Win two passes to the 2017 WITI Annual Summit in San Jose

Women In Technology Summit (And Girls Too)

WITI (Women in Technology International) is one of the first groups for Women in Technology. With a global network approaching 2 million women it’s been a favorite resource of mine throughout my career. In a few days they’ll host their 23rd Annual Summit in San Jose, California and for the 16th year in a row I will be unable to attend because my children seem to attend schools where the WITI Summit is smack dab in the middle of Final Exams or High School Graduation.

Allow me a moment to melt down at the fact that I am nearly in possession of a high school graduate.

Anyhow, back to WITI. This year they have a Middle School and High School track on June 11th. I was offered tickets for myself and my daughter but getting there would be impossible so I want to open it up to you guys.

Would you like two tickets to the 23rd Annual WITI Summit? The program is here and it’s chock full of learning from leaders in their fields. I can tell you this, with Amanda Coolong as emcee and Laurel Mintz hosting a panel I know there is content that will entertain and enlighten. These are two of the smartest women I’ve met in my decade with the Silicon Beach gang.

In any event I asked for the tickets even though I can’t go and two of you are going to win them.

If you’d like to ensure tickets for yourself you can sign up here and use the promo code INSPIRE17 to Save $250 off the conference pass and get a year of WITI membership free. 

If you win the giveaway after having purchased we’ll have WITI refund your purchase price.

We’d be so excited if one of you brought your daughter to the teen program on the 11th which is a partnership with Code Circle.

As someone with a background in both education and technology I cannot emphasize enough how impressive it is that Code Circle teaches the logic behind programming. Anyone can memorize snippets. A real education has girls understanding why those snippets of code exist.

Women In Technology Teen Track

 

Good luck! I wish I could be there.

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When a fashion house blocks you on Instagram is it because you've done something wrong or is it something else?

I Wear Lanvin Even Though They Blocked Us On Instagram

Lanvin blocked our Midlife account on Instagram and I am befuddled by the action. With more than 3 million followers how did someone at Lanvin decide that we are the women they don’t want to hear from?

I’m not supposed to have a favorite, but I do. My favorite shoes are a pair of Lanvin Mary Janes that feature a brass chain. They are the kind of shoes that you wear when you want compliments all day long.

Maybe this Instagram photo wasn’t to their liking? 

My second, third, and fourth favorites are also Lanvin. I have slides, I have ballet slippers, I had athletic shoes but there was an unfortunate kitten event when he got locked in my closet… I have flats and I’ve bought footwear for both my husband and my son. I am a ridiculous human being. No one needs these shoes but they bring me pleasure, so I buy them. I love dressing my family nicely. I buy some of the ready to wear as well. I adore great style. I am light on fast moving trends.

Admittedly, at 47 years old I understand that I am the target demographic for few brands. I had assumed that folks will sell me clothes because I can pay for them. But never truly embrace women over 35 in their finery.

For most of my life I had acknowledged the disappearing 40+ woman as a harsh reality and chosen to ignore the phenomenon. Giggled even. And then last August I started an Instagram account with my friend Stephanie. We were both tired of the world pretending we were invisible.

We Are Midlife is the name of our website and of our Instagram account. It’s made some of our friends recoil in horror. One had a meltdown that she almost got into a photo with us. Midlife is a hard word for some folks to say.

We live in the space between Free People and Chicos.

I have no reason to buy dowdy clothes just as I have no reason to wear my teenage daughter’s clothes. Lanvin was one of those brands right in the middle.

So I wore my Lanvin shoes on Instagram. Maybe one too many times?

Lanvin blocked me. Like we just don’t exist to them anymore.

At first I was really sad, and I didn’t want to wear my shoes or my blouses. Then I remembered that it was just one person with access to one Instagram account. Maybe they were having a bad day? I tried to not take it personally.

But later when I went to go open my blue shoe boxes, and loosen the silky bows that hold them closed, I didn’t feel very good about the brand.

