Style-Delights: December 2011

December 31, 2011

Happy New Year - May 2012 Be The Dream Year!



Wishing all my friends, readers and fellow bloggers a very happy and healthy new year! I am grateful to have you all in my life, grateful for your kind words, encouragement and all the love you have shown me in 2011! May 2012 be fulfilling for you! Go catch your dreams!
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December 30, 2011

A Walker's Guide To Winter Wardrobe Essentials

If your mode of transport requires you to actually walk to reach it, or you live in a city where sidewalks are used more than the roads (or you simply plan to put that pedometer to work), you need to have little more than a pair of gloves in your winter weather essentials! Living in the suburbia years ago, I never paid much attention to "winter preparedness". My trusty car would take me wherever I wanted to go and a coat+scarf combo would be my winter wear! But past couple years of treading the cold (and sometimes snowy) city sidewalks of Chicago and New York made me realize that city dwellers have their own need of winter must-haves! Here is a list of the winter weather essentials every chic walker should have!
  • Cross body bag- With heavy outerwear, shoulder bag sometimes becomes a hassle, specially if you have other stuff to carry or an energetic kid trying to escape from your grip!


  • Layering Tees - Layering the basic long sleeves T-shirts protects better and doesn't look bulky!



  • Fingerless gloves with mitten cover - Oh, the train is here and you gotta swipe the metrocard NOW - no need to fumble with gloved fingers. Just move the mitten cap!



  • Fleece lined tights/leggings - Winter weather doesn't mean giving up on skirts or dresses! You just need warmer options for the legs! With the fleece lined leggings and tights you can be chic and warm when mercury drops way down!


  • Ear Muffs - This one is the really the must must-have! Your ears will thank you for a cozy pair of muffs or earbands!


  • Snow Boots - A pair of sturdy snowboots for those times when snow removal from the sidewalk is delayed!



  • Sunscreen - We all slather it during the summer, but the during the winter we take the sun protection lightly because it doesn't feel hot outside! Even though we are covered up during winter, we need the sunscreen, specially people who walk outside. And remember snow reflects 80%of the UV light that hits it!



  • Lip balm with SPF - Even the avid sunscreen user usually neglect the lips when it comes to sun damage. If you are outside in dry, cold weather, not only do you need a conditioning lip balm but you need a lip balm with SPF 10-15 or more!



What is on your winter weather 'walking' essentials list?
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December 29, 2011

Style Inspiration - How To Interpret IKEA Style For Your Wardrobe!

Oh, the good old IKEA stores - full of  ready-to-assemble ideas and signature style of decoration! Other than Swedish meatballs, vowel rich product names, and DIY satisfaction, IKEA could be the ultimate source of style inspiration! For me, every visit to IKEA store stimulates the 'build a better wardrobe' creativity and curates more "how to" ideas!  IKEA stores (even online, if you don't have a brick and mortar one near you) can fuel your imagination too for an abundant wardrobe! Here is how to translate IKEA home style for your closet!
  • Make small changes to re-new the outfit - IKEA sofa covers can change the look of the same furniture in an instant! You can make your dress work from office to party by adding some glam and color and change the accessories!
Information about these pieces here

  • Keep it tailored - The signature look of IKEA furniture - clean, elegant, sophisticated - can work very well with your wardrobe! Structured sheaths and skirts make perfect outfit base!
Information about these pieces here

  • Have fun with patterns - IKEA linen section is a source of creative inspiration - the flowers, stripes patterns and colors - you can have fun with your wardrobe by mixing prints!
Information about these pieces here

  • Pop of color in black outfits - Another signature IKEA style is monochromatic design with sudden burst of color! Take up your black outfits up another notch by adding a surprise pop of color!
Information about these pieces here

  • Great style doesn't need to cost more - A visit to IKEA stores confirms what I have been writing in the Style For Less posts - Style should not be limited by budget! Bargain pieces, sale deals, discount stores finds can be as stylish as any designer duds! 
What is your unlikely source for style inspiration?
Images via ikea.com

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December 28, 2011

Star Style For Less - Cozy Pippa!

