Dating // November 18, 2013

For many, surviving the holidays involves the daunting task of giving a gift to everybody on the friends and family list. And because of the stress of holiday shopping, many of us give uninspired and underwhelming gifts. Within a few weeks, this gift usually finds itself on the shelves of the nearby Goodwill store or making an appearance at next year’s white elephant gift exchange.

But this year can be different. The key to choosing the perfect present is simple: give him something that enhances his life.  It’s not the expensive gift that always wins (though that can communicate how much you appreciate him).  Its all about choosing the right gift for the right guy.

Here are some of this year’s top picks to make his holidays a little happier.

Braven 850 Speaker System

Does he like music?  The Braven 850 is an excellent alternative to the Beats Pill.  Its 20 hours of battery life make it uber portable, you can stream music wirelessly, you can make calls with it, and even charge your other devices.  It may be the smartest portable speaker system in stores this year.

PlayStation 4

When he needs a little down time, the PS4 delivers the slickest entertainment experience.  Not only are the graphics stunning, but the new PS4 has the ability to learn his preferences and recommend content including new games, TV shows and movies.

Randy Watson Tee

This tee is sure to bring a smile to anyone who remembers the greatest singer to ever come out of Jackson Heights.  And he’ll love wearing it and being the talk of the dinner party.


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Pokket Mixer

Ever been to a house party that was in desperate need of better music?  This nifty contraption allows you to connect and mix between two devices (a phone, mp3 player, or tablet), making you the rescue DJ.

Improv Classes

Want to give him the gift of creativity?  A series of improv classes are the perfect gift for the guy that appreciates the arts or wants to increase his fast-thinking skills.

Find a theater company near you.

 

Cooking Class

For the seasoned gentleman who knows how to get around the kitchen (or wants to learn), a couples cooking class is a great way to learn a new dish and spend some quality time.  Get instruction from a top chef like Hipcooks, learn a new recipe, and then enjoy eating your new creation together.



Game Tickets

Is he a sports fan?  You can find deals on seats for his favorite teams on an online secondary-ticket marketplace.  Be savvy when scouring the available tickets and get him courtside - (or close to it).

StubHub is a great place to find tickets.

A Good Book

To many Made Men, a great book is priceless.  Help him “sharpen the tools in the shed” with a classic book like Robert Greene’s Mastery, or a new title like Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath.


Premium Mens Grooming Package

Many men know the value of a good haircut, but many men have never experienced premium men’s grooming.  Treat him to a premium haircut, shave, and nail care.  They’ll love the soothing pampering that’s usually only reserved for A-listers, and others will notice their enhanced look.  They may never look at a regular barber the same again.

Find a master barber near your like Julian Payne of the Original Mobile Barber Shop


Personal Styling Consultation


If his appearance is important in his line of work, give him the gift of an updated image.  Buy him a day with a stylist like Melynda Choothesa of Couture Zen in LA to reinvent his closet or create a new wardrobe.  And don't worry about how expensive a personal stylist might be; you don't have to be Akon, Aisha Tyler or Chad Coleman to look like an A-lister.  In the end, he’ll appreciate a newly refined personal brand - just in time for the new year.


PhotoShoot

Could your Made Man use a little boost for his personal brand?  New headshots or studio photography is the perfect tool to help any young entrepreneur make a good first impression.

Look for a professional photographer near you.  If you’re in LA, Kimberly Yatsko Photography is a great place to start.

Weekend Staycation or Getaway

For the guy who’s too focused to play video games or go to a basketball game, a simple weekend getaway is the perfect escape.  He’ll appreciate being acknowledged for his hard work and being treated like a king for the weekend.  Get him a gift certificate to a nice hotel just outside of town so he can recharge and refocus on his goals for the new year.

Published in Dating
Monday, 09 September 2013 07:40

Style | Best Shops for Your Shape

Style // September 9, 2013

This article was originally posted on Baucemag.com and was written by Stephanie Scott.

As we all know, women come in various shapes and sizes. The struggle to find clothing that not only fits and complements your figure is real. Some clothes are too tight, too big, too short, too long, or not flattering at all. It’s important to know that various designers create clothes with a certain “girl” in mind. Use these tips to find stores that are suitable for your body!

