VF's Holiday Gift Guide: For Everyone On Your List

December 17, 2014   

The holidays are right around the corner and if you still haven’t completed your holiday shopping (we are guilty of always waiting until the last minute) today we’re bringing you some gift ideas for everyone on your list.

 1. For the Bag Lover: This crocodile clutch from Gigi is perfect for the bag lover. It pretty much makes a statement on its own and can spice up any dull outfit. A clutch is also the perfect accessory whether it’s for day or night.
Where to Buy: Saks Fifth Avenue, $148 

 2. For the BFF: We love these pajamas from Eberjey, which are probably the softest pajamas we’ve ever seen. They also come in different colors and you can choose between a short or pants set.
Where to Buy: Eberjey, $97 

3. For the Fragrance Lover: This Euphoria Calvin Klein fragrance is provocative, and sexy and would make the perfect gift for the fragrance lover in your life. It was inspired by a newfound freedom and is all about living one’s dream. We absolutely love the way it smells!
Where to Buy: 3.4 oz, Macy’s, $88 

4. For the Little Ones: I absolutely love these moccasins from Freshly Picked, our son owns 3 of them. They come in different colors from gold, blue, pink and make great gifts for both boys and girls. Even Kourtney Kardashian is a fan of this brand.
Where to Buy: Freshly Picked, $60 

5. For the Fashionista: You can never go wrong with a statement necklace. Whether it’s for your sister, mom or best friend this necklace from J.Crew would go great with a little black dress or with a simple white tee.
Where to Buy: J.Crew, $79 

6. For the Hostess: I spotted this designer cheese dome at Marshalls and immediately feel in love. It would make the perfect hostess gift or for decorating a dinning table. 
Where to Buy: Marshalls, $25 

7. For the New Mom: I’m sure any new mom would absolutely love this Nespresso Inissia Intense Black machine, especially for those sleepless nights. This one is compact and lightweight and it fits perfectly into any interior design.
Where to Buy: Nespresso, $99

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Calvin Klein and Style Coalition. All opinions, as always, are my own. 

Holiday Entertaining Tips: Latin Inspired Holiday Party

December 9, 2014   
Photo Credit: Elle Decor 
The holidays are right around the corner, which means plenty of gatherings with friends and family and tons of delicious foods. One of my favorite things about entertaining is embracing my Hispanic culture and sharing it with friends (who might not share my same background). If you’re looking to do the same this holiday season or perhaps embrace traditions from different Latin countries, here are a few tips to help you get started:

Tip #1: Set the scene Set the mood by decorating with fresh, colorful flowers, candles and paper lanterns. One of my favorite flowers for decorating during the holidays is poinsettias. Indigenous to Mexico and Central America, they are widely used in Christmas floral displays and can be found pretty much anywhere. If you’re looking to add some Christmas spirit to your décor you can also consider decorating with a nativity scene (pesebre). This is very popular in many South American countries, such as Colombia.

Tip #2: Set the table If you have more than eight guests, I always recommend using place card holders for your table. Nobody likes playing musical chairs, and place cards make things a lot easier. You can use fruits, such pomegranates, the symbol of abundance, as place card holders for your guests. I also really like these Christmas tree place card holders like this one from Crate&Barrel.

Tip #3: Make the food festive but easy You don’t want to be a slave to the kitchen, so instead consider serving your guests tapas-style dishes. These are ideal for entertaining because your guests will have a variety of small dishes that are full of flavor. Some of my favorites include chorizo, croquetas, prosciutto-wrapped dates, olives and a variety of cheeses. Especially popular in Argentina, empanadas are always a favorite appetizer. If you don’t want to make them yourself, look for a caterer that specializes in Latin food or ask your favorite Latin restaurant if they cater.

Tip #4: Latin-inspired drinks I love to make an alcohol-free mojito shake, which is always a huge hit at the Ordonez house. It basically includes vanilla ice cream, milk, lime juice, sugar and torn mint leaves. You mix it in a blender and, voilà, you’ve got yourself the perfect drink that’s light and delicious. For non-alcoholic drinks you can also serve Latin American sodas. For example, in Colombia we have a cola called Colombianas and an apple-flavored soda called Manzana Postobón, both of which are amazing! If you’d like an alcoholic beverage, consider sangria, a wine punch typical of Spain, Portugal and Argentina. Normally consisting of wine, chopped fruit and a small amount of brandy, it’s easy to create several at once. It can be served in a bowl, making it easy for your guests to help themselves. For some Peruvian flair, try a Pisco sour.

To read this post in Spanish, you can also check out my guest posts on RetailMeNot's blog called "Cupones Para Ti."

I WANT Your Job: Fashion Designer, Sarah Carson

December 4, 2014   

Before I started my career as a fashion blogger and on-air style expert, I really had no idea I could actually make this my job. Since working as a blogger,  I've come across so many amazing women, who hold even more amazing jobs in the fashion industry. From fashion designers, creative directors, stylists, fashion editors, there are so many opportunities. 

I often come across young girls or perhaps women who are looking for a career change, who ask me how I got started or if I know of different career opportunities while still working in fashion. 

