Last-Minute Gifts & Stocking Stuffers

Attention last-minute shoppers: this is the gift guide for you! Stocking stuffers are usually the last gifts that we remember to buy and they usually consist of things like nail polish, socks and, if you’re lucky, a piece of cheap jewelry. Make it fun for your friends and family to un-stuff their stockings this year with this gift guide. With presents this clever, they’ll never know you bought them the day before. [gallery ids="100427,114188,114127,114180,114172,114137,114164,114147,114156" nav="thumbs"]

Wedding Registry

For your wedding wishes this season, you'll want to go for a traditional interior style, mixed with exotic details. Think creamy white and strong colors, like coral, turquoise and yellow. We also love contemporary pieces in materials such as steel and glass. The bride and groom will want to be prepared for romantic dinners and fabulous dinner parties. Even more importantly, to be perfectly equipped for long, snuggly mornings in bed. 1. These classic Athena bed linens in luxe egyptian cotton are offered with monograms. YvesDelorme, $160-$590 a piece. 2. Diane von Furstenberg decorative pillow brightens up your bedroom or living room. Bloomingdales, $360. 3. Rivulets Bedding provides a romantic feel in the bedroom. Anthropologie, $68-$368 a piece. 4. Madeira Court four-piece set dinnerware, classic and fun for your everyday dinners, fancy enough for special occasions. KateSpade, $80 a set. 5. Vera Wang for Wedgewood "Love Knot" napkin rings for elegant table settings. Bloomingdales, $50 for 4. 6. Coral napkin rings put a fun twist to your classic dinnerware for fun summer parties. Amano, $125 for 4. 7. Voluspa Maison Blanc "Pink Citron" candle provides an intoxicating scent that really fills up a room. Bloomingdales, $22.50 8. Michael Aram candle fills a room with a delicious scent. Bloomingdales, $60 9. iPad 2 for reading the newspaper in bed on those lazy mornings. Apple, $499 10. Hartland bowls will make the plainest green salad look exciting. Amano, $155-$295 each. 11. Nespresso CitiZ and milk espresso machine lets you indulge in gourmet coffee every morning. Surlatable.com, $349 12. Occa nesting tables are elegant, yet cool, for the bedroom or living room. BoConcept, $529 13. Kitchenaid holds every function you could dream of, including looking super stylish on the kitchen bench. SaksFifthAvenue, $349 14. The Bose speaker system can fill your home with your favorite tunes. SaksFifthAvenue, $99 15. This citrus squeezer is a little piece of art for the kitchen that also makes juice. Alessi, $100 [gallery ids="100484,117197,117191,117185,117179,117173,117167,117161,117210,117153,117216,117221,117146,117226,117204" nav="thumbs"]