Petite: H&M, GAP

For the petite gals, H&M carries affordable and fashionable attire that can flatter your frame, and it always carries a variety. Also, H&M runs small or big depending on the item, but it shouldn’t be hard to find something flattering and fitting. GAP carries different tops, jeans, and pants that cater to a petite woman.

Tall: American Eagle, GAP

For the tall ladies, American Eagle usually has clothing to fit those extra long legs and arms. The clothing usually fits well and since fall is coming, people can appreciate the extra long sleeves and long pant legs. GAP also has clothing designed for tall women, so maybe some of you petite and tall gals can go shop at the GAP together!

Curvy: Macy’s, ASOS curve

Macy’s has a wide variety of clothing for all shapes and sizes, so the more curvy ladies, should definitely check it out. The go-to retailer has all types of dresses and skirts that flatter beautiful curves. If you’re feeling international, you can shop online at ASOS, the UK's largest independent online fashion and beauty retailer, which has tons of stylish clothing for everyone and an ASOS curve section dedicated to a curvaceous woman.




Plus-Size: Torrid, Forever 21

Torrid has become pretty popular and calls itself “the destination for trendy plus-size fashion and accessories.” Here you can find everything from dresses to lingerie, so no one should go home empty-handed. If you don’t like Torrid, you can always try Forever 21. Forever 21 has stepped up its game and added a plus size section, which carries pretty much anything you need. Everything looks so stylish and flattering, not boring or grandma-like.

Super-Skinny: Zara, Express

Last, but certainly not least, the super-skinny ladies! Zara is a great store. They carry clothing for different body types that will flatter the very thin lady as well. Their clothes are sophisticated and chic and if you’re feeling bold, throw on some heels and strut the concrete! Express carries super skinny clothing, and its smallest size is an extra extra small, so it should be relatively easy to find the right size.

Ladies, these are some great options for all shapes and sizes. Where are some of your favorite places to shop for your size?

Published in Fashion

Style // January 28, 2013

Dinner plans, check. Appropriate manly-yet-romantic gift for the man you love, check. Candles and music for the...ahem...after party, check. But the day of love is approaching and you haven’t answered the million dollar question: What are you going to wear!? Here are some classy suggestions for outfits sure to make his heart beat a little faster:

Love to Dress Up



This floral sheath from Aqua hugs you in all the right places. It is sure to brighten up any evening outing. And since it’s on sale for $75.60, the price is right to buy now for V-day and wear through spring.




Keeping your Valentine’s day low-key? Or just not the type to dress up? Then I recommend wearing your favorite love story. From the romantic Great Gatsby to the sensual Lolita, Out of Print clothing carries a variety of T-shirts, fleece, and totes featuring famous book covers. Wear one of these T-shirts under a blazer and pair with high-heels or boots for a casual look that is timelessly chic.




Planning a long walk on the beach? This jumpsuit is a stylish and cute way to strut on the sand. The red rose print is also very fitting for Valentine’s Day wear.




If you’re going somewhere a bit more formal, this dress by French Connection has great movement and is a fun but classic option.




These tanks by Haute Hippie are playful and perfect for V-Day. Wear with leather leggings to make a flirty statement.


Head Over Heels



These d’Orsay pumps by Jean-Michel Cazbat can be worn to work and to play. The mint and pink choices are perfect for making a V-Day outfit pop. Oh, and that back detail – walking sex!



I am not really a Hello Kitty kind of girl. But even I have to admit these heart-print Hello Kitty pumps I found on JustFab.com are quite cute.


Going somewhere glitzy? If you’re visiting a local hot spot or going dancing, these glittery sandals by Kate Spade will have you standing out and feeling good.



If your taste is edgier or you are looking to bundle up by wearing some cute booties, these studs are the perfect mate. The toes are capped with spikes and crystals, and the boots come in red or black. Who doesn’t love a hot shoe on sale? For only $70 you can have a trendy boot to wear with a LBD or some great skinny slacks.


Accessory Affection


This studded heart bag will win yours over. And for $48 this deal is no heart (or bank) breaker.