I am totally in love with the Middleton sisters' (I mean to say Her Grace and Ms Pippa!) style! Always superlatively chic and elegant. Even fashion magazines are running out of adjectives. Here is Pippa Middleton- professional, put together and stylish all the way.

Here is Pippa Middleton's style for a fraction of the cost of original pieces!



Get Pippa Middleton's Style for less here -

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December 27, 2011

Featuring Oh So Original, Always Stylish - Spy Girl!

Sometimes, out of the blue, you come across a fashion blog that is genuine, fun , not 'made-up' and you really feel the blogger's passion thru all the posts and pictures! Recently, I came across one such blog - Anne M Bray's Spy Girl on Independent Fashion Bloggers 2011 Round Up project (#26)! She doesn't know me (and doesn't know I am writing this for IFB project either!), but I check her posts regularly, and I find the courage to be myself every time I read spygirl! Her sense of humor shines thru her sketches and her outfits and her stories! (Check out her supercool Spy Sketches!Anne is one of a kind, fierce, and very creative person! And did I tell you she kicked cancer's butt!!!

Image via SpyGirl

Image via SpyGirl

Image via SpyGirl

Image via SpyGirl
I look forward to her fun, inspiring blogposts and wish her good luck for 2012! You can checkout her awesome blog at http://spygirl-amb.blogspot.com/
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December 26, 2011

Style Delights on Links a la Mode on IFB!

I am glad to say that style-Delights was featured on Independent Fashion Bloggers top 20 blog links on Links a la Mode weekly roundup!
My post about 'How not to be a fashion victim/trends slave' was one the 20 selected bloglinks. Hope you enjoyed it. Check out style Delights and other featured bloglinks below!




linksalamode





START 2012 WITH STYLE!

Edited by: Fajr Muhammad of Stylish Thought
Can you believe there are 9 days until 2012!? *Throws Confetti* With 2011 coming to a close, we are all contemplating fresh starts, new adventures and new wardrobes. Oh the joy of starting anew! While you’re making your resolutions, clearing out clothes you haven’t worn all year and spending much needed time with family and friends, take a moment to check out these links from our great community.
I hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday and hope to see everyone stylishly in 2012!
THE IFB WEEKLY ROUNDUP: LINKS À LA MODE: DECEMBER 22ND
SPONSOR:
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December 24, 2011

How To Wear A Fur Vest

Since Spring 2011, I have been seeing fur vests everywhere. Some celebrities even wore them during summertime, which made me hot (not in a good way) by just looking at them!  The thing with fur vests is, they can look über chic or straight freak depending upon how one is wearing them! If your frame is totally swimming in the fur (do ya hear me Olsen sisters, not Elizabeth, but you twins!), or the textures of your outfits are clashing unpleasantly, it may not work!  However this trend seems to stay here in 2012 as well, and by pairing fur vest sensibly, you can work the fur vest like a star!
Here are some pointers about styling a fur vest. 
  • Keep the fur faux - Unless you live where you are in danger of getting frostbites
  • Keep rest of the outfit fur-free - Too much of a good thing....
  • Style with structured pieces - A fur vest is bulky and voluminous, pairing it with tailored skirts, jeans or pants keep the outfit balanced
  • Work with black, white or brown - Fake fur comes in rainbow of colors, and believe me I have seen it all on New York City subways! Better keep it the natural fur color!
  • Accessorize sensibly - I would advice keeping the neck area accessory free - scarves, big necklace or embellished collars will clash with the fur vest. Use hats, watches and rings instead.
Here are some looks I created to style a fur vest.
More information about these pieces here

More information about these pieces here

More information about these pieces here

Stay warm everybody!

Get the Faux Fur vests here-

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December 23, 2011

The 'Business' of Blogging - Treading The Fine Line Between Blogging And Selling

A friend recently commented that my blog wants to make her buy the things I am writing about. I took it in the spirit she meant - she loved my blog. But it made me think - Are bloggers 'selling'  things to their readers (even unknowingly)? This year for Black Friday, consumers all across the country spent more than 52 Billion dollars (yes, Billion!) over the 4 day weekend! (They also used pepper spray, shot the bullets and got arrested, but thats a different story!) While reading about these figures, I wonder how many people bought things they saw on style, fashion and beauty blogs? How much of a sales force are fashion bloggers? And not only for the Black Friday but in general. Recent story in Financial Times underscores the fact that fashion bloggers are the new Ad & PR vehicle!  As consumers themselves, fashion bloggers are (or should be) the most authentic voice and purest judges of products, services and trends. But does corporate advertising and PR polluting this purity?

