'Tis the season for spreading joy! I have compiled gift giving recommendations for just about everyone on your list. Happy shopping!

Jewelry
Beladora has antique, vintage and contemporary fine jewelry with designers such as Tiffany, Cartier, Van Cleef, Bulgari and more. Plus, Beladora will donate 2% of online sales over the holiday season to the Lynne Cohen Foundation (ovarian cancer).

the-one.thumbnailArtwork Golf Without a Ball offers beautiful golfscapes for the avid golfer in your life. The various scenes draw you in as if you are right there, playing golf on one of the magnificently designed courses, such as Fargo Ridge, Cloud Mountain and Folded Sky. Want one? I know the artist personally. Contact me and I will hook you up.

Wallets
I am into functional wallets right now. I found an excellent selection at kate spade, Gucci for her and him and Tod's, which also makes fun travel wallets.

Slippers
Sierra Designs Down Booties rock! Sure, they may resemble moon boots, but the warmth they provide is all that matters. They carry both men's and women's sizes in really fun colors.

Backpacks and Luggage
JanSport has designed a fun and functional line for children. If you are a traveling family, why not let your little ones travel with attitude!

Popular "it" Items
The whole family can enjoy these objects of affection this year: an electric guitar, commuter bike, RipStik, Brian the Brain and other robots, iDog ipod speakers, Nintendo DS with the Brain Age cartridge, and a microphone for singing.

Techno Gadgets
The iPhone and Wii are still wanted commodities. And thanks to my friend Shannon, here are some more awesome suggestions: iPod Touch, Jawbone and Garmin Nuvi - GPS device.

Expressions of Style
If all else fails, gift certificates are always a welcome treat for the fashionista in your life - especially a style session with a Personal Stylist. Try Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Sephora and the safe add-on bet, Target.
Life is busy these days. Very busy. Busy ... like, I am watching my life just pass me by months at a time. Crazy, huh? It used to be days, then weeks ... but now, it's just months. Don't get me wrong, I love every waking minute of my life - time with my children and husband, the activities that stem from it, my work and my passions. I just have to find the balance ... and I will, soon.

So in the craziness of life last Saturday (translation: three soccer games and three birthday parties), I found inner peace for one hour. One hour. It's called retail therapy. I wish I could say I've been good about scheduling time at the Spa, but I haven't. But when you show up for the third birthday party and it's the one you don't have to stay for (drop off, hurray!), don't think I didn't take advantage of it. So off to the mall I went.

You know, you really can accomplish a lot in an hour. Unfortunately, I wasted 35 minutes at Nordstrom where I rarely have luck in the clothing department. Cosmetics and shoes, yes. Clothing, not so much. The last 25 minutes were well spent. I went to one store and found jeans (yes, holy cow, I found jeans that fit and were actually flattering - which for those who know my body type ... very difficult), black pants, a top and of course, none other than, a jacket!

710606_gdr_bIt's gold velveteen with patch pockets and stylishly buckled 3/4 length sleeves. There are buckles on the back, as well. When I put it on, it was a no brainer. Yeah, a jacket!! It's a great neutral to my wardrobe and can be worn as outerwear or simply as an accent piece. I left happy and light - I think I almost skipped out of the mall. What an hour can do. And I suppose I could have done the usual things for a given hour of time - read, walk or work on [my] site ... but I don't often get to shop for myself (always for clients), so this seemed the most logical choice.

I picked up my daughter (a few minutes early, thank you) and she was in a blissful state as well - as this birthday party was "girls only." And let me tell you the fun they had ... dressing up. Hair and make-up to boot, dancing on stage, and getting their pictures taken. And even though my daughter hates to shop (I kid you not!), she is truly a girl - my girl.

