Red White & Denim

A New England Lifestyle Blog

Category: Holiday (Page 1 of 3)

Holiday Shopping Tips

MY OUTFIT: Vest (similar) | Top | Leggings | Hat | Boots | Sunglasses | Bag  MICHELLE’S OUTFIT (of ByQuinn): Dress | Tights | Hat | Boots | Bag | Sunglasses

Holiday shopping can be a lot of fun OR really stressful…you decide! I just finished up my holiday shopping and for the first time in years, I had a completely stress-free experience. I’ve become a self-proclaimed expert shopper so I compiled a list of tips and tricks I use to help navigate the busiest shopping time of the year. With only 1 week left until Christmas, take a moment to read my 10 holiday shopping tips that are sure to make shopping more enjoyable and less dreadful this holiday season!

1o Holiday Shopping Tips

1. Save All Year

Setting a budget for holiday shopping is the key to eliminating stress this time of year because lets be honest, insufficient funds is a great way to put a damper on your shopping day!  In the beginning of the year I determine how much money I’ll need for Christmas gifts and divide that by the amount of paychecks I receive throughout the year. Each pay period I have that amount automatically deducted from my pay. It’s much easier to save a little each paycheck then all at once…and it’s one less thing I have to stress about over the holidays. So as soon as Christmas is over, start saving for next year!

2. Don’t Let The Sales Fool You.

Don’g be fooled by the two ‘biggest sale days’ of the year. I would advise NOT waiting until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to get your Christmas gifts. As a matter of fact, it seems that each year the sales start earlier and earlier. I’ve also been able to confirm that some of my favorite stores offer better deals prior to and after cyber week.

3. Make Shopping Fun

Shopping doesn’t need to be a drag. With outdoor shopping centers popping up everywhere, make your shopping excursion a fun experience. Choose a spot with festive decorations, Christmas music playing and good restaurants for a bite to eat or an afternoon cocktail!

4.Extended Return Policies

This tip is more beneficial to the giftee than yourself – but it’s an important one. Many retailers extend their return policies for holiday shopping. Before heading out to the stores, research the holiday return policies and shop accordingly. If you can extend the return policy for your recipient by a month or two, it’s certainly worth it to purchase within the acceptable timeframe. You would hate for the value of your gift to go down should the recipient need to return your gift…and always remember to get a gift receipt!

5. Make a list

Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes before you head out to write down what you need. Whether it’s specific items or just a list of people you need to buy for, you need something to help keep you on track. There’s nothing worse then getting home from a long day of shopping to realize you forgot something.

6. Shop off-peak hours

One of the best ways to avoid crowds is to arrive when the doors open. It’s likely you won’t be the only one waiting for the doors to unlock, but there will be far less people shopping that first hour of the day then ever. You’re also likely to be the first one in the checkout line for a quick and easy shopping experience. If you’re not able to arrive first thing in the morning, find another time to shop off-peak hours. Even if it means taking some time off work – it will be worth the headache of dealing with traffic and lines.

7. Use your phone

Before heading to the register, hop on your phone to see if the items you’re purchasing are marked down online. Most retailers will price match whatever deals their online shops are offering. It’s a quick and easy way to save a few bucks.

8. Bring A Friend

It never hurts to bring a friend! If you’re as indecisive as I am, it’s absolutely necessary. It’s always nice to have a second opinion, especially when shopping for other people. If nothing else, shopping with a friend provides great conversation and the perfect excuse for a lunch or dinner break!

9. Buy online, pick up in store

Many stores offer a buy online, pickup in-store option. If you don’t have time to shop and want to avoid shipping charges, do all your shopping online and have it shipped to your local store – FREE OF CHARGE. If you know exactly what you want, this may be the best option. Some of my favorite retailers who offer this service are Target, Macys, William Sonoma and Nordstrom.

10. Shop Gift Guides

Stumped on what to buy your friends and family for Christmas? Before heading out to the store, check out your favorite bloggers gift guides to see what they suggest. Almost every blogger I know (myself included) puts together gift guides designed to help you shop for all the important people in your lives. Relieve the stress of picking out the “perfect gift” and let someone else do the hard work for you! You can view my gift guides HERE!

I hope these holiday shopping tips help to make your shopping experience more enjoyable this year! HAPPY HOLIDAYS & HAPPY SHOPPING!



Holiday Gift Guide For Women

Gift Guide For Women

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I created a Holiday Gift Guide For Women that includes some of my favorite purchases over the past year.  I personally own all these items and stand behind them 100%! All these gift ideas are universal and great options for all the women in your life – mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, etc. I also posted a video below to give you a closer look at each item to see why I love them so much! …and feel free to forward on to your boyfriends or husbands if they’re looking for a little guidance.