Blogging as a platform essentially means the 'truly free' opinions. The only bias comes from the blogger's thinking, not from the outside agency. But as the blogosphere gets crowded each day, blogs are becoming another source of sales for products or services. There is a very fine line between having an opinion and selling something. And sometimes without the intention, fashion bloggers cross that line. As I write my blog (and talk about products and services in my posts) I am trying to understand and answer these questions-
  • Are we unknowingly working for the brands? - We put the outfit post with the details of the clothes and accessories (to make it easy for readers to find those things if they like). But as my friend said, a good picture or a nicely put together outfit instigate the readers to get the 'same look'. There comes my next question -
  • Are we shopoholism enablers? In the movie 'Confessions of a Shopoholic' Rebecca Bloomwood says about the fashionable girls - "..they were beautiful, they were happy, they didn't even need money, they had magic cards (aka credit cards)" (And that's how magically they get in debt too!) I can't help but wonder (take that Carrie Bradshaw), how much magic card spending fashion bloggers are responsible for. We report about the It bags, latest must-have accessories and the season's best clothes, we put our pictures, tell people where to buy it - it all  'enables the shopoholism'. (on the other hand - somebody's got to stimulate the economy!) This brings me to my next question-
  • Are we commenting on the trends or pushing the products?- As the style enthusiasts, fashion bloggers critique, admire and suggest all things fashionable. I discover so many great products via blogs! That's why we love blogs - they are the real deal, real people talking about what they think is cool/practical/ has the best value. But is it really true? Are all bloggers 'just blogging'. Or are they the new billboard? The bloggers with a huge fan following can even sway their readers' opinions (and thus an advertising opportunity for brands/retailers). Recently I got to know about a group of influential bloggers (not naming names) opening up their online store that carries products from their 'hauls' calling it their 'collection' , but in reality it was the same mass-produced stuff you can get in most retail stores, may be cheaper too. Although who am I to judge if they have a market for that, but I am sure their blogs have moved far away from the true core of blogging! This brings me to my next point-
  • Are we contributing to materialism?- This is the most complex point when it comes to fashion and style blogging. Fashion itself is a term associated with buying. It is very hard to be stylish without investing money in 'stuff'. Fashion blogging has brought the phenomenon of 'street style' to a whole new level where street style often comes with a steep price. A lot of websites devoted to the pictures of street style or common people's fashion pictures certainly don't make you 'not buy'!! And the blogging 'icons' soon become brands themselves. This brings me my final point -
  • Are we selling out our editorial integrity?- Most of the fashion bloggers are still authentic, honest to goodness bloggers, but many of them have compromised the editorial integrity by selling products or services through their editorial content. And the disturbing thing is - they are not selling it in the pure form of advertising (by selling the ad space)- they are selling it by wrapping it up in their writing, decorated by their 'unbiased opinion' bow!
It's a complicated matter and has no one dimensional answer. It's also the result of the inherent nature of fashion and style - a major part of of fashion is buying! And I know firsthand - blogging is not easy work. It takes time and energy and we put many things in the back seat when we decide to blog regularly. So why shouldn't we get paid for it? You wouldn't work in an office where you didn't get paid for your time and effort. How to tread the line between getting paid for hard work and selling out the blogs is a skill that separates the blogger from seller! 
What do you consider the difference between blogging and selling? 