Why would they block our account? Are we too old? Too ugly? Too suburban? Too white? Too enthusiastic? Too American? We’re too something, we just don’t know what the something is.

It’s unlikely that we ever will know. I’ve DM’ed @LanvinOfficial from my personal account, the one with the puppy pictures and the tennis store with the dusty taxidermy owl. No response.

I understand that there’s a push and pull with brand management. You want young and willowy women with toothy Kennedy smiles posing for photos bedecked in Lanvin. And then you want those photos cross posted to Pinterest where they will be seen by women a tiny bit younger who will save for an investment piece. All of this will happen if Lanvin happens upon the trend du jour. Or if their moms buy them a gift.

I did note that of the 427 people @LanvinOfficial follows on Instagram there are a few in my age group. A Frenchwoman I cannot identify, Linda Evangelista, and Michelle Obama. We share an adoration of Michelle Obama’s style, me and whomever it is that runs the account.

Women like us, who are devoted to quality, wear their investment pieces everywhere. We know that saving things for special occasions simply translates into never wearing nice things. Later never comes.

And maybe this sounds a little Single White Female of me. But Lanvin, I will always love you.

And I will most likely continue wearing Lanvin clothing and shoes on Instagram, I just won’t tag you in it, because you blocked me. And I’m not sure why that happened when there were so many other options, including the option of clicking twice and untagging @LanvinOfficial.

I did notice that even though the Lanvin account has more 3 million followers and mine has yet to hit 30,000 we routinely have more comments and interaction with our community. Maybe there’s a great strategy in being aloof and never responding to anyone? You know, like that really popular boy in high school who never noticed you and your crush grew deeper.

I strongly suspect that this block has to do with a number. And the number was unlikely the thousands of dollars I’ve spent in your shoes.

These are all instagram photos where the brand @LanvinOfficial was tagged.

Keri Close Pres Creative jewelry for Mothers Day is a great gift and it supports The Africa Foundation

Près Creative: From FriendRaisers to Foundations

Keri Close lovingly makes jewelry that was worn with pride first by the women of Los Angeles, and now the country. Like many artisan businesses Près Creative Fine Handmade Jewelry was born of both passion and need and continues to grow with talent and tenacity.

When Keri’s Husband, Eric Close, was working in South Africa a quick PSA was added on to his work schedule. No one knew at the time it would change so many lives. Because of this PSA, Keri was introduced first hand to the important work that the Africa Foundation does. She was touched by the joy and warmth of completed projects and moments later heartbroken to see a school without a roof. She was informed that $40,000 US Dollars would provide a roof. Keri and Eric headed home, resolute in problem solving, hosted a FriendRaiser (a house party with people you know specifically for the purpose of fundraising), and in one day $56,000 was raised and a roof was built.

After doing a PSA in Africa Keri and Eric Close threw a fundraiser and they were able to build Nhlalala Creche for schoolchildren

This is a lovely story, but how did this lead to Près Creative?

When challenged by our pastor to find a place where our passion and gifts will have eternal value – I thought, “I am passionate about the people of Mduku and Welverdiend,  South Africa. How can I use my gifts to spread the word about the work Africa Foundation does to empower and improve the lives of the people in those communities?  What can I do besides write a check?  Or have a party?” I had been making jewelry for fun for about five years (using only sterling silver, gold and semi-precious gemstones which makes it a very expensive hobby!) and giving my pieces as gifts to family, friends, my daughter’s friends and teachers. Then one day someone asked me “Why don’t you sell your jewelry?” My answer was, “Because I love it, I love being creative, and I love giving it away.  It’s not about the money.”  Then came the “ah-ha” moment.  What if I could marry my passion for Africa Foundation with my passion for designing and making jewelry, giving away the proceeds to help the people in those S. African communities? This was the birth of Près (pronounced ‘pray’) Creative Handmade Jewelry.

As a  natural introvert Keri’s time spent alone creating jewelry during the workday rejuvenates her and leaves her fresh for her family when they convene at the school day’s end.