Holiday Gift Guide For Women


Gilligan O’Malley Pajamas

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder

T3 Curling Iron

American Blanket Company Luster Loft Fleece Blanket

Sony A5100 Mirroless Camera

J. Crew Factory Blanket Scarf

Gorjana Crescent Necklace

Dudley Stephens Fleece Turtleneck


(Use code REDWHITEDENIM20 for 20% off!)

Marleylilly Customized Travel Accessories

Londontown Nail Polish

Ugg Bathrobe

I hope you enjoyed my Holiday Gift Guide For Women! I’m certain you’ll find something in this post that would make the perfect gift for any woman in your life. For more ideas, be sure to check out last year’s Gift Guide For Her too! Here are a couple other 2017 holiday gift guides I recently published!

Gift Guide For Men (written by my husband)

Charity Gift Guide (gifts that give back)


Holiday Gift Guide For Men

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You all LOVED my husbands Gift Guide For Him last year, so I recruited him to create another one for the 2017 holiday season! James rounded up a few of his favorite things – all tried and tested – that he thinks would make good gifts for the men in your life.

Holiday Gift Guide For Men

1. J. Crew Everyday Cashmere Sweater

The J. Crew Everyday Cashmere sweater is a necessity for any man’s wardrobe. This sweater is relatively thin so don’t expect your significant other to make this a staple for any artic expeditions, but it will keep him warm on a brisk fall evening, especially when it is layered with a button-down shirt or tucked under an insulating outer layer.

The cashmere quality is very good given the sweater’s small sticker price and the overall construction of the garment is consistent with JCrew’s good craftsmanship. My only gripe with this piece is that JCrew only offers a select few colors (at least at the time of this blog posting.)

2. Hudson Maple Cask Whiskey

What happens when you age rye whiskey in a barrel that once held maple syrup? Nirvana.

Hudson Maple Cask Rye Whiskey is an amalgam of two of my favorite things: maple syrup and rye whiskey. This spirit is not what you think it is. It is not a subpar rye whiskey whose crafters slyly attempt to conceal its flaws by adding pure maple sugar to the mix. Instead, this rye is a master crafted whiskey that is aged in oak for four years and then transferred into barrels that once held maple syrup. This rye is not sweet; the maple flavor is very subtle but most certainly noticeable. Don’t worry, you will know that you are drinking a quality rye as the first taste that touches your tongue is the characteristic bready-ness and subtle bite which rye never forgets puts forth on the palate. The maple syrup notes enter the picture late in the game to give your taste buds a quick massage before the next wave of Hudson Maple Cask Rye Whiskey hits the tongue.

3. Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Jacket

Being an avid skiier/snowboarding, I’ve always counted my blessings that Christmas falls within the first half of New Englands ski season. Ask anyone in my family, my list is generally littered with things one would need for a successful season. No matter what method your significant other uses to slide down snow, he should not be without a bulletproof outer shell. The Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex pro technical shell is, in my opinion, the finest outer layer anyone can wear. Its made with Gore-Tex’s top of the line “Pro” material that provided triple layer water protection while allowing a fair amount of breathability for the occasions its needed.

I have been wearing my Lofoten for five years now and it looks, and performs, like it did on the day I purchased it. Norrona cut the shell with an athletic taper but with room where it counts. Layering this jacket is a cinch; a base layer and mid layer will get you through the coldest of days. For sure, your eyebrows will raise at the price of this jacket. Watch for 20% off sales and grab it at a discount. A more affordable honorable mention is the Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket which still uses a Gore-Tex fabric, has fully taped seams to keep moisture out, and is an army tank of an outer layer for hitting the slopes.

4. Custom Knife

Jen will tell you that I have become a fledging outdoorsman over the past couple of years. One thing I have learned is that the single most valuable tool in the field is a strong, sharp, and durable knife. The uses of a knife in the outdoors are endless: cutting rope and lines, food prep, prying various objects, splitting wood, first aid, etc.

Mike Jones Knife and Tool is a small shop that makes extremely high quality, hand made, custom order knives. Outdoorsman styled knives are just one of the many different forms of cutlery that the shop churns out. An equally as exciting gift idea is a custom made chef or carving knife. The quality of Mike’s blades are superb, but the artistry and imagination that he is able to pour into his 100% customizable handles are what really set his pieces apart. Mike has some great recommendations for his handles, but will craft really anything you want. For example, I asked Mike to make my handle out of African ironwood and elk antler. A Mike Jones knife is the best of the best.

An honorable mention knife would be the Benchmade Sibert Bushcrafter Knife. Go this route if you cannot decide on a series of grip materials, or if you would prefer a less demanding purchase experience.

