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Gift Idea: Quilted Purse Shapers


Readers recommended these purse shapers in our last discussion on closet organization, and I think they’re a great solution to the problem of having purses that get slouchy if you don’t stuff them with papers when they’re not being used. I like the quilted look because it feels more luxurious, and these come in a variety of sizes. They are a little pricey at $14.99 to $29.99 (at the Container Store), but I think that’s one of the reasons they make a great gift idea for the women in your life who may be handbag fanatics. (And if you give one of these to someone who ends up not liking it — and returning it — there’s a ton of other stuff they can get at the Container Store.) These are well priced for a gift for a colleague or a mother-in-law, for example, and they have great reviews. Quilted Purse Shapers by Innies


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Coffee Break: ‘Pass the Bubbly’ Scoopneck Long-Sleeve Pajama Set

best-pjs-for-giftsIf you’re looking for a gift idea for an older woman in your life — or really, for any woman — these are really nice pajamas. (This year, I’m buying gift cards to Soma for a lot of the older women I know.) I think the Cool Nights pajamas are intended for women who may be getting hot flashes at night, but honestly, they’re some of my favorite pajamas. I love that they come in short lengths (plus regular and tall), so if you’re a shorty like me at 5’4″ you don’t have to flop around in your PJs. They’re machine washable and they wash well, and the latest pair I bought has pockets, which is great. Soma has a lot of cute bras too, and readers have recommended their Vanishing Edge panties. This set is available in sizes XS-XXL and is on sale for $49 (from $70) at Soma. ‘Pass the Bubbly’ Scoopneck Long Sleeve Pajama Set


The Hunt: Waterproof, Weatherproof Shoes for Work

weatherproof-shoes-for-the-officeSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

I don’t think we’ve had a good discussion on weatherproof shoes for work in far too long — so let’s discuss, ladies. Do you own both rain boots and snow boots where you are — or just rain boots, with the assumption that if it’s that snowy out you can probably work from home? What makes a shoe acceptable to wear all day at work, versus just for your commute? Do you have any rules about changing out of bad weather commuting shoes (e.g., no stopping at the coffee room before you change — or no big meetings until you’re in your “office shoes” — or do you actually do the thing where you change outside the office, like in the lobby of your building)? For those of you who are consultants, in court, or otherwise away from home base often — what do you do?

(Pictured at top, clockwise from top left: tall boot with laces / Chelsea / short with back bow / tall bow / bootie / heeled bootie)

For my $.02, I have an almost surreal memory from my lawyer days of having to review documents at the office one weekend when it was truly horrible outside — so bad that I took the subway instead of calling for a car. I may have had to take a different subway line than I normally took because weather was so bad — I remember getting out of an unfamiliar subway exit on one of those interior, tight streets around Wall Street and seeing snow piled everywhere, several feet thick, and I felt like the last few blocks to work were a true trek.  It could have been worse — a few months earlier, I had happened to buy super ugly Lands’ End snow boots on sale on a friend’s recommendation, and I was so grateful I had them!

Psst: we’ve also discussed how to do business casual in cold weather, as well as how to buy a great winter coat.

Before we get to the featured weatherproof shoes for work, I thought I’d round up some weatherproof, waterproof options in special categories:

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Coffee Break: Navy Blue with Pink Stripes Lunch Bag

cute-lunch-bag-cyntha-rowleyThis cute lunch bag is easy to clean and has adjustable shoulder straps and a small handle at the top. Of course, I love the colors, considering they’re the blog colors, but I also like how this bag is sort of feminine but also sort of masculine at the same time. If you’re looking for a new lunch bag for yourself or for someone in your life (holiday gift?), this one is $25 at Staples. Cynthia Rowley, Navy Blue with Pink Stripes Lunch Bag


Open Thread: Who Are Your Celebrity Crushes?

celebrity-crushesSo here’s a random, fun question for today: who are your celebrity crushes; who do you admire? Who’s your Internet boyfriend or girlfriend — who’s your spirit animal — who’s your hypothetical best friend? (On the flip side, are there any celebrities you absolutely can’t stand? I have three actors who I will almost never watch in a movie…)

For my $.02:

  • Celebrity crush: The usual suspects, I guess; Benedict Cumberbatch (pictured here from Dr. Strange), Matt Smith, Idris Elba, Ashton Kutcher… in years past Clive Owen, Keanu Reeves, Bill Pullman, George Clooney. Like everyone else I thought Oscar Isaac was great in the last Star Wars. I also kind of have a thing for Adam Driver — I passed him once on the street in Brooklyn and was really surprised by how “leading man” he seems in person; at the time I only knew him from Girls. On the lady side I always admire Emma Watson, Zoe Saldana, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, and more recently Charlize Theron, often for their fashion risks as much as the roles they take.
  • Spirit animal / person who you recognize a bit of yourself in: Maybe Keri Russell’s character in The Americans? She has a cool, almost cold way of looking at situations that I recognize in myself, but I lack her black/white view of the world. (Also, you know, I’m not a trained killer.) I might also put Bethenny Frankel in this category, although there are a ton of differences between us.
  • Hypothetical best friend / person you’d actually like to have a drink with: Probably a comedienne of some kind — Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Tina Fey, maybe Emma Stone or Melissa McCarthy. I also like Jill Kargman (creator/actress of Odd Mom Out). I might put Stacy London, Tim Gunn, or Susannah Martin (from the old BBC version of What Not to Wear) here too. I’d probably put Oprah on this list also.
  • Actors I cannot abide: Nicholas Cage, Kevin Costner, and Bill Paxton. (Aliens is one of my husband’s favorite movies and we joke that I can only stand watching Paxton in it because he dies a violent death.)

I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting — I’m looking forward to your lists in part so I can so OH YEAH I FORGOT ABOUT ____! (Ah, for the days when we had them all on posters around the room…)

Ladies, how about you? Who are your big crushes? Which celebrities do you watch for at awards shows — and which ones are you most likely to go see a movie just based on their star power alone? 


Coffee Break: Metallic Card Case

kate-spade-metallic-card-caseOooh: of course I’m going to love the metallic cobalt card case from Kate Spade — but the whole collection looks fun, especially if you’re the type who a) likes to have a colored wallet/card case so it’s easy to find in your bag, b) you like feminine, girly things, or c) you are trying to find a small gift for a person who meets either a) or b).  (I did try the use-a-card-case-instead-of-a-wallet-in-my-clutch trick the last time I wore a clutch and I really liked it.) Anyhoo: the card case is $50, and comes in a metallic cobalt, hot pink, and a more muted rose gold that isn’t pictured here; the larger wallets go as high as $158; they’re available at Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom,. (The confetti one in the picture is the “Grant Lane” collection, also fun.) kate spade new york Rainer Lane Metallic Card Case

Sale Alert: MAC is offering 25% off all orders through 12/4. Wish I’d known that before I ordered the Soar lipliner (one of their bestsellers) during Cyber Monday, but hopefully all the mascara samples I got (the Cyber Monday deal) will make up for that.