Gemstones: Going Past Diamonds Into Color

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A truly loathsome ‘holiday,’ if you ask me. Once, in my younger and more pliant days, I went with a date to a Valentine’s dinner party with a red food theme. I’m not kidding. I think I’ve blocked it out: Every single thing on every plate was red. How many beets and tomatoes can one girl eat? Blech. But maybe you’re past the red food stage and are ready for the next step in romance. Big presents. That would be rocks. Sparkly ones. Want a flutter of deep green on that ring finger? How about an unexpected glimpse of blue? According to a wildly unscientific Yahoo poll, diamonds are the most popular gemstones, but that’s changing. And what makes certain stones popular is a function of fashion, or demand, and yes, the other side of that ol’ econ 101 staple, supply. The rarer, the better, the more expensive. According to the Gemological Institute of America, diamonds are above all about cut. They’re meant to flash, sparkle, wink, catch the light. A rough, uncut, diamond does none of those things. The diamond you covet is, in essence, wrought by man. But colored stones — now there, that’s about nature, Gaia, fire, the mother goddess, the earth. But let’s move past diamonds. Everyone else is, it seems. Colored rocks are becoming more and more popular. The deep restless green of the emerald, the glow of the dangerous ruby, the clean bright blue of the sapphire — the color is what matters. For fancy jewelry, according to Yahoo, emeralds are popular, coming in right after diamonds, at number one, and pearls at two. After emeralds, apparently we like aquamarines, then tourmalines, then opals. Garnets are seventh and sapphires eighth. I couldn’t tell you what most of those stones look like. Garnets, I think are … red? But that’s part of the changing nature of fancy jewelry. Nowadays, it doesn’t matter so much if your rock is the size of Gibraltar — it is the piece itself, the art of the setting that makes the jewel. Mix it up — turquoise AND diamonds. And leather. Some high-end stores sell precious gems imbedded in plastic, wood or intricate silver wires. That’s the demand part of the equation: There’s less interest in big chunks of rock in a simple setting and more in design, spiritual connection, meaning. Typically, precious gemstones are defined as diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and opals (and pearls, yes, but they’re not gemstones, eh?). But what makes things valuable? Scarcity. Amethysts were once considered precious and were highly prized by ancient Greeks and up until the 19th century. When huge deposits of amethysts were discovered in Brazil in the 19th century, the price and the allure of the stones plummeted. Supply and demand. At times during the last century, peridot, aquamarine and cat’s eye have been considered precious, though now most jewelers classify them as semi-precious if, indeed, they classify them at all. And then there are the stones that are so rare you’ve never even heard of them. Red diamonds, ruby red, at $2 million to $2.5 million a carat. Serendibite, from Sri Lanka, black and shiny, for $1.8 million a carat. Blue garnet, which changes color from greenish blueish to purple, depending on the light. The most expensive blue garnet, 4.2 carats, sold for almost $7 million dollars in 2003. And don’t forget jadeite, andalusite, red beryl and clinohumite. They may sound like social diseases, but if you get your hands on one, hold on tight. The biggest sellers of all time, however, are the classics, but with a twist. Color brings in money. And, interestingly enough, the biggest sales lately are in Hong Kong, aimed at the newly affluent of Asia. A ring with a blue diamond flanked by two pink diamonds sold in Hong Kong for $10 million dollars last October. According to Sotheby’s, which sold it, it is “a fancy blue diamond weighing 6.01 carats.” The buyer chose to remain anonymous. In Geneva, in May, Christie’s sold a heart-shaped diamond weighting 56.15 carats. Christie’s marketed the diamond as “Love at First Sight,” and began advertising it last Valentine’s Day. And in 2010, Laurence Graff bought a pink diamond that used to be owned by fellow jeweler Harry Winston. It weighed 24.78 carats, and he paid $46.2 million dollars for it. It is the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction. Finally, the real seller in the fancy jewelry world is provenance. If Liz Taylor, Wallis Simpson or Princess Di owned it, add on a couple of zeros. If it has fancy relatives, perhaps it is part of a stone that belongs to the Queen of England, tack on some more zeros. If it has a story, even better. Christie’s London sold the Wittelsbach diamond in 2008; it has a name AND a story, the auction house wrote in its press materials that the “diamond originates from the Indian kingdom of Golkonda. It is rumored that King Phillip IV of Spain purchased the jewel and included it in the dowry of his teenage daughter, Margaret Teresa, in 1664.” So my advice: Get yourself a pretty stone. Wear it well. Have adventures with it; take it down the Zambezi and up the Alps. Dodge unsavory characters and feral animals. Drop it in a martini in Beijing, curry in New Delhi. Have an interesting life, and your jewels will live it with you.