5. Nespresso Machine (Citiz or Verturo)

The most used countertop appliance in our home is, by far, our Nespresso Citiz espresso maker. This machine makes gourmet espresso with the flip of a lever and push of a button. There are many things I love about this machine but the fact that it is a relatively small unit and does not monopolize our counter space takes the cake. Nespresso machines work off of the same one-time-use insertable “pod” models as a Keurig: insert an espresso capsule into the machine, select your beverage type by pressing a button, and voila – piping hot, delicious espresso!

The Citiz makes delicious espresso and lungo (think mini coffee) beverages using one capsule per shot of espresso. Ordering capsules is incredibly simple, and shipping is generally free. Nespresso has a wide variety of flavors and espresso intensities to choose from so your tastebuds will never get bored. Additionally, Nespresso offers seasonal flavors and roasts that are generally superb.

Nespresso released a new style machine a year or so ago called the Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine with Aeroccino. It looks like this new machine was developed as a strategy to take a portion of coffee market share from Keurig. The benefit to the Vertuo machine is that it makes full cups of coffee in addition to espresso. To compliment the new type of machine, Nespresso released a new line of Vertuo capsules that will not work in a traditional Nespresso machine such as the Citiz.

6. Bonobos Stretch Washed Chinos

I remember when Bonobos was strictly an online direct to consumer business model.  The Bonobos difference is that they provide a much more flattering cut pant.  They reduced any bagginess in the butt and groin while designing several different fits that can accommodate men of all different builds.  When I rolled the dice and bought my first pair of Bonobos washed chinos, I partially though these claims were marketing “hocus pocus” but, to my pleasant surprise, their claims of the perfect fitting pants are 100% justifiable.  

When I bought my first pants from Bonobos they offered one thing: Washed Chinos.  A lot has changed as Bonobos has blossomed into a major mens fashion brand but, in my opinion, the best change is the increase in variety of pants offered on their site.  The best, by far, pant you can buy from Bonobos is the Stretch Washed Chino.  It is the more sophisticated cousin of the regular washed chino in that 2% of the fabric of the pants is Lycra.  The small amount of stretch fabric makes these pants insanely comfortable; there is no pull on the knees or thighs as you sit or squat down.  As always, Bonobos has a offering of several different pant fits; they range from very tight around the legs to relatively loose.  My preferred cut is slim-spright, but a safe bet is to go with the straight fit pants.  

7. Rugged and Dapper Facewash

I wrote about Rugged and Dapper’s Facewash last year.  I needed to include it again because it really is an incredible product.  I recently ran out of R&D and needed to use a different product for a few days while I waited for it to come in.  My wife was nice enough to let me use one of her organic  face bars and after two days my face was a oily, broken-out mess.

I tend to have skin that is on the oilier side, and if you are anything like me, keeping it free and clear (and matte as opposed to shiny) can be a challenge.  I tried a boatload of other face products and R&D was the only one that did the trick.

8. Bobos Mountain Sugar Maple Syrup

Aunt Jemima’s may have cut it when we were youngsters, but now only the best will do.  All 100% real maple syrup is not equal.  There are different grades (usually classified by their color) and then qualities within the various grades.  Taste may vary from region to region and some purveyors sneakily add chemicals or stabilizers to their syrups in order to cut corners and maximize profits.  My wife will tell you, I am a maple fanatic.  Out of every possible flavor in existence, Maple is my favorite.  I know its pure sugar, but if I have one vice it is, for sure, maple syrup.  

Bobo’s is the best.  Hands down.  Order up a pint as a stocking stuffer or, better yet, buy a quart for the family refrigerator.  Go for the extra dark bold flavor if you are serious about your syrup and like a really strong maple taste.

To read last year’s gift guide for men, click HERE



Charity Gift Guide – Buy Gifts AND Give Back

Charity Gift Guide – Buy Gifts AND Give Back

The holidays are a time for giving….and not just to your friends and family. Now is the time to give to those in need. I put together a list of brands that Red White & Denim has worked with over the past couple years that GIVE BACK to their communities. Purchases made to the following businesses will not only make great gifts for your friends and family, but also support a great cause.

Consider purchasing gifts that give back this year and GIVE MORE this holiday season!!!

Charity Gift Guide

Charity Gift Guide – Buy Gifts AND Give Back
Love Your Melon

Did you know 15,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year? Love Your Melon is an apparel brand that supports the fight against pediatric cancer. Fifty percent of the profits from Love Your Melon sales are given to nonprofit organizations who work in the field of pediatric oncology, fund cancer research initiatives and provide immediate support for families of children battling cancer.  Each year, Love Your Melon has a goal to provide every child battling cancer in America with a Love Your Melon hat.  Click here to see the donations they’ve made to date.  Help bring smiles to children battling cancer all over America by purchasing your holiday gifts HERE.

