last-minute sustainable gift ideas

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If you celebrate Christmas and are like me, this last week before the holiday is a bit of a scramble to finish up all the preparations, including finding the perfect gifts for my loved ones. I do some of my gift selections earlier, but I also wait to make my final purchases to make sure I’m really choosing the right thing for each person. Ok, some of it is procrastination, but since many of my choices are sustainable, I don’t have to worry about the hot new thing being sold out.

Choosing gifts that are sustainable is easier on the environment, and can be easier on the budget as well. I don’t subscribe to the idea that something must be new to be a gift nor that it must be something that can be unwrapped. There are so many ways to show your love for someone while showing love for the earth at the same time.

Below are some sustainable gift ideas for you to explore for the important people in your life.

homemade

baked goods

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Who doesn’t love something scrumptious?

crafty fun

Instead of fighting crowds at the mall, get your maker hat on to create something big or small! Some of my most precious gifts are things made by my family members. Ornaments for the tree, coasters, book marks, knitted and crocheted hats, decorative pillows – the options are endless!

new-to-you

Consignment shops have so many amazing items that make wonderful gifts. Elite Repeat Consignment and Boutique (women’s clothing and accessories and giftables), Fashion Avenue (designer women and men’s clothing, accessories and jewelry), and Nu Look Consignment (women and men’s clothing and accessories) are all independent consignment shops that carry very high quality pieces. Look for:

cashmere

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At a fraction of the cost of retail, you can wrap your loved one in coziness without breaking the bank.

high-end jewelry and accessories

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Find luxury brand jewelry, scarves, ties, and more – again at 1/3 retail pricing.

items with tags still on

I frequently find gorgeous clothing with the retail tags still on them – meaning they are brand new! A client recently purchased something with the tags on it as a Christmas gift for her partner during a personal shopping session at a consignment store.

gift card for a new-to-you shop

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Not sure exactly what your loved one will like? Consignment shops sell gift cards, just like retail shops!

experiences

Experiences are one of the most sustainable gifts ever – less stuff AND creating time for your loved one to take a break to do something fun!

spa services – massage, facial, manicure, etc.

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I’ve mentioned how much I love my hair stylist Bee at Urban Village SalonSpa in previous blog posts. This fall my mother-in-law gave me a gift card (sustainable birthday gift!) to enjoy some of the other services there. LOVED. IT. I chose a massage with Sarah and a session with esthetician Whitney. Both were simply amazing. I would happily receive a gift card to Urban Village at every gift-giving opportunity! HINT.

plans for a date night with a gift card to a favorite or new restaurant

Simply making time to do something together can be the greatest gift. And the Twin Cities have so many fabulous restaurants!

cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at a fancy hotel or bar

The craft cocktail scene has exploded in the past few years. Two of my favorites are The Commodore in St. Paul, a gorgeously restored Art Deco venue, and Marvel Bar under The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, which feels like a speakeasy.

wacky fun

Mini-golf and arcade games accompanied by adult milkshakes? Axe-throwing? Yep. Check out Can Can Wonderland for fun for all ages and FlannelJax’s for your favorite lumberjack wannabe.

gift card to a movie theater with enough for two tickets and treats

Classic fun!

tickets to the theater

We have such great theater in the Twin Cities! Get tickets to a play at The Guthrie or a touring Broadway show at one of the Hennepin Theater Trust venues.

gift certificate to NDWC – pair it with a consignment shop gift card!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I offer gift certificates for any service or dollar amount. Give the gift of living your life without your wardrobe bringing you down and feeling great about how you look. So. much. fun.

I hope you enjoy the holiday season with the people who are important to you. The gift of time to reflect and share gratitude is the greatest gift of all.

happy holidays!

stacy london’s The Truth About Style

You likely remember TV-show What Not To Wear with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. I recently read Stacy London’s latest book, The Truth About Style, part memoir and part style makeover stories. Honestly, I just loved it. London is an engaging writer, and her personal stories are authentic and resonant. And now she’s kind of my idol.

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Do you see her silver streak? It makes me SO happy! Read why.

The stories of the women she worked with for the book are a good cross-section of many of the issues – body-image, self-worth, significant life-changes – that we all face and also reflect different personal styles, ages, and body types. Throughout the vignettes are plenty of good style tips as well as laugh-out-loud observations delivered in typical Stacy London bluntness. She has a way of speaking truth about body image, style, aging, and more without disparaging others – in the same way a great stand-up comedian is one who is side-splittingly funny without excessive foul language, misogyny, or bigotry.

Before I read the book, I didn’t really know much about London’s backstory other than she is a fashion expert. She had a painful (literally and figuratively) childhood and adolescence as the result of a severe skin condition, and she talks about it frankly in the book. The fallout from her condition led to other body-image issues, including disordered eating.

I realized that her ability to work so genuinely with “real women” stems from her very first-hand experience. She has not had a charmed life, and her grit (and intelligence) is what got her where she is today. And she has impeccable style. She knows how to work with women to find the clothes that help them look, and thus feel, GREAT. She’s all kinds of awesome.

When I first launched my wardrobe consulting business, a friend described me as “a greener, sweeter What Not To Wear.” That made me smile, because What Not To Wear is where it all began for me. Watching that show 11 years ago was the beginning of my personal style journey, which ultimately led me to starting my own business.

I spent a lot of years hiding my body. The 80s and 90s were great decades to do that with their respective baggy and boxy styles. The looser the better, in my book. My dad is 6’4″, and I would raid his closet for Men’s XL Tall shirts (I’m 5’8″, and the shirts came down to my knees). That shifted some as I moved forward in my professional life, but not a lot. I would experience physical symptoms of anxiety if anything was too form-fitting.

I remember stumbling on What Not To Wear when my daughter was a toddler. It was typical reality TV with over-dramatization, but there was something about how Stacy London and Clinton Kelly interacted with the makeover winners that resonated with me. It was obvious that they truly wanted to help these women embrace their bodies “as is” and feel good about how they looked. And they knew how to make it happen. Of course, to be good television, often the women were extreme in their previous clothing choices. But even so, Stacy and Clinton gave really good style advice that was applicable to everyone, including me.

I always loved clothes, just not on myself. What Not To Wear caught me right when I was embracing that it was time to put aside the negative messages I’d held onto for SO. MANY. YEARS. For my sake. For my daughter’s sake.

The show gave me the tools to find clothes that worked with my body, rather than hide it. And I felt better about myself as a result. The better I felt, the more accepting of myself and the more confident I became. How you look on the outside really does affect how you feel on the inside.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days. We all do. But I have a much better perspective now and know to consciously step back and see the old, negative messages for what they are – a big bunch of hooey.

Reading The Truth About Style was a nice reminder of how much I love Stacy London’s honest, humorous approach that is backed by deep understanding and caring, as well as a passion for style. The book would make a great holiday gift for anyone who’s interested in embracing her true self and showing it with personal style.