Holiday 2017 gift guide: gifts under $25

Is everyone recovering from Black Friday and Cyber Monday? I did quite a bit of post–Thanksgiving dinner drunk shopping on the former, so it should be interesting to see what arrives later this week. This installment of my gift guide is dedicated to your office Secret Santa, stocking stuffers, and other gifts for random people. Or it's just convenient if you don't want to spend a lot of money on a present (hey, no judgment). Thankfully there are a lot of fun options.

1. You don't have to be a millennial to love avocados—and hate how they turn brown, even when you wrap them tightly. This BPA-free silicone cover (in two sizes) should prevent any spots.
Avocado huggers $7.95

2. This handy kit will transform your airplane vodka-and-soda into a Moscow mule—all you're missing is the copper mug. Also available for old-fashioned and gin & tonic.
Carry-on cocktail kit $24

3. Who doesn't love sheet masks? They're Instagrammable, even if you're an Instagram husband. Oh, and they make your skin look amazing.
Sephora Face Mask Magic! $25

4. If you see my #OOTD Instagram stories, you may have noticed one of these on my phone. It is pretty much the handiest thing—literally. I hold it while taking photos and scrolling through my apps, and you can also use it with a hook in your car. Seriously life transforming!
PopSocket $9.99

5. Labor Day weekend in San Francisco broke record heat temperatures...and also introduced me to this wonder, a fan that plugs into your iPhone and blows a surprisingly strong breeze.
iPhone fan $4.99

6. These are technically men's socks, but I'd gladly wear Han and Chewy on my feet (or, if you prefer, C-3PO and R2-D2).
Stance Star Wars Socks $20

7. Drinking your daily 64 oz. of water will be just a little more fun in a glitter-covered water bottle (that, god willing, should not spread its sparkle on others).
Ban.Do glitter bomb $24

8. This would be a fairly hilarious gift for coworkers with good senses of humor. "Replied all" may need to get reused several times; hopefully "Mediocre boss" won't.
Worst coworker ribbons $20

9. Apparently coloring books for adults are a thing. This one has 80 pages of New York scenes, the thought of which makes me just a little bit homesick—in a good way.
Seasons of New York coloring book $22.50

Up next week: my dream wish list, i.e. splurges for girls who've been very, very good this year.

What to wear on a road trip

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is taking a road trip down the California coastline to my boyfriend's family in Los Angeles. If you have time, driving along route 1 is incredibly gorgeous and relaxing, and it helps the transition from a hectic work week to an extra-long weekend. We were really excited, too, because the Pfeiffer Bridge in Big Sur just reopened after having collapsed earlier this year, so we were able to eat lunch at Nepenthe, one of the most magical restaurants in the world (more for the view, I should mention), and visit McWay Falls, a waterfall that neither of us had seen before. I did not quite dress for a hike, but I was at least dressed for a road trip.

My cardinal rule of packing for a trip is that I bring mostly neutral clothes, plus one color, so I can wear everything in my suitcase interchangeably. Layers are also key, especially when you're transitioning from one climate to another, like from northern to southern California. Last week was rather warm for this time of year, so I brought a light jacket (last seen here, briefly).

The tee underneath is actually silk, which is very soft and breathable, and the longer-in-back cut is perfect for wearing with skinny jeans. It's by The Reset, which is a local label that I was just introduced to a few months ago, and is quickly becoming a new go-to for well-made basics.

I am also a big fan of wearing skinny jeans on road trips—obviously you want to be comfortable when you're in the car for hours, but it's also important to wear something that you can get in and out of the car in easily. This pair is an oldie but a goodie, and I'm particularly fond of the ankle zips (more jeans should have these!).

These are my ChloƩ boots (last seen here), and a low heel is also key for a road trip, because comfort first. Of course, these were not the best choice for a hike, but thankfully the trail to the waterfall was relatively flat and smooth. And totally worth it for the view.

OUTFIT DETAILS: Free People military jacket || The Reset silk tee || Rag & Bone ankle-zip jeans (similar here on mega sale) || ChloĆ© Susanna boots || MANGO frayed scarf || Stella & Dot Kensington tote || Stella & Dot Kari necklace || Karen Walker sunglasses

Holiday 2017 gift guide: gifts for women

Ready to shop some more? Did I even need to ask that question? Black Friday sales are in full effect, and now the fun really begins. I love shopping for women—it's kind of both immediate and delayed gratification. Here are my top picks for your mom, your sister, your bestie, your girlfriend, or any of the women in your life. 