Fashion Week: Berlin/ New York

FALL 2012 COLLECTIONS: MERCEDES- BENZ FASHION WEEK BERLIN IN FRONT OF THE BRANDENBURG GATE JANUARY 17-22; MERCEDES- BENZ FASHION WEEK NEW YORK AT LINCOLN CENTER’S DAMROSCH PARK FEBRUARY 9-16 [gallery ids="100507,118371,118378,118385,118391,118398,118405,118413,118419,118425,118432,118439,118445,118453,118460,118365,118358,118351,118494,118282,118487,118289,118480,118297,118475,118305,118312,118319,118325,118333,118339,118345,118468" nav="thumbs"]

Graphic, Totemic Fashion

From Aztec to Navajo, spring fashion is witnessing the return of tribal patterns. Look for these bold, graphic prints and the loud colors that compliment. As cold weather gives way to warmth, these exotic looks remind us that it’s time to enjoy the outdoors. Here’s how to wear them this season. [gallery ids="100597,100598,100599,100600" nav="thumbs"]

Fashion Fights Poverty Gala Goes Green, Too

The Fashion Fights Poverty Gala brought out the fashion conscious with top designers taking on the challenge of designing eco-friendly runway looks that wowed all in attendance.  “Eco looks” images of Birkenstocks and loose linen pants may pop into some heads, but the fashion world has come far in producing a multitude of luxurious fabrics that dazzled with bold colors and elegant textures.  Designers Seth Aaron Henderson (winner of Project Runway 7) and Luis Valenzuela showed off their wares. All of Henderson’s looks of bold colorful patterns and snugly fitted 1950s-style silhouettes were made with renewable fabrics, and Valenzuela stunned with sexy corsets and edgy floor length gowns that incorporated recycled paper.  This fashion show proved that if you want to be considered truly fashion-forward, your garments must still make a statement without leaving a negative mark on the environment. [gallery ids="100738,121516,121497,121510,121505" nav="thumbs"]

Masa 14 and the Streets of Georgetown

GQ Ready Joe Malone proves that men in D.C. do know how to dress. He looked sharp in his Galvani tan blazer, Tasso Ella purple paisley tie, purple- striped Ralph Lauren shirt and distressed Levi Jeans. Move over Taye Diggs. D.C.’s Newest Fashionistas These cuties were not photographed for a Gap ad. They were living it up on the new rooftop of Masa 14 with Sophia Becraft, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Sponsor Girl of the Year. They may be little, but they were there in big style. Looks like D.C. has some new style icons. Dynamic Duo Kate Michael, Miss DC 2006, was red hot in her figure-flattering Express dress and BCBG gold sandals at the new Masa 14 happy hour for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man and Woman of the Year. Amanda Polk in her chic Theory skirt, white shirt and tan Michael Kors peep-toe heels, was the total package. Both girls dressed to impress. NYC takes D.C. Ted Loos just arrived in D.C. from NYC to interview Georgetown interior designer Thomas Pheasant. As a writer for Vogue, Architectural Digest and many other publications, he was, of course, head-to-toe ultra-cool. Loved his light tan Shipley & Halmos sports jacket, Levis jeans and sporty Nike sneakers. Vineyard Vines Gone All Wrong Pink hoodies are never easy to wear, but putting them with tight high-water navy chinos is always a fashion no. The black socks and birkenstocks only add to the problem. My suggestions: a pink sweater, navy trouser pants, a statement flat and no socks. Zebra Lost in D.C. A black-and-white large print jacket can be a good idea with a black skirt. The problem here is with the strange length, longer or shorter would have been better. The other problems with the outfit are the sneakers and backpack. The jacket would be better with solid pants, cute walking flats and a large handbag. Just a suggestion. [gallery ids="100797,124414,124408,124404,124391,124398" nav="thumbs"]