Charity Gift Guide – Buy Gifts AND Give Back
Say It Is So

Inspired by natural elements and rustic décor, Say It Is So sells beautiful handcrafted home décor. They specialize in handmade signs including customizable options (see my custom sign here!) Say It Is So donates 5% of all proceeds to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. St. Jude is an organization that supports the treatment of childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.  Say It Is So believes in “Happy homes, Happy hearts” by “Making your homes happy with beautiful pieces and your hearts happy for giving a little back to those in need.” Show your support for Say It Is So and this great cause by purchasing your gifts HERE.

Red White & Denim x Say It Is So

Charity Gift Guide – Buy Gifts AND Give Back

NDulge is a legging and active wear brand started by 3 sisters who were passionate about making a difference. For every three pairs of action wear and leggings you purchase, NDulge gives one free pair to the Phoenix Dream Center and other charitable organizations. The Phoenix Dream Center is a nonprofit organization which exists to serve the homeless, low-income, at-risk youth and struggling individuals and families by providing resources, opportunities and supportive services to help them realize their dream of living a self-sufficient life. You can see their donations to date here. Each quarter NDulge visits the Pheonix Dream Center to deliver ultra-soft leggings to deserving women. Check out there great selection of leggings and support their mission for giving HERE !

Red White & Denim x NDulge

Charity Gift Guide – Buy Gifts AND Give Back
Diff Eyewear

Diff Eyewear makes fashionable and affordable sunglasses with a mission to give back. They believe “What you do makes a DIFFerence, and you have to decide what kind of DIFFerence you want to make.”  For every pair of sunglasses Diff Eyewear sells, they donate a pair of reading glasses to someone in need through their buy one, give one program. Eyeglasses are donated to Eyes on Africa, a non-profit organization that provides eyeglasses to people who have no access to vision care. More than 1 Billion people in the world who need eyeglasses do not have them. Every Diff Eyewear purchase makes a huge difference in someones life! Give the gift of DIFF this year and shop their full collection of sunglasses HERE!

Red White & Denim x Diff Eyewear

Charity Gift Guide – Buy Gifts AND Give Back
Running for Rescues

Running for Rescues is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of shelter animals all over the country. Runners from around the nation are asked to pick a race they want to run and then fundraise independently for Running for Rescues. If you’re not a runner, you can donate by purchasing items directly off their website.  All proceeds are donated to organizations to help fund the rescuing of animals from shelters and the associated costs.  Running for Rescues pays for homeless animals that need vetting, food, shots and more.  They also help foster parents take care of animals in need while waiting for their forever home. Help support the lives of these precious animals by purchasing your holiday gifts HERE.

Running For Rescues x Red White & Denim

Charity Gift Guide – Buy Gifts AND Give Back
The Home T

The Home T was one of the first brands I ever worked with. They make tees, tanks, home décor and more to represent your home state and show your hometown pride. Soon after discovering The Home T, I learned that the company donates a portion of their profits to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. In an attempt to find out more about this debilitating disease and help those affected by it, The Home T donates a minimum of 10% of their profits to support MS research. Their shop is full of stylish merchandise would make great gifts for the holidays – shop your home state products HERE.

The Home T x Red White & Denim

Jewels For Hope

Look Good. Feel Good. Do Good. That’s the mission Jewels For Hope set out to accomplish with their handcrafted jewelry line. All jewelry is handmade from beautiful beads, unique stones, Swarovski crystals and vintage finds. Jewels For Hope donates 10% of all their profits to charity, allowing you to select from 1 of 5 different organizations to support when making your purchase – We Stop Hate, Hospice, Save The Sound, STARelief 4 Pets and USO. I love their lava stone line that can be worn with essential oils. See their full  selection of handmade jewelry HERE.

Jewels For Hope x Red White & Denim



Christmas Card 2016

Don’t let the title of this post fool you, we didn’t actually send out Christmas cards this year. James and I had a very eventful second half of the year and didn’t get around to sending out cards, so I apologize to all our friends and family! To make up for it I’m posting some Christmas photos we took (for the cards we never got around to making.) I know it’s not as personal as a mailed greeting but I hope you enjoy them!

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Holiday Leather


Dress: Ralph Lauren | Shoes: J. Crew (similar) (similar) | Scarf: Nordstrom | Lip Color: Nars | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

I’m introducing leather to my holiday ensemble this year. Leather has always been one of my favorite materials to wear – especially for winter. A favorite option? Yes. Easy to wear? Not so much. For leather to look tasteful, it needs to be worn right. It’s all about balance. When shopping for leather pieces, look for classic and modest styles. The leather is the star of the show here, so think simple.

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