1. Cuyana makes the most quietly beautiful leather goods, and even better, they're incredibly well priced. This is pretty much the perfect bag, and it comes in three colors, as well as a larger size.
Cuyana smal hobo $195

2. Gap makes this sweater every year, and sales from it are probably propping up the company year-round, but, hey, if it works, it works.
Gap crazy stripe sweater $34.95 (on sale!)

3. Think of this as the new stress ball—moving your hand back and forth to change the pattern of the sequins is incredibly mesmerizing and calming. Also, it's just a darn glamorous pillow.
Levtex sequin pillow $39.99

4. Bite Beauty's lipsticks are made of food-grade ingredients, which is a good thing, considering you actually swallow most of the lipstick you put on. I am a huge fan of the deeply pigmented hues, too.
Bite Beauty perfect bite set $25

5. Pretty much every cool girl I've seen recently has been wearing a pair of sculptural metal statement earrings like these. Bonus: they look great on women of all ages.
Madewell sculpture earrings $25.50 (on sale!)

6. Who doesn't love athleisure? These leggings will make her the best-dressed woman at barre class (and even afterward at brunch).
EXP Core watercolor leggings $34.95 (on sale!)

7. The older I get, the more I'm learning the power of good lighting. This iPhone case ensures every selfie (or conventional photo) will be shot in flattering light.
Lumee iPhone case $69.95

8. Do you have a friend with a pricey kombucha habit? (I'm talking $7 a bottle, or more, people. The struggle is real.) This will let her brew her own, minus the random yeast globs.
Kombucha brewing kit $48.95

9. These boots were probably not made for walking, but they are made for dancing—and they're a tenth of the price of those YSL runway beauties.
Shellys London sequin boots $228

Have a happy Thanksgiving, and an even happier Black Friday and Small Business Saturday! I'll be back next week with more gift guides!

What to wear with a duster cardigan

We have now come to that time of year I like to call "elastic waistband time." I got a head start with my vacation a few weeks ago (a week of sitting around on the beach, drinking mai-tais, and eating everything within reach), then stepped up the gluttony last week with a work Thanksgiving celebration, a work off-site, and a dear friend's birthday dinner. This week, I have a road trip to L.A., two Thanskgivings, and part 2 of my boyfriend's birthday celebration. The struggle is real. Now, I'm all for body positivity and acceptance and all of that. You should love yourself, just as you are. But sometimes it's hard to feel good when you feel like a beached whale.  So this week's post is dedicated to an outfit that discretely camouflages holiday weight gain—think of it as FaceTune for your body.

First, you need a full-length duster cardigan. Not only is it a great layering piece for cooler weather, but it's basically like wearing a bathrobe. Most importantly, the length creates a longer line for your body—an optical illusion of sorts. It also skims the hips, bum, and thighs, which is a plus if your poundage tends to gather there. You'll want to look for a lighter-weight knit—a chunky one will just exacerbate the problem.

Next, you'll need a top with a strong vertical line. I think button-down shirts are always a good choice—they're classic and adjustable, and pretty much flattering any way you wear them. This is the shirt I bought on my last Madewell shopping trip (see, I promised I'd feature it in an outfit post!), and a lighter color is key here, because it helps draw the eye up (i.e. look at my face, not at my gut).

Also from Madewell: these high-rise skinny jeans, which sound like something you don't want to wear when you're carrying a little extra poundage, but trust me, these jeans are amazing. The higher rise helps hold you in, and they have magic pockets with extra hidden stretchiness. I know a bunch of women with totally different body types and they look amazing on all of them.

When it comes to shoes, now is not the time to go crazy. Pairing black ankle boots with black ankle-length jeans keeps the elongating effect going. I've had these Acne Pistol boots for ages—and it shows, I know—but they are pretty much perfect in every way. The toe is not too round, the heel is not too high, and you can wear them with so much. They are well worth the investment (I've had these resoled twice), and you can expect to see them a lot more around here.

Have you ever noticed when the stars of your favorite TV shows are pregnant, they tend to hide behind big handbags? Same thing here...except I'm just pregnant with a food baby. And thus this tote (last seen here) is practical on many levels.

Of course, the most important accessory during elastic waistband time is a glass of good wine. I know, that seems contradictory, but a glass of red wine has antioxidants, calms the nerves, and is a mere 80 calories. You've earned it, so enjoy it. And if I may make a recommendation, I suggest ordering the merlot, zinfandel, or sauvignon blanc from Frog's Leap in Napa—it's where these photos were taken, and it's one of my absolute favorite places, especially for Sunday Wine Church. Amen.