Armed with a Masters in Social Work Keri’s first career had been in caring for other people’s children at Hillsides Home for Children in Pasadena, California. She was a therapist for pre-adolescent girls. Keri stopped working there during the second trimester of her first pregnancy and Près Creative was born a decade and a half later as her second daughter entered high school and her first daughter began to drive.

One could successfully argue that Keri never did stop taking care of other people’s children. She currently sits on the advisory board for Africa Foundation and at 47 is able to spend her days creatively exploring her passions.

At midlife Keri Close learned entrepreneurship.

She found it both daunting and exiting to learn the ins and outs of small business including how to make a business plan, getting the proper licensure, budgets, product pricing, marketing and building a website.
Her name is Keri Close. Jewelry is her “What”. People are her “Why”.

When Eric Close had to work in South Africa it sparked a philanthropic and creative career for his wife Keri.

 

 

The secret to a perfect brisket involves waking up in the middle of the night and shutting the oven off.

Brisket Secrets: There’s a 2am Visit to the Oven

Stefanie and I were talking about Passover and family traditions. She wanted to know what to bring the hosts when you’re invited to a seder. This can be tricky, Kosher for Passover wine is always a good idea as is Kosher for Passover Coca Cola (yellow cap on a two liter bottle), or flowers for the table. White flowers would be traditional in my family.

Then Stefanie went on to tell me that her friend gets up at 2am to make her brisket. Which is when my jaw dropped and I was like, “I must know why! What’s her email? Who is this superwoman?”

I must confess that I was also in awe that anyone could make a brisket taste good without it being in a smoker or smothered in BBQ sauce (not traditional for a Pesach table) so I emailed Jacqui Biery, pescatarian and brisket maker extraordinaire to ask her a few questions.

Stef said you get up at 2am to make your brisket – why? The temperature must be extremely low!

I have two Brisket recipes. The first is my interpretation of Ina Gartner’s Brisket with carrots and onions recipe and the second one is a Japanese inspired sort of teriyaki brisket that I kind of made up when I had a Japanese/California Shabbat dinner a few years ago.

After many years of cooking brisket a friend shared her secret to making a perfect brisket and I do it for both recipes. I put the brisket in the oven when I go to bed. I cook the brisket at 300 degrees for about 20-30 minutes per pound. Then I wake up in the middle of night and turn the oven off, leaving the brisket in until morning. Since the oven is airtight and the brisket gets tender as the oven cools down.

Who handed your recipes down to you?

I am a pescatarian. I don’t eat meat. But my husband and four children do. I love traditions and even more so during the Jewish holidays. I grew up with my mom, aunt, and bubbie cooking a brisket with Lipton onion soup mix, Campbell’s soup “Golden mushroom” and a can of water. I did it a few times, but I like to cook with fresh ingredients. So many years ago I started experimenting with different recipes until my family decided on their favorites. Now we have our own brisket traditions.

How many people are coming for Seder this year?

This year we have been invited to a friends for Passover. I am not cooking the brisket. So it is likely that I will have a Paseach dinner on Shabbat, which will likely be around 20 people, because we always have guests over when we prepare a Shabbat dinner.

Who helps you cook?

My youngest daughter Ilana is ten and she loves to help me cook. She does most of the washing, chopping, and mixing.

What do you do with leftover brisket?

In my house, everyone looks forward to lunch the next day. During Passover, they will eat brisket with matzo, but during the rest of the year it is a brisket on challah sandwich.

Why do people hate brisket (me!) unless it’s been smoked?

I don’t eat meat myself, so I don’t really know. But I remember growing up and brisket seemed like a tough meat. I think cooking the brisket at 300 and then leaving it in the oven at a low heat for a few extra hours, leaves the brisket tender and moist. I know this because of how it slices and of course my family and friends. Perhaps it is the smoke flavor and slower process that make the smoked brisket taste better.

I’m a Size 6 and I Check Plus Size Models

I’m a size 6. I’ve been as small as a 4 and as large as an 8, but there hasn’t been much variance since I’ve hit adulthood. I’m not petite, I’m not particularly large, I’m neither tall nor short. I most certainly am not plus sized. My most valuable shopping tip might surprise you.

