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Q. My best friend is turning 30 and I want to buy her something special but I have no idea what to get her. Can you recommend something for around $50?

A. You can’t go wrong with a chic accessory. I always like to buy something stylish, but not too trendy, so it won’t go out of style so quickly. Below are some jewelry and wallets that she’ll love for years to come — and all under $50.

Q. I was lucky enough to get a new iPad for Christmas. Now I need a fancy new case. Can you recommend some?

A. Lucky you! I, for one, cannot live without my iPad — and dressing it up in fancy new clothes somehow makes me love it even more. There are a variety of options ranging from handbags and clutches to cases and sleeves, depending on your needs. I prefer a case that keeps my iPad protected at all times, but I lust after less practical styles like the Z Spoke and Marc Jacobs crossbody bags and the Rachel Roy clutch below. Since you didn’t tell me your budget, I’ve recommended a few in every price range. Enjoy!


When Hanes asked us to share an uncomfortable holiday moment, it was hard to pick just one! Somehow the holidays are rife with awkward and embarrassing moments. To us, though, there is none more embarrassing than when a friend, coworker or acquaintance gives you an unexpected gift. Sure, it’s the thought that counts, but the uncomfortable feeling of not having a gift to give in return takes all the fun out of the moment.

What to do? We’ve gotten smart over the past few years and now keep a stash of generic, unisex gifts in our house, desk drawer and car. So the next time an unexpected gift is handed to us, we can joyously say, “Oh, I’ve got a little something for you too!” as we hand over a wrapped scented candle or bottle of wine. Whew, uncomfortable moment avoided!

Q. I’m very excited to celebrate not only a first anniversary, but also Christmas this year with my husband. We got married a few days after Christmas last year.  I’ve got an idea for both a gift  (new snowboard and boots) and a getaway trip (snowbound for three days to snowboard and sit by a fire and snuggle), but I’m nervous he’ll find out. He’s quite the snoop when he thinks there’s a gift coming his way.  It’s adorable, but I really want to surprise him. Any ideas?
-No Show No Tell

A. I’m assuming you probably have both joint and separate bank accounts. So first, pay for the gift with cash if you can so there’s no credit card bill that screams "Bob’s Ski Chalet" on the list of payments. Wrap the gift and securely hide it at a nearby friend’s or parents’ house until the day before Christmas. And be sure to figure out where you want to hide it once you pick it up from the off-site locale. Perhaps keep it in your car trunk under a blanket the night before and then pull it out when it’s time to actually give him the gift. As for the trip, if you can just put the reservations on hold with a credit card, then it shouldn’t show up on your bill. Ask the place where you are spending your anniversary to not send anything in the mail and instead email you. Print out email confirmations and then delete.  You can give the gift of the trip in a nice big stocking or basket filled with a few things you’ll need for your trip such as sunscreen, cashmere or wool sport socks, new gloves, a bottle of good wine and decadent hot chocolate (I love Vosges - plus details of the trip written in a nice card.  After he knows about the great trip, then go get the snowboard and boots as the extra terrific gift. 

Since we’re on the topic of shopping and helpful ways of hiding purchases, you may want to detail your confession for They are holding a contest where you can submit a short, self-produced YouTube video telling your shopping story and you’ll have a chance to win $1,000 or possibly $20,000. Just do it by November 26th. (And by the way, I’m one of the judges!)

Q. This may not be your bailiwick because it is a hybrid question that crosses over from style to relationship.  I have been seeing a woman for about a year now.  Due to the disparity in our ages (23 yrs.), I refuse to be involved more than just dating and am clear about my availability.  When she travels, she always brings me a little something.  I was in Santa Fe on business and brought her an inexpensive liquid silver necklace ($60).  You would have thought that I brought her a 3k diamond.  Now I need to get her something for her birthday (27th), I would like to get her something nice, preferably jewelry, but don’t want to send any message other than I enjoy her company.
-Guy and Younger Girl

A. Having had romance, love, liars and cheats, I can take on the role of style and relationship expertise for your answer. I think your soon-to-be 27 year old has been sticking around believing and hoping that your “dating” has turned into more of a commitment. While you made it clear early in your dating that you did not want a relationship due to your age difference, she probably needs a refresher course. She’s probably a great girl who has treated you well and thinks of you often, as is obvious with her consistent gift giving. But it is apparent that you are only offering her morsels of attention when she deserves a full banquet.

Perhaps you give her a grand gift like sending her and a friend off on an all expense paid spa weekend ( and let her know that you are setting her free to find someone closer in age that will give her a chance at true love, perhaps marriage, and maybe a family.  A man that wants to travel the world with her or plant a garden and barbeque in the backyard they share. A weekend away with a friend will give her a chance to vent, release and relax without a bill at the end. She’ll walk away with clean skin, polished nails and a pampered body to start anew. Pair the gift with a heartfelt note about her best qualities and how lucky you have been to know her.

If you are direct with your “only dating on your availability” and she still chooses to stay, then I presume you’ve also made it clear that when a good man comes along and asks her on a date, she should go since you have a no-strings attached affair.

No spa grand gift? Don’t wimp out and buy a gift that carries no meaning or barely cost you a hundred bucks. Does she have a lovely apartment or home? Why not choose photographic artwork and have it framed to add décor to her home. Jewelry is always a safe and memorable gift, but this time, choose real gold in a style that is simple and sophisticated. Or how about a stunning pair of expensive heels that she’s been coveting but would never fork over the cash for. Get her an appointment with a personal shopper at a department store (it’s free) and give her a gift card for $500 or more bucks to spend with the help of the personal shopper so she can get the benefits of the shopper’s talents of finding what she wants in her size.  As long as you are honest, your gift can be exuberant, lovely, and expressive in its meaning that you appreciate her.

Some of my favorites:

UNDER $200

Satya Jewelry aquamarine relief lotus necklace18k Gold Circle Pendant,Kevia Tulip Shaped Rococo Hoop Earrings
1. Satya Jewelry aquamarine relief lotus necklace, $158 at
2. 18k Gold Circle Pendant, $150 at
3. Kevia Tulip Shaped Rococo Hoop Earrings, $138 at


Tiffini Dooris Luna NecklaceJulie Sandlau Mint Crystal and Cubic Zirconia Circle EarringsJulie Sandlau Champagne Zirconia Circular Chandelier Earrings
4. Tiffini Dooris Luna Necklace, $228 at
5. Julie Sandlau Mint Crystal and Cubic Zirconia Circle Earrings, $224 at
6. Julie Sandlau Champagne Zirconia Circular Chandelier Earrings, $211 at

$300 & UP

Anna Beck Large Teardrop Pendant NecklaceQuinn's Tulip Small Disc Diamond Earrings18K Gold Ginko Leaf Pendants by DeanBurke
5. Anna Beck Large Teardrop Pendant Necklace, $398 at
6. Quinn’s Tulip Small Disc Diamond Earrings, $413 at
7. 18K Gold Ginko Leaf Pendants by DeanBurke, $300 at

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