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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

#GivingTuesday 'Tis the Season!

Did you get your shopping on? I know I advocated to avoid Black Friday in lieu of giving, adopting or shopping online. If you missed your chance to be generous, you now have Giving Tuesday. Today is set aside to volunteer or donate to great causes in the spirit of the holidays.

Canada Cares Auction
My friends and family have been working on supporting a family of refugees from Syria. The family members recently arrived in Toronto, but they still need a lot of help now that they have landed. The Canada Cares Auction has a great range of everything from spa treatments, fashion, Broadway tickets, gourmet goodies, etc. that you can bid on to help those in need.

Want your generosity to be doubled? Now through December 31st, your donation to Breastcancer.org will be matched by one of their top donors. The organization serves to educate, support and inspire women on breast cancer and breast health.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Our favorite source for blockbuster costume exhibits and of course, the Met Ball, they have an opportunity to match donations until the end of the year as well. Double your donation to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Shikshya Foundation Nepal
Remember the victims of the Nepal Earthquake? Their struggle isn't over. Fashion designer Prabal Gurung has been very passionate in helping the people of his home country. He rounded up top celebrities and other fashion icons to get the word out. He is on the board and acts as ambassador for the Shikshya Foundation to raise funds for earthquake relief. You can donate to Shikshya Foundation here.

UBER & (RED) Team Up to Fight AIDS
December 1st is World AIDs day. You know you're ordering your UBER car today anyway. Just confirm when your ride is over to donate a few dollars to the UBER +(RED) organization, the global advocacy group intent on ending AIDS. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match donations on top of yours so you can be doubly generous once again. If you can't ride with (RED) Jimmy Kimmel will also host his Shop-a-thon to raise funds for the organization tonight.

Does that give you some inspiration on who to help for #GivingTuesday? If you need more ideas just search the hashtag anywhere on social media on ways to help.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Blogger Love: Guide for Gents & Ladies

I apologize I haven't updated this blog as often the past week. I was out on the West Coast for a week, then dashed off to Upstate NY for Thanksgiving. I hope all of you had the chance to enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, or at least some peeps you're fond of. Me? I stuffed myself and binge-watched the first half of Netflix's Jessica Jones, playing "Where's Waldo" with myself to find my elbow in the background of episode 4 (I moonlight as a TV extra, not a stalker). 

This week's Blogger Love contains helpful guides for ladies and gentlemen for all sorts of fashion occasions. Enjoy:


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Black Friday Cyber Monday Shopping That Gives Back

mara hoffman black friday

Happy Thanksgiving! My inbox and internet feeds have been overflowing with Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday deals. As much as I like to shop, I just can't summon the energy. Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates what we are thankful in our lives. It honors a historical occasion where contradictory groups put aside their differences to enjoy a meal together. Where are the retailers that pay tribute to that?

Surprise surprise! There actually are retailers that are giving back this holiday instead of exploiting employees and making margins. I'm happy to highlight them this holiday.

Everlane clothing factory
Everlane is a buzzy startup hoping to revolutionize fashion retailing. They produce luxurious basics with a focus on the factories that make them. Rather than promoting Black Friday sales, they are working towards the Black Friday Fund. The leadership takes profits made from Black Friday and channels it into programs to improve the lives of their workers. This year, it will be for wellness and health care.

Are you looking to add to your family this Thanksgiving? Zappos, a beloved footwear and fashion e-commerce site is sponsoring free pet adoptions all across the country as their Black Friday special. They are paying the adoption fees at recognized shelters to get homes for lonely dogs and cats everywhere. You can locate the one nearest you at the Zappos Free Pet Adoption page.

Designer Mara Hoffman (top photo) will indeed have stylish bargains of up to 70% off. Of those sales 5% of the proceeds will benefit the Art Start organization. Lifestyle brand L'Occitane is breaking the holiday gift sets for the season. If you do pick up a few, the company will donate $10 from every set to help Dress for Success

Stylish sustainable accessories brand Cuyana is staying true to their mission. They are encouraging fans to donate gently used clothing to their store in on behalf of the H.E.A.R.T organization in lieu of a Black Friday sale. Those that DO clean out their closets for those in need will be rewarded with great discounts.