OUTFIT DETAILS: Zara duster cardigan (similar here or here) || Madewell chambray Ex-Boyfriend shirt || Madewell high-rise skinny jeans || Acne Pistol boots || Vanessa Bruno tote || Stella & Dot leopard scarf (similar here) || YHF Los Angeles Cashton sunglasses

Holiday 2017 gift guide: gifts for guys

Because Black Friday is coming (!!!), here's a special Monday installment of my holiday 2017 gift guide. Next up, gifts for the men in our lives: brothers, fathers, boyfriends, sons, friends, cousins...some gadgets, some knickknacks, and some clothes and accessories. So let's cross some more people off your list.

1. This cooler is half the price of those big, brightly colored plastic ones, and while it might not keep things as cold, it does hold 36 cans of beer, comes with a rust-proof bottle opener, and is much lighter—and thus perfect for camping.
Barebones living explorer cooler $100

2. This book won the Pulitzer, a National Book Award, and countless others, and was endorsed by Oprah, and even though it takes place during the civil war, its themes are just as topical now.
The Underground Railroad $16.39

3. Have you traveled with a man recently? Have you also been amazed by the number of cords he carries with him? This handy contraption will keep his various USBs, chargers, and connectors organized.
Travel cord roll $20

4. This doormat just makes me laugh. It's the perfect combination of adulting and adolescent, and great for the guy who's not quite grown up.
Reed Wilson SUP doormat $50 (back in stock 12/1)

5. A better way to share YouTube videos and the like, this handy device turns his phone into a projector, so you don't have to hover over his shoulder to see the latest sleeping otters clip. 

6. There are so many streetwear labels, I can't keep up with them, but Barneys has an exclusive collaboration with Stone Island, and their stuff looks pretty cool to me—this digital-print sweatshirt could work for guys with lots of different styles. 
Stone Island digital camouflage sweatshirt $260

7. Similar to the doormat above, this dinosaur succulent planter made me laugh. You could give it to a preteen or a grandpa (or any age in between), and they'd all get a kick of it.
T-Rex planter $34

8. Everlane is kind of like this generation's Gap—it has well-made, well-priced basics that everyone loves, and thus it's a great go-to for gifts. Their cashmere is really good quality for the price, and the range of colors means you should be able to find just the right one.
Everlane cashmere scarf $88

9. Pretty much every man who works in tech in San Francisco (and especially Silicon Valley) has these shoes. They are reportedly breathable, quite comfortable, and surprisingly cool-looking, especially for an industry that tends to downplay style. This time, the popular vote wins.
Allbirds wool runners $95

Coming later this week, gifts for the ladies in your life—stay tuned!

Holiday 2017 gift guide: gifts for kids

Seriously, how is it almost Thanksgiving? And because I don't want to be the only blogger out there who's not doing a gift guide (kidding—I actually love doing these!), here's the first installment in this year's holiday 2017 gift guide. I always start with kids, because they're the most fun to shop for (and the most fun to watch open presents). Here are my picks for kids of all ages.

1. This elephant flaps its ears and plays music, which will probably make parents want to kill themselves, but should delight babies.
Baby Gund Flappy the Elephant $40

2. Kids of all ages are obsessed—obsessed—with Minions, which makes this pretty much the coolest suitcase in existence (even for grown-up kids like, ahem, me).
Away Minions carry-on $225

3. With LED lights, this garbage truck takes something kids are already obsessed with and steps it up to a future-Burning-Man-participant level.
Laser pegs garbage truck $45

4. The only thing that may be cooler than Minions is unicorns, and with customizable options, this one is likely to make you seem like the superhero.
Magical superhero unicorn cape $29.99

5. I love reading Amazon reviews, and the ones for this product do not disappoint—people are legit amazed by how much fun kids have with this set. It's never to early to put them to work, I say.
Melissa & Doug Let's Play House set $23.24

6. Think of this as the junior version of the pink pussy hat. And, note, it's not just for girls.
Oeuf feminist crown $48

7. My friend's daughter has a personalized book like this and she pretty much thinks it's the best thing since…well…Minions.
Goodnight Little Me personalized book $34.95

8. This present is so cool, I kind of want one for myself—again, another gift for kids of all ages.
Design-your-own street art headphones $30

9. I can envision everything from grade-school goofiness to teen angst expressed on one of these light-up signs. Plus, it's just so Instagrammable!
My cinema lightbox $30

Stay tuned for my next rounds of gift guides, coming next week—just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

What to wear with a little white dress

Proving that I've never been one to follow trends, here I am posting about what I wore on vacation while everyone else is bundling up in sweaters, boots, and coats. But hopefully some of you have a winter getaway coming up, and thus this post will come in handy! I just spent a week in Hawaii—four days in Maui, four in Kauai—and it was pure bliss. I'd never been there before and was blown away by how exotic and magical it was—especially Kauai, which felt like a cross between Jurassic Park and South Pacific (both of which were filmed there). For one, there are the sunsets.