Jacquie Aiche shows us how to show our love: by wearing it on our ears. The ear cuff is a new, trendy way to wear jewels on the ears. I love how this piece peeks out at the top of the ear, so unexpected and fresh.



This necklace from JustFab.com is a true gem. It has every color on it, so it can go with anything! In fact, you may want to gift yourself with this beauty come V-Day.


Don’t wait for a guy to put a ring on it. You can do that yourself. Stack and layer this cute bow ring also on (JustFab.com) for a truly pretty sight.

Whatever your plans may be for February 14, show yourself some love and indulge in a wardrobe update. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about just lingerie. Buy something that you will actually wear on other days of the year and that you absolutely love.

Published in Fashion
Monday, 30 July 2012 07:38

Style | How To Shop Sample Sales

July 30, 2012

We might all love designer clothes and accessories, but very few of us can afford to just take a trip down Rodeo Drive and buy whatever catches our eye. Being just a few years out of college, I don’t quite have a “throw it in the bag” budget. But my starving college student days are over and I want to look like it. That’s why online sample sales are like a godsend to me, and have been since I discovered them three years ago.

Here’s how they work: websites partner with designers to sell their products for a large discount – whether it’s to create exposure, help get rid of overstock at the end of the season, etc. – and then these websites feature select styles from specific designers each day (usually for a brief period of 24-48 hours in length). Sample sale websites require you to become a member; this is free, but ensures designers that the site is “private” and that they are not cheapening their brand by publicly advertising low prices. Sample sale sites will also sometimes require you to have an invite from a current member, so as a bonus for our Made Woman Mag readers I have provided links with already-included invites for my favorite sites below.

Recommended Sites

There are dozens upon dozens of sample sale sites that have popped up in the last couple of years – covering anything from clothing, to shoes and accessories, to home décor items, to travel. For a full list, I recommend checking out SHEfinds, but here are my 4 personal fashion-focused favorites:

ideeli

Ideeli is great for clothes, shoes, accessories, home décor items, and everything in-between. What sets it apart from the other sites is that it has a “1st row” membership for $6.99/month (billed annually), which grants you access to the sales an hour early – 8am PST instead of 9am PST. The cool thing is, even if you have a free “2nd row” membership, you can still see all the items going on sale starting at 8am; and you’ll realize how useful this is. Once 9am strikes, you have already had the chance to browse through the items, decide what you want, and are just waiting to click that “add to cart” button. CLICK FOR INVITE LINK

Hautelook


Hautelook is one of the most popular online sample sale sites because it consistently partners with great popular brands for up to 75% off. They also have one of my favorite interfaces. Sales on Hautelook begin at 8am PST every day. CLICK FOR INVITE LINK

Gilt Groupe

Founded in 2007, Gilt was one of the original online sample sale sites. Gilt sales start at 9am PST and feature a whopping 10-20 designers a day, with an average of 40% off. One of the additional perks of Gilt is a flat shipping rate of only $5.95 for all items. CLICK FOR INVITE LINK

Rue La La

Rue La La was also one of the originals, along with Gilt. Lately, it has added a lot more high-end designers – which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your spending range. They also have one of the best phone apps, and really handy notification options on their online calendar. Sales start at 8am PST. CLICK FOR INVITE LINK

Like what you're reading? Join Made Woman Mag's mailing list for updates, special promotions, and more. Click here!

Quick Tips

Having spent an inordinate amount of time and money on sample sale sites, I’d like to leave you with some helpful tips:

  • Time is of the essence - Know when sales start. The best items will often sell out within the first 15 minutes, so you have to be online at 8am or 9am sharp to even have a chance.
  • It’s ok to hoard items in your shopping cart - When a sale starts, just hurry through and add anything you might like to your cart without thinking too much. Then take a more careful look and decide whether you actually want those items or not. If you spend too much time thinking, the item might be sold out by the time you decide to add it to your cart.
  • Calendars are your friend - Sample sale sites will usually have a calendar of upcoming sales. If you love a specific designer, this is a great way to know when they’re having a sale and be ready. (Set an alarm or notification of some sort for yourself.)
  • Pay attention to return policies - Some items can be returned and others can’t – it’s not always the site’s policy, but the specific designer’s. Some sites will also only let you return items for credit, not for money back.
  • Keep an eye on your credits - When you return items for site credits, make sure you know whether these have an expiration date.
  • Invite, invite, invite - Most sites will give you credit if you invite friends who buy something, so take advantage of this as much as you can.