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December 22, 2011

How To Care For Cashmere Sweaters

After shrinking, pilling and accidentally stretching out my cashmere sweaters, I can tell you one thing - treat the cashmere like a baby - always be gentle! Cashmere is a little high maintenance, but the luxurious warmth and softness make this the winter essential! I specially love cashmere cardigans. There is something about a soft, structured, buttoned cardigan. It gives that ultimate lady like, sophisticated vibe and is as timeless as a little black dress. First Lady Mrs Obama even wore a cashmere cardigan when she visited Queen of England! I love to pair cashmere cardigan with a layering tee and skinny jeans for a casual look or with a skirt or a dress and pumps for a dressed up look.  Here is some of the ways I would style a cashmere cardigan.
More information on these pieces here

More information on these pieces here

More information on these pieces here
Now the care part - as I said you have to be very gentle with cashmere. And you have to take care of it  while wearing, storing and and cleaning. Here are some tips of cashmere care (some I learnt from personal experience, some common sense!)
  • Do not put perfume on the sweater - The oils and alcohol in perfume can leave the stain. Put the perfume on your pulse points instead and spray a little on your hand and smooth out your hair for good smelling body and hair.
  • If you are wearing a roll on deodorant, wait for few minutes before you put the sweater on to prevent the white waxy marks.
  • Never hang your cashmere sweater on the hanger - It will stretch the shoulders. (learned this the hard way!)
  • Fold the sweaters and put them on the flat surface in your closet. Fold the sweater between soft tissue papers to prevent pillage, wrinkling or the fold marks.
  • Keep the sweaters away from objects with hooks or metal edges to prevent snagging.
  • Use a fabric shaver to gently remove the pillage (tiny fuzz balls that surface after few uses, usually at the side where your arms rub your ribcage)  from the sweater. Never put pressure on the fabric shaver, just glide it gently. Information about some good fabric shavers here and here.
  • Cashmere sweaters come with specific cleaning directions - some are dry clean only and some are Do Not Dryclean. From my personal experience - the Dry Clean Only are OK at the cleaners, but I always handwash the Do Not Dryclean/Handwash ones. I have actually washed the dry clean only sweaters too and they were fine. But you have to be very careful while handwashing the cashmere sweater. Use either a very mild detergent (like woolite for dedicates) or the baby shampoo! I used J&J baby shampoo and wash my sweater in the bath tub. Fill the tub with cold water (warm/hot water will shrink it), add some shampoo and soak the sweater in it. Very gently squish the sweater and slowly squeeze the soap. Empty the tub and wash it in clean water until all the shampoo is out. NEVER wring your sweater, just squeeze it gently. Roll the sweater between cotton towels and squeeze the extra water. Dry the sweater on a towel on a flat surfae (large counter top or a flat table) Make sure to lay it out in a correct form, it retains the shape it is dried in.
  • For Cashmere blends, I even put it inside a zipper pillowcase and throw it in dryer with delicate - noheat fluff cycle. And then iron it (again on delicate setting, while sweater is inside out)
  • Always clean your sweater before you store them. Again, fold them between tissue paper (insert a tissue paper inside the sweater too) and put them in a NON air tight soft cloth bag. Muslin bags are good for storing cashmere.
Cashmere is not a seasonal buy - its a wardrobe investment.  Good thing is cashmere is available in all price ranges. From Neiman Marcus to Saks to Kohls and TJ Maxx! I love JCrew and Ann Taylor cashmere for the quality and value for money!

Buy Cashmere cardigans here - 

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December 21, 2011

How To Look Fresh And Put Together After A Wild Party!

This video for the UK luxury retailer Harvey Nichols caught my eye on youtube today.  It is supposed to send the message about sensible party clothes (no prizes for guessing, Harvey Nichols clothes)- that the dresses that look chic and hot in the night at the party can look trashy in the bright light of morning sun! In the video the 'walk-of-shame' in the morning, shows women coming home disheveled and looking very un-classy (if that could be a word). Although, my first reaction was that yes, these dresses are tacky and far from conservative, but more importantly, these girls look like they didn't plan their party night well! And that made me think of the "party girl's morning after kit'! And how NOT to look like the "walk-of-shame" ladies shown here!




If you are going clubbing, ofcourse you can't carry a big tote with your 'kit' inside it! So make sure you have it at a place where you will end up going after the club. If that place is undecided, keep a small supply of emergency repairs in your little clutch!