When I’m shopping online or in catalogs I check what the plus sized models are wearing.

Unless you’re tall and willowy and shaped like a fashion model looking at most websites won’t help you understand what clothing will look like on you. Although Stefanie and I have closets full of clothing that are the same size we really don’t look good in the same types of clothing.

There is more to dressing a woman than her size.

Here are two similar looks.

two women wearing similar outfits, one is a traditional fashion model and one is a plus sized model

Both women are wearing dresses over denim, a questionable choice but let’s just play along. It’s easy to see where this isn’t a difficult maneuver for a traditionally slim and tall fashion model. The wrap dress is cinched at the waist and it gives her the slightest appearance of hips. Unfortunately looking at this gives me no idea of how it will look on me, I have no waist. It’s sort of a straight line down for me.

If I go to a plus sized model I end up seeing someone who looks like me. The model on the right doesn’t have a nipped in waist and, frankly, the dress over denim look is just unflattering on her. She is beautiful and looks great in other photos. This plus sized model with a figure that resembles mine helps me make my decision.

When I’m trying a new style I often land in a dressing room and try on a dozen items and leave in frustration. Sometimes though, I’m smart about it and I cruise through H&M plus to check out trends.

Next time I’ll try to figure out why 100% of their plus size dresses are dark green or black. Hey H&M I’m going to let you in on a secret: Plus sized women look great in bright colors!

 

Like You Never Tried to Take Your Underwear Off Before Your Pants….

I don’t like the dentist. I mean, I like her because she’s a nice lady but when I hear the whirr of a drill I break into a sweat and wish for a quick death.

That is not hyperbole.

Yes it is. I lied to you already.

When I was in Mexico during the holidays I noticed a little dent in one of my teeth. I phoned the dentist to set an appointment, but as everyone knows at the end of the year folks are using up their insurance benefits and it’s tough to get in. Since there was no pain, not even a little discomfort, I took an appointment in the middle of January.

Two days before the appointment my tooth turned grey. It had died.

Since my entire dental history consisted of the removal of my wisdom teeth and filling a cavity at 21 I had no idea what was in store for me. My fear of dentistry and drills was compounded by the fact that my friend’s alcoholic father had removed my wisdom teeth and left me with dry sockets at 19, and then later at 21 I won my one and only filling in a poker game in the back room of the restaurant I worked in. I don’t think that dentist was any better at dentistry than he was at poker. I had that filling fixed at 30 and I’m still recovering from the incident.

In any event my dead tooth meant I needed a root canal. I didn’t know what a root canal is. When the dentist tried to explain it to me I got woozy. I still don’t know what a root canal is except that it’s $650 after insurance, takes three appointments to complete, and you get Xanax.

Oh, apparently there are people who have root canals and then go to the office. My husband has told me about these people. These are not my people. My people sweat bullets, cancel appointments from nerves, and then take Xanax and maybe act a little silly.

My people have good intentions and low thresholds for pain.

There are three appointments for a root canal. The first involves drilling, the second involves drilling and things, and the third involves something and something and a credit card… see I’m a good listener. I made my first appointment and then a few hours before the scheduled time I canceled it. Something about traffic. I made another appointment. I canceled it muttering something else about traffic. The receptionist noted that I lived walking distance from the office and asked if I would like some Xanax so that I could get to the appointment without anxiety.

Yes please. Yes I would like a bucket of Xanax for each and every visit to the dentist forever and ever amen.

They called in a prescription, I filled it, swallowed a pill and dutifully showed up for my next appointment. High. Very very high.

I had my son with me. We took a Lyft to the office and my daughter was to pick us up. He had a cleaning while I had the unnamed first root canal appointment that everyone in the free world knows about and understands because they can listen to the dentist’s words without their eyes rolling back in their head and their stomach churning. Everyone but me.