Now there’s no excuse to not look good in 2012. Just remember, shopping can be an unhealthy addiction, so everything in moderation.

Published in Fashion
Monday, 26 March 2012 06:18

Style | How To Shop Sample Sales

March 26, 2012

We might all love designer clothes and accessories, but very few of us can afford to just take a trip down Rodeo Drive and buy whatever catches our eye. Being just a few years out of college, I don’t quite have a “throw it in the bag” budget. But my starving college student days are over and I want to look like it. That’s why online sample sales are like a godsend to me, and have been since I discovered them three years ago.

Here’s how they work: websites partner with designers to sell their products for a large discount – whether it’s to create exposure, help get rid of overstock at the end of the season, etc. – and then these websites feature select styles from specific designers each day (usually for a brief period of 24-48 hours in length). Sample sale websites require you to become a member; this is free, but ensures designers that the site is “private” and that they are not cheapening their brand by publicly advertising low prices. Sample sale sites will also sometimes require you to have an invite from a current member, so as a bonus for our Made Woman Mag readers I have provided links with already-included invites for my favorite sites below.

Recommended Sites

There are dozens upon dozens of sample sale sites that have popped up in the last couple of years – covering anything from clothing, to shoes and accessories, to home décor items, to travel. For a full list, I recommend checking out SHEfinds, but here are my 4 personal fashion-focused favorites:

ideeli

Ideeli is great for clothes, shoes, accessories, home décor items, and everything in-between. What sets it apart from the other sites is that it has a “1st row” membership for $6.99/month (billed annually), which grants you access to the sales an hour early – 8am PST instead of 9am PST. The cool thing is, even if you have a free “2nd row” membership, you can still see all the items going on sale starting at 8am; and you’ll realize how useful this is. Once 9am strikes, you have already had the chance to browse through the items, decide what you want, and are just waiting to click that “add to cart” button. CLICK FOR INVITE LINK

Hautelook


Hautelook is one of the most popular online sample sale sites because it consistently partners with great popular brands for up to 75% off. They also have one of my favorite interfaces. Sales on Hautelook begin at 8am PST every day. CLICK FOR INVITE LINK

Gilt Groupe

Founded in 2007, Gilt was one of the original online sample sale sites. Gilt sales start at 9am PST and feature a whopping 10-20 designers a day, with an average of 40% off. One of the additional perks of Gilt is a flat shipping rate of only $5.95 for all items. CLICK FOR INVITE LINK

Rue La La

Rue La La was also one of the originals, along with Gilt. Lately, it has added a lot more high-end designers – which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your spending range. They also have one of the best phone apps, and really handy notification options on their online calendar. Sales start at 8am PST. CLICK FOR INVITE LINK

Like what you're reading? Join Made Woman Mag's mailing list for updates, special promotions, and more. Click here!

Quick Tips

Having spent an inordinate amount of time and money on sample sale sites, I’d like to leave you with some helpful tips:

  • Time is of the essence - Know when sales start. The best items will often sell out within the first 15 minutes, so you have to be online at 8am or 9am sharp to even have a chance.
  • It’s ok to hoard items in your shopping cart - When a sale starts, just hurry through and add anything you might like to your cart without thinking too much. Then take a more careful look and decide whether you actually want those items or not. If you spend too much time thinking, the item might be sold out by the time you decide to add it to your cart.
  • Calendars are your friend - Sample sale sites will usually have a calendar of upcoming sales. If you love a specific designer, this is a great way to know when they’re having a sale and be ready. (Set an alarm or notification of some sort for yourself.)
  • Pay attention to return policies - Some items can be returned and others can’t – it’s not always the site’s policy, but the specific designer’s. Some sites will also only let you return items for credit, not for money back.
  • Keep an eye on your credits - When you return items for site credits, make sure you know whether these have an expiration date.
  • Invite, invite, invite - Most sites will give you credit if you invite friends who buy something, so take advantage of this as much as you can.