And fortunately for me, this happiness carried me so far that I tucked my BlackBerry away on Monday for half the day. No calls, no emails. I was in control for once and it felt amazing. So, for those of you sucked into the daily madness of insane schedules and "to dos" to keep up with, do something for yourself today - if only for an hour.
It is Fall - the perfect time to purge your closet. If you are anything like me, you get antsy with each new season ... excited to wear your new and not-so-new clothes for the season. The problem is, when we add to our wardrobe, sometimes we forget to take away. A few months ago, I mentioned the importance of being realistic with your wardrobe. A good rule of thumb is to purge twice a year - in the beginning of Spring and in the beginning of Fall. I had dinner with a friend last week and this topic came up. She shared a fantastic idea with me - one that would be a no brainer for those who are afflicted with "I know I will wear that one day" syndrome.

Start each season with all of the hangers in your closet backwards. Each time you wear a piece of clothing, the hanger then gets turned around. At the end of the season, it's painfully obvious what's being neglected in your closet. Those backward hanging articles of clothing need to go! Do not hesitate for a second to take them out of your closet immediately and find them a happy home (a friend, goodwill, a shelter). What's departing from my closet, you ask? Those aqua slacks I'm not sure why I thought I needed. The tan pants that show all the lumps and bumps I work so hard to conceal. The pink cords with buttons all the way down the sides that are so fabulous, but so wrong for my rear end. And the list goes on..... Time to be honest, ladies and gentlemen. Purge, purge away.
This Season's Hottest Fashion Trends
  1. Dresses to show off your curves. Shirt/Sweater dress, coat dress, shift dress - all belted, designed to emphasize the waist. With this season's dresses you will also see leggings and stirrups.
  2. Jeans that are cut higher on the waist in straight leg, boot cut and yet again, the skinny jean.
  3. Boots - ankle and mid-calf boots with a stiletto heel or tall, flat riding boots.
  4. Loafer-inspired pumps. Like my CL favs.
  5. Feminine, off the shoulder blouses with ruffles and bows.
  6. Amidst the darker colored clothing staples this season, jewel tones will make an exceptional compliment.
  7. Big accessories such as bold cuff, chunky gemstone and enamel bracelets; oversized jewel clasp belts; and huge cocktail rings.
  8. Yet again, patterned tights to add texture and color. How fun to pair with a great belted shirt or coat dress and ankle boots!
  9. Patent leather - shoes, handbags, jackets - you name it, it's big. And boy am I glad I thought ahead and purchased my MK handbag. Now I just need Elie Tahari's patent leather cropped swing jacket.
  10. Navy blue, burgundy and charcoal shimmery nail polish ... and I have my eye on OPI's Light My Sapphire and Creative Nail Design's Hyde in the Dark.
  11. *I know it's [my] top "10" ... but the ever important jackets/coats deserve another shout out.
  12. 022820071245482127.thumbnail070420072256004227.thumbnail**Oh yes, and I cannot forget about the cat eye coming back in for Fall. I recently recommended this for Sharon in post #10 on [my] beauty files.
All right, here we go. Back on professional attire - what is appropriate to wear in the workplace and what is not. I am here to tell you that apparently, women in the Human Resources field (not you "S" I promise) do not know what is appropriate. Let me clarify. I attended a health care conference last week for human resources professionals. This is an annual conference and you see the same faces year after year. Everyone is buddy buddy. That's all fine and dandy, but hello...you are still representing your company.

Would you like to know what I observed? Honestly, it was ridiculous. Some women were wearing shorts, tank tops, sandals and flip flops ... shall I remind you again that you are at a conference representing your company - and did you forget that you are in HR? I was astounded to see this form of dress code by HR professionals, but even more, the comfort level to follow through with it. I realize it's 100 degrees and I realize some office dress codes have relaxed a bit. But would you feel comfortable running into your CEO in that? Not everyone played this part, of course. Some women, very few mind you, dressed appropriately. More were in business casual attire. And for the most part, I am okay with that.

Of course, you would never catch me in anything but a suit (Elie Tahari shout out!) at a conference, where I am my company. I was impressed with the men (not their fashion sense, of course) ... the fact they donned suits or "golf attire." You did not see them wearing Tevas or Chacos or flip flops ... and thank you for that. You don't have to have a flair for fashion to know what is appropriate and what is not. It's called common sense. Shorts, tank tops and flip flops are to be worn outside of the workplace. Period.