So there you have it. Why spend Black Friday getting trampled in long lines? How about Thanksgiving holiday shopping that gives back instead? These brands make it easy. Now it's up to YOU to shop for good.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Blogger Love: More than Skin Deep


The writers in this week's round-up of Blogger Love kept fashion at the heart of their posts. However, they addressed everything from body dysmorphic disorder, parental love, exploring minimalism to stores that offer ethical fashion. Style isn't just about what looks pretty, you can love fashion for the deeper conversations they inspire:
SPONSOR: Amazon's Shopbop Keepsake, Cambridge Satchel Bags, White + Warren Wraps, Edie Parker, Georgia Alice, Recliner, Down Jackets, Scarves & Wraps, Knee High Boots, Men's Culturata

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Global Fashion Capitals Presented by FIT

Do you think that fashion lives only in Paris, New York in Milan? While many top labels choose to show in these cities, there are thriving designers and brands that have a community all over the world. The Museum at FIT recently held a symposium covering global fashion capitals powering the style industry today to accompany their recent museum exhibit.

The showpiece of the event was a runway show featuring international designers. Marina Hoermanseder of Berlin, Richard Seco of Mexico City, Lisa Folawiyo of Lagos, Arzu Kaprol of Istanbul and Lie Sangbong of Seoul showed their collections on the stage.

The symposium covered the history of immigrants who worked in fashion manufacturing to international locations that inspire trends, technology, branding and culture that moves the fashion industry to global fashion bloggers influencing today's style. Students were able to learn more about working and living in the different fashion capitals from representatives who do just that.

The exhibit itself showed notable designers represented cities throughout fashion history and the eras that each city started making a global impact in influence. Think Charles Worth putting Paris on the map as one of the first named "fashion designer" as opposed to a tailor or seamstress then Coco Chanel in the 1920s pioneering sportswear for women. There was the 1930's for New York where career wear, sportswear really flourished with 7th avenue. London captured the world's attention with punk and the youthquake movement with designers like Vivienne Westwood. The 1970's was all about Italians, the 1990's Antwerp and Tokyo.

With so many cities producing great collections, designers have more opportunities and more options than ever in where they do business. I'm seeing more designers returning to hometowns or bringing their home cultures into their brands. Wherever you find inspiration, the fashion world can follow.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Checking In to Jack Daniels Motel No. 7

jack daniels motel 7
jack daniels party

Thursday night I checked in and out of Motel No. 7 and it was the best night ever. The legendary whiskey brand of Jack Daniels transformed a warehouse space in Greenpoint Brooklyn into an epic themed party.

You start by checking into the "motel" to get your key and scan tag which is used to document your photo opportunities around the event space. There was a tiny indoor pool to the right of the retro vending machines and reception where staff provided swimsuits and towels if you wanted to take a dip.

Motel No. 7 was the celebration of Jack Daniels and Rock n' Roll

A vintage styled salon provided makeup and haircuts. Another station had artisans laser cutting the event graphics onto whiskey barrel pieces as a souvenir. You could get caricatures drawn, t-shirts printed for you, pose in the "royal suite" while taking in live performances from the band The Cloud Nothings.

The food menu consisted of old-school breakfast offerings like tator tots with bacon, mini egg sandwiches, and sausage croissants. They paired that with Jack Daniels and your choice of ginger beer, coke, iced tea, etc. I'm not sure a sommelier would approve, but I'm sure plenty of rockers do.

Speaking of rockers, the upstairs contained surprises in every motel room. It was set up like a big rock n' roll party. There was a suite lit with black light and artwork. You could dress in velvet capes, spiked collars. A makeup artist provided an evil eye look if needed and then you could do your best air-guitar performance on the curtain draped bed.

There was a Vegas-style wedding chapel, complete with hyper bridesmaids and Elvis impersonator. I was able to witness real couples getting married, officiated by none other than newly ordained minister Andrew W.K. 

There were multiple rooms with bands performing, rappers, a bachelorette party room, a lounge where they made doughnuts to order with chocolate Jack Daniels sauce and hot cider. Hubby's favorite was the big pillow fight room where the floor to ceiling was filled with pillows. The under appreciated room was the photo gallery of iconic rock n' roll images of people like Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger. Jack Daniels has been name-checked by many a rock star, this gallery was a visual representation of that.

I had so much fun. It was one of those epic nights where you just sound like Stefan from SNL when you describe it to someone unless you have photos as proof. So here are my photos as proof!
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