 The 'Party After Kit' should include
  • A pair of leggings and a loose top - easily foldable even in purse and you can change on your way home. -OR-
  • A long lightweight cardigan or a soft wrap which can cover up a particularly revealing outfit
  • A pair of rollable flats - 8 hrs in skyhigh heels will make you beg for them in the morning!
  • Meltable breath freshening toothpaste strips - Morning breath alone can put you in hall of shamer!
  • Makeup remover swabs - Eyes-with-no-makeup vs. Eyes-with-last-night-makeup-still on -- you know which one you like more! Tuck these little swabs soaked with makeup remover it in your purse!
  • If nothing works - a cab home to the door!! No walking means, no walk of shame!
Have a great holiday season everybody! Party like a rockstar!
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December 20, 2011

How To Wear Sequin Dresses

It is that time of the year! Holiday parties and new year celebrations - everybody is in the festive mood!  And sequin dresses can really match the festive ambiance! They are shiny, sparkly and very glamorous. They can make you look like a star and the center of attention.  But if not done correctly, they can also make you look like the magician's assistant!  Here are some guidelines to make a sequin dress work like a shimmering charm!
  • Keep the line and drape simple - Too much volume will overwhelm, and can make you look Disney-ish! (not a good look for those over 12)
  • Keep it single color -  The homogeneous sequins will not clash with your accessories and also not give the outfit that 3D effect! (also not a good look for those over 12) 
  • Metallic or deep colors work best - Gold, silver, bronze, black work best! Deep tones in plums and purple look good too.
  • Jewel tone accessories enhance the outfit - Metallic clutches and deep jewel tone accessories keep up with the sequin dresses. Too much texture difference takes away from the outfit.
Here are 3 of my sequin dress styling ideas - Gold, Black and Bronze!

Gold sequin dress with gold and topaz color accessories


Black sequin dress with emerald accessories


Bronze sequin dress with plum and amber accessories


How do you style your sequin dress?

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December 19, 2011

Lookbook - DIY Shawl Cape

Recently I had done a blogpost about winter coats,  and while researching for it, I fell in love with the cape. As I have a tall frame, the loose fitting frame of a cape works well with my body. So I decided to make my own cape style outwear using a shawl. In India Shawl is a quintessential winter outerwear. We wear it with ethnic dresses - Saris, Salwar Kameez, with western outfits and as a scarf. Here I am wearing it like a cape with jeans and riding boot. Just wrap it around the shoulders and cinch it with a belt at the waist!



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December 18, 2011

The Year That Was - 10 Posts That Show How My Blog Reflects 2011

Independent Fashion Bloggers have this really cool IFB projects every week, and for this week's IFB project #26, they came up with the theme of "The Best of 2011". It gave me a chance to go through my blogposts and talk about my favorite ones! While reading my posts, I realized my blog mirrors not only my style but  also my environment! My blogposts could easily be juxtaposed with the events of our society and the world at large!  I blog therefore I am, but more importantly - I am, therefore I blog. Here are the links to some of my favorite posts from 2011, (the year I started blogging ..yay!) that reflect  my style and the bubble I call 'my world'!

2011 was about recessions fears,European debt crisis, budget cuts - From wall street to main street , we all are looking to stretch the buck. My blogposts about Star Style For Less do just that - Yes, we can look like a star on Target budget!



The one thing that probably defines 2011 is 'protesting'! Time magazine named "the protesters" their person of the year! From Tahrir Square, to Tunisia to Occupy movements, people spoke, and loudly! As a person I agreed with some and disagreed with some, and as a blogger, I protested too. My blogpost about  not being a fashion victim was my protest against fads! 

2011 was about The Royals - From a fairy tale wedding to scene stealing bridesmaid, we all fell in love (at least I did) with the British Royalty. I look back at this blogpost and fall for Kate Middleton all over again! 


In 2011, roughly 1 in 6 people blogged!!!  Blogospehre continued to inflate, and fashion blogging saw its own share of new blogs! They covered fashion weeks, launched brands, influenced opinions and generated millions in the ad revenues! Overwhelming, isn't it? I also tried to find my place in fashion blogosphere, and this blogpost talks about my blogging beginning!

For most part 2011 was about the healthy body images and being happy with your body. Melissa McCarthy was one of the breakout stars of 2011! The stars who were unhealthily thin were really criticized for their stick thin figures, and Victoria's Secret models actually talked about eating cookies and sandwiches (well, pretended more like it, but still!)! My blogpost about basic rules of styles reinforces the concept of being beautiful in one's own skin!