Now there’s no excuse to not look good in 2012. Just remember, shopping can be an unhealthy addiction, so everything in moderation.

Published in Fashion

December 19, 2011

The Christmas season is upon us, and that means shopping for the special man—or men—in your life. I’m not just talking about who you are dating. When you are making your list of who’s been nice enough to come out of pocket for, there might be a few men on the list that you wouldn’t expect. Take a look.



Your Boss
Hopefully you have a great relationship with your boss. If he has taken time out throughout the year to help with your professional development, it might be a good idea to show him some love around the holidays.  Try this collection of books from Malcolm Gladwell, author of Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. I’ve read Blink so I know that Gladwell’s writing style and point of view gets people talking. Buying the Malcolm Gladwell: Collected set ($50)for your boss will be an opportunity to discuss some of the topics he covers. Plus the new packaging and illustrations from Brian Rea make this set look classy.



Your Gay Best Friend
Save some room on your list for this one: your gay best friend. Every girl needs one. And this is what he needs for Christmas. These are InCase Terra Bags are great for a friend that is always on the go. I’m loving the soft, casual exterior and the bright red interior. These bags are great for carrying everything from laptops to gym clothes. Made from all natural materials and ranging from $50 to $100, you can find the perfect gift for someone special. And it’s so much better than a manbag.


Your Brother
So your brother has everything: iPod, iPad, iPhone...he’d have an iCar too if they made that (Ohhh! They should make that!). Instead of adding to his cult like following of all things Apple, try adding to the functionality  and fun of his iPad with this iCADE. You just download the games from the app store, slide your iPad in through the top and then use the joystick and buttons to play some Atari games. At $80, it is a low cost way to spread some joy to your gamer/geek/techy brother.


Your Father
Get your pop something a little techy and a little retro this year. Crosley has proven that these two can coincide with this analog to digital Keepsake USB Turntable. Not only do these look great but they serve a really cool purpose. You can use them to play your vinyl records or to convert them into cds. Or use the USB ports to upload the record quality sound right to your computer.  This awesome gadget would make any music lover happy and the $150 price tag should be music to your ears.


Your Male Friend/Roommate/Co-worker
What to get the guy who is in your friendzone? How about this SuperHeadz Clap Camera? It works as a memory card reader and a really tiny camera. And it’s so cute! You can even record mini movies with the camera. It has a USB connector so that you can upload your photos and movies directly to your computer. At $50, this gift says, “I’m glad we’re homies”.

I left off suggestions for what to get your boo for Christmas because there are 14,500,000 other articles out there on the web about that. But this year be sure to make the other men in your life feel special. Happy shopping!

Published in Lifestyle
Monday, 05 December 2011 11:10

Holidays | We Wish You a Thrifty Christmas

December 5, 2011

Novice shoppers walk into a mall during the holiday season trying to remember how many family members, friends and co-workers they need to get gifts for. They spend hours wandering aimlessly from store to store, hoping something will scream out "Buy me! I’m the perfect gift for your mother and I’m on sale."  Come closing time, they are probably over-budget, overwhelmed and over it all. Bah humbug. Well, I’ve had many years of shopping experience and I can tell you it all should start with planning. While setting up a budget doesn’t seem like the first step toward Christmas cheer, it can help you spread more holiday spirit than an IOU.

Making a List, Checking It Twice…

First things first, make a list of all the people you need to get gifts for; don’t forget your co-workers! You see them every day and giving them a little sumthing sumthing this Christmas can only improve your working relationship.

Naughty or Nice?

Once you have the list, go over it and decide how much you want to spend on each person. People should fall into three categories: Splurge, Bargain Shop or Homemade. Don’t feel bad for breaking the list up this way. You can’t buy everyone a diamond ring this year, even if you love them all. Plus, homemade gifts show that you went the extra mile and created something unique. If you have the money, set it aside for a few small gifts in case you happen to forget someone. This can save your butt when the next Secret Santa party comes around.

Once you have decided how much you are going to spend, it's time to hunt down a bargain. Check online for deals first so you can compare prices without driving around town. If you are into eBay you can try bidding online to get a cheaper price.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas Planning...