My recollection is that I sat in the chair with my noise reducing headphones, listened to some music and slept while they worked on my tooth. My daughter then picked us up and I went home and slept in my overstuffed chaise lounge from 2pm until the following morning. My recollection was that I acted like a lady.

Sadly my recollection was incorrect.

The first tip off was that I woke up in bed. Not in the chaise I was sure I’d been napping in.

Apparently there were requests for food. Perhaps calls to my husband during a business dinner. Here are the texts from my daughter’s phone:

text messages with a father and daughter
text messages

In my defense I have taken Xanax a number of times before, particularly for transcontinental flights. Typically I get a few pills at .25mg, break them in half, take half and wake up in a new country. Only after hearing from my children about how I stood on the landing above the living room trying to remove my underwear while my jeans were still very much on my body and buttoned up did I check the dosage the dentist had given me. Two Milligrams! Sixteen times the dose I’d taken dozens of times in the past.

Today I’m going for appointment number three. I’ve decided that I’ll have an old fashioned with a light lunch, wear really strong antiperspirant and let someone drive me to and fro the appointment. Or maybe a smidgen of Xanax, but only enough so that I know how to get myself dressed.

Or maybe I’ll just cancel the appointment… traffic. I mean, I still have enough teeth to get through a meal, right?

Hermès is for Style. Hermès is not for Fashion

It seems as though every woman over 40 in Los Angeles has the Hermès H belt. There’s a good reason for this. It is a lovely looking accessory and if you’ve ever owned Hermès leather goods you understand that they are artisan made and the gold standard of luxury. One of my belt straps is more than five years old and still looks like new. I am extremely rough on it but it is well-made and the perfect example of why we buy luxury items. Though they may be pricey you only have to make the purchase once.

The problem with the H belt is that everybody has the same one.

If you go on certain websites you’ll find plenty of copies of the H belt and much like the Louboutin red sole it is dangerously close to becoming basic.

So I was looking for a new buckle, these are belt kits after all, and I was also hoping to add the white and red strap to my collection. I found exactly what I wanted and ordered it online to no avail. Hermès is a French brand, and in keeping with being very very French they are not capitalists. When you order things they may or may not arrive. Nothing ever arrived. I wasn’t even surprised, I’m accustomed to their abuse.

Luckily for me Stefanie was headed to Montreal where the exchange rate is favorable and she was going to have lots of free time to wander and shop. Stefanie went and picked up the red belt for me along with a gold toned buckle that isn’t living on every Instagram account. Now I can use all of my straps with this lovely buckle.

White and Red Leather Hermès Belt Kit

 

My straps historically have been 90 cm long. They run comfortably across the middle of my hips where they have been resting for a number of years. The last couple of years our denim creeped up our waistline bit by bit and now I’ve got more than a few pair of high waisted pants. So when Stefanie asked me what size to get I wasn’t forward thinking and requested another 90. Of course I realized that I now had nothing to wear with high waisted jeans as there was no way in the world a size 90 would hold my pants up.

So I went to the Hermès store on Rodeo Drive with the belt kit that Stefanie had purchased to exchange the 90 cm strap for an 85 cm strap. I was there at the very end of the day on Saturday, as they are not open Sundays it was crowded and people were feeling very rushed. My sales lady though older and elegant, was clearly harassed and making no effort to be kind or patient. Sometimes Hermès is just like that. I wasn’t looking for a friend, I was looking for a belt.

I picked out my new strap and as we went to the cashier I pulled out three other straps to have her add holes to them. It was at that point that I remembered one of them was a 95 cm strap and I owned it in that size because it was a very limited run color and I had added the extra holes early on. This annoyed my sales person further and I got a lecture about the five hole maximum.

In keeping with being slightly difficult Hermès will add holes to your belt, but only two. The third hole is illegal. A crime against fashion if you will.

My son and I sort of nodded at each other and rolled our eyes. I accepted that I would have one belt that was too big and maybe I would pass it along to a friend or perhaps I would drop it off at a consignment store.