Gathering to watch the sunset was a nightly occurrence at our hotel, and a fun one at that, especially with a mai tai or glass of wine from the bar. Another vacation ritual I enjoy is wearing a dress every night to dinner—after being in a bikini and flip-flops all day, it just feels nice to get dressed up and go out.

A little white dress is the little black dress's warm-weather cousin, and this off-the-shoulder style is pretty much universally flattering. I love the straight shape of this one too—it camouflages the four pounds I gained on vacation (yes, those mai tais add up)—AND it has pockets!

As you may have noticed, my hair is curly in these photos. That is indeed its natural state; when I'm somewhere tropical and humid, fighting the curl is a losing battle. Thankfully the beachy waves work with my vacation vibe. 

I also love to wear gold jewelry on vacation, especially once I have a good tan going. I like to keep it delicate, though—when I'm in warm weather, I don't want to overwhelm myself with big, clunky jewelry. I also tend to get really lazy and not take off my necklaces while I'm at the beach (hey, that makes it even easier to get dressed for dinner!).

Not counting my flip-flops, I brought five pairs of shoes on this trip and ended up wearing two of them—one being these slip-ons that I featured in this post. Of course, sometimes I barely even wore them, like when my photographer had me frolic on the beach for these shots (it was worth it, of course—the lighting was way better). I mean...

OUTFIT DETAILS: Banana Republic dress (similar here on sale) || Quay Australia Odin sunglasses || Stella & Dot abundance necklace and engravable disc necklace || Catbird ring, X ring, tiny CZ ring || Chan Luu beaded bracelet, Stella & Dot open cuff and rectangle cuff || Stella & Dot hammered wire hoops || Sam & Libby slides (similar here on sale)

How to shop my looks

Hello, readers! I'm on vacation in Hawaii (!!!) this week, so unfortunately, there's no fresh outfit post. But, I just wanted to draw you attention to a special feature of my website that you may not have noticed (especially those who subscribe via email). Along the top nav, there's a link called SHOP. It looks like this:

And when you're there, you can shop all of my outfits directly! The landing page looks like this:

To shop a look, click on the image. Then it looks like this:

I note when I'm linking to the exact items I'm wearing—these are labeled with "exact item"—and everything else is a close approximation (usually because what I'm wearing is no longer available online). All you have to do is click on the item you want, and you'll go directly to it. As with most of my posts, this page contains affiliate links, meaning I may receive payment if you click through and/or make a purchase—this allows me to continue bringing you inspiring, helpful content, so thank you for your support!

I'll be back next week with brand-new posts, but in the meantime, please follow my adventures on Instagram if you don't already!

The mask that saved my hair

Have you ever noticed how children have the most perfect blonde hair, with shiny, natural highlights placed just so? I used to have that hair…and then I went through adolescence. It got darker and darker and darker until I started highlighting it in my late teens. And that's where my troubles began.

See, I'm a natural blonde! And I'd already started stealing my mom's jewelry...

My hair is very fine, and I don't have a lot of it, and when you lighten hair of any kind, it weakens it. Add blow-drying and the occasional curling iron to the mix, and you start to get frizz, breakage, and even thinning. In the name of restoring its health, my old colorist in New York convinced me to go back to my "natural" color, and the entire year I spent as brunette, I thought I was depressed because I was turning 30, but as soon as I went back to blonde, the cloud lifted. I'd rather have damaged hair than depression, but I'd also prefer not to be bald. My current stylist in San Francisco has come up with a method that's as gentle as possible, but I decided I needed to do my part, so I've tried every type of color-treated mask, conditioner, and deep treatment out there. And lo and behold, the last time I got my hair colored, my stylist said, "Your hair feels amazing!"

I bought the Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil on a whim at Space NK (okay, actually I'd had a glass of champagne at their anniversary party and lost all self-control) after a ringing endorsement from a salesperson with incredibly healthy-looking baylage-d hair. What really sold me on this mask is that you only need to leave it on for 3 minutes, because I don't know about you, but I don't have time to hang out in my shower for 30 minutes with a mask on my wet head. Even better, it manages to moisturize my fine hair without weighing it down, and appears to be repairing it over time. My hair is frizzing less, breaking rarely, and in less need of frequent trims, so maybe I can finally—finally—grow it out. One thing: it's $71, which is a little nuts, however after using the mask twice a week for three months, I've barely used a quarter of the jar. A little goes a long way, and to me, it's worth every cent!