How To. Unique Holiday Gifts & a #ShopLocal Guide.

Shopping Guide 
For Unique Holiday Gifts
 
(Google Images.)
Butternuts Beer & Ale!
at Trader Joe’s
Get’s better the more you read…


Google Images.
Great Jar!
1.    Marshall’s. Let’s just get this out of the way, now. Unique, you ask? Yes. Even      though probably everybody is gifting from Marshall’s (or TJ Maxx, etc), you will still find super unique gifts. Disclaimer: Use only in lieu of items you can only buy commercially. Candles? No. Save those for the Salons & Spas (#3) or, better yet, Fair Trades (#4) or Boutiques! (#5). Large glass jar of Jelly Belly’s for Momsly? Done. It beats retail prices, & she’ll reuse that jar. Another idea is its variety of cute & sexy socks. From over-the-knee wool numbers to thigh-high lace-capades: very few of us buy ourselves nice socks. And that’s why, when luxurious, it presents as a unique gift. As far as beauty goes? I croon for Marshall’s supply of eye creams & serums. Be it a beauty basket or a stocking stuffer, lotions & potions are sure to woo.
 
Google Images.
Moisturizing & Gentle.
2.     Trader Joes. If you’re a Rochesterian, & you haven’t been: go. Whether you’re on a budget or you eat only organic, or both, you will relish in the unique finds & low prices offered by this specialty grocer. For the beer lover, try a European Trader Joe brew or one of its more local offerings, such as a Ithaca Pale Ale or Butternut Brewery creation. A baker? No bounds exist with the boxes of easily prepared confectionaries, such as Chocolate Peppermint Roll, or the wholesome, organic ingredients for the made-from-scratch-mmm-doer. Also, Trader Joe’s also offers bath & beauty varietals. French hand-mill soap, organic oatmeal exfoliates, Vitamin E Oil. (Way less expensive here, than at drug stores.) And, yes, the packaging is pretty. Whether hosting your first (or 500th) holiday shindig or buying-on-the-go, Trader Joe’s is a great stop for your groceries & your gifts.
 
Image From Sephora.
Amazing value for gorgeous make-up.
3.     Salons & Spas. Last year, I found that I bought most of my gifts, from friends to my mom to even my dad, at Sephora. Amazing what bath goods packaged in a masculine box or feminine bag can do. This year, while going for a hair trim in November, I had the same reaction to Rochester’s most renowned salon, Scott Miller. With OPI polishes regularly on-sale for 50% off to sample make-up sets like this  -> from Smashbox, it’s hard not to find something for your lovies & for yourself. Similar to the luxe-socks (mentioned above),  salons & spas often sell the luxury version of everyday items at, of course, a luxury price. Really, who buys a $25 candle for him or herself? No one. And that is exactly the point. No one does, and yet $25 is still affordable. For that candle-burning, under-pampered love in your life, spring for an environmentally friendly, fragrantly soothing $25 candle. I think you’ll both be pleasantly surprised.
 
From Noonday Collection.
Handmade Stationary.
4.     Fair Trade. Ideally, everyone would shop fair trade for all of their holiday gifts. With local and mail-order vendors like One World Goods (potentially 10,000 Villages in your area), Noonday Collection, and Heifer International, the idea of every gift, every voice is possible. The former 2 offer hand crafted gifts the likes of jewelry & home goods. The latter, animals and live stock as food and farm for families. All 3, an investment in the livelihood of international artisans. In the past few years, Momsly and I have developed a tradition of me buying her livestock through Heifer. Two years ago, bunnies. Last year, chickens.
 
Menu for Brick & Motor.
Changes Daily.
5.   Boutiques, Restaurants, Shops. #ShopLocal #ShopLocal #ShopLocal . I guarantee you that anything you buy at the mall—children’s toys, lotions & potions, blouses & bags, gourmet food items, trinkets & knick-knacks, hats, mittens, & socks, anything—you can buy in and around your local communities. Sure, the mall, or even Target, is considered a one-stop-shop. But you still have to traipse. Navigate the unending isles. Fish for a spot. Get shoulder-shoulder with the crowds. So how is this any different than walking a few short blocks to navigate the neighborhood goods? The difference is supporting your local economy. The difference is finding truly unique gifts. Gifts that have a story and are frequently made locally and/or within the United States.
Quick & Dirty #ShopLocal Holiday Guide
to Rochester, NY
Southwedge.com
Use neighborhood websites as your guide
for Holiday Shopping!

University Ave

Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) gift shop, Starry Nites, Craft Co. No. 6, Chocolate & Vines (gift card)

East Ave

The Little Theatre Tickets, Victoire (gift card), Java’s Cafe

Park Ave

PeppermintParkleighSugarMountain Bake ShoppeStever’s Candie’s

Monroe Ave

Archimage, Aaron’s Alley

 South Wedge

Magix, Thread, South Wedge Spirits & Wine, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, Equal Grounds, Tap & Mallet (gift card), Brock & Motor (food cart gift card)

Irondequoit, NY

Encore Chocolates, Guido’s Pasta Villa, Sips Cafe

Pittsford, NY

Scott Miller Salon, Village of Pittsford (so many shops!!)

Rochester, NY

Every Tuesday & Saturday Morning

#ShopLocal
#MerryMerry
xo. 

Fashionista’s Guide to Rochester: Victoire.

Belgian Beer Garden Anyone??
This is the first of the newest series wherein I review a local Roc hotspot
and make fashion recs for what to wear, to boot. 
**RocStyRtainment??**
 
V is for Victoire, the newest addition to Rochester’s burgeoning bar-meets-trendster scene. This Belgian addition to East Avenue nears downtown, in the seat of the Rochester Club Building, and sits directly across from the late-20’s/30-something crowd that populates Temple Bar & Salinger’s. If you’re barely famil. and all you can conjure mirrors plastic mugs, twenty-tweens, & festival gates, erase all images of the East End Fest from your mind.
 
