely register: it’s either skimpy clothes weather or put a leather jacket on it weather (which means it’s a cool 70 degrees). But for the rest of the US, spring is kind of a big deal. What better way to welcome spring than incorporating lace into your wardrobe?


The List: Lace

Topshop lace top

House of Holland t-shirt
$295 – houseofholland.co.uk

Topshop top

Christopher Kane skirt

Candela lace skirt

Zara shorts

Givenchy slip-ons

Christopher Kane pouch

The List: Pointed toe flats

Fashion, Wishlist

This style may have come, gone and come back again but I have always had this in my wardrobe since 2002. I find them to be a lot more elegant and dressy than round toe ballet flats. Plus, as a petite girl who stopped wearing heels 5 (!) years ago, the pointed toe flats give me an illusion of height especially in neutral colors. Thankfully, the style is back and there are plenty of options to choose from. Happy Monday!


Pointed toe flats

Belgravia Flat

Sam Edelman black flat

Loeffler Randall flat shoes

Jimmy Choo flat

Sophia Webster black flat

Gianvito Rossi black flat

Ella – WOMEN