One more time before December is officially here, a round-up of the best of today's flash sales for a little inspiration (Note: These sites were not the only ones I visited on both days but they had the best merchandise):
Once upon a time, the sample sale was an event reserved for city dwellers. Today, the internet is filled with various flash sale websites for home, fashion and gift-giving. Here are some of the top finds in today's flash sale universe.
I love to write my blog but I also love to read the blogs of other women (and a few men as well). Whether I find similarities or differences or simply something interesting to forward to a friend, I do not know what I would do without my daily routine of stopping by my favorite web addresses to see what my favorite bloggers have been doing or making or eating or coveting recently. Even though they are strangers that I will most likely never meet, all of these bloggers feel like old friends.
Here are some of the best blogs (in my opinion) and in no particular order or rank:
Emily Schuman writes Cupcakes & Cashmere where she covers the various elements of her personal style including fashion, recipes and even a little home decor. Every Friday she picks her five favorite things of the week, a wonderful and upbeat way to head into the weekend for both her (presumably) and you (definitely). She recently published her first book of the same name and she has several collaborations with major brands including a one-off design opportunity with Coach and an ongoing partnership with Estee Lauder.
9 to 5 chic specializes in city style for the professional woman (the blogger lives in San Francisco). The mix of high fashion (ahem, Celine tote) and high street fashion (lots of Zara) results in an office-appropriate look that does not sacrifice style or femininity.
Garance Dore epitomizes French chic with a New York twist (she has finally become accustomed to and discovered the joys of American coffee!). The best parts of her blog (among the many, many amazing aspects of this blog) are her video interviews with stylemakers and her coverage of classic style items such as the white button down and the moccasin.
Swedish blogger turned Guess capsule designer and model, Elin Kling is also a New York City transplant with a heavy dose of classic style. Elin's style tends towards classic black and structure with a little bit of edge.
Naomi and husband met in New York City while she was a student at Julliard and he was a student at Columbia. One wedding, two kids, a dog, and two major moves later, they are still documenting their lives together. Stop here for a little fashion, food, advice and an endless array of fun family photos.
Erin Gates is an interior designer with a sharply honed fashion sense. She is also incredibly honest about issues such as relationships, self-esteem and the horrors of home restoration. Her blog is inspirational and just a really fun read.
Interior design inspiration and a little fashion thrown in for good measure. Paloma used to be editor-in-chief of a digital shelter magazine and her editorial skills are demonstrated daily on this blog.
E-mail has all but replaced snail mail but that does not mean the written word is dead. This site collects letters from famous individuals and letters that are merely incredibly interesting and publishes them along with a brief description of the context of the letter. The site is always a fascinating read and commonly a lesson in pop culture, human nature and history.
Scott Schuman photographs individuals on the street and posts their look online to create the ultimate global street style blog. If you are not skimming this blog or the resulting books, then you are missing out on a gripping aesthetic and anthropological view of the world. Schuman's collaborations with fashion periodicals and fashion brands have been numerous including in the former category GQ magazine and in the latter category Kiehls and Gap.
Tory Burch has become a style icon in just a few short years. Her blog reveals the necessary components of iconic status including edited playlists by occasion, clothing choices for all seasons and travel for all corners of the globe.
This blog is the blog relative to the digital magazine Matchbook Magazine. Peruse these posts for more in depth coverage of the magazine features as well as lists of items of interest whether cultural or commercial. See also, The Neo-traditionalist (same author, same aesthetic).
Emily Weiss is an NYU alum, former Vogue and Chanel intern and current "it" girl. Her blog covers beauty products and how to maximize one's own personal look. The best part of the blog is the "Top Shelf" column where style makers list their "can't live without"beauty picks. There are also various round table discussions (best lipstick, best deodorant) that are interesting to read if only to contrast with your own opinions on the subject.
and, of course, there is this blog, Olive Kelly, not in the same league as these lovely ladies (and gentlemen) but it ISa compendium of all things that I love and that makes it pretty special to me!
Incidentally, The Huffington Post did name my Olive Kelly pinterest account as one of the top pinterest accounts to follow (the week it first appeared (Nov. 12) it was in third place out of the five selected) with the following photo and caption:
Olive Kelly: If you love
Old Hollywood style, you've found your one-stop shop for all your
inspiration needs. This account shows you how to mix old influences with
modern touches (like the "Fade To Black" board which includes icons like Audrey Hepburn and Gwyneth Paltrow).