Friday Full Moon.
Sept 28. Second Night Outside of Victoire Beer Garden.
Victoire, French for “Victory” and pronounced as such, is anything but East End & everything East Ave. With a wide array of commercial(Ommegang) and lesser-known (Duchesse De Bourgogne)Belgian drafts and bottles, including sweeter Lambic & Cider selections, along with a killing kitchen that serves a tasteful fusion of old v. new–like the must-order gourmet counter to its streetcar offering, Poutine, so common to our South Wedge
this bar is as much victory as it is versatility.

 

 

Lately, I probably haven’t been to the same bar in 3 months, let alone (ever) the same bar 3 times in 1 week. Victoire did it. Not only did I have a great time and even better drinks on all 3 occasions, but additionally, I enjoyed myself in 3 completely different settings each time I went.
Victoire Victories:
*Networking Event mid-week in the evening.
*Going Away Party/Belated Birthday during dinner crowd on Friday.
*Late-night nightcaps on Saturday.
Black Bird Cider.
Locally Made. Organically Grown.
Fav Cider at Victoire … So Far.

All completely different and all, equally as enjoyable. Why? How?Victoire’s juxtaposing versatility. Victoire is as much Belgian Beer Garden, as it is hip bar, as it is trendy restaurant. Drinks in the early evening on the garden patio beside sleek hearth where you watch from below, passer-bys who walk the streets above. Casually eating a chic palette served home-style modern on dark wooden tables of the open dining rooms, even while your friends enjoy just their beers. Or perched upon bar, seated tastefully and comfortably in front of clearly displayed Belgian drafts with names written vertically in chalk, to scan the crowd through its ebbs and flows. There is no bad seat, or bad beer, in the Garden that is Victoire. Like contrasts in flavors that add depth to both brew and menu, Victoire’s diversity manifests in the diverse crowds that it draws.

 

Saturday Late Night Victoire.
Bar is Bumpin’. Dining Areas Surround Bar. Beer Garden…Outside.
Hipster. Broster. Trendster. Oldster. Youngster. Midster. You-ster name it.Because of its various settings in its unique East Ave-Meets-Gibbs Street-Meets Downtown locale, Victoire draws in all crowds. The flat-screen TVs, smaller near the bar and larger beside the pool table, and its dinnertime offerings (kitchen closes at 11pm) circulate an interesting crowd that, like gourmet cheese melting onto hot fries, mixes nicely. In a Belgian Beer Garden with so many selections—menu, settings, crowd–it’s hard to stay away.
* * *

…And to know what to wear.
 
While, truly, you can’t go (horribly) wrong, I’d like to think that in 3 outings, I finally struck Victoire with my 3rd fitting. 
Victoire Outfits:
*Too Cas:
Cropped, Cuffed T with Zipper;
Sweatshirt Blazer; Dark, Skinny Jean; Saddle Shoe Flat.
*Too Hip:
Gray-V T; Leopard Print Pashy;
Leather Jacket; Gray Stretch Skinny; Black Bootie.
*Victoire:
Flowy Shell; Tunic-V Cardi;
Brown Pashy; Leather Jacket; Black Jegging; Brown Riding Boot.


This, my friends, is a Jegging.
(Pay no attention to my dirtied mirror/bedroom.)
(Pay plenty attention to the Subculture Mag on my floor… .)
 
I can’t so much say why the 3rd outfit worked, as it includes some of my oldest pieces (and therefore those most prone to cliche), as I can explain why the first 2 didn’t. The first, despite being for a mid-week event, bordered on the way-too-cas. Namely because Victoire, while comfortable, always boasts sophistication.Switch out the sweatshirt blazer with a real blazer and/or add heels. Cas becomes Victoire chic in an instant.
The second, way too hip. Monotone gray combined with a striking ankle bootie resembled something ofKristen Stewart angst. When you try to look glam, full make-up & done hair, with a slinky, I just don’t care V-neck T, it probably means you do care, just a bit too much. This outfit is great, don’t get me wrong. But more for an upper-scale venue, such as Victoire, during a more-cas event, such as mid-week networking. …
Makings of the Victoire Outfit.
Indigo Tunic Cardi. Shell. Black Jegging. Brown Riding Boot.
 
The third, felt oh-so right. (Where have we heard this before…?) Similar to Victoire’s juxtaposing crowd and settings, this outfit shares just as enigmatic a quality. The dark brown riding boots, tre-beat-up & without a heel, at first seem too casual and even robust for Victoire, let alone late-night on a Saturday. But not so. Somehow the sleek black jegging (go with it) blended just well-enough with the coffee brown boot and brass buckles to emphasize its industrial, and therefore modern European qualities, while the illusion of a monotone, elongated and made sexy, a subtle leg. The tunic-comfort and luxe color of an indigo V-neck cardigan allows for that I don’t care how I look attitude to sneak through, along with the comfort that comes with, but is balanced by emphasizing hips, waist, and bust. The shell? Just an undergarment. Wear whatever matches & feels good. …Leather jacket & pashy combo:  always a must. (Especially for Fall… .)
 
* * *
 
Different Outfit. Same Idea.
Love Philosophy The Color of Grace
The Art of Blushing Palette.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bonus: Make-Up Hint

When wearing lighter colors (close to the skin) in the winter, create a warm glow on your face. If porcelain-skinned like me, choose silver flecks in a rose blush. Rose warms. Silver looks natural. If olive skinned, go bronze.

Look
Good
&
grab  a
Belgian
Beer.
xo.