Okay, I hereby officially remove the stigma from re-gifting. Let’s face it: the economy outweighs your delicate sensibilities. Besides, your friend Sarah might look great in that dress your aunt gave you that was two sizes too small…. Your aunt was probably trying to be funny anyway.

Christmas is also a great time to put reward points to use. Most people rack them up and forget about them. Check with your credit card company to see what deals they can offer.

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…

An easy way to stretch a dollar and spread some cheer is to cook a gift instead of wrapping it. A co-worker of mine gave out homemade jam around the holidays last year. It was a tasty treat and completely unexpected. You can try that or whip up a batch of Christmas tree-shaped cookies, gingerbread men or Rice Crispy Treats, bag them and add a bow. Ta Da! Christmas right out of the oven.

This holiday season do all you can to spread the love, but stay within your means. If giving a gift to someone is detrimental to your finances then the spirit of the act is lessened. Your loved ones wouldn't want you to go bankrupt in order to get them pricey stocking stuffers. So have the best holiday season ever!...No Pressure. 

 

Published in Lifestyle
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 01:58

Style | Amazing Black Friday Deals

November 22, 2011

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — especially if you love shopping. Yes, Thanksgiving is great, but Black Friday has become a holiday all its own. Known as the biggest shopping day of the year, the last Friday in November marks the official beginning of the holiday season and the hunt for the perfect holiday gifts.

As a faithful Black Friday shopper I can tell you from experience that this event has become more of a circus every year. Probably due to the lackluster economy, it seems that more people are in need of a bargain than ever before. Likewise, retailers are in need of making money and increasing sales. Stores used to open at 5 a.m. (a good five hours before normal mall business hours). But now you are seeing retailers like Target, Off Saks Fifth Avenue, and Kohl’s open at midnight. For those of you looking for a steal, here are some stores worth camping out in front of (tip: bring some Turkey Day leftovers to pass the time).

● According to Shawn DuBravac, chief economist with the Consumer Electronics Association, customers will be able to save $500 to $1,000 on TVs at stores such as Walmart, Best Buy, Target, H.H. Gregg, and Amazon.com. Best Buy will also offer a 24-inch LCD TV from one if its house brands for $79, their spokesman says.

● H&M stores are opening at 5 a.m. and the first 100 customers in line (in other words, people who ditch Thanksgiving dinner) will receive scratchers for up to $300. Additional Black Friday offers include dresses and sweaters for $5, pants from $10, and outerwear from $20.

● Apple iPod Touch 8GB for $195 at Target plus a $40 Target gift card.

● After a night of camping out/a sleepless morning, Macys deals on mattresses will look even more appealing. For $249 you can get a 2-piece Serta mattress set. Since these babies usually cost $859, this is a deal you won’t lose sleep over.

● You know that traveling you will be doing next year? (Hint: New Year's resolution). You will need a great 5 piece luggage set from Macy’s, and for $49.99, you will have money leftover for souvenirs.

● Everyone loves music! With 50% off Skull Candy headphones at Radio Shack, you can groove on the go.

● For those who need direction in life, there is a Garmin Navigation System for $89.99 at Staples.

● Amazon.com will be offering gold box deals at various times throughout the day from now through Cyber Monday with extreme discounts that tend to sell out.

● The Home Shopping Network won’t have any lines for you to wait in, and will have free shipping on select goods like a Panasonic camcorder and great financing options on others.

● Even some stores band together in outlet-wide sales events. The Desert Hills Premium Outlets will have some stores opening at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Remember, these outlets have high-end stores like Dior and Prada. Deals on top of deals! Now, that is worth getting up early for.

Another thing to note: While I am old-fashioned and love perusing an ad (or five) in the mail, most information about Black Friday deals were found on stores' Facebook and Twitter pages as opposed to their websites. You may also want to check out theblackfriday.com for an overview of ads and coupons. For mall store information it’s best to search specific stores by location for hours and deals.

Know of any other excellent steals? ‘Tis the season of giving, so share any good bargains you may have heard about in the comments below. Good luck and happy shopping!

Published in Fashion
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