HOT IN THE CITY

BLAZING HOT The stars were all out in their motorcycle attire for the Kiel’s LifeRide for amfAR in Georgetown. Actress Marguerite Moreau did not disappoint. Moreau was gorgeous in her black All Saints leather jacket, black Habitual jeans and tan Old Gringo lace boot. Rolling Thunder, here she comes. PEACE OUT We all understand that knowing what to wear to be cool on a 100 degree day can be difficult,that said, this man really took his look a little to the extreme. His orange bandana under a fishing cap, mirrored sunglasses, and crazy multi-color dashiki with pocket as a cup holder for his water bottle was a little much. At least the purple goatee went with the look. MAKING A SPLASH These students, who are here from Bulgaria and Turkey, are dressed more for the beach than the Georgetown waterfront, but with 100 degree temps, who can blame them? They carried off the bikini tops, short shorts and shirts over the shoulders very well. Now all they need is to be invited onto a boat. GIRLIE GLAM Nikki Wormandy and Cindy Tolson were both well-dressed for a hot day in Georgetown. Nikki was cool-chic in her coral J.Crew skinny jeans, white sleeveless tie top and Tory Burch sunglasses. Cindy was resort-style in her Ralph Lauren navy & white blue tunic, white shorts and Michael Kors sunglasses. An A + for hot summer looks! PONY UP! Christian Monroy is playing it cool in this hot heat wave. He is all Lacoste in his white shorts, white and orange striped shirt and white baseball cap. This is a look Ralph would be proud of. HOT BOYS OF SUMMER These boys are Preppy-cool! Bill Fields knows how to put it all together in his Brooks Brothers sun- kissed yellow shorts, sky blue shirt and Topsiders. Bub Cathcart’s look is effortless in a madras shirt, Cut2fit navy shorts and, of course, a drink in hand. [gallery ids="100918,129130,129123,129106,129119,129113" nav="thumbs"]

Styling in Georgetown

The Gap All Wrong Many people believe that if one sticks to the basics in dressing, you cannot go wrong. But this is not always the case. This woman’s outfit is a classic example. Her khaki skirt is too long for her frame. The jean jacket is too short for the skirt and wrong for the high- necked top, and white socks and sneakers never go with a long skirt. My suggestion would be: A knee-length khaki skirt, a V-neck top, and jean jacket that hits the waist, with colored flats for a pop of color. Lumber Jack This man must be from out of town, because everyone who is from D.C. knows you do not wear flannel and heavy jeans in August in D.C. It is just too hot. I guess he realized that he did not have right outfit on for the very hot day and that is why he walked the streets of DC with his flannel completely unbuttoned and open. Next time he is in town, I suggest he bring a tee shirt and shorts. Style King The Streets of Georgetown party on Aug. 8 was all about “Old Fashion, New Look,” and Kevin Gray got it right. He was edgy, yet sophisticated in his royal blue Zara blazer, light blue Alton Lange shirt, light tan Zara pants and skinny colorfully striped tie from Aldo. Whiskey brown Aldo shoes completed this strong look. Menswear Gets A Feminine Touch Adra Williams and Beth Webster are women who know how to get noticed at this men’s clothing store event. Williams surprised us all in her men’s Hickey Freeman jacket. She paired it with a wide black belt, black leggings and black heels by BCBG. Webster was super sexy in her red-hot dress from Banana Republic and red & white bowed heels from Nine West. Master of Style Patrick Leugers was dressed to impress at Streets of Georgetown’s “Old Fashion, New Look” party. His navy blue Hickey Freeman blazer, white Polo pants, Brooks Brothers green and blue and white gingham shirt and brown Allen Edmonds shoes were on key with the night’s theme. His look has timeless appeal. Old School Paul Beirne takes preppy to the next level at “Old Fashion, New Look.” I love how he put together his navy Breuer blazer, blue and grey Hugh & Crye shirt with rolled Unis khakis and white old-school Tretorns. Now, this is some comfort with style! [gallery ids="100947,130359,130333,130353,130348,130341" nav="thumbs"]

Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week, Spring 2013, is the beginning of the fashion season that travels all over the world. Held at Lincoln Center, this premier, semiannual event draws thousands of industry professionals, celebrities and fashionistas to eight days of runway shows and presentations. This year, the list of designers included Diane Von Furstenberg, Betsey Johnson, Monique Lhuillier, Ralph Lauren, and Michael Kors.