All of a sudden my sales lady was very concerned that I was dropping a full 5 inches on my waist line, she wanted to know if I was aware that the difference between 95 cm and 85 cm was a full 5 inches. I smiled and replied to her that I was well aware, and that now that pants were worn higher we needed smaller belts.

Suddenly my saleslady goes into a long tirade about exactly where pants are worn. “No one is wearing pants high” she explains to me “The fashion is to keep them low on your hips.” And I began to argue with her but then I remembered that she she worked in a store where the most coveted item has remained unchanged since 1984.

Hermès is where are you go for style. Not for fashion. If you want to know what’s in fashion look in the window at H&M.

But it’s always fun to get yelled at by a new person and I still love their leather goods and silks.

I Joined a Contact Team Sport After 40

I understand the value of team sports. I loved them growing up and as an adult play doubles tennis for very different reasons than I’d play singles. In my 30’s I went out to play soccer as I’d done in my teens and decided that contact sports just aren’t destined to be part of my life any longer. I didn’t want to get bashed around.

When we asked our friends if they’d taken up a sport at any age over 40 we found that team sports were still appealing and that crashing into other athletes is good at any age.

What made our friends take up a team sport after 40?

Tanis Miller has two kids in University and one who will always live at home. Her husband travels a good deal for work, she’s been a runner for most of her life, and when a friend convinced her to try out for a ball hockey team she said yes without thinking too much about it. Tanis was surprised to find out how much she loves it.

Having known Tanis a good long time I had to ask what in the world she was thinking playing any sort of hockey with a back injury. She said:

I do have major back issues, including neuropathy in my feet and chronic back pain, all residual due to the nerve damage I sustained in a bad fall. Protecting my back and continuing to strengthen it is my number one health priority. I’ve learned over time the very best pain management I can find is to move and to keep moving. Since my son is only going to grow bigger and heavier, and he is always going to be a quadriplegic, I need to learn how to live with my back injury while still being able to parent and safely lift him.

I am very selective and protective on the activities I will engage in, so as to not hurt myself while I strengthen and maintain my fitness. No ice or snow sports other than snowshoeing (which I love). However, that said, life is short, yoga gets boring and I can’t live in a bubble. Joy is out there, waiting to be found. Who knew, for me, it would involve running around a concrete rink, wearing hockey gear, holding a stick and chasing a hard rubber ball? And yet here I am. 7 years ago, after my accident, I would never have thought it possible. One step at a time. I don’t take it for granted at all.

Contact Sports Midlife

Jennifer Taggart: Attorney at Brawl – Why Jennifer joined the Roller Derby at 40

Jennifer roller skated her days away as a child and loved every minute of it. At 40 she really wanted to do something that would help her get and stay in shape while being on a team with other women. She happened upon roller derby which sounded and was fabulous. Surrounded by women of all ages who loved to skate she found a home with strong and powerful athletes. But with an edge.

Attorney by day, Derby by night, this is Attorney at Brawl.
Attorney by day, Derby by night, this is Attorney at Brawl.

I’m going to go ahead and live vicariously through our contact sport friends. Hockey in all its forms and Roller Derby are exhilarating to watch, so just call us the cheering section.

Jessica’s Holiday Gift Ideas

I have to confess that I get more pleasure from gift giving than receiving. As a rule I’ve generally bought myself all of what I need and most of what I want. I’m not frugal by any stretch but I’ve got limited interest in objects that won’t stand the test of time.

With that in mind here are gifts that would delight me (or someone like me):

Watercoloring Books! 

Remember the coloring book craze of 2016? Well, 2017 is gonna be a stressful year so add water to that. Here’s a link to purchase my favorite (under $20).

watercolor book for adults

LoveKnitz 

I’m a scarf person. I forget to wear necklaces and I’m always cold. That scarves are attractive accessories is icing on the ombre cake. You never have to ask a lady’s size when you bring her a scarf and this purple ombre scarf from LoveKnitz is 50/50 wool and cashmere. Cost $195

xmas cashemere ombre scarf

M Cushion (A massage pillow)

Everyone loves a shiatsu massage but life gets in the way of having one each day. The M Cushion has a built in deep kneading shiatsu massage. I’m recommending this one blind, I’ve not seen it, touched it or experienced it but I’m likely ordering it so we’ll all decide together if it was a good idea.