I thought I'd start a new series on the blog called "I Want Your Job," in which I'll interview women who work in the fashion industry and how they got their start. 

First up is Sarah Carson. Sarah is an investment banker turned fashion designer who launched her own clothing line, Leota, in 2010. Without any prior knowledge of the fashion industry, her clothing line has doubled in sales annually since its inception and currently sells to over 400 fine retailers nationwide. In addition to everyday-wear and dresses, she has expanded her collection to also include maternitywear. 

Today she shares with us tips on how to start your own clothing line: 

Q:  Tell me about your clothing line, how did it get started? 

A: Leota is a contemporary fashion brand made in New York. We design our own prints and specialize in the perfect day-to-night dress that you can wear anywhere. Combining luxury wrinkle-free stretch fabrics with chic prints, Leota is the new uniform for sophistication and simplicity. In addition to our contemporary collection, we also have a maternity line and a party dress collection. I used to spend countless hours at my home sewing machine churning out cute jersey dresses I could wear anywhere. After countless compliments and special orders, I started to think I should be making dresses for a living.

I named the business after my great grandmother Leota, because my family history is the inspiration for my brand and my personal style. My great grandmother Leota used to say, “good manners and effortless glamour never go out of style.” I launched Leota with 5 printed dresses back in 2010. I didn’t know a soul in the apparel business so I had to find creative ways of getting information. I would follow fabric delivery guys around the garment district to figure out where the factories were. You have to be scrappy to make it in fashion.

When you are a new business, people don’t work with you because they have to – they work with you because they want to. That means people have to like you. I focused on building long-term relationships.

Q: What are the first steps in starting a clothing line? 

A: First, be financially conservative and focus on sales. Before you start paying for a fancy runway show and ads in Vogue, prove that your concept works by selling your product to stores. Figure out how to perfect your fit, produce your collection, ship on time. Manufacture only the quantities you have pre-sold. Analyze the market. What is the unmet need in the marketplace that you can fill? Who are your competitors and where will your product “hang”? What is your price point? Who do you imagine wearing your clothes and where are they wearing it? 

Your styling, pricing, and end consumer need to make sense. One myth is that retailers want newness. The truth is that buyers are very risk-averse and are under pressure to be profitable. Therefore, they are hesitant to try out a new brand. Why would they buy your line when they already know their existing brands will sell? That is the reality. If a store buys your line for a season, there is no guarantee they will buy it the next season. The selling process never stops. You can never get comfortable.

Q: How does one go about finding a manufacturer. Are there any sources/websites you can recommend? Do you recommend looking for U.S. manufacturers? 

A:  Local, ethical manufacturing is central to my values and my brand. Leota is 100% made in NYC by local artisans and we are proud to be creating jobs and contributing to the economy right here. Thanks to the investment partnerships between the NYC Economic Development Council, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and brands like Leota, mass production in New York is easier than ever. Leota produces thousands of garments locally every month at a profitable margin and I encourage new brands to do the same. 

Here are some resources: 


Field Trip: Breakfast with Henri Bendel + Harper's BAZAAR

December 3, 2014   

Today I attended a fun breakfast with  Henri Bendel and Harper's BAZZAR to kick-off Art Basel in Miami. We got to meet with the creative director of Henri Bendel, Pina Ferlisi and learn more about the brand. I was really amazed by all of their accessories and handbags, which would make great gifts for the holidays. Below are a few of my favorite pieces. I particularly love that Jetsetter backpack, which doubles as a satchel. As a new mommy, I'm always looking for accessories that are convenient and practical. 

For my outfit, I wore a few pieces I scored during Black Friday, including this chambray shirt from Ann Taylor and these black skinny jeans from GUESS. I added a pop of color with this red skinny belt from LOFT, but overall kept things pretty classic. 

My camera was acting a bit weird (hence the blurry picture above). But I still wanted to share this picture so you could see the outfit :) 

Where to Buy: 

Video: Blogging for Business- How to Monetize Your Fashion Blog

December 2, 2014   

A few weeks ago we started a new series called "Blogging for Business," in which I asked you to send any questions you might have regarding blogging. Many of you mentioned you would prefer these to be a video series, so here goes the first one. It's from a our reader Claudia in which she asks:

"What else can I do in order to collaborate with more brands so I can produce posts in exchange for monetary compensation? Is there a different route to take when dealing with non-fashion or non-beauty related brands, such as theme parks and any other brand having to do with the lifestyle portion of my blog?" 

Hope you like it. You can send me your questions to carmen@vivafashionblog.com

Here's also a really great article you might want to check out from IFB called "20 Ways to Monetize Your Blog."

VF's Cyber Monday Deals

December 1, 2014   

Alright guys, how many of you have been taking advantage of Cyber Monday? Here are just a few things I've picked up so far. Let me know what great deals you've found!

1. Boyfriend Jeans, J.Crew Factory, $43 + 10% off (originally $88)
2. Chambray Shirt, Ann Taylor, $64 + 50% off  Cyber50
3. Holiday Stripe Sweater, BabyGap, $34 + 40% off CYBER
4. Toddler Straight Jeans, BabyGap, $29 + 40% off CYBER

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