2011 was also about showcasing old Hollywood glamour -from red carpet to street vintage, stars and bloggers, everyone embraced the classy glam! This  blogpost wants me to switch TCM on and relive the stylish era gone by!


In 2011 everybody tightened their belts, even future queen of England reused her wardrobe, (gasp!), we realized you don't need it ALL - just need the imagination and new perspective. My blogpost about 10 essential pieces of any wardrobe will make any wardrobe abundant!


In the same vein, in 2011 we realized just 'collecting' things was not a bright idea. Hoarders and similar reality shows found the increase in viewership , and hopefully made people clean their closet too! My blogpost about spring clean your closet helps you do just that!

In 2011, despite the little fall in circulation numbers fashion magazines kept us all entertained, enthralled and informed. Some even made controversies over covers/articles! My blogpost about Fashion Magazines And you talks about what to take away from a glossy mag!

Ofcourse, my favorite posts  from my blog have to have my outfit posts! No matter what year it is - its just me! Always! And that is my 2012 resolution too!

May you always be yourself in 2012! Happy New Year!
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Style Trend Spotlight - Mustard Yellow

I looooooooooove mustard color, so much so that I am willing to let people question my spelling skills and add all those extra 'o's in 'love' when I describe it! I have seeing this color everywhere lately - celeb pictures, subways, store windows!!
From Left - Hilary Duff in mustard sweater, Jennifer Lopez in mustard coat, Taylor swift in mustard skirt

From Left - Jessica Alba in Mustard jeans, Elle Macpherson in mustard scarf, Kirsten Dunst in Mustard dress

I think this is one of those colors you can wear all year round. Except you have to be extra careful about mixing it with other colors. Because it is so bright and eye catching, mustard yellow works best when surrounded by neutrals. Grey, brown, and in some cases black too, work really well with mustard.  I love to add a little splash of contrasting color with small accessories.

Here is one outfit I created with mustard skinny jeans (can I say I Looooooooove them!!) and neutral blouse, ankle boots and bags.


You can shop for mustard color pieces here -




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December 17, 2011

7 Last Minute (But Stylish) Gift Ideas - One Size Fits All!

If you are like many of the gift shopping procrastinators, last week before Christmas gets really hectic. Preparing for the celebration and getting travel itinerary in line leaves little time for finding thoughtful and fun gifts. Here are 7 last minute, but unique gift ideas - fashionable to eco friendly, perfect for everyone, from a chef to spa lover!  Best part is - no need to worry about sizes! You can order these gifts online and shop them before Christmas!

Aromatherapy Heated Spa Booties
Give someone the gift of spa without the impersonal gift card!  Microwave the booties for a minute, massage the feet with the lavender spa cream and, and slip on the warm booties for aromatic comfort! The Kit includes everything.
Aromatherapy heated spa booties $49.95

Taxi Mittens
All you New Yorkers - grab that cab with style - no need to shout now!! The ultra soft wool keeps the hands toasty and you get the cab every time!!
Kate Spade Taxi Mittens $65


Tablet/iPad Stand And Stylus For Kitchen
Forget the old recipe box! Access your favorite recipes from the tablet, the specially made stylus allows to navigate the recipes without cleaning up your hands every time. Now that is easy and so 21st century!
Belkin Chef Tablet/iPad stand and stylus $29.99


Leather Jewelry Box
This elegant jewelry box will look good on any dresser (actually I need one too!) and faux suede lining will keep the jewelry clean and safe.
Leather Jewelry Box $199


Moroccan Rose Petals Topped Candle
This fragrant candle comes with the dried Moroccan rose petal top that can be used in potpourri basket. The candle has 50 hours fragrance time and comes in a simple and elegant 
glass jar.
Moroccan Rose Petals Topped Candle $34


Recycled Fair Trade Purse
This stylish purse is made by coopeartives artisans in Brazil with recycled pop tops. Its unique, very trendy and eco-friendly.
Recycled Fair Trade Purse $145.95


Statement Of The Art Necklace
Big bold beautiful necklaces make any outfit fashionable. I love this jade green and lemon colored beads necklace for any white, black, brown or pastel color outfit!
Necklace $49.99
Happy Holidays everybody!
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