When you are tired of surfing blogs, head over to check out some of my newly updated boards!
Gift giving: that joyous task that accompanies the holiday season and that, once you reach an age past ten, does not generally include homemade items (unless you are an artist/furniture maker/vintner/as crafty as Martha Stewart). Eventually we reach an age where we have to PURCHASE gifts for our various friends and family members and, when you are in your twenties, purchasing something grandiose and fabulous is generally out of the question (but oh! the fun I have with the Vogue/Town & Country/Goop gift guides).
(Princess Grace wraps Christmas gifts for her children)
I find that meaningful gift giving in your twenties often involves something (a) personalized or (b) that can be actively experienced. Some examples:
Personalized Cutting Board
Full disclosure: I actually got this idea from the aforementioned and otherwise very expensive GOOP gift guide. The personalized cutting board, however, is on the lower end of the GOOP pricing spectrum. Plus, a house ware can usually go to a couple making it two gifts for the price of one. I ordered this cutting board from The Monogram Shop and, instead of just putting a family name or monogram, put the address of a family member who recently began to build their dream home (NOTE: monogramming is not included in the price and a longer monogram/phrase will, of course, be more expensive). They are personalizing an entire home and now they will have a cutting board that is made for their dream kitchen as well.
Necklaces with the initial or monogram of a friend or the initial of their child/children is always a beautiful gift to give (bangles work as well). Also, daily planners or makeup bags are great daily use items that can be personalized and that will keep you in your friends thoughts every time they use that item. If you have a friend who has a new apartment, give them a personalized throw blanket or hand towels. If you know someone who was recently married and loves giving dinner parties, linen napkins with their new monogram make a great gift. Also, there is the old monogram standby, the L.L. Bean tote, a practical gift that is also stylish and available in an array of colors (NOTE: If you have a friend who just had a baby/is about to have a baby, get the baby's name on one of these totes as a cute and casual diaper bag).
My second eldest sister got married a few years ago and I was at a loss as to what to buy her for her wedding. She does not cook and does not really care about decorating her house (I have always insisted that we need to get genetic testing done to see if we are, in fact, related). The one thing she definitively loves is to readso for her wedding I bought her a personalized rubber stamp with a sail boat (her husband coaches sailing) and the words "From the Library of (their married names here)". The stamp was a big hit and she immediately went home and personalized her extensive library with her new name. Even if your friend is not getting married but just loves to read, a stamp like this one makes a great gift. If you have a friend who loves to read but with their iPad or eReader get them a case with the same words on it: "From the Library of" gives an old-fashioned twist to the modern technology.
I have always believed that the ultimate in personalized stationary is by the company Mrs. John L. Strong (they made Brooke Astor's stationary!). However, there are tons of alternative options at lower price points and with just as much panache. Snail mail seems out of date? Head over to Paperless Post and get your friend a gift card: they can order their own personalized snail mail stationary to match their Paperless Post e-stationary.
Personalized stationary found here and here and everywhere
My best friend loves Physique 57 and everyone I know loves Soul Cycle. We all know (even if we have to force ourselves to resist them most of the time) that those specialized gym classes are expensive so purchase a gift certificate for your friend to their favorite class or buy them a tanning package if they like to tan. A friend who loves facials? Buy them a new type of facial that they have never tried.
Wine of the Month/Cheese of the Month/Whatever Your Recipient Loves of the Month Club
You have a friend who is an oenophile or a cheesehead in the non-Wisconsin sports sense? Purchase a wine of the month/cheese of the month (I never understood why Liz Lemon was judged for this)/fruit of the month (Florida orange groves send beautiful citrus year round) membership for you friend. Harry & David has lovely packages as do many vineyards in Napa.
I Always Wanted to But Never had the Chance to "X"
I have a friend who has always wanted to learn to ski, another who wants to take up tennis again and a third who always wanted to try horseback riding. You can fulfill their dream at least for a day by purchasing them a lesson (purchase a tennis lesson or ten at Chelsea Piers, buy a certificate for an afternoon of horseback riding in Central Park, or take advantage of the numerous Gilt specials for discounted ski lessons upstate).