Buy the M Cushion here for $160

M Cushion: A throw pillow with a built in shaitsu massage

A Tea Subscription

I love tea. I recently picked up Lord Bergamont from Smith Teas and enjoyed it so much that I’ll likely subscribe myself. You know that colleague who is always wandering around the office with a cup of tea? Try Smith Tea, they’ll be grateful. If you’re feeling generous get them a year’s subscription if it’s not in budget scroll around the site and find a couple of tins for gifting.

If you follow SmithTeamakers on twitter they often share discount codes.

12 month tea subscription $179 

smith teamakers subscription

Diamond Studs. Obviously. 

Dan Moran from Concierge Diamonds has taken the diamond stud and elevated it with a unique halo design. This makes them appear larger and brighter. Yes, we’re perfectly capable of buying our own diamonds, we’re adult women after all. But there’s something special about getting diamonds as a gift.

[If I can be candid, this is really just a hint to my husband.]

Prices upon request 

Diamond Stud Earrings

 

Unique Hostess Gifts

I don’t know about you but when I’m hosting Thanksgiving I’m going to struggle to find places for the leftovers. When people show up with hostess gifts that are food or wine I’m delighted that they’ve thought of me but sometimes it’s a struggle to make good use of it during the holiday season. Also if you’re invited to a home with dietary restrictions gifting can start to feel like a booby trap.

We came up with a solid list of Hostess Gifts that are sure to be appreciated this Holiday Season.

 

Gluten Free Low Carb Grain Free Cookbook hostess gift
If you’re invited to a gluten free, grain free or low carb home Anna Vocino’s hardcover cookbook makes the perfect gift.

Buy Eat Happy on Amazon 

 

Tiffany & Co Playing Cards hostess gift
Everyone loves to play cards but having a deck out is typically not attractive. At just $35 on Tiffany.com this set is a great gift option for all ages and genders. You can pick up a half dozen of them and leave them in the gift closet as they’re perfect for any host.

Buy cards at Tiffany.com

Yard Dice on Etsy holiday hostess gift
If your host loves handmade items and knows how to have fun Yard Dice are the perfect gift. These are 3.5 inch cubes that will make Yahtzee a new kind of fun.

CreationsByLLove on Etsy $35

Tiffany Picture Frame holiday hostess gift
This 5 x 7 Tiffany and Co Pewter picture frame is elegant, understated and will match the decor of anyone’s home. Bonus: it’s $75!

Frame at Tiffany.com

Diptyque baies colored candle holiday hostess gift
If you are completely baffled by people who insist on luxury items when Target makes “the same thing” and your hostess is one of those people a Diptyque candle is the perfect gift. The scents are sublime and the packaging elegant. This one is from the Baies collection. Shop on Net A Porter and skip the sales tax and the shipping costs.

Baies Collection on Net a Porter – $90

cashmere throw holiday hostess gift
Let’s say you’re looking for an opulent gift for that special family who has been overly generous to yours for a number of years. A cashmere throw adds elegance and warmth to any living room and if you’re Stefanie you grab yours off the sofa and wrap yourself in it while you’re sitting on a soccer field at I-Need-Coffee o’clock on a Sunday. The Sferra Dorsey Throw can be ordered from Bloomingdales for $525.

Sferra Dorsey Throw at Bloomingdales for $525.

Donors Choose Gift Card holiday hostess gift
One of my personal favorites is a Donors Choose Gift Card. Donors Choose allows you to support classroom projects in your neighborhood or across town where they really need some help.
I keep Donors Choose in mind for last minute gifting because you can simply print a page out, stick it in a card and have a warm and welcome hostess gift.
Available in almost every amount.

DonorsChoose.org